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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Beet & Ricotta Hummus

I’m hosting an event at work soon where we make ricotta and then use it in a few recipes, and I just gave this a go as one of the recipes for people to try their ricotta in. It’s a really super delightful color, I think you’ll all agree!

Ingredients:

  • 1 baseball-sized red beet (about 6 ounces), scrubbed
  • 1 15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup tahini, well mixed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 garlic clove (Bon Apetit talks about grating it first, but it’s all going in the food processor, so as long as you do actually blend until smooth, I don’t see the point)
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) kosher salt
  • 10 cranks freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the beet tightly in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake 60-70 minutes, until a fork slides easily into the center of the beet. (My oven wasn’t fully preheated, so I just didn’t check until 75 minutes, at which point it was good.) Let rest, unwrapped, until cool enough to handle.

While you wait, process the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper, and coriander in a food processor until smooth.

Once the beet has cooled, wrap it in paper towel and rub firmly to remove all the skin. Trim off the scraggly root end, and any remaining base of the greens. Cut beet into 8 large pieces.

Add the sliced beet to the mixture in the food processor, processing until smooth again.

Taste, and add any additional salt if desired.

Serve with bread/toasted baguette/crackers, and garnish with mint leaves, poppy seeds, or olive oil if desired. Can be stored in the fridge up to 4 days.

Alternately, make some pitas (I guess we’ll cover that recipe soon?) and Greek, aka spinach & feta, hummus, and make the prettiest wraps!

Yay!

Beet & Ricotta Hummus

From Bon Apetit.

  • 1 baseball-sized red beet (about 6 ounces), scrubbed
  • 1 15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup tahini, well mixed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) kosher salt
  • 10 cranks freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the beet tightly in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake 60-70 minutes, until a fork slides easily into the center of the beet. Let rest, unwrapped, until cool enough to handle.

While you wait, process the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper, and coriander in a food processor until smooth.

Once the beet has cooled, wrap it in paper towel and rub firmly to remove all the skin. Trim off the root end, and any remaining base of the greens. Cut beet into 8 large pieces and add to the mixture in the food processor, processing until smooth again. Taste, and add any additional salt if desired.

Serve with bread/toasted baguette/crackers, and garnish with mint leaves, poppy seeds, or olive oil if desired. Can be stored in the fridge up to 4 days.

 

 

 

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Brownie-in-a-Mug Gift Mix

I tried a few mug mixes in the last few weeks that weren’t worth eating more than once, but eventually came across this one. Well, the one I slightly adapted to make this one, anyway. I found that I got 11 half-pint jars full per batch. As I was making 3 dozen total, for all my coworkers, I did 3 1/2 batches and kept a larger jar of the rest for myself. If you don’t need more than 11, congrats, that 12th jar in the pack is your new paperclip holder!

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Other items:

  • canning funnel (nice, but optional)
  • set of half-pint jars
  • labels, with ribbon to attach if necessary

Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Scoop 1 cup of the mixture into each of 11 half-pint jars, using a canning funnel if you have one to reduce (but, let’s be real, not eliminate) mess.

Cover, attach a label with the ‘baking’ instructions, and gift!

for some reason I decided to use tinsel as my ribbon

The cooking instructions are as follows: Combine 1/2 cup mixture, 2 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a mug and stir well. Microwave 1 minute, then enjoy.

I’ve taken my own name off the tag I created, but if you want something more festive, definitely play around with Canva. Depending on what you create, you can either print 8 tags on a page, cut them apart, punch a hole in the corner of each and tie the label on, as I did, or print it directly on a label sticker and stick it to the jar.

Super simple gifts that will have people remembering you fondly over chocolate later!

Brownie-in-a-Mug Gift Mix

Adapted from The Happier Homemaker.

  • 3 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Other items:

  • canning funnel (optional)
  • set of half-pint jars
  • labels, with ribbon to attach if necessary

Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Scoop 1 cup of the mixture into each of 11 half-pint jars, using a canning funnel if available. Cover, attach a label with the ‘baking’ instructions, and gift!

Cooking instructions for labels: Combine 1/2 cup mixture, 2 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a mug and stir well. Microwave 1 minute, then enjoy.

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