Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


ONLY TEN DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!


BAKE ALL THE COOKIES!!


Are you baking up a storm in your kitchen? 'Tis the season after all. I am whipping up a whole bunch of these AH-mazing Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Rich, sweet, chocolatey cookies, blanketed in a generous layer of powdered sugar. These cookies look like festive balls of snow, and they taste like everything you could ever want in a chocolate cookie.


I love these cookies for so many reason. First is, you can prepare the batter the night before, because it is critical that it chills for at least a few hours. Then the next morning, just roll the batter, toss each cookie in the powdered sugar, and bake! Another reason these are wonderful treats is that there is no fancy equipment or ingredients required. As long as you have a big bowl, a whisk, and a couple of cookie sheets, you are just a few steps away from decadent chocolate cookies.


After baking off my first batch, I was a bit sad because I didn't feel like the crinkles had enough powdered sugar on them (though they still tasted amazing!). The next time around, I was very generous with the powdered sugar, and now they look great! Just like the classic cookies you think of when you hear "crinkle cookies." So, pro-tip: don't be afraid to be heavy handed with your powdered sugar!


I guarantee Chocolate Crinkle Cookies will be a real crowd pleaser this Christmas season. All the chocolate lovers in your life will be begging you for these year-round!


For other chocolate cookie treats, check out the links below!


Here's what you need for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies* (Print Recipe!)

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Here's what you do

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar and oil until smooth and well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until glossy. Stir in the vanilla extract and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a sturdy rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three batches. Continue to stir until no dry flour bits remain, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Cover the batter tightly and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours up to overnight. 

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment paper. I used a thin layer of baking spray to be sure the powdered sugar doesn't cause cookies to stick. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, roll the batter into 1-inch balls, then roll in the powdered sugar until generously coated. Leave about 2 inches of space between each cookie. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then use a thin spatula to transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.

Cookies will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for about 4 days.




*Recipe from All Recipes
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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spicy Sausage, Gnocchi and Kale Soup


SURPRISE! I have a new favorite soup!


I feel like I say this with every new soup I cook, but this one. OH, this soup. It is spicy and creamy, rustic yet refined. The ingredient list is small, but that doesn't mean this isn't packed with delicious flavor. In fact, this is a soup that is dressed to impress - perfect for early holiday get-togethers or as a first course at your Christmas table! 



This Spicy Sausage, Gnocchi and Kale Soup is like a big blanket wrapping you in warmth. It is truly the definition of comfort food. The spiciness of the hot Italian sausage is cooled wonderfully by the heavy cream. The kale is tender and filling, packed with all sorts of good-for-you nutrients. A can of diced tomatoes and a chiffonade of basil seems too appropriate here--their natural sweet and tangy tastes complimenting the sweet cream. 


And let's not forget the gnocchi. I might as well admit it now--I am wholeheartedly obsessed with gnocchi. Big fluffy potato dumplings. What could be better? I never thought to use gnocchi in soup; I was a bit concerned that they would become gummy and create a weird texture in the soup. Turns out, I was wrong. In fact, this soup is just as tasty the next day! 


As with most soups, I strongly recommend serving this with a big piece of crusty bread and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Some extra basil gives this creamy soup a much needed freshness. What more can I saw? I wouldn't change a single thing, Let's eat!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Apple Crisp!


I feel like Apple Crisp always warrants an exclamation point, so I have titled this delightful seasonal recipe: Apple Crisp! Woohoo!


If cool weather and changing leaves has you craving a warm and gooey apple dessert, look no further. This Apple Crisp is as traditional as it gets--and I mean that in a very, VERY good way. In fact, the base of this recipe is from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. I have mentioned this cookbook MANY times, and I cannot stress enough. It is truly a kitchen table.

It seems nowadays, anybody who can take a nice picture and write some basic recipes can have a cookbook, but the Joy of Cooking is SO MUCH more than that. It is the home cook's survival guide! From meat, to breads, to cookies, to vegetables--there is a recipe for everything (and this is totes NOT sponsored: I really truly live by this cookbook).


Also, sorry for saying "totes" back there...

Anyway, back to this sweet, cinnamon-y, crispy, gooey perfect fall dessert. It doesn't take much work, but it sure is a crowd pleaser. Might I recommend a scoop of good vanilla ice cream to tie it all together? My knees are weak at the thought.

The best apple crisp will be made with local apples freshly picked from the orchard. Whatever variety that may be, you are guaranteed to have a juicy, ripe and sweet apple. I used about 6 apples, but two of them were unreasonably large; I'd say you'll use about 8 average sized apples. I used a variety of McIntosh and Gala apples. I also enhanced the natural sweetness of the apples with a touch of sugar and a bit of freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice.


Let's not forget the second most critical part of an apple crisp; that is, the crisp. I went totally traditional--just a mixture of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cold butter. If your heart desires, you could also add in rolled oats for some added texture and nuttiness.

Dear apple crisp: get in ma belly!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Classic Penne A la Vodka


Can anybody answer why oh why is pasta the most delicious, comforting meal on the planet? I have to insist that someone answer this question.


As the weather gets cooler--and let us just accept it, because it is--I find myself craving generous servings of classic comfort food. What could be better than a creamy, dreamy bowl chock full of al dente pasta, tossed in a most delightful A la Vodka sauce?


If you said, "Nothing!" you are absolutely right! This Classic Penne A la Vodka is the light at the end of a hard day, the big hug after a long cry. A rich and flavorful tomato cream sauce enriched with the flavor of garlic and prosciutto, sweetened with a touch of vodka, heavy cream, and fresh basil.


Penne A la Vodka always reminds me of my sister, Amy. so I guess you can say this recipe is dedicated to her! Whenever we went out for an Italian dinner, she almost exclusively ordered Fettuccine Alfredo or Penne A la Vodka. Now both she (and you!!) can save a few bucks and make restaurant quality Penne A la Vodka from the comfort of your own home.


Let's get that pasta water bawlin'!!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Pie Oatmeal


Let's eat all the apples!


Have you been apple picking this season? I don't care if the internet declares apple picking a "basic" activity--it's fantastically fun and a tradition I am not willing to give up.


At what other time of year can you get 20 pounds of apples for two people and NOT judge yourself?

Besides eating an apple a day for the entire month of October, apple picking gives you the perfect excuse to get cooking with the freshest apples that the season has to offer. A fresh apple is the key to my Apple Pie Oatmeal. Imagine having dessert for breakfast. Well, I am here to make that dream a reality.


I suggest rolled oats or steel cut oats for this dish. They are nutty and rich and pair wonderfully with warm apples, cinnamon, and sweet honey. There is no refined sugar in this oatmeal, making it a deliciously guilt free breakfast you can enjoy all week!

I like to make a big batch of this oatmeal Sunday night, and warm up individual portions every morning. The oatmeal may get thicker the longer it sits in the fridge, but that's nothing a little almond milk can't solve. Simply warm the oatmeal in the microwave with a couple of tablespoons of almond milk until your desired consistency is reached.


May I recommend an extra apple slice or two, chopped pecans, an extra sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of vanilla yogurt for serving? Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ground Lamb and Pearl Cous Cous Stew


Hi there my blog-loves!


I've been kind of MIA for the past few weeks. I'm sorry about that. This hiatus is just temporary, I promise. I have just been a busy little bee with work, and studying, and wedding planning and life in general. I am cooking though, I promise, and I am cooking things that I absolutely want to share with you!

Fall is my favorite time of year to cook, so expect me back in full force come mid-October. Although I will try to get a few tasty recipes to you between now and then, I can't make any solid promises. However, I will be posting some throwback recipes on my Facebook page to get us ready for fall--I'm talking all thing pumpkin, apples, warm casseroles, and delicious soups!


Be sure to like my Facebook page HERE  and share with your friends to keep up with those posts, as well as any new posts so you never ever miss a recipe!

Today I have a wonderful recipe for Ground Lamb and Pearl Cous Cous Stew. This stew is rich and warm, with rustic Middle Eastern flavors throughout every bite.


I absolutely love ground lamb and encourage you to give it a try in this recipe if you've never cooked with it before (previously here, here, and here on GSG and boy do they need new pictures!). It has a uniquely gamey taste that pairs well with tomatoes, cinnamon (seriously!), oregano and thyme.


This stew is a one pot meal--hooray--that comes together in just about 30 minutes. In my original vision, I would have made meatballs out of the lamb, but I didn't defrost my meat soon enough so I had to keep it ground. Turns out, it worked just as well as I could have hoped and made the meal come together that much sooner.


Cuddle up to a big bowl of this hearty stew and welcome the cool weather with open arms.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lemon Garlic Pasta with Shrimp, Kale, and Goat Cheese


HI HI HI HI!!!

Make this pasta.

OK, bye.


JUST KIDDING.

On a serious note, I want to tell you a little story about this pasta. I got home a little later than usual but I still wanted a hearty, delicious homemade dinner. I didn't succumb to the take out menu, and I am so glad I had that willpower. This meal came together in less than 30 minutes, but I was hungry. Ravenous. I needed food in my belly. I took a bite of this pasta right out of the serving bowl and after that first bite, well. I knew I had to share this with you. I needed to wait just a few minutes longer, snap a few (really unremarkable) photos, and let everyone on the interwebs know what an amazing dish this is.


In the end, it's a happy story. I had two big servings of this pasta, I'm not hungry anymore, and now, just below, you hold this recipe in your hands.

This dish, despite being a pasta recipe, is delightfully light and fresh. It is hearty and flavorful. It starts with a pasta of your choice--I'd recommend a whole wheat or Trader Joe's Brown Rice and Quinoa pasta for gluten free. Pasta = happiness, as we all know, so this is a good place to start. Save a bit of the pasta cooking water too, it will come in handy later when we make our sauce. Then, there is chopped kale, sauteed in a bit of olive oil with two generous cloves of minced garlic. Lovin' ya. Big, juicy shrimps are sauteed until golden brown and gorgeous.


The fun part about this pasta is that we are making a no-cook sauce. In a big serving bowl, we are whisking together the juice of 2 lemons and about 1/3 cup of olive oil with a big handful of grated parmesan cheese and lots of black pepper. SERIOUSLY, that's it. Pasta, kale, and shrimp all get a big toss in this lemon sauce along with that pasta water, creating a nice, slurp-able sauce.


OH wait. You thought that was it? That description there was perfect and you're ready to dig in? That's fine, but wait. There's more more more. And you don't want to miss this. GOAT CHEESE. Yes, yes. Crumbled on top of each bowl while the pasta is still hot. And it's going to melt, and become creamy, and dreamy, and you will finally understand what love is.

Here's what you need for Lemon Garlic Pasta with Shrimp, Kale, and Goat Cheese* (Print Recipe!)

1 pound pasta of choice
1 bunch kale, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (fresh or frozen & thawed is fine!)
2 lemons, juiced
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for sauteeing
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and lots of pepper to taste
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Here's what you do

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water (you may not need all of it, but better safe than sorry).

While the pasta cooks, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the kale and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the kale is wilted and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally so as not to burn the garlic.

Push the kale to the side of the skillet and add a bit more olive oil to the pan. Add the shrimp and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side until it is pale pink in color and slightly browned on the edges.

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan cheese with a generous pinch of black pepper. Add the hot pasta and toss to coat. Gently fold in the shrimp and kale mixture and drizzle in a bit of the reserved pasta water. I used about 1/4 cup, just to loosen the sauce a bit. Season to taste.

Finally, spoon the warm pasta into bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese. Each person should lightly stir the goat cheese into the pasta to create a nice, creamy finish. Enjoy immediately.



*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe