Tag Archives: easy recipes

Potato Soup

Potato SoupWhat was the first recipe you ever committed to memory?Potato SoupFor me, it was this Potato Soup—my mom’s. It was our traditional pre-church Christmas Eve dinner for our entire childhood. Every year, Mom would make a double batch and serve it with a spinach salad and warm rolls. It was a tradition we all loved and something we remember fondly.

As we got older and were more able to help in the kitchen, it fell to my little sister and me to make the soup (and the Christmas morning breakfast casserole) while Mom worked on other holiday-related tasks. It was fun to help out, and Mom’s Potato Soup is so simple that it wasn’t long before I ceased needing to peek at the recipe card and started making it from memory.Potato SoupSince then, I’ve made Potato Soup for friends, boyfriends, student film shoots, and even once for 125 Hurricane Katrina relief volunteers. My sister doesn’t even particularly like white potatoes,* but she had no problem putting away this soup on Monday night. Everybody—and I mean everybody—loves this soup.

*She also doesn’t like cinnamon rolls and stuffing. Freaking weirdo.Potato SoupIt’s easy to see why. My mom’s recipe is simple and straightforward. There are only seven ingredients (plus salt and pepper), so the flavors of buttery potato, onion, and garlic really shine through. Half-and-half is swapped for the usual heavy cream, so this soup won’t weigh you down either.Potato SoupAll that rich, creamy deliciousness is accented with a sprinkle of celery seed…Potato Soup…and melty cheddar, crispy bacon, and fresh scallions.Potato SoupIt doesn’t get simpler or more delicious than that.Potato Soup

Potato Soup
makes 3-4 servings

2 pounds red potatoes (about 7-8 potatoes)
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large white or Spanish onion, diced small
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

For serving:
shredded cheddar cheese
crispy bacon, crumbled or chopped
sliced scallions

This recipe makes enough for 3-4 people. If you have very hungry people and/or want seconds, double the batch.

Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks (mine were quartered). Place them in a large (6+ quart) heavy-bottomed pot and add stock. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove lid and reduce heat to medium-high. Continue to cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Cook diced onion until translucent (but not brown), about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Set a large strainer over a large heatproof bowl. Pour potatoes & stock through the strainer, reserving stock.

Place potatoes back in the pot. Add onion mixture. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until no large chunks remain. Stir in reserved stock (about 4 cups). Cover pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot frequently to prevent burning, until thickened a reduced slightly (about 20-30 minutes).

Remove soup from heat. Stir in celery seed and half-and-half, followed by salt and pepper.

Place soup over medium-low heat (do not boil) for 5-7 minutes, just to bring it back to temperature.

Serve soup with cheddar, bacon, and/or scallions, if desired. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.Potato SoupPotato Soup

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Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge

Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeOver the course of the next twenty days, there will come a moment where you’re glad to have this Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge recipe in your back pocket.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeBecause it really is easy. Like six ingredients easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeNo boiling sugar, no candy thermometer easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeMake it in 20 minutes in a double boiler or—even easier—the microwave…easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeBut nobody will know that you made these little morsels of holiday magic without having to think too hard, or that the batch makes enough for multiple holiday gifts (just add cute bags or tins), so you didn’t have to overextend yourself.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeAnd nobody is going to bite into this rich, dense, silky fudge and think “I bet he/she/they made this with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips instead of the ‘traditional’ way.” Nope.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeIn fact, I guarantee you that all anybody will be thinking is how to get another piece of this double-layer minty coffee confection into their faces as soon as possible.Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge
Looking for more peppermint mocha? Check out these cookies!

Looking for more easy holiday candy? See here and here.

Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge
makes one 9×13-inch pan

Mocha Layer:
18 ounces (3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
5 teaspoons espresso granules (I use Medaglia d’Oro)
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint extract)

Peppermint Layer:
18 ounces (3 cups) white chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint extract)

Garnish:
4 candy canes or 10 starlight mints, crushed (I prefer starlight mints)

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the two long sides, and grease again. Set aside.

To make on the stove:

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Make the mocha layer. Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and espresso granules in the heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water. Use a silicone spatula and/or whisk to stir mixture until chips are melted and fudge is even in color. It will be thick. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press into an even layer all the way to the corners. Freeze full pan while you make the peppermint layer.

Wash the heatproof bowl and dry well. Return pot to a simmer.

Combine white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water. Use a silicone spatula and/or whisk to stir mixture until chips almost all are melted and fudge is even in color. It will be thinner than the mocha mixture. Remove from heat. Whisk in peppermint extract and continue until mixture is totally smooth.

Remove pan from the freezer. Spread peppermint mixture over the top of the mocha layer, smoothing it all the way to the edges. Garnish the top with crust candy canes or starlight mints.

To make in the microwave:

Make the mocha layer. Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and espresso granules in a medium microwave safe mixing bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until chips are melted and fudge is thick and even in color. Stir in peppermint extract. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press into an even layer all the way to the corners. Freeze full pan while you make the peppermint layer.

Wash the microwave safe bowl and dry well.

Combine white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in the bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring/whisking in between, until almost all chips are melted and fudge is even in color. Whisk in peppermint extract and continue until mixture is totally smooth. Mixture will be thinner than the mocha layer.

Remove pan from the freezer. Spread peppermint mixture over the top of the mocha layer, smoothing it all the way to the edges. Garnish the top with crust candy canes or starlight mints.

Both methods:

Refrigerate fudge for at least 1 hour. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edges of the pan. Use parchment overhang to lift fudge onto a cutting board.

Use a greased knife to slice fudge into 1-inch pieces. Wipe the knife clean between cuts.

Fudge is best kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, but may be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days. Candy cane/starlight mint garnish will melt over time.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeEasy Peppermint Mocha FudgeEasy Peppermint Mocha Fudge

French Apple Cake

French Apple CakeIf you are looking for an apple cake with brown sugar and warming spices, this isn’t the one. (This is.)French Apple CakeIf, however, you’re looking for a buttery, almost custard-like cake with only a teaspoon of vanilla extract to distract from the flavor of tender fresh apples, you’ve come to the right blog.French Apple CakeMeet the French Apple Cake. It’s easy. It’s elegant. It’s French home-baking at its finest.French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThis little cake is perfect for the upcoming holidays (or just any ol’ day) because it requires minimal effort and delivers big time. Also, it requires exactly nine ingredients (ten, if you include the confectioner’s sugar) and there’s an 80% chance you have all of them already.French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThere’s no need to soften any butter either, so you can conceivably have this in the oven in under 20 minutes. You won’t even need to break out your mixer!French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThis beauty bakes up in about 45 minutes, and since it doesn’t require frosting or filling or anything more than a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, it only needs a 15 minute rest before you can release it from its springform and slice it up.French Apple CakeYou read all that correctly. If you crank the oven right now, you can be eating French Apple Cake in 80 minutes.French Apple CakeI’d start moving toward the kitchen, if I were you.French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large baking apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
juice of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

For serving (optional):
confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Whisk for about 2 minutes, or until uniform in appearance and a bit thick. It will be grainy.

Whisk half the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, followed by half the melted butter. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and butter.

In a small mixing bowl, toss together apple chunks and lemon juice.

Add apples to cake batter and fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Transfer to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Scatter remaining tablespoon of sugar over the top. Tap full pan on the counter 5 times before baking for 40-50 minutes, or until golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come back clean or with only a few moist crumbs.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.French Apple CakeFrench Apple Cake

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate PuddingI’m usually not the sort of blogger who labels her own recipes as “the best ever,” but y’all…this Chocolate Pudding might be the best ever. At the very least, it’s the best I’ve ever had.Chocolate PuddingOf course, until a few years ago, I’m pretty sure that the closest I’d ever come to eating pudding made from scratch was my mom making Jell-o Cook & Serve vanilla pudding on an occasional weekend night. I’m not complaining though—she served it in a set of rarely-used champagne coupes, so it felt very fancy for something we ate on the couch in front of the TV.Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingThis pudding though? It doesn’t need any elegant glassware to feel luxurious. It’s made with both cocoa and chopped bittersweet chocolate, giving the finished pudding a bold, in-your-face flavor. I cut the added sugar way down too, so there’s no cloying sweetness to distract from the intensity of the chocolate. Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingI can guarantee you that there is no boxed mix on the market that makes a chocolate pudding that’s anywhere near this chocolaty.Chocolate PuddingThis Chocolate Pudding is super thick, too. I mean, your average store bought pudding cup can’t hold a spoon straight up like that, now can it?!Chocolate PuddingAnother thing I love about this recipe is that it takes all of twenty minutes from the time I start measuring out ingredients to the time I put the pudding in the refrigerator to chill. This makes it perfect for a lazy night in or for a game night or cookout. I even think you could deck the individual servings out with whipped cream and shaved chocolate and serve them at a dinner party.Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingMy Chocolate Pudding stays good for a few days in the fridge, so it’s a great make ahead option too. If you can resist the temptation to take a cold, creamy bite, that is.Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding
makes 4 servings

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

For Serving:
whipped cream
chocolate shavings

In a medium-large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk the milk into the dry ingredients. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Continue to whisk until the mixture boils for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low.

Whisk egg yolks with a fork. Remove 1/3 of the warm chocolate mixture from the pot. Whisking constantly, slowly pour chocolate mixture into the egg yolks until completely combined. Add egg yolk mixture to the pot and turn heat back up to medium-high. Continue to whisk until mixture boils for 1 minute. Remove pot from heat. Whisk in vanilla, followed by chopped chocolate and butter.

Push pudding through a fine mesh sieve. Divide pudding among 4 small bowls (I used 4-ounce jars). Press plastic wrap to the surface of each bowl of pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until cold.

When ready to serve, remove plastic wrap. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Pudding will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Chocolate Pudding

Monster Blondies

Monster BlondiesRemember that huge, ridiculous M&Ms Surprise Cake I posted last week? It’s long gone.Monster Blondies You know what’s still taking up space in my kitchen? This comically large container of M&Ms. It’s made it through two of those cakes, a batch of cookies and lots of late night snacks, and it’s still kickin’.Monster Blondies Also taking up space in my kitchen? Three different jars of peanut butter. THREE. And they’re all different brands. Just…what? I really need an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all my baking supplies so I’m not compelled to pick up peanut butter every time I see it on sale.Monster Blondies So, what does one do with all that peanut butter and that huge container of M&Ms? Add some oats and make Monster Blondies, of course!Monster Blondies What makes these blondies so…monstrous? Well, they’re a riff on Monster Cookies, a sort of “everything but the kitchen sink” cookie that, at its most basic, contains peanut butter, oats, M&Ms and chocolate chips.Monster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesThe original cookies are terrific, but skipping the cookie dough and tossing all those ingredients into blondie batter is absolutely the way to go! The resulting blondies have all the flavors and textures from their namesake recipe, but with an extra thick and chewy peanut butter base.Monster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesNot only that, but blondies are way easier to make than cookies—this recipe comes together with just one bowl and a silicone spatula! And, of course, they don’t require baking in batches. Monster Blondies are ready to come out of the oven just 40 minutes after you start making the batter!Monster BlondiesOnce the blondies have cooled slice them up and dig in! You’ll love the soft & chewy blondie base, the slight saltiness from the peanut butter, the texture from the oats and crackly candy coating, and tons of chocolate. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the very best kind of mid-week pick-me-up ❤ Monster BlondiesMonster Blondies
makes 16 blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms candy

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving some overhang on two sides. Grease with butter. Set aside.

Place butter and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Melt together in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Transfer to a medium large mixing bowl. Stir in light brown sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in oats, followed by chocolate chips and M&Ms.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 28 minutes), or until turning golden at the edges. Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Use foil to lift blondies out of pan. Peel off foil and transfer blondies to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Serve.

Leftover blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.Monster Blondies