Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you’re gluten free, you’ll love this recipe.  Even if you’re not, you will love this recipe! The peanut butter flavor is exploding out of these crumbly, delicate, little cookies.  It’s like eating peanut butter from a jar…well, minus that awkward stuck-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth feeling.  Peanut butter, sugar, and mini chocolate chips.  NO FLOUR! Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie 2 Are any of you guys angry eaters?

Like, okay, we have all heard of emotional eaters.  But I am not going to call myself an emotional eater because A) that sounds like a horrible condition, and B) I don’t get hungry with every emotion I feel.  If I am sad, I’m sad.  Don’t shove a hot dog in my face–I want a hug, sheesh.  If I am exceptionally happy, I am happy and I want to buzz around and be energetic and productive and maybe even a little annoying. I don’t have time to think about eating.

I do a pretty good job watching what I eat throughout the day.  I have a pretty balanced diet and try to not to overdo it.

Wellllll…make me angry…and that’ll all change reeeaaal quick.Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie 1

I had a long, crazy day at work and I just wanted to come home and relax for five whole minutes before I had to make dinner.  I walk in the front door, and the first thing I see is my husband and he is up to his elbows in WORK.  He brought work home with him…grrr.  So there’s that.  Then, I realize he has already eaten something for dinner so now I can’t make what I was planning on anymore.  A handful other things bug me on my way to our room; my totally not leak proof water cup tips over as I am carrying it under my arm and water seeps out all over me and I trip on my way into the closet as I am trying to kick off my heels.  Game…OVER. Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie 3I am ticked.  Hangry at this point.  I don’t want to make anything.  I am scrounging through the cupboards and opening the fridge again and again in my attempt to find a quick fix.  I grab the caramel corn.  I eat a handful of that.  I see the bag of mini marshmallows and shove some of those down, too.  I’m pacing around the kitchen blowing off some steam.  Finally, I walk to our tall cabinet and I just stand there staring into it, processing everything that has just occurred.  Then something catches my eye…it’s Cap’n Crunch.  Crunch Berries, of course.  I ate it.  And, it wasn’t even that good.

FYI: I DO NOT EAT CEREAL.  LIKE, EVER.

What have I become?

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie 6

Well, my emotions got the best of me.  I am certainly an angry eater.

I am an angry eater who had nothing but sugar for dinner tonight.

Let’s hope this warm spearmint tea can make me forget.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: Makes 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: You cannot mess this up
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What you need:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).
  2. Line ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper (optional)
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl
  4. Form about 1 inch round balls (one tablespoon dough) and place on cookie sheet
  5. Using a fork, press and flatten each ball just slightly
  6. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes.*
  7. Let cookies cool completely before transferring from pan
  8. ENJOY with a glass of cold milk!

 

*Note: the cookies should still look semi-fluffy and on the verge of not being done.  10 minutes is typically the longest I have gone.  Be sure to let them cool, otherwise, they’ll fall apart!  I did try to make them in a mini-muffin tin, but they need to cook a bit longer and cool MUCH longer before you can successfully transfer them from the tin.  Perhaps cook them the day before you transfer them?  Let me know if you get creative with this recipe!

 

Karlie

 

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie 4

 

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Pantry Pad Thai

This is a pretty darn tasty recipe for Pad Thai that is thrown together with a little bit of everything.  It is a great meal option for when you look into the pantry and all you see are odds and ends.  This dish is also perfect for all those hungry college students who are tired of eating cereal for every meal, but can’t afford takeout.IMG_7332-2  You know what I hate?  Hate is a strong word, I know.  But I hate this one thing.  I really hate when you are so hungry that you are like starving, and you can’t find anything to eat.  Um, Karlie, starving is also a strong word…

Okay, sorry.  So I’m not really ever starving.  But you know those times when you are like really, reallllly hungry and it’s like so hungry that you don’t want to go out and buy food and you just want to eat something from home because you’re THAT hungry…but you can’t come up with anything to make so it is making you angry?  Yeah, that is what I hate.  I hate being hangry.  Anybody know if they’ve put hangry into the dictionary yet…?  It kinda seems like it should be since “selfie” is officially a word.  Selfies…bleh.  That’s another thing I hate.  Okay, [end rant].

On to the good stuff!IMG_7275-3 So, yeah.  This Pantry Pad Thai is flavorful, fast, and really easy to throw together.  You can make it using whatever noodles you’ve got at home, a few dashes of this and that, and some peanut butter.  The peanut butter is the game-changer here.  I think peanut butter is just about the only thing that is absolutely necessary to make this recipe work.  I added shrimp because it packs a little protein and because I am not in college anymore, so I can afford it 😉 IMG_7288-2Before you do anything, you’ll want to whisk together the sauce and let those flavors hang out and mingle for a little while.  After you get the sauce party started, you want to cook the noodles.  If you are adding shrimp or veggies, boil the noodles first and then right before the noodles are done, throw in the shrimp (and/or veggies).  After that, you just mix it all together and eat!  IMG_7354-2

Pantry Pad Thai

  • Servings: Meal for Two
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter of choice
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper or a squeeze of Sriracha
  • 1/2 lb of noodles of choice (spaghetti, linguine, or even ramen would work)
  • 20 frozen shrimp (optional)
  • frozen vegetable mix (optional)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • red onion (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (optional)

What to do:

  1. Fill a medium-sized pot with water and place on stovetop set to HIGH.  Boil water.
  2. While waiting for water to boil- In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, ginger, honey, lemon juice, garlic powder, and red pepper. Set aside.
  3. Once water is boiling, add noodles.  Cook noodles for about 7 minutes.
  4. **If adding frozen shrimp and/or vegetables, add to pot with noodles and cook an additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is slightly pink. Remove pot from heat.
  5. Drain water from pot of noodles/shrimp/vegetables.
  6. Pour sauce mixture over noodles and shrimp and combine.

Optional steps (to continue from step 6):

  1. Crack one egg into hot pan on stove, as if making scrambled eggs. Break yolk.
  2. Add some chopped red onion and coconut to frying pan, stirring together.  Cook just for a minute or two until egg is cooked and you can smell the onion.
  3. Add egg mixture to noodle dish.
  4. Top with chopped cilantro for added flavor.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes:  This dish is best served warm and immediately after prepared.  If refrigerated, warm in microwave for a few minutes the next day.  I hope you like it!

Fresh Strawberry Cookies

These bright pink cookies are made with REAL strawberries!  They’re extra fluffy, super moist, and loaded with strawberry flavor.  I don’t know if you noticed but…they’re PINK! These are the perfect treat for any pink occasion! heartcookie So!  Valentine’s Day is on Saturday!  That’s exciting, right?  Anybody else excited?

….?

Okay! Moving right along…

I figured since love is in the air this time of year I would post a recipe for something that you might love.  It is safe to say that I love these cookies, so I hope you do too.  They are bright pink, which is kind of a funny color for a cookie, but they taste really good!  Let me describe how they taste:  let’s say you had a moist, fluffy, frosted strawberry cupcake in your hands.  If you took that cupcake and flattened it in between your hands and shaped it into a round cookie, you would have a….mashed up, sticky, not-so-pretty strawberry cupcake cookie.  However, it would still taste good!  If you love the taste of strawberry cupcakes, but you’d prefer a sophisticated cookie over a messy cupcake, you will love this recipe! IMG_6670I have a confession.  The only reason I’m beyond excited for Valentine’s Day this year is because I’ve convinced myself that my boyfriend is going to propose.  I really shouldn’t get my hopes up, though.  Any time we go out somewhere, I start to think it is going to happen.  So it probably won’t happen.  But I think about it all the time. It’s BAD.

That is all I am going to say about that.

Cookies! heartcookie4 

Fresh Strawberry Cookies

  • Servings: Makes around 4 dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 8 fresh strawberries, stems removed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • red food coloring

For the frosting:

  • 3 oz box strawberry jello
  • block of cream cheese, softened
  • powdered sugar
  • water

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. Place strawberries in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed or liquefied. Set aside. (If you don’t have those things, mash strawberries with a fork until they are a pulp.)
  3.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add in pureed strawberries and mix until evenly blended.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda with a fork.
  7. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture one cup at a time and mix well. (Batter will be thick.)
  8. Stir in pecans and 5-10 drops of red food coloring to the dough if you’d like.
  9. Drop tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350(F) until edges are slightly brown.

**While cookies are cooling, you can make a simple frosting!

  1. In a small bowl, blend together a block of cream cheese and a package of strawberry jello using an electric mixer.
  2. Beat powdered sugar into mixture and add drops of water until you reach desired frosting consistency.
  3. Frost cookies with a spoon, or place frosting in Ziploc bag, cut the corner, and decorate!
  4. ENJOY!

 

NOTES** Frosting these cookies is the key to making them exceptionally moist!  You can create just about any frosting you want.  I frosted mine in several different ways and stored them in a sealed container and they stayed moist until they were all gone!  I also tried rolling some dough up into plastic wrap (like a tube) and threw it into the freezer to bake later.  This works just as well!  It’s kind of like slice and bake cookies from there! If you tend to like a little less sweet, opt for no frosting, but keep these cookies sealed up in storage for moisture!

Cheesy Ranch Cauliflower Breadsticks

The recipe for these Cheesy Ranch Cauliflower Breadsticks contains ZERO flour.  They are totally gluten-free and extremely low in carbs! You will want to keep this recipe close!IMG_6332 Holy smokes!  Is it really February already?!  Where does the time go?  In case you didn’t know, today is Groundhog Day.  Good old Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow once again.

So, yes.  It really is February already!  One month has really passed since New Years and I really need to start getting back on track with my low-carb eating habits.  This recipe for Cheesy Ranch Cauliflower Breadsticks is a winner, winner, chicken dinner!  The cauliflower binds with an egg and some parmesan cheese to make a hearty, flavorful crust.  Gluten free friends– this concoction is a terrific alternative to buying a prepackaged GF mix because the main ingredient is a vegetable, hello!? Even if you are not avoiding gluten, it is pretty darn easy to eat vegetables when they don’t taste like vegetables!  Now you can be sneaky with those picky eaters in your life! IMG_6287I used to hate cauliflower as a kid.  It was always cut up raw and served cold next to broccoli on veggie trays…and it was disgusting.  Bleh.  It was powdery, chunky, gritty, and tasteless.  I guess I probably still feel that way.  I can’t eat it raw.  I just can’t.  It’s just not good.  But…if I grind it up, mix it with some cheese, add a little ranch flavor, and top all that with even more cheese, I could eat cauliflower for days.IMG_6174

IMG_6218IMG_6346

Cheesy Ranch Cauliflower Breadsticks

  • Servings: Makes about 12 sticks, depending on how you slice it
  • Difficulty: A little advanced, but YOU CAN DO IT!
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Ingredients:

  • 1 12oz bag of frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1oz dry ranch dressing packet
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Empty bag of frozen cauliflower into food processor.  Pulse until finely ground.  Cauliflower should resemble a powdery, rice substance.
  3. Transfer ground cauliflower to microwave-safe bowl and cook in microwave for two minutes; stirring after each minute.  This helps to fluff/steam cauliflower–you want the moisture to be pulled out of it.
  4. If steamed cauliflower is warm, refrigerate until cool.
  5. Add parmesan cheese, egg, ranch packet, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to cauliflower. Stir until combined. (Mixture will be wet and sticky.)
  6.  Pour mixture onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread/shape into a pizza crust or breadstick shape. Do not spread too thin; should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Bake crust in oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  8. Remove crust from oven and layer with ranch dressing (like pizza sauce) and top generously with shredded mozzarella.
  9. Place pan back into oven for another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden.
  10. Slice and serve with marinara sauce or a sauce of your choice!

***Notes:  If you do not have a food processor, I would suggest grating the cauliflower with a cheese grater and chopping it as finely as possible.  If you do not have parchment paper, you can still make this!  Just grease the pan extra, extra well.  You can also use raw cauliflower, of course.  You’ll just have to prepare it and steam it and start at step 4.  This recipe is also perfect for pizza crust!  The base is the same.  You can change the seasonings and substitute Italian seasoning or oregano.

 

 

 

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my favorite recipe for all things Chocolate Chip Cookie.  No doubt about it.  I’ve used the same recipe to make cookies, cookie bars, and even little cookie bowls!  I’ve never had a cookie recipe that is so multipurpose! choc3I don’t know what it is about Chocolate Chip Cookies, but they rule the roost in the dessert world.  If someone asked me what my favorite dessert was, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was Chocolate Chip Cookies.  BUT, for some reason, whenever I make them, the dough tastes so good that I can’t stop eating it.  It’s like the Chocolate Chip Cookies get into my brain!  Wait, here’s another good one: I wake up in the morning and I am feeling extra “good”, so when I make my coffee, I have it with almond milk and a little Stevia instead of loading it with creamer.  Good job, right?  Wrong.  My eyes are immediately drawn to the Chocolate Chip Cookies and I decide I’ll eat two of those for breakfast instead of real food.  WHAT?!  …Like I said, Chocolate Chip Cookies seem to dominate the {dessert} world.

They own me.choc5My Uncle Jim is the one who got me into these Chocolate Chip Cookies.  He lives in a small town in Northern Illinois and people know him as “The Cookie Man”.  I’ll never forget the time I went to his house and he showed me his ways.  Here are three things he taught me that affect how good (or bad, I guess) your cookies will turn out.  You have to have the perfect combination of white and brown sugar.  If you don’t, your cookies will flatten out or burn to a crisp.  Another helpful hint is to use instant vanilla pudding in the recipe.  It adds an all-around better taste than adding vanilla extract to your cookies.  Lastly, you need to beat in your eggs separately.  A lot of people overlook that step.  Don’t forget to mix them in separately!   choc8

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: About 4 dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 3.5oz package instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. In a large bowl, cream softened butter, brown and white sugars, and vanilla pudding with mixer until smooth.
  3. Beat in one egg. Then, beat in second egg.
  4. In small bowl, measure 2 1/2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Mix with fork.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter and sugar mixture slowly and mix until combined.
  6. Mix in bag of chocolate chips by hand.
  7. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets, about 1-2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 11-13 minutes until just barely golden for chewy cookies. (If you want crunchy cookies, cook until golden.)
  9. Cool for 5 minutes and transfer to plate!
  10. ENJOY!

**Notes: This recipe is extremely versatile.  If you want to whip up a batch of cookies and store the rest in the fridge for later, go for it!  Just keep your dough covered.  The cookies are just as yummy if the dough is chilled.   Also, if you want to make cookie bars instead, just use a 9″x13″ pan and bake them until the tops are golden.  Those are divine.

 

 

 

Beer Bacon Chili

beerchili5Beer, bacon, and chili.  Three powerful words that tend to grab people’s taste buds on their own.  Put the beer and bacon INSIDE the chili, and you’ll have people knocking on your door for days!

This Beer Bacon Chili is chock-full of flavor.  It is the ultimate chunky chili and can satisfy the brawniest of appetites.  It is the perfect amount of food for a family.  There’s not so much that you’ll have to eat chili for a week, which is nice.  This is my go-to chili recipe.  The bacon gives the chili a bolder, more meaty flavor.  The beer shines through in the end.  This recipe can be made your own by adding additional spices or beans.  The flavors all marry each other incredibly well.  I’ve never been in a Chili Cookoff, but I’m confident that this chili recipe is one that would stand out in a crowd.  I hope you are as enthusiastic about it as I am 🙂beerchili9Earlier this week, it was sunny and 65 degrees.  It was incredibly nice, so I did what every other Coloradoan did– took my car to the car wash.  Then yesterday came. Yesterday was wet and snowy.  Two days of a spotless, shiny car ruined by wet, sloppy slop.  Mmhmm.  Fortunately, this chili did a great job pulling me out of my despair.  (I still might be a tiny bit bitter about it, might be.) But it really is a perfect cold weather, cheer-you-up kind of meal.beerchili8Yeah, baby.

Beer Bacon Chili

  • Servings: Serves 6 (easily doubled)
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 3 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 lbs. of ground beef or turkey, thawed (I used 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
  • cayenne pepper (use up to 2 teaspoons if you want it spicy)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 14.5oz can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes, or crushed
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 bottle of your favorite beer (I used a seasonal Blue Moon from the fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 14.5oz can of pinto beans, drained
  • variety of toppings for garnish: jalapenos, green peppers, white queso, cheese, sour cream, bacon bits

What to do:

  1. In a 6-quart stock pot, cook bacon pieces on high heat until brown.
  2. Add chopped onion to pot, cover with lid, and cook until onions on low/medium heat until they are clear.
  3. Uncover pan, add garlic, stir and cook for a minute or two.
  4. Turn stove to medium/high heat and add ground beef; breaking up with wooden spoon and stirring about 5 minutes.
  5. Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt.  Cook for another minute.
  6. Add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, and Worcestershire sauce to pot and bring mixture to boil.
  7.  Once boiling, turn stove to medium/low and cover pot halfway.  Set timer for 30 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes, drain beans and add to chili. Cook 10 more minutes, uncovered.
  9. Serve chili warm and top with whatever you’d like!

 

Notes** This chili is REALLY good right away, but even better reheated and eaten the day after.  Also, I apologize for not documenting step-by-step this time.  Chili isn’t pretty until it’s done 🙂beerchili4

Deep Dish Meatball Subs

meatballs1Mamma Mia! That’s a spicy meat-a-ball-uh!

Not really, though.  That was just to make you laugh.  This dish isn’t spicy at all.  (Sorry if I got your hopes up.)

I can come up with hundreds of words to describe this delectably tasty, meaty, cheesy, bubbly, mouth-watering, tempting, jaw-dropping recipe.  But spicy is not one of them.

So!  Meatballs, yes.  This recipe is a twist on the classic Meatball Sub sandwich.  I called it Deep Dish Meatball Subs because I felt like if I gave it a name that included the word “casserole”, it sounded like it had some kind of soup in it, and casseroles are generally associated with being boring and bland.  This dish is NOT bland or boring, I promise you.  It’s got biscuits that puff up in the pan, frozen meatballs that cook themselves in the oven, a can of sauce, and cheese all over it.  If you’ve ever loved a meatball sub sandwich, you will be downright dumbfounded when you get a bite of this effortless dinner dish.

meatball3Want to know something?  That “Mamma Mia…!” quote is from an Alka Seltzer commercial from 1969.  I wasn’t even born in 1969.  In fact, my parents were still toddlers in 1969.  And yet, almost all of us know the “spicy meat-a-ball-uh” voice.  That just cracks me up.

meatball6This is one can of refrigerated Pillsbury Grands biscuits.  Just open the can and try not to get scared when it pops (hehe, gets me every stinkin’ time). Then you want to cut them into eighths like this!

meatball7After you combine the biscuits with the sauce, you have a pretty thin and seemingly sparse bottom layer.  Don’t worry, though.  I took the frozen meatballs and kinda filled in the gaps and added some extra ones here and there.  You can certainly make your own meatballs, but I am always shooting for fast and easy.  Of course…the more meatballs, the merrier!

IMG_5561Get some cheese-loaded action going and get that baby into the oven!

Deep Dish Meatball Subs

  • Servings: 6-8 generously
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Pillsbury Grands! refrigerated biscuits
  • 26 oz can of spaghetti sauce, your choice
  • 1 bag of frozen meatballs (found in the frozen appetizer section)
  • 8 oz bag shredded mozzarella cheese

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F) and grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish.
  2. Open can of biscuits and cut each biscuit into 8 pieces.
  3. Place cut biscuits into medium bowl and cover with half a can of spaghetti sauce (1 1/2-2 cups).
  4. Spoon 1 or 2 tablespoons of leftover sauce over bottom of greased baking dish.
  5. Pour biscuits into baking dish and spread into thin layer, covering bottom.
  6. Layer frozen meatballs on top of biscuits, filling in gaps.
  7. Sprinkle bag of cheese over top, liberally.
  8. Bake dish in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until cheese is golden.
  9. Serve warm with extra sauce on top, if you prefer.
  10. ENJOY!

 

And here’s the commercial with the “Spicy Meatball” guy, if you need a little laugh 🙂