TMGS Cookies

It’s the end of the month– if you’ve ever had to worry about such expenses as rent, utilities, insurance scams, food… you know that struggle. If this is a circumstance you are altogether unfamiliar with, then you can rest assured knowing I will not subject you to such plebeian delicacies as hotdog-waffles or peanut-butter-ramen. But as you savor those thoughts for a moment, I offer the perfect ‘starving artist’ cliche, and this here recipe for whatever ya got in your pantry cookies–

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preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar: ½ brown or coconut sugar, ½ cane sugar
¼ cup cocoa, or a dash of cinnamon + flour

sift dry ingredients

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1 stick butter (softened) or ½ cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons milk, water, coffee, or liquor

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¼ cup peanut butter and/or maple syrup
chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, and/or quick oats
use ’em if ya got ’em

mash it all up into a firm dough

use a pasty tool, potato masher, couple of forks, or your bare hands
add water/milk/coffee if too dry
add flour if too wet

roll dough in balls
pretty much any size works
space evenly on cookie sheet
I also rolled them in cinnamon sugar

bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees
cook slightly longer for larger cookies
less if you want softer cookies

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Let sit a few minutes while the cookies firm up
eat or set cookies aside to use the sheet for another batch

I’ve done several variations of this, from plain chocolate cookies to a breakfast bar loaded with too much good stuff, this recipe hasn’t failed me yet. Even with a barren wasteland of a pantry, I still managed to scrape these together for a potluck in a pinch.

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Butternut Squash Pasta

A versatile main course or good for some yummin’ on the side,
this simple pasta dish is a recipe for good clean eating that won’t break the bank.

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This isn’t so much of a strict recipe as it is a guided customizable suggestion– I concocted this dish as something to tie together a roasted chicken dinner, using mostly staple ingredients, topped with a crumbling of feta cheese and Mediterranean herbs.

There isn’t a single ingredient in this dish that cannot be substituted or simply left out. Season to taste, switch it up to keep it interesting. I will provide a few substitution suggestions of my own but you will know what you like better.

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Noodles

A filled noodle is more filling, and packed with extra flavor, so for this dish I prefer tortellini or ravioli noodles, but any noodle will do.

Pictured here we used pesto filled tortellini. Cheese filled is more common and also makes for a delish dish. While we are enjoying the fruits of the harvest season, butternut squash tortellini fits the flavor profile perfectly.

Bring a pot of water to a hard boil then add the noodles.
Do NOT undercook tortellini– you want the inside to be soft, it will take longer than most noodles, bite into one to test it.

While the noodles cook, prepare the produce for your sauce.
I used my Oster 1200 Food Processor,
but lightly blending or finely chopping works too.

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Bell Peppers
Onions or Shallots
Squash
Garlic
Ginger

I prefer the sweeter variety of bell peppers
they come in orange, yellow, or red.
Bell peppers and onions make for a flavorful sauce feature, together or individually. I have made pasta dishes with just these, and a cream or oil for base, same methods.

Green bell peppers could also work, especially with the pesto filled tortellini, but for green peppers I would suggest adding spinach, heavy on the garlic, hold the squash or substitute zucchini.

For those of you who like a hint of food
with that burning sensation in your mouth,
you could spice it up with jalapeno or other hot peppers.

Butternut squash also makes an excellent pasta sauce all by itself, or similar varieties like acorn, cinderella and winter squash all work just as well. Squash comes cheap and grows in abundance throughout fall and winter. As whole squashes, they are tough to cut, but my local Farmer’s Market has me covered with bags of pre-peeled chopped squash.

Finely chop your produce with sharp knives or a food processor.
To serve raw, reduce cooking time, or for a smoother texture– blend until smooth.

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When your noodles are fully cooked,
drain the water and return noodles to pot.
Toss your chopped produce with noodles, or pour in blended sauce.

Oil
Sour Cream

We were roasting a chicken at the time,
and I need a full-fat diet,
so I used the drippings for this side-dish.

To serve as a main course or reduce fat, substitute drippings for chicken bouillon or chicken broth. For a vegetarian dish, substitute vegetable broth, butter or oil.

I went heavy on the chicken drippings so I only used a couple large dollops of sour cream.
Can substitute cream or half and half, and thin sauce with milk or water if necessary.
For a vegan dish, just oil will work as a base, but I recommend processing your produce to a smoother consistency.
Squash alone will process or cook into a smooth sauce with no need for added liquid or oil.

Cheese is an excellent addition, if your diet includes dairy products.
I topped with feta cheese and Mediterranean herbs.
Adding shredded cheese like parmesean, cheddar or gouda as the sauce cooks would work well too, and also serves as a thickener. You may need to add more liquid or oil if using cheese in the sauce.

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Cook on LOW until desired consistency
I processed my produce into a fine chop, started with a slightly thin sauce, and cooked it down into a thick, creamy, and very flavorful side-dish that took a bit longer than I had originally intended.

To reduce the cooking time, you can mix all your sauce ingredients, and blend until smooth.
Pour sauce into pot with noodles, heat until warm or serve raw.

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

What I made here served a party of 4 adults with some leftovers.

Life is Yum with recipes, nutrition and more from Zu-Zu Lee
Follow Me for original content on The Daily Star!

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Pigs in a Blanket

On a cold January night like this one, it is important to remember that your little piggies could be screaming brr brr brrrrr all night long. Bring them in from the cold, wrap them up good and toasty with Zu-Zu Lee’s recipe for Pigs in a Blanket. A classic childhood favorite done cheap, from scratch–

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Preheat oven to 400°
Bake 20-25 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
season to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter (cubed)
1 cup bacon bits, onions, garlic (optional)
⅔ cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar

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For biscuits, nothing beats buttermilk.
But contrary to what the name may lead you to believe… you cannot just whisk some butter into your milk and presto, butter-milk.

You can, however, whisk some vinegar into your milk.

Buttermilk is acidic, this reacts with the baking soda, releasing air-bubbles in the dough during cooking.
Air rises through the dough, and that’s how breads get fluffy.

For this recipe, we use more common household ingredients:
vinegar for an acid, and regular milk for a liquid.

Measure ⅔ cup milk
Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Let sit for about 5 minutes

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nice crispy bacon, saved some for you Mr. Frodo…

While your buttermilk substitute sets, prepare the bacon.
You will want it crispy for shredding into bits.

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In a mixing bowl, sift together your dry ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Season to taste
If you want to spice up your life a bit, add it here.
I skipped the seasoning step, but these biscuits come loaded with:

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If including this step, finely chop onions, garlic and/or bacon into roughly 1 cup yummy bits.

It was easier for me to shred the bacon by hand and let the puppy lick them clean… whatever works for you.

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Cube 4 tablespoons butter

Toss butter cubes and yummy bits with dry ingredients until coated.
Mash with a pastry tool or potato masher until crumbly.

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Add your buttermilk substitute.
Stir well– it will thicken into a ball of dough.

Let sit for a few minutes to rise.
Clean the dishes. Cue hipster food photoshoot–

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Pat or roll your dough out flat,
cut into rectangular sections.

Roll your pigs up in their blankets with closures tucked underneath.
Pop in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes

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Hot diggity-dogs!

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Pizza Waffles

Listening to: Do You Like Waffles? by Parry Gripp

Zu-Zu Lee on location in this domestic American kitchen with a special edition of the Monday Mun-Cheeze!

We are seeing here the elusive Pizza Waffle in its natural environment. Crikey! What a beauty this is mates:

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Smothered in marinara,
oozing with mozzarella,
peppered with -ronis…
these majestic creatures grace our world for but an instant before embarking on their journey to the great stomach pit of mine.

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For a Daily Star exclusive, this reporter got up close and personal with not one, but TWO– that’s right folks, TWIN Pizza Waffles, in their infancy:

A rare breed, the Snausage & Onion Pizza Waffle packs on twice the weight, an extra cheesy exo-waffleton, and a sense of humor.

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Doot do do do– can’t wait to get a mouth full!

How-To, Recipes, and munch munch more
— coming soon to Life Is Yum

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