Tag Archives: chocolate drop cookies

MEAL PLANNING – WEEK 2

Here is my suggested meal plan for the upcoming week. This is the Week 2 menu.  You can access the meal plans for Week 1 by clicking here and for Week 3 here.

I am a big fan of meal planning – it takes some coordination and effort upfront but the payoff is great. Find tested and reliable recipes with ingredients you know your family will like, read through the recipes to see what’s involved in their preparation and how long it will take to prepare them, make the shopping list, shop for the ingredients, and set aside the time to make the recipes. If you have helpers in the household, assign them tasks to help with the preparation.

Rather than spend time aimlessly perusing recipes in books or magazines or searching through the internet for a recipe that might pique your interest, I recommend first thinking about what main ingredient might appeal to you – is it ham, beef, poultry, fish, pasta, vegetables, etc. Are you looking for a casserole, a pot pie, or a main entrée, a one-time meal recipe or one that leftovers could be frozen for another meal or transformed into another dish altogether? Once you narrow down what you are aiming for, your search for the recipe will be more focused and concentrated and you will spend less time on the recipe search and more time productively spent actually making the dish.

To help you with that search, I hope you find some, or all, of the following recipes of interest and ones you will add to your weekly meal plan.

I’ve provided a list of the main ingredients that, for the most part, would probably involve a shopping trip to the supermarket for most. However, as always, read each recipe thoroughly and carefully to create your own personalized list as I have not listed what I consider to be “staple” items like regular milk, butter, eggs, flour, sugar, butter/shortening, oil, spices, etc.

Make sure you read through the menu suggestions for the entire week as some require some leftover meat or gravy, etc., from a previous day’s dinner so you will need to know what amounts of ingredients need to be set aside for a subsequent day’s meal.

Click on the green hotlinks to access the recipes.

MONDAY

GranolaMy recipe for granola is nut free.  So tasty, it’s actually yummy eaten as a trail mix treat, too! 

Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

Best Zucchini Granola Muffins – These are great breakfast or coffee break muffins and they freeze very well.  Great treat to start off the week!

Shopping List: Granola (click here for my recipe), zucchini, applesauce

Zucchini Granola Muffins
Zucchini Granola Muffins

Dinner:  Roast Beef, Potato Patties, Turnip Puff Casserole

A roast beef dinner is so tasty (and the house smells so great when the beef is roasting).  Be sure to save some of the beef and make some gravy for the beef pot pies for Tuesday night’s dinner!

The potato patties are a change from traditional mashed or boiled potatoes and these are super tasty.  Turnip goes particularly well with beef and is transformed into a lovely flavorful casserole to serve as a side dish. Jazzes up a roast beef dinner for sure!

Shopping List: Roast of beef, cut of choice. For Potato Patties – Potatoes, sour cream chicken bouillon, breadcrumbs. For Turnip Puff Casserole – Rutabaga, applesauce, onion, parmesan and cheddar cheeses.

PEI Bistro-style Potato Patties
PEI Bistro-style Potato Patties

 Turnip Puff Casserole

Turnip Puff Casserole

Dessert: Rustic Apple Pie

Who can say no to a homemade apple pie!  Add a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream to make this an even more special treat!

Shopping List: Apples, pie pastry for double-crust pie + enough for a single crust pie (needed for tomorrow’s Beef Pot Pie)

Apple Pie
Rustic Apple Pie

TUESDAY

Dinner:  Beef Pot Pie – This is a great way to use up leftover roast beef and gravy from Monday night’s dinner.

Sometimes, depending on the size of roast, after a couple of days of leftover sliced cold roast beef, it can be a little boring, shall we say.  That’s why it’s important to find other uses for the leftover roast beef, like this Beef Pot Pie, so it seems like a brand new idea for dinner!

Shopping List: Rutabaga, carrots, potatoes, onion, mushrooms, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, red wine summer savory, frozen peas and corn, fresh parsley, pastry for single crust pie

Beef Pot Pie
Beef Pot Pie

Dessert:  Leftover Apple Pie

Apple Pie
Apple Pie

WEDNESDAY

Dinner:  Potato Leek Soup with Whole Wheat Biscuits

Sometimes you just need a plain old-fashioned silky smooth cream soup and this Potato Leek Soup fits that bill nicely.  Serve it with some warm homemade whole wheat biscuits, with a slather of butter, of course!

Shopping List: For Soup – Potatoes, leek, celery, onion, garlic, chicken/turkey stock, milk, white cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, parmesan) For Biscuits – All purpose and whole wheat flours, buttermilk

Potato Leek Soup
Potato Leek Soup

 

Whole Wheat Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits

Dessert: Chocolate Drop Cookies

These are a great chocolate cookie and sure to find their way into the heart of any chocolate lover.

Shopping List: General baking supplies + cocoa

  Chocolate Drop Cookies

Chocolate Drop Cookies

THURSDAY

Dinner:  Chili Con Carne served with Pan Rolls

This chili is packed full of flavorful ingredients.  While I think it’s perfect any time of the year, it’s especially inviting on cold winter days!  Make a batch of homemade pan rolls to accompany this chili.

Shopping List: For Chili – Ground beef, onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, 1 – 28oz can diced tomatoes, 2 – 14oz cans red kidney beans, 1 – 10oz can tomato soup, 1 – 5.5oz can tomato paste, chili powder, balsamic vinegar, liquid beef bouillon, mushrooms. For Pan Rolls – Yeast + standard baking supplies

Chili
Homemade Chili

 

Pan Rolls
Pan Rolls

Dessert: Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding

Baked rice pudding is a comfort food and many will remember their mothers and grandmothers making this treat. I’ve jazzed up my recipe with coconut milk and raisins that have had a little “nip” of amaretto!

Shopping List: Arborio rice, amaretto, raisins, coconut milk, maple syrup, shredded coconut

Rice Pudding
Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding

FRIDAY

 Dinner:  Honey Garlic Spare Ribs, Twice-baked Potatoes, favorite side vegetable

Nothing beats honey and garlic to add some life to spare ribs!  These ribs can be served with rice or choice of potato but my favorite is to add a twice-baked potato to the plate. Super yummy.

Shopping List: For Spare Ribs – Ribs, apple juice, honey, soya sauce, garlic, onion. For Twice-baked Potatoes – Baking potatoes such as Russet variety, sour cream, whole milk or cream, liquid chicken bouillon, garlic, cheddar and parmesan cheeses

Garlic Spareribs
Garlic Spareribs served with Turnip Casserole and Baked Potato

 

Stuffed Baked Potato
Twice-baked Potato

Dessert: Jelly Roll

Lovely sponge cake rolled with red jam or jelly. Yes, this is indeed an old favorite with many.

Shopping List:  Cake and pastry flour, favorite red jam or jelly

Jelly Roll

SATURDAY

 Dinner: Moussaka with green salad

While I have made Moussaka for years, recent visits to Greek islands reignited my love for this dish.  As a nod to my Prince Edward Island heritage, my version uses potatoes instead of the traditional eggplant. A little time-consuming to make but the end result is so worth it!

Shopping List: For Moussaka – Ground beef, onion, celery, garlic, 14-oz can crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, beef broth, russet potatoes, milk, Gouda cheese, breadcrumbs. For green salad – favorite lettuce and salad fixings of choice, dressing.

Moussaka
Moussaka

Dessert: Vintage Tomato Soup Cake

I grew up with this cake being frequently made.  Bet you can’t tell there is a can of tomato soup in it!

Shopping List:  Tomato soup, molasses

Tomato Soup Cake
Tomato Soup Cake

SUNDAY

 Sunday Breakfast: Special Treat – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Sunday mornings call for something just a little more special than you might make on busy weekday mornings.  Try these Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes with maple syrup or a rich blueberry sauce for double the blueberry flavor.

Shopping List:  Buttermilk, blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Blueberry Pancakes

DinnerLeftover Moussaka

Moussaka
Moussaka

Dessert: Leftover Vintage Tomato Soup Cake

Tomato Soup Cake
Tomato Soup Cake

So, there you have it – the Week 2 Meal Planning Menu from My Island Bistro Kitchen.

For other meal plans from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Week 1 Meal Plan

Week 3 Meal Plan

2013 “Cookie of the Month” Year-end Round-up

Those who regularly follow my blog will recall that I made the commitment back in January 2013 to post one cookie recipe a month for the entire year.  So, for ease of retrieval, I thought I would do a year-end round-up of all 12 cookies.

In January, just in time for Robbie Burns Day, I shared my recipe for Shortbread.

Shortbread

In February, with sweet Valentine’s Day, old-fashioned Sugar Cookies topped the list.

Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookies

In March, Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies, made with a hint of stout, were ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

Chocolate Drop Cookies Made with Stout
Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

In April, thoughts turned to lighter, more spring-like, fare like these Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies.

Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies
Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies

In May, old-fashioned Cherry Winks proved they are still a perennial favorite.

Cherry Wink Cookie
Cherry Wink Cookie

In June, the no-bake Spider Cookies proved they are just as much a favorite today as they were when I was growing up!

Spider Cookies
Spider Cookies

In July, as we celebrated “Christmas in July”, the Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies brought back memories of the kinds of cookies often found in grandma’s cookie jar.

Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies
Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies

In August, Chocolate Drop Cookies, were a hit with the chocolate lovers!

Chocolate Drop Cookies
Chocolate Drop Cookies

In September, crisp and light-textured Peanut Butter Cookies made it on to the cookie of the month roster.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies

In October, the substantial and tasty raisin-filled Plum Puff Cookies heralded the fall season.

Plum Puff Cookies
Plum Puff Cookies

In November, when the days turned cooler and thoughts turned to the sweet smell of cooking with spices, the old-fashioned icebox Gingersnaps made their debut.

Gingersnaps
Gingersnaps

In December, these Coconut Cherry Macaroons made a fine addition to trays of sweets and to gift boxes.

Coconut Cherry Macaroons
Coconut Cherry Macaroons

I hope you have enjoyed some of my favorite cookie recipes.  Do you have a favorite cookie?

Barbara

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

Labour Day Picnic by the PEI Seaside with Lobster Croissants on the Menu

I’ve had a great summer of picnics this year!  Haven’t gone on this many picnics in many years.  I had forgotten how much fun and relaxed al fresco dining can be.  This posting will feature my Labour Day Weekend Picnic but, first, a little trip down memory lane.

One of my favorite summertime memories involves a picnic.  I was visiting a neighbour playmate and we were probably about 8 or 9 years old.  We took a notion one hot summer day that we would have a picnic by the little stream across the road from my friend’s place.  The two of us stood by the friend’s mother at the kitchen counter as she whipped up some gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, placed them in an old tin school lunchbox, filled a thermos with Kool-aid (anybody remember Kool-aid?), and sent us off on our big adventure to the picnic by the stream.  Off we went across the little country road, down through the cow pasture to a little stream which, at its deepest point was probably all of 4″ or 5″ deep.  We situated ourselves, had our picnic, and probably returned to the house all in the span of about 15 minutes, no doubt ready for another activity!  Yet, we had been on a picnic adventure and made a memory.  That was back in the days when kids played outside all day and found numerous ways to amuse themselves and none of them involved cell phones or computers.

I will admit my picnic adventures have progressed and become a bit more sophisticated.  There are so many options for picnic foods, particularly when it comes to sandwiches – there are traditional sandwiches with any number of different kinds of breads as options, wraps, baguettes, different kinds of rolls, bagels, etc.  For my picnic by the sea today, I have chosen croissants.  They are tasty and have a nice, soft texture.  Because I live near the water and close to a small fishing village that has a fresh seafood market open daily in the summer, lobster was a logical choice for a croissant filling.  The late summer fishing season has opened in Victoria-by-the-Sea on the south shore of PEI so buying lobster at the seafood market means the lobster is really, really fresh.  Take a look at this 1 1/2+ pound lobster that I took home with me to make the filling for the croissants!

I don’t really have a defined recipe for lobster filling for sandwiches or croissants.  I chop the lobster meat into fairly large chunks as I like to see good-sized pieces of lobster in a lobster roll or croissant — no mashed-up or shredded pieces of lobster meat will do for me!

I add a bit of celery, some pepper, some fresh chopped chives, a splash of fresh lemon juice, and some homemade mayonnaise – just enough to hold the meat together and give it flavour.  That’s it, nothing more as I don’t like anything that detracts from that rich lobster flavour.

I buttered the croissants, added a bed of fresh lettuce from our garden and then heaped on the lobster filling.  Yes, it was very yummy!

A little closer look….

And, this is what I mean about wanting to see nice big pieces of lobster in the sandwich.  Isn’t it mouthwatering and colorful!

Add some potato chips and picnic fare doesn’t get much better than this, particularly when the picnic location is beside the water.  With something as special as lobster, the menu does not have to be extensive.  Let the lobster star all on its own!

Croissants are so easy to handle and eat…particularly when filled with lobster 🙂

My August Cookie of the Month was the chocolate drop cookie.  They were dessert.

I added some fresh fruit – this time, some green grapes – and the picnic basket was ready to go.

I always like to take along some props to dress up the picnic spread, regardless whether it is at a picnic table or on the ground as is the case here by the beach.  It doesn’t matter whether I am in my dining room setting a formal table or outside, I like to think of setting the stage for a feast for the eye as well as for the stomach.  A few props really can make an ordinary picnic a bit more special.

For my seaside picnic, all it took was a blue-checked cloth, a stylish matching wicker picnic basket, a lantern with a blue candle, and some seashells and starfish, to dress up the dining experience.

I love the patterns in the pink-red sandbars on PEI.  Our Island beaches are extraordinary – on the south side, they tend to be more the pink-red color you see in the photo below while, on the north side, the sand is more of a soft pink color.  This is definitely a dining room with a water view!

However, the sky began to look somewhat ominous so we thought we had better hurry up and eat in case a rain shower came along and spoiled the picnic.

1-DSC_0623

I hope you have enjoyed some of the scenes from our seaside picnic that featured PEI lobster.  Enjoy your Labour Day weekend.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
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Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
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August 2013 Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Drop Cookies

I have always been a chocolate lover.  These chocolate cookies were ones my Mother often made when I was a child.  I like the rich chocolate flavour and somewhat chewy center they have.  These cookies don’t take any uncommon ingredients or ones most bakers wouldn’t have in their cupboards.  Of course, using the best cocoa you can find will make for a richer, more flavourful cookie.

They are very easy to make and, being drop cookies, there is no rolling the dough and cutting out shapes and no need for any icing.  Simply scoop up some dough with a teaspoon and use another to slide the dough off the spoon and on to the cookie sheet.  These cookies can be dressed up with 1/2 cup of either chopped nuts, dates, raisins, or even chocolate chips.  However, I don’t add any extras to them as I like the smooth texture and flavour they have on their own without any further additions.

Chocolate Drop Cookies

1/2 cup shortening, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F.

With electric mixer, beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).  Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk.

Into separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  Add to wet ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are incorporated.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake 10-11 minutes.  Do not overbake or cookies will be dry.

Yield:  Apx. 3 dozen

These cookies are good any time and make good lunch box treats as well as picnic basket fare.  They are especially good with a dish of vanilla ice cream!

1-DSC_0694

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

March 2013 Cookie of the Month: Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

Chocolate Drop Cookies Made with Stout
Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies Made with Stout

Well, for my Cookie of the Month for March, I tried to find out if there is a cookie recipe that traces its origins to Ireland or, alternatively, a cookie that is particularly popular on the Emerald Isle.  However, I had no luck in tracking down any (maybe it was lack of Irish luck!).  If any of you know of a traditional Irish cookie, please do share the information.

I decided to create a special recipe and give it a distinctly Irish flavour using stout in honour of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.  As you know, whenever possible, I like to feature Island products in my cooking and baking.  PEI does have one brewing company that produces stout – The Island Brewing Company produces Gahan Sydney Street Stout.  However, it is apparently a limited edition and is not available in local liquor stores year-round — at least I couldn’t track down any.  So, instead, I opted to use Montreal-brewed St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout because it boasts hints of espresso and chocolate.  I knew I was going to be making a chocolate cookie with a hint of coffee flavour so a stout with both chocolate and coffee flavour could only enhance the cookie’s taste.  Like any ingredient, moderation is the trick.  My goal was to flavour the cookie with the stout and bring out the chocolate flavour – I wasn’t aiming for a beer-tasting cookie.  Therefore, I used only 1 1/2 tablespoons of stout as part of the liquid ingredients.

For the chocolate, I chose to use semi-sweet squares of chocolate because I find their flavour a bit more intense than powdered cocoa.  Using some brewed coffee gives these cookies a distinct mocha flavour.  For interest, color, and texture, I used swirled milk and white chocolate chips.

This dough does well when it is chilled and allowed to “rest” for 24 hours after mixing and before baking the cookies.  The purpose of letting the dough “rest” is to allow the liquid ingredients, including the egg, to get fully incorporated and absorbed into the other ingredients.  The “resting” period makes for a drier and firmer cookie dough and this controls its spread while baking so you don’t end up with a really flat cookie.

The chilled dough, though, will be really hard making it next to impossible to use a cookie scoop (I know as I have already gone through two of them!) to form the cookies into shapes for baking.  Cookie scoops are great to make uniform-sized and shaped cookies; however, dropping the cookies by teaspoons on to the baking sheet also works well.

I like the drop cookies to be soft and somewhat chewy and, of course, the key to that texture is to slightly underbake the cookies – bake these no more than 10-12 minutes at 350F and let them cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup shortening, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp. cold brewed coffee

1 1/2 tbsp stout

2 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate, melted

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup chocolate chips

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Cream butter and shortening.

Add brown and white sugars.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat until blended.

 In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, mix coffee, stout, milk, and vanilla.  Stir to combine.  Add to mixture.  Mix well.

Add melted chocolate and mix to blend.

Combine dry ingredients.  Add to mixture and stir just until flour is incorporated.

 

Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 24 hours.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies.  Bake at 350F oven for 10-12 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

 

 

 

 

These make a fine treat for St. Patrick’s Day (but are just as good any time of the year!)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Pin Me To Pinterest!

 

Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies
Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”