Monday, July 21, 2014

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I was asked to furnish cookies for a retirement party at work. The lady that the party was for loves Macadamia Nut white chocolate chip cookies. I had a recipe but they always turn out flat so I googled Best ever white chocolate Chip macadamia nut cookies and printed out the top three. I used what was common in the three and this is the recipe I came up with. LOVE it! I think I like it mostly because of the dry roasted macadamia nuts... they have a little saltiness to them that makes these cookies yummo! and lately I am finding just a drop or  two of Butter Rum extract makes everything from banana cake and frosting to cookies extra yummo! Hope you like these as much as I did.

Soft & Chewy White Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
  3. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 teaspoon Butter Rum extract (Optional)
  7. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  10. 2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks 
  11. 1- 6 oz pkg.  Mauna Loa Macadamia baking pieces dry roasted (1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped roasted salted macadamia nuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer).
Add the brown sugar and granulated (white) sugar and continue beating on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, continuing to beat each time until well-incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and butter rum.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chunks and the macadamia nuts.
Scoop a generous tablespoonful of the dough and roll into a ball. Place on cookie sheet about three inches apart.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until edges of cookie begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5  minutes on cookie sheet so the cookie can set. Carefully move to wire rack to cool completely.

Hawaiian Haystacks

Hawaiian haystacks... hmmmm I don't really think they are Hawaiian, but they are yummy. The first time I had Hawaiian haystacks was at girl's camp years ago. I have made them a time or two since then although I can't remember what recipe I used. My office made them for an office pot luck one day and I loved the recipe for the gravy so that's what I'm posting here. This is a good recipe when you need something yummy, easy and to feed a lot a people (it's easy to double). My committee that I was on for the Community Dinner Table made these one year and had a Hawaiian theme going on, was fun and yummy. For that recipe we used a country gravy mix and pineapple juice in the gravy... kind of added a different flavor. But here's my recipe, I got it from a friend I used to work with, only I added the seasonings.... reminds me of thanksgiving the way it smells. Enjoy!

Hawaiian Haystacks
3 cans Chicken broth (the ones that are about 16 oz.) (see *Note below)
2 Tablespoons Chicken bouillon

Heat the chicken broth and bouillon until hot but not boiling.

While it's heating:
Mix together in a quart canning jar:
1-1/2 cups cold water
5 heaping Tablespoons flour.
Shake well until all the lumps are gone...(if you can't quite get rid of the lumps use a strainer when pouring this mixture into the broth).

Once your broth is hot... pour the water / flour mixture into the broth, stirring constantly and let it come to a boil. It will thicken just a bit so give it a minute. If it is not thick enough you could add an additional 1/4 cup water mixed with 2 Tablespoons flour... but be careful. If you add too much the gravy will end up tasting like glue. :) As the gravy cools it will thicken a bit too.

Now add:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed thyme
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk this up so there are no lumps then add:
 2  or 3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (or turkey works too) you can add more or less depending on how thick you want your gravy to be.
Let this simmer for 5 to 10 minutes so the flavors get mixed together.

*Note: I usually cook up a chicken or some chicken breasts in a crock pot and I will add that to the gravy... so go ahead and add the drippings from cooked chicken as part of your broth. Or if you are in a hurry canned chicken works, or sometimes I will just grab a rotisserie chicken from the deli and that is always good too.

Serve the gravy over hot cooked rice.

Then add any of the following toppings:
Chopped Celery
Chopped Onions
Diced green pepper
Diced Tomatoes
Pineapple tidbits
shredded coconut
Slivered almonds
Chinese noodles
Soy sauce
sliced olives
and anything else you can think of's all good

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Loaded Potato Salad

  • I love potato salad. Sunday I decide to make Ribs and BBQ pork tenderloin since I was in the mood for BBQ sauce. I always love potato salad with ribs and grilled things but I was tired of the usual potato salad. I can't remember how I ran across this recipe but I thought I'd give it a try. I did tweak it a bit for my taste but it's yummy. My husband was skeptical at first  but he liked it as well. I thought it wouldn't be good cold but it is and reminds you of a loaded baked potato. I thought I better hurry and post this recipe since the 4th of July is coming up fast and it's grilling season! This is yummy. I just might have to make at my 4th of July BBQ. Enjoy!

  • Loaded Potato Salad   --Serves 8
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, quartered and sliced into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 pound bacon strips, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.
  • Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, until
  • crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 3 tablespoons
  • drippings. Chop bacon when cool enough to handle.
  • Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add bacon and reserved drippings; toss to coat. Refrigerate until chilled.
  • Whisk the mayonnaise, dressing, sour cream and mustard in a small  bowl. Pour over potato mixture; toss to coat. Stir in onions and cheese. Sprinkle with  salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Yield: 8 servings.

Oatmeal Muffins

I love muffins.... muffins for breakfast with a bowl of fruit and yogurt is awesome. I saw this recipe on America's Test kitchen and had to give it a try. It's amazing. These muffins aren't too dry or too heavy but a good hearty Oatmeal muffin. It does take some time to make though, you toast the oats in a skillet first, then grind them into flour. And then after the batter is made you let it rest for 20 minutes, just keep that in mind when you are making them. Also, you must use Old Fashioned Oatmeal not quick quaker oats... they won't turn out the same. I thought these were YUMMO!

Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup pecans, chopped fine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt 
tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons butter, plus an additional 6 tablespoons melted
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1-3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1-3/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, beaten

Do not use quick or instant oats in this recipe. Walnuts may be substituted for the pecans. The easiest way to grease and flour the muffin tin is with a baking spray with flour.
1. FOR THE TOPPING: Combine oats, flour, pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle melted butter over mixture and stir to ­thoroughly combine; set aside.
2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Grease and flour 12-cup muffin tin or spray with a non-stick baking spray. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring frequently, until oats turn golden brown and smell of cooking popcorn, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer oats to food processor and process into fine meal, about 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to oats and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses.
3. Stir 6 tablespoons melted butter and sugar together in large bowl until smooth. Add milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Using whisk, gently fold half of oat mixture into wet ingredients, tapping whisk against side of bowl to release clumps. Add remaining oat mixture and continue to fold with whisk until no streaks of flour remain. Set aside batter for 20 minutes to thicken. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
4. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (about ½ cup batter per cup; cups will be filled to rim). Evenly sprinkle topping over muffins (about 2 tablespoons per muffin). Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 25 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.
5. Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and serve or let cool completely before serving.

Portabella Mushroom Tacos

I love tacos. My hubby and I thought it would be awesome to see if we could do a meatless Monday  and Portabella mushrooms have a grea...