Orange Cookies

Another old recipe, this one’s from a 1937 Ohio cookbook available online. They went over very well at the board meeting I brought them to, people took thirds at a program that night, and they made a good lunch the day I made them at work! The original recipe said to roll them out and use cookie cutters, but I found the dough too soft for that, even after a day in the fridge, but as cookies shaped by hand they are perfect – thick, puffy, with a bit of crunch to the bottom. The orange flavor is light, but noticeable and enjoyable!

Out of 2 batches of dough I got 56 cookies!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shortening (I used Crisco)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, and eggs until smooth.

Sifted plain flour to the side…

In a medium bowl, sift together the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture.

Add the zest and juice.

The flour may not all incorporate until you’ve added the juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Grab approximately walnut sized portions of dough, shape into balls, and then gently press between your hands to flatten and place on the lined sheets.

It just wasn’t a good cookie cutter dough!

The cookies only spread slightly, so you don’t need to leave a ton of space between them on the pans. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown at the edges, rotating halfway through.

Transfer baked cookies to wire racks to cool.

Orange Cookies

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, and eggs until smooth. In a medium bowl, sift together the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture, then add the zest and juice. The flour may not all incorporate until you’ve added the juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Grab approximately walnut sized portions of dough, shape into balls, and then gently press between your hands to flatten and place on the lined sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown at the edges, rotating halfway through. Transfer baked cookies to wire racks to cool.

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Crock Pot Chicken Lo Mein

A ton of food with not a ton of effort! I really liked the sauce for this. Unfortunately I took most of this week’s pictures from TOO CLOSE, but you get the idea, and you can see it yourself after a quick jaunt to the supermarket!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger root minced
  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch plus enough cold water to make a slurry
  • 10 cups mixed vegetables of choice, fresh, frozen, or canned (a frozen stir-fry mix is good, canned baby corn and/or water chestnuts are nice, I happened to be somewhere with enoki mushrooms recently so threw those in, snow peas would also be a good addition if it’s not in your frozen mix)
  • 8 ounces dry lo mein noodles

Combine the broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger in your crock pot and stir.

Add the chicken breasts, cover, and cook on low 8-9 hours, until you get home from work.

Stir together the cornstarch and water, then open the crock pot, remove the chicken, and stir the cornstarch slurry into the sauce. Add the vegetables and return the cover, turning the heat to high.

Cook 30-45 minutes, depending on if you added frozen vegetables, until the veggies are hot and sauce has thickened some. Meanwhile, shred the chicken and cook the noodles according to package directions.

Drain, and add the shredded chicken and cooked noodles to the heated vegetable mixture. Stir together, and serve.

Crock Pot Lo Mein

  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger root minced
  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch plus enough cold water to make a slurry
  • 10 cups mixed vegetables of choice, fresh, frozen, or canned
  • 8 ounces dry lo mein noodles

Combine the broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger in your crock pot and stir. Add the chicken breasts, cover, and cook on low 8-9 hours, until you get home from work.

Stir together the cornstarch and water, then open the crock pot, remove the chicken, and stir the cornstarch slurry into the sauce. Add the vegetables and return the cover, turning the heat to high. Cook 30-45 minutes, depending on if you added frozen vegetables, until the veggies are hot and sauce has thickened some. Meanwhile, shred the chicken and cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain, and add the shredded chicken and cooked noodles to the heated vegetable mixture. Stir together, and serve.

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Skillet Cookie

A big, warm, gooey cookie with lots of chocolate. If you have a bunch of friends over for a movie night, this is great to eat still warm from the pan, with ice cream and chocolate sauce. If you don’t have company to help work your way through it, the leftovers do cool and harden into big cookie slices that can be picked up and…also served with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or jumbo chips
  • ice cream and chocolate sauce, for serving

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10″ cast-iron skillet and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugars and butter and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, beating until smooth again.

Add the flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips and chunks.

Transfer into the greased pan and smooth the top to spread evenly.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached.

Cool in the pan 15 minutes, then cut into slices and serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Next time I’ll probably cut into 10ths, these were BIG slices.

Once cooled, the slices hold together!

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Lightly adapted from The Gold Lining Girl.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or jumbo chips
  • ice cream and chocolate sauce, for serving

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10″ cast-iron skillet and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugars and butter and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, beating until smooth again. Add the flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined, then fold in the chocolate chips and chunks. Transfer into the greased pan and smooth the top to spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached.

Cool in the pan 15 minutes, then cut into slices and serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

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Pickled Butternut Squash

Pickled butternut squash probably sounds like a weird one, but (as long as you don’t hate fennel seed) it’s great, and works wonderfully in pasta salad!

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf

Our squash was actually cut smaller, which is fine, but don’t go bigger than 3/4 of an inch – if the cubes are too big, they may not cook sufficiently while processing in the hot water bath.

In a large bowl, stir the squash with the salt until evenly coated and let sit at room temperature 3-4 hours. I didn’t manage to take a before picture, but it reduces in size a noticeable amount.

Transfer to a colander and rinse well with cold water. Drain, and place the squash into 4 clean pint jars, adding 2 springs of oregano to each jar, and leaving a 1/2″ headspace at the top.

In a large stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick pot, combine all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the honey dissolves, then reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, fish out the bay leaf, and discard.

Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into the jars, using a canning funnel if you have one, and maintaining the 1/2″ headspace. Distribute the remaining spices among the jars, wipe the rims, and place on lids.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath canner, starting the timer when the water returns to a boil after adding the jars. Remove the jars from the canner and let cool overnight. Mark/label, and let stand at room temperature for at least 3 weeks before opening.

To make a great pasta salad, combine baby spinach, cooked bow tie pasta, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, a bit of moved garlic, some grated parmesan cheese, and the squash. Stir together with the pickling liquid, adding more liquid to taste. The combo doesn’t need any oil or mayo to work, plus it’s mostly vegetables, so it’s a fairly healthy pasta salad, and one even some picky coworkers liked! I will definitely be making it again!

Pickled Butternut Squash

From Better Homes & Gardens.

  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf

Our squash was actually cut smaller, which is fine, but don’t go bigger than 3/4 of an inch – if the cubes are too big, they may not cook sufficiently while processing in the hot water bath.

In a large bowl, stir the squash with the salt until evenly coated and let sit at room temperature 3-4 hours. I didn’t manage to take a before picture, but it reduces in size a noticeable amount. Transfer to a colander and rinse well with cold water. Drain, and place the squash into 4 clean pint jars, adding 2 springs of oregano to each jar, and leaving a 1/2″ headspace at the top.

In a large stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick pot, combine all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the honey dissolves, then reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, fish out the bay leaf, and discard.

Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into the jars, using a canning funnel if you have one, and maintaining the 1/2″ headspace. Distribute the remaining spices among the jars, wipe the rims, and place on lids.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath canner, starting the timer when the water returns to a boil after adding the jars. Remove the jars from the canner and let cool overnight. Mark/label, and let stand at room temperature for at least 3 weeks before opening.

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Goldfish Drops

A real quick sweet crunchy snack that was a perfect thank you gift for a coworker who is really into Goldfish crackers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 11 ounce bag butterscotch chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 2 cups cheddar Goldfish crackers
  • 1 cup pretzels

Combine the butterscotch chips and shortening in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally, and with increasing frequency as they start to melt, until the mixture is smooth.

While you wait, line a sheet pan with parchment or a silpat. Turn off the heat and add the Goldfish and pretzels, stirring until completely coated.

Scoop the mixture onto the lined pan in heaping tablespoons – I actually used a medium (1.5 tablespoon) cookie dough scoop, heaping spoonfuls of that, and got 15 drops.

You can do smaller if you want to share with more people, but I don’t think I’d go bigger just because it gets less convenient to eat at that point. As you’re scooping onto the pan, you may feel like there’s no chance of the drops holding together, but once they firm up they have good structural integrity!

holding together!

Move the sheet pan to the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up, and then enjoy!

I’ve got extra fish and pretzels, may need another bag of butterscotch next supermarket trip!

Goldfish Drops

From Simply Stacie.

  • 1 11 ounce bag butterscotch chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 2 cups cheddar Goldfish crackers
  • 1 cup pretzels

Combine the butterscotch chips and shortening in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally, and with increasing frequency as they start to melt, until the mixture is smooth. While you wait, line a sheet pan with parchment or a silpat. Turn off the heat and add the Goldfish and pretzels, stirring until completely coated.

Scoop the mixture onto the lined pan in heaping tablespoons. Move the sheet pan to the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up, and then enjoy!

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Fennel and Carrot Soup

This is a super hearty soup to help you survive the dumb winter weather. I’d never cooked with fennel before, and was worried by the anise-y smell while chopping it, but it didn’t end up making the finished soup taste like black licorish at all, so we’re good! This makes a kind of huge amount of soup, so if you have a small family you could easily get by with just halving the recipe. As is, I borrowed a larger pot from work just to be on the safe side.

tons of leftovers after two hearty servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • sprinkling of salt
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaved ripped into small pieces
  • 1 14 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 box any small shaped pasta

I’m very over buying a package of fresh herbs, using 1/4 of it, and having the rest slowly die in my fridge, so dried it is!

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Combine the carrots, fennel, a bit of olive oil, and some salt, stirring until the veggies are evenly coated, then spread over 2 sheet pans. You don’t need to worry about chopping these veggies too finely, as they’re going to get blended up later.

Roast for 15 minutes, stir, and roast another 10 minutes.

Towards the end of the roasting time, bring the broth to a simmer in a large pot on the stove. Transfer the roasted vegetables to the broth and simmer 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.

Meanwhile, combine the ground turkey, onion, and celery with a bit of olive oil in a even large pot, if available. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes, then add the pot of blended vegetables and broth.

Add the paprika, rosemary, oregano, cumin, torn kale, and beans, and stir together, bringing back to a simmer.

Cook the pasta slightly underdone, either in a new pot or in the one you just poured the veggie/broth mixture out of, then reserve 2 cups of the pasta water before straining. Add the pasta and the water to the soup mixture and stir to combine. Return to a simmer, then serve.

This soup is quite thick – I definitely wouldn’t leave out the pasta water or you’ll need a fork and knife for the leftovers! It would go well with a nice crusty bread, and maybe some grated parmesan on top!

While I ate, the pasta/beans absorbed most of the visible liquid in the leftovers, but if you heat it back up it’s still soup!

Fennel and Carrot Soup

Slightly adapted from The Food in My Beard.

  • 2 pounds carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • sprinkling of salt
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaved ripped into small pieces
  • 1 14 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 box any small shaped pasta

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Combine the carrots, fennel, a bit of olive oil, and some salt, stirring until the veggies are evenly coated, then spread over 2 sheet pans. Roast for 15 minutes, stir, and roast another 10 minutes.

Towards the end of the roasting time, bring the broth to a simmer in a large pot on the stove. Transfer the roasted vegetables to the broth and simmer 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.

Meanwhile, combine the ground turkey, onion, and celery with a bit of olive oil in a even large pot, if available. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes, then add the pot of blended vegetables and broth. Add the paprika, rosemary, oregano, cumin, torn kale, and beans, and stir together, bringing back to a simmer.

Cook the pasta slightly underdone, either in a new pot or in the one you just poured the veggie/broth mixture out of, then reserve 2 cups of the pasta water before straining. Add the pasta and the water to the soup mixture and stir to combine. Return to a simmer, then serve.

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Whole Wheat Pitas

Turns out, pitas for wraps aren’t too tricky, so why not have a nice warm pita tonight, instead of a sad cold one from the store?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • canola oil for brushing

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and honey, and stir briefly to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to work while you gather your remaining ingredients/tools.

Stir in both flours and the salt, stirring until it comes together to a rough dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface to knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. If your dough is super sticky, you can add additional all-purpose flour as needed. My dough picked up the bit of flour from the counter, but otherwise didn’t need any extra.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, rolling to cover all sides of the ball in a light layer of grease.

Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Once risen, knock the dough back down, pressing out the air, then divide into 8 equal portions. (my one weakness, even portions!)

Roll out the first piece of dough into as thin a circle as you can. (oh, right, my other weakness, rolling into circles!)

If you roll them all out at once, most of them will have started rising again by the time you get to them.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. For reference, mine is 12 1/2″. Brush with a thin layer of canola oil. Place the rolled out dough in the skillet and cook for 30 seconds, until it starts to bubble.

Flip and cook 1-2 minutes, until puffy with a few golden spots.

Flip back to the first side and cook an additional minute. While the pitas cook, roll out the next pieces of dough. Place the cooked pitas to the side on a plate, separating with paper towel.

I always only needed 30/60/60 seconds for mine, and actually used a repeated 30 second timer like this to ensure I was moving them when I meant to. If your stove burner isn’t level, make sure you’re brushing the oil that may pool at one end of the pan around so that the dough isn’t being placed on partly greased, partly dry pan.

Whole Wheat Pitas

From How Sweet Eats.

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • canola oil for brushing

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and honey, and stir briefly to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to work while you gather your remaining ingredients/tools.

Stir in both flours and the salt, stirring until it comes together to a rough dough, then turning out onto a lightly floured surface to knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. If your dough is super sticky, you can add additional all-purpose flour as needed. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, rolling to cover all sides of the ball in a light layer of grease. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Once risen, knock the dough back down, pressing out the air, then divide into 8 equal portions. Roll out the first piece of dough into as thin a circle as you can.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with a thin layer of canola oil. Place the rolled out dough in the skillet and cook for 30 seconds, until it starts to bubble. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes, until puffy with a few golden spots. Flip back to the first side and cook an additional minute. While the pitas cook, roll out the next pieces of dough. Place the cooked pitas to the side on a plate, separating with paper towel.

 

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