Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I can't tell you how convenient it is to have cookie dough rolled and ready to bake in your freezer.  This cookie recipe is a huge hit with my Bible study group.  I adapted it from a few recipes that I found online.  The oatmeal makes them hearty.  The dried cranberries bring a great tang and the white chocolate makes them sweet.  Only bake how many you need and keep the rest in the freezer for spontaneous entertaining.  Did you just find out your co worker's birthday is tomorrow?  Is your mother in law in from out of town for a surprise visit?  Did your child give his or her teacher a very hard time and you'd like to reward the teacher with a plate of homemade cookies to apologize?  Well just grab a dozen cookie dough balls out of the freezer and bake them up in 12 minutes flat.  Done! 


1 cup butter flavored Crisco stick (or margarine)
2/3 C white sugar
2/3 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 C quick oats
2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tar tar (not pictured above and optional)
1 C Craisins (5 oz package)
1 1/2 C white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl cream together the butter flavored Crisco stick, 2/3 C brown sugar and 2/3 C white sugar.  Add 1 tsp vanilla, two beaten eggs and stir well.  I use a hand mixer to make quick work of these steps.
Add 1 cup of quick oats and stir it up! Sprinkle in 2 1/4 C flour, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda.  If you would like your cookies to have a rough cracked appearance on the top instead of a smooth look then add 1/2 tsp cream of tar tar.  It will not affect the taste of the cookie, but it will have a great bakery look to them.  Stir well.
Now is time to put away the hand mixer and add the 1 cup of Craisins and 1 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips.  I knead them in by hand so that they get well dispersed and the dried cranberries wont get chopped up by the beaters. 

Now you get to decide how many you want to bake and how many you would like to freeze.  I put 18 cookies on a sheet and baked at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.  Once they just start to turn golden brown take them out and let them cook a few minutes on the cookie sheet.
Can you see all the cracks and fissures on top that make them look hearty and homey?  Now take the remaining cookie dough and roll 1 1/2" balls.  Place them 1 inch apart on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 
Place them on the pan into the freezer for 2 hours.  Once they are cold and firm you can remove them from the sheet pan and pile the cookie dough balls into a labeled gallon freezer bag.  By flash freezing them on a sheet pan first it will ensure that they don't stick together in the gallon bag and make it hard to break apart. 

Then any day you need some fresh made from scratch cookies you can grab a few out of the freezer and bake them for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.  This works out well for my husband and I because we don't want 4 dozen cookies laying around the house, but we can bake just a few at a time and we aren't so tempted to overindulge. 

I hope you give this one a try. 
Christie aka Keeza

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sweet Corn Chowder

I am so sad to see the sweet corn season end.  I was able to find 6 ears at my local grocery store and I scooped them up.  Then I stopped at a couple of farm stands and stocked up on veggies to make this soup.  I'm sure you can make it all year long with a few cans of sweet corn, but try to get sweet corn on the cob when you can.  Cream and milk do not freeze well so I make this chowder creamy by blending a potato in with chicken stock.  If you prefer you can substitute vegetable stock and this is a hearty meat free soup.  We ate ours with garlic bread and some very tasty bacon bits on top.  Awesome!  Sweet, savory and salty. 


1 medium onion                     .30
2 carrots                                  .25
2 zucchini                                 .66
1 red bell pepper (or green)  1.00
1 Lg russet potato                   .69
1 quart chicken broth             2.99
6 ears sweet corn                   1.80
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp all purpose seasoning
salt and pepper to taste


Peel and cut the russet potato into 1" cubes.  Drop the potato into the bottom of a large soup pot.  This recipe makes 3 quarts of soup so make sure the pot is big enough.
Pour in the entire quart of chicken broth and heat to boiling.  Reduce to simmer and let cook until fork tender. 

In another large heat one tablespoon olive oil.  Peel and chop the onion and carrot and add to the pan.  Saute for 3-5 minutes or until just starting to get tender. 
Then peel and chop the zucchini and add to the pan along with the chopped red bell pepper. 
While that cooks shuck the corn and cut the kernels off the cob.  Add to the pan and stir well.  Let these veggies warm through while you tend to the broth and potato.
Remove the broth and potato from the heat once the potato is nice and soft.  Pour into a blender and allow the broth to cool. 
Once the liquid is less steamy carefully place the top on the blender and mix on a low setting.  If you blend it on high the heat will build up and the hot liquid will spurt everywhere around the lid and you will be soaked in hot steamy starchy potato broth.  I may have done that once or twice.  Once the potato is completely blended it will look like this.
This will be the thickener that will add a little backbone to your soup without adding milk or cream.  It has a velvety quality that will make your soup into a chowder.  Now all that is left is to combine all the veggies and all the potato broth into the big soup pot and bring to a boil.  Add all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper to taste and let cool.
Divide into three quart containers and freeze.
Thaw in the fridge for two days before cooking.  Then warm on the stove before serving.  Add a slice of garlic bread and this meal is heavenly.  You can add any fun toppings out of your fridge.  We tried bacon bits and Parmesan.  It would also be great with fresh parsley and a dollop of sour cream. 

I was able to make three quarts of soup for $2.53 each.  With garlic bread and bacon bits we spent $5.28 on our whole meal. 

I hope you give this one a try before all the sweet corn is gone!
Christie aka Keeza