Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Nearly Famous (Double Batch!) Chocolate Chip Cookies




Hello there friends! 

I guess I have developed this bad habit of once yearly posting. 
I know I always say this...but I am really going to try to post more frequently. I have so many recipes to share with you guys!

On that note...I am trying a new (to me) printable recipe format. It is super old school. Like 2012.  But when you are dealing with a tech moron such as myself, you are going to have to take what you can get...at least until I can train my brain to accept and absorb new information...or find a computer whiz to help me. (Not gonna lie, I am kind of hoping on an IT genius dropping from the sky.)

Oh, and did you notice the new blog name?  After what felt like months of agonizing (so dramatic) over this, it just popped into my head last week. Lots of things are happening that way for me lately, though. It is like this years long fog is finally lifting. It is definitely a God thing. You know when you have been praying for the wrong things for so long (or not even praying at all), and then you finally, in a moment of complete desperation, pray for the right thing? Things just start to happen. They may not be comfortable things. In all honesty, my moment lead to some pretty dark days. But never once in those days did I question it. I realized exactly why things happened the way they did. God was trying to bring me to this place of total surrender. Realizing that His plan may not be my plan, but it is the right plan. 

I am rambling. I know.

Now that we have all of that out of the way...

Just get to that damn cookie recipe, Jess!!






When I claim these to be nearly famous, I mean that once people taste them, they are the only chocolate chip cookie they can think about...but since only a handful of people have ever actually eaten them (mainly my family and friends)...it doesn't qualify them for actual full blown fame. 



Yes, they are that good.




As many of us baking enthusiasts know, this is the Holy Grail of all recipes.

The quintessential chocolate chip cookie.




It has actually taken me many years to hone this recipe. 

Dozens of batches of cookies that were either too crispy, too chewy, too thin, too light, too chocolaty (that's a thing in my world...deal with it), or too bland, have led me to this.



Perfection. A bold statement, I know. I encourage you to taste for yourself.




Ingredients:
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temp
  • 4 tsp REAL vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 4 cups chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or other large bowl), combine softened butter and sugars. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
  3. Mix in eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla, baking soda, baking power, and salt. Mix until well combined.
  5. Slowly add flour, mixing until combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
  8. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop dough onto a parchment lined pan, leaving 2-3 inches between cookies.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes (or until lightly browned) 
 Printable Recipe


If you would like to watch an actual demonstration, you can head over to Instagram @jessiefromscratch and watch my very first IGTV baking production. Don't be too hard on me...I am new to the video thing. I am actually planning on using this platform for some of the new recipe I post. Let me know how you like it. While you are over on Insta, you can also follow me...if you want. I share stories daily. 

I will be posting more recipes soon!

 Jessie
 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Identity Crisis: Bruschetta Chicken Over Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Hey there! It's me. Don't remember who I am? That's ok...half of the time I don't remember either. For real. Life can really pack a wallop. Sometimes when we are in the thick of it we lose pieces of ourselves, and getting them back.. and fit into place..is difficult. That is where I am right now. But here are a few of the definite things I know...I am Jessie, I love to cook and bake, I am passionate about real food (my definition may differ from some), and I love to write. How that all comes together and makes sense...I am not sure.

Speaking of packing a wallop...you should totally make this bruschetta baked chicken I conjured up this weekend. It's a flavor wallop. And, like me, it's having a bit of an identity crisis...is it Italian, with its tomato basil garlicky topping, over melty mozzarella ...or is it good old fashioned, chicken-and-mashed-potatoes, American comfort food? It's not sure. But it is amazing.

See how I did that? Slid that in there and tied it all together. Smooth transitions are what I am all about.

Lies.





Identity Crisis: Bruschetta Chicken Over Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Bruschetta Topping

2 cups of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of fresh basil, chiffonade cut
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Toss to coat.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 1/2  pounds of red potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream (possibly more)
3 tablespoons butter
1 head of roasted garlic
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Sea salt and pepper

Balsamic Glaze

1 cup of good quality (I hate when Ina does that, but it could not be avoided) balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of brown sugar

4-5 chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
Sea salt and pepper


I am not tech savvy, and I do not possess the kind of resources to post this recipe in a fancy schmancy way. I know it may be a problem for some...but hey, I am doing the best I can with what I have.

First things first. The balsamic glaze for this recipe can be made up to a few days ahead of time...but, to be honest, I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants on this one, so I made it at the same time as everything else. I would not recommend this. The glaze did not have time to thicken up. If you don't want to make it that far in advance, it really only took about a half an hour for it to cool and thicken.

Here are the instructions...






(Sorry for the horrible pictures...they are stills that I created from iPhone videos used in my Instagram story. See...not tech savvy in the least. It's a bit laughable.)


Add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer, whisking every so often, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand to thicken.

On to roasting the garlic. This is super easy.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

 




Simply peel a few of the outer layers of skin off of a head of garlic, then cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top. Place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with about a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, and wrap it loosely in the foil. You can put this into a small oven safe dish, such as a ramekin, or just place it right on the middle rack of your oven. Roast for 30 minutes. This should be done a few hours before you prepare the chicken. Because one thing you do not want to do is squeeze piping hot garlic out of the skin. Unless you enjoy a good second degree burn which will erase your fingerprints for a week.

Next, I like to always have everything washed, chopped, and ready to Tango. Kitchen chaos does not make for an enjoyable experience. This means that washing your potatoes, slicing the onion, and preparing the bruschetta topping should be your next priority.

For my bruschetta, I used locally grown organic small tomatoes. They were absolutely perfect in this dish.






So...

We are ready to start bringing this bad boy together. 

I suggest that you begin by boiling your potatoes. Depending on their size, you can either cut them in half or into quarters. I used new potatoes that I purchased at the farm market, which were about the size of a golf ball, so I cut them in half. They will take roughly 20 minutes to cook from the point at which they start to boil.

While your potatoes are cooking, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle the foil with olive oil and smear it around a little, to prevent your chicken breasts from sticking. Lay your chicken breasts, smooth side down, on the pan and season them with salt and pepper. Turn them over and season the top.

Place a few slices of onion on each breast and season them with more salt and pepper.






Pop them into a 375 degree oven.

After 20 minutes, take them out and top the onion with slices of fresh mozzarella. I used Bel Gioioso slices. They are the perfect size. If you do not have slices available, you can slice your own to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Bake for another 10 minutes.

At this point it will look like you have a soupy mess...the joy of working with fresh mozzarella. But I promise it will get better.

Turn the oven to broil, and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the cheese bubbles and browns a bit.

Remove the chicken from the oven.






It's time to discuss those roasted garlic mashed potatoes...which will likely be ready to put together while the chicken is baking.

Once they are tender, drain your potatoes and return them to the pan. Add the butter and heavy cream over top. Next, squeeze that delicious smelling garlic that you roasted earlier into the mix. Add some salt and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash them to your desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky. You can certainly add more cream...or a little whole milk...to thin them out if necessary. Taste to make sure that they are well seasoned. This is important! Sprinkle them with fresh parsley (I used dried, because it was all I had on hand), and give everything a stir to combine.






Finally, we plate this all up.

Yassssss!

Place a scoop of mashed potatoes onto the middle of 4 or 5 (depending on how many breasts you baked) plates, and spread it out a bit. It should cover an area a little larger than the size of the chicken breasts. Next, place those cheesy chicken breasts onto the potatoes.Top with a generous helping of the bruschetta and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.






This is honestly one of the best dinners to ever come out of my head and onto a plate. My son is still raving about it. So if you want to impress your family with something a little different, and huge on flavor, I urge you to give this a try!

If you enjoyed this post, and would like me to start posting more, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Jessie

Monday, October 17, 2016

Apple & Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts



About 10 years ago I stumbled on a recipe for cheddar and apple stuffed chicken breasts. It sounded delicious, and very autumnal, so I was sold. At that point I was a beginner cook, at best. The recipe called for chicken breasts for be pounded thin, stuffed with filling, then rolled up and baked. It was a disaster. Picture raw chicken pieces flying from under my meat mallet, while those poor breasts were torn to bits by an overzealous beating. Then there was my brilliant attempt to save them by piling what poultry scraps were left onto a baking sheet and plopping gobs of cheesy apple stuffing on top. They may be the worst thing to ever come out of my kitchen. So, when I came across a picture of a gorgeous platter of apple stuffed chicken breasts on Pinterest, I decided that I needed a chance at redemption.

Sans meat mallet.

It pleases me down to my perfectionist soul to be able to present a relatively easy, delicious recipe for Apple & Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts. Which, to my amazement, came together on the first try. Even with my aversion to touching raw meat. 

Let’s get down to business.

You will need…



 Four boneless skinless chicken breasts.



One or two apples, depending on their size. I used Macintosh, because they are my favorite, but any slightly tart, firm baking apple will work.

Four ounces of Gouda cheese, shredded.

A half of a cup of seasoned bread crumbs. Store bought can be used, but I find that making my own saves money and taste better. I use the leftover ends of our bread loaves. Just zip them together in a food processor with some dried thyme and parsley flakes. They can be spread out on a cookie sheet and left in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry shelf, for two or three days, or until all of their moisture has evaporated. Store them in a tightly closed container for up to a month.

Two shallots, sliced to about a quarter inch thickness…



and sautè over medium-low heat in a tablespoon of butter (I use Kerrygold, a good grassfed butter, for all of my cooking and baking), until tender and golden.



In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, diced apples, shredded gouda, and slightly cooled sautéed scallions, with a few pinches of sea salt. 



Gently toss together until the stuffing is evenly mixed. Set aside and move on to preparing the chicken breasts.



 This here made all the difference. 



In lieu of pounding and rolling the chicken, I decided to cut pockets. I’m a genius! (Not really…I read this on a similar recipe.)
 
Using a sharp knife cut a deep pocket into each breast. Be careful not to butterfly or cut through it. Leave at least a half inch on the sides and bottom, so the filling won’t be able escape.



Fill each pocket with 1/4 of the stuffing mix.

Pack it as full as possible, without tearing the chicken.



Secure each breast with toothpicks. I used between 4 and 5 per breast. If you have areas that do tear, you can use the toothpicks to mend the holes. Simply insert the toothpick through one end of the hole and secure it to the opposite end. Just remember that it is there when it comes time to remove the toothpicks. That could be an unpleasant surprise.



Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.



Once the chicken is prepared, heat two tablespoons of butter over medium to medium-high heat in a large cast iron (or other ovenproof) skillet.

I prefer butter over olive oil because of its ability to withstand heat without degrading…and it just tastes better. 
 




Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until it is a nice golden brown. (Note: I put mine on bottom side up first…I should have done the opposite.)




Carefully flip each breast and cook for another 5 minutes.



Using a potholder, transfer the entire pan to a 425 degree oven for an additional 30 minutes...or until the internal temperature of the breasts reach 165 degrees.




While the chicken bakes, pour 1/2 cup of apple cider and 1/4 cup of a good white wine (that is so Ina, of me) into a measuring glass.



Once the chicken comes out of the oven, immediately plate it, leaving all of the buttery juices and chicken bits in the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the stovetop and bring contents to a bubble over medium-high heat. 



If the bottom of the pan seems to be lacking in butter, add another tablespoon.

Pour the cider and wine mixture into the skillet, whisking into it the contents of the bottom of the pan.

Whisking frequently, cook until reduced by at least half, and forms a thick, syrupy sauce.



While the sauce is reducing, remove the toothpicks from each breast.

Pour sauce over the plated Chicken breasts and they are ready to serve.











Apple & Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 apples, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bead crumbs (recipe below)
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 2 slices of day old bread (The ends from a loaf of bread work well!)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°
1. Over medium heat, sauté sliced shallots in about one tablespoon of butter, until tender and golden. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine diced apples, Gouda, bread crumbs, cooled shallots and a few pinches of salt in a medium mixing bowl. Toss together gently.
3. Cut pockets into each chicken breast, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space around the edges.
4. Fill each breast with 1/4 of the stuffing mixture, and secure closed with toothpicks.
5. Over medium to medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in an ovenproof skillet.
6. Carefully add stuffed chicken breasts to the skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
7. Place the entire skillet on the middle rack of the preheated oven.
8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°.
9. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove form the oven and place on a platter.
10. Immediately transfer the skillet, with juices and chicken bits, to the stovetop and bring back to a bubble over medium-high heat.
11. Add apple cider and white wine to the skillet and whisking briskly. Cook until reduced by half and forms a syrupy sauce.
12. Pour the sauce over the plated chicken breasts.
Serve immediately.

Enjoy!


 ~Jessie

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

 

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches 10

 

Last week, while digging in our chest freezer, I found our forgotten ice cream maker. And, because I have food on the brain ALL OF THE TIME, I started dreaming up yummy ideas.

Since my kids have been begging me to make chocolate chip cookie sandwiches…with buttercream frosting…I decided that ice cream would be so much better. Especially now that we will be entering the summer season.

I mean, cookies AND ice cream…come on! One of the best combos ever, right?

Here is how I did it…completely from scratch…

 

cookie collage

 

This is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. It is based on a recipe that I found on All Recipes, and have tweaked a bit.

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

  • 1 cup pasture raised butter
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (preferably pasture raised)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli)

In a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) cream butter and sugars with a mixer, Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the edges as you go. Add vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt into a medium size bowl. Pour dry ingredients into the wet mixture, and mix until well combined. Add the chocolate chips, and fold in with a spatula.

Bake for 10-12 minutes on a parchment lined baking pan.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Now for my favorite part…

The Ice cream!

 

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 4 cups half & half
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves completely. Follow the directions on your ice cream freezer.

 

 

ice cream 1

 

ice cream 2

 

We have the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker attachment for our stand mixer. LOVE it! It is super simple to use…and does an awesome job. It is a little pricey, but we got ours at Bed Bath & Beyond a few years ago using a 20% off coupon. (FYI: The June issue of Better Homes and Gardens contains a 20% BB&B off coupon.)

 

ice cream 3

 

ice cream 4

 

ice cream 6

 

When your ice cream is finished…

 

ice cream 5

 

Transfer to a BPA free plastic container with a lid, and freeze for at least 4 hours.

 

ice cream 8

 

I couldn’t wait that long, so the first batch on cookie sandwiches were a little on the soft side.

To assemble, take one of your delicious homemade cookies…

 

ice cream 9

 

place a big scoop of ice cream in the center…

 

ice cream 12

 

and top with a second cookie.

 

I ce cream cookie sandwiches

 

Devour all that yumminess!

Now that I have busted out the ice cream maker, I foresee a lot of deliciousness this summer.

What is your favorite way to enjoy ice cream?

Jessie

Nearly Famous (Double Batch!) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello there friends!  I guess I have developed this bad habit of once yearly posting.  I know I always say this...but I am re...