Cranberry Orange Cookies

I hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange for my co-workers in our home each December for many years, which is where I first tried these Cranberry Orange Cookies.Cranberry Orange Cookies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!  It was so much fun to play ridiculously silly games, nibble on appetizers, then see the different recipes and cookies each woman made and brought to share. Everyone brought six dozen cookies from one recipe (and brought the recipe, too!), but everyone left with a big box with six dozen assorted Christmas cookies (and a whole bunch of cookie recipes)! Cook once, but leave with quite a variety of delicious cookies, just in time for the holidays! My kind of party!

One year, my friend Valerie brought Cranberry Orange Cookies to share. I was immediately in love with the orange and cranberry flavors that permeated these cookies, and couldn’t wait to try the recipe on my own. Winner! I’ve made these cookies a few times since then, and they never disappoint! They are easy to make and DELICIOUS! This picture of the cookies I made isn’t the greatest at representing these wonderful treats, but trust me…they’re fantastic! Perfect for any time of the year!

Cranberry Almond Granola / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe Adapted From:http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cranberry-Orange-Cookies/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Thumb&e11=cranberry%20orange%20cookies&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page   

Cranberry Orange Cookies
 
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Delicious, easy to make cookies, infused with the wonderful flavors of cranberry and orange.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 4 dozen
Ingredients
For cookies:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped (can substitute walnuts, if desired)
For glaze:
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1½ cups confectioner's sugar (powdered)
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated and brown sugars. Beat till smooth.
  3. Add egg, and mix till well blended.
  4. Add in 1/ ½ tsp. grated orange zest and 2 TBSP. of orange juice. Mix well.
  5. In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and the salt; stir into the orange mixture.
  6. Add in the dried cranberries and the pecans. Stir in until well mixed and evenly distributed through the dough.
  7. Drop dough by rounded Tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Make sure to space the cookies 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until edges turn golden.
  9. Remove cookies from oven. Let cool slightly, then remove cookies from baking sheets to wire racks to cool.
  10. While cookies are baking (or while they are cooling), in a small bowl mix together 1 tsp. grated orange zest, 3 TBSP. orange juice, and 1½ cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar until completely smooth.
  11. When cookies have cooled, either spread or drizzle the glaze over the tops of the cookies, then let them sit until glaze hardens. ENJOY!

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Writing this post made me laugh…my entire life I have despised (I know, harsh words!) tomato soup. Really, really despised it. I am married to a guy who loves it. Go figure! But the truth is… I have come to love the taste of this Creamy Tomato Basil Soup!Creamy Tomato Basil Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Years ago I worked at a school where occasionally they would serve the students and staff grilled cheese sandwiches with a small cup of tomato soup (might have been the famous “canned” stuff ). Word on the street was the soup was good with grilled cheese alongside, but I could never even bring myself to try the soup; I had such an “ugh” factor going on.

Well, fast forward to this past summer – and my little garden was overflowing with fresh basil. I decided to combine my home-grown basil with my deep love for that “tomato-soup-lovin’ husband of mine”, and find a recipe online that he would enjoy. Here’s the one I found…and guess what? I actually tried it and it was fantastic…who knew?
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Maybe my taste buds have changed as I’ve gotten older…or maybe it is the fact that it didn’t come sliding (in one gelatinous blob) out of a little red and white labeled can?
All I know is this was EASY and DELICIOUS. Hope you will give it a try!
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: http://unsophisticook.com/tomato-basil-soup/

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
 
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Nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cool day...this creamy tomato basil soup will really hit the spot!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped (plus additional leaves for garnish, if desired)
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Croutons and additional basil (for garnish, if desired)
Directions
  1. In a medium sized pan, saute onions and garlic in butter over medium heat till they are fairly clear (about 4-5 minutes). Don't let the garlic burn!
  2. Add the canned tomatoes (including the juice) and the chicken stock to saucepan. Season the mixture with salt and pepper (to taste).
  3. Bring the tomato mixture to a full boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  4. When the tomato mixture has cooked for 10 minutes, remove from heat.
  5. Use an immersion blender to puree. (Don't have one? Me neither. Just transfer the "hot" tomato mixture to a blender or a food processor and puree.
  6. Once the tomato mixture has been pureed, add in the fresh basil and pulse (or blend) a few times to incorporate the basil into the soup.
  7. Return soup to saucepan (or to your serving dish), and whisk in the heavy whipping cream, till blended.
  8. Garnish with croutons and/or basil. ENJOY!
Notes
Recipe Source: http://unsophisticook.com/tomato-basil-soup/



 

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Maple Cream Bon Bons

Every year during the holidays, I pick a couple of new recipes to try, along with our tried and true traditional treats. One of this year’s new recipes is Maple Cream Bon Bons. AMAZING!Maple Cream Bon Bons / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I enjoy making a variety of “homemade Christmas goodies”, which I then LOVE to give to my friends and neighbors. Inevitably I end up making a couple of different kinds of chocolate-dipped truffles (in this recipe it is called a “bon bon”).

This past Christmas I found this delicious sounding recipe during a search online at Taste of Home. These bonbons were very easy to make (with only a few ingredients… a big plus!) and the maple flavor SHINES! The recipe makes about 5 dozen, so there are plenty to take to work, give away as gifts, or plenty to save and stash away in the refrigerator for a late night craving…they are SO GOOD!

Maple Cream Bon Bons / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Sure hope you give these a try… they’re so very good!

Maple Cream Bon Bons / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe Source: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/maple-cream-bonbons

Maple Cream Bon Bons
 
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Decadent and creamy...these maple-flavored chocolate covered bon bons are sure to please!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Candy
Serves: 5 dozen
Ingredients
For bonbons:
  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 cubes)
  • 3½ cups confectioner's sugar (powdered)
  • 3 Tablespoons maple flavoring
  • 2 cups walnuts (I used pecans), chopped
For coating:
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter, powdered sugar, and maple flavoring till smooth.
  2. Stir in chopped walnuts (or pecans).
  3. Shape mixture into 1" balls.
  4. Place dough balls onto a wax paper covered baking sheet and put into freezer for ½ an hour.
  5. In a microwaveable bowl, melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips **(30 seconds on high. Stir. 30 seconds on high. Stir. Watch carefully so that you don't burn the chocolate. Should be melted and smooth after stirring the second time, but microwave an additional 15 seconds or so, then stir, if not.).
  6. Dip dough balls into chocolate mixture one at a time (I insert a toothpick into the dough ball, then dip, cover with chocolate then remove, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. You may want to use a spoon to finish coating the bonbon. Place each covered bonbon on wax paper-lined baking sheets, removing the toothpick and hiding the "hole" with a touch of melted chocolate. Place bonbons in refrigerator when done.
  7. Refrigerate till set...then ENJOY!

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Chocolate Chip Orange Scones

These Chocolate Chip Orange Scones are my “all-time favorite” scones. Period!Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!When I worked full-time (for almost 30 years), I would occasionally bring plates of these delicious scones to the office, to share with my friends. They were always a big hit… and I always returned home with empty serving plates!  Now that I have my own blog (to share favorite recipes with family and friends in one convenient location), I decided to share this special recipe with you. I think you will LOVE these scones!

I made a batch this morning…it was a brisk 36 degrees outside; a spectacularly gorgeous Pacific Northwest kind of day (Thank you, God, for the beauty all around us). My husband and I discussed our plans for the day while enjoying a scone, accompanied by our obligatory cups of “strong” coffee. Ahhhh..delicious! Chocolate and orange are a favorite flavor combination of mine, and these scones, with their sweet citrus glaze on top, are “practically perfect in every way”.

What a great way to start the day (and soooo much less expensive than buying them at the local coffee house!)  Give them a try…I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

First you mix up the ingredients for the dough…

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The grated orange peel makes the dough smell very good and “citrusy”.

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

After all dough ingredients are mixed together, roll it out into a circle.

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cut the dough circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges, brush the tops with egg white/water combo, and into the oven they go…

Chocolate chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

While the scones are baking, mix up the orange glaze…

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hot out of the oven… now they just need a shiny orange glaze to make them PERFECT!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

“Painting” the orange glaze onto the top of the scones gives them an extra burst of flavor, plus a shiny top!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Let the scones cool until the glaze hardens up… then take a big bite, and enjoy!

Update: I made some this past Christmas (2015) for breakfast. They were gone in a flash!!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: unknown

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones
 
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Soft chocolate chip orange scones, with an orange glaze on top, that are just as good, if not better than the local coffee house scones.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
For scones:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 cube) unsalted butter, very cold
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange peel (finely grated; I use a micro-plane zester)
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (regular or mini-sized)
  • 1 egg white + ½ tsp. water
For glaze:
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar (can always add more if you need extra)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract (I use it for enhanced flavor, but optional)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3-4 teaspoons orange juice (until you get the right consistency of glaze to
  • "paint" on the scones)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a food processor (or cut in by hand with a pastry blender in a large bowl), mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and chilled butter together until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, orange juice, vanilla, and grated orange peel.
  4. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture; combine till fully blended.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips. Mix to fully combine.
  6. Pour out the dough onto a well-floured surface.
  7. Knead dough with floured hands until the dough comes together...(continue to sprinkle the dough and surface with additional flour as needed, as dough is usually fairly "sticky"-I usually do this 3-4 times).
  8. Shape dough into an 8" circle
  9. Mix the egg white and water together in small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with this mixture.
  10. Using a pizza cutter or very sharp knife, cut the dough circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges.
  11. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place wedges on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes (mine are usually ready at the 20 minute mark), or until golden brown on top.
  12. Remove from oven to a wire rack, with foil or parchment paper underneath.
  13. When scones have slightly cooled, "paint" the glaze on with a pastry brush (glaze is made by mixing up the ingredients listed, in a small bowl). Completely cover the tops of the scones with the glaze. Let scones cool until glaze has hardened. ENJOY!

 

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New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY

I love bagels, especially these New York Style Blueberry Bagels. I love them plain or toasted, with cream cheese! My husband also loves a good bagel, and is notorious for grabbing a few “fresh” bagels from the bakery department at our local grocery store.New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Last year I decided to take on the challenge of making bagels from the comfort of my very own kitchen because I would know what was in them, and in the long run, it would be a whole lot cheaper than buying them. The first bagels I made were cranberry-orange (will post recipe soon) and they were amazing (and not nearly as hard as I had imagined). Next came the jalapeno cheese bagels (will post recipe soon), and now I have tried a recipe for blueberry bagels… all with good results! I love the crispy outside, combined with the chewy goodness on the inside…tastes just like an authentic New York-style bagel should! They also freeze very well, which is an added bonus!

New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Look at these beautiful Oregon blueberries I picked!

I picked almost 20 pounds of blueberries this past summer at a local farm, so my freezer always seems to have bags full of frozen blueberries (☺); but either fresh OR frozen blueberries will work in this recipe.

Honestly, these are fairly easy to make. The bagels are chewy, delicious, and bursting with blueberries! The only thing you need to have is patience to wait for the dough to rise…that is the “hardest” part of making these.

New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Don’t worry if the dough looks a little bit purple to you… it’s all good!

New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Dough is formed… now they are ready to boil!

New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bagels are boiling… looks like a blueberry bagel jacuzzi!

New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bagels are draining after boiling, prior to baking…

New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Voila! A chewy New York Style Blueberry Bagel, fresh out of the oven!

Trust me…if I can make them, so can YOU!
New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Recipe Source: http://www.heathersfrenchpress.com/2014/01/ny-style-blueberry-bagels.html#more-2475  
New York Style Blueberry Bagels DIY
 
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Chewy and delicious, these New York Style Blueberry Bagels are amazing!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package (envelope) active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1¼ cups warm water (divided)
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup blueberries (tossed in ¼ cup all-purpose flour)
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in ½ cup of warm water. Let rest for 5 minutes. You should see little bubbles forming on the surface after 5 minutes or so, indicating that the yeast is "good" and "alive".
  2. In large bowl or the bowl from a stand mixer, mix together the salt and the flour - making a "well" in the center of the flour. Add the yeast and additional water to the flour mixture. Gently fold in the berries.
  3. Knead (either by hand or by using the dough hook on your stand mixer) until the dough becomes soft and elastic (this could take approx. 5 + minutes or so). Don't worry when you see the dough turning a bit purple...it's all "good".
  4. Cover the dough with a dishtowel, set bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise, until doubled (about 1½ hours).
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I even lightly dusted the dough with flour so it was easier to work with).
  6. Divide the dough into 8 balls (shape and pull the edges of the dough to the underside of the ball for a smoother ball of dough). With floured hands, take both of your thumbs and press into the center of each ball, forming a hole, and stretch the hole to form the bagel shape (I even pick up the bagel dough and enlarge the hole from the bottom). Once bagels have been formed, let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  7. While bagel dough is resting, preheat your oven to 425 degrees AND bring a large saucepan (I use my soup pot) to a rolling boil.
  8. Boil the bagels 2-3 at a time (in a large pot) of boiling water for 3-4 minutes (make sure they have floated to the top of the pan). Remove the bagels from water (I use 2 chopsticks to remove the bagels- one through the hole in the middle and one on the outside...hey, it works!), and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  9. Place bagels on a baking sheet; bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes or until you see they are golden brown on top (mine usually take a bit longer...just keep an eye on them). ENJOY!

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Southern Praline Sauce

Today’s post is a recipe for a rich, delicious Southern Praline Sauce that is a perfect accompaniment for ice cream (I  know this for a fact, based on personal experience with butter pecan, peach, and vanilla ice cream *cough, cough).Southern Praline Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I might add that this praline sauce is so good, you will be tempted to eat it right out of the jar with a spoon (again…personal experience ☺).

This decadent sauce is also a wonderful little gift when packaged in a jar with a gift tag and a cute ribbon; a homemade gift, made with love, from your kitchen to a friend or colleague.

Southern Praline Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Southern Praline Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Recipe Adapted From: http://asouthernfairytale.com/2011/09/24/southern-praline-sauce/   

 

Southern Praline Sauce
 
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This Southern Praline Sauce, full of buttery pecans, is the perfect topping for ice cream or pound cake!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Sauce
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups chopped pecans
  • 7 Tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 1½ cups brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ⅔ cup evaporated milk
Directions
  1. Place chopped pecans and 3 Tablespoons butter in a saucepan or skillet. Cook over medium heat 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, till toasted nicely. Be sure and keep an eye on the pecans so they don't burn.
  2. In another large saucepan or skillet, melt the remaining butter.
  3. Whisk in the brown sugar, flour and corn syrup until they are well blended. Cook on medium-high for 4-5 minutes stirring often, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Pour in the evaporated milk and add the pecan mixture. Stir till completely blended. Remove from heat.
  5. Let sauce cool slightly, then pour it into clean jars or containers (Mason jars work great!)
  6. This sauce needs to be kept refrigerated. It should last approximately 3 weeks in the refrigerator once you open it and a bit longer unopened. When you are ready to serve it, heat jar on low temperature approximately 15-20 seconds (microwave temps. vary) in microwave, or until pourable.
  7. Be sure if you give this as a gift (the jars would look great with a pretty ribbon and tag), to include instructions as to keeping it refrigerated, and to reheat slightly in microwave when ready to serve. Enjoy!
Notes
**This sauce needs to be kept refrigerated. It should last approximately 3 weeks in the refrigerator once you open it, and a bit longer unopened. When you are ready to serve it, heat jar on low temperature approximately 15-20 seconds (microwave temps. vary) in microwave, or until pourable.
**Be sure if you give this as a gift (the jars would look great with a pretty ribbon and tag), to include instructions as to keeping it refrigerated, and to reheat slightly in microwave when ready to serve.

 


 

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Mexican Layer Dip

Super Bowl 2014 is coming up in a week and a half…are you looking for a delicious appetizer that will feed the football loving masses, and is a real crowd-pleaser? Well, this Mexican Layer Dip is your answer!!!Mexican Layer Dip / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I’ve had the recipe on a little index card for over 30 years and don’t have a clue how or where I first received it, but I have made this dozens of times over the years. Set it out, with a bowl of tortilla chips and let the feeding frenzy begin. It’s a winner!

Our family loves this easy to assemble appetizer. Our oldest son even asked for a platter of this dip as part of his birthday present this past year.  Whaaaat? Yes, that’s how good it is!

If you prep the ingredients before you begin preparing the recipe, then all that is involved is layering the ingredients, refrigerating for an hour or so…and then gobbling it up with a handful of tortilla or corn chips! It’s easy – anyone can make this!

I know you will love this Mexican Layer Dip…isn’t it “pretty”? Wait till you TASTE it!

Mexican Layer Dip / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe source: Unknown (had this recipe on an index card for over 30 years)

Mexican Layer Dip
 
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Perfect party food! Set out a platter of this Mexican layer dip and some tortilla chips and let the feeding frenzy begin!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: A small village
Ingredients
  • 1 can spicy fat-free refried beans (can use regular, too)
  • 6 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning (or use your own mix ☺)
  • 3 avocados, mashed with 2 teaspoon. lemon juice
  • 3 stems green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small can chopped black olives
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 cup jack cheese, grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • Tortilla chips (or corn chips), for serving
Directions
  1. Spread can of refried beans onto serving plate (a pizza pan sized one works)
  2. In separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise and the taco seasoning. Spread this mixture on top of the refried beans.
  3. Layer on the mashed avocados (drop by spoonfuls and gently spread it out).
  4. Layer on the green onions.
  5. Layer on the tomatoes.
  6. Layer on the chopped olives.
  7. Layer on the diced green chiles.
  8. Layer on the jack cheese.
  9. Layer on the cheddar cheese.
  10. Cover platter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  11. Remove from refrigerator and DIG IN! Serve this with tortilla or corn chips!

 

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Curried Zucchini Soup

“Oh, man…this is soooo good” were the first words I said after tasting this Curried Zucchini Soup for the first time.Curried Zucchini Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once again I had a bumper crop of zucchini having babies growing in my vegetable garden and I was ready to try another new recipe for zucchini.

Quick and easy to fix, and absolutely full of flavor, I give this recipe a two spoons up! If you like the flavor of curry OR you have approximately 3,000 lbs. of zucchini growing in your garden (note: this might be a slight over-exaggeration), then I anticipate you will like this recipe. It’s also very easy on the budget $, if that plays a factor in your meal-planning. I grow zucchini in my garden, so I tend to have a lot of extra zucchini needing to be used during the summer.Curried Zucchini Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!This recipe serves 6 and is fantastic as a “leftover”, or “take to work” kind of soup. Trust me. I’m a grown-up!

Curried Zucchini Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe Source: http://www.kitchme.com/recipes/curried-zucchini-soup?invite=xyz-p

Curried Zucchini Soup
 
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Great soup, filled with zucchini and flavored with curry.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large. brown onion, halved, then thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 small zucchini, halved length-wise, then cut into 1" slices
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • ½ cup instant potatoes OR 2 small, cubed russet potatoes (To thicken soup- I add instant potatoes)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Croutons (used as a garnish, if desired)
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Stir in the onions (and cubed russet potatoes, if using these).
  3. Season with curry powder, red pepper flakes, and salt.
  4. Cook and stir on medium heat until onion (and potatoes) are tender.
  5. Stir in zucchini, and cook till tender.
  6. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then add the instant potatoes (if using)
  7. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
  8. Remove soup pot from heat. Use a hand mixer OR transfer in batches to a food processor or a blender, and blend till almost smooth.
  9. Transfer hot soup to serving bowls and garnish with croutons, if desired. Enjoy!


 

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I recently found this very easy recipe for Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread on Pinterest.  I made a couple loaves, and my husband and I loved it!Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I really enjoy growing my own vegetables in raised beds in our backyard. This past summer, my zucchini plants decided to become “over-achievers”. I had zucchini coming out of my ears (nice problem, huh?).  This garden abundance (even after giving plenty to my family and neighbors), forced me to search for new creative ways to prepare it.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

This delicious bread was a perfect solution. The recipe is completely EASY to prepare, and the results were wonderful! Looks like I found a new way to utilize some of our home-grown zucchini! I think the “hardest” part, if you can call it “hard” was grating the zucchini, since I made a couple loaves!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

That’s a LOT of grated zucchini from the garden…

This sweet bread is decadently rich and chocolaty, and you’d never know it has zucchini in it (perfect for hiding veggies), for those little ones with picky palates!

I hope you will give it a try… it’s easy to prepare… and really quite delicious!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: http://www.whatmegansmaking.com/2013/07/double-chocolate-zucchini-bread.html 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
 
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A delicious, rich chocolate bread with a secret ingredient you will never know is there...zucchini!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (gently pressed between paper towels to remove some moisture)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly grease an 8½" x 4½" loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, honey, oil, sugar and vanilla.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together the salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and flour.
  4. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture, and stir well until combined.
  5. Stir in the zucchini and the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 65-75 minutes (oven temps vary), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove pan from oven; transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cool for approx. 10-15 minutes before turning the bread out of the pan onto the rack. Cool bread completely before slicing. Enjoy!

 

 

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Thai Chicken Linguini

I love the Thai Chicken Linguini at The Cheesecake Factory, however I don’t love the (sometimes) 1-2 hour wait for a table. When you’re hungry, you’re hungry! I was saddened to find out this entree has been removed from their menu as of 2014. Sadness prevails…Thai Chicken Linguini / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
So, I went on a bit of a search to find a good copycat recipe and  found a great one posted by Amy, at Sing For Your Supper that fits the bill. I have made this several times and love the smooth and creamy Thai peanut sauce that coats the pasta. Seriously…why wait endlessly for a table when you can make it for much less $$ with the same great results at home?

Thai Chicken Linguini / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Grab some chopsticks or a fork and dig in! It’s DELICIOUS!

It’s very easy to make, the flavors are magnificent, and it certainly makes for some delicious leftovers (if you don’t succeed at polishing this off in one sitting!). The peanut sauce, chicken breast and peanuts make this one tasty entree. I could practically spoon up the sauce and eat it all by itself… it’s THAT good. Hope you will give this a try! The recipe can easily be doubled.

 

Thai Chicken Linguini / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Original Recipe Source: http://www.singforyoursupperblog.com/pasta/thai-chicken-pasta/

Thai Chicken Linguini
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This Thai Chicken Linguini is a win-win for the taste buds! Delicious!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
For the peanut sauce
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tsp. chili paste (I usually substitute 2 tsp. Sriracha sauce)
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil
For the pasta
  • ½ lb. linguini (or spaghetti or fettucine), fully cooked and drained
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (seasoned w/ salt/pepper, fully cooked, and sliced diagonally)
  • 2 carrots, julienned (matchstick cut)
  • 1 small can water chestnuts, drained
  • Handful of roasted, chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped (stems discarded) Save small amount for garnish on top of dish.
Directions
  1. Cook chicken. (I usually grill it, or boil it for 45 minutes in large saucepan of water)
  2. Make the sauce: Put all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk or mix until fully combined. Cover and store in the refrigerator until needed (can be made ahead).
  3. Blanch the carrots in boiling water for approximately 3 minutes, pulling them out while they are still bright and crisp.
  4. Cook linguini per package directions. Place drained, hot pasta in a large bowl with the carrots, sliced chicken, water chestnuts and cilantro (save a bit for garnish!).
  5. Pour the peanut sauce over the pasta and toss to coat.
  6. To serve: top pasta with additional cilantro and the chopped peanuts. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
Note: Cook times for this recipe do not include time for cooking chicken breasts. Some may bake, boil, broil, etc. the chicken. It's up to you to choose the method you prefer.

 

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