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Easy Tomato Baked Chicken

Since my wonderful daughter was born in July, I have hardly had a chance to cook real meals. My night consists of picking up Riglee after work, feeding her, changing her, playing with her, prepping a quick dinner or having Kurt whip something up, playing with Riglee, feeding her, bath time, and finally bedtime. When I am done with all of this it is usually around 8:00-8:15pm. I then spend the next hour cleaning the kitchen, getting my lunch and Riglee's bottles ready for the next day, packing the diaper bag, doing laundry, and trying to spend a few quick minutes with Kurt before I finally can close my eyes.

I've been itching to get back to cooking meals and now that Riglee doesn't demand as much of my time and can play by herself, I've been trying to cook some quick and easy meals. This is one that I found on and I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was! Even Kurt said that it was really good and that I should make this again, and he'll tell me the truth.

1 small red onion (I used a yellow onion), thinly sliced
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1.25lbs)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained (I only partially drained mine and used italian diced)
1/4 cup Kraft light balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I made my own using balsamic vinegar and EVOO)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup Kraft grated parmesan cheese
1 package fresh mushrooms (my addition)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place onions in bottom of 13x9 inch baking dish and top with chicken (I used an 8x8 pan). Quarter or half mushrooms and sprinkle around chicken.

2. Combine tomatoes, dressing, and garlic powder and pour over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.

3. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. I served this over spinach fettuchini noodles and used the extra sauce on the noodles. YUM!


"Thick" and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I told you I was on a cookie kick. Seriously, for delicious baked goods I always go to Brown Eyed Baker's blog because she never seems to let me down. Not to mention she has a recipe for just about anything I'm craving at the moment! After those delicious monster cookies I was in the mood for a classic chocolate chip cookie. My problem is that I never seem to bake them properly so they turn out too hard and not chewy. I am a BIG fan of a chewy cookie, maybe a little crunch on the outside is okay but I need it soft!

So I went in search of a perfect cookie and what do you know, I found it on Brown Eyed Baker's blog! The recipe had great reviews and I was ready to get cookin'! The cookie was great right out of the oven, however, a day later, not so much. I baked these cookies a minute or two too long so they turned out a bit flatter and crunchier than I thought they would (hence the "thick" due to baker error). I guess I thought it needed another couple minutes because it didn't look golden brown like I expected it too, even though I was warned not to bake these too long in the directions. So, here is my warning to you: DO NOT BAKE THESE TOO LONG! Anywho, they were still delicious and satisfied my craving.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Baking Illustrated, page 434)
Makes about 18 large cookies.

These oversized cookies are chewy and thick, like many of the chocolate chip cookies sold in gourmet shops and cookie stores. They rely on melted butter and an extra egg yolk to keep their texture soft. These cookies are best served warm from the oven but will retain their texture even when cooled. To ensure the proper texture, cool the cookies on the baking sheet. Oversized baking sheets allow you to get all the dough into the oven at one time. If you’re using smaller baking sheets, put fewer cookies on each sheet and bake them in batches.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.


The BEST Monster Cookie

Now, if you know me, you know I love me some cupcakes. But lately all I have been wanting to eat are cookies, specifically chocolate chip cookies and monster cookies. And no, I am not pregnant again, I just have the worst sweet tooth. 

I am an avid food blog reader and I have been searching for the best sounding monster cookie recipe for quite some time. The cookie needed to be big (duh, it's got monster in the name), fluffy, chewy, and have the right cookie to add-in ratio (yes, I'm a nerd but those are my qualities). I found the winner on one of my favorite blogs, Brown Eyed Baker. She always has delicious looking food and it generally doesn't seem to daunting to make.

Now, you don't have to say this is the best monster cookie you've ever had, but it will be. I promise this cookie will not let you down. I even had my husband, Kurt, who grew up eating one of the best monster cookies I've ever had tell me that this was the best monster cookie ever. And as he finished his second cookie he spit out a crumbly "yep, definitely the best."

Monster Cookies
Source: Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 26 cookies

3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp corn syrup
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup (4oz or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups chunky peanut butter
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup Reese's Pieces (I used peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips would also be tasty)
3/4 cup M&M's

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (if you don't have 3 baking sheets, just be sure to cool the ones coming out of the oven before placing more cookie dough on them, you can always run them under cold water to cool them down).

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the eggs, both sugars, vanilla extract, corn syrup, baking soda, and salt. Then stir in the melted butter and peanut butter, followed by the oats and flour. Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips, Reece's Pieces (or peanut butter chips), and the M&M's. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes (you'll need the break after stirring all of that!).

3. Drop the dough by the 1/4 cupfuls onto baking sheets. Use your fingers to flatten the dough slightly. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden brown. Cool on a rack and then store in an airtight container at room temperature. Best enjoyed with an icy cold glass of milk!

(You can thank me for passing on this recipe later!)