Alice's Sugar Cookies

When I was young, I would go to my grandparent's to stay for a few weeks in the summer.  My grandma was an incredible cook, as were all of her sisters.  During my stay, we always went here and there for coffee and visits with people.  Where ever we wound up for a visit, usually had some sort of treat on the table.  You can't serve coffee alone - did you know that?!  At least you can't around these parts.  We went to my grandma's sister's house quite often - Alice always had the yummiest cookies (they ranked right up there with my grandma's).  These sugar cookies happened to be one of my favorites - I remember sneaking as many as I could off the plate because she would always fill the plate back up for us! :)  These literally melt in your mouth and will bring you right back to grandma's house!


Alice's Sugar Cookies

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Shortening
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Cream of Tarter
2 Cups Flour (may need more depending on stickiness of dough)
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With mixer, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar until good and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat well.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until well combined.  Roll dough into 1" balls and roll in white sugar.  Place on pan and gently flatten with fork, bottom of a glass, meat tenderizer, or whatever you can find.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are starting brown.  Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then finish cooling on rack.


Tuscan Garlic Chicken

I decided I need to get over here this morning and give you all some food love.  :)  Sorry things have been so quiet - I am currently expecting our third child and have been slacking in the kitchen.  My poor family is probably tired of seeing the same 'ol, same 'ol every week.

This adapted recipe is another no-fail from MKC's I made a few weeks ago for a lovely group of ladies.  As usual, the dish did not disappoint - we were all left wanting to lick our plates! :)  Also, this is supposedly a knock-off Olive Garden dish.  I have never had it there so I can't confirm, but the ladies who devoured it said this recipe actually outdid Olive Garden's version.  :)


Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Note: I butterflied my chicken breasts for a thinner cut - seems like they all come ridiculously thick these days.  (Sorry you can't see the actual chicken on my picture above, I really liked the sauce when I plated it up apparently).

3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Tbsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
1/2 Tsp Dried Basil
1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
7 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 Tbsp Garlic, finely minced (about 5-8 cloves)
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Cup Chicken Broth (low sodium)
6 oz Fresh Spinach
1 Cup Heavy Cream
4 Tsp Cornstarch
2 Cup Milk
2 Cups Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
1 lb Fettuccine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated (cover them with the flour then press).

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through (they’ll finish up in the oven). Don’t scoot the chicken around once you lay it in the hot oil - you want to sear the crust on the chicken. If you try flipping too early and/or moving the chicken around the pan, the breading is likely to fall off. Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.

While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente.

Wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in two tablespoons flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with about half of the cheese sauce (you'll probably have more than enough). Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

Serves approximately 4-6 depending on how you do your chicken breasts.