Quick Cookies (or No-Bake Cookies, or Monkey Poos!)

Whenever I ask my husband if I should I make these cookies, his response is almost always the same—no! But I make them anyway because I love them, and, lo and behold, he goes on and on about how good they are and says "why don't you make these more often?" What a nut!

Quick Cookies
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa
2/3 cup peanut butter (I like crunchy)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 to 4 cups oats

In a large saucepan, mix together the first 4 ingredients and bring to a boil; boil for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until thoroughly mixed in. Stir in the oats until desired consistency is reached (I usually do around 4 cups) and then drop spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let set for a while and then they're ready to eat!

TIP: My friend and I always made these cookies when we were growing up and could never wait for the cookies to completely set, so we'd scoop the warm gooey cookie into a mug and pour a little milk on top—try it and you'll love it!


Soft Chicken Tacos

These are pretty easy to throw together, especially if you have some leftover rice or buy the rice that you just stick in the microwave for a few minutes. We like to eat ours with sour cream, cheese, and salsa, of course!

Soft Chicken Tacos
1 to 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (or a large can of good-quality chicken, drained)
Black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 to 1 cup chicken-flavored rice (or regular will work just fine too!)
1 can diced green chiles
Red and green bell pepper, diced
Onion, diced
Couple scoops of salsa or Rotel Tomatoes (the kind with chiles/jalapenos)

Combine all ingredients in a large frying pan and saute until heated through and thoroughly mixed. Serve on flour tortillas with desired condiments.

TIP: The great thing about these tacos is that you can add how much of whatever you want, and they always taste good! I usually throw these together when I don't use a whole can of black beans or have a little leftover rice. I usually have everything else, so it makes it extra easy!


Egg White Omelets

These can be a pretty HEALTHY breakfast (or dinner) depending on what you CHOOSE as your "fillers." We LOVE it with veggies, but bacon, sausage, and CHEESE do always taste good!

Egg White Omelets
8 egg whites
2–3 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup cottage cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup or so of toppings, such as cooked bacon or sausage, diced ham, peppers, onions, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, grated cheese, etc.

Mix together the egg whites, milk, and cottage cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour half of the egg mixture into a heated saucepan that has been sprayed generously with nonstick spray and let cook, swirling the pan occasionally to move uncooked egg to outer edge. Just before the egg is almost cooked and starting to brown slightly underneath, top half of it with desired toppings, and then fold the remaining half of cooked egg over top. Let cook a couple minutes longer to finish off and then serve. Makes 2 omelets. 

TIP: Don't try to fold the cooked egg over the toppings too early or it will just fall apart! Run your spatula along the edge of the egg to loosen it up and take a peek to see if it is starting to brown. When it is, then flip it over the toppings. Also, if you want to try the exact combo above, I used sliced Canadian bacon, bacon crumbles, sauteed onion, julienned fresh spinach, and grated cheddar. SUPER GOOD!


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My husband recently went on a HIKING trip and asked me to make these COOKIES for him and the guys. They are sooooo good I ate FOUR of them—one off of every pan FRESH from the oven!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 heaping teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 2/3 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat together the butter and sugars until blended and then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix together the flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt, and then beat into the butter mixture until well blended. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips. Drop large teaspoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. (Cookies may look a little doughy in the middles still.) Remove from oven and let cool about 2 minutes on pan and then completely on a cooling rack. Makes a few dozen.

TIP: I can never decide what chocolate I like more, semisweet or milk, so I often use a combo of the two in these cookies. However, my favorite combo is milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. YUMMY!


Grilled Chicken Chili Salad

I've been wanting to TRY out some different ideas for SALADS the last few weeks, and this one ended up being pretty TASTY. Best part is that there is MINIMAL clean-up when all is said and done!

Grilled Chicken Chili Salad
4 chicken breast halves, rubbed with olive oil
Chili powder
Salt and pepper
Montreal Chicken Seasoning (optional)
4 thick slices onion (left as the whole "round" in one piece), rubbed with olive oil
Romaine or leafy green lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
Frozen corn, thawed
1 can vegetarian chili, heated
Sour cream (I use light!)
Grated cheddar cheese
Texas Toast Chili Lime Tortilla Strips (I found these at Walmart by the salad dressing!)

Sprinkle the chicken with the chili powder, salt, pepper, and chicken seasoning on both sides. Grill chicken and onions on the BBQ until done. Slice the chicken in thin pieces and cut the onion slice into quarters so you have bite-size strips.

Divide lettuce onto individual plates and sprinkle with a good handful of corn, followed by the grilled onion. Lay the sliced chicken down the center and then top with one-fourth of the chili. Add a line of sour cream and salsa over the chili and then top with the cheese and tortilla strips. Makes 4 servings.

TIP: The onions will be slightly charred and tender when done, but to make it easy we just usually grill the onions and chicken the same length of time. Also, if you can't find the tortilla strips, some crushed Tostito's Lime Tortilla Chips would work just as well, or any other chip that you think sounds good!

BONUS TIP: I like to stir my salad all together once I've plated it because everything gets nice and coated with the chili, sour cream, and salsa!


Fresh Blueberry Muffins with Streusel

I've been totally into buying BERRIES this summer, and the blueberries from Costco look so good, I can NEVER resist buying them when I'm there! Of course, the container is pretty BIG, so it's hard for me to go through it all FAST enough (because I also buy the strawberries and raspberries and blackberries too!). So, with all the excess berries, I find myself making all kinds of MUFFINS!

Fresh Blueberry Muffins with Streusel
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with nonstick spray; set aside.

Mix streusel ingredients together with a pastry blender until crumbly; set aside.

Whisk together the milk, oil, and egg. Stir in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until moist. Gently fold in the berries. Divide batter equally into each muffin cup and then top with the streusel. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes in pan, and then run a knife around the edges and move to a cooling rack to cool completely. (This recipe is basically from Betty Crocker's Cookbook—the big red one—but with some minor changes on my part. Thanks Betty!)

TIP: If you have lots of blueberries hanging around, freeze them in little 1-cup increments so you can grab them from the freezer whenever you want to make these DELICIOUS and ADDICTIVE muffins!


Creamy Lemon Pasta

I was EXPERIMENTING the other night and put this YUMMY pasta together because I had some FRESH lemons I wanted to use. It definitely fits in the EASY category and tastes AMAZING, especially if you LOVE lemon!

Creamy Lemon Pasta
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
1 to 2 lemons
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons heaving whipping cream
2 to 4 cups frozen broccoli florets, warmed in microwave
1 bag frozen cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions
Fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and then add the garlic and chicken; stir and let cook together a few minutes. Pour in the broth and let come to a low boil. Juice the lemon(s) and then combine with the cornstarch; pour into pan and stir. Let come to low boil again; mixture will start to thicken. Once thick, stir in the cream. (If sauce is too thick, add a little more broth.) Add the cooked broccoli and tortellini. Serve with grated Parmesan over top. Makes around 6 servings.

TIP: I use 2 lemons because my family likes a strong lemon flavor, but feel free to just use 1 lemon or about 1/4 cup lemon juice if you prefer a more subtle lemon taste. I actually also zest the lemons for even more lemony goodness!


Steakhouse Quesadillas

I've found that I whenever we COOK or grill steaks (like on the 4th of July!), there's always LEFTOVERS. My family thinks this is one of the MANY great ways to enjoy STEAK the next day!

Steakhouse Quesadillas
Leftover steak, cut into pea-size pieces
A1 or other steak sauce
Leftover baked potato, cut into pea-size pieces
Chopped onion
Tortillas (I use whole wheat)
Grated cheddar cheese
Gorgonzola crumbles

Toss the steak in some A1 sauce and set aside. Heat the potato and chopped onion in the microwave just until warm and then toss with the steak. Lay tortillas on the counter and sprinkle with a small amount of cheddar cheese. Top with the steak and potato mixture. Sprinkle the Gorgonzola over top (we like a lot!). Finish off with a touch more cheddar and then top with another tortilla. Heat on a quesadilla maker or on your stovetop in a frying pan until cheeses are melted.

TIP: If cooking in a frying pan, make sure to add a touch of butter to the pan so each side of your quesadilla is slightly crispy when done. Also, some thinly sliced green onions and sour cream make a pretty garnish, and more A1 on the side is great for some light dipping!


101 Things To Do With Cheese!

My newest book is here! I'm so excited for this cookbook, because, for one, who doesn't LOVE cheese? The recipes in this book are pretty darn tasty, even if I do say so myself. There are eight sections including breakfasts, appetizers, soups, salads, breads & sides, pizza & pasta, main dishes and desserts. Some of my favorites are:

Stuffed French Toast
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Spence's Cheesy Chip Dip
White Cheddar Broccoli Soup
BBQ Chicken and Smoked Gouda Salad
Gorgonzola Potato Salad
Dill and Cheddar Scones
Asiago Mashed Potatoes
Mexican Pizza
Swiss Stroganoff
Gooey Lasagna
Chicken Divan
Saucy Garlic and Blue Cheese Burgers
JalapeƱo Turkey Burgers
Philly Cheese Steak
Enchilada Casserole
Sour Cream Cheesecake
Cream Cheese Brownies 

I think the cover turned out pretty darn cute as well. If anyone would like a copy, please let me know!