Chocolate No Bake Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas

I grew up eating this style of cookie. Granted my grandma made some darn good, and probably the best oatmeal cookies that I have ever eaten, but my dad of all people turned me on to these chocolate no bake cookies. I remember watching him make them, and saw excitement in making them. I know the excitement because it was essentially a no bake cookie, and one that you melted ingredients, poured into a bowl, mixed, and formed into cookies. Wait about an hour and you have treats for the week. What is not to get excited about right?

I’ll admit that these cookies are not my kids favorites. They eat them, and are always curious. They are dense, which I love, and one that carries you a long way in terms of not wanting to go back in and eat three or four of them (which I also love). So I decided to whip up a batch but add in a couple of different ingredients to jazz them up a bit (not that they need jazzing).

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of craisins, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • Parchment Paper

In a sauce pan, add the sugar, cocoa powder, milk and butter, and melt that down and bring to a boil.

During this time, line a baking sheet with the parchment paper.

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas

Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium, and then add in your pepitas, vanilla, and craisins. Mix.

To a mixing bowl add the oats and peanut butter.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the mixing bowl and get stirring.  Mix well, then drop a tablespoon, or larger of the mixture onto the lined baking sheet.

Let these cool to harden, then grab and go. I love these, I really do. Maybe it was the history of seeing my dad’s face and that smile that he was creating something yummy back in the day, or maybe it’s because I find them just darn delicious. Whatever the case, they are part of the cookie platter in 2018, and will be on the platter as long as I’m able to make cookies. Plus, did I mention that hidden crunch from the pepitas, and that mild tartness from the craisins that make them even better?! Enjoy!

Looking for more cookie recipes? Try these below:

White Chocolate and Cranberry Haystacks

Please don’t get bored with me. I know I am posting more and more cookie recipes that I recently made, but it is the season, and I promise I will have much more comforting food recipes to please your eyes and palettes in 2019. Do you know how many recipes I posted in 2018? Me neither, but I know it is quite a bit and that is a bit surprising with all of the stuff we have been dealing with this year, and I am thankful to be able to keep posting. Hopefully one day my kids will look into my website and make a recipe or two. That’s a goal.

So with the cookies that I have made, these white chocolate and cranberry haystacks were a real treat and something my wife and kids could not stop eating. Who knew chow mein noodles could be so delicious, right?!

White Chocolate and Cranberry Holiday Haystacks
White Chocolate and Cranberry Holiday Haystacks

This is another one of those cookies that are basically melt, form, and eat. A no baker type of cookie.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 11 oz bag of white chocolate chips
  • 12 oz bag of chow mein noodles
  • 1 cup of dried Craisins, blended into fine pieces (cherries would be good as well)
  •  red sprinkles, optional
  • parchment paper

Place your chow mein noodles in a mixing bowl.  Toss in the ground up cranberries.

Melt your white chocolate. I do these over a double boiler but you can keep an eye on it in the microwave, stirring frequently up to 3 minutes. The goal is to get nice and creamy white chocolate.

Have I told you I was never a fan of white chocolate, up until recently? Crazy how that works.

White Chocolate and Cranberry Holiday Haystacks
White Chocolate and Cranberry Holiday Haystacks

Once the chocolate is melted, pour into the bowl of noodles. Stir, and stir quickly coating all of the cranberries and noodles.

Notice on the image above with the Chow Mein. The callout says ‘Improved Taste!’. Yikes. Hey, at least there is 0g of trans fat per serving.

Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take two spoons and form into bite sized shapes. These will be all over the place in terms of size and shape, so don’t worry! Sprinkle with sprinkles if you want. Let these sit in a cool place, uncovered for about 1 hour, or less until the chocolate hardens and you are left with the haystacks.

Take one. Just try and take ONE. Now watch others eat them as you eat them. These things are great, and fun. They somewhat shatter and the crunch of the chow mein, along with the sweetness from the white chocolate pairs so well with the subtle tartness from the cranberries.

Now, only about 15 more cookie recipes to post… Kidding. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

I counted 21 total different kinds of holiday cookies that I baked or ‘formed’ these past couple of weeks. Can you believe that? I didn’t think it was a lot of cookies but after looking at all of them, I was pretty impressed. I actually had to load them into a box so that I could sort them all out. Most of not all of them were dreamy and I only say that as I watched my wife and kids expressions after eating them. This was one of those delicious morsels and one that is way too simple to make. It’s essentially melted peanut butter and chocolate chips, marshmallows, and holiday colored M&Ms.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Sugar bombs, if you will but everyone seems not to mind that around this time of year.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 11 oz package butterscotch chips
  • 10.5 oz bag mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup holiday colored M&Ms
  • parchment paper, optional but recommended

Pretty standard holiday baking ingredients. I can’t tell you how many bags of chips I have gone through, as well as butter, so I was a bit glad this one was not utilizing butter and sugar! That’s how much I have been going through.

You have a couple of options for the melting of the chips and peanut butter. You can use a double boiler method, or you can utilize your microwave. I go microwave as it is quicker and one less dish.

To a microwave safe bowl, add in the peanut butter, chocolate and butterscotch chips. Melt, stirring every minute, up to about 3-4 minutes until it is nice and smooth. Be careful as this is super hot.

During this time line your large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Fold in the marshmallows until they are fully coated.

Scrape the mixture onto the parchment paper, smoothing it out and covering the sheet. Next begin pouring on the M&Ms with your hand to level out the chips. Gently press the M&Ms into the chocolate marshallow mixture so that they adhere. Place the sheet into the fridge, or in my case in the cold garage for about 1 hour to let it become solid.

Once solid, cut into bite sized bars and dig in. These Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars are so good. There is already a great relationship between chocolate and peanut butter, but then you get this great added texture of the M&Ms and the softness of the marshmallows. This is a real treat and a quick and simple treat to bring to any party. Enjoy!

Glazed Italian Cookies

Butter. Sugar. Flour. Baking Soda. Baking Powder. Eggs. Extracts. Those are the basic ingredients that I have been dealing with for nearly three weeks, among a few others such as Cocoa powder, salt, and more butter. My cookie game is on point, at least I thought it was until I decided to come up with this glazed Italian cookie that I thought was going to fail, but I was completely wrong.

Most every time we frequent our favorite Italian grocery and deli, Glorioso’s we tend to visit their baked goods area and pick up a good dozen of their cookies. Everyone in the family loves them. They are great alone, and a perfect snack with an afternoon coffee, so I decided to come up with a batch that I was hoping would come close, and I did a pretty darn good job.

Glazed Italian Cookies Recipe
Glazed Italian Cookies Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 5 cups all purpose flour, possibly more
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • parchment paper, optional but recommended
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 5-7 tbsp milk
  • colored sprinkles, optional

This is a great cookie dough recipe and you can adjust your extract accordingly whether you want vanilla, almond, lemon (preferred), or other to your taste.

Keep in mind that you need to be care when adding the lemon extract as it can be a bit ‘chemical’ tasting if you go too far. You can always zest a lemon and add that in for an extra kick as well.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet, or two with parchment paper.

Get a mixing bowl ready as your main mixer, then another bowl for sifting some dry ingredients. There is something about sifting that I really love. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it is the fine powder coming out of it, or maybe it was a memory of being a kid and seeing my elders use them in baking, not sure.

Glazed Italian Cookies
Glazed Italian Cookies

To the mixing bowl, add in the butter and sugar. Put the mixer on medium-low and begin creaming the butter. During this time sift your flour, baking powder, and salt. Crack your eggs into a separate bowl to prevent any shells from getting in the batter.

Add the lemon extract to to the butter and sugar, then start slowly adding in the eggs, one at a time. Once all of your eggs are nicely mixed into the butter, slowly begin adding the flour. Mix on medium until you have a nice batter. Stop and scrape down the sides, and mix some more. Add more flour if needed to form a nice, thick and somewhat sticky dough.

I placed all of my dough into a piping bag, but you can use your hands and form these into 2 inch log shapes if you want. I placed mine in a gallon sized ziplock, clipped off the corner to the size I was going form, and piped strips onto the parchment paper.

Once all of your dough is used, place into the oven for about 9-11 minutes until golden brown.

While the cookies are baking, make the glaze. Take the melted butter, powdered sugar, and milk and whisk in a mixing bowl. Mix, feeling free to add a bit more sugar or milk until you have your desired consistency.

Once the cookies are baked, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack. Let these cool for about 30 minutes before adding the glaze. I simply add the same parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch excess glaze.

Take a cookie strip and cut them into bite sized pieces. Dip each piece into the glaze, the put on the rack. Repeat. Sprinkle your decorations if you desire, and let the glaze set. I let these sit out overnight, then bagged them for later use.

When my wife and daughter came home, they said something along the lines of ‘Oh boy, what are these!?’, then upon biting into them they knew right away where I was headed, and that was the Italian cookie. Addicting, but well worth it, these Italian glazed cookies will be a real hit, especially this time of year. Enjoy!

Toffee Saltine Bars with Chocolate and Nuts

We have been waking up for a few weeks now with part of our kitchen counter top covered in holiday baking ingredients. It is now starting to dwindle down which is great because to be honest, I’m a bit tired of looking at all of it taking up space, but what I still love about it is that every time I walk by them I begin thinking of things I can make out of them. Sure it is pretty much the same ingredients (butter, flour, sugars, variety of chocolate chips, extracts, nuts, and snacks) but something always comes to mind, well at least after a few thought attempts!

I made these toffee saltine bars for a couple of reasons. I recall someone in my family stating they did not like coffee, or nuts on their desserts, and for my advantage I wanted to use up some leftover saltine crackers that were just on the brink of getting stale, so this was an easy challenge to make haters of toffee and nuts into lovers and get rid of the crackers. I will mention that I won on both accounts!

Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts
Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped, optional
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • parchment paper, recommended

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by heating a small pot on medium heat. Add in your sugar and butter, and let that begin to come to a light simmer.

During this time, line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Lay the saltine crackers onto the parchment paper, covering edge to edge if possible, salt side up.

Once the butter and sugar is completely melted and bubbling, let it bubble for about 1 minute, the pour the mixture over all of the saltines, covering all of them.

Place these into the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven, and pour on the chocolate chips, covering all of the crackers.

Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts
Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts

Let the chocolate chips set for about 2-3 minutes, then use an offset spatula or spatula and gently spread the chips as they should easily be melted.

Once covered, top with the chopped nuts. As you can see I did a half sheet of nuts, and one with just chocolate. A win/win for everyone. Doing so prevents kids or adults from taking a bar covered in nuts and stopping them from brushing off any nuts!

Let these cool and harden, about 1 hour or 10 minutes in my garage, and then begin breaking them into bite sized pieces. Place them onto a serving platter, or freeze in a ziplock bag until ready to gift.

The result is a real crowd pleaser. These a chocolaty, buttery, and crunchy deliciousness. There was no doubt on the toffee part would be a overall treat, and something that won over the family. Hope you enjoy!

 

Christmas Cookies – Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites

It is holiday season, and one thing that I probably would never thought I would really get into from a cooking experience is baking cookies. I think that ‘time’ is currently on my hand and when I heard my wife and daughter talking about making cookies for guests this year, I decided I would get my feet wet and dive in. This baking of sweets is something I typically always stay on the sidelines with as I am not into desserts or sweets (I stand corrected), so I have always let my wife take the lead during this time of year.

I’ve said it countless times of how I am not into desserts, and I stood by that for many, many years. That is until recently. Now, I cannot get enough of sweets, whether it is candy, cookies, bars, or anything in between… I am trying these sweets, loving every bite, and making attempts at baking. So to say the least, I have been on a roll in the baking zone now for nearly a few weeks now, typically batching out at least two different types of holiday cookies a week. This recipe is just too simple not to make and the combination of sweet and salty just make them very addictive. These are the Pretzel and Hershey Kiss bites.

Christmas Cookies - Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites
Christmas Cookies – Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag mini salted pretzels
  • 1 bag Hershey Kisses
  • 1 bag Christmas colored M&Ms
  • Parchment paper, optional

That’s it. Sometimes it is crazy to think about how little a few ingredients combined can make something so delicious and addictive. This is one of those.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Now for the monotonous part, and a great task to hand over to kids. In my case I was home alone and I had to take this one over. Talk about a test of patience, this is it but if you can get over this hurdle, then you are going to be a winner.

Lay the pretzels onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Unwrap and place a Hershey Kiss onto the center of each pretzel piece.

Repeat until all pretzels are completed. Place the sheet(s) into the preheated oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, making sure that the kisses do not melt. You want the chocolate to be nice and glossy.

Carefully remove them from the oven and gently push a M&M piece into the Hershey Kiss. Repeat (again, super monotonous) until all Kisses have been topped. I place the baking sheets in my garage for about 10 minutes to set. Did I mention I love having the garage as my second refrigerator/freezer?

Once the chocolate is cool and hardened a bit, plate them up, take a few for snacking, and freeze what you want in a ziplock bag for future holiday plating.

Your patience will pay off, trust me. I know mine was well worth it seeing the expressions on my kids faces, and their constant intake of these little morsels. Hope you enjoy and I’m curious as I trek through lots of holiday baking… what is your favorite holiday cookie?

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

I’m not sure if Kellog’s came up with the idea of Rice Krispies treats before thinking of just coming up with the idea of pouring cereal into a bowl and simply add milk. Who knew that melting butter, adding more sugary goodness from marshmallows, and adding rice krispies would yield one of the most popular deserts for kids (and adults) since who knows when! According to the Internet they were invented in 1939, and I am so glad that they were. Now if you know me, or have followed Simple Comfort Food for any time, you will probably realize that I have never been a fan desserts, but lately that game plan has changed (and I think I am thankful that it has).

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispie Treats
Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

So as I often do when making desserts, I start by thinking of my kids (and wife) and visualize how happy they will be that a dessert is present in the house, and for whatever reason pumpkin spice popped into my head. I know it is the season of pumpkin spice, and to be honest I am not a fan of pumpkin spiced anything, but again I was thinking of my kids and realizing that they love pumpkin spiced anything, especially growing up (they still are) and when really young pumpkin muffins were their absolute favorite, so I knew they would love trying these.

Rice Krispies are so easy to make that however you spin them up they are sure to be a hit. For me, these are seasonal, full of that pumpkin spice, and were not for me. I will pursue other desserts, but my kids… they pan of pumpkin spiced rice krispies treats were devoured.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10.5 oz bag of marshmallows
  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 13×9 pan sprayed with cooking spray

Way too simple.

Add a pot to the stove (or one large enough to hold all of the rice krispies), and begin melting the butter. Once the butter melts, add in the marshmallows and pumpkin spice. Reduce the heat to low melt all of the marshmallows. Once melted, add in the rice krispies and thoroughly combine.

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispie Treats
Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

Spread evenly into the 13×9 dish. Let the marshmallows mellow and form, then slice into bars and enjoy!

Again, I am not too big of a fan for pumpkin spice, but as this was a seasonal dessert, and full of those warm fall spices, they were hard to resist. Simply put, they were delicious and my kids devoured them.

What’s your take on pumpkin spice? Fan? If so, what is your favorite way to use it? Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Everything Bagels

I recently came across, what I thought was a posting from TastyKitchen.com, a resource I have been a contributor and friend of for many years. It was a post that intrigued me, so much that it had me interested in trying to make it. This takes a lot from me, if you will. Granted I read a ton of cook books, review recipes, but I rarely sit down with a recipe and create it. I know it sounds ironic that a dude that publishes recipes for everyone never really uses other peoples recipes. I know it’s weird, trust me. Granted when I am reading through recipes, I get ideas that may snowball into something similar down the road, or I may take an ingredient that sounded great and use that in another recipe, but I rarely sit down and go step by step. That was until I say a 2 ingredient bagel recipe.

For one, my whole family loves bagels. I’m an everything bagel dude and so is my kid, however if you pretty much put any bagel in front of us I bet it would be devoured. So this particular recipe, that I found out was from Kirbie’s Cravings was right up my alley to try, plus I have been in search of an Everything Bagel seasoning which I found at Trader Joes, that I have been dying to try.

3 Ingredient Everything Bagels Recipe
3 Ingredient Everything Bagels Recipe

This must be a win, win, right? Or did they turn out only using 2 ingredients (3rd being the seasoning)?

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup of Non-fat Greek plain Yogurt, strained
  • 1 1/4 cup Self-Rising flour, adjust accordingly
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • Everything bagel seasoning, to your liking
  • parchment paper

You have two options for making the bagel dough. Hand knead, or KitchenAid mixer. God gave me some strength that morning so I decided hands (I probably did not want to have to deal with dishes).

To a mixing bowl, add the self-rising flour. This already includes all of the wonderful baking ingredients so you don’t have to worry about things like baking powder, or salt. Next add in the strained yogurt. I strain the yogurt in a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, and let it sit over the bowl for about 30 minutes. You will see about a 1/4 cup of water strained from the yogurt. Crazy.

Start mixing the yogurt and flour with a wooden spoon (or KitchenAid) until it begins to form, then start working with your hands to knead the dough. Be gentle as you only want the dough to come fully together. Try not to overwork the dough.

Let this rest for a minute or two as you get a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and your oven preheated to 350 degrees.

3 Ingredient Everything Bagels
3 Ingredient Everything Bagels

Divide the dough into about 4-6 pieces. Take each ball and form into a rope, making the rope long enough and wide enough for a bagel shape. Take each end of the rope and pinch together, flipping over the rope and keeping the seam side down. Repeat.

Take your beaten egg and add the water. Mix. Using a brush, take the egg wash and brush each bagel on the top and sides.

Generously sprinkle the everything seasoning over the top. Heck if you just want another seasoning, go for it. Now is the time!

Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. You can crank up the heat to 450 towards the end if you want additional color but only cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove, and get your cream cheese ready.

Again, I was a bit skeptical of these, but they only took a few minutes to whip up, were only a few dollars to make (and now I can make a ton with all of the self-rising flour I have), and was ready to dig in.

3 Ingredient Everything Bagels Recipe
3 Ingredient Everything Bagels Recipe

My first bite. Delicious. My second bite. Delicious. This is when I told my wife and kids to get over here and try them. We huddled around the table and were all surprised out how good they were.

Yogurt, flour, everything seasoning. Who knew. So thanks to Kirbie’s Cravings for drawing me in enough to buy the ingredients and give these a shot. I suspect these will be made every weekend in the near future. If you like bagels, give these a shot.

Easy Loaded Baked Beans

Summer is almost over, and many of us in Wisconsin are starting to feel that gloom upon us. In all honesty my wife love summer, but love fall even more. We welcome fall with open arms but again sad to see summer weather retire. There are things I will miss during the summer months, in particular food, and one of those things is baked beans. Yes, I know… I can make baked beans all year round, and I do but for whatever reason baked beans just remind me of grilling outdoors, sitting around a smoker or eating smoked meat that has been cooked for 12 or more hours, or hanging out with family and friends. They almost are up there with sweet corn on the cob and garden tomatoes for me. The problem with baked beans in my family is that not really one of my kids, or my wife enjoy baked beans as much as I do.

So with a recent get together, I decided it was my time to make some easy loaded baked beans that not only I could enjoy but I knew that other party goers would enjoy as well. I was right about that as the majority of those beans were consumed during the party.

Easy Loaded Baked Beans
Easy Loaded Baked Beans

These look like normal baked beans, but every spoonful results in simple, yet complex flavors that may have you question ‘What are in these things?’. Easy, and loaded, these are great to make before (or after) summer ends.

Ingredients:

  • 32 oz can of your favorite canned baked beans (Maple Cured for me)
  • 16 oz can original baked beans
  • 3 slices of cooked bacon, grease reserved
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno (seeds optional), roasted in bacon grease, diced
  • 3 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp Jufran Banana Ketchup (Filipino Ketchup)
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

Let’s start by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add in your bacon slices and your whole jalapeno pepper. Cook slowly to release the fat and to crisp up your bacon while at the same time cooking and charring your jalapeno pepper. You will want to blister the skin on the chili pepper throughout the time you cook your bacon.

During this time, prepare your remaining ingredients as the rest will go by rather quickly.

Once the bacon is cooked, remove and place on a paper lined plate, along with the jalapeno. Keep the skillet on medium heat, and add in the onion, cooking for about 5 minutes or so until they soften.

Easy Baked Beans Ingredients
Easy Baked Beans Ingredients

While the onion is cooking, chop up your bacon, and your jalapeno. Once the onion is softened, add in the cans of beans, jalapeno, and bacon, and give that a good stir. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, then squirt on the mustard, worchestershire sauce, and Filipino ketchup.

If you have never had or tried Filipino ketchup, go find it. I love this stuff. To me it is not as sweet as regular ketchup and actually provides some little kick to it.

Give another good stir, reduce the heat, and cook for about 30 minutes until everything jives, and gets a bit sticky. Taste and season with any salt or black pepper to your liking.

Easy Loaded Baked Beans
Easy Loaded Baked Beans

Serve into a bowl, and provide to your family and friends.

The result is a great bowl of beans, and one that has some mysterious flavors. Sure you can get that flavor of bacon, and see the onions and jalapenos, but they might have your friends and family guessing on those wonderful mustard and ketchup flavors. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and hope you enjoy the beans!

Easy Loaded Baked Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 32 oz can of your favorite canned baked beans (Maple Cured for me)
  • 16 oz can original baked beans
  • 3 slices of cooked bacon, grease reserved
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno (seeds optional), roasted in bacon grease, diced
  • 3 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp Jufran Banana Ketchup (Filipino Ketchup)
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Let’s start by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add in your bacon slices and your whole jalapeno pepper. Cook slowly to release the fat and to crisp up your bacon while at the same time cooking and charring your jalapeno pepper. You will want to blister the skin on the chili pepper throughout the time you cook your bacon.
  2. During this time, prepare your remaining ingredients as the rest will go by rather quickly.
  3. Once the bacon is cooked, remove and place on a paper lined plate, along with the jalapeno. Keep the skillet on medium heat, and add in the onion, cooking for about 5 minutes or so until they soften.
  4. While the onion is cooking, chop up your bacon, and your jalapeno. Once the onion is softened, add in the cans of beans, jalapeno, and bacon, and give that a good stir. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, then squirt on the mustard, worchestershire sauce, and Filipino ketchup.
  5. If you have never had or tried Filipino ketchup, go find it. I love this stuff. To me it is not as sweet as regular ketchup and actually provides some little kick to it.
  6. Give another good stir, reduce the heat, and cook for about 30 minutes until everything jives, and gets a bit sticky. Taste and season with any salt or black pepper to your liking.

 

Roasted Sunchokes

I frequent the farmer’s market every Saturday in my neighborhood. This year they moved the market to a new location, and one which was a great improvement. I was excited several weeks ago to say the least, not only for the new location but to see some of the familiar faces and to check out what was in season.

There was the standard Spring items including rhubarb, some asparagus, honey of course, and then sunchokes. If you have never seen or tried a sunchoke, it is a must try. They are knobby looking vegetables that are way to easy to make, and leave you with almost a nutty flavor. With that being said it was my duty to pick up a pound of them, take some advice from the farmers, and get to work. This is my take on the roasted sunchoke.

Roasted Sunchokes
Roasted Sunchokes

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb sunchokes, rinsed and cleaned
  • salt to taste

That’s it my friends. I used garlic and butter only because I was making camerones al mojo de ajo (garlic shrimp) for a main, so the sunchokes would be served as my vegetable and side dish.

Start by heating a skillet on medium to low heat. Add in the butter, oil, and garlic, and let that come to temperature.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the butter has melted (do not let it brown), add in the sunchokes, and give them a gentle turn from time to time. You only have to do this to get some flavor, or should I say more flavor onto the sunchokes. Once your oven is preheated, add remove the sunchokes with some tongs onto a baking sheet and place into the oven for about 35 minutes or until they are tender.

Remove from the oven, season with a bit of salt, and plate and serve.

When I plated these, my wife and kids were a bit intrigued, as was I. So my wife and I grabbed a few and were blown away. They are nutty, and almost potato like, but with these had that nice garlic butter and salt addition which topped them off even more.

If you are looking, or if your market still has sunchokes, get them, and hook them up. If you do not want to turn on the oven, feel free to put them on the grill on indirect heat. These make a great side, and to boot are really great for you. Thank you farmers and farmer’s market! I’m glad it is that time of year!