Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

I don’t know what happened this week, but I have not been eating well. Ok, I should also include last week in that statement, but hey, you get to eat a little bad on your birthday, right?!! Unless I want to try and argue that this is my birthday month, then there is no excuse for making these cookies. I just thought it sounded like a great idea! As I was perusing the peanut butter and cereal aisle last month, I spotted this:

I’ve professed my love for chocolate and peanut butter many times already on this blog so I probably don’t need to do it again. Upon seeing this, I HAD to have it!! This peanut butter is pretty good, almost like Nutella, but with regular peanuts and not as much of a chocolate taste. I like making peanut butter cookies, so I decided this chocolately peanut butter would be GREAT in a cookie. And I was right! They didn’t come out as pretty as I had hoped they would, but Husband said he wants me to make these more often! I used my best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base for these!

By the way, I’m so excited that I am going to be having my first GIVEAWAY tomorrow! I hope you will all come back so you can enter to win!!!

Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies


– 3 cups oat flour (or 2 1/4 cup white flour)

– 1 tsp. baking soda

– 1 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter

– 1 cup packed brown sugar

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 2 sticks of butter at room temperature

– 2 eggs at room temperature

– 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Combine oat flour and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter together. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Slowly add in flour until all of it is well-combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for approximately 10 minutes (of put in the freezer for about 5 mins.) (This will make your cookies come out a little thicker and chewier so if you don’t like that, then skip that step!).

3. Drop spoonfuls of chilled batter onto the baking sheet (I like to use an ice cream scoop to do this!). Make sure each cookie is about 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

– I was not asked, nor did I receive any compensation from the Peanut Butter & Co. for this post. I just really like their peanut butter!
– Can’t find this peanut butter in your store? No problem! Use regular peanut butter and add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder!

Chicken Farfalle with Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce

Happy Friday everyone!! I’m so glad it’s the weekend! Tomorrow is my birthday and I am looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend with my family and friends! If you’ve read my blog, then you’ve probably heard that I hate going to the grocery store. Husband and I like to go once a week on the weekends and get everything we need for the next week so we don’t have to go back until the following weekend. This usually means that we have to have our meals planned out for the week which sometimes works out really well, and sometimes it doesn’t! This week is a good example of it not working so well. On Tuesday, I decided to just grill up some chicken. Yeah, it burned! The coating on my grill pan must have completely worn off because in just 5 minutes, our chicken was black! Husband was so sweet. He said it wasn’t too bad and ate some of it. I couldn’t bare the sight of it. He had to go and buy us dinner. Oh, and did I mention I have been sick all week? Yup. I have a lovely sinus infection so Wednesday’s dinner was homemade chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese.

Then this morning I realized that we had no meal planned for Thursday night. To the fridge and pantry I went to see what I could come up with. We had lots of chicken, bacon, asparagus, and pasta. DONE! I decided to try my hand at making a low-fat alfredo sauce. My husband loves chicken alfredo. I think it’s okay, but what I don’t like about it is how fattening it is! I made my own low-fat alfredo sauce using skim milk. The other thing I don’t really like about traditional alfredo is that it doesn’t have a lot of flavor to me, so I also added some white wine and lemon juice. We loved this dinner! Husband said I knocked it out of the park so it’s a definite meal that I will make again soon! This dish is great because you can toss in whatever you happen to have on hand. Any type of pasta, meat/fish, or veggies would be good!

Chicken Farfalle with Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce

Serves 4


– 4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced into bite-size pieces

– 1 lb. farfalle pasta

– 1 1/2 tbs. butter

– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

– 1 1/2 cups, skim milk

– 1 tsp. garlic powder

– 1/3 cup white wine

– 1 lemon, juiced

– 1 tsp. salt

– 1/2 tsp. black pepper

– Parmesan cheese


1. Cook chicken breasts (I sauteed mine with a little olive oil and salt and pepper) and set aside. Cook pasta while cooking the chicken and set aside.

2. In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour and stir in with butter, cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk, salt and pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice, and wine. Bring to a boil, constantly whisking. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Sauce should thicken.

3. In a large saute pan, add pasta, chicken, and any other desired additions. Heat pan on medium heat. Add alfredo sauce and toss with pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper (if needed) and serve!

Notes: This recipe made more sauce than I really needed, but I liked having extra. This way, you can add as much sauce as you prefer!

Pumpkin Pizzelle Cookies

Being Italian, registering for wedding gifts was a lot of fun because I had list of items I needed to make my family recipes. The item I was most excited about was of course, a pasta maker. But, another item I knew I had to have was a pizzelle press. If you have never heard of these cookies before, they are basically Italian waffle cookies. My grandma makes pizzelle cookies every holiday and they are so simple, but they are truly one of my favorite cookies! Now that my pizzelle press has been sitting in the closet for well over a year still in the box, I decided it was finally time to bust it out! My husband requested some traditional pizzelle cookies (a recipe I will post soon!), but I had another idea in mind, how about PUMPKIN pizzelle?! I was going to try to wait for fall to “officially” start before posting pumpkin recipes, but I am not a patient person, so here is the first of many pumpkin recipes I plan to post this fall!

I thought these cookies were pretty good, but they were a different texture than traditional pizzelle cookies. They were a little thicker because of the pumpkin I believe and seemed to require a little more cook time on the press, so they came out crunchier than the traditional variety, but this was all fine by me!

Pumpkin Pizzelle

Adapted from VillaWare

Makes approximately 40 pizzelle


– 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

– 3 eggs, room temperature

– 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

– 3/4 cup granulated sugar

– 2 tsp. baking powder

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 tsp. anise extract (optional)

– 1/3 cup canned pumpkin

– 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice


* You will need a pizzelle press to make these cookies (see link below)

1. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar and add in the pumpkin puree. Add vanilla, butter, pumpkin spice, and anise. Add the flour slowly to the egg mixture. Your batter should be thick, but not so thick that you can’t drop it by a spoonful.

2. Heat pizzelle press according to it’s instructions (most likely set to medium heat). Drop batter by 2 heaping teaspoonfuls onto each mold of your pizzelle press. Bake until pizzelle turn a light golden brown color. If you want your cookies to be softer, cook them for less time. If you want them crispier, then cook for a little longer. I found that these pumpkin pizzelle needed to be cooked a little longer than traditional pizzelle. When finished, gently remove pizzelle using a spatula. Place to cool and harden on wax paper.

Notes: I use this pizzelle press, but there are so many out there!

Homemade Manicotti

Homemade manicotti is one of the first Italian dishes that I learned how to make. At the time, it was a challenging dish to make. Well, making the shells was challenging anyway. I remember always having to throw away first few I would make. Nowadays though, I can turn out manicotti shells like it’s nobody’s business! In my family, manicotti is typically reserved for holidays and special occasions. But, with yesterday being 9/11, I wanted to make something special that reminded me of the people I love and of course, to share this recipe with all of you! Of all of my family recipes, this is the one I have really wanted to share! This recipe is so special to me because it always reminds me of good times around the table with my family and friends. 

Homemade Manicotti

Serves 4-6

Ingredients for the shells:

– 2 eggs

– 1 1/2 cups milk

– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– butter


1. In a bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add flour and mix. Batter will resemble a pancake batter that is thin enough to be poured into a pan. If your batter seems thick, add more milk. If it seems thin, add flour. It is okay if your batter has some lumps from the flour. Set aside.

2. With a non-stick pan that is approximately 6-7 inches in diameter, heat pan on medium heat. When pan is heated, add a small pat of butter. Use a heat resistant brush to spread butter evenly around the pan.

3. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the heated and buttered pan. Pick up the pan and swirl the batter around the pan so that it covers the base of the pan. You have to move quickly with this step! This can be a little tricky. You have to get the batter spread all around the pan before it starts really cooking. As you continue to cook each shell, you may find that your pan is getting too hot. If this is the case, remove pan from heat and wipe with a damp cloth in between each shell. You can also try to lower the heat.

Cook the shell for approximately 2 minutes and then using a fork, turn the shell over and cook it on the other side. Once the shell turns a light golden brown on each side, it is done! Remove the shell from the pan and put it onto some wax paper to cool. Now you are ready to start the next shell!

Here is what a finished shell looks like!!

The great thing about the shells is that you can make them ahead of time! If you make them more than a day ahead of time, I recommend freezing them. Make sure the shells are completely cooled before freezing. Place a piece of wax paper in between each shell and freeze! Whether you freeze or refrigerate the shells, make sure that they are at room temperature or slightly warmed before you try to roll them with the cheese. If you try to roll a cold shell, it WILL crack! This recipe should make you about 12 shells. Ok, now that you have your shells, you are ready to get rolling and make your manicotti!

Ingredients for the filling:

– 1 lb. ricotta cheese

– 2-3 handfuls of romano cheese

– 1/2 lb. mozarella cheese

– 2 eggs

– salt and pepper

– handful of finely chopped parsley/span>


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cheeses. Fold in eggs. Add in about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Mix in parsley.

2. In a baking dish, coat the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. I made my favorite tomato sauce (you can also make your sauce ahead of time!). One shell at at time, add about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture in the middle of the shell. Then wrap the shell. Put the filled shells into the baking dish seam side down. Once you are done, top the shells with more sauce and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese!

3. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving! Then, Manga!!

All done!

Nom, Nom, Nom!!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I’m not sure what it is this week, but I am just totally exhausted! And it is a short week! Is it bad that I am already wishing it was Friday?! I need to sleep in!!

Anyway, onto the food. I love goat cheese. Seriously, I could eat it every day. With crackers, on bread, on pasta, in a house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox, or in this case, stuffed into some chicken breasts with some lemony spinach goodness!!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Serves 2


– 2 chicken breasts

– 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

– 1 cup spinach

– 2 garlic cloves, minced

– 1 lemon, zested and juiced

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– 1/2 cup chicken broth

– 1/4 cup white wine

– salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook approximately 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted. Put spinach in a small bowl. Zest lemon into bowl. Add goat cheese and combine ingredients.

2. Clean and trim chicken breasts. Slice each chicken breast almost in half (but do not cut all the way through). Drizzle a little olive oil into each the pocket (about half a tsp. for each breast) of each breast and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide cheese mixture evenly between both breasts. Secure breast with toothpick(s). Sprinkle some additional salt and pepper on top.

3. In a pan, heat remaining olive oil, add chicken breasts. Cook on each side approximately 3 minutes until chicken begins to brown. In a small (I used a 9 x9) baking dish, add browned chicken breasts. Pour broth, wine, and the juice of one lemon evenly around the dish. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 15 (remove foil the last 5 minutes) or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Remove toothpicks, drizzle with sauce from the baking dish, and serve!

Pasta Fagioli

You may be thinking that Pasta Fagioli is an odd recipe to post on Labor Day. And you’re right, this soup does not scream Labor Day at all! Don’t worry, we’ll be having Southwest Burgers for dinner tonight. We spent the weekend in Orlando visiting my family and were planning to stay until this evening, but after hearing that some bad weather from Tropical Storm Lee was headed to Tallahassee today, we decided to come back a day early. So we made the 4-hour drive. Of course, when we got back into town, it was already pouring. But alas, we had no food in the house and made the dreaded trip to the grocery store. I hate going to the grocery store. I know, I know, how can a foodie hate going to the grocery store?! I just hate it, I wish I could just pay someone to go for me and could just have it all delivered to my house like a 95 year-old woman…So yeah, going to the store and in the pouring rain was the last thing I wanted to do last night! After having the discussion with the hubs about what to have for dinner, I decided it was definitely a soup kind of night.

Pasta Fagioli, or Pasta e Fagioli means pasta and beans in Italian. I have been eating this soup since I was a little girl and it’s one of my favorites! I’ve had a lot of different versions of Pasta Fagioli, some with meat, some spicy, but my favorite one is the recipe my Mom and Grandma use (duh!)! If you want to kick this up a notch, add some crushed red pepper!

Pasta Fagioli

Serves 4-6


– 1 cup diced celery

– 3/4 cup sliced, grated, or diced carrots

– 2 garlic cloves, minced

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– 1 can cannellini beans, drain half the liquid

– 4 14-ounce cans chicken broth

– 1 can petite-diced tomatoes

– 1/2-3/4 lb. ditalini pasta (depending on how much pasta you like in your soups!)

– salt and pepper to taste

– Parmesan cheese


1. In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook for approximately 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes (including the liquid). Allow mixture to simmer and for tomato liquid to cook down a bit, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer, lower heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. In a separate pot, cook pasta. Allow pasta to be slightly al dente as it will continue to cook more when added to soup.

3. Discard about half the liquid from the beans and then pour the remaining liquid and beans to soup. Add additional salt and pepper if needed. Add pasta to soup. Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!