When I was growing up my mom used to make the most delicious chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. One of my most vivid memories is an image of one of her cookies. It was big as my hand and I felt so blessed (my adult thought about my feelings then) to have it.
The thing is, cookies aren’t a need. We indulge simply because we want to. The is just something about them when they come from an oven in someone’s kitchen. Store bought never quite invoke the same feeling of warmth and specialness. Homemade cookies are like a hug making life just a little sweeter. Everybody needs a little love now and then.
Life is better with fresh baked cookies.
Sadly, I don’t have my mom’s original recipe for her Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, but I have found one that everybody loves. Recently, I was told by a friend that she was dreaming about these cookies. You can make them with straight chocolate chips but I like to mix it up with some raisins and nuts. There is really no limitations on the mix-ins. Use your favorites. Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, you can use unsalted but I prefer salted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chocolate chips, or a combination of chips, nuts, and/or dried fruit
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Beat together butter and sugars until smooth.
Add egg and egg yolk, and vanilla one at a time. Beat well after each addition.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until everything is completely incorporated.
Stir in oats until uniform.
Mix in chocolate chips or your own combination of yumminess.
Form small, walnut-sized balls of dough with hands or scoop. You can make bigger if you want a hand sized cookie. These days, I want several smaller ones. Hehe.
Drop balls/scoops of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet that has parchment paper or has been greased a bit with some butter.
Bake for 12 to 17 minutes. I live at 4000 feet above sea level, so my cookies took about 14 minutes.
Yield: Depends on the size. Walnut-sized dough balls yield about 4 dozen.
Here’s your Dumping Dinner for this week. Butter chicken or murgh makhani is an Indian dish of chicken in a mildly spiced curry sauce. It actually came to be in the 1950s because of leftovers. See story here. A few more than normal ingredients but only minimal chopping. It is delicious. Enjoy!
Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani
[No butter. Just yumminess.]
4-6 chicken breasts or thighs
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons Garam Marsala*
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Dump in one-gallon freezer. Seal and freeze.
To cook: 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. When finished, remove meat slice or shread. Serve with sauce.
Meal Maker—Serve with brown rice and your choice of veggies. Garlic naan, Indian flatbread is a must. Yum!
*Garam Marsala is a blend of ground spices common in India, Pakistan, and other South Asia Cuisines. You can find it in the spice section of most grocery store or online. The following is a quick recipe that will do the trick.
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been cooking up in your kitchen. I would love to hear.
I received this text this morning from my daughter, Charity—
Hey, Mom, we all got sick last night and were wondering if you could go to the store for us.
When my daughter says all, she is talking about a lot of people. You see, she has six children, age 10 and under. The flu at her house is serious business especially when she has it, too. So, I did what any mama/grandma would do. I brought her requested items of chicken soup, saltine crackers, and ginger ale to her front door, peeked in, hugged the one non-sick child, and said a quick prayer for their recovery on my way back to my car. Oh, man, it’s gonna be a long day over there.
I wish I had been more prepared. It would have been much more comforting to have some homemade chicken soup to take, but I didn’t have what I needed so I bought the canned instead. Now that I’m back home, I have come up with a Chicken and Rice Soup that can quickly be cooked up on the stove-top or in the crockpot. I have included directions for freezing as well. That way, when you or someone you love comes down sick, in a very short time you can have some comfort simmering away.
Chicken and Rice Soup
1 pound chicken breasts
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried sage
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
1-2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
1 8.5 ounce pouch shelf-stable rice or rice-mixture of your choice or 1 ½ cooked rice.
Add all ingredients except rice into a 6-quart crock pot then cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken breasts are cooked through. If using stove-top, simmer everything except rice until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken and shred. Stir back into soup along with rice.
Dump all ingredients except chicken broth and rice into 1 gallon freezer bag, close, label and freeze. To cook follow directions above adding 2 hours to your cooking time.
This soup can be easily transformed into what you crave or adjusted to what you have in your pantry. Experiment and let me know how it turns out.
Life has been a whirlwind around my house these past few weeks with deadlines and travel.
I must apologize for neglecting you all in keeping up with my commitment to post some yummy dump dinners every week. With all the activity around here, I have depleted my own supply. So, it’s time to stock up, but before I do, here is one recipe you can dump in your crock pot right now. There is a little chopping involved, but at supper time, you will have a pot full of yumminess.
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 16-ounce jars of mild salsa
1 14.5- ounce can black beans, drained
1 14.5- ounce can kidney beans, drained
1 14.5- ounce can sweet corn, drained
1 7-ounce can green chilies drained
Fresh grated cheddar cheese
Green sliced onions
Place all ingredients except those for serving in a crock pot. Leave the ground beef in a chunk to cook.
Cook for 6-8 hours on low.
Before serving use potato masher to break up the ground beef into smaller pieces.
Serve with suggested toppings or cornbread would be delish, too.
To freeze before cooking.
Dump all ingredients except those for serving.
Label and freeze.
When time to cook dump frozen meal in crock pot and cook 8-10 hours.
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Tell me what you have been cooking up in your kitchen? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.
This week, I’m back in Oklahoma for spring break to watch over five-year-old Hero while her parents work. This morning, I dumped one of my daughter’s frozen dinners into the crock pot. While the stroganoff cooked away, we had time to play cards, watch Magic School Bus, and paint our nails. It was a very fun day, and at the end we had something pretty delicious to eat. We added broccoli and chopped salad to make it a meal.
1 ½-2 pounds stew meat
½ cup chopped onion
2 cans golden mushroom soup
½ cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 package onion soup mix
1 pound sliced mushrooms, optional
16 oz egg noodles
Dump all ingredients except noodles into crock pot.
Cook on low 6-8.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Add to meat mixture and serve.
Note: Instead of adding the mushrooms at the beginning, I sautéed them and added with the noodles at the time of serving. You could also use canned mushrooms in place of the fresh.
To freeze: dump ingredients except noodles into 1 gallon freezer bag, seal and freeze.
Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.
Here is another Dump Dinner that will make those busy days just a little bit easier. I like that I can just get dinner going in the morning when my energy is high and my resolve to eat well is still intact. After my visit in Oklahoma, my daughter Genny was inspired to make some more dinners for her freezer after the ones I made ran out. She and her husband packaged up seventeen in just an hour and a half. Here is one they tried this week. She reported that the Beef and Broccoli was their favorite so far.
Beef and Broccoli
2 pounds beef, sliced
1 can beef and mushroom soup
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger, minced or grated
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 cups fresh or 10 ounce bag frozen broccoli cuts, steamed
To cook now:
Dump meat into crockpot.
Mix remaining ingredients together.
Pour over beef.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Before eating stir in broccoli.
To freeze for later:
Dump beef into one gallon freezer bag. Can be split into two bags.
Mix remaining ingredients except broccoli together and dump on top of meat.
Seal and freeze.
Follow To cook now directions on cooking day.
Freezing tip: Place freezer bag into 64-96 ounce plastic bowl to load. This will give you stability and free up your hands. Then, freeze, bowl and all. I know you have seen freezer meals all flat and stacked on the freezer shelves. It’s a thing of beauty, but the shape simply does not fit into a crock pot without defrosting. The bowl also prevents the meal from freezing around the wire on the shelves. Remove bowls when frozen to use for more dinners.
This week has been full of making memories with my girls in Oklahoma.
We have made good use of our short time. There has been some sightseeing, a little shopping, cooking of good food, and talking, talking, talking. It has been so much fun.
Up until just a couple of years ago, my daughters all lived near us. We did a lot of life together. But the need to find work relocated two of them, along with their husbands and our grandchildren. I miss the days when we could just drop by and spend time together. Now we must be intentional with the time we set aside for visiting and make the most of each occasion.
I often wonder why we are not more like this in all our relationships.
I suppose it is because we think we’ll have time to get together as soon as things calm down. Most of us know that a slower life is a joke. The truth is, we will be waiting for a long time for that to happen. And when things actually do get slower, our neglected friendships will be long dead and buried.
So, I propose we take this matter to heart. Let us not allow our friendships grow cold. Let’s be intention with gathering together and making memories. In years to come, it will be good to have a treasure trove of stories that always begin with “Remember when. . .”
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
Are you wondering what good things we cooked while we were visiting?
Lots of great stuff, but one thing that usually shows up on the table when we get together is Beef Enchiladas. I learned this easy recipe when the church we attended would sell these enchiladas to raise funds for an outreach to Mexico. We liked them so much we have continued to enjoy them all these years later. They also bring back the memory of doing something pretty special with a group of people who wanted to do good in the world by serving others. Ever since then, I have had an ongoing love affair with serving the people of Mexico. See Hope Under Construction and For Goodness Sake to find out more of what I’m up to and the ministry I serve with there.
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large can of red enchilada sauce or 1 recipe of homemade
10 6-inch flour tortillas
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced black olives
Toppings—sour cream, sliced green onions, etc.
Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish or pan with cooking spray.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef and onions over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce to season meat mixture.
Spread additional 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly in baking dish. Spoon about 1/4 cup beef mixture down center of each tortilla; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cheese. Wrap tortillas tightly around filling, placing seam side down in baking dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and sliced olives.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
This is an excellent dish to make for a someone who needs a little pick-me-up and a visit from a friend.