3-Minute Breakfast Sandwich

This post barely even classifies as a “recipe” because it’s so simple. But it took me a good 20+ years to discover that this was a thing, so it couldn’t hurt to share with my fellow morning-rushers.

I’m always on the hunt for the easiest possible breakfast food. I need something that I can throw together in 5 minutes or less, can be eaten in the car, is relatively healthy, and will keep me full for 4 or 5 hours. I’ve gone through many stages: egg omelet muffins (too much Sunday prep), peanut butter banana toast (too many carbs), hard boiled eggs (too unsatisfying). Of course what I always wished I could do was stop at McDonalds on the way to work every day for an Egg McMuffin, but I’ve managed to refrain for the most part.

Then one day, the pieces just aligned in my head: I spotted some 100-calorie, whole grain English muffins at the grocery store, and grabbed them. I knew you could make scrambled eggs in the microwave, but could I make a more solid egg “patty”?

So the next morning, I assembled my ingredients:

3-Minute Egg Sandwich | Chrissie Cooks

Yep, that’s it.

I grabbed one of my big, wide cappuccino mugs, sprayed it down (thoroughly) with cooking spray, cracked two eggs, and scrambled them up with salt & pepper. I covered the mug with a paper towel, and microwaved on high for 90 seconds.

3-Minute Egg Sandwich | Chrissie Cooks

Ok, so it looks a little weird, but it’s basically one giant piece of scrambled egg – it’s light and fluffy, and doesn’t taste weird at all, I promise.

I popped my English muffin in the toaster while the egg was cooking, and placed a slice of 2% American cheese (the actual cheese kind, not the individually wrapped “processed cheese product” kind) on the bottom half of the muffin, as soon as it popped up, so the heat could start melting the cheese.

3-Minute Egg Sandwich | Chrissie Cooks

I usually rip off the corners of the cheese, so it perfectly fits the muffin and doesn’t drape over the sides, mostly to save my hands while I’m driving. I scooped the fluffy egg patty out of the mug and dropped it on top of the cheese…

3-Minute Egg Sandwich | Chrissie Cooks

…Then topped that with the top of the English muffin… and voila!

3-Minute Egg Sandwich | Chrissie Cooks

You could easily add a pre-cooked turkey sausage patty or some bacon, if you wanted to, but because the egg is so fluffy, it makes the sandwich feel more substantial and filling than it already is. Even my husband, who is notorious for being insatiable and eating all my food, eats this every morning for breakfast now and is perfectly satisfied.

And the best part? It’s only about 280 calories, but you get to feel like you “cheated” for breakfast.

3-Minute Breakfast Sandwich
Yield: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 light multigrain English muffin
  • 1 slice of 2% American cheese

Directions:
Spray a large, wide mug with cooking spray. Crack two eggs into the mug, and scramble them with a fork. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to your liking. Cover with a paper towel, and microwave on high for 90 seconds.

Meanwhile, pull your English muffin apart (or cut it in half, if it’s not pre-cut), and drop into the toaster to lightly toast / heat.

Assemble the sandwich: Place slice of cheese on the bottom half of toasted English muffin. Add egg patty, then top with the other half of the muffin. Let cool for a minute or two, so you don’t burn your mouth, and enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

Is there anything more comforting than a Chicken Pot Pie? It turns out, yes, yes there is: four chicken pot pies!

This recipe is a beast. The original recipe claims it makes three pies. My best friend uses the same recipe and routinely gets 5 or 6 pies out of it. I always get a solid four. Maybe it has to do with the pan size and/or the amount of filling per pie, or maybe there’s some Sisterhood of the Traveling Pies magic going on here… hard to say. Either way, you can count on your freezer being fully stocked after making this.

Here’s the thing, though. It’s kind of a commitment. It takes two to three hours, all in. Your feet will hurt. Your back will hurt. But your house will smell heavenly, and your husband will do the dishes for you because he’s going to be so grateful for the Chicken Pot Pie about to be stuffed in his piehole (see what I did there?).

It’s time-consuming, but it’s not difficult, and that makes all the difference in the world. Here’s how it goes:

You chop a LOT of veggies. You will feel like you’ve been chopping for your entire life. Your hand will cramp. Your eyes will be watery (from the onions and from the sheer exhaustion). And you will have a mound o’ veggies to show for it.
Chicken Pot Pie | Chrissie Cooks

You boil and shred some chicken. A LOT of chicken (sensing a common theme with this recipe?). But here’s the good news: you’re about to learn a new trick. Don’t shred your chicken with two forks like some kinda chump (unless you want cramped claw hands for the rest of the day). Just drop that cooked chicken in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and run it on low for 30 seconds to a minute. And then watch with amazement when your chicken is shredded to perfection with zero effort.
Chicken Pot Pie | Chrissie Cooks

While the chicken is shredding itself, you sautè the veggies with a bit of butter in the biggest pot you’ve got (trust me – you’re gonna need a ginormous pot). After a few minutes, add in chicken broth and potatoes, and let it simmer. At this point you’re thinking, “oh yeah, my pot is totally big enough. I got this.”
Chicken Pot Pie | Chrissie Cooks

Let that simmer until the broth reduces by half (or about 20 – 25 minutes, if you have no idea how to mark how much “half” is in a humongous pot filled with veggies and potatoes, like me). Then add in a few cans of Cream of Chicken soup, your self-shredded chicken, and some peas, and stir that up real good. (This is when you start to panic that maybe your pot isn’t going to be big enough and what if it overflows and oh god if I have to dirty another pot for this meal I’m going to lose it but oh thank god it all fits!)
Chicken Pot Pie | Chrissie CooksAnd now the fun part – assembly! Line your foil pie pans with crust, drop in some filling (I usually mound it very slightly in the middle so it’s not totally flat), then top with another crust. Smoosh the crust edges together with your fingers or a fork, poke some holes for venting, and repeat, until you’re out of filling.
Chicken Pot Pie | Chrissie CooksWrap up the ones you’re freezing nice and tight, label them, and stick them straight in the freezer before temptation overcomes you and end up eating the raw dough and filling. Assuming you’re making one of them right away (because what kind of superhuman could do all that work and not get any instant gratification?), put that one in the oven at 350 F for 45-50 minutes. And then collapse on the couch until it’s ready and make your husband get up and get it out for you because you’re exhausted and you’ve earned it.
Chicken Pot Pie | Chrissie Cooks

Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted From The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis
Yield: 4(ish) pies

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 onions
  • 6 carrots
  • 6 celery stalks
  • 3 potatoes
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 42 oz. chicken broth
  • 3 (14oz) cans of green peas
  • 3 (10oz) cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 4 boxes refrigerated pie crusts
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Put chicken breasts in a large pot and fill with water until chicken is just covered. Bring to a boil for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Set aside.

Meanwhile, chop the onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Melt butter in a large stock pot, add the onions, carrots, and celery, and sautè for 5-10 minutes, until onions start to get translucent.

While veggies are cooking, shred the chicken, either in a stand mixer or with two forks. Set aside.

Add chicken broth and potatoes to the stock pot, and simmer over medium high heat, until broth has reduced by half (20-25 minutes, usually). Remove pie crusts from the fridge to soften for 10 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.

Stir in shredded chicken, green peas, and cream of chicken soups into the stock pot, and turn heat down to medium low. Mix together really well, and let it blend together for a couple minutes. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Line 9″ foil pie pans with bottom crusts, and evenly distribute chicken filling so each pie is filled and slightly mounded in the center. Place remaining crusts over the filling, and pinch the edges together with your fingers or a fork. Poke a few holes in the top to ventilate using a knife or fork.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Keep an eye on the crust, and cover with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Wrap the ones you’re freezing really well (2-3 layers of saran wrap), and label with date, oven temp, cooking time, and put them directly in the freezer.

Homemade Lasagna

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to step up my game, and attempt one of the real cooking staples: lasagna. I feel like being able to throw together a lasagna totally from scratch makes you legit.

Remember that episode of Friends (“The One With The Sonogram at the End”, if you wanna get specific) where Monica’s parents are coming over and she makes lasagna to impress them, but then Rachel realizes she lost her engagement ring IN the lasagna so they have to destroy it to find it? And Monica was devastated because it was so much work, and because she knew her mom wouldn’t be impressed but whatever non-lasagna alternative she threw together? That’s probably where I got it from – most of my life views came from Friends.

"Now Monica, you know that's not how you look for an engagement ring in a lasagna..."

“Now Monica, you know that’s not how you look for an engagement ring in a lasagna…”

Anyway, so I’ve always put homemade lasagna on a pedestal and been too intimidated to attempt it, but I decided it was time to take the plunge. So I scoured the internet for the perfect recipe to work from, and came across “World’s Best Lasagna” from AllRecipes. Recipe titles don’t lie, right? In this case, recipe titles and 8,400 reviewers don’t lie. At all. This lasagna took up the better part of my Sunday, but it was so worth the sacrifice.

And really, it’s not all that hard to make. It’s just time-consuming. I ended up doubling the recipe because it doesn’t add that much more effort to the already-lengthy process, but you end up with a bonus lasagna for the freezer.

First, you brown the meat with onions and garlic in a dutch oven (or any heavy, ginormous pot you have). Then, you dump in all the tomatoes/pasta/sauce/seasonings, etc., and fill that pot to the BRIM, so it spatters all over your stovetop and annoys your husband who has to clean up after you.

Lasagna | Chrissie Cooks

Cover it, and let it simmer and smell delicious and torture you for, like, a lifetime.

After an eternity, you assemble your lasagna: sauce, noodles, cheese, more cheese, repeat. I forgot to document this part because I was too frantic that it was already 6:00 and I was starving after being tortured by deliciousness all afternoon and it still had to bake for an hour.

Sidenote: Notice there was no step for “boil the noodles.” I don’t know if there’s some magical benefit to old-fashioned lasagna noodles vs. the no-boil, oven-ready kind, but in my book, skipping a step always wins. Please enlighten me if there’s some reason I should use regular noodles instead!

Once you’re all layered up, pop it in the oven for 50 minutes, make some garlic bread, and then finally devour it. You won’t even feel bad afterwards; you’ll just be blissfully full and warm and cozy.

Lasagna | Chrissie Cooks

Yes, we were blinded by the mesmerizingly delicious smell of homemade lasagna, so I forgot to take a pic of my masterpiece before we ate… you will too, just wait.

 

2014-08-17 18.41.12

They may not be the prettiest layers, but they were the tastiest.

Homemade Lasagna
Adapted from AllRecipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
In a dutch oven (or large, heavy-bottomed pot), cook meat, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well-browned. Drain the grease if you need to.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Cover and let simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Assemble the lasagna: spread roughly 1.5 – 2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture on top. Then, a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil (make sure the foil doesn’t touch the cheese, or spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking).

Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for another 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes (or as long as you can muster) before serving.

Birthday Cake Bars

Ya’ll remember last year’s birthday food extravaganza for the hubby, right? It left a pretty bad precedent for how birthdays should be handled, which I was not able to live up to this year. In my defense, he was out of town, which made it difficult for me to shower him with food and sugar and gifts. But in reality, I’m sort of a crappy wife. I could’ve probably planned better and shipped a bunch of stuff to him, but I suck, and I didn’t.

did, however, fly out to South Carolina to visit him for the weekend, with these ooey, gooey gems in tow:

Birthday Cake Bars | Chrissie CooksI think they made up for it.

So packed with glorious sugar, and chocolate, and sprinkles, and Oreos, my beloved Oreos–Birthday Cake Oreos, at that.

Make these bad boys for the next lucky birthday boy or girl in your life, and you will never have to buy an actual birthday gift again. Everyone will just want you to give them these from here on out. You can thank me later (with a batch of these, preferably).

Birthday Cake Bars | Chrissie Cooks

Birthday Cake Bars
Adapted from The Domestic Rebel

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Funfetti cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 12 Birthday Cake Golden Oreos, roughly crushed
  • 12 Birthday Cake Oreos, roughly crushed
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil, extending edges of foil over the sides of the pan. Mist with cooking spray. This stuff is going to be sticky, ya’ll.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, and melted butter until a soft dough forms. Press into prepared pan in an even layer, and bake for about 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately top evenly with the following, in order: marshmallows, semi-sweet and white chocolate chips, sprinkles, and crushed Oreos. Drizzle the can of condensed milk over the top.

Place back in the oven and continue to bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the top is bubbly and golden. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into bars. They’re super gooey, so you might even stick them in the fridge for an hour or two to solidify them a bit before cutting.

Store airtight, at room temperature, for several days. They’re great eaten at room temperature, slightly warmed, cold, frozen… any which way you want ’em!

 

Spinach Dip Bites

You’d never know it by looking at this blog, but my favorite type of food to make and eat is appetizers. I never get to make them though, because the recipes always make a boatload, and the hubby and I can only eat so much (although he would disagree), and I despise throwing away food (because I’m cheap, not for any more honorable reason).

So I love it when my friends throw parties that I can bring something to, because it means I get to make some of my favorites! I’ve made these Spinach Dip Bites that I adapted from Picky Palate several times, and they’re always a big hit.

I mean what’s worse than being at a cocktail party, seeing and smelling some incredible dip, but passing it up because you know it’s going to be a pain to carry around a plate and a drink and still be able to do the actual chip to dip to mouth motion over and over again? The answer is nothing. Nothing is worse than that. Especially when the dip in question is garlicky, creamy spinach dip.

The solution, obviously, is to combine the dip and the dipping vessel into one bite-sized concoction. So when your tummy is rumbling and you can feel yourself getting a little too tipsy because you haven’t eaten in far too long (let’s be honest… an hour), and you see an old friend beelining towards you, you can just pop one (or three) in your mouth and not be tied down by your plate, so you can focus on not spilling your wine all over her when she bear hugs you.

Or, ya know, just eat them like normal because they taste good. Whatever.

Spinach Dip Bites | Chrissie Cooks

Spinach Dip Bites
Adapted from Picky Palate

Ingredients:

  • 1 (13.3 oz) roll of refrigerated french bread loaf (like Simply Pillsbury)
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. fresh shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. ancho chile pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll package of french bread dough and slice in half lengthwise (but hold the two halves together), then cross-cut into 12 equal size slices, about 3/4″ thick, so you end up with 24 little pieces of dough. Flatten each piece with your hands, and press into the bottom and up the sides of the muffin cup. They might puff back up, but that’s OK. Just try to keep pressing it into a cup as best you can. Set aside.

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir spinach a few minutes until wilted, then add garlic, stir for another minute, then turn heat off.

Place cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, parmesan, ancho chili powder, garlic salt, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl. Mix until well combined. With a spoon, scoop dip into each of the centers of mini bread bowls. Top with bit of shredded mozzarella and bake for 15-17 minutes, until just turning brown on edges. Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from pan.

Back with a Chocolate Chip Bang

Chocolate Chip Cookie Party | Chrissie Cooks

So this is awkward. I feel like I’ve just bumped into a friend whose calls I’ve been dodging for 4 months. Four. Months.

I swear, I totally haven’t been dodging your calls. I’ve just been busy and boring and my brain and iPhone have both been too full for blogging.

But after the marathon baking weekend I just had, I’m forced to make time for it and start anew! So here it goes…

I’ve always said I was determined to find the quintessential chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’m not talking New York Times, multiple-types-of-flour, 23-step chocolate chip cookies… I’m talking down-home, easy peezy, go-to-in-a-pinch chocolate chip cookies that I can make my signature treat.

So I decided to host a bake-off… against myself… to find the best one.

My limits were pushed, my flour stock was emptied, and by hour 8 of dough-ball rolling, my will was broken. But at the end of the night, we had sugar-stuffed friends and family and a new go-to cookie (sort of).

I’ll start from the beginning, in case any of my fellow masochists want to attempt a Cookie Party of their own one day. If you just want the winning recipe, jump to the bottom.

First, I scoured the Internet (hello, Pinterest) for recipes claiming to be the “best chocolate chip cookie.” Some that used oil, some that used cornstarch, some that used cream cheese, all with varying amounts and consistencies of flour, eggs, and brown and white sugar. Here are the six I ended up comparing:

  1. Two Twenty One’s “Chocolate Chip Cookies”
  2. Just a Taste’s “Secret Ingredient” Chocolate Chip Cookies
  3. Savory Sweet Life’s “Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER”
  4. Sally’s Baking Addiction’s “Chewy Chocolate Chunk” Cookies
  5. Averie Cooks’ “Chocolate Chip and Chunk” Cookies
  6. The Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie

I emailed myself this numbered, linked list, so I would have each recipe and its corresponding number handy. This is important.

Then, I wrote down all of the ingredients for each recipe, and added up the amounts of all the staples, so I could make sure I’d have enough of each (and failed, somehow–the hubby had to run out and pick up more brown sugar and chocolate chips at the last minute… whoops), and picked up all my supplies at the grocery store.

The day before the party, I made up all my dough, for two reasons: (1) To save me from waking up at 5 a.m. the day of the party to mix and bake all six batches of dough, and (2) almost all cookie recipes recommend chilling overnight to let the ingredients blend.

Thankfully, my angel of a mom was in town, and was able to zip around me cleaning periodically, otherwise the house would’ve been an absolute disaster. Thank God for mothers.

Each batch of dough went into a bowl that had a piece of tape with that batch’s number on it, and into the fridge, until my fridge looked like this:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Party | Chrissie Cooks

If you thought this part was hard, you should quit now and have a salmonella party instead, because you won’t make it through this last part. You’ve been warned.

Predictably, the whole day of the party was spent rolling dough into consistently sized and shaped balls. Like, the *whole* day. The party started at 7:30, and the last batch came out of the oven at 7:20. Now, I only have two baking sheets, and I’m a smidge OCD, so I’m sure this could’ve been done faster if you had more pans and didn’t have to let them cool for 15 – 20 minutes in between each batch, or if you didn’t care if your dough balls weren’t exactly the same size and shape. But alas, these are the cards I was dealt.

As each batch came out of the oven, they went to a cooling rack, and the next batch went onto the cookie sheets and into the oven. When the next batch came out of the oven, the previous batch went from the cooling rack to its pre-numbered serving tray and was covered with foil. And repeat.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Party | Chrissie Cooks

Mix in some appetizer-making, party-decorating, and house-cleaning, and this process was a full-on beat down. By the time our first guests arrived, all I wanted was a nap.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Party | Chrissie Cooks

I made some voting cards so our friends could pick their favorite and leave comments:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Party | Chrissie Cooks

So when all the votes were tallied (mine included), the winner was…

A tie. Between recipes #4 and #5. Sigh.

So my solution is to combine the two recipes. Most people seemed to like that #5 was packed with chocolate chips, but the flavor and texture of #4 seemed to win over its voters. SO, here’s my own, personal winning recipe. I’ll update with more photos when I make this version (when we finally finish off the leftovers from the party, in approximately six years, that is).

Chrissie’s Go-To Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction and Averie Cooks

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2  tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

Directions:
Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until no lumps remain.

Add in the egg, then the egg yolk.

Finally, add the vanilla.

Slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt, until combined. The dough will be very soft, yet thick.

Fold in the chocolate chips. Get them as evenly distributed throughout the dough as you can. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. With this particular dough, you really can’t skip this step.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.

Roll the dough into 1.5″ balls. The dough will be crumbly, but the warmth of your hands will hold them together. Roll your dough balls to be taller rather than wide, to ensure the cookies will bake up to be thick. Space your cookies about 2″ apart. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes.* The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

 *I actually baked them for 9-10 minutes, then just kept checking them every minute or two until I felt like they were actually ready to come out.

One Pot Chicken Lo Mein

There’s a revolution coming, y’all, and I will be gladly leading its charge. Although, I can’t imagine there will be much of a fight, because no one in their right mind would fight this one:

One. Pot. Cooking.

In my experience, one pot cooking has always consisted of soups, and stews, and chili (which I guess is some combination of a soup and a stew, if you really think about it). But this “One Pot Wonder,” as Amanda at The Wholesome Dish calls it, is on a whooooole ‘nother level.

It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s delicious. That’s the trifecta, my friends. You seriously just dump all the ingredients into a pot—uncooked chicken, dry pasta, raw veggies…

One Pot Chicken Lo Mein | Chrissie Cooks

…and top it off with some liquids—broth, sesame oil, soy sauce…

One Pot Chicken Lo Mein | Chrissie Cooks

…and simmer it for 15 minutes. 15 minutes. And then you eat it.

One Pot Chicken Lo Mein | Chrissie Cooks

And then your mind is blown because you can’t believe you just threw together a meal that good, that quickly, and you only have one pot to clean. The future is here, folks.

One Pot Chicken Lo Mein
Adapted from: The Wholesome Dish

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 12 oz whole wheat linguini or fettuccini, broken in half
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch long strips
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 3 inch long strips
  • 1 bunch green onions, white part diced and green part cut in 3 inch long strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil

Directions:
Place chicken and pasta in large stock pot. Add carrots, red pepper, and green onions in the remaining space in the pot. Add all remaining ingredients.

Cover and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone and chicken is fully cooked through.

Oreo Truffle Brownies

Oreo Truffle Brownies | Chrissie Cooks

Guys, this is important. Like, monumental.

I’ve found the perfect dessert.

Yes. The. Perfect. Dessert. It’s just the right combination of delicious, easy, and OREOS.

Most people know that my favorite thing to make, for years now, has been Oreo Truffles (or Oreo Balls, as all my friends call them). They’re simple enough, with just three ingredients, and always a big hit, but all that rolling and dipping is a lot of work and a lot of mess.

So when I stumbled across a picture of something called “Oreo Truffle Brownies” on Pinterest, I knew I had to make them. I just needed the right occasion, so I wasn’t left eating them all by myself (I know, like that would be *so* tragic).

So when my best friend was 9 months pregnant and moving into a new house (and basically insane, clearly), I thought they would make a perfect housewarming gift / pregnancy-craving quencher.

And they were a big success. Dan even threw a mini temper tantrum at the idea of my friend getting them all, so I had to keep just under half of them for him (and myself). The good news is, it made a ton, so it wasn’t an issue.

Oreo Truffle Brownies | Chrissie Cooks

And for the added happy ending to this post… That best-friend-who-was-pregnant is now my best-friend-who’s-a-mommy! Her sweet baby girl came a few days ago. Safe to say you can prepare for some cooking overload, as I plan to provide her with an endless supply of home-cooked frozen meals.

Oreo Truffle Brownies
Adapted from Chef In Training

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 pkg. Oreos
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 10 oz. dipping chocolate

Directions:
First, make the brownie layer: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs. Add vanilla, salt, cocoa, and flour. Resist eating the entire bowl of batter, and pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

While brownies are cooling, make the Oreo truffle layer: Whip the cream cheese up in a mixer. Drop in most of the Oreos (saving 5 or 6 for the optional topping, if you’d like), breaking them into halves or quarters as you drop them in. Mix on medium speed, until the Oreos are crushed and well-blended with the cream cheese.

When the brownie layer has cooled completely, spread the Oreo truffle mixture on top.

Melt dipping chocolate (or chocolate chips or chocolate candy coating) and pour over the top of the Oreo truffle layer, spreading it out evenly with a spatula. Crush up remaining Oreos, and sprinkle evenly over the top. Cover, and put in fridge for at least 30 minutes, until chocolate layer is hardened. Cut into brownies, and enjoy!

Pink Fluff

That’s right, ladies & gents. I’m actually about to tell you to make something as nondescript as “pink fluff.” Just go with it, OK?

ImageI know what you’re thinking: “Just because it’s pink, doesn’t mean it’s good.” But au contraire… I have come to find that most pink desserts are in fact, quite good. And Pink Fluff is no exception.

Shockingly enough (considering its low-cal nature), this has become one of Dan’s most requested desserts. In fact, I’m willing to bet he’s going to see this post today, and immediately ask me to make it.

And best of all, there’s no baking and no dirtying of excess bowls. Just dump, stir, serve. Easy as pie. Except easier. Easier than pie. (Why is that even a saying? Pie isn’t all that easy to make.)

Anyway, see for yourself:

ImageBerry Fluff
Adapted from Becoming Betty

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bag frozen mixed berries (or two small bags)
  • 1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip Light
  • 1 (32 oz) container light french vanilla yogurt
  • 1 small box instant cheesecake pudding mix (sugar free, if you can find it)

Directions:
Set the berries out on the counter for 15 minutes, to let them start to soften and let some of the juices melt (hello pink color!). Then, dump the berries into a large bowl. Add the Cool Whip, then the yogurt. Mix in the pudding powder, and stir it all up real good.

You can eat it as soon as it’s mixed to your liking, but it usually gets better after a day or so, when the flavors have all melded together.

Enjoy!

Food Fail: Parmesan-Ranch Chicken

OK, I think I’m finally ready to share a food fail here. A big, fat, ugly one. Trust me when I say I don’t do this lightly. In general, I pretty much suck at admitting defeat, and Lord help you if you try to tell me you didn’t like something I made for you. Dan has learned the hard way to tread very lightly when “critiquing” my meals. Before he even takes his first bite, he knows I’m staring intently, awaiting his reaction. And if it’s anything less than, “oh wow that’s good!” I’m going to be offended.

It’s a tough life he leads, clearly, what with his kitchen-slaving wife settling for nothing less than deliciousness for his every meal. Real tough.

Now, the actual hardship Dan deals with is my inevitable meltdown when I start to sense that a meal isn’t going as planned. It gets ugly, folks. And with this meal, that meltdown happened right around this moment…

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…The moment when I flipped my Parmesan and Ranch-breaded chicken, and all the Parmesan-Ranch goodness remained glued to the pan, not to the chicken. Not a good sign.

Now, I don’t know how, exactly, Talitha at Love Pomegranate House managed to keep her parmesan-y breading firmly secured to her chicken breasts, but I followed her seemingly simple instructions to T, and all I got was a black lump of coal glued to my pan. (Epiphany: have I been bad this year? Is this a mid-year warning from Santa for what’s to come if I don’t shape up?!)

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Doesn’t that look like a *blast* to clean? Sigh.

So we essentially had plain, unseasoned chicken for dinner last night, since all the flavors were left-behind, destined to forever be burnt onto my pan. Could I have thrown some garlic powder on top, salt & pepper, and saved the meal? Perhaps. But not in my irrational, mid-fail state of rage. And bless his heart, Dan ate that bland chicken up like a champ, without a word.

Needless to say, tonight we’re having my tried and true salmon. I can’t handle another failure.

But seriously, what did I miss?! What is the magic that prevents Parmesan from melting onto the pan?