Cooking Light Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

It’s been about a decade since my last breakup.  And it was a doozy.  I found myself in a complete tailspin, totally disconnected from the idea that anything would ever be good again and overwhelmed by everyday life.  It was a long, lonely road; one that I’m glad moves farther behind me each and every day.

But the holidays left me with the nagging feeling that another breakup was coming.  My relationship with baked goods had kind of gotten rocky.  I had allowed myself to be wooed by the butter and sugar and all the promises of good times.  I chose to ignore the red flags that pleaded for my attention – the way the baking supplies took over the pantry, the subtle snugness of my jeans, the sugar crashes that wiped me out in the afternoons.  I told myself that there wasn’t a problem because I dreaded the idea of a breakup more than the newly gained pounds that were registering on the scale.

I’d like to say that I found the courage to do what had to be done and walk away from the relationship.  But I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t break up with baked goods.  It’s the bad boy that keeps asking for one more chance.  And I’m a sucker for it.

But instead of jumping back in head first, I’m trying to set some boundaries in the relationship.  No, I will not see you each and every day.  Some weekends we will hang out, enjoy each others company, and others we won’t.  You will not call me late at night and if you do, I will not respond.

I will want to.  But I won’t.

Cooking Light’s Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

BAH Note:  I am slowly whittling down the number of Cooking Light recipes that have been long neglected in my recipe folders.  According to my calculations, this one has been hounding me since 2006.  The folks at CL say that a serving is one cookie.  I say that’s a boundary that is just begging to be broken.

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cream the butter and granulated sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment about 3 minutes or until well blended.  Add the corn syrup, vanilla, and egg and continue to mix for another 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and mix until just combined.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 degrees and combine the turbinado sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and shape into approximately 48, 1 teaspoon balls.  Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar and place approximately 2 inches apart on a parchment lined sheet pan.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden on the bottom.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

{printable recipe}

Quick Coq au Vin

Quick Coq au Vin

According to Cooking Light, this SHOULD have been a super quick dish.  However, in my kitchen, nothing is what it SHOULD be.  In my kitchen, as in my life, it just is what it is.  Which is usually me making things harder than they really have to be just because I’m stubborn like that.  And what this is, is a pretty easy chicken in wine sauce.  It won’t necessarily knock your socks off.  But it won’t require you to spend hours preparing it either.  It’s a trade off I can live with. Continue reading “Quick Coq au Vin”

Cooking Light Thyme Coated Pork

Pork and Beans

Cooking Light called this a simple recipe, and I agree.  But I can’t quite figure how they based it on a one pound pork tenderloin.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a one pound tenderloin and the packages I buy always have two pieces packaged together.  So instead of cussing out Cooking Light and going hungry, I decided to roll with it and scaled the recipe a bit to work with what I had.

What you see in that photo may not be your grandmother’s breaded pork with green beans, and it certainly isn’t my grandmother’s, but I like the retro vibe that my kitchen is giving off these days.  Sometimes old school simplicity is what it’s all about.

Thyme Coated Pork Tenderloin

Adapted from Cooking Light

BAH Note: I really don’t recommend using bread crumbs from a can for this recipe.  I think their texture is too fine for the coating.  I break up a loaf of sourdough into chunks and blitz them in the food processor until they are coarse crumbs.  These breadcrumbs can be stored in a zip top bag in the freezer.  Just let them warm up to room temperature before using them.  Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your tenderloins.  Mine ran kind of large and took about an hour to reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees.  I recommend that you check yours starting after about 30 minutes or use an oven safe instant thermometer with a temperature alarm.

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 large egg whites, beaten
  • 1 package pork tenderloin, halves tied together with kitchen string
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees, line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, and place an oven safe cooling rack inside the pan.

Combine thyme, onion flakes, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.  Place egg whites in a second shallow dish and beat lightly, adding about a tablespoon of water if necessary.

Dry pork with paper towels and dip into the egg whites.  When completely coated, dredge the pork in the breadcrumbs, patting them on firmly.

Place the pork on the rack set inside the sheet pan and cook until the pork registers 155 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

{printable recipe}

Ladies Who Lunch

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

Four times a year, I am a Lady Who Lunches.  I get together with two friends and we spend hours engaged in chit, chat, and chow. We started out with three dates per year to celebrate our birthdays.  But that left a gaping hole in our calendar from June to January.  So we decided to add a Very Merry Unbirthday Brunch in the fall.  In addition to being an Unbirthday get together, it’s the only one that we don’t go out for.  Birthday Brunch always involves a buffet…how else could we spend hours at a table without getting the evil eye from a server?  But VMUBB is a home cooked affair. Continue reading “Ladies Who Lunch”

Saturday Cooking

Saturday is when I tend to do my big cooking.  By big, I mean recipes that take more time than I have on a weeknight.  Monday through Friday, recipes are of the quick and easy variety.  Sunday usually involves a little more time.  But Saturday, Saturday is when I hunker down and spend an entire day cooking.  Sometimes, I’m focused on just one recipe.  Other times, there are multiple dishes going.

What kinds of things am I likely to be cooking on a Saturday?  Slow roasted beef, short ribs, roast chicken, and oven pulled pork have all come out of my kitchen on a Saturday.  Most recently, I dug into the pile of recipes I haven’t made in a while for Cooking Light’s Beef Bourguignon.

This was one of the first recipes I was successful with when I decided to stop eating from cans and boxes.  It was a huge confidence builder to create a “fancy” meal from my apartment kitchen.  And then, I don’t know why, but I filed it away as a special occasion recipe.

I don’t know about you, but with the exception of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, I don’t have a ton of special occasions on my calendar.  So what sense is there in holding on to a recipe that you don’t make?  I find that I have to remind myself that it makes absolutely zero sense.  So Beef Bourguignon and I got reacquainted.  And we turned an ordinary Saturday into a special occasion.

Beef Bourguignon

Adapted from Cooking Light

BAH Tip: Although pre-cut stew meat is convenient, it’s not always the best value.  I bought a boneless chuck roast and cut it down myself.  It’s a little messier and a little more work to remove the fat and connective tissue, but I made the beef cubes as big as I wanted and saved a few bucks at the store.

  • 2 1/4 pounds beef stew meat, cubed
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped and divided
  • all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
  • 8 cups mushrooms, halved (about 1 1 /2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Cook half of the bacon in a dutch oven over medium high heat until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a medium sized bowl.  Add half of the cubed beef to the pan with the bacon drippings, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until well browned on all sides.  Remove the browned beef from the pan, add it to the bowl with the cooked bacon, and cover to keep warm.

Repeat the process with the remaining bacon and beef cubes, sprinkling two to three teaspoons of flour over the second batch of beef after it is added to the pan.  Remove beef from the pan and cover to keep warm.

Add chopped onion and carrot slices to the pan and cook for approximately 7 minutes until the onion just starts to brown.  Add the tomato paste and cook for two minutes more.  Stir in the red wine and beef broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add bacon, beef, 1 teaspoon salt, mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.  Uncover and cook 1 hour or until beef is tender.

If your juices have not cooked down, carefully remove beef and vegetables with a slotted spoon, place in a large bowl, and cover to keep warm.  Increase heat to high and cook until the juices reduce.  Taste for seasoning and add one to two teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, if desired.  Return beef and vegetables to the pan and serve.

{Printable Recipe}

En Papillote

En Papillote

Traditionally, cooking en papillote means using parchment paper.  Not the kind you write on, so don’t go looking for it at your office supply or card store.  It’s baking/cooking paper that is treated with a bit of nonstick magic and it has countless uses in the kitchen.  Sure I use it to line cake pans and cookie sheets and wrap things like sandwiches, but in a pinch I also use it like a funnel for dry ingredients or a nonstick surface to roll out doughs.  It’s pretty freaking versatile.  I prefer the precut sheets that King Arthur Flour sells and I find that the 100 count really is a Best Buy.  The $19.95 that I just spent to restock my supply will get me a year, maybe a year and a half, or parchment perfection. Continue reading “En Papillote”