Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (so easy you’ll gasp out loud)

I hesitated to write this post. These cookies are hands down the #1 request I get when I go somewhere… and I bake a lot. And I bake a lot from scratch. But I’ve got a secret…

These cookies are totally not from scratch. Don’t tell anyone, mmkay?

mint chocolate chip cookie easy recipe

Here’s the deal- buy a chocolate chip cookie bag mix (store brand, Betty Crocker, it doesn’t matter). Then doctor it up like so:

  • The bag mixes usually requires 1 egg– make that one egg a farm fresh egg. The yolk is SO much more yellow and the white is awesome and it fluffs up your cookies like you have no idea. Trust me.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract (homemade if you can- I’ve got a recipe for it here). If your bag mix happens to call for water, do half water and half vanilla instead.
  • Add a tablespoon of sugar, which will help balance the extra liquid you just added with the vanilla
  • To make the cookies mint chocolate chip, add some chocolate mint leaves. I grow it in my yard so I usually use 5-7 good size sprigs, rip off the leaves, grind them up in my food processor, and stir them right in.

 

mint chocolate chip cookies

 

 

And my last tip, but definitely the most important- preheat the oven to whatever the bag tells you (usually 350*), but when you put the cookies in lower the temperature by about 25* (usually to 325*) and bake for a few extra minutes. The decrease in temperature softens your cookies and makes them rise much better. This works AWESOME with cupcakes too.

BAM- you’ve got cookies that take less then 20 minutes from start to finish and everyone thinks you’re a master baker. You’re welcome. :)

easy chocolate chip cookie recipe

 

So tell me, what else do you hack to make amazing and easy? Pasta sauce (gravy, if you’re Italian like me) is another one I doctor up 100% of the time as well.

3 Easy Pasta Recipes

I’m all about pasta recipes. I could eat it literally every single night- and pretty much used to until I moved in with Matt and he made me eat other things. Here’s a few so easy anyone can make them!

easy pasta recipes 3 three easy

One quick go-to of mine is Breadcrumb Spaghetti, because I always have the ingredients on hand. You can see the full recipe here. I posted it 2 years ago and it’s still something I make regularly.

easy pasta recipe breadcrumb spaghetti

 

Last night at the allergist’s office the Pioneer Woman’s show was playing and the recipe was so delish I had to go home and try it myself… good thing they make you sit for 30  minutes so I had time to see the whole thing! Her recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Pasta is here.

My version of her recipe, recreated for 2 people:

  • While your pasta water is boiling, chop up 3 cloves garlic and put them in the blender with a medium jar of roasted red peppers
  • Put the blended mix in a lightly oiled skillet (I use extra virgin olive oil) and add in Adobo, basil, and parsley to taste. I used about 4 leaves of dried basil and 3 sprigs of parsley (which I had frozen from my garden last summer)
  • Add half cup chicken stock, half cup whole milk, and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the skillet
  • Bring it to a low boil while your pasta cooks, and once it is cooked and drained put it in the skillet with the sauce for a few minutes to stew/absorb
  • ENJOY! BECAUSE IT IS DELICIOUS! My sauce came out a little watery, so if you prefer a thicker sauce I recommend cutting the chicken stock in half.

Tip: To measure out pasta amounts I put our serving sized (uncooked) on our plates, taking into account pasta swells when cooked, and then just dump that into the pot. :)

 

We also recently tested out Chickpea Lemon Pasta after I saw it on Living Well on the Cheap and it was also really light and easy. The original recipe is here

 

Here’s my version:

  • Salt your water and bring it to a boil. Separately, melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add about half a cup of breadcrumbs to brown, once browned put in your (large) serving pot.
  • Now that the skillet is empty, add in a little extra virgin olive oil and 2-3 chopped cloves of garlic. Let cook for about 2 minutes then add in a can of chickpeas (do not drain). Bring this to a low boil while adding in lemon, salt, and pepper to taste. I used about 2 tablespoons of lemon and thought that was a bit much.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to your large serving pot. Add your chickpea sauce and stir, then add Parmesan or mozzarella to taste.

 

What do you do to spruce up your pasta?

Pinterest Food Challenge: Slow Cooker Chicken

You guys, I totally hopped on the slow cooker train recently- and I am so mad I was so afraid of it for so long.

Sidenote: I freaking love to cook and bake. But I have really weird fears surrounding it. Like when I moved into my very first apartment I didn’t eat chicken for a year because I was afraid I’d under cook it and accidentally kill myself. And now how I’ve owner a slow cooker for 2 years and just used it for the first time this month.

EXCEPTION TO THIS…. always use your slow cooker to keep rolls warm when you’re hosting dinner. It’s freaking brilliant.

 

ANYWAYS. CHICKEN. I MADE SOME.

pinterest recipe, recipe, cook, bake, food

I haven’t posted for the Pinterest Food Challenge in an exceptionally long time, so here’s 2 solid and easy slow cooker recipes for you.

 

1. Ranch Chicken:

  • Put 1 can cream of chicken soup and  1 packet of Ranch powder in your slow cooker and stir it up a bit. Add 1-2 lbs. chicken breast and stir that up a bit. Let it slow cook for 5-6 hours.

Really… just dump a few things in the slow cooker and have yourself a par-tay because it is literally that easy.

 

2. Tex Mex Chicken (adapted from this recipe at Close To Home):

  • Put 1 cup salsa, 1.5 cups shredded Mexican cheese, 1 small can of corn, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper, 1 jalepeno pepper, and 1-2 pounds chicken in your slow cooker and stir it up a bit. Let it slow cook for 5-6 hours.

 

My slow cooker looks to be from the 60s or 70s, I inherited it from my aunt. And the “low” setting doesn’t seem to work so I cook everything on high. For both those recipes I filled up the pot around 11am and served dinner at 5:30 and the chicken was safely not pink, and so so melt in your mouth delicious. Did you know chicken could melt in your mouth? Because it sort of almost totally can.

 

Enjoy!

And please, share more slow cooker recipes in the comments because I would love some.

 

Pinterest Food Challenge: Watermelon Cake

I bet ya’all thought I forget abou the Pinterest Food Challenge, but I can assure you I did not. Lately I’ve just been sticking with some of my favorite recipes, like pink lemonade cupcakes and sugar doodle cookies.

For the fourth of July, though, I tried out something new and DELICIOUS: Watermelon Cake from Bird on a Cake

pinterest-food-challenge

 

Once a month, cook or bake something you’ve pinned- put those pins to use people!

Overall, I found this recipe super simple to follow and I only altered two things: no chocolate chips in the cake and a whole lot more watermelon puree in the frosting. Check on the original recipe here, and this is how I did it:

Cake

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz.) box of watermelon Jell-O powder (set aside 2 teaspoons for frosting)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 12-15 drops red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350* and line 2 round cake pans with wax paper (I traced the pan on the paper then cut it out), then spray the sides of your pans.

In a large bowl, beat eggs then combine cake mix, Jell-O, water and oil then mix on medium speed. Next, add watermelon puree and beat until blended. Add red food coloring a little at a time, until you reach the shade you want. Pour into pans and bake for 30 minutes.

Once the cake has cooled, cut the edges off- they’ll be a little stiff and browned and your cake will taste better without them. I actually recommend you do this every time you bake a layer cake.

Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons watermelon puree
  • 2 teaspoons watermelon Jell-O powder
  • red and green food coloring

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but sugar and food coloring. Beat until well blended then add the sugar one cup at a time while beating on medium. Separate 1/3 of the frosting to color green, then color the remainder red.

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To make the banner I just used 2 skewers, colored paper, ribbon, and a star shaped hole punch. Tie the yarn to either end of the skewer, fold your colored paper in half and cut out triangles then glue them hanging over the yarn, punch out your stars and glue them on too- it took about 5 minutes!

 

It was DELICIOUS, I’m so glad I found the recipe and it really was simple and sans weird ingredients I’ve never heard of.

What have you been baking this summer??

 

 

Pinterest Food Challenge: Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

I’ve been holding out on you guys. I promise it was an accident. A few months back I made some ah-mazing enchiladas and totally forgot to tell you about them. I know, I know- bad blogger! Lucky for you I didn’t have time to photograph the project I did this weekend and while I was scrambling to find something to post today I stumbled upon these pictures. Whew! ;)

At least once a month, cook or bake something you pinned. Take some pinning action, people!

At least once a month, cook or bake something you pinned. Take some pinning action, people!

I pinned the recipe from My Life According to Pinterest, who pinned it from Joyful Momma’s Kitchen

It deserves to be shared. Over and over again.

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Here’s the ingredients I used (which is a little different from both the other recipes):

  • 7-10 soft taco shells
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I boiled the chicken, then shred it)
  • 2-3 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup salsa

To make:

  • Preheat over to 350*
  • Mix the chicken and cheese together and roll it up in the soft taco shells and place them all in a 9×12 pan
  • In a pot heated over the stove on medium melt your butter, then whisk in the flour and stir for 1 minute. Then add the chicken broth and whisk until there are no lumps. Leave on the stove until bubbly and thick.
  • Stir in the sour cream and salsa until creamy, but not boiling
  • Pour your mixture over the wraps slowly and evenly and top with some more cheese
  • Bake 22-25 minutes until cheese crisps just a little.
a very happy customer

a very happy customer

Enjoy!!

Check out lots of other executed food pins here. Got any delicious recipes to share? Email me at sandpaperandglue (at) gmail (dot) com to guest post!

Pinterest Food Challenge: White Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This past weekend we celebrated my grandmother’s birthday and I thought I’d try my hand at baking a cake and making frosting all from scratch. It was actually pretty easy to make, but it was  only about 80% successful so I’ll give you the low down- do as I say not as I do :)

cake

To make the white cake I followed this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens.

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk (I did not have buttermilk so instead I put 2 1/2 tablespoons of white vinegar in a measuring cup, then poured milk in up to the 2 cup line. Wait 7-10 minutes and stir. The milk will look a little curdled, but don’t worry.)

To make:

  • Allow egg whites to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350*
  • Grease THREE round cake pans then lightly flour the bottoms
  • In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt
  • In a large bowl beat butter on high for 30 seconds, then add sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the egg whites all at once and beat on medium-high for 3 minutes
  • Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk, beat about 30 seconds after each addition. Divide the batter into your THREE pans, it may look slightly curdled
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes

Note: I thought I was so darn smart squeezing this batter into two pans because I didn’t have three. I WAS NOT. This meant it couldn’t rise as much as much as it needed to and the cake was super dense. Delicious, but not light and fluffy like it should have been.

 

To make the frosting I followed this recipe on Cake Merchant.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature (I let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk

To make:

  • Beat the butter 3 minutes until it becomes creamy (time yourself- at 2 minutes it looks done but at 3 minutes it looks much better)
  • Add powdered sugar and beat on low until combined, then beat on medium for another 3 minutes
  • Add the vanilla and beat on medium for 3 minutes
  • Add the cream 1 tablespoon at a time, beat 3 minutes with each tablespoon

Note: Time yourself when using your electric mixer, it’s all the whipping up that makes this frosting ah-mazing. 

 

cake slicedI’m terrible at capturing the deliciousness of food on my camera.

Keep refrigerated until a few hours before you eat it, because the frosting is basically a giant hunk o’ dairy.

Enjoy!

Pinterest Food Challenge: Peanut Butter Blondies

Wednesdays are quickly becoming my regular recipe day around here, and I’m pretty ok with that because we’ve been eating lots of delicious things because of it. Today I’ve got… surprise surprise… another recipe that involves peanut butter and chocolate chips. I really might be developing an addiction.

IMG_2190

The original recipe for these, from Sweetest Kitchen, left them a little dry for my taste, or maybe I just cooked it for a little too long, so here’s the recipe and instructions according to how I will be altering it in the future.

To make:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

To bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8×6″ square pan (set aside)
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring until smooth. I wasn’t sure how this would go, but the brown sugar basically dissolves and it looks a little like crunchy peanut butter when its done.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter then set aside
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Go back to your brown sugar mixture and add the egg and vanilla, mix well. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to create a thick, smooth batter. Fold in half the chocolate chips, reserving the rest for sprinkling on top.
  • Transfer the batter to the pan, spreading it evenly to the edges. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and lightly press them into the batter.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes until the top is golden and the edges are slightly browned. Allow to cool in the pan. Cut into squares and serve.

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My family really enjoyed these, the peanut butter taste ends up being really subtle and the tiny bit of crunch on top makes them pretty delicious. Make sure to check out Sweetest Kitchen, there’s about a zillion other recipes on there.

And for more easy to make treats and meals, check out my Pinterest Food Challenge page!

pinterest food challenge

At least once a month cook or bake something you’ve pinned, and share it with others! Let’s try to stop pinning and start making.