Saturday, January 31, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

I found this recipe the other day when looking for something to "fix" my chocolate and peanut butter craving.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and set out a 9 x 13 baking pan (do not grease the pan).


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (I was out of vanilla but they tasted fine)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons milk

1. Beat the butter and peanut butter for 30 seconds.
2. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips.
4. Bake in a 9 x 13 pan at 350 for 20 - 22 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips
6. Let chips stand for 5 minutes then spread over the bars then let them cool.
7. When cooled, mix the icing ingredients together to a drizzling consistency. (I made mine thicker and put it in a pastry bag and piped it onto the bars)
8.Drizzle over chocolate layer and cut in to bars.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Penne with Sausage and Spinach

I’ve been making this for Mike for the past 2 years. I was tweaking it every time, but now I think I finally have it. Mike asks for it at least once a month in the fall and winter. It's also a pretty cheap meal! It comes from my favorite magazine that was discontinued which was made into a book, Fast Fix, family foods by Better Homes and Gardens.

Servings: 6

1 pound cooked smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into ½ inch thick slices
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped (or 2 teaspoons of jarred garlic)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 32oz. of reduced-sodium chicken broth or stock
1 cup of water
1 pound of penne
1 6-9oz. package of fresh pre-washed baby spinach
¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup whipping cream


  1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook sausage, onion, and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat until onion is tender and sausage is lightly browned.
  2. Add broth and the water; bring to a boil.
  3. Add pasta; cook until tender, stirring frequently.
  4. Add spinach and pepper; cook about 1 minute or until spinach is wilted.
  5. Stir in cream and serve.
Note: When you’re cooking the pasta, it may look like there isn’t enough liquid; there is, but if you need to, you can add water at ½ cup increments. You want a thick (not soupy) finished product.

P.S. The leftovers are delicious!

Monday, January 26, 2009

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

This was a big hit and so easy.

Barbecued Beef
from Simply in Season (of course!)
2 lbs stewing beef, cut in 1 inch cubes
2 onions
Place in crockpot.

1/3 c water
1/2 c ketchup
2 T vinegar
2T Worcestershire sauce
1 T brown sugar
1 t each salt, paprika, chili powder

Mix together and pour on top of beef and onions.
Cook on low in crockpot until beef is tender and easily shredded with two forks. Cook with the lid OFF for the last hour to reduce liquid. Mine took about a total for 5 hours.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

'Tis the Season

For yet another soup recipe! This one is a great simple meatless meal, good for Fridays. And I think pretty much all of the ingredients will be in your pantry. From my favorite cookbook: Simply in Season.

Hearty Lentil Stew
4 c water
1 c dried lentils
1 c tomatoes, diced
4 large carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 t thyme
1/2 t marjoram
2 T dry sherry (optional)
Cook together until lentils and carrots are soft, 40-45 minutes.
1/4 c fresh parsley
2-3 T salt to taste
Stir in parsley with salt. Heat another minutes and serve, garnish with grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese.

I didn't use sherry, parsley or cheese and it was still delicious. Also note that it only gets better after sitting in the fridge. I thought it was fine at first but each leftover tastes better - now I would label it as delicious!!

Herbed Potato Soup

I got this recipe from all recipes. I think it's probably the best base recipe, you can build this up so much.


2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups milk


  1. Place potatoes and water in a large saucepan; cook over medium heat until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, saute onion butter until tender.
  3. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. *
  4. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.**
  5. Add potatoes with cooking liquid; heat through.


*I cooked the flour for about 2 minutes before adding the liquid.

** I cooked this more than 2 minutes, basically until the potatoes were done (about 10 minutes).

Note: I added about 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes with all the herbs. It gave it a little heat, but oh so good. I could also see putting cubbed precooked ham in as well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookie

Otherwise known as the new favorite cookie at the Facemyer house.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter (not all-natural), divided
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in small bowl.
  3. Melt 1 cup morsels in a small, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. (I do this in the microwave)
  4. Beat granulated sugar, 1/3 cup peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
  5. Beat in melted chocolate.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Gradually beat in dry ingredients.
  8. Stir in remaining morsels.
  9. Cover and refrigerate just until firm.
  10. Shape into 1 1/2-inch balls; press thumb into tops to make about 1/2-inch-deep depressions.
  11. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Fill each depression with about 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter. (I put the peanut butter in to a pastry bag and squeeze it in to the thumb prints. If you don't have a pastry bag, try using a plastic storage bag and cut a small piece of the corner off.)
  12. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until sides are set but centers are still slightly soft. (I bake for about 12 minutes and that makes a nice chewy cookie)
  13. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completed

New Family Favorite Chili

I got this chili recipe from my MIL. Peter told me last night that it is the best chili he has ever had. It is currently my favorite chili, too! The ketchup gives it just the slightest sweet flavor. I've been enjoying this chili with macaroni noodles in it, but it's delicious as is, too. Also I didn't used any green pepper simply because we didn't have any.

Yankee Chili
(I don't know where the recipe originally came from...)
2 T oil
2 med onions, diced
1 sm green pepper, chopped
1 fat garlic clove, minced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I only used 1 lb)
2 c canned tomatoes (I just used one can)
1/2 c ketchup
1 T (or more) chili powder (I used a heaping T)
1 t cumin
1 t dried marjoram
1 t dried oregano
Tabasco sauce (didn't have any)
2 c canned kidney beans (any kind of bean will do)

Brown ground beef. Saute onions, pepper, garlic and celery in oil until softened. Add meat. Stir in tomatoes + juice. Add ketchup and spices. Sprinkle lightly with tabasco and salt. Simmer about an hour. Adjust chili powder and tabasco to suit your taste. *Set aside to let the flavors blend. Add drained beans about 20 minutes before serving. Heat and serve as is or over rice or macaroni.

*Um, I didn't do this part.
-Also note that like any chili recipe this can totally be suited to fit your needs. The first time I made it I used a can of condensed tomato soup because that was all we had!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sausage and Tomato Risotto

Yet another recipe from (she borrowed it from Martha Stewart - Everyday Food). Actually, Neil found it and made it for his game night, then he and I made it when we had some dance friends over for a game night. It's quite yummy, but you do need to keep an eye on the risotto.

Also, we made a double batch of it for New Years and found that it's better to make two single batches (of the risotto) and one big pot of the broth. Otherwise you'll end up with too much thick risotto and the broth won't be able to be incorporated. You'll get burned risotto.

Tomato and Sausage Risotto
Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Serves 4

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach (10 to 14 ounces), washed well, tough stems removed, chopped (about 7 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons butter

1. In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.

4. Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).

5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Roast Pork Loin

Mike and I had this last week, and we both really enjoyed it. The mustard complimented the pork beautifully!

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 boneless center-cut pork loin roast (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard*
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  1. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat.
  2. Season the pork with salt and pepper and sear on all sides until golden brown.
  3. Combine the mustard and vinegar and brush on all sides of the pork.
  4. Transfer to the oven and roast the pork until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 145°, about 35 minutes.
  5. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Remove strings (if you had them), slice and serve.

* I could not find whole grain mustard here, so I used coarse ground Dijon and then added some mustard seeds I already had.

Note: I have a thermometer that stays in the pork while it's roasting and then it beeps when it reaches the preset temperature. It worked amazingly, but it took about 45 minutes for the roast to reach 145°.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Busy Kitchen

I'm so happy to see so many posts recently. And new members being added! A busy kitchen is a happy kitchen, or something like that!

I love crockpots, but I'm beginning to dislike my particular crockpot. I'm finding that one side of it cooks hotter than the other side thus causing things to burn on one side. I think I may have to invest in a new one some day soon. In the meantime, I'll try to stick to liquidy dishes that aren't so likely to burn, like this one I have to share today.

Maui Chicken
adapted from my Fix It or Forget It daily calendar 2008
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
(can place in the crockpot frozen and chop up later if needed
not that I would ever need to do that...)
2 T oil
14-16 oz chicken broth
20 oz can pineapple chunks, juice included
1/4 c vinegar
2 T brown sugar
2 t soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced (although I forgot mine)
3 T cornstarch
1/4 c water
Place chicken in crockpot. Combine everything else and pour on top of chicken. Mine cooked on high in 3 1/2 hours. Serve (with slotted spoon) over rice.
Note: This is a good recipe for cooking on low all day if you have to be out and about or at work. There is plenty of liquid to keep it from burning.

Monday, January 12, 2009


There are so many ways to make guacamole. Personally, I am really picky about mine - I like it pretty simple.

ripe avocados (when softly squeezed they must give only slightly)
lime juice
something to give it a little "heat" (a jalapeno finely chopped or I use hot sauce)
garlic (fresh chopped or powder)

Cut avocados in half lengthwise, discard pits and peel skin from each half. Mash avocados in bowl. Squeeze lime juice all over. Chop tomatoes and mix with avocados. Add your jalapeno or hot sauce/salsa. Add garlic and salt. Mix everything together. Refrigerate. Eat until you feel sick to your stomach!

*Honestly, I could not say how much of each ingredient to put in. When I make it, I usually use five avocados and two tomatoes. Then I add a little bit of all of the remaining ingredients and then taste it. Then I usually add more of everything. This goes on until I think it tastes perfect. Of course, by then most of it is gone! Other ingredients that could be used are cilantro or onions. I personally do not like cilantro at all, and I could never imagine onions in mine, so I do not use those.

Just Popping in...

I'm so afraid I'll lose my membership through lack of posting! :D I haven't been baking as much as I'd like (turns out, I have a baby who likes to be IN the sling, but hates BEING PUT into it...hmmm. Most days it's easier to not bother and just carry him around on my hip, like Mom used to!) and The Elimination Diet has reduced my dinnertime repertoire to Variations of Chicken/Fish plus green beans. BUT! I do have a fun and fast little trick to zest up an otherwise boring dinner: Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Dried Figs, and Honey Mustard dressing!

I know dried figs can get expensive ($4.99/lb in the bulk section of the health food store) but you only need a small handful, sliced in half. Toss the spinach leaves (baby spinach is best - no tearing needed) with crumbles of goat cheese*. In a (preferably glass, so you can watch the levels) measuring cup, pour 1/3 c. olive oil, salt, and pepper, and add honey and mustard by the tablespoon to taste, muddling as you go. Dump in the dried figs. When the oil starts to get low in the cup (meaning, of course, that the figs are soaking up the oil-honey-mustard goodness) toss the figs in the leaves and cheese. Serve immediately. SO delicious!

*If you don't like goat cheese, or it's prohibitively expensive, of course substitute your favorite salad cheese! Goat cheese happens to be MY favorite! :)

Cranberry Orange Scones

Just want to say "Hi" to everyone!

I already posted this on my blog, but this is my absolute favorite recipe for scones. I saw it on a Barefoot Contessa episode a couple years ago and have been making them every since.

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries (I use 2 cups of fresh or thawed cranberries, quartered)
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash (I use any leftover heavy cream)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest.

  2. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy!

  3. Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

  4. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead. Divide the dough in half. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 1-inch thick circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Repeat with the second half of dough.

  5. Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners' sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Shout Out & A Recipe

First, I want to welcome our newest member of the cooking blog, Kristi. I went to HS school with her and now she's married and living with her husband in MO. Welcome, Kristi!

Second, the recipe. Dan said one of the his favorite things growing up was his grandma's beef and noodles. I asked my MIL and all her sisters if anyone had the recipe but found out his grandma never had a recipe. So I cracked open my Better Homes and Garden Bridal Edition and found a recipe for it. Dan would recommend this dish to anyone but I didn't really care for it. It's not that it wasn't eatable, I think it was just the consistency that I got hung up on. This is probably the last meal I'll make in our first home but many more recipes to home in our new home!

Beef and Noodles

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 1 3/4 hours

1 lbs boneless beef round steak steak or chuck roast (I had a chuck roast in the freezer so that's what I used)
Some flour for coating the beef
cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups beef broth
1 tsp. dried marjoram or basil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
8 oz frozen noddles

Step 1. Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 3/4-inch cubes. Coat meat with flour. In a large saucepan brown half of the coated meat in hot oil. Remove from saucepan. Brown the remaining meat with the onion and garlic, adding more oil if necessary. Drain off fat. Return all meat to the saucepan.

2. Stir in the broth, marjoram, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.

3. Stir noodles into broth mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Tips after cooking: I don't normally put the prep time and cooking time up but this one took longer than I expected so I didn't want one else to be stuck rushing around the kitchen to get it done. Also, I didn't let step 2 simmer for that long, maybe 45 minutes. In step 3, make sure to stir the mixture every so often as it becomes thicker so noodles don't stick to bottom on saucepan.