Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

I feel like it's really hard finding a great recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies. I've tried lots of different variations  but always thought they were just OK. I actually avoided baking chocolate chip cookies for a while since I felt like each batch in the past was a waste of time. Luckily my sister's friend gave her this recipe. Part way through making this recipe we realized it yielded 3 dozen cookies and thought there was no way we were going to eat them all. Well, between my sister, brother-in-law, and I, we polished them off in 5 days (don't judge).

These cookies are the softest the first 3 days. If you store the cookies in an airtight container with a slice of bread in it, it helps the cookies stay soft if they seem to get harder. That trick also works really well if you ever slightly over bake cookies. I'm not sure what makes these cookies so soft, but I'm guessing is has to do with the vanilla pudding mix since that's the only ingredient I've never worked with in a chocolate chip cookie recipe. It might sound like an odd ingredient, but it makes these cookies phenomenal. Another tip for baking these cookies- use a silicone mat instead of parchment paper if you have one (or a few). I had 3 baking sheets filled with cookies, two sheets lined with silicone mats and one lined with parchment paper. The cookies on the parchment paper spread out much more and were thin and crispy whereas the one on the silicone mats puffed up perfectly and were much softer.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Stacks

I've been wanting to try an eggplant stack recipe for a while now. I've been bookmarking various recipes, but it took until now for me to finally try one. I am a huge eggplant fan, so this dish was right u my alley. I made this recipe as a vegetaran friendly main course, each person having 2 stacks. The feedback was mostly great and really helpful.

The skin on globe eggplants tends to be tough, which I did not think about when making these the first time. Peeling the skin either before roasting or after roasting would remove this tougher texture from the eggplant stacks. You could also use skinny Japanese eggplants and smaller tomatoes and make mini stacks as a bite sized appetizer. Or you could layer the ingredients in a pyrex dish and make a casserole/gratin with the same delicious flavor.

The roasted tomatoes are delicious and tasted great even on their own. I roasted the end bits of the tomatoes so I could try them before making the stacks. Pure garlicky goodness. I had never roasted tomatoes before, but I am kind of hooked now.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Betty Bossi's Salat Zorba (Greek Salad)

This Betty Bossi's salad is one that my family ate often when I was a kid. The page in my mom's cookbook is proof of that, with splatter marks and a slight tear in the page (keep in mind that this book is older than me). The Betty Bossi recipe doesn't use lettuce in this salad and suggests that you can use a twig of fresh tarragon instead of the oregano. I've grown up with the oregano variation since oregano grows year round in my mom's herb garden.

This salad is simple, but delicious. If you need to prepare it ahead of time, make the dressing and store it in an individual container so the salad does not get soggy. This salad make a great main course for night your want a light dinner. Serve with some olive bread or dinner rolls and your meal is complete.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Luby's Macaroni and Cheese

When my sister got married, one of her friends collected recipes form friends and family and made her a cookbook. One of the recipes sent in was for Luby's mac and cheese, which is quite possibly my brother-in-law's favorite comfort food. Luby's, from what I gather, is a Texas classic, famous for their mac and cheese. My sister has made this recipe countless times, and each time it's great. It has that traditional macaroni and cheese taste you'd expect from a rich dish like this. Be prepared to share this with your friends once they've had a taste (and if they love mac and cheese).

My sister last made this dish for a friend who had requested a batch, so what you see above this the no-so-elegant to-go packaging. I've been visiting her for 2 weeks, and we've made all sorts of delicious meals and snacks together. Unfortunately, this was the one we made that wasn't for us. We did stuff our faces with other delicious recipes that I will be posting here shortly.

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