The Stay At Home Chef: April 2014

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Homemade Cookie Dough Oreos

Was it just me or were you totally excited when they announced the new cookie dough Oreo? I looked at every store I went to for a few weeks until I finally found them. Turns out they weren't so much cookie dough Oreos as they were some strange caramel-eque flavor. They were good, they just didn't taste like cookie dough sandwiched between two Oreo cookies. I decided to take matters into my own hands and make the cookie I so craved. It took several attempts, but I think I've finally developed a cookie that meets my cookie dough Oreo needs. The cookies are a bit softer than your packaged variety, but I'm absolutely in love with the texture. My friends and family thoroughly enjoyed the development of this recipe. Each batch was devoured until it was finally perfected. Go ahead and make some so you can devour your own!

Time to Make it: About 45 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen sandwiched cookies


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 TB butter, softened
2 large eggs

1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cups brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2-3 TB water
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a food processor (or stand mixer) combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, and eggs. Blend until the dough comes together and everything is moistened.

3. Take 1 teaspoon of dough at a time and roll into a ball. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Place each ball 2 or 3 inches apart. Continue making 48 balls. Cook in two batches so that each cookie sheet gets used twice. 

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes. Bake one cookie sheet at a time and place it on the center rack in the oven. Let cool for a few minutes and then slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheet onto a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool completely. Re-line the cookie sheet for the second batch.

5. Make the filling by mixing together butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour in a medium-size mixing bowl. Add water 1 TB at a time until the dough is the same consistency as a frosting. Stir in *chocolate chips if desired.

6. Lay out cooled cookies in rows of two. Use a piping bag and wide-mouth tip to fill one side of the cookie and use another cookie to sandwich. Or use a knife and spread the cookie dough on the cookie. 

7. Store in an airtight container and enjoy with a big glass of milk. 

*I found that I liked the smoothness of the cookie dough better than the added crunch of mini-chocolate chips. 


Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

It's getting warmer around these parts which means that more and more salads are finding their way to my plate. Avocados grow like crazy where I live. Yes, I am spoiled. The little farm stands sell small avocados 25 for $5. How ridiculously cheap is that? Grapefruit is also a natural grower around here as well. San Diego might very well be a culinary heaven on earth.  I realize that avocado and grapefruit may sound like a strange pairing when you first here it, but once you try it you'll see that the two compliment each other in a way that is truly meant to be. The creaminess of the avocado combined with the citrus zing and natural bitterness of the grapefruit is just heavenly. Now, I can down just the avocado and grapefruit together, but toss it on some lettuce, add a dressing and you have yourself a meal. If you are one of those must-have meat eaters you could easily add some sliced chicken breast for your enjoyment. Seriously people, avocado and grapefruit are a match made in heaven!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 Servings + extra dressing for later


4 cups lettuce
2 large grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
2 large avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
pinch black pepper


1. Wash the lettuce leaves (if needed) and prepare the grapefruit and avocado.

2. Make the dressing in a small mixing bowl by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, sugar, oregano, and pepper. 

3. Serve salad with sectioned grapefruit and sliced avocado over a bed of lettuce and drizzle with lemon-dijon dressing. 


Slow Cooker Chinese Pineapple Pork Sliders

The slow cooker produces a winner once again with this easy slider. Sweet pineapple pork combined with an Asian flair of ingredients creates a finger-licking twist on the old bbq pork slider. Top it with a little Asian slaw and you have yourself a delectable little slider. It comes together easily making it a quick and deceptively simple dinner, or an easy party appetizer that is sure to pack a punch. 

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Slow Cooker Time: 8 to 10 hours
Yield: 12 to 24 sliders


Chinese Pineapple Pork
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 can pineapple chunks (with juice)
3 TB soy sauce
3 TB honey
1 TB srirarcha
1 TB chopped garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch cinnamon
pinch cloves
1 (3 to 5 lbs) pork butt roast

2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup rice vinegar
salt and pepper

slider buns or rolls


1. Combine hoisin sauce, pineapple chunks, soy sauce, honey, srirarcha, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Place pork roast in and turn to coat

2. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours until meat can easily be shredded with a fork. 

3. Before serving, make the slaw by combining shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, cilantro, and rice vinegar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. 

4. Serve shredded pork on a slider bun topped with a spoonful of slaw. 

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Roasted Beets and Brussel Sprouts

Yes, I did it. And I laughed maniacally the entire time (at least in my head). I brought two outcast vegetables together and married them in a vegetable side dish that is sure to be controversial on the table, particularly for picky palates. I mean, seriously, I can't even rave about how much you'll love this dish because let's face's beets and brussel sprouts. These two vegetables are at the butt of way too many jokes. You might love it, you might hate it. I'm one of those crazy people that loves both beets and brussel sprouts so I was good to go. My husband loved it too, but my kids? Ya, right! They aren't going to touch either. Sometimes I can convince them to eat beets, but not so much with brussel sprouts. That's okay, I'll hoard them on my plate.

Hands on Time: about 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6


3 medium-size beets, tops removed, peeled, and diced
1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Spread beets out in a single layer on one-half of a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 TB olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the brussel sprouts on the other half of the baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper.

4. Return baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

5. 15 minutes before the vegetables are done, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until balsamic is reduced into a syrup like consistency, about 10 to 15 minutes.

6. When vegetables are finished, drizzle with the balsamic reduction and serve with crumbled goat cheese on top. 

Pineapple Pancakes with Coconut Syrup

Whenever I'm stumped for what to make for dinner I always at least consider just making breakfast for dinner. It's easy and I almost always have the ingredients. We were about to head out of town for spring break and I was running low on ingredients and had a lot of other stuff to worry about like packing. The idea for these pancakes popped in my head. I wasn't sure how it would work out, or if my kids would even eat it. When a 3 year old pounds 3 pancakes and the 5 year old gobbles his own stack of 4....well, you know you have a hit on your hands. My son declared, "these are the best pancakes in the world!" Seriously kid? I was shocked. He's picky and I was worried that the tropical flavors would be too much for him. Nope. Once I finally got enough pancakes made to have my own plate I completely understood. These pancakes were sweet and soft with the zing of pineapple. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire batch and he keeps requesting more. The pineapple and coconut flavors are subtle so you don't get overpowered by the tropical flavors, but they add just enough flavor to be exciting and different.  And that syrup? I could eat it with a spoon! 

Time to Make It: 20 to 30 minutes
Yield: about 12 pancakes & 2 cups syrup


Pineapple Pancakes
1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Coconut Syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla


1. In a large mixing bowl, make the pancake batter by stirring together crushed pineapple, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, and melted butter. Slowly add in flour until you have a nice batter. You want it to remain thin enough to spread slightly, without being runny. 

2. Heat a heavy flat nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Pour pancake batter in 1/4 cup scoops onto the griddle or skillet. When bubbles start to form on top, flip and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Keep warm until serving (a 200 degree oven and a cookie sheet works great for this). 

3. Make the syrup by melting butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, coconut milk, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer 4 minutes. Store in a heat-safe airtight container in the refrigerator. 

4. Serve pineapple pancakes warm with warm coconut syrup. 


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