Chocolate Chip Bars

The cookies in these photos came fresh out of the refrigerator the day after I made them. That is why they don’t look ooey and gooey. Sorry about that folks!

Here’s another chocolate chip recipe, but in bar form. I saw this recipe on Chocolate Bytes who got it from a youtube video. The recipe reqires shortening instead of butter, which causes the bars (or cookies) to be very soft. I didn’t allow my bars to cook for very long to further ensure softness.
These bars were very delicious and remained so for three or four days (that’s how long they lasted), but I wouldn’t go far as to say they are the best CCCs I’ve ever had. I simply microwaved one or two bars for 30 sec – 1 minute and chewed them happily with a big mug of (skim) milk haha (I grew up on skim milk, so I can’t tolerate any other type of milk for straight-up “drinkage”).
Anyway, if you’re one of those people who tend to shy away from shortening, try using half shortening and half butter to see how they turn out. I think I used butter-flavored shortening all the way. Also, if you don’t want to use the below recipe, simply use one of your favorite CCC recipes, and convert the dough into bars. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
adapted from GingerCake

1 stick regular Crisco or vegetable shortening (I used butter-flavored shortening)
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs (large or jumbo) (I always use large eggs)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups AP flour

Mix the shortening and white sugar together with a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes till creamed together.

Add the salt, baking soda, eggs and brown sugar. Mix again on medium for 1 minute or until incorporated.

Add the flour and mix with the mixer until both cups are incorporated.

Stir in an entire bag of semi-sweet chips by hand.

BARS:
Place cookie dough in a foil-lined or sprayed 9 X 13 baking dish and press it out until leveled. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. If using FOIL, take the bars out by lifting the foil and place the uncut bars on a cooling rack. Once cool enough to handle, cut the bard. If SPRAYED dish, allow the bars to cool in the dish and then cut them once they have somewhat cooled. Place the cut bars on a cooling rack, or just gobble them up right then and there!

COOKIES:
Roll into balls larger than golf ball size, but smaller than a small lemon. They should fit on one cookie sheet at a time (about 6 at a time). Bake at 345 for 14-15 minutes.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

ANOTHER AWARD!!!

Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie just honored me with my second award. I feel so honored! Sarah’s blog is full of healthy, hearty recipes. She has lovely, tempting photos on her blog, too. Please stop by her “place” when you get the chance.

This award is such a different recognition in that the ‘sender’ asks the ‘recipient’ to list the reasons why he/she enjoys blogging. I am really new at this and came into blogging completely by accident, but I will list a few of the things I enjoy:

1. I started to blog to celebrate my new found love for cooking and baking!
2. I enjoy blogging because I can document some of my favorite recipes.
3. I enjoy blogging because it gives me an opportunity to practice with my new love for photography.
4. I love having visitors stop by from all over this world. It’s AMAZING!
5. I love being able to speak different languages with my different visitors. I am blessed and thankful for being multilingual.
Now, since I have given out awards already, I have a small list this time. This is the list of blogs that I regularly read and are MY WINNERS and that you should definitely check out:

Barbara at Barbara Bakes
Elra at Elra’s Baking

Neno’s Award—-Rules and Regulations


1. As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.
2. To seek the reasons why we all love blogging.
3. Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it. (I failed on this one. Sorry, Sarah!)
4. Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.
5. Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.
6. Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.
7. Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich

I wasn’t going to post about my Philly Cheesteak sandwich that I made out of the Italian Sandwich Rolls I made yesterday because it was dark when I had finished assembling the sandwich and because I thought I couldn’t produce a decent enough photo, especially compared to that of Ezra Pound Cake.
However, this afternoon, I made another sandwich and thought it looked photogenic enough to post. I still have half of a sandwich sitting in the microwave for later consumption. The sandwich is really good and cheesy. As you can see, I love mayonnaise…a little too much.

This sandwich doesn’t taste like an authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteak, but it is still very meaty, cheesy, and hearty. If you’re far (geographically) from the real thing, you should definitely make this dish…no side dishes needed.
TIP: In order to cut the meat thin, I suggest you freeze the meat for a couple of hours and then cut the meat against the grain. The firmer texture makes cutting the meat a breeze.

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake and Emeril Lagasse (Food Network)
Makes 2 sandwiches
  • 2 (homemade or store-bought) Italian sandwich rolls, split in half vertically
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional; I didn’t use this)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used kosher)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound rib-eye steak, very thinly shaved or sliced
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced white American cheese or Provolone OR 4 ounces melted Cheez Whiz (I used provolone and Velveeta)
  • Garnish: Italian pickled peppers (I didn’t use this)

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place the rolls on a baking sheet, and warm them in the oven.

2. In the meantime, heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add oil, onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 6 minutes (I cooked the onions for about 2-3 minutes in a cast-iron skillet since it will cook more on the side of the skillet). Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Push off to 1 side of the griddle.

3. Add the meat to the hot pan and cook, stirring and breaking up with the back of 2 metal spatulas, until almost no longer pink, about 2 minutes (yeah, I couldn’t do that so I just kept flipping it over until the pink was gone). Mix in the sautéed vegetables.

4. If you’re using cheese slices, lay them on top of the meat and vegetable mixture, and melt. Spoon the cheesy meat mixture into the warm buns.

5. If you’re using Cheez Whiz (or Velveeta), put the meat and vegetable mixture in the bun, dip a spatula in the Cheez Whiz, and wipe the spatula down the inside of the bread (I didn’t dip the cheese in the spatula. Just get the processed cheese on there hehe). Serve immediately.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Italian Sandwich Rolls

Yesterday, I saw this Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich (which coincidentally comes from the same chef behind the bread recipe on this post) on Ezra Pound Cake. The sandwich looked so good that I decided right then and there to buy some rib-eye steak and cheese whiz.

I went to the store and bought the steak, but I decided against the cheese whiz and ended up getting Velveeta because I like that (processed) cheese more.

Getting ready to proof…

Instead of buying store-bought rolls, I made my own rolls because 1) I love making bread; 2) I knew it would make the sandwich taste much better and wholesome; and 3) I wanted to submit something to yeastspotting for next week. 😀

Fresh and hot out of the oven!

This bread was very easy to make. I didn’t have cake yeast, so I used bread-machine (instant) yeast…a whole 4.2 tsp of it!! As you can see, the bread rose considerably. The bread was fantastic and the sandwich even more so. I could only eat half of the sandwich even though it came from the smallest loaf of bread, and it took me 30 minutes to just eat that!

I separated the dough into four loaves, but the recipe seems to indicate that you can make one loaf from it. I think this dough was too huge for one loaf, even a long, skinny one. The dough was easy to handle and easy to roll/shape, though.

Italian Bread Recipe
by Emeril Lagasse on FoodNetwork

  • 2 cups water, lukewarm (about 110 degrees Farenheit)
  • 1 3/4 ounces cake yeast (1/3 cup) (I used 4.2 tsp of bread machine yeast)
  • 5 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I used kosher)
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I didn’t use or have)

Place the warm water and yeast in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer and allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes (optional for some types of yeast). Using a dough hook attachment, add the flour and sugar to the water and mix on low speed until a dough starts to form. Drizzle the oil and salt into the dough and beat on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes (or knead the dough by hand), or until a smooth, firm, elastic dough is formed.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and spray the dough with a thin coating of cooking spray (cooking spray not necessary if you roll the dough around the oil-lined bowl). Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size (and it will triple in size like it did for me, if you’re not careful).

Remove the plastic wrap, punch down and flatten the rounded dough with the heel of your hand. Roll the dough up tightly, sealing the seam well after each roll. The dough should be elongated and oval-shaped, with tapered and rounded (not pointed) ends. (I cut up the dough into four pieces and then I rolled and shaped them. If you want smaller loaves, I suggest making 8 loaves out of this recipe.)

Preheat the oven lined with a pizza stone or a baking sheet (which I used) to 425 degrees F. If using a pizza stone, place the dough on a baker’s peel heavily dusted with semolina flour, or cornmeal, or alternately on an inverted baking sheet (I first added melted butter to the bottom of the sheet and then the cornmeal for added flavor YUM!).

Allow the dough to proof, loosely covered with a damp towel (my towel was dry), for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. Brush the dough with the egg white and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Using a razor blade or sharp knife, score 3 (1/4-inch deep) slashes across the top of the dough at a 45 degree angle.

Spray the dough generously with water from a water bottle and place in the oven on the baking stone. Immediately close the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Open the oven door and spray the dough again with the water bottle. Close the oven door and bake for an additional 3 minutes before spraying the dough for a third time (the spraying of the dough will ensure a crisp golden brown crust). Bake the dough for 45 minutes (my bread baked in less time than indicated), or until a hollow thud is heard when the bread is whacked with the bowl of a wooden spoon. Allow the bread to cool slightly before serving.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Sweet Potato Pie

I don’t like Pumpkin Pie, and I don’t like Sweet Potato Pie. I must have something against orange veggies or something because I’m not crazy about carrots either. In fact, as a kid I thought that carrots were the causes behind my nightmares :D. Anyway, my mother loves sweet potato pie, and I love her, so I made this pie…well, two pies because of the excess filling. I brought them to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving, so the rest of the family partook in the consumption of this pie as well.

I was dubious about the outcome of this pie because I was unsure of how it was supposed to taste. Since I got the recipe from my stepmother, who is a whiz at making sweet potato pies, she told me to go by taste! It is hard to go by taste when you don’t like the taste of what you’re making, so I couldn’t figure out how much sugar to add to the pie.

So, I was beyond eager to see how the pie tasted to my mother. When she took her first taste, I waited anxiously for her critique. When my mother enjoys a dish, she closes her eyes and moans excitedly. Sadly, she didn’t do that after tasting this pie. Being the supporting and loving mother she is, she said, “It’s good. It’s just not that sweet.”

With a saddened heart, I said, “I knew you wouldn’t like it.” She said she did like it, but I didn’t believe her. My aunt, on the other hand, said that she did like it, but she likes her pies to be less sweet.

I know where I went wrong, though. I added another sweet potato (so, 3 in total) because I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough filling for some weird reason. I should have been satisfied with two sweet potatoes and the same amount of other ingredients. I will stick with my stepmother’s recipe because I know my mom loves her pies (yes, my stepmother has made pies for my mom. Isn’t that cool?!). Don’t expect precise measurements on this recipe. As my stepmom stated, go by taste… So, if you like this type of pie, you should get it right the first time around.

My Stepmother’s Sweet Potato Pie

I slightly adapted her recipe by adding in brown sugar and making the cream cheese optional.

Homemade, unbaked pie crust (recipe below)

2 lbs sweet potatoes (2 large, sweet potatoes)

1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar (by taste)

1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar (by taste)

1 tsp – 1 Tbsp cinnamon

Nutmeg or allspice (by taste)

1 tbsp vanilla

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 stick melted butter

1/2 box of cream cheese (4 oz), room temperature (optional)

Then 3 eggs (add AFTER you get the taste you want)



Prepare the sweet Potatoes:

Wash and boil the potatoes whole and check if their done by poking them with a fork (there should be no resistance) after 45 mins to an hour. Pour out the hot water and add cold water. The skin should come off easily.



Prepare the filling:

Place the boiled and peeled sweet potatoes and the rest of the ingredients, except the eggs, in a mixer bowl, and mix really well. Taste the mixture to see if it has the right amount of sweetness and spices. Mix in the eggs one by one. Pour mixture into an uncooked pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 min. Lightly touch the top of the pie. If dry, then ready. If wet, cook longer. Make sure crust is nice and brown.



Pie Crust

from A Baker’s Odyssey (Youtube video of the author making the crust here)

Yields two 9-inch pie crusts

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cake flour


1/2 tsp salt


1/2 cup(1 stick) cold unsalted butter; cut in Tbsp size pieces


1/2 cup cold shortening or homemade lard or commercial lard; cut in Tbsp size pieces


6 Tbsp. ice water


1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
(or regular vinegar)

Keep all ingredients cold while making this dough. Place dry ingredients into food processor. Add in butter first and pulse three times for 5 seconds. Add in the shortening and pulse three times again. Add in the cold water, starting with 4 Tbsp of water and vinegar, adding more water until a ball ALMOST forms in the processor. Do not over-mix! Remove the dough from the food processor and divide the dough in halves either by weighing them or just “eye-balling” it. Then shape each half into a rough disk and wrap each half separately in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Then roll out one of the cold disks for the bottom crust, set it in the pie pan, and fill it with pie filling. Then roll out the second cold disk for the top crust.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Crockpot Chicken and Dressing

Well, I apologize to the few who were looking forward to seeing the famous dressing I keep harping on and on about. I hesitated about posting about the dressing because I couldn’t produce any extremely tempting photos of this dish (even though they look tempting to me!), and I know most people eat with their eyes when “meeting” a new dish for the first time.

Despite the low-quality photos, please trust me that this dressing is fantastic. If the photos fail in convincing you of its awesomeness, I have compiled a list of reasons I think you should try this dressing at least once:

  • When I made this dressing for Thanksgiving last year, one of my aunts found a way to hoard almost all of the leftovers for herself.
  • This Thanksgiving, I doubled the recipe, and she still found a way to hoard a lot of the dressing to the dismay of everyone else (they still found a way to get some).
  • Even though my aunt and my mother were full, they still managed to put more dressing on their plates. In fact, my aunt was saying, “Whew, I’m full!” as she spooned up more dressing :).
  • I gave this recipe to my stepmother, and she has made this dish a bunch of times already and has admitted that it tastes better than my paternal grandmother’s recipe for dressing.
  • Even though I made a double amount of the dressing, I still felt compelled to make this dressing again as soon I got home.
  • I’m still happily chomping on this yummy concoction to this day. In fact, I can’t wait to get home every day just to heat up another bowl.

Now if those reasons don’t convince you, then I don’t know what else will. The consistency of this dressing is not like that of the northern version where there are more solid chunks of ingredients. It is creamier with a bready texture like that of a non-sweet version of bread pudding, I guess. I topped the dish with gravy made of a roux and chicken broth since I didn’t have anymore turkey drippings. Make this dish at least once; you won’t regret it.

Crockpot Chicken and Dressing
adapted by Southern Plate
  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked
  • 2 pans of cornbread or two quarts (I always use Buttermilk or “Dixie” cornbread)
  • 2 hamburger or hot dog buns (I have used leftover, homemade yeast rolls or white bread)
  • 2 Tbsp sage (add more to taste. I usually end up adding about a Tablespoon more)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup (separated)
  • 1 stick margarine or butter, melted
  • 2 cans chicken broth (3-4 cups)

CHICKEN: While preparing the other ingredients in the dressing, season with salt/pepper, and poach (or simmer in a little water in a saucepan) the chicken breasts for about 10 minutes.

DRESSING: Mix together cornbread, other bread, sage, onion, hard-boiled eggs, one can cream of chicken soup, melted margarine or butter, and two cans of broth in a big bowl.

PREPARATION: Make a layer of half the remaining can of cream of chicken soup in the bottom of a large crock pot. Top with 1/3 of the dressing. Top dressing with half of the chicken, shredding it as you put it in. Top with 1/3 dressing, remaining chicken, and remaining dressing. Spread other half of cream of chicken soup over top.

Cover and cook on low for three to four hours. Serve hot.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com