Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gingerbread Men Cookies -- posted by Jessica

Well, yet again, I had a holiday pudding mix to use up! Gingerbread flavor this time! I found a recipe on the Jello site for gingerbread people cookies the called for butterscotch pudding mix. I just subbed in the gingerbread one instead and cut back on the spices slightly.
I did find this dough to be a bit crumby and hard to work with. Next time, I would add an egg white to the mix and see if that helped hold the dough together. A lot of the reviews on the Jello site commented on how soft these cookies were, however, mine turned out crispy. But they were still really good and cute! I had not really attempted homemade roll out cookies before, so I think they turned out pretty well for my first try.

Gingerbread Men Cookies

3/4 cup butter softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 box (4 serving size) butterscotch OR gingerbread instant pudding mix
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tb ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat first 4 ingredients. Combine the rest of the ingredient and gradually add to the butter mixture. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with gingerbread man cookie cutter and placed 2 inches apart on a greased (or parchment lined) baking sheet. Press on raisins or sprinkles for eyes and buttons if desired. Bake at 350 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 3 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 20 cookies. (I actually got about 2 1/2 dozen. I think my cookie cutter was on the small size)

Candy Cane Pudding Cookies -- posted by Jessica

I think these cookies are some of the best Christmas cookies I have ever baked, and I've baked a ton of different cookies over the years! I had a box of Jello instant pudding mix - candy cane flavor - left over from last Christmas that needed to be used. I wanted to try something different with it rather than just making pudding (although it does make good pudding with a pretty pink color (from all the red 40, I know, I know! LOL) What-ev.
Anyhoo, I found a recipe online for pudding cookies and decided to use that recipe with a few changes. I had a couple of candy canes so I crushed those up on my mini chopper and stirred those into the cookie dough for some extra peppermint punch! These cookies turned out moist and delicious! Very holiday-ish! And so soft and chewy; my favorite kind of cookie!

Candy Cane Pudding Cookies

1/2 cup butter softened
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I did not have any yogurt at the time, so I used 1 Tb vegetable oil)
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used 2/3 cup since the pudding mix is already quite sweet)
1/4 cup white sugar (I used 2 Tb)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 box (4 serving size) candy cane pudding mix
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 c. flour
2 crushed candy canes

Cream the butter, oil and sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the pudding mix, salt, soda and flour. Gradually beat or stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in the crushed candy canes. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined baking pans and bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes. Cool for about a minute to set them up a bit then remove to a cooling rack. They soften a bit once they have been put into containers, so layer them with sheets of parchment or wax paper to prevent them from sticking to each other.  I got about 2 1/2 dozen.

Dark Chocolate Orange Cookies -- posted by Jessica

These yummy cookies were born out of a need to use up excess bisquick baking mix and one of those orange shaped chocolates that you smack on the counter and it is supposed to break into little orange shaped segments. Well, this one had gotten a bit melted so the segments would not break apart and needed some coaxing with a paring knife. So, I decided to just chop it up and throw it in cookie dough! The original recipe was a chocolate chip orange cookie from a holiday chocolate cookbook I have. I made a few changes and came up with this version. I noticed that the first batch to bake did not spread too much, so for the next batches, I flattened the balls of cookie dough slightly on the baking sheet with the bottom of a juice glass dipped in sugar. This helped them spread out a bit and gave them a pretty sparkly top! And the dark chocolate orange chips were really delicious! Chocolate (especially DARK chocolate) pairs so nicely with orange!

Dark Chocolate Orange Cookies

1/4 cup butter softened
1 Tb vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar (I cut this down to 3/4 cup)
2 eggs
2 Tb orange zest *
1 Tb orange juice *
*I did not have a fresh orange so I used 1 tsp vanilla and a 1/2 tsp orange extract since my chocolate was already orange flavored
3 cups bisquick baking mix
1 cup chocolate chips (or chop up a chocolate orange)

Cream the butter, oil and sugar. Beat in the eggs and flavorings. Slowly beat or stir in the bisquick and then the chocolate.
Drop by tablespoonfuls (I highly recommend a cookie scoop!) onto ungreased baking sheets (or use parchment paper). Flatten slightly with bottom of juice glassed that has been dipped in sugar. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to wire rack to cool.
I got about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies -- posted by Jessica

I'm finally getting around to posting my Christmas cookies! LOL. Better late than never! I always seem to make different recipes every year (often depending on what is in my pantry I want to use up!) I made four different ones this year and I have to say, they all turned out fabulous! Oftentimes, I'll have at least one that is just meh, okay. But these were all really good!
I'll start with the chocolate chip cookies. I found this recipe on the Cream of Wheat website as I had a couple boxes (it was on sale!!) cream of wheat to use up. I had a milk chocolate hazelnut candy bar that I chopped up to use in place of the chocolate chips and I omitted the nuts. To lighten them up a bit, I used 1/4 cup butter; 1/4 cup earth balance spread and 1 Tb vegetable oil instead of a full 3/4 cup butter.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup dry cream of wheat
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup nuts

Combine the dry ingredients. Cream together the butter and sugars. Add in the egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, then stir in the chocolate and nuts.

Drop by tablespoonful on greased or parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes. Cool on pan 1 minute then removed cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I got about 2 1/2 dozen using my cookie scoop.

Two Sauce Lasagna -- posted by Jessica

This is a really delicious recipe I found on the Classico website. I had a bunch of different Classico pasta sauces in my pantry from a really good sale at the grocery store a few months back so I was looking at their site for some ideas on new recipes to try with them and came across this lasagna recipe. I love lasagna and we always have lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner so I decided to try this one. Verdict: It's a keeper! :)

Here is the recipe from the Classico site; note: my lasagna did not look as pretty as the one in their pic. but it was still tasty! I used a different red Classico sauce (caramelized onion I think) and I stirred the spinach into the red sauce rather than having it as a separate layer.

Classico Two Sauce Lasagna
Classico Two Sauce Lasagna
Servings: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour & 5 minutes


  • 1 jar (24 oz.) Classico® Traditional Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 1 jar (15 oz.) Classico® Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo Pasta Sauce                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  • 1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound sweet Italian-style bulk sausage
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles, divided


  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese, 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese and eggs. Cover and set aside.

  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown sausage for 4 to 6 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring until small crumbles form. Drain fat if needed.

  3. Spread 1 cup of Classico® Traditional Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce evenly over the bottom of 13x9 baking dish. Layer with 4 lasagna noodles, half of ricotta cheese mixture, 1 cup of Classico® Traditional Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce and half of cooked sausage. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 4 lasagna noodles. Spread Classico® Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo Pasta Sauce evenly on top of noodles and sprinkle witht remaining 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and an internal temperature of 165°F is reached. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.