Home-made Tzatziki Sauce, Garlicky and Cheesy Crispy Potato Skins, Chocolate Chip Brownies, Copy Cat “Olive Garden” Alfredo Sauce, French Toast Fingers, Lemon Pound Cake, and Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies…made with l♥ve by The Cookie Mama.

Happy March! It has been CRAZY in our house…crazy busy that is! We have been booked every weekend since my last post, and there is no relief in sight for the forseeable future.  I am happy to report that despite the craziness, I have been able to carve out some kitchen time. So let’s get right to it…

The first recipe I made was tzatziki sauce.  I have made this sauce before, but it’s been a DSCN2366bit so I decided to include the recipe.  We were having veggie gyros for dinner, and I decided to make the tzatziki sauce to go with the gyros.  Now I have never had an authentic gyro before, as I became a vegetarian before I ever ate one.  That said, the veggie gyros were awesome.  I got the protein from my crack house, aka “Whole Foods,” so the gyros were pretty simple to prepare.  I diced some tomatoes and green onions, made the tzatziki sauce, and we were good to go.  If you haven’t ever had tzatziki sauce before, it is a Greek dressing made primarily with yogurt and cucumber.  I actually used sour cream as I didn’t have any plain yogurt, and it came out great.   We used the sauce on our gyros, and we also topped some potatoes with the tzatziki…YUM.  This sauce is also great for dipping fresh veggies, topping a salad, or using as a sandwich condiment.  Here is the recipe that I used: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tzatziki-sauce/

The next recipe was for garlicky and cheesy crispy potato skins.  Whew… that’s a mouthful. Suffice to say these are crispy potato skins, and they are delicous.  I guess these potatoes could also be called  jacket potatoes?  I prefer the term “jacket potato” as it is a British DSCN2367term…okay quick side story.  In 2002, we were fortunate enough to go to England.  Dan had to go on business, and Victoria and I tagged along.  We spent a few glorious days in London, and then drove to Solihull a little town, not far from where Dan was working in Shirley. Whilst Dan was at work, Victoria and I spent the day at “Touchwood,” Solihull’s version of a mall, that was located across the street from our lovely hotel. Whilst Victoria and I were at the mall, they had a whole restaurant devoted to jacket potatoes.  I was pretty excited to eat one, so we went in and to my surprise,  a jacket potato is just a baked potato!  Dumb American 😉  Well I ordered one anyway because “when in Rome” or in this case “when in Solihull,” and it was yummy.  If you watch “The Middle” the restaurant was just like the restaurant at the mall where “Sue” works.  A whole restaurant devoted to baked potatoes and various toppings?  Yep.  Well, this recipe totally conjured up images from that lovely that trip, and it made me smile.  Anyway, these potato skins are just like the name implies…garlicky, cheesy, and crispy…or in a word…YUM   As I mentioned above, we used the tzatziki sauce on these potatoes and it was awesome! Here is the recipe that I used: http://diethood.com/2014/01/15/garlicky-cheesy-crispy-potato-skins/

The next recipe I tried was for chocolate chip brownies.  I love love love me a brownie, but DSCN2368I wasn’t thrilled with the last batch of homemade brownies that I had prepared. In that spirit, I decided to give it another shot. I am so glad that I did, because these brownies are really good. They were pretty easy to make, and I had all the ingredients on hand, so it was a total success. I will definitely make these again.  Here is a link to the recipe that I used: http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2013/09/homemade-chocolate-chip-brownies/

The next recipe I made as part of our annual Valentine’s Day feast.  We always have heart shaped pasta of some sort, with my homemade sauce.  This year, I made heart shaped ravioli for Dan, Victoria, and I, and spaghetti for Ryan.  I also made two differentDSCN2396 sauces…my red sauce, and this copy cat alfredo sauce.  Whenever we go to the Olive Garden, Victoria orders fettucine alfredo, and Dan orders some alfredo dipping sauce for the breadsticks.  They both LOVE the sauce.  When I came across this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I’d have to give it a shot.  In a word this alfredo sauce is AMAZING!!!  I have made alfredo sauce many times before, but none of those other recipes are as yummy as this one.  My family LOVED this recipe.  We ate it on the ravioli, and we dipped our heart shaped garlic bread in it.  Ryan did try it, but he did not like it at all.  Ryan ate plain pasta whilst the rest of us enjoyed this yummy sauce.  So let’s be honest, this is NOT a heart or waist friendly recipe, BUT it is delicious.  We eat out about once per month, so if I make this sauce a few times a year, I figure it’s the same thing.  I will treat this recipe like an indulgence, throw caution to the wind, and just enjoy it. It really is very very good.  Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://momscrazycooking.blogspot.com/2012/09/olive-garden-alfredo-sauce-this-weeks.html

The next recipe I tried was for french toast fingers.  Now I don’t really dig traditional breakfast DSCN8294foods.  Actually, my favorite breakfast is a left over dinner, but every now and then I get in the mood for breakfast food.  Well I was in one of those moods when I decided to give this recipe a try.  I had seen the recipe on an episode of “Giada at Home,” so I decided to make breakfast for dinner, aka “binner,” and include this dish.  I used challah bread to make the french toast fingers, and they came out great.  I did not make the syrup that Giada used, I just used regular ‘ol maple syrup.  We also had veggie breakfast patties, and eggs with these french toast fingers, and it was a yummy binner for sure.  Ryan didn’t care for these, but he’s not a huge fan of french toast anyway.  I would definitely make these again.  Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/french-toast-fingers-with-ginger-bourbon-maple-syrup.html

The next two recipes I tried were dessert recipes.  The first dessert recipe was for lemon pound cake.  I love love love me some lemon pound cake, and have made it in the past. This recipe was different in that it called for whole eggs, and not just egg yolks.  The last time I made pound cake, I was trying to get rid of a bunch of egg yolks.  I had baked a few batches of amaretti cookies which only required the egg whites, so I had a lot of yolks left DSCN8296over.  This time, I was able to use the whole egg so I had no partial left overs.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and knew I wanted to try it.  It was easy to make, and it came out great! I will caution you though not to overfill your cake pan, as it will overflow.  I fortunately read the reviews of the recipe, so I knew to be careful with that.  Some of the reviewers, however, had a gooey mess to clean up in their ovens, so heed the warning. With the excess batter that didn’t fit into my bundt pan, I made mini cupcakes, and they were delicious!  I’d also recommend putting a sheet pan under the cake pan just in case.  I chose not to frost or glaze this cake, as I felt it was great all on its own.  If you love a glaze on pound cake though, by all means glaze away.  Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.plainchicken.com/2011/10/lemon-pound-cake.html

The last recipe I tried was for chocolate pinwheel cookies.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE cookies. DSCN8300They are my absolute favorite dessert.  I can only go so long before I feel compelled to make a fresh batch. For example, I experiment with all different sorts of dessert recipes, but after a few new dessert recipes, I always make cookies.  Why?  Just because.  I usually make chocolate chip cookies as they are my family’s favorite, but this time I wanted to try something new. I have made pinwheel cookies in the past, but I’d never made chocolate pinwheels before.  I found the recipe on Pinterest, and was super excited to give it a try. I am so glad that I tried the recipe because the cookies were delicious.  I will definitely make these again.  Ryan didn’t care for them, but the rest of us loved them.  My favorite thing about the recipe, other than the taste, is that the recipe makes two separate batches of cookies.  One for now, and one to keep in the freezer for later. Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://sugarywinzy.com/chocolate-pinwheel-cookies/

Since my last post, we here in Michigan have been blasted quite a few times by old man winter.  Well, I for one, am ready to see him go.  Generally, I am not someone who complains about the winter weather…I mean it’s Michigan…come on…we get snow…it gets cold…it’s winter folks…happens every year.  I do not wish to relocate to a place where it is warm all the time.  I enjoy all the seasons for different reasons.  I LOVE summer as it is warm, and the kids are out of school.  I love love love to garden, lay in the hammock, swim in our pool, and hang out on our deck.   I LOVE fall too.  Fall means football on tv, leaves changing colors, crisp days, bonfires, big comfy sweatshirts and sweaters, and two of my favorite holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Winter is always welcome as it makes me feel cozy in my house. I love a good snow storm when we are all “in” for the evening.  I love when the kids get an unexpected snow day, I love how pristine everything looks under a sparkly blanket of clean white snow, and I love Christmastime which in my mind is synonomous with snow.  That said, I don’t love winter in March. By mid March, I feel we DSCN2363need some space, maybe old man winter and I need to start seeing other people.  Yep, sorry winter…I am done with you.  By this stage of the game I am totally over our relationship, and I am craving spring like crazy. I want to hear the birds sing again, I want to put away my winter boots, hats, and gloves, I want to stop scraping the ice off the damn windshield, and I want to go outside and not be cold. I don’t want to see my breath in the air, I don’t want to “white knuckle” my drive to work, I don’t want to get stuck in a 6 foot snow drift on a dirt road, and I definitely don’t want to have to pay seventy five bucks to get towed 25 feet!  Yep, old man winter and I got into a BIG fight week before last, and we still aren’t speaking.  I hope he enjoys the seventy five bucks it cost me for the tow.  I mean even though it was totally his fault, I still had to pay the tab! UGH!  Needless to say, I want nothing to do with winter, and firmly believe that we shouldn’t see each other for a long time…like at least 9 months        or so. 😉

Hopefully winter is finally over, but let’s remember that this is Michigan, and a late March snowfall is NOT out of the question. My hope is that the next few weeks brings warmer weather, brighter days, and a ton of really great recipes.  ♥♥♥


OMG I cannot wait for lilacs!!!!

About THE cookie mama

I am not professionally trained in any way shape or form, BUT I come from a long line of really great cooks. I learned mostly by watching my parents and grandparents, and then replicating what they did. I love love love to cook and bake, and I love to share what I make with "my people."
This entry was posted in Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Italian, Savory and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Home-made Tzatziki Sauce, Garlicky and Cheesy Crispy Potato Skins, Chocolate Chip Brownies, Copy Cat “Olive Garden” Alfredo Sauce, French Toast Fingers, Lemon Pound Cake, and Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies…made with l♥ve by The Cookie Mama.

  1. Love this blog Cookie Mama! I agree on winter. It needs to end. It’s March 24 and we’re going to get another inch of snow! ❄️

  2. jidojimmy says:

    Great blog as as usual!

  3. Dan…bite your tongue! 😛

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