Tales from a 20-Something's Kitchen.

One girl's mission to take on Pinterest. And win. And eat some great food in the process.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

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Not pictured: My hands covered in chocolate, just out of frame. But more on that later.

Also, this is my first recipe in my new apartment! I moved about three weeks ago into a bigger place (read: bigger kitchen) with some friends, and I finally had some time to get some groceries and make a recipe last night.

So, this started out a pretty standard eggless cookie dough recipe. I actually think it’s one of the best ones I’ve ever tasted, so that was exciting.

But when it comes to these damn truffle recipes, the chocolate coating part is always my downfall.

I melted the chocolate and hoped for the best. I didn’t use shortening because I still have nightmares of that crap from when I worked at a cupcake shop in college.

And then the disaster started. I tried using a fork, as the recipe suggested, but it kept getting stuck in the dough. Then I tried a spoon method, that also did not go well. So I gave up and just started using my fingers. Much more effective. Also a lot more messy.

Then I didn’t do it quick enough and the frozen cookie dough balls started to soften in the chocolate. So, some have weird little bald spots.

But you know what? After all that, they still tasted pretty good. I’m also excited for these roommates because they have as big of a sweet tooth as me, so I know I’ll have more to share!

Recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Spinach Strawberry Salad

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So, there was a couple reasons why this salad just didn’t do it for me. Two of those reasons were purely my laziness, so that’s on me.

It’s simple enough, and everything sounds good separately, but I don’t know.

First off my spinach leaves just weren’t that fresh tasting. Not really my fault, more my grocery store’s, but I still couldn’t finish this.

Also, I just don’t think I loved the combination of poppy seed dressing and feta. It was a weird taste combination to me. I should have done harvarti. Harvarti and poppy seed dressing together is the shit. And I just didn’t put in the red onion. I don’t love red onions anyway and when I saw the grocery store was only selling them in packs of 4, I was not about spending money to use 1/2 of an onion and have the rest sit in my fridge for eternity.

Now, everything else is my own damn fault. I just honestly didn’t feel like making raspberry poppy seed dressing. It was a recipe attached to this recipe and that was just too much for me that day so I just used normal poppy seed. I don’t think that was a huge deal, but I may of liked it more with the raspberry flavoring. I also couldn’t find candied pecans. And the other recipe attached to this one to make those seemed complicated. So, I found a recipe that said “quick candied pecans”. This is where the laziness comes in. You basically toss them in a pan until they’re caramelized, but I did it in the microwave instead. So they were just ok, more like buttery pecans than candied. Like I said, pure laziness.

So, maybe it’s my fault. I normally love fruit and poppy seed dressing salads, but maybe this just wasn’t the salad for me.

Recipe:

http://www.theyummylife.com/Spinach_Strawberry_Salad#EmbedRecipe_150

Chicken Tortilla Bake

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For the Fourth yesterday, I went to a potluck at a friend’s place. I thought it would be funny to make something that’s not All-American. Hence, the chicken tortilla bake haha.

The recipe itself is super easy, as casseroles normally are. The thing that took the longest was cooking the chicken. I just chopped it up and threw it in a frying pan. Most efficient way to do it I think.

Also, the original poster doesn’t specify, but this fits best in a smaller pan. I used a 7.5 x 11.

My friends at the potluck loved it. Some people ate it straight, like I did. Others used it as more of a dip, which was also really good. My roommate even put some salsa on top, which I also recommend.

Overall, am easy, good tasting recipe that’s great for a party!

Recipe:

http://www.homemakingchallenged.com/2012/01/chicken-tortilla-bake.html

Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies

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So, I’m in a show right now (hence the slight drop off in cooking) but I had the morning off yesterday, so I decided to make these to bring to the show for my cast and crew.

First off, these are super easy to make. It’s a little tough once you get to folding in the cookies and sprinkles though because the batter is dense and you kind have to use legit arm strength to get everything mixed.

I also didn’t put the additional crumbled cookies and sprinkles on top because A. I forgot to save some of the chopped oreos and didn’t feel like crushing more. B. I had used my entire sprinkle supply in the batter itself. Oh well.

To top it all off, they were a hit with my cast and crew! Now they’re asking what I’m going to bring next. I may have opened a can of worms here…

Recipe:

Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies.

White Chocolate and Blueberry Pancakes

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So, the recipe itself is for waffles, but I don’t have a waffle maker and the original poster of the recipe gave an adjustment for pancakes. So, I went with that.

I should have just bought a waffle maker. But more on that later.

Making the batter was simple enough. I didn’t chop up the chocolate chips as suggested because they were already pretty small. However, once everything was mixed together, and I was ladeling the batter into the pan to cook, I noticed that all of the blueberries floated to the top, and all of the chocolate chips sunk to the bottom. So, the first half are mostly blueberry pancakes, and the second half (mainly the last pancake) were chocolate chip pancakes.

Remember how I said I should have bought a waffle maker? I am notoriously bad at flipping pancakes. I can never get it right. This time was no exception. I tried to make the pancakes smaller, but the batter kept expanding in the pan. Let’s just say I had a giant mess to clean up afterward and only half of the pancakes were that perfect golden brown color. Everything else leaned towards the burned side.

Oh well. Maybe next time I’ll get it right!

Recipe:

White Chocolate & Blueberry Waffles

Chicken Ranch Pizza

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This was probably one of the most low maintenance recipes I have ever done. The most cooking I actually had to do was cooking the chicken and then slicing it, along with chopping up some other ingredients.

So, the recipe says you can use either homemade or store bought crust. I went with store bought. Because god bless whoever has time to make homemade pizza dough, because it sure isn’t me.

I will say, the only thing I didn’t like was the parmesan cheese. I just don’t know if it mixed well with the cheddar. Also, I would have used more sauce. But that might be a personal preference.

Overall, this is a great dinner idea, and the leftovers lasted me a few days.

Recipe:

Chicken Ranch Pizza

Individual Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

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I’m going to a potluck/wine night tonight, and I thought these were the perfect contribution!

And they were actually pretty easy to make too! Although I will say, this is one of those recipes where I really wished I had one of those amazing standing mixers. Hand mixing that cheesecake was a bitch and a half.

It also suggests piping the cheesecake mix into the cups. Honestly? I was just too lazy for that and spooned it in. They’re a tad less pretty, but I’m sure they taste the exact same haha.

So, overall, a great, easy, fairly quick recipe if you need something to bring to parties. I would definitely make these guys again.

Recipe:

http://www.mychocolatetherapy.com/2012/05/individual-peanut-butter-cheesecakes.html

Homemade Chips with Avocado Ranch Dip

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So, the most painstaking part of this whole thing is making the damn chips. The recipe recommended using a mandoline vegetable slicer thing, which I went to two different stores and couldn’t find. So. I very carefully hand sliced all of the potatoes.

It was a bitch.

After that, this recipe is super easy. The chips weren’t quite crispy enough for me after the recommended baking time, so I did an extra 10 minutes and they turned out great. I would also recommend a little more salt. But that may just be ┬ápersonal preference.

The dip is super easy to make. It kind of reminds me of a french onion dip. However, I wish the avocado taste came through a little more. The greek yogurt kind of overpowers it.

But, the dip at least would be a great party contribution. And the chips? I’ll try again when I find one of those stupid slicers.

Recipe:

http://foodformyfamily.com/recipes/homemade-potato-chips-and-avocado-ranch-dip-for-an-earth-day-virtual-picnic

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

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So, this guy is pretty simple and straightforward. But, I had to make some tiny adjustments.

Firstly, I could not find french bread in a can anywhere. Just crescent rolls and biscuits. I didn’t want to go to a third grocery store, so I just bought two cans of crescent rolls. Also, I don’t have a 10 cup muffin tin, I have a 12, (which, do 10 cup muffin tins exist?) But, between the two crescent roll tubes, they perfectly made 12.

Making the spinach dip part was pretty easy. I’m pretty sure I overcooked the spinach though. I followed the directions exactly, but it looked a little crispy. Thankfully, there’s so much other stuff mixed in that you can’t even tell. I also used chili powder instead of buying ancho chili pepper. Because honestly, I was not about to spend 5 dollars on a really specific spice that I only needed 1/8 of a teaspoon of.

But, when all was said and done, these were great! My roommate loved them too. I would recommend popping them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds if you’re eating leftovers of them. They taste best warm!

Recipe:

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

Slow Cooker Spinach and Tortellini Soup

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So, I have had absolutely zero time to cook food lately. I’ve been in a few shows back to back and so would go from my day job to straight to my theatre job basically every single day. There was about two straight weeks where I lived off pizza. I would be at the gym, order the pizza on the way home, so by the time I was out of the shower, pizza was there, and I had 10 minutes to eat as much as humanly possible.

Also, the fact that this is a slow cooker recipe and took approximately 5 hours didn’t really help matters. And then I finally bought the ingredients, went to make it two days later, the mushrooms had already gone bad. Then I went to go make it again this past Sunday, a friend texted me and was treating some people in my theatre company to dinner.

It was like the universe didn’t want me to make this.

But hah. Two months later, I finally got around to it.

And it was pretty good!

It’s interesting because the recipe calls for this white sauce mix. I went to three different grocery stores. I couldn’t find it, and the workers thought I was crazy, they’ve never even heard of it.

So, I scoured the internet, and found out that a lot of other people were having similar problems. I found this substitute that sounded easy enough:

http://www.theophoffs.com/toyourhealth/2010/1/13/creamy-tortellini-soup.html

She said hers turned out a little lumpy and too sweet. So what I did was instead of the 2c water and 2c milk, I just did the 4c of water that the original recipe says, and whisked the shit out of it until there was no lumps. Which took a solid five minutes.

But, that seemed to work! After that it was pretty easy, mostly just me sitting around, watching TV, and waiting for the magical crock pot to do its thing.

So, yeah, this wasn’t too bad. It is missing some flavor, which is probably due to the whole white sauce thing, but in the end, not a bad recipe to give a shot.

Recipe:

http://myfavoritethings-miranda.blogspot.com/2012/03/creamy-slow-cooker-tortellini-soup.html

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