Super Fudgy Brownies

fullsizeoutput_bedThese brownies are one of my favorites, and they’re not even super homemade. If you need to throw together a baked something-or-other for a bake sale, birthday, office party, or whatever – these are very easy and fast. And everyone loves them!

Ingredients

  • 1 box brownie mix + everything the box says you need
  • 1 bag dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box chocolate instant pudding mix

You can also use 1/2 bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 bag of M&Ms instead of the whole bag of chocolate chips.

Instructions

Combine brownie mix and pudding mix. Add the other ingredients indicated on the brownie box and mix until combined. The batter will be a lot thicker than other brownie batter you might be used to. Mix in chocolate chips. Bake according to the instructions on the box.

If you really want a great brownie (using this recipe or otherwise), make sure you cook them until they are just done. Over-baked brownies start to become dry, and that’s no good. I normally set the timer for 1-2 minutes short of what the box says. I test them, and if they need more time, I usually keep bumping the timer for 2 minutes and testing until they’re done. If they seem very un-done the first time I test, I add 5 minutes, then do increments of 2 minutes thereafter if needed. If they seem like they should be finished, but the knife isn’t quite clean, test another spot in case you hit a chocolate chip.

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Spirals

buffalo-chx-spiralsI needed to make dinner one night, and I’d forgotten to take anything out. Oops. Strangely, I had buffalo chicken dip left over from a party. (This was strange because my buffalo chicken dip usually gets scarfed and I end up wishing I’d made more.) Anyway, back to the dinner thing. I always keep a stockpile of crescents in my fridge. Right now I think we have three cans. I rarely use them for actual crescent rolls, but I’m always using them for other stuff. I like to lob the end off of the can with a chef’s knife like I saw some chef on Food Network do in one of those mystery basket challenges on Chopped or something like that. Too bad I can’t remember who or what show. Anyway, dinner! I used crescent rounds to make these. You could use crescent rolls, you’d just have to make the dough into a rectangle, then cut into strips.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Ranch packet
  • Buffalo sauce 
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 package crescent rounds

Instructions 

Bake the chicken breasts until fully cooked. Pull or shred the meat. (Personally I use my KitchenAid stand mixer to shred chicken. I’ll do a post on it at some point, but Google will show you for now.) Add cream cheese, ranch packet, 1 handful of cheddar cheese, and about 1/4ish maybe 1/3 cup of buffalo sauce.

So now you have a buffalo chicken dip recipe too. If you’re using it for dip, top with cheddar and bake until hot and cheese is melted. Obviously skip this step if you’re making the crescent spirals.

Roll out the strips of crescent dough. Press so they get a little wider. Spread mix down the strip and roll each strip into a spiral. Press the crescent together at the end if needed to keep it together.

Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350° until golden.

Filet Mignon

fullsizeoutput_bd0Mmmmm filet mignon. Pretty much one of my favorite foods, so it’s even better that they’re quick and reasonably easy to make.

Preheat oven to 400°. If you have a convection setting, you can use it at 375°.

Pat steaks dry and season with salt. In an oven-proof skillet, sear 4 minutes, flip, sear another 4 minutes. Transfer to oven, cook for about 5-6 minutes (for medium). Transfer to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Food safety note: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, eggs, or unpasteurized milk may increase your risk of foodborne illness. Visit foodsafety.gov for safe meat cooking temperatures.

Lazy Pizza Sauce

pizza-sauceI call this pizza sauce “lazy” because it’s super easy, plus it uses canned tomatoes and a couple of already-mixed seasoning blends. This one is great for weeknight cooking and picky eaters. One of my friends who is one of the pickiest eaters on the planet loves this sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (28oz)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • A few (3ish) cloves garlic, minced
  • About 1/4 to 1/3 medium onion, minced
  • 1 packet Good Seasons zesty Italian salad dressing & recipe mix
  • 1 tbsp McCormick salt free all purpose seasoning
  • Kosher Salt – start with 1tsp and add more as needed.  

Instructions
Toss everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste it and adjust the seasonings as needed. Transfer to a pot and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t skip the simmering, it makes a difference!

Blender Note: I have the Vitamix 750 and I used the “frozen” setting for about 20 seconds. Nothing was frozen, but I knew 20 seconds of that would give me what I needed. You could also use an immersion blender instead.

Troubleshooting
Too salty or garlicky? Add a little bit of sugar to rebalance it.