Summer Pasta

Pinit

Even though Fall doesn’t officially begin until September 22nd this year, in my eyes, Fall always begins on September 1st. This is when I think it’s socially acceptable to start decorating in those wonderful Autumn colors and eating all things pumpkin! So if this is true, then August 31st is sort of the last day of summer.

That brings me to Summer Pasta! A very simple yet delicious last taste of summer for you to enjoy today.

This recipe is provided by my wonderful sister-in-law, Andrea! She just gave me this recipe recently at a wonderful wedding shower thrown for me and Herb. Did I tell you we’re getting married on October 20th?!

Summer Pasta

Recipe from Andrea

Ingredients

  • 1 box thin spaghetti or linguine noodles
  • Squash and zucchini (2-4, depending on size)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Basil and Parmesan to taste

Directions

Cook your noodles according to the directions. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Slice your zucchini and squash. Add olive oil, garlic, squash and zucchini to the skillet. Lightly salt the vegetables.

Saute until tender, stirring often, for about 8 minutes, until squash and zucchini begin to brown lightly.

Spoon the vegetables over the cooked noodles and top with chopped fresh basil (or dried) and grated Parmesan to taste.

Pinit

We give this dish 4 out of 5 herbs. It is delicious and simple, and a great way to use up the last of your summer squash and zucchini! Thanks Andrea!

 

Summer Pasta
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 1 box thin spaghetti or linguine noodles
  • Squash and zucchini (2-4, depending on size)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Basil and Parmesan to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook your noodles according to the directions.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Slice your zucchini and squash.
  3. Add olive oil, garlic, squash and zucchini to the skillet. Lightly salt the vegetables.
  4. Saute until tender, stirring often, for about 8 minutes, until squash and zucchini begin to brown lightly.
  5. Spoon the vegetables over the cooked noodles and top with chopped fresh basil (or dried) and grated Parmesan to taste.

 

Heartwood Restaurant

Review of Heartwood Restaurant

A great new place has come to Abingdon, Virginia – Heartwood Artisan Gateway. Heartwood is several great things wrapped into one location: an Appalachian cultural center where local artists can display and sell their crafts, an event venue where regional musicians can share their music, a great restaurant using local meat and produce, and a coffee and wine bar providing regional beverages. The building itself is beautiful and unique architecturally and functionally.

The restaurant in Heartwood is wonderful! The menu changes often as they offer seasonal items that come from local farms. The restaurant mission statement is: “To provide exceptional dining and hospitality services while promoting local farm raised, organic, and sustainable products from Southwest Virginia.” Herb and I love it! We went shortly after it opened last year for dinner. I got lamb ravioli and Herb got lamb and vegetable lasagna. It’s not often that we get to try something unique like lamb. Both meals were fresh and delicious, and the service was great!

Recently, we took my mom and Nana there for lunch. We had spent the morning at The Virginia Highlands Festival browsing in the antique tents, which are conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from the Heartwood. The lunch menu offers a variety of fresh salads, yummy sandwiches, and soups. All four of us got a soup and sandwich combination with the tomato basil soup. Mom and Nana both got pimiento cheese sandwiches, Herb got grilled cheese, and I got a chicken salad croissant.

Pinit

The soup was creamy and full of flavor with a bit of a spicy kick to it. The chicken salad was fresh and tasty with all white meat chicken, grapes, walnuts, and celery. Yum!

If you’re ever in the region, we definitely recommend a stop at Heartwood, whether it’s for lunch, dinner, or a stop at the coffee and wine bar. The restaurant also offers a Thursday night barbecue dinner, a huge seafood buffet on Friday evenings, and a Sunday gospel brunch from 10-3.

Quick Shepherd’s Pie

Pinit

 
In the mood for Shepherd’s Pie but don’t have the normal 2 or so hours required for the recipe? This shortcut recipe should satisfy your craving! Like most of our shortcuts, this meal can be adapted to your tastes and what you have on hand.

This quick shepherd’s pie is actually a recipe that I created, though I did use inspiration from several other shepherd’s pie recipes. I used my 4 cute red mini cocottes (ramekins) for individual servings, though you could just use a casserole dish.

Quick Shepherd’s Pieserves 4

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (I use lean 93/7)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • At least 3/4 cup beef broth (I use low sodium)
  • 2 cups cooked vegetables of your choice. I used a 16 oz frozen steam-in-the-bag medley of green beans, peas, corn, and carrots. You could use fresh or canned if you wish.
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes (Whole potatoes or instant potatoes for even more of a shortcut. Our recipe for mashed potatoes below)
  • Salt, pepper, herbs or other seasonings to taste (Worcestershire works well also)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional!)

Mashed potatoes:

  • 6-8 yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk (or more), warmed
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes – mine were steam-in-the-bag potatoes, so I just had to microwave them for a few minutes. Warm the milk in the microwave for a few seconds. In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes with a potato masher and slowly add milk and butter, continuing to mash until they’re at desired consistency. You may need to add more milk depending on the size of your potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe Directions:

In a large skillet, cook your ground beef over medium-high heat with the tomato paste and flour. While the beef is cooking, I microwaved my steam-in-the-bag veggies (and my steam-in-the-bag yukon gold potatoes for the mashed potatoes).

Once beef is browned, add the cooked vegetables and the beef broth to the skillet. Season to taste. I used 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons powdered onion, some chopped fresh oregano, and salt and pepper. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it boils, stirring occasionally. (While this is cooking, I mash my potatoes as described above).

After the mixture boils, turn off heat. Depending on the consistency, you may want to add a bit more beef broth. Spoon mixture into cocottes/ramekins about 3/4 full.

Top with mashed potatoes to the brim. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.

Broil in the oven on high for about 5-7 minutes, until cheese melts and potatoes start to brown.

Enjoy!

Pinit

 
We give this dish 3.5 out of 5 herbs. The best thing about this recipe is the flexibility. You could use any vegetable combination you wish. Have some mushrooms you want to throw in? Just cook them with the beef mixture! Leftover veggies from the night before? Use them up in this dish! We love adaptability!

Quick Shepherd’s Pie
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef (I use lean 93/7)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • At least 3/4 cup beef broth (I use low sodium)
  • 2 cups cooked vegetables of your choice. I used a 16 oz frozen steam-in-the-bag medley of green beans, peas, corn, and carrots. You could use fresh or canned if you wish.
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes (Whole potatoes or instant potatoes for even more of a shortcut. Our recipe for mashed potatoes below)
  • Salt, pepper, herbs or other seasonings to taste (Worcestershire works well also)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional!)
  • Mashed potatoes (if not using instant):
  • 6-8 yukon gold potatoes (we used steam-in-the-bag)
  • 1/2 cup milk (or more), warmed
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, cook your ground beef over medium-high heat with the tomato paste and flour. While the beef is cooking, I microwaved my steam-in-the-bag veggies (and my steam-in-the-bag yukon gold potatoes for the mashed potatoes).
  2. Once beef is browned, add the cooked vegetables and the beef broth to the skillet. Season to taste. I used 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons powdered onion, some chopped fresh oregano, and salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it boils, stirring occasionally. (While this is cooking, I mash my potatoes as described below).
  4. After the mixture boils, turn off heat. Depending on the consistency, you may want to add a bit more beef broth. Spoon mixture into cocottes/ramekins about 3/4 full.
  5. Top with mashed potatoes* to the brim (see below for recipe). Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.
  6. Broil in the oven on high for about 5-7 minutes, until cheese melts and potatoes start to brown.
  7. *For mashed potatoes, if not using instant – cook potatoes – mine were steam-in-the-bag potatoes, so I just had to microwave them for a few minutes. Warm the milk in the microwave for a few seconds. In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes with a potato masher and slowly add milk and butter, continuing to mash until they’re at desired consistency. You may need to add more milk depending on the size of your potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Beach Party Cupcakes

Pinit

 
Alas! It’s that time of year when all those youngsters put on their back to school outfits, pack up their pencils and binders, and say goodbye to summer as they head back to school. This signifies a time of mourning for my family – Herb, my mother, my sister, my brother-in-law, and several of my best friends are teachers!

So why not celebrate the end of summer with a last reminiscence of the beach?

Okay, so I’m going to be honest. Before I began making these cupcakes, they were INTENDED to be red velvet cupcakes. Herb and I were craving something sweet, and I thought cupcakes sounded like a great idea! Most red velvet cupcakes call for cocoa powder, but I didn’t have any on hand. This severely limited my options for red velvet recipes! I finally found one that did not require cocoa powder. But once I began setting out the ingredients, I came to the sad realization that all my red food coloring was gone!

Not one to give up when dessert is involved, we made the decision to just use another color food coloring. Blue velvet cupcakes, if you will. As you will see below, they turned into a blue-green color that reminded me of the ocean. So we just went with the theme and decorated them appropriately!

Beach Party Cupcakes

Recipe inspired by Joy the Baker’s recipe for bright red velvet cupcakes.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Just less than 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon blue food coloring

To make cream cheese icing

  • 2 -8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

To make “sand” crumbles

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, lightly toasted in a skillet
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Recipe Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake tin with cupcake liners. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add one egg and beat the mixture for 1 minute. Add the second egg and beat for another minute. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low until the flour is mixed in well. Then add 1 teaspoon of the food coloring. Repeat until all the flour mixture and 3 teaspoons of food coloring has been incorporated.

Pour batter into your cupcake liners about 3/4 full (18-24 cupcakes) and bake for 15-20 minutes.

While cupcakes are baking, make the icing. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, butter, and vanilla on high for about 3 minutes until smooth. Refrigerate until it’s time to frost your cupcakes.

Next, make the “sand”. Put the flour in a skillet over low-medium heat and toast it for several minutes, moving it around with a spatula to keep it from burning, until it turns light brown. Then put the flour in a mixing bowl and add the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. With a fork or a pastry blender, cut the ingredients together until mixed and crumbly.

After cupcakes have finished baking, let them cool for 10-15 minutes. Then ice them with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with sand and anything else you’d like!

Pinit

 
We give this recipe 3 out of 5 herbs. They were cute, but they weren’t the level of “delicious” that I expect from velvet cupcakes!

Beach Party Cupcakes
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Just less than 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon blue food coloring
  • To make cream cheese icing
  • 2 -8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • To make “sand” crumbles
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, lightly toasted in a skillet
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add one egg and beat the mixture for 1 minute. Add the second egg and beat for another minute.
  5. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low until the flour is mixed in well. Then add 1 teaspoon of the food coloring. Repeat until all the flour mixture and 3 teaspoons of food coloring has been incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into your cupcake liners about 3/4 full (18-24 cupcakes) and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. While cupcakes are baking, make the icing. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, butter, and vanilla on high for about 3 minutes until smooth. Refrigerate until it’s time to frost your cupcakes.
  8. For the “sand”, put the flour in a skillet over low-medium heat and toast it for several minutes, moving it around with a spatula to keep it from burning, until it turns light brown.
  9. Then put the flour in a mixing bowl and add the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. With a fork or a pastry blender, cut the ingredients together until mixed and crumbly.
  10. After cupcakes have finished baking, let them cool for 10-15 minutes. Then ice them with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with sand and anything else you’d like!

 

 

Sweet Potato Fries

Pinit

 
We love sweet potato fries! It seems like sweet potato fries have really caught on in the past couple of years. Even Burger King offers them as an alternative to regular french fries! Sweet potatoes are naturally packed with flavor and don’t need much to be added to make them into delicious fries!

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Italian seasoning (optional)

Recipe Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease your baking pan. Cut the ends off your sweet potatoes, then chop them in half.  Then, slice the potato halves into fries. I like mine flat, kind of like steak fries. I try to chop my fries about 1/8” thick, though some end up thinner and some thicker.

Pour some olive oil in a bowl (about 3 tablespoons) and brush olive oil on fries. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt and Italian seasoning. Flip fries over and repeat on other side.

Bake for 10 minutes, then take the fries out of the oven and flip them over. Bake for another 10 minutes and flip again. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until fries are lightly browned. Note: some of the thinner ones will obviously brown quicker than the thicker ones, so you may need to remove some of the thinner fries so they don’t burn while the others continue baking.

Yum!

We give our sweet potato fries 4.5 out of 5 herbs. They are absolutely delicious and pretty healthy to boot!

Pinit

 

Sweet Potato Fries
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Italian seasoning (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease your baking pan.
  2. Cut the ends off your sweet potatoes, chop them in half, then slice the potato halves into fries. I like mine flat, kind of like steak fries. I try to chop my fries about 1/8” thick, though some end up thinner and some thicker.
  3. Pour some olive oil in a bowl (about 3 tablespoons) and brush olive oil on fries. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt and Italian seasoning. Flip fries over and repeat on other side.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then take the fries out of the oven and flip them over. Bake for another 10 minutes and flip again. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until fries are lightly browned. Note: some of the thinner ones will obviously brown quicker than the thicker ones, so you may need to remove some of the thinner fries so they don’t burn while the others continue baking.

 

Chicken Marsala II

Pinit

 
This is our second attempt at chicken Marsala (thus the extremely innovative title of chicken Marsala II!) This delicious version of the dish is adapted from Giada’s Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce. What a mouthful (pun intended!)

This recipe did require a bit of a splurge for us – just the 8 oz tub of mascarpone cheese was $4.59! However, it was totally worth it. In fact, this dish is SO GOOD that after one bite, Herb said “Wow! I already like this better than the first chicken Marsala recipe!” I heartily agreed!

Chicken Marsala II

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Two 8 ounce containers of fresh, sliced mushrooms (button or baby bellas)
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 12 ounces dried spaghetti

Just ignore the chicken stock in the picture – I’m not sure why I got it out in the first place because it’s not required for this recipe!

Recipe Directions

First, trim your chicken breasts (I only had three) and cut them into three pieces each. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side until both sides are browned.

While my chicken was browning I went ahead and chopped the garlic, chopped the parsley, and mixed the dijon mustard with the mascarpone cheese and onion powder.

 Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat and add the mushrooms and garlic (I added about a tablespoon more olive oil here) and saute until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. While my mushrooms were sauteing I went ahead and began boiling a pot of water for the pasta. I also cut each piece of browned chicken into smaller chunks. Herb and I agreed that the next time we fix this recipe we would prefer to cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

After the mushrooms are tender, add the cup of Marsala wine and simmer for about 5 minutes until it is reduced by about half.

Next, stir in the mascarpone mixture and return the chicken to the skillet. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the chopped parsley, leaving just a small amount to garnish.

Hopefully your pasta is finished cooking at this point as well. Drain the pasta and toss with 2-3 tablespoons of butter.

Serve the chicken mixture over the spaghetti, garnish with a little more parsley and enjoy!

Pinit

 
We give this recipe 4.5 out of 5 herbs. It was absolutely delicious! We loved the flavor of the mustard mascarpone Marsala sauce! We will definitely be repeating this one!

Chicken Marsala II
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Two 8 ounce containers of fresh, sliced mushrooms (button or baby bellas)
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 12 ounces dried spaghetti
Instructions
  1. Trim your chicken breasts and cut them into three pieces each. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side until both sides are browned.
  3. While the chicken is browning, you can chop the garlic, chop the parsley, and mix the dijon mustard with the mascarpone cheese and onion powder.
  4. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat and add the mushrooms and garlic (I added about a tablespoon more olive oil here) and saute until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. While mushrooms are sauteing, boil your pot of water for the pasta. (If you want, you can also cut your chicken into smaller pieces)
  7. After the mushrooms are tender, add the cup of Marsala wine and simmer for about 5 minutes until it is reduced by about half.
  8. Next, stir in the mascarpone mixture and return the chicken to the skillet. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the chopped parsley, leaving just a small amount to garnish.
  9. Your pasta should be finished cooking at this point as well. Drain the pasta and toss with 2-3 tablespoons of butter.
  10. Serve the chicken mixture over the spaghetti, garnish with a little more parsley and enjoy!

 

Beef Taco Skillet

Pinit

 
This Mexican themed recipe is a very flexible meal that can be altered depending on what you have on hand. Depending on your taste buds, you can spice this recipe up or keep it relatively tame – it’s up to you! We love to serve this with tortilla chips and eat it like a Mexican chili.

Beef Taco Skillet

Adapted from Campbell’s Kitchen

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (we use lean 93/7 ground beef)
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 flour tortillas (12 inch) or 6 of the 6 inch tortillas
  • 1 can tomato soup OR vegetable beef soup (OR another variety of your choice!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican-blend, pepper jack, whatever you like!)
  • Seasoning and/or hot sauce (optional)

Yum! I told you there was a lot of flexibility here depending on your taste! The original recipe uses 1 can condensed tomato soup, but I happened to have vegetable beef soup on hand and it worked very well. I’m sure there are other varieties that would work  with this dish also.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you could add some veggies to it if you wanted. Perhaps you have some left over tomato or green pepper that you could chop up and cook with the beef. Or maybe you really want to spice it up and add some diced jalapeno peppers. Don’t be afraid to add your own flare!

Recipe Directions:

First, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown your ground beef, stirring often, until there is no pink left.

While your meat is browning, cut your tortillas into approximately 1-inch pieces.

If you didn’t use lean ground beef, you will probably need to drain the meat to pour off the fat. Just drain the meat in a colander and immediately return the beef to the skillet, which should still be on medium-high heat. Add the salsa, water, soup, and tortillas.

At this point you could add some hot sauce or any other herbs, spices, or seasoning you’d like. I stirred in 2 teaspoons of chopped cilantro and about a tablespoon of fajita seasoning to the skillet to give ours a little oomph! Heat everything in the skillet to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let the mixture boil for about 10-15 seconds, then reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, still stirring occasionally. Then add the half cup of cheese to the mixture.

After you let the cheese melt, it’s ready to serve!

Pinit

 
We give this dish 4 out of 5 herbs. We love it’s simplicity and flexibility, and that we are able to spice it up to our liking! Another great thing about this meal is that everything was cooked in one skillet, so cleanup is a breeze!

 

Beef Taco Skillet
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef (we use lean 93/7 ground beef)
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 flour tortillas (12 inch) or 6 of the 6 inch tortillas
  • 1 can tomato soup OR vegetable beef soup (OR another variety of your choice!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican-blend, pepper jack, whatever you like!)
  • Seasoning and/or hot sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. First, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown your ground beef, stirring often, until there is no pink left.
  2. While your meat is browning, cut your tortillas into approximately 1-inch pieces.
  3. Drain the meat in a colander and immediately return the beef to the skillet, which should still be on medium-high heat.
  4. Add the salsa, water, soup, and tortillas.
  5. At this point, add hot sauce or any other herbs, spices, or seasoning you’d like. Heat everything in the skillet to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let the mixture boil for about 10-15 seconds, then reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, still stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the half cup of cheese to the mixture. After you let the cheese melt, it’s ready to serve!

 

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Pinit

 
I was in the mood to bake something sweet, but didn’t want to do a full dessert recipe. After all, I do have a wedding dress to fit in very soon! So I did what everyone does when they have a question. I went to Google! I searched ‘dessert for two’, and as it turns out, there is actually a cooking website titled dessertfortwo.com. Just what I needed!

Herb was drawn to the picture of the snickerdoodle cookies. His exact words: “What are those!?” He sounded very excited. Snickerdoodles it is!

1 Dozen Snickerdoodle Cookies

This recipe adapted from Dessert for Two!

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

 (I asked Herb to get an egg out of the fridge. I love where he put it!) 

 Recipe Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Soften the butter and cream cheese – I microwaved mine together for about 20 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and beat with a hand mixer for about 1 minute until everything is smooth. Add the egg and beat for about 30 seconds until well blended.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

 Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until everything is well blended, about 1-2 minutes.

In a separate small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

At this point, the original recipe states to roll the ball of dough in your hand. However, the consistency of the dough was way too gooey for me to do this! Check it out…

So I just dropped the cookie dough in heaping tablespoons onto the greased baking sheet – there should be 12 cookies. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the cookies.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Pinit

 
Enjoy with a cold glass of milk!

We give this recipe 4 out of 5 herbs. These cookies had just the right amount of sweetness and were very quick and simple to make. Delish!

1 Dozen Snickerdoodle Cookies
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. Soften the butter and cream cheese.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and beat with a hand mixer for about 1 minute until everything is smooth.
  4. Add the egg and beat for about 30 seconds until well blended.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until everything is well blended, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. In a separate small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  8. Roll or drop the cookie dough in heaping tablespoons onto the greased baking sheet – there should be 12 cookies.
  9. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the cookies.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Chocolate Meringue Pie Recipe

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This chocolate pie recipe is adapted from The Little Black Book of Chocolate.

Our family has tried several chocolate pie recipes, but this is HANDS DOWN the best one. I get requests for this pie on special occasions. Today I’m making it at my sister’s request in honor of her graduation with her Master’s degree!

Instead of using cocoa powder for the chocolate element, this pie uses actual squares of baking chocolate. In my opinion, this is what gives it an edge as compared to other chocolate pie recipes.

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, SEPARATED
  • 3 oz (3 squares) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered or superfine will work here)

Recipe Directions:

The first thing you need to do is bake your pie shell. I personally use Pillsbury frozen deep dish pie crusts. In my opinion they work better than the refrigerated roll-out crusts and are just as good as a home-made crust, and much simpler. This is one thing that I’m not afraid to take a shortcut with!

After your pie crust is baked and set aside, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Go ahead and separate your 4 eggs, saving both the yolks and the whites (the whites will be used to make the meringue).

 

Then go ahead and chop your 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate and set aside. I also go ahead and set out my tablespoon of butter (or margarine) in a small bowl with the teaspoon of vanilla. I do this because later you will need to add the chocolate, butter, and vanilla to the pie mixture at the same time very quickly.

 

In a medium-size saucepan, combine your granulated sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks into the milk.

Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the saucepan with the flour mixture.

Heat the saucepan on medium to medium-high heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a full boil and thickens. This will take at least 6-8 minutes. Be patient and keep stirring. You don’t want to scorch your pie filling! Let it boil for about 15 seconds while you continue stirring, then turn off the heat and remove the mixture from the heat. Quickly add the chocolate pieces, butter, and vanilla and keep stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

 

Pour the chocolate filling into the baked pie shell and set aside.

To make the meringue use a hand mixer (or stand mixer if you have one) and beat the egg whites on medium speed for about 1 minute until soft peaks form. Then add the confectioner’s sugar (or powdered/superfine sugar), one tablespoon at a time, beating until all the sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form – about 5 minutes. Again, be patient. It will take a while before the meringue can stand up by itself.

Use a spatula to spread the meringue onto the pie.

Bake the whole pie for 5 minutes in the 400 degree oven until meringue is lightly browned. Refrigerate the pie until ready to serve. I like my chocolate pie warm, however my sister prefers hers chilled!

We give this recipe 4.5 out of 5 herbs. It is an excellent chocolate pie. My only complaint about the pie is that it can fall apart when you serve it if you aren’t careful!

Chocolate Meringue Pie
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 1 baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, SEPARATED
  • 3 oz (3 squares) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered or superfine will work here)
Instructions
  1. If not done already, bake your pie shell.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Separate the 4 eggs, saving both the yolks and the whites (the whites will be used to make the meringue).
  4. Chop your 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate and set aside.
  5. In a medium-size saucepan, combine your granulated sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks into the milk.
  7. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the saucepan with the flour mixture.
  8. Heat the saucepan on medium to medium-high heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a full boil and thickens. This will take at least 6-8 minutes. Be patient and keep stirring. You don’t want to scorch your pie filling! Let it boil for about 15 seconds while you continue stirring, then turn off the heat and remove the mixture from the heat. Quickly add the chocolate pieces, butter, and vanilla and keep stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.
  9. Pour the chocolate filling into the baked pie shell and set aside.
  10. To make the meringue use a hand mixer (or stand mixer if you have one) and beat the egg whites on medium speed for about 1 minute until soft peaks form. Then add the confectioner’s sugar (or powdered/superfine sugar), one tablespoon at a time, beating until all the sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form – about 5 minutes.
  11. Use a spatula to spread the meringue onto the pie.
  12. Bake the whole pie for 5 minutes in the 400 degree oven until meringue is lightly browned. Refrigerate the pie until ready to serve.

 

Breaded Ranch Chicken

Breaded ranch chicken tenders recipe

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This recipe is a family favorite of ours that we took from a church cookbook. It’s a very simple and inexpensive main dish. There are several ways that you can tweak it depending on the ingredients you have on hand with great results (notice all the ‘OR’s in the recipe!).

Breaded Ranch Chicken

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, halved, OR 8-12 chicken breast tenders
  • 1 packet dry ranch OR 1 packet dry Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 cup crushed corn flakes OR crushed crackers OR breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine OR olive oil for a healthier alternative

I told you this recipe is really flexible!

Recipe Directions:

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your 9×13 baking dish or casserole.

Mix together your crushed corn flakes, the dry ranch, and the Parmesan cheese.

Next, trim your chicken breast halves (or tenders).

Melt the butter in a bowl. Take each chicken tender and dip it in the melted butter (or olive oil), then roll it around in the cornflake mixture and place them in your baking dish.

Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Enjoy!

Breaded ranch chicken tenders recipe

Pinit

We give this recipe 4.5 out of 5 herbs overall. It is delicious and simple, can be tweaked very easily, and can be paired with any number of wonderful side dishes. Also, though there are no children in our family, I imagine this would be a very kid friendly recipe!

Breaded Ranch Chicken
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts, halved, OR 8-12 chicken breast tenders
  • 1 packet dry ranch OR 1 packet dry Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 cup crushed corn flakes OR crushed crackers OR breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine OR olive oil for a healthier alternative
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish or casserole.
  2. Mix together your crushed corn flakes, the dry ranch, and the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Trim your chicken breast halves (or tenders).
  4. Melt the butter in a bowl.
  5. Take each chicken tender and dip it in the melted butter (or olive oil), then roll it around in the cornflake mixture and place them in your baking dish.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes.

 

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