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

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
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


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.

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.