October 2013 - Buttered Side Up

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

This was originally posted on March 14, 2011 on Cooking for Seven. I still think this is an awesome recipe, so I'm re-posting here. Enjoy!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies | Buttered Side Up
Why is that something as ordinary as chocolate chip cookies is one of the most delicious treats? Perhaps its very familiarity is what makes it so scrumptious. They bring back days spent at Grandma’s as a child; afternoons spent mixing up cookies with my sisters; sneaking spoonfuls of dough.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies | Buttered Side Up

Here’s the recipe that we have used for years. Just within the past months my sister & I have modified the recipe to our tastes: reducing the sugar and adding some toasty pecans. They were a splendid hit, even with our critical Dad. He informed us that they were the best cookies he ever ate. He freaks out if we suggest changing the recipe slightly.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Mrs. Fields’ recipe
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 twelve-ounce bags bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped coarse
1) Preheat oven to 350° F.
2) Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer set to medium-high. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
3) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips & nuts.
4) Place golf ball sized pieces of dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or just until the edges and bottoms begin to brown.
5) Allow to cool on the cookie sheets a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes approximately 30 cookies

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies | Buttered Side Up

Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

Chicken and Biscuits Pot Pie - Buttered Side Up 09
Chicken and Biscuits Pot Pie - Buttered Side Up 07
Chicken and Biscuits Pot Pie - Buttered Side Up 08
Chicken and Biscuits Pot Pie - Buttered Side Up 06
Chicken and Biscuits Pot Pie - Buttered Side Up 03
I have the hardest time coming up with Things to Make for Supper. It's not like it's actually hard to make tasty dinners; but I usually wait until Helen's second nap (around 2:30) to even begin to contemplate supper, and by that time it's pretty much too late to take any meat out of the freezer. Then Helen wakes up and I need to feed her, change her diaper and get her in a good mood so she doesn't scream at me while I'm chopping vegetables. And it's 4:30 and I'm wracking my brain for something to make.

Enough was enough. I decided to start A Planned Menu.

I consulted with Reuben and came up with 2 week rotating menu. Somehow just knowing what I need to cook makes me get it done. I know to plan ahead and buy the food I need for the week and take meat out of the freezer the night before. So far I'm loving it.

This chicken pot pie is one of my favorite suppers on the rotation. It's delicious and so so easy. You needn't fuss over a pie crust: the carbs come in the form of easy-peasy drop biscuits. 

Confession: I dislike cutting butter into flour. It feels like so much work, slicing the butter into small pieces and working it into the flour with a pastry cutter. So I cheated with these biscuits: I melted the butter and added it to the flour along with the sour cream. I really couldn't tell the difference!

Do you ever cheat in the kitchen to make your life easier?

PS: Let me know if you guys would be interested in seeing my two-week-rotating-menu.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie with Sour Cream Biscuits
adapted from Ellie Krieger | makes 6 servings | PRINTABLE PAGE


For the filling:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 of a medium onion (more if desired), chopped fine
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped fine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups liquid (I used 1/2 cup cream and 2 cups chicken broth, but you can use a combination of milk and any broth you wish)
  • 4 cups cooked chicken
  • 2 cups frozen peas

For the biscuits:
  • 1/2 cup sprouted spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


For the filling:
1) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Once it's nice and hot, add the onion and cook until softened and transparent. Add the carrots and celery and cover; cook until tender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
2) Slowly add the broth and milk or cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken and peas. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour into a baking dish (mine was 7" x 9" but you could use a square pan as well).

For the biscuits:
1) Meanwhile, as the filling is coming to a boil, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter and sour cream and mix just until combined. 
3) Scoop the biscuits over the prepared filling in 6 large lumps. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the biscuits are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Chai Gingerbread Bars

Chai Gingerbread Bars


Soft, spicy and full of flavor. These gingerbread bars are definitely a favorite of mine. 

I first made these for the Tasty Kitchen blog back in December of 2010. The other day I had a hankering for them, so I cooked up a pan. They were just as good as I remembered. So I decided I should share the recipe with you.

These are excellent plain, but they are exceptionally good with a cup of tea (or a cold glass of milk) and a dollop of whipped cream. They're delicious fresh from the oven or cold from the refrigerator.

Chai Gingerbread Bars
adapted from Nika | makes about 16 servings or one 9x13-inch pan | PRINTABLE PAGE

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used half sprouted spelt flour and half while flour)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp Chai tea leaves (I mixed up my own)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sweetener of choice (I used evaporated cane juice)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Butter or line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, Chai tea leaves, ground ginger and baking soda.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar together until soft. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and fresh ginger and mix. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until combined. 
4) Spread the batter into the pan, making sure it is evenly distributed. Make sure to smooth out the top of the batter (I like to use an offset spatula). Sprinkle the top of the bars with extra sugar, if desired.
5) Slide the pan into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out nearly clean. Serve warm or cold, plain or with whipped cream.

A Quick Lesson in Food Photography: Lighting

Pears, 3 Different Ways
It's amazing what lighting can do for the feel of your photos.

One way you can easily manipulate the mood of your subject is to change the source of your light. 

In the first photo above, the light is coming from a window to right of these delicious pears. The lighting is fairly soft and even but there's still some darker shadows to give depth.

In the second photo, the light is coming from a window in front of the pears. The pears are very soft and evenly lit and the background is quite dark.

In the last photo the light is coming from a window at the back of the pears. Everything is quite contrasty and the background is very light.

See how easy it is to change the look of your photos simply by switching up the source of the light? My current favorite is placing the light at the back of the subject - I love the contrast! Make sure to experiment and find the mood you like the best.

What do you think? Which mood from the photos above is YOUR favorite?

Let me know if you guys enjoy these mini photography lessons!

A Pretty Failure + Other Things

A Pretty Failure: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

A Pretty Failure: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

A Pretty Failure: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

I really wanted to like this recipe, guys. When I read the words "Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal," I was certain that this was something that I wanted to eat for breakfast AND dessert. But with my first bite I thought, "This isn't sweet enough." And with subsequent bites: "I don't think there's enough salt."

Reuben agreed that it just wasn't that good.

But I really liked the photos. I was able to capture some steam, and I think it LOOKS like something I would like to eat. Ah well.

Katelyn's Seniors

On a happier note, I took my lovely sister's senior portraits. You can see more photos on my personal blog.

Pear Jam

I made pear jam using my Peach Jam Recipe as a base, leaving out the lemon juice (I didn't have any on hand).

Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn! Om nom nom. I'll have to share my recipe with y'all sometime...

Fall in Northern Minnesota
Fall is in full swing here in northern Minnesota. I really need to stop mentioning to Reuben how much I love fall - I'm sure I'm starting to sound like a broken record.

Have you had any failures or successes in the kitchen lately?

Grandma’s Cooking School: Roast Beef Dinner

This was originally posted on April 20, 2010 on Cooking for Seven. Because these lessons were such an important part of my life, I will be re-posting them here.
{Grandma’s Cooking School is my chronicles of the informal cooking lessons that my Grandma graciously decided to give us girls. Enjoy!}

Grandma's Cooking School: Roast Beef Dinner
Grandma decided it was time to move from scrumptious sweets to serving an entire meal; and there is no meal so traditional and tasty as a Roast Beef Dinner…

Grandma's Cooking School: Roast Beef Dinner

Grandma knows all the secrets to making a tender, tasty roast: sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Attack it with a sharp fork & sprinkle with Meat Tenderizer. Coat it with flour and cook in a skillet to brown on all sides.

Grandma's Cooking School: Roast Beef Dinner
Pour a can of beef broth into a roasting pan, add the roast, slip it into a moderate oven (325° F) and sit back and relax. Or start making some delicious side dishes: Mashed potatoes, green peas, and steamed cauliflower with buttered breadcrumbs.

Grandma's Cooking School: Roast Beef Dinner
Don’t forget to slice some onions and put on top of the roast about an hour before it’s done. This really adds a nice flavor. Set the table, make the gravy, and carve the meat. Here’s a tip from Grandma: slice the meat across the grain for the most tender cut.

Grandma's Cooking School: Roast Beef Dinner
We invited Justin & Audra to share in our feasting.
Now, thanks to Grandma, I no longer have to fear making roast beef.

**Next Time on Grandma’s Cooking School: Poppy Seed Torte**

Blackberry Cobbler Bars

Blackberry Cobbler Bars
Blackberry Cobbler Bars
Blackberry Cobbler Bars
Blackberry Cobbler Bars
Blackberry Cobbler Bars
TK Blog Blackberry Cobbler Bars 36
I'm having trouble describing these bars. "Yummy. Really yummy," is all that comes to mind. The cookie-like crust, soft center and hint of orange flavor work together to make an irresistibly delicious dessert.

I wish I had a piece right now, still slightly warm, with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream on top.

Make sure to visit the Tasty Kitchen Blog to get my step-by-step photos and the recipe.
Back to Top