Snickerdoodle Blondies

Snickerdoodle Blondies | marissabaker.wordpress.comI tried a couple recipes for snickerdoodle bars or blondies before finding this one from Six Sisters Stuff. It’s so good! I still prefer the actual snickerdoodle cookies, but this is a very tasty bar form that takes much less time to make since the dough doesn’t need chilled and you bake the whole thing at once.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Snickerdoodle Blondies | marissabaker.wordpress.com1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 2/3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

Topping

2 Tablespoon white sugar

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl by hand or with an electric mixer. Stir in dry ingredients.

Snickerdoodle Blondies | marissabaker.wordpress.comSpread batter in a greased 13×9-inch baking pan. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon topping ingredients, then sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until top springs back when pressed.

Snickerdoodle Blondies | marissabaker.wordpress.com

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What to do with Zucchini?

It’s the Great Garden question — what do I do with all that zucchini taking over my garden? It seems to grow overnight. One moment it’s shorter than the length of my hand and the next moment it’s the size of a baseball bat. I usually stir-fry zucchini or turn it into bread (see recipe here), but I needed more options. So I turned to the ever-trusty Google for answers and found several recipes to try.

Do you have any favorite zucchini recipes to share? Link them in the comments below 🙂

Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini Muffins from Simply Recipe  is the first of these zucchini recipes that I tried. They have a really good flavor  — love the cinnamon and nutmeg. They’re neither too dry nor too moist. We had a Lord of the Rings-like conversation here when my mother, sister, and I were talking about how filling these muffins were and my brother got this guilty Hobbit-ish look on his face and said, “I’ve had three.”

Verdict: This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Roast Carrots and Zucchini “Fries” from Voracious Veggie. This is the very best way to cook carrots. They’re healthy and taste like candy. Since we like them so well, we thought we’d follow this blogger’s suggestion and cook zucchini the same way. Maybe I did something wrong, but they were gross. Soft, squishy, slimey — the texture was so bad I couldn’t even tell you if the taste was any good.

Verdict: keep the carrots, toss the zucchini

Zucchini Pistou from Baked Bree uses as it’s base a French version of pesto made with zucchini  as well as basil. It caught my attention because Bree’s pictures are so gorgeous. Mine didn’t look much like this (for one thing I ran out of basil and used walnuts instead of pine nuts in the pistou), but it had a pretty good flavor.

Verdict: I cooked too much pasta, which spread the sauce around too much, so I plan to try this one again and see if I can get it right.

Julia Child’s Zucchini Tian. This one is still on my to-do list. It’s doesn’t look hard, just a bit time consuming. I’m sure anything baked in that much cheese has to taste good, though 🙂

 

Chicken and Broccoli Shells

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.comThis recipe is one of the answers to the question, “What do you do with broccoli heads the size of bowling balls?” Seriously, that’s how big these things are. I’ve never seen broccoli grow this large. We weren’t able to use it all before they started to bloom, but the plants we cut are already producing side-shoot broccoli heads. If you’ve grown broccoli, you know the second heads are significantly smaller than the first ones. For these plants, that means they are size of broccoli you see in the grocery store.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells

2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in 1″ cubes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 1⁄2 cups chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen

2 cups chicken broth

1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of chicken soup

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups small shell pasta, uncooked

1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add broccoli, broth, soup, pepper, garlic and pasta. Bring to a boil.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Check near the end of cooking and add a small amount of water, if needed. Stir in cheese during last two minutes of cooking.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Summer Cheesecake Bars

I’m re-sharing two recipes today that I’ve already posted because they’re just way too tasty to only share once. I’ve been making these fruit cheesecake bars for most of our get-together this summer, and they’re always popular. Both need fresh fruit, so this is the best time of the year to plan on enjoying them.

Peach Cheesecake Squares | marissabaker.wordpress.com
Click here to visit the recipe page for Peach Cheesecake Squares

 

Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Bars | marissabaker.wordpress.com
Click here to visit the recipe page for Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com

I made pesto a little while ago to go with some bread. Now we’re out of bread and I’m left with almost a full batch of pesto. Whatever should I do with it all? Here’s one answer (also yet another way to use the monster heads of broccoli out in the garden).

I’m sure it would taste even better with fresh pesto but, alas, I didn’t get my herb garden planted and I have no basil. Instead, I used a recipe I pulled off the Internet some years ago for dried basil pesto. It’s not as good, but it works in a pinch. If you haven’t any other pesto you like to use, scroll down to the end for that recipe.

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 to 3 cups rotini or bow-tie pasta

2 cups broccoli florets

1 can cream of chicken soup or substitute

1/3 cup pesto

1/2 cup milk

Cook pasta with broccoli until al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet. Cook chicken until no pink remains.

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Add cream of chicken soup, pesto, and milk to the skillet with the chicken. Bring to a boil and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and heat through before serving.

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Dried Basil Pesto

Homemade pesto from dried basil | marissabaker.wordpress.com
up close with the pesto

1/2 cup dried basil

1/4 cup walnuts

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 – 3/4 cups olive oil

Pulse first four ingredients in food processor until walnuts are chopped. Add olive oil and run blender for about 30 seconds. Chill until ready to use.

One Tasty Sandwich and A Tale of House-sitting

One Tasty Sandwich and A Tale of House-sitting marissabaker.wordpress.com

One Tasty Sandwich and A Tale of House-sitting marissabaker.wordpress.com
Nosey Dude

I spent most of the past week house-sitting for my Uncle, which largely involved spending time with his crazy animals. I’d thought the dogs (which I’d heard horror-stories about) would be the problem, since I don’t really care for dogs and I was a bit afraid of them. But they were perfect sweet-hearts while I was there (though right after I left they killed a skunk and rolled in it to prepare for my uncle’s home coming). It was the cats that almost drove me crazy.

I love cats. I think they are adorable. Just for the record, I still think that after spending the week with Nosey Dude and Remy (aka Hoodwinked or whatever you feel like calling him at any given moment). It’s just that they tried my patience a little. I was warned not to bother closing the bedroom door because Remy has figured out door knobs. So I left the door open, and Nosey demonstrated how aptly he was named by coming in to check on me every three hours. By “check on me” I mean pounce on my head (he must weigh 20 pounds) and walk around the pillow crying for attention. I managed to barricade the door on subsequent nights.

One Tasty Sandwich and A Tale of House-sitting marissabaker.wordpress.com
Remy

Remy has also figured out cupboard doors. I heard weird noises from the kitchen all week, and finally caught him sliding into the cupboard where clean dishes are stored. Yuck! I also found him knocking a knife from the counter to the floor. Not sure I want to know what his plans were for that.

Both cats were very talkative, and very interested in the kitchen. They were constantly telling me how hungry they were, and though they looked like they should be on a diet I did feed them three times a day as instructed (with a couple tiny little scoops in between. I’m a sucker for begging kitties). I didn’t spend much time cooking for myself, preferring to take advantage of the alone time to write. One thing I did whip up was a tasty sandwich. It’s not exactly my normal recipe type of post, but that’s what I’m going to share today.

I started by seasoning a piece of chicken with McCormic’s Grill Mates Montreal Chicken spice that I found in the cupboard. Then I just fried it in a thin layer of oil, like I do for Mushroom-Herb Chicken and Thai-Peanut Chicken.

One Tasty Sandwich and A Tale of House-sitting marissabaker.wordpress.comI’d brought some lettuce from home, and stopped at Meijer to pick up Swiss cheese (I could only find slices, which was convenient but why were there no bricks of Swiss cheese?), multigrain ciabatta rolls, and Olive Oil mayonnaise (which I’ve been wanting to try, since I’m a big fan of olive oil).

One Tasty Sandwich and A Tale of House-sitting marissabaker.wordpress.comIt all turned into a nice sandwich, particularly tasty with a juice smoothie on the side. I’ve developed a passion for Naked juice, particularly the Mighty Mango variety (though with this particular lunch I was trying out Strawberry Banana).

One Tasty Sandwich and A Tale of House-sitting marissabaker.wordpress.com
sandwich and smoothie