Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cookie Baking Time

It occurred to me that it has been quite a while since I've posted anything foodie. Not that I've stopped cooking or anything - no - we're sticking to our "only eat out 3 times a week" so that still means I have to put 18 meals a week on the table. I've got "cook once, eat twice" down to a science, and sometimes even "cook once, eat three or four times"!
Last night, I got creative. First of all, Jonathan has a cold, so I wasn't going out yesterday. Had plenty of time (did I say that?) to devote to a nice meal. Secondly, it was rainy and grey outside, perfect day to warm up the place with nice smells. And third, I had some goodies in the refrigerator leftover from one of my Mommy play date/lunches that I had to use up or they were going to go to waste. A big package of white mushrooms became stuffed mushrooms with sun-dried tomatoes, bread crumbs and fresh parsley. More of the parsley and mushrooms went into a rendition of chicken marsala - I say a rendition because I didn't have any marsala wine - used chicken broth instead. Made up a big pot of rice pilaf to go with it, and peas on the side. When the mushrooms came out of the oven, I grated pecorino romano on them, called it an "appetizer" with the proper French accent.....and Mark actually liked them! Matthew ate a good amount of peas, a slab of chicken, and a little bowlful of rice (good boy!), and Jonathan ate...well...elbow noodles with butter. Under protest. What can I say. One day at a time.
The pictures above? Taken about a week ago, when we made these cute little cookies. Found in my new Land O' Lakes cookbook that my mom gave to me for my birthday - they're called Holiday Shortbread Squares or something like that. So simple, combine the ingredients, press the dough into an 8x8 that has been lined with plastic wrap, then lift the plastic wrap out and cut the dough into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch cubes, bake and voila! Little bite-sized shortbread with party non-pareil colors in them. Jonathan was a big help - he actually did really well placing the little delicate squares on the trays. Easy recipe - went quickly and didn't make a huge load so we were done in no time.
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 + 1/4 C. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 teaspoons multi-colored non-pareils
Oven to 325, line 8x8 with plastic wrap. Combine butter, sugar and almond extract and cream until fluffy. Mixer to low, throw in flour and salt. Beat until mixed, then stir in non-pareils. Gather up dough into ball, then press evenly into 8x8. Lift plastic wrap from pan, and use sharp knife to cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place them 1/2 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets, bake for 14-16 minutes or until bottoms are just beginning to brown.
Great for the kids to help! They love the colored non-pareils - those are the little round hard things - don't use regular sprinkles - they will melt and be a mess in the oven.
Tonight? Leftovers! With a new batch of rice. And a tossed salad - ran out of peas last night. Bon Appetit!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Jonathan likes his hoodie with the hood up for some reason. I guess in his logic, if something has a hood, you use it!

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