Habanero White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently, a friend of mine brought me a bag filled with hot peppers.

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Along with a bag was a description of each pepper with the corresponding levels of heat. Habaneros, jalapenos, thai peppers, cayennes, and even “the hottest pepper in the world.” Immediately my head was swarming with recipe ideas of sauces, guacamole, and salsa.

However, I remembered her husband making chocolate chip cookies with the peppers the following year and asked her which peppers he used. As it turns out, habaneros pair well with sweet foods, so they were the natural choice for my cookie.

I did some research and found this recipe to base my cookies off of.  They are sweet with a touch of heat. Plus it’s a clever way to use up some of those hot peppers you may have grown!

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Margarine or Butter, Softened
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Package (6 ounces) White Chocolate Chips
  • 4 – 6 Diced Habanero Peppers (*Note: I used 4)

Start by preheating the oven to 375°. (*Note: I used my convection oven for this. Generally you should bake at 25 degrees lower on convection, so I preheated to 350°.)

With a hand mixer, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, margarine, and egg. Then, mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt. The dough will be stiff and somewhat granulated in consistency.

Next, stir in the chocolate chips and diced habanero until well blended. I decided to go with 4 habaneros to play it on the safe side being this was my first time making the cookies. But in my opinion, the heat could’ve been turned up and I plan to use 5-6 the next time I make these.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop dough about two inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with Silpat. If you are using a regular oven, the original recipe calls for you to bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. However, on the convection oven, I baked for 20 minutes.

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Let cool. I’m really happy with how these cookies came out and will definitely be making another batch soon. Enjoy!!

Homemade Sunday Sauce

Growing up in my family meant pasta every Sunday for family dinner. It is one of those things I didn’t really appreciate as a kid, but now long for it. For generations, the women in my family have made their own Sunday sauce. My mom and husband always jab at me whenever I take the shortcut and buy a jar of sauce from the grocery store. Really though, this sauce recipe is so easy that buying the jar is just plain laziness! Once you’ve tried this sauce and realize how simple it is to make, you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Red Pack Tomato Puree
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh parsely
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and Pepper

Start off by peeling 6 cloves of garlic and then cut them in half. Throw your garlic into a pot with some olive oil. Warm up the garlic and olive oil on the stove. Listen for the “crackle” noise of the garlic and oil. Once you hear this and smell the aroma, turn off the stove and let cool for a few minutes.

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Grab a can of Red Pack Tomato Puree. Mom says, “Red Pack, Red Pack, it’s gotta be Red Pack.”  Pour the can of Red Pack into the pot with a dash of salt, pepper, and some chopped parsley.

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Fill up the can halfway with water. This gets the extra puree off the sides of the can. Pour it into the pot. This water/sauce mixture thins the sauce a bit. Throw in a handful of fresh basil leaves.

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If you don’t have a beat up wooden spoon in your kitchen, I’m doubting your Italian heritage ;).

Let your sauce cook on medium heat until boiling, then lower heat. Continue cooking on low heat for about an hour and a half.

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That’s all! How easy is that?! I like to make a big batch on Sundays and then freeze the leftovers in a mason jar. Makes it so easy to just defrost whenever we need it.

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Serve over pasta, on meatballs, with stromboli, on chicken parmesan, or eggplant rollatini…really the possibilities are endless. For us…it will be baked ziti tonight and stromboli later on in the week!

Zucchini Pie

One of my favorite things to do is learn new Italian recipes from my mom. It’s important to me that I document these recipes to be able to share them with friends and family, currently and in the future. Recently she taught me how to make zucchini pie. Now, I’m not a huge zucchini fan. My husband doesn’t like it at all. Yet, in this pie, it just transforms into something amazing and you forget that you’re eating a healthy vegetable! Trust me, you will enjoy the biscuit like texture of this cheesy zucchini pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 2 zucchini
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3-1/2 cup romano cheese
  • 3 slices swiss cheese
  • 3 slices muenster cheese
  • Ball of fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

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First, peel your zucchini.

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Cut the zucchini into “coins.”

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Chop the fresh mozzarella into small chunks.

With your hands, tear apart the slices of Swiss and muenster cheese.

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Crack your eggs into a bowl and wisk. Add the zucchini slices, mozzarella, muenster, and swiss.

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Now it’s time for the romano. According to mom, the recipe calls for “1 handful” of romano. Old school Italians aren’t ones for measuring! I’m estimating that to be about 1/3-1/2 cup, but she said the more the better!

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Add the oil and Bisquick to the bowl. Sprinkle some pepper and then mix all ingredients thoroughly with your hands.

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Butter a baking dish and pour in the zucchini mixture.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

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Enjoy your zucchini pie!

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We love to eat this as a side dish at an outdoor BBQ, or at anytime of the year as a side to compliment our dinner. If you belong to a CSA, or grow your own zucchini, this is an excellent recipe to use it up!