Chocolate Chip & Peanut Skillet Cookie

I will admit that I typically make a skillet cookie as an alternative to a normal meal on the days when I’d just rather eat a bunch of sugar than an actual dinner. Yes, I know… That’s certainly not healthy nor does it cover any legit food groups. It only happens once or twice a year so don’t get too worried. I have found that using a mini cast iron or stainless steel fry pan is best for a skillet cookie. Anything larger doesn’t bake completely in the middle and usually leaves you with way too much cookie for one sitting (especially since it will get too soggy to save if served with ice cream on top). The peanuts in this recipe give a nice soft crunch and offer a different salty flavor than the more popular walnut/pecan addition.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted salted peanuts

Instruction:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Rub butter into a 6-7″ cast iron or stainless steel skillet.
  2. In a bowl, beat butter with both sugars until fully incorporated. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and peanuts.
  3. Transfer to the prepared skillet and smooth out the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tooth pick inserted at center comes out clean. Serve while still warm with a generous scoop of ice cream.

Eggplant Parmesan Bake

Nothing beats a meal showcasing fresh summer vegetables and lots of cheese! Try this eggplant parmesan bake for an interesting meat-free meal. I like to serve the bake with a side salad and spaghetti tossed in oil and balsamic vinegar. You can easily use canned sauce, homemade sauce, or a mix between the two, like this recipe does.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs (or regular crumbs with a tsp of Italian seasoning added)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 16 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil (more if needed)
  • 1/2 cup Italian cheese mix
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella (1/2 log)

Instruction:

  1. Peel and slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and layer into a colander, covering directly on top with plastic wrap. Place a heavy bowl or cans on top of plastic wrap. Let sit in sink for 45 minutes to pull out bitter liquid. Uncover and rinse with cold water.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup bread crumbs with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. In a separate bowl, crack egg and lightly whisk. One by one, dunk eggplant slices into egg, coat in bread crumb mixture, and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip slices, and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. While eggplant is baking, add chopped tomatoes, minced onion, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, chopped oregano, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper to a small sauce pan. Cook on medium-low until heated through, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add a little water or stock.
  4. When eggplant and sauce are ready, reduce oven heat to 350º. Pour olive oil into a small casserole dish and swish around until surface is covered. Put about a 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Top with a single layer of eggplant slices. Cover with a sprinkle of each cheese (Italian cheese mix, fresh mozzarella, and remaining parmesan). Continue sauce-eggplant-cheese layering until it’s all used up. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Marinated Berries with Shortcake and Whipped Cream

 

This dessert is perfect for using up berries that are a little past their prime. The balsamic vinegar hides any berry imperfections while providing a tangy sauce to contrast the sweet whipped cream. We used sliced strawberries and whole raspberries, but this recipe can easily work for blueberries and blackberries too. Mint adds depth and color for the perfect summer treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Cannon River Traditional Shortcake Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar
  • 1/4 cup Coteau des Prairies 18 Year Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint, minced (about 1 teaspoon when minced)
  • 2 cups berries of your choice, sliced (fresh or thawed from frozen)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Instruction:

  1. Make shortcakes according to package instructions by combining mix with 1 stick melted butter and 1/2 cup water. Place nine spoonfuls on baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, then move shortcakes to a rack to cool completely.
  2. While shortcakes are baking, prepare the marinated berries. In a medium bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and minced fresh mint. Stir until combined. Add berries and stir to completely coat. Place in fridge for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  3. To prepare whipped cream, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar at the very end, beating until just combined.
  4. To assemble, cut shortcakes in half. Add a dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of berries. Drizzle with balsamic mixture if more sauce is desired. Top with other shortcake half. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.