Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Perfect Sugar Cookies

What do ya know, my cookies are covered in sprinkles! These were supposed to be Halloween cookies, but Nila kept insisting on pink frosting and cute sprinkles. What Toots wants, Toots gets! Either way, they're delicious. They have a slight crunch on the outside, and are soft and chewy on the inside.

You will need:

3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts, and the egg; scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture, and mix at low to medium speed until the mixture is evenly moistened.

Place the 3/4 cup sugar in a large plastic bag, or in a shallow pan. Scoop the dough by tablespoonfuls into the sugar, rolling them in the pan or gently shaking them in the bag to coat them with the sugar.

Place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them. Using a flat-bottomed glass, flatten the cookies to about 1/4" thick.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes — 10 minutes for softer cookies, 12 minutes for crunchier. The edges of the cookies will just barely begin to brown.

Remove from the oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes, before transferring to a rack to finish cooling completely.

Top with frosting if you want.
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the powdered sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, add another tbsp of milk if needed. Color with food coloring if desired.

Crab Mac 'n Cheese

This is probably the best mac n cheese I have made. Aside from the crab addition. The mac n cheese was out of this world. I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten who makes it with lobster. I live in Vegas, so good lobster is hard to come by on any average day, let alone crab, hence the can of crab meat I used for this. It was still fresh crab, well as fresh as a can of crab can be I guess. I will totally make this again though! 

You will need:

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pd elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds cooked crab meat
1 1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour.
Toots loves making mac n cheese, its her favorite!

Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.

Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.
Add the crab and cooked macaroni and stir well. 

Place the mixture into a 13x9 casserole dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the crushed crackers, and sprinkle on the top. 

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Enjoy!


Pizza Pie

Here's a quick and easy alternative to deep dish pizza from your local pizza place. You can play with the ingredients and try all kinds of different combos. I used a mixture of ground beef and italian sausage for my meat layer and I love green pepper and mushroom on my pizza so I topped this pie with them.
Also, like I said, this is a "quick and easy" meal, so I also used a tube of biscuit dough for my crust, but feel free to use actual pizza dough.

For my Pizza Pie you will need:
1/2 pd ground beef
1/2 pd Italian sausage
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella/parmesan mix
1/2 cup sliced mushroom
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper

First, preheat oven to 375. Grease a deep-dish pie plate or cast iron skillet.

In a skillet, brown the beef and sausage.

Add some salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. I probably used a 3/4 teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning.
Next, add the jar of spaghetti sauce.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 min. 

Arrange your dough in the bottom of the pan you will be baking your pie in. Sprinkle about a half cup of cheese over the dough.

Next, spread the meat sauce over the dough.

Now add the peppers and mushrooms, and top with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered for 16-18 minutes, til cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!