Friday, September 30, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

{photos updated 6/4/2013}
I think I heard once that chicken noodle soup has actual healing powers.  Or maybe I just made that up, I'm really not sure.  But sometimes I just get this idea in my head that I need some.
Like on days when I don't feel great...
Or when the weather is getting cold...
Or if I realize I have all the ingredients for it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homemade Pasta

There are certain times when making homemade pasta is completely worth it.  One of those times, for me, is for Chicken Noodle Soup.  (Gee, I wonder what tomorrows post will be...)
The process can be time consuming, but I also feel like it can be therapeutic.
The first couple times I made pasta, I didn't get it exactly how I would like it.  But with trial and error, and practice, I have learned a few things that help me get it more how I like it every time.  The recipe I use is for the food processor and I love it because makes it so much easier than making it by hand.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Oh fall, I have missed you.  I've missed the cool weather.  I have missed the excuse to bake my brains out.  I have missed pumpkin and putting it in everything.  I love fall.  (I know, I've mentioned.)
And I love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. 
They have some at a grocery store in the town I grew up that are to die for. (is that sad to admit?)  They come in this plastic case and I have to avoid the bakery area of the store all together or I will buy and eat the whole container without help.  I can do the same with a batch of these!  These are my all time favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pancakes with Buttermilk Syrup

One of our favorite morning breakfasts is pancakes with buttermilk syrup.  Both recipes call for buttermilk but that's not something I usually have on hand.  I have substituted sour milk (1 T vinegar or lemon juice and add milk to 1 cup) and both recipes do well with the substitution.  I usually add a little water to my batter because I don't like really thick pancakes, but that's just a personal preference.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Soup

I love fall.  One of the many reasons is: soup!  Something about soup and fresh bread just gets me.  
This is an easy but tasty soup recipe.

Chicken Broccoli Soup
1 T oil
1 med onion, chopped
4 cups water (or substitute water and bullion for 4 cups chicken broth)
6 chicken bullion cubes (1 tsp size)
1 cup milk
10 oz  fresh broccoli, steamed and chopped or frozen chopped broccoli
4 chicken tenders (also great with leftover turkey, just chop and add with milk)
1/2 cup rice (optional, if you leave it out, you might want to thicken the soup with shredded cheese)
4 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
shredded cheese for garnish

Heat oil in pan until it starts to smoke, add onion and cook until tender.  Add water, bullion, broccoli, rice, and chicken (I just throw the whole tenders in there frozen).  Cover and cook over med heat until chicken is done.  (about 10-15 minutes)   Remove chicken, recover so rice will continue to cook, shred chicken and return to pan.  Once rice is cooked, add milk heat until almost boiling, turn down heat and add cream cheese, don't boil once cream cheese is added.  Stir to incorporate cream cheese.  Serve with shredded cheese on top. Serves 6.
Great served with Dinner Rolls.

An Amanda Original

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sugar Cookie Bake-off

I am the kind of person who likes soft sugar cookies.  I don't care if it's in the shape of a butterfly or not, I just want it to be soft and delicious.  I found a recipe a few weeks ago on that I adapted to my liking, but then I noticed a recipe on a food blog, Tracey's Culinary Adventures.  I wondered if maybe that recipe would be better.  I decided I better bake a batch of both of them and have a taste test with my family.
Would you like to meet the contenders?
Well, here they are.
What?  You can't tell the difference?  It kind of hurt my brain to keep track.  Half way through I was wishing I had shaped one of the recipes like a butterfly so I didn't get them confused.  I think that might have swayed the tasters though.  Okay, so on the left is sugar cookie #1 and on the right is sugar cookie #2.

After looking at the ingredients, I realized that these recipes were pretty similar and started to worry that I was making two batches (that I either halved or thirded) of the same cookie.  There were slight differences, but would those slight differences really matter that much?

Cookie dough after mixing, cookie #1
Cookies after baked, cookie #1
Cookie dough after mixed, recipe #2
Cookies after baked recipe #2.  
So after pulling the second batch out of the oven, I was all but convinced these cookies were going to be identical.  They looked almost exactly the same!

The recipe I had adapted had a cream cheese frosting, and the other recipe didn't include cream cheese.  I thought I better make both kinds of frosting, and frost some cookies from each batch with each kind of frosting.  So here is cookie recipe #1 with cream cheese (white) frosting and sugar frosting (pink).

And cookie #2 with the same. (I had to put the cookies on the plate in a different order so I didn't mix up the photos.) 

After taking #2 out of the oven, I was sure it would be the winner. I broke a warm cookie in half and took a bite and it was so soft, I was ready to throw out my recipe and convert. 
But during the tasting, my husband and my daughter, both quickly picked #1.  I interrogated Tyler as to why he would say that. I was sure he would say the opposite. He said he liked the flavor a little better in #1.  I took bites of both cookies with frosting and could see what he meant.  I can't figure out how cookies with such similar ingredients can taste different.  He liked the one with the sugar frosting best, I liked the cream cheese (duh! I'll eat anything with cream cheese)  and my daughter liked both kinds of frosting.
So for our family the winner was (drum roll please)......

Cookie #1. (I was secretly excited because #2 has to be refrigerated for an hour before baking, and I don't mind skipping that step.)  Ü

I came to the conclusion that these are both great sugar cookie recipes.  I would eat either one of them regularly.  They are both really soft and delicious and they were both really good the next day.  I think sometimes, it's just a taste preference.  You can decide for yourself, here are the recipes.

Soft Sugar Cookies
adapted from (halved and changed a bit)
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar (to roll dough in before baking)

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, add egg and vanilla, mix well, add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Roll tablespoon or walnut size balls of dough in sugar and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 8-9 minutes or just until small cracks appear (see photo) in cookies.  Be careful not to over bake. Makes about 18 cookies.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 oz. cream cheese
1.5 T butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1.5 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese together, add vanilla.  Mix in powdered sugar a little at a time.

Feeling fancy?  Turn them into Mini Fruit Pizzas.

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
from Annie's Eats (who adapted from Hostess with the Mostess
I only made 1/3 of the batch (because I don't need a billion cookies taunting me).  I will include the measurements I used, for the full recipe, You can click on the link above for Annie's Eats or Tracey's Culinary Adventures.
1.5 cups flour
1.5 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 2/3 tsp. vanilla

1.5 T butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 T + 1 tsp milk
1 2/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt and baking powder. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, add egg and vanilla and mix.  Add dry ingredients to wet a little at a time and mix until just incorporated.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  (The original recipe calls for larger cookies, but I did a tablespoon + size.)  Roll into a balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet (original calls for parchment).  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Be careful not to over bake.  Transfer to wire racks to cool.  Once cool, frost.  Makes about 18 cookies


Mini Fruit Pizza

I just love these. 
They are so yummy and beautiful. 
I guess they might be more of a summer treat, but I crave them year round.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dinner Rolls

This is my favorite roll recipe.  I had to quit making them for a while because I just eat too many when they are done.  Well, I have to try one before I serve them to anyone else, right?  And then I have to have a couple with dinner and before you know it, I am being rolled out of the dinning room.  I really should just call it the table area, dinning room is a stretch.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Banana Bread

This is my go-to recipe for Banana Bread.  It is moist and has a lot of flavor, it doesn't require a million ingredients and it's flexible.  I have been out of shortening before and used butter, and it was still good, you can add chocolate chips to it if you love chocolate, you can put the nuts in or leave them out and it's still delicious.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Spaghetti is always a big hit at our house.  It's one of my comfort foods and I think I have forced everyone else to love it, like it or not.  I used to buy 3 different kinds of tomatoes and would make sure I simmered the sauce for at least an hour.  While it was good, I realized I didn't have to spend all that extra time or money.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Easiest French Bread Ever!

I love how easy this French Bread recipe is.  I think the most annoying thing about making bread is the kneading process.  Even with a mixer you have to stand there and add flour a little at a time.  But with this recipe, you have dough done and ready to raise in like 2 minutes.

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