Saturday, March 29, 2008

Molasses Sandwich Cookies

This is a wonderful site. These guys post the best looking and sounding recipes. I really wish they would adopt me. I have customers coming to the office this next week and wanted something to share with them during one of our breaks. Also - the grandson and the office boys are now asking for my treats. I thought I'd bring them a new one. I went so far as to buy the little cookie scoops. I encourage you to check the site to get the picture of these little gems that they posted. I'm brining their recipe over to share with you, but I won't borrow their pictures. They also have some really incredible cooking blog links. Go ahead, go there, but please come back.

I had a lot of frosting left following the recipe as written on the site. The reason may be that I used a 1-1/2 teaspoon scoop (while they called for 1 teaspoon and I only filled the scoop about 2/3 full of frosting (essentially 1 teaspoon). I made another batch of the cookies themselves and used the rest of the frosting.

Molasses Sandwich Cookies
(Adapted from Everyday Food)
(Adapted from Culinary in the Desert)

For the cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups brown sugar
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (2 cubes)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses

For the filling:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons molasses
2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

To make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs, followed by molasses, until smooth and well incorporated. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
Using a 1-1/2 teaspoon (small) cookie scoop, drop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until the center of the cookies are dry to the touch, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and let sit on the baking sheets for about 1 to 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling

In a medium bowl, beat together butter and molasses until creamy. Add in confectioners' sugar and continue mixing until smooth and spreadable. Spread the filling, about a rounded teaspoonful, on the bottoms of half of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top.

Makes 45 sandwich cookies. The calories based on double the cookie recipe and the frosting recipe as it stands is 157 calories a "sandwich".

Quiche Me!

I'm updating the date on this. In February I noted that I was just starting to learn how to make Quiches. This recipe from the Whole Foods Cookbook is fabulous tasting and easy to make. In addition to the recipe link below, on the left I've created links for ordering the cookbook and one to the Whole Foods recipe library. I make this quiche for friends' events and every couple of weeks for my family.

Today was a banner day (the March post), my daughter actually told me she appreciates all the cooking I'm doing as she doesn't have the energy/creativity for dinners. I understand this, as she was growing up, I didn't have the flexibility/latitude either. Now that she's grown, I can. It's nice to be able to have a receptive audience to my new hobby

Spinach and Pine Nut Quiche

1 frozen 9-inch ready-made whole wheat piecrust
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
6 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage or 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 large red potato, steamed until firm-tender, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the piecrust from the freezer and thaw for ten minutes. Prick the bottom with a fork and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the crust from the oven to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the garlic, spinach, salt, pepper and sage. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, or until the spinach is just wilted. Stir in the pine nuts.
In a small bowl, mix the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. In another bowl, whisk the milk and eggs together.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture on the piecrust. Top with half the spinach mixture. Place the potato slices on top of the spinach. Add half the remaining cheese mixture and then the remaining spinach mixture. Top with the rest of the cheese.

Place the pie pan on a sheet pan. Carefully pour in the milk mixture. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting.

I use this recipe as a baseline, especially the potato, when I have some extra vegegables to use up. The quiche is dense and works as an entree or as breakfast/brunch addition.

Sliced in eighths, there are approximately 180 calories per serving.

Biscuits & Gravy

This is a no fail recipe taught to me last year by my friend/roommate. It is easy to remember too!

Pull out your Pillsbury Grand Biscuits from the freezer and start them baking in the oven. Once you're versed in making this recipe - everything will come together at the same time. When you first start brown the sausage first and get it draining and put the biscuits in while the butter is browning. They'll finish up after the gravy is done. Otherwise your gravy will scorch or you biscuits will burn.

Sausage Gravy
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 lb pork sausage (I like spicy)
salt and pepper to taste

Pull out your Pillsbury Grand Biscuits from the freezer and start them baking in the oven. Once you're versed in making this recipe - everything will come together at the same time. When you first start

Have your wooden spoon ready - it makes all the difference in the world to how this comes out.

Brown sausage in a skillet until it is crispy on the tips of some pieces (flavor). Drain in a colander in the sink over a piece of used foil with its edges upturned. (No fat down YOUR drain). One the fat cools, discard in trash or store for flavorig in another dish later.

Melt butter in a sauce pan. over medium heat, until bubbly and just about ready to pitch a "brown" fit. Add flour, stirring constantly. The mixture will be foamy and "gritty". Keep stirring so that roux never has a chance to settle and burn. Stir until the mixture is a light brown and has toasty or nutty scent. Keep stirring and pour in a little milk. The mixture will immediately clump. Keep stirring until smooth again. It will thicken quickly. Add some more milk again stirring contstantly until smooth and thicker. More milk. Smooth, thicker. Etc. Until all the milk is used. Let bubble, stirring constantly until the gravy is the desired thickness. Add sausage and stir until the sausage has rewarmed.

Collect the smiles.

This is one of those "planned" meals for dieters. You know you want it! Don't let it become a guilt session and don't a avoid it either. Plan soups and salads as light lunches and dinners the remainder of the day. Have one biscuit with a 1/3 cup of gravy and savor it. I promise the flavor of it all, after being "good" for so long, will fulfill your every fantasy. Remember ONE biscuit and ONE THIRD cup of gravy. Then clear the table and go for a walk.

And now for the math. Using skim milk 328 calories for the gravy (Using whole milk is only 340 calories) and 190 calories for the biscuit. About 520 calories for the meal.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Dinner

Easter Dinner Indian Style:

Chicken Korma
Beef Vindaloo
Roasted Curry Cauliflower
Spicy Red Wine

Beef Vindaloo

Beef Vindaloo

1 medium onion chopped
1/3 tsp ground cumin or 1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp turmeric
2 lbs boneless beef
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp light mustard seeds
4 cups water
1/2 tsp fenugreek
salt to taste

Blend onion and garlic in food processor, grind spices in a spice grinder (or use motar and pestle) and add to the above mixture. Add enough vinegar to make a thick, stiff, paste.

Pat beef dry, put paste and meat in a baggie and apply work paste into beef. Let marinate overnight. Melt the ghee (or butter if no ghee) in a large pot or dutch oven. Heat the beef until it is brown (as in cooked through, not browned like fried). Add water, cover pan and cook over low heat until beef is tender. Remove the cover and heat again.

If too dry add water, if too watery cook it down. Cool and reheat later for best flavor. Serve with rice.

6-8 servings (without rice), 181 calories.

Original recipe can be found here:

Saturday, March 22, 2008



This a great recipe. I wish I could eat more of it.

1 litre milk (3-4 cups)
1/4 cup rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes or 3/4 - 1 cup cooked
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
10 strands saffron, crushed, soaked in 1 tsp. warm milk
10 almonds
10 unsalted pistachios

Crush almonds, pistachios coarsely, keep aside.
Boil rice in plenty of water till half done.
Drain, spread on a plate, to cool grains.
Heat milk, bring to a boil.
Add rice, stirring continuously, till boiling resumes.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep rice from sticking to bottom.
Allow rice to cook fully, but not get mushy.
Add sugar, cardamom, saffron, almonds and pistachios.
Stir, simmer for 2 minutes, serve piping hot.

Taste often while cooking just to spoil yourself. 6 servings, 223 calories

Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma

1/4 cup cashew halves
1/4 cup boiling water
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 (1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 large onion, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - diced
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with equal parts water

Place cashews in a small bowl, and pour the boiling water over nuts. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Place garlic and ginger in food processor and blend until smooth; set aside.

Heat oil in wok or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the bay leaves in hot oil for 30 seconds. Stir in onion, and cook until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in garlic/ginger paste, and season with coriander, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and chili powder. Stir in chicken, and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce and chicken broth. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, place the cashews, along with the water in which they were soaked, and the cream and yogurt into food processor. Process until smooth.
Stir the cashew mixture into the chicken and onions. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes.

When I make Indian, I prefer to make it the day before serving it. The flavors need to steep and grow and meld. Also - it's a lot of work - do it the day before and relax the day of.

Serve over rice.

6 servings, 222 calories (without rice)

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

12 cups cauliflower florets (from about 4 pounds cauliflower)
1 large onion, peeled, quartered
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (Penzeys :-)
1 tablespoon Hungarian hot paprika (Penzeys :-)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place cauliflower florets in large roasting pan. Pull apart onion quarters into separate layers; add to cauliflower. Stir coriander seeds and cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Crush coarsely in mortar with pestle. Place seeds in medium bowl. Whisk in oil, vinegar, curry powder, paprika, and salt. Pour dressing over vegetables; toss to coat. Spread vegetables in single layer. Sprinkle with pepper.
Roast vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 450°F oven 10 minutes, if desired.)
Mound vegetables in large bowl. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The recipe says it makes 6 servings. I feel it makes 12. At 12 it is 154 calories per serving.

Bon Appetit, September 2004

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Chocolate (Nut) Cherry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
(An Original)

1.5 cups oats
1.5 cups water
3 tbls Hazelnut butter w/cocoa powder (I make my own without oil)
12 oz frozen pitted black cherries, chopped.

Boil water, combine with oats. Cook until thick. Set aside to cool.
While still frozen, chop cherries, mix with hazelnut/cocoa butter.
Combine oatmeal and cherry mixture together.
Spray baking pan with cooking oil. I prefer 6.5" x 9" stoneware pan.
Bake @ 350 for 30-35 minutes. Texture should be chewy.

Cut into 6 sections

These freeze well when placed between parchment paper and stored in a baggie.

114 calories each.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Soup

This is a definite keeper. In order to enjoy it though, you need to put away your mental "curry" thinkings. This is from Cooking Light and has all the flavor of a thick rich curry, but is "soupier", leaning towards "Japanese style" with a clear, almost watery presence, with thin vegetables. The flavor has not left the soup pot. This could easily support some carrot slices or water chestnuts or even some pretty orange yam chunks.

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Soup

3 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red curry paste
1 cup light coconut milk
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in coconut milk; cook 2 minutes or until hot. Add shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Remove pan from heat; stir in onions, basil, and juice.

The online recipe will tell you that this is a 4-serving meal at 194 calories. I got about 8 with 2-shrimps per serving at 90 calories. My offerings are less "a meal" and more a lunch or appetizer.

Chicken Tagine

I found this recipe in Family Circle and it's posted on It was quick to prepare, cooks all day while you're away and has a variety of textures and complex flavors with a spicy upswing at the end.

I did change one thing from the recipe posted on-line. I detest dark meat so I made mine with chicken breast pieces. It cooked longer than the 8 hours called for in the recipe so the chicken was ultra moist and tender and pulled apart easily. The online recipe calles for couscous. I didn't have any in the cupboard so I substituted Basmati rice. With the pull-apart tender chicken, it ended up the perfect rice topper meal.

1 lb. chicken breasts (I buy 1/4 breast strips each weighing in about 2 oz)
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste (those tubes of paste I bought were perfect for this measurement)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (from my previously zested lemons)
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pine nuts for garnish (optional - but very tasty)

Couscous or rice.

In a 6-quart slow cooker (I used my circa 1978 Harvest Gold Rival Crockpot), layer chicken, onions, carrots, raisins and apricots.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk chicken broth, tomato paste, lemon juice, flour, garlic salt, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. Pour over chicken and vegetables.
Cook 5 hours on high heat or 8 hours on low.
Serve over cooked couscous or rice. Garnish with toasted pine nuts, if desired.

Calories without couscous or rice: 196 per serving. Recipe serves 8.

Replacement For Sex Cookies

I wanted to call these Better Than Sex Cookies, but my friends were starting debates about it - not the cookie's flavor mind you, but the cookies weren't winning under general principle. So I decided for those of us in a state of forced abstinance to call these "Replacement For Sex Cookies".

Now should the winds change, they would most likely become "Enticement For Sex Cookies".

At is versatile recipe as it serves as a most excellent cookie dough should you find your self or your best girlfriend involved in a break up.

We're going to be working from the basic Toll House Cookie Recipe with some modifications. I like the Nestle Milk Chocolate Morsels for this. And please note, although I'm 20 minutes from Sundance, I freaking forget to use the high altitude directions every time....and they still come out yummers. The Toll House bag will give you the particulars if you're so inclined as to follow rules.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 -1 tbls. vanilla (yes 3/4 - 1 tablespoon) extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
2 large eggs
1.5 bags = 2.5 cups = 18 oz Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Morsels
7 oz shredded coconut (approximately half bag)
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and coconut extracts in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in coconut and nuts, then morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake between 9-11 minutes. I found 9.5 minutes to be perfect. Checking at 9 minutes they were still doughy and at 9.5 they were lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet and then transfer to wire racks to finishing cooling and set.

Makes 5 dozen cookies at 122 calorie each.