Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

I love Rolos!  What's not to love?  Chocolate, carmel, soft, chewy...DELICIOUS!!  We were just at a wedding and the dessert table had these cute little boxes filled with Rolos, I had forgotten how much I loved Rolos!!  So yummy!  Then just a week later I saw a blog being featured that made a Rolo cookie using cake mix.  I thought they sounded so yummy, but would be even better with a soft, almost chewy, chocolate cookie recipe I have.  I knew I couldn't just make them for fun out of fear that I would eat the entire batch so I have been waiting to try them.  Today was the day!  I was in charge of bringing a dessert to a MOPS meeting, and I guessed it!  ROLO COOKIES!!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Rolos (about 32 unwrapped)

Preheat your oven to 375 and prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

Start by sifting the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder (I NEVER sift, but your supposed to :)  Set bowl aside and mix your wet ingredients.  Cream the butter and the sugars.  Next add in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.  Then the vanilla.  Now its time to slowly add in the dry ingredients, about 1/2 cup at a time.  Once its all combined (make sure you scrape the sides of your bowl!) its time to form the cookie balls!  Take just enough cookie dough to fully cover a rolo and then roll into a ball and put on your cookie sheet.  Continue until you have used all your dough/rolos.  Place on baking sheets, 12 at a time and place in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes.  They are still really soft when you take them out, but they firm up I promise :)  Then...EAT them!  They are delicious warm, or at room temp.  Enjoy, and try to not eat them all!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lemon and Green Onion Orzo

Tonight I was late on figuring out dinner...oops!  So I had to look at what I had and quickly whip something up!!  I decided on cilantro, grapefruit pork chops, bbq'ed bell peppers and some orzo.  The bell peppers were just tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper and thrown on the grill till they were charred and a little soft...SUPER easy!  I will share a quick and easy marinade post soon which will include the cilantro grapefruit.  For tonight I will share with you the orzo!  It is simple, tastes so bright and fresh and is really sooo delicious!

Here is what you need:
1 lb box of orzo (its a little pasta, shaped like rice but a bit bigger)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lemon, just the zest
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper

Start by boiling a pot of very salty water.  Toss in the pasta and allow to cook per the boxes directions, normally around 9 minutes.  When pasta is ready strain well.  Put pasta back in pot and stir in butter and olive oil.  Next add in the green onion and lemon zest.  Once combined add the parmesan cheese!  Once this is all together taste and add salt if needed and some fresh grated pepper!  That's it! 

****Fun hint:  This is a great cold pasta salad as well!!  If you are going to serve it cold rinse pasta with cool water after it is cooked and before you add the other ingredients.  I'm not sure why this works (does something to the starch in the pasta) but my hubby taught me to do it, so I do!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Garden Tomato Pasta

So I have said it over and over my family LOVES pasta and I make it often because I can put almost any veggie with it and my little boys eat it all up!!  With all the tomatoes coming in from my mother-in-law's garden I needed to make some new pasta dishes other than just the regular old pureed tomato sauce!  Here is the recipe for my current favorite!  Casey said it was the best pasta dish I had ever made for him...but it was midnight and he was starving!  I hope you have some fresh tomatoes at your house or can get some because right now they are delicious and you just can't beat the homegrown taste :)

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4 cups (about) chopped tomatoes
1 cup torn basil leaves, plus a little more for garnish
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 lb angel hair pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or the good old green can if your in a bind :)

Start by turning the pan on high and adding the oil.  Also, fill a large pot with water and salt it to taste like the ocean.  Turn on high heat and wait for it to boil.  To the saute pan with hot oil add onions.  Stir around for about 2 minutes, you want them to cook but not get too brown.  Season well with salt and pepper!  Turn heat to medium and add in garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the garlic becomes soft.  Your pot of water will probably boil by now so add in angel hair pasta and cook according to the directions on the box...mine said 4 minutes.  When pasta is done strain.  Turn saute pan's heat to low and stir in tomatoes and basil.  Cook on low for about 5 minutes.  The juices from the tomatoes will come out and you want all the ingredients to melt together.  My tomatoes are super sweet so there is a really great balance to the sauce.  Then your sauce is done!  Add in the angel hair and use tongs to toss the pasta with the sauce completely.  Use Parmesan cheese and a little fresh basil to garnish and you are ready to enjoy!
The sauce
Fresh, beautiful and delicious! 

Chocolate Filled Peanut Butter Cupcakes

When it's time for the chef's birthday  I am always trying to out-do last year's cake.  I want to make something he loves and something that is so good he looks forward to it all day!  So, I took my hubby's love for Reese's Peanut Butter cups and turned it into some awesome cupcakes!!

1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box

For Filling:
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

For Frosting:
2/3 cup softened butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
about 4 TBL milk

Start by making your filling.  Add all ingredients together and stir together well!  This will need to sit in the fridge for an hour or more so it can harden (mine was in the fridge overnight).  Then mix chocolate cake according to the box.  Line your cupcake tins and put in one tablespoon of the chocolate cake batter into each.  Now, get your hardened peanut butter filling from the fridge and shape into 24 little balls. They are pretty gooey, but below you can see what your going for.

Now place a peanut butter ball into each of the tins.

Next fill cupcake tins with remaining batter.  The peanut butter will be completely covered.  Put into a 350 degree oven and let them bake.  I normally put them in for about 4 minutes less than what the box says.  They need to be cooked but you want them to be moist and delicious so DON'T OVERCOOK THEM!!  Now, let them cool completely before adding the frosting!
For the frosting start by mixing the softened butter and the peanut butter until smooth.  Next add the vanilla extract and add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time and allowing for the sugar to be fully combined before adding the next cup.  The frosting will be pretty thick...this is where the milk comes in!  Add milk a teaspoon at a time, mixing well in between, until you reach the desired consistency.  I like the look of piped on frosting, or you can spread it on, whatever you prefer!  Now, enjoy!!  If you aren't going to eat them for a while I would put them in the fridge, but allow them to sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so before eating so the frosting and filling can soften up!
This is the finished product!
Here is what the inside looks like!!