(Tiny?) Bites of Decadence.

7 Layer Bars
Inspired by this.

Drool. I'm sorry, what did you say?

This dessert has achieved a level of notoriety among my friends–this is the only dessert they ask for. Don’t think that my cookies, brownies, pies, or cakes aren’t delicious–they just aren’t The 7 Layer Bars. (It should be noted that the original recipe is called something completely accurate and boring. My name came about because of the sheer height of these squares–at almost 3 inches tall, they are a thing of beauty. The recipe seems like you get 12 squares, max, from the 9″ x 9″ pan. Don’t be fooled–the only person who could get down a portion that size is my husband.)

Mid-afternoon snack.

Batter:
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups uncooked quick oats

Filling:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly grease a 9" x 9" baking pan.
3. Cream together the butter and brown sugar.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla.
5. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking soda.
6. Add the oats, and mix well.
7. Press a little more than half of the batter into the prepared pan. Set aside the rest of the batter.
8. For the filling, melt the chocolate with the milk, butter, vanilla, and salt in a double boiler. (Can also be melted in a saucepan over low-medium heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is just melted.)
9. Pour over the batter in the baking pan.
10. Sprinkle the top with the nuts.
11. Spoon the remaining batter over the filling.
12. Bake for 30 minutes, until the batter is golden brown. Cool for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
13. Cut into 20-25 squares and stuff your face.

One of more than a hundred recipes I have for soup. I’m not kidding.

Spicy Chickpea Soup with Curried Vegetables
Inspired by this.

I'm strong to the finish 'cause I eats me spinach.

While I like to elicit a few oohs and awes at dinnertime, I am a busy lady, and can’t spend my entire day chiffonading in the kitchen. The best recipes, to me, impress with the barest minimum of effort. You end up with more time casually drinking wine and talking to your dinner guests. Or, you know, watching Animal Cops and petting the cat.

This soup takes 15 minutes, start to finish, but I get compliments every time it’s served. Here I’ve paired it with some simple curried vegetables, which are also great stuffed into a whole wheat wrap/pita for a super tasty lunch the next day. Go to hell, PB&J. (You know I didn’t mean that, PB&J. Please forgive me.)

Spicy Chickpea Soup

2 16 ounce cans chickpeas, drained
1 14 ounce can light coconut milk
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup vegetable broth

1. In a blender, combine the drained chickpeas with the coconut milk, salsa garam masala and ground ginger and puree the mixture until smooth.

2. Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes until flavors combine.

Slurp.

Curried Vegetables

3 small red potatoes, cubed
2 small zucchini, halved and sliced
1 ½ tsp olive oil
¼ cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. curry powder (or a little less if you’re not a curry fiend like me)
3 cups of spinach

1. Boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini and sauté until tender.

3. Add potatoes, vegetable broth, and curry powder Simmer for 3-5 minutes.

4. Add spinach, cook until just wilted.

Fast Food At Home (minus the clogged arteries)

Veggie Burger and Fries

Seconds before ravenous eating commenced.

Oh, how I love french fries. Of course, what goes better with fries than a burger? Why not put the real star of the show at the beginning where it belongs? To me, that’s all a burger is, really–something I eat so my dinner doesn’t wholly consist of a greased-up potato. But what I don’t love is the stomach ache that is sure to follow a trip to your local fast food joint. Those little wedges of starchy joy instantly make me feel like I need to wash my face and go to the gym.

I’d never give up fries, but I could sure do without the guilt. These fries are parboiled, baked, and broiled for ultimate crisp, served with a veggie burger that’s 1000 times better than those hockey pucks you find in the freezer at your local grocer.

Veggie Burgers

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 small onion, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, shredded
1 small zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup instant oatmeal
1/4 breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 flour

1. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a skillet over low heat, and cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, being careful not to brown. Add the carrots and zucchini, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, let cool slightly.

2. In a bowl, mix oats, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, and soy sauce. Add in cooked veggies. Refrigerate 1 hour or until cool.

3. Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.

4. Place the flour on a large plate. Form the vegetable mixture into 3 or 4 (depending on how big you want them) patties. Drop
each patty into the flour, lightly coating both sides.

5. Grill patties 4-5 minutes on each side, or until heated through and nicely browned.

Fries

2 large potatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt, pepper, garlic and onion salt

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Put sliced potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes ONLY. Potatoes should not be completely cooked, otherwise you will end up with very mushy fries.

3. Drain in a colander and place under cold running water. Shake off excess water, and dry potatoes on paper towels.

4. In a medium bowl, add the potatoes, olive oil, and your seasoning preference to taste, stirring to combine.

5. Lay fries on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Cook for 25 minutes, turning fries once halfway through.

6. Place fries in broiler for 2-5 minutes–please watch carefully, these fries burn easily. Serve with ketchup or nothing at all.

An Intro and A Confession

Zucchini Quesadillas
Inspired by this.

My plating skills are lacking.

I suppose it might go without saying, but I’m really excited to start contributing to this blog. I love to cook, especially for other people. Even if I can’t stand at everyone’s stove in the literal sense, at least I can pass along a good recipe.

Before you scoff at the origins of this dish, let me say that my grandmother gives me her magazines when she is finished reading them. Every. Single. Blessed. One. While I do nothing more than recycle Diabetic Living (Really, Grandma? Really?) I flip through some of the others. I happened upon this recipe while deep in a Mexican phase, and in the time it takes Domino’s to deliver I had this on the table. Goes great with black bean soup, rice, and a stiff margarita.

The inside goodness.

2 tsp. olive oil
½ small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced (or ½ tsp garlic powder)
2 zucchini (about 1 lb.), cut in half lengthwise, then into ¼ slices
Fresh Ground Black Pepper and Salt
2 plum tomatoes
1 8 oz can of sweet yellow corn, drained
Four 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
Cooking spray or olive oil or butter
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa (optional)
Guacamole (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic, sautéing for 3-5 minutes. Add zucchini slices, and season with pepper and salt to taste. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until tender. Turn off heat.

2. Cut tomatoes in half, and squeeze out seeds. Roughly chop and add to zucchini mixture. Add corn to mixture, and set aside.

3. Heat a small, nonstick skillet on medium-low heat. On one side of a tortilla either brush lightly with olive oil or spray with a cooking spray like Pam. Place one tortilla at a time, oiled side down, on the skillet. Tortilla will puff slightly.

4. Once tortilla is slightly browned on the bottom, fill ½ of the tortilla with zucchini and tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Carefully fold over, and cook for about 1 minute per side. Remove from heat.

5. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole. (And if you’re my husband, hot sauce.)

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