Back to School, Back to Recipes

19 Aug

Yesterday was the last day of my Summer II course and I have been busy entering grades and preparing my syllabi for my Fall classes (2 sections of Comp II and 1 Creative Writing Workshop).  I have a week off between semesters, luckily, and this gives me just enough time to (almost) finish my second manuscript, work on an essay for a contest, and, of course, try out new recipes!


I’ve made two new recipes over the past two nights: Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chips (need I say more?) and Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches.


Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chips (from here).




1 box of red velvet cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 cups of mini white chocolate chips




Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


In a mixing bowl, add butter and mix until soft and fluffy. Slowly add cake mix and flour. Once combined, add egg and mix completely. Add white chocolate chunks, and mix for a minute or so until well combined. Form dough into one inch balls, and place into the oven for 8-10 minutes. Yield: 4 1/2 dozen cookies.


Look at all the yummy white chocolate chips!


The result:


Red Velvet goodness!


These were so easy to make and absolutely delicious!  I made them slightly too large, so this increased my cooking time to about 13 minutes in the oven.  One thing to note: this is a very thick dough and we mistakenly used an electric hand mixer and almost burned it up.  I would recommend using a stand-up mixer instead.  Also, the dough is kind of crumbly and it makes it hard to form into balls and you kind of have to piece it together.  Otherwise, this is a divine cookie (“one of the best” my husband said) that I would make again and plan to give in a tin at the holidays to a certain family member who love Red Velvet Just About Anything!


Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches (from here).




3-4 lb. beef round steak (or any type of brisket/beef roast)
1 packet of onion soup mix
1 packet au jus seasoning
1 15oz. can beef stock or broth (I used an organic, low-sodium version)
1/2 cup water
4 slices mozzarella cheese
Sub rolls (from the bakery department is best since it is freshest)




Put beef roast in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine Beef broth, Onion soup mix, Au Jus seasoning and water and stir until combined. Pour mixture over beef, put cover on slow cooker and cook on low for
about 8 hours. An hour before serving, shred meat with two forks or take it out and slice thinly.  Place meat back in the slow cooker for another hour.

Cooking Away in the Crock Pot

When ready to serve, place several slices of beef on roll, add sliced mozzarella cheese and place under the broiler (or use broil option on toaster oven). Watch carefully, broil for just a couple of minutes until cheese is melted and roll is just slightly toasted.
Serve sandwich with a bit of Au Jus from the slow cooker (you may want to strain it first).

Yum on a Plate!

Result: If you’re like me, you love Crock Pot cooking, but you also have an irrational fear of leaving the house with it on in case your home burns down, so you only Crock Pot on days that you are home for extended periods of time, mainly weekends.  That being said, this was a delicious, easy, smells-good all afternoon recipe.  It was slightly on the salty side, so I’m going to play with this recipe to see how I can cut the sodium level further than I already did by replacing the canned broth with the organic, low-sodium version.  This was one amazing sandwich and the recipe makes so much, that there are plenty of leftovers for the next day!  It’s husband-friendly (he’s the meat-and-potatoes kind of guy who eats veggies when I put them in front of him, but if left to his own devices would live on mac & cheese, hamburgers, burritos, and taco bell if I let him) and I’m sure kid-friendly as well.  I would serve this with either a side salad or sweet potato fries.




As I mentioned earlier, I’m gearing up for fall and teaching of 3 classes.  One of the things I love most about fall is buying school supplies (cue the You’ve Got Mail line, “a bouquet of sharpened pencils” here)!  I just stocked up on a few things for fall (EnerGel pens, which I can’t live without, for one) and am in love with See Jane Work, which is an online retailer of adorable, yet sophisticated office supplies for women.  I want someone to send me a bouquet of just about everything they have!  I really love these, this, this, these, and this.


I alway feel a breath of fresh air when fall/a new semester begins and everything — such as syllabi writing — yields such promise (which sometimes goes south the first grading round into the semester, admittedly).  The outfit planning, the pocket-folder labeling, the lesson planning, the office supply-stockpiling, it all culminates to make me feel ready to dive in to a new school year and to a new crop of students who will, yes indeed, test me (and teach me) in ways I’ve never imagined.


One Response to “Back to School, Back to Recipes”

  1. Kamila September 2, 2011 at 11:15 AM #

    I love that old classroom foto, btw! And yes, I love the feeling of coming fall in the air — even now, though the temperatures are still over 100, the light has shifted a bit and you can feel how a new season is coming. And ohmigosh, new school supplies!! I bought Crayola crayons and markers at Walgreen’s the other day just because. 🙂 In Prague, there are these little stationary/supply shops called “papirnictvi,” basically paper shop, and they are these cute little shops full of a variety of school and office supplies. I love them! 🙂 Good luck with the beginning of school and I hope the semester goes well!

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