Smart Cookie Shopping 41: Chocolate Covered Chips, Candy Cane Cookies, & More

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I have the best intentions when I hunt for Smart Cookie Shopping items ahead of time. I always want to make sure I’m ready for our bi-weekly post where we break down the latest food products at the grocery store, so I snag stuff in advance to avoid scrambling to find things the day before. However, I usually wind up absent-mindedly eating half of them before I remember to photograph them, which completely defeats the purpose.

I still managed to put together a tasty round-up for you so you can decide what’s worth adding to your shopping list. There’s a wide spectrum of eats to discuss today, so I’m sure you’ll find something that piques your interest.

1. Mini Candy Cane Oreos - available in the snack aisle
You can’t go wrong with a mint-flavored Oreo, especially when they’re mini. There’s something about that mini size that makes it justifiable to eat more of them.
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2. Tollhouse Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookie Doughavailable in the refrigerated section
This is the first time I’ve seen a pre-made pumpkin cookie dough, and it wasn’t half-bad. It had the typical chewy and soft texture you expect from Tollhouse, but I would say the pumpkin flavor could have been a tad more prominent. I used this dough to make my Pumpkin S’mores Thumbprints.

Photo from Tollhouse: www.verybestbaking.com

Photo from Tollhouse: www.verybestbaking.com

3. Russel Stover Red Velvet Santaavailable in the candy aisle

I don’t always prefer dark chocolate, but I did like it on this candy. Although it was tasty, I couldn’t say there was anything “red velvet” about it.

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4. Candy Cane Tic Tacs - available at the check-out

I can’t remember the last time I bought Tic Tacs. These were just the right amount of sweet and minty. I could empty the container pretty quickly.

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5. Amy’s Italian Vegetable Pizzaavailable in the frozen organic section
I am usually a big Amy’s fan in general, but this pizza fell flat (no pun intended). There was no cheese and little flavor.

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Photo from Amy’s

6. Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread - available near the peanut butter and spreads
I’ve got to ask – how didn’t this happen sooner? This really did taste like a jar-full of Reese’s cups, and I know you’re thinking, “Well, DUH,” but I didn’t expect the flavor and texture to be so spot on.DSC01861

7. Lay’s Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
I had to at least give these a try, but I just don’t think that this is a combo that’s meant to be. They wind up tasting like really salty Kit Kats.

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8. Lindt Hello Bar in Cookies & Cream/Caramel Brownieavailable in the candy aisle
These were 2 for $5, so I had to try both flavors. I love Lindt chocolate, but I do think these could stand more actual filling. The chocolate, as heavenly as it is, was overwhelming, so you hardly notice the filling in either flavor.

DSC01785Which of these products have you tried?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

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There’s something that feels so wrong yet so right about pairing together one baked good with another unbaked one. Frankly, I think it’s great because you get to experience the best of both worlds. Isn’t the hardest part of making cookies refraining from eating all the dough so that you have some to eat after fully baking?

When you make a treat like my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Sugar Cookie Sandwiches, you’ll enjoy both wonderful aspects of baking in a single treat. But to save you the hassle of making two kinds of cookie dough just so that you can keep one raw and bake the other, we use Pillsbury’s Holiday Shape cookie dough as the element we bake. That semi-homemade shortcut makes life easier, but we still go for a homemade cookie dough filling. That dough is completely egg-free and safe to eat.

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All in all, these half-baked treats won’t take you long to put together. They’re indulgent, as all things involving cookie dough should be, making a great change from pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving dessert. It is an especially good option to have on hand for picky eaters who don’t like pumpkin pie; everyone loves cookie dough.

I will say, considering how rich these are, they are still addicting. I dished out a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Sugar Cookie Sandwich to both my boyfriend and I, and when he finished his first one, he solemnly asked, “Do we each only get to eat one?” He was relieved to find out that he was welcomed to have another.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. I also use this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling in my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites.
  2. Definitely keep these chilled in the fridge before serving.
  3. Go for dark or white chocolate chips if you prefer.
  4. Needless to say, you cannot actually bake this safe-to-eat cookie dough. It has no eggs and is meant to be eaten uncooked.

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Pumpkin Cookie Dough Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages Pillsbury Holiday Shape Turkey cookies, baked according to box directions
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp). butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Place butter, both sugars, pumpkin, vanilla, flour, salt and cinnamon in a standing mixer and beat on low until the ingredients start to come together. Scrape down sides and increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute, until evenly combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  2. Spread about 1-2 tbsp. onto the bottom of a cookie in a thick, even layer. Place another cookie on top, pressing together lightly. Continue with remaining cookies until they’re all sandwiched.
  3. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving, or overnight. Store in fridge in an air-tight container.

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Fontina Blush Sauce with Ravioli & Eggplant

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I had a very busy weekend, but what else is new? I had plenty of homework and a speech to write, but I was still determined to find time to relax. No matter how much crap I had to do, I wanted to have one night of cooking and enjoying a nice dinner. If you don’t make time for those kinds of things, you’ll go insane.

So I grabbed some of the fresh ravioli I had in the fridge and whipped up this Fontina Blush Sauce with Ravioli & Eggplant. With fresh ravioli, a velvety Fontina blush sauce, and tender breaded eggplant, it was the best thing I could ask for on a cold night. Plus, I can’t tell you how good it tasted, literally and figuratively, to take a few minutes out of my day to sit down and actually enjoy that meal.

I am obsessed with blush sauces. Whenever they’re an option, I choose it. You don’t have to pick between a cream sauce and a tomato sauce; what could be better than that? The classic blush sauce is usually tomato, basil, cream and maybe some parmesan, but today’s version has a cheesy upgrade with Fontina cheese. It makes this sauce even richer and smoother because it’s such a great melting cheese. That being said, it’s also mild, so it doesn’t take away from the tangy, sweet flavors of the sauce.

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I can guarantee almost any flavor of ravioli would be delightful in here, but I’m indecisive, so I used not one, but two. First, I tried a sweet butternut squash ravioli that made a beautiful union with the savory flavors of the sauce. Then, I used a spicy broccoli rabe ravioli that was also amazing. You really can’t get wrong no matter what you choose.

When you need to treat yourself, remember the power of sitting down for a nice meal. More importantly, shut your laptop and turn off the TV when you sit down for your feast. I spend a lot of meals with my head buried in my computer, and it takes away from the ability to press pause during the day. If you think about it, a meal is such a short portion of your time. Take that moment to immerse yourself in the deliciousness of a dish like this Fontina Blush Ravioli & Eggplant, and let everything else go.

Even if only for 10 minutes.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can also make this with tortellini. Whatever you choose, use the fresh stuff your grocery store sells.
  2. Yes, you can use a different kind of tomato, but I always use San Marazanos because they’re high-quality, sweet and flavorful.
  3. You can find Fontina cheese in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store, which is typically near the deli.
  4. You could make this meal a few hours ahead of time, but I would wait to add the eggplant until you’re about to serve it.
  5. Craving more comforting ravioli goodness? Try my Cheesy Butternut Squash Baked Ravioli & Spinach.

Fontina Blush Sauce with Ravioli & Eggplant
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. frozen breaded eggplant cutlets, cooked according to box directions (I used Wegmans)
  • 18 oz. ravioli (I used Wegman’s Butternut Squash Ravioli & Wegman’s Spicy Rapini Ravioli)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 14-oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes & their juices
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Fontina cheese
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper

Directions:

  1. Chop eggplant into small pieces and set aside.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook ravioli until done to your liking. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring olive oil to medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and saute for two minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth. Add the cream, cheese, salt, and pepper and whisk until completely melted. Fold in the ravioli and eggplant. Serve with more fresh oregano, if desired.

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Pumpkin S’mores Deep Dish Thumbprints

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Some people assume I don’t touch store-bought mixes and doughs because I’m such an avid baker. On contrary, I look at them as blank canvases with them potential to be turned into something really awesome. So when Mother Cookie spotted a package of Tollhouse White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, I scooped it up and vowed to make something special for y’all.

Now, contrary to what Dunkin Donuts is trying to tell you by replacing their pumpkin stuff with holiday flavors, pumpkin season is NOT over, at least not in my mind. I believe the pumpkin window closes for most after Thanksgiving, and for some, after Christmas. So even though I’ve been happily drinking holiday coffees at DD and snagging new editions for my Christmas decoration collection, I will just as happily continue munching on pumpkin treats.

I turned some simple break-and-bake cookie dough into a truly impressive treat that requires little work: Pumpkin S’mores Deep Dish Thumbprints. Why deep dish? Because they’re a bit thicker than you’re typical thumbprint, and that means they have even more filling.

We start with a must-have graham cracker crumb base. Then, we make a little well in the center of the cookie and fill it with delicious milk chocolate. As it bakes, the chocolate melts into the cookie, and we top it off with a fluffy, toasted marshmallow.

I guarantee no one will think for even a second that these are semi-homemade. They’ll instead assume you’re a master pastry chef, which may or may not be a good thing. In one respect, they’ll look upon you as a baking goddess. But in another, they’ll be constantly hounding you to make them more treats.

Such is my life.

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I know we’re all excited for the seasonal treats and decor that come with winter, but let’s all live in the moment for once and enjoy what’s left of fall. Don’t get too ahead of yourself because you’ll miss all the good things (and food) happening now.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you can’t get your hands on the Wegmans chocolate sauce, aim for something thicker and ganache-like. Regular hot fudge sauce probably won’t do the job; it’s too thin.
  2. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can bake the marshmallows in the oven for some color, but be careful. I learned the hard way how flammable they are.
  3. If you’re not a pumpkin fan, just use regular cookie dough.
  4. Let cookies cool completely before you try to take them out of the pan, or you’ll have a mess.

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Pumpkin S’mores Thumbprints
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 package Tollhouse White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookie Dough
  • 1/2 cup Wegmans Milk Chocolate Sauce
  • 24 large marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter until well-combined. Press about 2 tsp. of mixture into the bottom of the muffin tins. Gently place a piece of cookie dough on top in each tin and bake for 15 minutes or until puffed & set.
  3. Immediately remove from oven and use the rounded bottom of a large spoon (I used the handle of an ice cream scoop) to press a crater into the center of each cookie.
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  4. Spoon about 1 tsp. of chocolate sauce into each cookie’s crater. Let cookies cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, spread marshmallows out on a heat-safe pan in an even layer and use a kitchen torch to brown marshmallows to your liking. Always be careful when working with a torch, and watch for flames.
  6. Place a single marshmallow on top of each cookie, using the chocolate as glue. Once cookies are completely cool, use a butter knife to loosen them and remove from pan. Enjoy or store in an air-tight container.

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Breakfast-for-Dinner Double Potato & Broccoli Hash

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When I was a kid, my mom used to make hash for breakfast on the weekends. She always used the canned kind with the corn beef and tiny diced potatoes.

What? I wasn’t always a vegetarian!

When you think “hash,” most of us think of a hearty breakfast dish that’s a conglomerate of eggs, potatoes, and maybe some meat and cheese. But today, I’m going to show you a Breakfast-for-Dinner Double Potato & Broccoli Hash that is better served at suppertime for a meal that’s hearty and hassle-free.

This one-pan dish is perfect for when you need something really comforting and filling after a long day, but you don’t have it in you to make something complicated. It’s loaded with an array of awesome ingredients, including broccoli, spicy pepper jack cheese, two kinds of potatoes (sweet & hash browns), and four eggs nestled in. You’ll notice that line-up is not only delicious, but we’ve got some very substantial stuff. It won’t take much for you to obliterate your hunger.

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And between you and I, this is actually a healthy recipe too. I know that’s hard to believe when you see how mouth-watering it looks, but I swear it’s true. You’ve got vitamins and fiber from the veggies, plus protein from the eggs and cheese.

At the end of a long day, what more can we ask for than a meal that replenishes our spirits, fills us up, and refuels us?

As winter continues to creep in, you’re going to need more warm and hearty meals to make during the week, so make sure you add this Breakfast-For-Dinner Double Potato & Broccoli Hash to your repertoire. I guarantee your family will request it again and again because who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can use pretty much any cheese you like in here if pepper jack isn’t your thing.
  2. If you let the hash browns thaw for a few hours, you don’t have to pre-cook them as long.
  3. If you want to add meat to the equation, try bacon.
  4. Be patient with browning the potatoes. The less stirring, the better.

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Breakfast-For-Dinner Double Potato & Broccoli Hash
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup + 1tbsp. olive oil
  • Half bag Ore-Ida Frozen Hash Browns
  • 1 12-oz. bag Green Giant Broccoli Florets
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese

Directions:

  1. Place sweet potato on a microwave-safe plate lined with paper towels. Poke holes in the top with a fork then microwave on high for 3 minutes. Flip and microwave another 3 minutes.
  2. Cut potato in half lengthwise and remove skins. Dice potato.
  3. Bring a large skillet to medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. oil and the hash browns. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and flip. Add the sweet potatoes and 2 tbsp. more of olive oil, and cook another 15-20 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Fold in the broccoli. Push the potatoes and broccoli to the edges, making a crater in the center and forcing the food into a ring.
  5. Turn heat down to medium-low. Place butter in the center and let melt.
  6. Crack eggs into the hole in the middle. Cover and cook until eggs have just about achieved desired doneness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic.
  7. Break cheese into pieces and place evenly over top. Cover and let melt.
  8. Drizzle with remaining oil. Remove from heat and serve.

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18 Recipes for Cheese Lovers + How to Pair Cheeses

Cheesy Baked Butternut Squash Ravioli Casserole

I’ve been in a long-term relationship with cheese for years because it treats me so well. Everything I cook is always better with a little bit (or a lot) of cheese. Those who have sampled my food know that cheesiness is something I do well. And chances are, whether I’m making dinner or going out to eat, any meal I eat will involve cheese.

I don’t know where the saying, “It ain’t easy being cheesy,” stemmed from because, on the contrary, it’s quite easy to be cheesy, and quite delicious too. It doesn’t take much effort to put cheese on something, but it sure makes it better. Even if that saying is not in the literal sense, it is easy to be cheesy when it comes to humor too.

For example:

  • I feta my cats this morning. They cheddar leave me alone now.
  • I’ve got a bad queso the Monday’s.
  • He needs to Munster up some courage.

Anyway, all I’m really trying to say is, cheese is amazing. Today, I’ve got incredible cheese-loaded recipes complete with some of my favorite cheese collaborations so you can make your own creations.

The key to pairing cheeses is that you want to have a strong, flavorful cheese and a soft melting cheese. Combining strong cheeses could cause some funky flavors, but one flavorful with one or two mild cheeses is always wonderful.

Here are a few combinations to try:

  • Sharp Cheddar + Monterey Jack + Mozzarella = mac & cheese
  • Parmesan + Fontina = pizza topper
  • Muenster + Parmesan + Fontina = grilled cheese; mac & cheese
  • Asiago + Mozzarella = pizza
  • Pepper Jack + Cheddar + Velveeta = queso
  • Gouda + White Cheddar = mac & cheese
  • Feta + Mozzarella = pizza
  • Parmesan + White Cheddar + Monterey Jack = mac & cheese
  • Pepper Jack + White Cheddar + Fontina = mac & cheese; nachos; queso
  • Muenster + Mozzarella + Pecorino Romano = pasta; pizza
  • Sharp Cheddar + Velveeta = mac & cheese
  • Parmesan + Fresh Mozzarella + Romano + Asiago + Fontina = pizza, italian bakes, pasta
  • Fontina + Muenster = fondue
  • Sharp Cheddar + Monetery Jack + Queso Fresco = quesadilla
  • American + Cheddar = burger; grilled cheese
  • Fresh mozzarella + parmesan + ricotta = white pizza
  • Gruyere + parmesan + mozzarella = mac & cheese
  • Provolone + fresh mozzarella + parmesan = eggplant parm; lasagna
  • Sharp cheddar + American + mozzarella = cheese fries
  • Blue + sharp cheddar = Buffalo

Feel free to play with those cheese combinations when you try out some of my cheesy creations.

Here are 18 recipes for all you cheese lovers:

  1. Cheesy Sun-Dried Tomato Garlic Bread
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  2. 3-Cheese Pesto Grilled Cheese with Blush Dipping Sauce
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  3. Loaded Cheese Fries Grilled Cheese
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  4. Mac & Cheese Garlic Bread
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  5. Baked Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese
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  6. 3-Cheese Bacon Party Bread
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  7. Baked Tortellini & Broccoli Alfredo
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  8. Eggplant Parmesan Grilled Cheese
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  9. Jalapeno Popper Party Bread
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  10. Cheesy Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
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  11. Grilled Cheese Bites
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  12. 4-Cheese Stove Top Mac & Cheese
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  13. Vodka Blush Pizza
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  14. 3-Cheese Eggplant Parmigiana
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  15. Guacamole Double Grilled Cheese
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  16. Fried Mac & Cheese
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  17. Party Bread
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  18. Cheesy Baked Butternut Squash Ravioli & Spinach

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What are your favorite cheese-tastic recipes?

Roasted Asparagus & Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Riggies w/ Bacon

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With my busy schedule, quick experimental dinners have become quite commonplace in my recipe development lately. Making a new meal for the blog often means working with whatever on Earth I have on hand. It is actually quite exciting to see what I can come up with.

When I texted my boyfriend to ask what he was in the mood for, and he requested asparagus of all things, I was all for that since I had a bag in the freezer.

Or so I thought.

I went to start dinner, and there was no asparagus to be found, but I already had crafted the perfect recipe in my mind earlier: Roasted Asparagus & Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Riggies with Bacon. There was no way I could let go of that, so we wound up having to go pick up asparagus.

Was it worth it? Yes, sir! This sauce was so incredibly thick, creamy and dimensional, but it was quick and easy too. You’ll see the ingredient list is short. And if I can whip it up at 10 o’ clock at night without wanting to rip my hair out, then it must be doable.

You can turn pretty much anything into a pesto, which this sauce proves to be true. I was surprised to see how creamy the asparagus actually makes this. I will remember that when selecting sauce ingredients for future recipes. Plus, the strong flavor of the asparagus paired well with that sweet sun-dried tomato garlic. I added a little kick too for good measure.

As for the bacon, that’s optional, but hard to pass up. Even as a vegetarian, I was a little jealous of my boyfriend who got to eat the bacon-ified version. But the cheese is not optional. Cheese is never optional. Put that stuff in there.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Roasting the asparagus might seem unnecessary, but it adds loads of great flavor and sweetness you won’t get otherwise.
  2. Feel free to choose whatever pasta shape you prefer.
  3. This sauce would be great served cold like a pasta salad.
  4. For a meat-free substitute, try chickpeas.
  5. For more easy pasta awesomeness, give my Roasted Red Pepper, Eggplant & Mozzarella Pasta Skillet a try.

Roasted Asparagus & Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Riggies with Bacon
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-oz. bag Birds Eye Steam Fresh Asparagus
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 16 oz. rigatoni
  • 4 – 5 strips of bacon
  • 3 tbsp. sun-dried tomato garlic
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. + ¼ cup olive oil, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.
  2. Cook asparagus according to package directions. Lay asparagus in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake 20-25 minutes or under sizzling and golden. Let cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, boil pasta according to box directions. Drain.
  4. Line a microwave-safe plate with paper towels. Cook bacon until desired doneness. Chop into small pieces.
  5. Place asparagus in a food processor with sun-dried tomato garlic, cheese, and pepper flakes. Pulse until pureed. Stream in remaining oil while processing and continue until smooth.
  6. Fold pasta, bacon, and sauce together until well-combined. Enjoy.

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The Weekender: Movember & More Wedding Pics

Pepper, Hashbrown, Bacon, Egg Wafflewich

Right now, I’m hanging out in a hotel in West Chester, PA. My boyfriend went for Les Mills BodyPump certification this weekend, so I’m here for support on this little road trip. I got to trek through where I used to live in Allentown on my way here, which was fun. Are any of y’all from this area?

Before I get too deep into recapping the weekend, let’s take a look back at what we ate throughout the week.

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Candy Cane Cookie & Brownie Chocolate Mousse
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  2. Smart Cookie Shopping 40: My 900th Post
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  3. Hash Brown, Pepper,  Egg & Bacon Wafflewich
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  4. Black Bean Taco Poppers
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I also go some great eats when I went to Carmella’s Café in New Hartford. It was late at night when I was looking to chow down, and the place is open until 2 a.m. with buy-one-get-appetizers, so I couldn’t turn that down. I enjoyed a smorgasbord of fried delight from fantastic cheese fries to a mini pizza and not-so-mini onion rings. Yum!

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Speaking of yum, look at this tantalizing array of cookies at Wegmans’ bakery. This is why I love that place. They’ve got the cutest seasonal décor on those cookies, including turkeys and pilgrims.

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November isn’t just about Thanksgiving though; it’s also Movember! I’m celebrating with this adorable mustached owl on my door. He was on sale at Hobby Lobby. Don’t worry; that’s not a permanent addition to my face that you see.

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Perhaps to help get that image out of your head, you’d prefer to see a more gussied up version of me. The wedding photos are finally coming in, and The Smart Cookie Family cleans up pretty well, don’t you think?

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Just look at Mother Cookie! She doesn’t believe me when I tell her she’s gorgeous, so maybe y’all should tell her instead.

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More holiday recipes are going to be coming your way this week. Are you ready?

You can get the first look at all kinds of treats and behind-the-scene peeks by following me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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See you on Monday!

 

Candy Cane Cookie & Brownie Chocolate Mousse Dip

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Do you know what this Candy Cane Cookie & Brownie Chocolate Mousse Dip is? It’s the first holiday recipe of the season on Smart Cookie! Not a bad follow-up from my 900th post yesterday, eh?

I was originally planning to make this dip as a non-holiday related dessert, but when I stumbled upon those awesome Double Stuffed Candy Cane Chocolate Sandwich Cookies at Wegmans, I knew that was the perfect little Smart Cookie twist to this dish. I continue to be grateful for Wegmans’ existence.

With crushed minty chocolate sandwich cookies, fudgy brownie, and a whole can of fudge sauce mixed in, you’d think this dip would be ultra-indulgent. On the contrary, it wound up being wonderfully light thanks to the airy mousse base and its chilled temperature. Even Mother Cookie, the queen of saying things are too sweet, said that this dip was just right.

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Plus, what’s more fun than the versatility of being able to dunk all kinds of good things into this chocolate cloud? I offered my taste testers Nilla wafers and fresh strawberries, but you could use sugar cookies, brownie bites, pretzels, and more.

Although the recipe yields a big bowl of dip, my co-workers put an impressive dent in it. One of my co-workers explained that having this tower of sweet bliss out in the open was like having an open bar at an AA meeting. Oh well. We know we have a problem here; we’re just not looking to fix it.

How could anyone resist such a delightful dip where every bite has a different ratio of cookie-to-brownie-to-filling? It’s like each one is a surprise, a game you can’t lose. This would be a beloved edition to any holiday party, or if you just need to lift your co-workers’ spirits on a Thursday. It took me less than 20 minutes to whip up, which means I had it done in time to take it to the office this morning. That’s what I call convenient.

And delicious.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you don’t have a Wegmans, you can use the Oreo brand peppermint cookies.
  2. Make sure your cream is good and chilled before whipping it.
  3. If you don’t like mint, you can use regular flavor chocolate sandwich cookies.
  4. Crushed candy canes would make a pretty topping.
  5. Serve the filling itself in parfait dishes for individual desserts.

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Candy Cane Cookie & Brownie Chocolate Mousse Dip
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 cup fudge sauce
  • Half a 3.4-oz. package Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (doesn’t need to be exact, so don’t sweat it)
  • 2/3 cup crumbled Wegmans Candy Cane W O’s (or use the Oreo equivalent), from about 16 cookies
  • 2/3 cup crumbled brownies
  • Nilla wafers, strawberries, sugar cookies, or whatever you’d like to dip with

Directions:

  1. Place cream and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat on high with a hand mixer until it starts to thicken. Add the fudge sauce and pudding mix and continue to beat until whipped and fluffy.
  2. Fold in cookie and brownie crumbled until evenly distributed. Serve with whatever dippers you like and store in fridge in an air-tight container.

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Smart Cookie Shopping 40: Wegmans Finds & My 900th Post

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Do you know what today marks? My 900th post! That’s a whole lot of culinary goodness we’ve shared together. Whether you’re just joining in recently or you’ve been along for the entire delicious ride, I’m glad to have you here.

I figured there was no better way for us to celebrate than with a shopping trip! In the last year or so, I introduced Smart Cookie Shopping to y’all, the bi-weekly post where we check out what’s new and worth buying in the grocery store. So today, in honor of my 900th post, I’m bringing a special edition: we’re going to Wegmans!

If you’re unfamiliar with Weggies, it’s the best grocery store in America. Sorry to my Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods fans, but once you go to a Weggies, you’ll understand. They’re massive, stocked with every amazing food you can think of (and many you can’t), and strolling through is like taking a short walk through heaven for a foodie.

Come take a trip with me today and see what the fuss is about in this special edition of Smart Cookie Shopping.

1. French Macaronsavailable in the patisserie/bakery aisle

I had to grab these because I’ve yet to try French macarons, and because I knew that, if they were good, then Wegmans’ version would be one of the best examples I could start with. I was right. They were light and crisp outside with a bit of chewiness inside, and there was a deep nutty flavor from the almonds used in their base. I could all six in one sitting.
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2. Garden Veggie Burgersavailable in the ready-to-cook veggie case, near the produce

Fresh ingredients, great flavor, and healthy nutrition stats – what more could you ask for? This beats a frozen burger any day.DSC01315

3. Éclairavailable in the patisserie/bakery aisle

Look at the size of this thing! I could beat somebody with it! But instead, I ate it. I adore eclairs, and Wegmans didn’t let me down. The pastry was light, the creamy was smooth, and the frosting was good enough to sleep in like a blanket. That made sense to me in my head… 20141104_205720-2

4. Wegmans Roasted Garlic Hummusavailable in the refrigerated section

For any hummus lover, this big tub of garlicky, velvety goodness is a must-buy.DSC01298

5. Wegmans Eggplant Lasagnaavailable in the frozen section

I have not gotten the opportunity to dig in yet, but I did try Wegmans Eggplant Rollantini, so I’m expecting this will be equally wonderful. Wegmans makes good-quality breaded eggplant, and I’m a little upset I didn’t think to put it in a lasagna on my own. DSC01330

6. Wegmans Holiday Sugar Cookiesavailable in the patisserie/bakery section

I had a bit of a panic attack when I first arrived in the bakery aisle because I didn’t know they moved things around, and I thought my favorite cookies on Earth were gone. You’ve got to try these. They’re simple, but just divine. That frosting will make you believe in heaven on Earth.

DSC01283 7. Wegmans Candy Cane Double Stuffed Chocolate Sandwich Cookiesavailable in the cookie aisle

These are Weggie’s version of Oreos, and I was surprised by how well they stacked up. The level of mintiness in the filling is just right.DSC01290

8. Wegman’s Milk Chocolate and Caramel Saucesavailable near the peanut butter and spreads

These will put all other chocolate and caramel sauces you’ve tried to shame. I stock up on these whenever I make a Weggies trip so that I can use them in my recipes.DSC01321

9. Wegmans Mini White Cheddar Pierogiesavailable in the frozen section

I buy Weggies pierogies every single time I go because they are pretty darn good for store-bought. No frozen ‘rogi will ever compare to my Polish grandmother’s, but these are undeniably awesome regardless. I am particularly excited to see this new adorable mini variety. DSC01324

10. Wegmans Mac and Cheese Ravioliavailable in the freezer section

Whether you’re a child or an adult, this is one of the greatest inventions of our time. They’re delicious, versatile, and they sell them in a Club Pack, for god’s sake! DSC01332

11. Wegmans Butternut Squash Ravioliavailable in the refrigerated section near the other fresh pastas

These are made fresh and feature a touch of sweetness. I was intrigued by the unique ingredient of crushed amaretti biscuits in the filling.

12. Wegmans Spicy Rapini Ravioli - available in the refrigerated section near the other fresh pastas

I don’t know what “rapini” means, but these ravioli are stuffed with cheese and chili peppers. Sounds like a spicy good treat to me! DSC01305

13. Wegmans Tomato Basil with Orzo Soupavailable in the prepared food section

I love the fresh soups Weggies makes because they’re not canned and preserved; they’re made fresh with quality-ingredients, and they’re pretty darn good for you too. You can’t go wrong with any of their plethora of flavors.

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Thanks for being with me for 900 awesome posts. Here’s to 900 more!