Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Pecans and White Chocolate Chips

SS WC Pecan Cookies

So I have the baking bug now that cooler air has made summer disappear all too quickly. First thing I wanted to do this weekend is bake cookies! These are delicious cookies are packed with oodles of semisweet chocolate chunks, ground pecans, and white chocolate chips – perfect to welcome back Fall (but I am sad to see summer go!!).

Recipe makes 28 cookies using a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 T capacity).

Ingredients:

  • 1.2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup of pecan halves, coarsely ground in a mini food processor or finely chopped
  • 1 cup of good quality semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat liner
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and sugars together until light and creamy.
  3. Add the egg and combine well, then add the vanilla.
  4. Combine the baking soda with the hot water and add the liquid to the cookie batter and combine.
  5. Add the kosher salt to the flour and whisk to combine, then add to the mixer combining well.
  6. Add the pecans, chocolate chunks and white chocolate chips to the dough and stir to combine.
  7. Using a medium OXO scoop (1 1/2 tablespoon capacity) or spoons drop dough onto the baking sheet. Flatten the tops of the cookies to form “coins” so the cookie bake evenly into perfect circles.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.
  9. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Tip: After step #7 you can place the ready to bake raw cookies into the freezer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once dough is frozen solid remove the cookies and place in a large freezer bag to enjoy anytime without the prep work! Bake from frozen until golden (may need a an extra minute or two). 

Sneaky Stuffed Manicotti

stuffed manicotti

It is a Momstown Recipes post today, highlighting back-to-school cooking, hidden veggies and a make-ahead/freezable meal! This is a really yummy stuffed manicotti recipe I developed made with extra lean ground chicken, veggies and a spinach-ricotta cheese mixture. Makes 28 manicotti – cook once and eat twice (or more!). Easy to freeze and then you have a nutritious homemade meal ready in the freezer vs store bought.

Check out my delicious sneaky manicotti recipe by linking here to momstown.ca!

 

Green Smoothie with Banana, Mango, Strawberry & Coconut Milk

IMG_8451[1]I know, I know, another green smoothie recipe, but seriously if you aren’t drinking green smoothies yet you need to (especially before cold and flu season hits!). I swear by them and found after a full winter drinking them last year that it decreased the severity of any colds I caught. This one is especially nice with the addition of coconut milk making it creamy and delicious and it is the new favourite at my house – two thumbs up by the hubby and kids. As long as you use 1 cup of liquid  you can adjust how much coconut milk and water you use. Get blending!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of fish oil (I use NutraSea Lemon)
  • 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups of baby spinach or kale

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
  2. Pour into a tall glass or travel tumbler.

Quinoa Penne Toss

IMG_8415[1]

Here is an easy and delicious back-to-school recipe featuring late summer veggies. I toss my favourite quinoa penne with oodles of my families fave veggies and top it with some kid (and adult!) friendly bocconcini cheese for fun. This is one of my all-time favourite dinners – fast, healthy, delicious and easy to switch up the veggie combos to make it different each time.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of Quinoa Penne (I like this one by truRoots which I find at Costco)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 x 227 g (8 oz) packages of sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 a large vidalia onion, sliced (or substitute one large cooking onion)
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise then sliced crosswise
  • 1 summer squash (yellow zucchini), halved lengthwise then sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup of sliced sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese (omit if desired to be dairy free or to be certain to be gluten free)
  • Mini bocconcini cheese, quartered and tossed on top to serve (if desired)
  • Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning and extra for serving
  • Kosher (coarse) salt for seasoning

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium high, while also heating a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add olive oil and garlic to the skillet, then add the mushrooms and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir, and then cover to cook down for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and pepper and then the zucchini last as I find it needs the least amount of time to cook.
  3. Meanwhile, add penne to boiling water and cook according to package directions. This package had a cook time of 6-8 minutes.
  4. After 8 minutes has passed, transfer penne to the veggies with a large slotted spoon.
  5. Stir to combine penne and veggies. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Season with more pepper if desired.
  6. Spoon into bowls and top some bocconcini (if desired) and more Parmesan and pepper as well if you like more!

Salted Caramel Iced Coffee

IMG_8359[1]

After having some delicious iced coffee in Cape Cod, I was determined to try making something just as good at home. Now I do use a Keurig as a primary coffee maker – for us it just makes the perfect cup every time and we love it. Here in my hometown of Burlington, ON we have an excellent home beverage shop called ECS Coffee Inc. They carry single serve capsules and all sorts of accessories, syrups, beverage equipment & appliances. What is amazing about this store is that they let you try a sample while you are there, and sometimes they are demonstrating a new appliance which is really fun (my kids enjoyed a soda stream sample and snow-cones when we were last in). On that trip into the store a couple of weeks ago to pick up one of my faves (Marley One Love), I sampled Marley Mystic Morning which they had tagged as “great over ice”. One of the associates helped me out with some tips and then I added in a couple squirts of Torani Salted Caramel Syrup which they had out with the coffee for sampling as well. It was perfection! So home I went with my box of Mystic Morning and my own bottle of Torani Salted Caramel. On days when I am feeling like an afternoon pick me up this is the perfect tall glass of iced coffee! Tip: If you prefer a stronger iced coffee you can try making coffee ice cubes by freezing cooled brewed coffee in ice cube trays.

Ingredients:

  • Ice Cubes
  • Marley Mystic Morning K-Cup
  • Torani Salted Caramel Syrup
  • Your choice of cream/milk if desired (I use whatever is in the fridge! I do like half and half as a treat)

Directions:

  1. Fill a large glass (I use a 16 ounce glass – pictured above) with ice cubes.
  2. Brew your Mystic Morning coffee over ice – I choose the “small mug” option on my Keurig which brews 7.25 ounces.
  3. Add a couple of squirts of the syrup.
  4. Add cream/milk as desired.

Mini Peach Raspberry Crumble Pies

IMG_8434[1]

It is the last week of peach week and I am going to finish up with an easy dessert. These simple mini peach raspberry crumble pies are might I say adorable and delicious! A fun bite sized treat. I used frozen mini pastry shells making this really easy to pull together. You of course could also choose to make your own pastry if desired.

Ingredients:

For the Filling:

  • 12 mini tart shells (found in the frozen food section)
  • 1 cup of fresh diced peaches (peeled)
  • 1 cup of fresh whole raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

For the Crumble Topping:

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove tart shells from the freezer and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
  2. Prepare the crumble by combining the flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon and butter in a small bowl until butter is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly (I just do it with my hands, but you can use 2 knives, a pastry cutter, or whiz it in a mini food processor).
  3. Combine the peaches, raspberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  4. Fill each tartlet shell equally with filling. Top with equal amounts of crumble.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling.
  6. Remove from oven and onto a cooling rack and let stand until completely cool.

Arugula, Peach, Prosciutto and Bocconcini Salad

IMG_8353[1]Here we go on Peach Week Day 4! Today is an extension from yesterday’s appetizer using the same components to make a delicious salad of argula, peaches, prosciutto, and bocconcini. This way  you can extend the ingredients you have purchased to create the canapés – gives you some options to create!

I love this salad – easy and so summery. If you want to add some protein to create a dinner plate pair with some grilled chicken or shrimp, and some nice bread for a lovely meal. As usual with some of my salad recipes I just eyeball how much I want of each component for the perfect personal salad. Have fun and make it your own!

Ingredients:

  • Baby Arugula
  • Extra virgin olive oil, drizzed over arugula
  • Peaches, cut into slices or chunks
  • Prosciutto, pulled into bit size pieces
  • Mini Bocconcini, quartered
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Balsamic Glaze, drizzled over salad

Directions:

  1. Begin by placing a handful of arugula in a bowl or on a large plate – place however much you desire. Drizzle with some olive oil and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss lightly with tongs or a fork.
  2. Arrange peaches, prosciutto and bocconcini over arugula.
  3. Finish with balsamic glaze drizzed over the top and a final grind of pepper if desired.