White Chocolate Drizzle Cookies

White Chocolate Drizzle Cookies

Alexis had been bugging me to make some cookies for a while and I finally gave in. She wanted a white chocolate chip cookie and I decided to take it to another level by drizzling it with some chocolate. These were really good, and Alexis really liked them too. Jamison taught a class at work last week so I sent them in to work with him so I wouldn’t eat too many! ;oP

This recipe takes a basic white chocolate chip cookie and makes it pop! The blend of the two chocolates together give it a fabulous overall flavor, while the traditional cookie base is comforting at the same time. These are just perfect to make for yourself or to share!

White Chocolate Drizzle Cookies: Cookies

What You’ll Need For The Cookies:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of natural brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 – 11 ounce bag of white chocolate chips

In a large bowl cream together butter, sugars and eggs until smooth. Add baking soda and salt and stir until mixed. Slowly add flour a little at a time and stir until dough forms. Stir in white chocolate chips and refrigerate dough for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Scoop dough out with a tablespoon measuring spoon and place roughly 2 inches apart on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely before drizzling with chocolate. (See below.)

Makes 4-5 dozen cookies depending on how big your scoops are.

Notes: I think it would be delicious to add some citrus to the cookie dough. Either lemon or key lime would be fabulous, or even orange!

White Chocolate Drizzle Cookies: Chocolate Drizzle

What You’ll Need For The Drizzle:
1 -12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup of half and half
2 tablespoons of butter

White Chocolate Drizzle Cookies: Ready to Make Drizzle

In the microwave at half power melt chocolate with half and half and butter at 10 second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is smooth.

White Chocolate Drizzle Cookies: Drizzled

Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled cookies and let it harden and then serve.

Notes: You could use milk chocolate or unsweetened chocolate if you prefer, but if you go the unsweetened route you’ll have to sweeten it yourself.

Better Bites: Ten Minute Tomato Soup

Better Bites: Ten Minute Tomato Soup

This weekend flew by for us! I’m always amazed at how fast the weekends actually go, especially as of late! There were play dates to be had, an art class for Miss G, errands to be run, chores to be done, church, and so on and on. I didn’t get half of what I hoped to get done, done, but I accomplished some stuff I hadn’t thought I would get to this weekend either, so that’s always good too.

Now let’s talk some quick, delicious, yet healthy tomato soup!

Healthy food doesn’t have to take an inordinate amount of time, nor does it have to taste like cardboard. Healthy recipes can be whipped up in no time and you don’t have to worry about losing taste either. This soup is the prime example. If you like tomato soup you can have a fabulous version in about ten minutes….How great is that?

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What You’ll Need:
2 – 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium sized pot add tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper and stir to mix. Bring to a quick boil and then simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve.

Makes roughly 4 servings.

Better Bites: Ten Minute Tomato Soup

Notes: This truly is a whip it up fast kind of soup. It goes perfectly by itself or even better pair it with a grilled cheese on whole grain sandwich!

Yeast Rolls a la Dianne

Yeast Rolls

I don’t make yeast rolls that often anymore. Before Jamison’s Celiac discovery I made them for him once a week or so. Now that he can’t have gluten I rarely make them because he can’t have them, though he really would love to dive right in! So now I only make them on special occasions.

When Jamison’s parents were here over the Easter weekend I made a batch to go with Easter dinner. These turned out great! And did I mention how easy these are? Your mixer does all the work other than shaping them into individual yeast rolls. That is always a good thing!

So if you like yeast rolls and don’t want to go to a lot of trouble, look no further…These are the yeast rolls for you!

Yeast Rolls: The Inside

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 eggs
1/3 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
4-6 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of butter

Mix yeast and warm water. Set aside for bout 5 minutes until yeast/water is foamy.

In the bowl of your mixer cream together butter, eggs, sugar and sea salt. Add water and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix on low until incorporated and then turn the mixer on medium and mix for 2 minutes.

At the end of two minutes slowly add flour with the mixer on low until dough ball forms and is no longer sticky. You may need all the remaining flour or just some of it. As always it depends on relative humidity and such. Once the dough ball has formed (and again isn’t sticky) turn your mixer back to medium and mix for 4 minutes. This is your “kneading” stage. You’re letting your stand mixer do the work for you!

Once the dough is kneaded shape into a ball and place in a very large glass bowl that has been lined with butter:

Yeast Rolls: Dough Ready for 1st Rise

The best way to handle the butter is just to take the two tablespoons and squish it between your fingers and rub it all over the bowl.

Place the dough in a warm place and let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size:

Yeast Rolls: Dough After 1st Rise

(Note: This picture above is actually about halfway through the rise. It will get a bit bigger than this.)

Once the dough is risen, punch it down and break off pieces about the size of a golf ball and shape into rounds:

Yeast Rolls: Ready for 2nd Rise

Let rise in a warm place for about an hour. They should roughly double in size again.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Yeast Rolls: Baked

Makes about 2 dozen rolls.

Notes: You could use white whole wheat flour if you liked. I haven’t actually tried that with this recipe, but it should work fine.

Cheesy Caramelized Onion Quesadillas

Cheesy Caramelized Onion Quesadillas

No Better Bites today…We’ll be back to that next Monday!

Let’s move on to something else for today…Shall we?

Quesadillas are very fun to play around with. You can go really simple, or really out there, and either way you’ve got a quick, easy appetizer or even full course depending on how you want to play it and the fabulous part is you can make several different combinations, for several different people all at once. How cool is that?

Today let’s look at a version that takes two different cheeses and caramelized onions to a whole new level!

Cheesy Caramelized Onion Quesadillas: A Bite

What You’ll Need:
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 large sweet onion, cut into strips
Sea salt
2 ounces of peppered goat cheese, crumbled (Note: If you can’t find the peppered variety just add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.)
2 ounce of Dubliner Cheese, shredded fine (Note: If you can’t find Dubliner you can use Parmesan.)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tortillas (Note: You can use flour or whole grain. It’s up to you.)

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and stir until butter is melted. Add onion and lower the temperature to medium/low. Sauté the onion, stirring often, until caramelized. (Note: The secret to fabulous caramelized onions is low and slow!)

While onions are caramelized heat another large skillet or griddle over medium high heat until hot. Brush the pan/griddle with olive oil and cook each tortilla until browned. (Note: This takes about 20-30 seconds per side.) Set aside.

Once your onions are caramelized it’s time to start assembling the quesadillas!

Lay on of the tortillas on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Top the tortilla with the caramelized onions:

Cheesy Caramelized Onion Quesadillas: Onions

Next add the peppered goat cheese and shredded Dubliner cheese:

Cheesy Caramelized Onion Quesadillas: Cheese

Next add the other tortilla on top and place in the oven for 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese. Remove from oven and let stand for 2-3 minutes and then cut into wedges.

Cheesy Caramelized Onion Quesadillas: Up Close

Serve plain or with a little sour cream

Notes: I think some cooked apple would be a fabulous addition to this!

Easter Bunny Cake

Easter Bunny Cake

This is another one from childhood. My mom used to make Easter Bunny cakes with my sister and me when we were children. It’s so much fun I decided to do it with Alexis this year!

Alexis wanted a chocolate cake. Normally I think it would be fun to do this with a carrot cake since it’s Easter and all, but chocolate it was! She also was adamant that there had to be some “M’s” on the cake too! Not hard either! As you can see it turned out great and was delicious to boot!

This cake is really simple and a lot of fun! You could do this process with any shape…Turkey, reindeer, Santa, heart, pumpkin etc! The possibilities are endless!

What You’ll Need:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 – 8 ounce container of cocoa
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of safflower oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 1/2 cups of buttermilk
4 eggs
Icing or frosting
Candy for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray 2 – 11 inch round pans with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl stir together flour, cocoa, sea salt, baking powder and sugar until mixed. Add oil, vanilla, buttermilk and eggs and stir until batter is completely incorporated. Pour batter evenly into the two prepared pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake sticks done. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Using a serrated knife cut a bot tie shape out of the middle of one of the cake rounds:

Easter Bunny Cake: Ready for Frosting

As you can see above the cut outs become the ears. Place bow tie on the bottom of the other cake round and the “ears” at the top.

Once your shape is in place frost the cake:

Easter Bunny Cake: Ready to Decorate

You can use whatever type of frosting or icing you like. I used Wilton’s classic minus the butter, but you could use cream cheese frosting instead if you liked.

Now it’s time to decorate!

Use M&M’s, jelly beans, licorice, etc. Whatever you want to decorate with is fine! Decorate his bow tie, his ears and put on a happy face! Once you’re decorated then serve!

Easter Bunny Cake: A Slice

Notes: Traditionally this kind of cake has coconut on it for the “fur”. Alexis didn’t want coconut so we omitted it, but you can cover the cake in coconut if you prefer.

Better Bites: Cucumber and Carrot Salad

Carrot and Cucumber Salad

All this Easter stuff this past week made me think of carrots, because you know the Easter Bunny, he loves him some carrots! He gobbled up the one we left out for him Saturday night! 😉

Many of you probably remember (and possibly even like) that old timey carrot salad that is mayonnaise based, with shredded carrots, raisins, and possibly sometimes some sort of nut depending on who made the dish. I was never a fan. It looked pretty to me, but taste wise it just wasn’t up my alley.

So I started thinking of other ways you could make a carrot type salad, without using mayonnaise or raisins and I started playing around with ideas using an oil/vinegar base instead. I also wanted to add something else in to compliment the carrots instead of raisins and finally decided cucumber would be just perfect with the carrots and vinaigrette.

Then I had the base of the salad, but I wanted to add in some sort of herb and even use something you might not necessarily immediately think of when you think of brown rice vinegar.

My first thought was rosemary, but I decided that was a bit too powerful. Ah rosemary…I LOVE rosemary! But for this dish it just wasn’t what I had in mind.

I thought briefly of basil, but put that aside as well. I’ll readily admit I’m not a huge fan of basil. I think it is a nice compliment and I like it in things, but I don’t like it that much as the main flavor component. It’s just a bit to strong for me.

I finally decided to go with dried thyme and I was extremely pleased with the result! The thyme brings out just the right flavors overall and blends well with the overall dish.

Try it…I think you will be pleased too!

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What You’ll Need:
4-6 large carrots, shredded
1 English cucumber, cut into fourths and chopped
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of brown rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoons of dried thyme
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large glass bowl toss together carrots and cucumbers. Set aside.

Carrot and Cucumber Salad: Vinaigrette

In a small glass bowl stir together olive oil, vinegar, thyme, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper until completely mixed. (Note: I like to do this with a fork.)

Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss to mix. Serve immediately or chill for up to an hour before serving.

Notes: You could add some chopped parsley to the mix if you liked.

Mexican Casserole

Mexican Casserole

If you’ve been a reader of Dianne’s Dishes for any amount of time you’ve heard me mentioned my love of Mexican food. The flavors are just fabulous! And while this casserole isn’t Mexican in the true sense of authentic Mexican cuisine, the flavors lend themselves to that theme.

This casserole is an adaptation of one from childhood. It’s one of the few times you’ll see a canned cream of anything soup on this blog. Of course I’ve tweaked it over the years, because we are talking about me after all, but it is still comforting in in familiarness.

This is also the perfect make ahead dish and leftovers are even better than first helpings! It’s just perfect for a week night meal or even a pot luck dinner. After all variety is the spice of life and in this case you can make it as spicy or as mild as you like!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds of ground turkey (Note: You can use ground chicken or ground beef if you prefer. Or if you want a no meat option try some textured soy or vegetable protein.)
1 large onion, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 – 3.8 ounce cans of sliced olives drained
2 Р4 ounce cans of green Chile peppers, drained (Note: You can use jalape̱os if you prefer.)
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (Note: You can use one cream of mushroom and one cream of celery, or two cream of celery, etc.)
1 – 16 ounce bottle of taco sauce, with 1/3 a cup set aside (Note: You can use hot, medium or mild.)
Shredded cheddar
Shredded Monterrey Jack
Corn tortillas

In a large skillet or stock pot sauté onions with ground turkey, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper in a little extra virgin olive oil until onions and tender and turkey is cooked through:

Mexican Casserole: Ground Turkey and Onions

Once the turkey and onions are cooked remove from heat and stir in olives and peppers:

Mexican Casserole: Ground Turkey, Onions, Chile Peppers and Black Olives

Next stir in taco sauce (minus the 1/3 a cup set aside) and cream of mushroom soups:

Mexican Casserole: Filling

Now it’s time to assemble everything!

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray a 13 X 9 inch dish with non-stick spray or brush it with olive oil. Place a layer of corn tortillas on the bottom of the dish:

Mexican Casserole: Layer One

Next add half of the turkey mixture and spread it out over the top of the tortillas:

Mexican Casserole: Layer Two

After the filling you will add a layer of shredded cheese:

Mexican Casserole: Layer Three

Then repeat…Layer of tortillas, the rest of the turkey filling, another layer of cheese and then top with a layer of tortillas. Top this layer with the set aside taco sauce and spread it out to cover the entire surface:

Mexican Casserole: Ready For The Top Layer Of Cheese

And finally top this layer with a generous amount of cheese:

Mexican Casserole: Ready to Bake

Bake for 25-25 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned around the edges:

Mexican Casserole

Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes: You can garnish this any way you like, or even just eat it plain. I like to serve it with sour cream and/or guacamole.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Chocolate Sheet Cake is one of those classic recipes that is made a bazillion different ways. Alexis was very impressed with this one, except she decided it should be called “Chocolate Pie Cake” instead! I didn’t see the pie tie in, but hey, why stifle her creativity! ;oP

Chocolate Sheet Cake is a quick recipe that comes together in a flash, yet gives you a nice dessert that is just perfect for dinner guests or even to take and share. This cake is simplicity at its best and sometimes simplicity is just what you need!

What You’ll Need for the Cake:
2 cups of organic cane sugar
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/3 cup of cocoa
1 cup of butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large glass bowl stir together sugar, flour, baking soda, sea salt and cocoa until completely mixed. Add melted butter, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and stir until completely incorporated.

Once the batter is mixed spread it out on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray:

Chocolate Sheet Cake: Ready To Bake

Bake for 25-20 minutes until cake sticks done. Cover with icing as soon as it comes out of the oven. (See below.)

Chocolate Sheet Cake: Ready to Ice

Notes: The original way that my mom made this called for a teaspoon of cinnamon. I’m not a fan of chocolate and cinnamon together, but if that sounds good to you then add it in with the dry ingredients.

Chocolate Sheet Cake: Icing

What You’ll Need for the Icing:
1 stick of butter, cut into chunks
4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (Note: You can use milk or bittersweet if you prefer.)
1/2 cup of heaving whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of powdered sugar

Five to ten minutes before the cake is done making the icing.

Chocolate Sheet Cake: Chocoalte Ready To Chop

Cut butter into chunks and roughly chop your chocolate:

Chocolate Sheet Cake: Chocolate Chopped

Add butter, chocolate and whipping cream to a pot over medium heat and melt, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once melted bring mixture to a quick boil, stirring frequently, to ensure it doesn’t burn. As soon as it boils remove it from the heat.

Add vanilla and stir to incorporate and then slowly add sugar and stir until completely mixed. Pour mixture over baked sheet cake that has just been removed from the oven. Spread out gently to cover the entire cake.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Let cake cool and then serve.

Notes: If you want you can add a cup of chopped nuts to the icing.

Chicken Pizza Burgers

Chicken Pizza Burgers

Each aspect of this “recipe” is a recipe in and of itself. You’ve had two days of previews of what was coming without actually knowing it! Today we’re going to take the recipes from the previous two days (Tomato Sauce and Sandwich Buns) and combine them with a Chicken Burger to make Chicken Pizza Burgers!

For a while now I’ve had a growing aversion to ground beef. I still eat it and use it in recipes from time to time, but actually handling it sort of makes me ill. Recently I finally got around to trying ground chicken and I was very pleased with it as an alternative to ground beef! Mushrooms are great as a meat substitute too, but sometimes I just want something with a little more bite. I decided to try a chicken burger, but also thought it needed to be kicked up a notch so this is the end result!

I also thought it would be fun playing around with a baked burger to see how it would turn out and I must say I think the process worked great! It kept a lot of the juiciness within the burger instead of letting it drip out in the process of grilling or pan frying. I want to experiment with this method with other types of burgers in the future.

But for now sit back, relax and let’s make some Chicken Pizza Burgers!

What You’ll Need:
1 pound of ground chicken
1 cup chopped red onion
1 – 6 ounce jar of mushrooms, drained
1 cup of bread crumbs
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
Extra virgin olive oil
Tomato Sauce (Note: You can use ready made pizza sauce if you want.)
Sandwich Buns (Note: You can purchase buns if you want.)
Pizza cheeses (Note: I used Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano and Asiago.)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Dump ingredients into a glass bowl and work together with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is moist and sticks together. (Note: The ground chicken I got was pretty moist. If you have trouble getting it to come together because there isn’t enough moisture you can always add 1 beaten egg. I don’t think you’ll need it though.)

Form into 6-8 patties and place in a baking dish that has been brushed with olive oil:

Chicken Pizza Burgers: Ready to Bake

Bake for 1 hour to ensure they are done through. Remove from the oven and start your assembly.

First you’ll place your cooked chicken burger on a bun:

Chicken Pizza Burgers: Ready For Sauce

Next you want to top the burger with some tomato sauce:

Chicken Pizza Burgers: Ready For Cheese

Then you want to top with your favorite Pizza cheese(s):

Chicken Pizza Burgers: Last Step

After that you’ll put the bun on top and eat!

Notes: Obviously this is a fork and knife kind of burger, unless you really want to get messy. You could also do this method with any type of ground meat…beef, turkey, pork, etc. I actually ate one of the patties in this form and froze the rest of them for later.