About my Blog

“If you are careful,' Garp wrote, 'if you use good ingredients, and you don't take any shortcuts, then you can usually cook something very good. Sometimes it is the only worthwhile product you can salvage from a day; what you make to eat. With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane.” ― John Irving, The World According to Garp

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

I have been so busy with work lately that I haven't had time to maintain this blog. I've gotten several new recipes lately though so hopefully I'll have time to share some of them here soon. I'll start today with a dessert recipe.

This pie recipe is now my go to dessert recipe! It is easy to throw together and can bake while you are eating dinner— perfect for a last minute company is coming dessert! It's so incredibly simple to make.



Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

2 eggs
½ Cup flour
½ Cup sugar
½ Cup brown sugar
1 Cup chocolate chips
1 regular pie crust- not deep dish
½ Cup butter (melted)
Preheat oven to 325°. Melt butter then set aside. Beat two eggs in a mixing bowl until foamy- I beat with a whisk just well enough to see a few bubbles. Mix in sugars and flour. Slowly stir in butter and then chocolate chips. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake for about 1 hour.
Serve warm with ice cream. So delicious!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars

The day my sister came to visit me in South Carolina I made some M&M cookies before picking her up at the airport. I made them cookie bar style using a 9x13 cake pan. They were thick and somewhat buttery, therefore soft... especially while they were still warm. They were soft, chewy, and chock full of M&M's. What more can you ask for? They were delicious! Between 5 people, over half of them were gone in no time that evening. I meant to take a picture but forgot- sorry. Trust me, though, they were very tasty.


Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars


Yield: 1 9x13 pan
 
Prep Time: 15 min
 
Cook Time: 30 min
 
Total Time: 45 min
Ingredients:
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 Tbsp butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 12oz bag M&M's, divided

directions:


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugars until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1 cup of M&M's and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top and press in slightly.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan. Cool completely before cutting.
Enjoy!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hawaiian Chicken Version 2.0

After David returned from Japan, I told him about the Hawaiian Chicken I made while he was gone. He thought it sounded amazing so he decided to invite another friend over and make it one day. We changed the recipe just slightly. We again used the crock pot and this time had 6 pieces of frozen chicken breast. We used regular BBQ sauce this time- I believe it was Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet and Spicy BBQ. We then used a can of Pinepple Chunks, juice and all. Cook on high for about 6 hours. I'm sure you could use Low for 10-12 hours, if you want to cook it while you are at work. We decided we wanted more pineapple so ended up adding another can of Pineapple Chunks, juice and all, about an hour before it was done. If you're making about 3 pieces of chicken, I think one can would be enough, but for 6 pieces, I definitely recommend 2 cans. Then again, I love pineapple, so the more the merrier for me.

We served it with some Long Grain Wild Rice from a box and a bag of frozen vegetables. It was a great meal! David and our friend Nate both thought it was phenomenal. We also gave some leftovers to another friend who said it was delicious as well.

While my first version was quite good, this is more of what I had in mind, simply because it had much more BBQ flavor than the Hawaiian BBQ sauce from Target did. Feel free to try one or both of these recipes! I think you will enjoy either one of them.

Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Sorry I am behind a little on my cooking adventures. The person I live with spent 24 days in Japan. I wanted to have dinner ready when he got home, but wasn't sure what time that would be exactly. Therefore, I pulled out the trusty crock pot once again. We had several pork loin filets. I used Farmland's Oven Perfect Chipotle BBQ Fresh Pork Loin Filet (1.5 lbs). It was still frozen when I put it in the crock pot. I stirred a bottle of IBC root beer and 1/2 cup BBQ sauce in a bowl and then poured the mixture over the pork. I used Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory and Brown Sugar BBQ sauce. I set the crock pot on low for 6 hours and let it cook. When David got home, we shredded the pork and then added a little extra BBQ sauce. We then put the meat on buns and enjoyed. It was delicious!

You can use any pork loin, root beer, and BBQ sauce. This was the easiest BBQ sandwich I've ever made and it was truly amazing tasting. I definitely recommend this. Other ideas would be to serve it over rice or noodles, if you don't want a sandwich.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, but I found this image of the particular pork loin I used, but again any pork loin would work.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken

Last night I pulled out the crock pot. Whoever invented the crock pot is/was a genius! So easy.  I have also recently learned that spraying it with cooking spray before using it makes for incredibly easy cleanup. Easy to cook a dinner and easy to clean up- this will be even more perfect when I start 12 hour work days in a couple months.

Anyway, enough with the small talk. Let's talk food! For the past week or so, I have thought some Hawaiian BBQ Chicken sounded wonderful. I have never made such a thing before but figured why not experiment. I was really wanting a Kansas City style BBQ flavor with pineapple flavor included. However, BBQ here in the South is not like BBQ in Kansas. Words can't describe how much I miss the Kansas City style BBQ sauces. However, I was at Target and found a Sweet Pineapple Hawaiian-style BBQ Sauce and decided to give it a try. I bought 1 bottle of this:



I had some pineapple spears that needed eaten before they went bad. I cut the nine remaining spears up into smaller chunks. You could easily use a can of pineapple chunks or pineapple tidbits, but I had fresh pineapple so that's the method I used this time around. I took some chicken breasts out of the freezer. I did not even thaw it out first. Took it straight from the freezer into the crock pot. Three ingredients (sauce, pineapple, and chicken) is all this delicious meal takes. With that being said, this is everything I pulled out when preparing to put it in the crock pot (ignore the Mead in the background):


I only used 4 of the 6 chicken breasts. The remaining 2 will most likely be grilled tomorrow. I also ended up not using the can of pineapple juice at all. I was planning to use 1 cup of pineapple juice, but when I opened and tasted the sauce I decided the sauce and fresh pineapple would be enough.

The Bourbon is not necessary. However, a dear friend of mine here in South Carolina has taught me that adding a little Bourbon to meats helps tenderize meat. If you've never added a splash of Bourbon to a marinaded meat of any sort, I highly recommend it. When we grill steak or chicken here, we always marinade them overnight in whatever marinade sauce we decide we want with a splash of Bourbon. It all ends up getting cooked out, but it really helps tenderize the meat. We once forgot it in a peppered steak meal we occasionally make and it was definitely noticeable because the meat was more difficult to chew and cut apart. We always use this cheap bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon as our cooking Bourbon. Again, you do not have to add it, but if you do, you only need a splash of it.

Anyway, back to the meal. Crock pot out. Spray with cooking spray for easy cleanup- not a necessary step, but it sure was nice afterward. Place frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot- I used 4 because I wanted to take some to work to share at lunch. Pour sauce over all the chicken breasts. I poured a splash of the cooking Bourbon in the empty sauce bottle, put the lid on, and shook it in order to try to get all of the sauce out and then poured the cooking Bourbon into the crock pot from there. I then put my cut up pineapple on top. Here's what it looks like in the crock pot:



Plug in the crock pot and turn it on. I cooked mine on High for 3 hours before I ate it. After about 2 hours, I used a fork to pull apart the chicken a little to allow the sauce to really cover the chicken. After about 2.5 hours of cooking I tasted it. It was done enough that I easily could have eaten it at that point, but I wanted rice with it. I'd have loved brown rice with it, but had none, so white rice it was. Cooked some rice. Put rice on plate and then put the crock pot deliciousness on top. Tada!


You could easily put this on low for 4-6 hours. It was delicious! Two ladies at work tried some of the leftovers today and were highly impressed. They were both asking for the recipe. I loved it served over rice. I have just a little bit left and a couple buns that need to be eaten this weekend so I think tomorrow for lunch I will see how it does as a sandwich.

I would easily make it again just like this. The pineapple sauce was really good. However, I was wanting more of a BBQ flavor so I think next time I will use a traditional BBQ sauce (probably some Sweet Baby Ray's or learn to make my own BBQ sauce) and then use some pineapple juice, along with the pineapple chunks. My sister said she doesn't like cooked pineapple in things so for people like that, I think just regular BBQ sauce and pineapple juice would still be quite delicious.

While the crock pot was doing it's thing, I was busy baking cookies. However, I felt lazy so I cheated a bit. I used a pouch of Betty Crocker Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie mix. With that being said, I did place a personal touch to them. I added the butter and egg as directed, but I also cut up some chopped pecans into small pieces and added a splash of Rum. Let's just say I ate WAY TOO MANY of these cookies today.


So, in summary, here is the brief version of my Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken.


Ingredients:

4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts (mine were still frozen)

1 Bottle Archer Farms Hawaiian Style Barbecue Sauce (from Target)

Pineapple Chunks, drained

Directions:
Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray for an easy cleanup!  Place frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with sauce.  Place drained pineapple chunks on top.  Cook on High for 2-3 hours or Low for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken with two forks while still in the crock pot so the chicken will be well coated with sauce.  Serve over rice, if desired.
That's it! Super easy to make. Super delicious. Super easy to cleanup. I hope you enjoyed this post. Until next time, happy cooking!

New blog

I have been baking a lot lately. I've also started cooking more. I really enjoy both and decided to start a blog to document some of my adventures in the kitchen. I will be working on creating a design for my new blog page over the next few days. I've decided to call this blog Cooking Squid, not because I plan to cook squid ever, but because I am in the U.S. Navy. Navy members are often referred to as squids. I wanted to combine my being in the Navy with my cooking/baking adventures. Thus came the name.

With this blog, I hope to share my recipes and adventures in the kitchen. Cooking and baking have become such a joy for me. My hope is for you to be inspired to cook or bake more as well.

Stay tuned: My next post will be a super easy crock pot meal I made last night. Until then, happy cooking!