BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES

I set out to make Cherry Chocolate Chip cookies but discovered a cache of dried blueberries in my pantry–temptation. Yes, I bypassed the dried cherries, which turned out to be a good move. Another good move was cutting back on the flour so I could toss in a bit of oatmeal (love oatmeal cookies). The result: one of those rare cookies that tastes terrific hot, warm, or cold. To wit, had I not foreseen their popularity and stashed half in the fridge for lunches this week, there might not be any left. Score!

3/4  cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1-1/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole dried blueberries

3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2) In large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy; on medium-low speed, add eggs, milk, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt; mix until combined

3) On low speed, add oats; gradually add flour and mix until just combined

4) Stir blueberries and chocolate chips into cookie dough

5) Drop cookie dough by overly generous tablespoonfuls onto non-stick cookie sheet; bake 14-16 minutes until cookies begin to go gold; remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets; transfer to wire racks; enjoy hot, warm, or cold

Makes: 36 palm-sized cookies (that would be my girlie palm, not senior’s)

FRENCH ONION AND BLACK PEPPER STEAK

Our family has been in a bit of a steak-feeding frenzy since it’s my guys’ favorite and our grocery stores have been rather generous. Shoot, it doesn’t seem that long ago $7.99 a pound made me cringe. Now it’s a great deal. Hmm. Anyway, I toted steak home again, but this time with a different end in mind. What, I wondered, would steak taste like smothered in french onion soup? I found out–yum and yum again!

STEAK:

1-3/4 lb steak (whichever quality steak is on sale–in our case, top sirloin), about 1″ thick

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tsp ground black pepper, divided

2 tsp sea salt, divided

FRENCH ONION SMOTHER:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, quartered and sliced thin (I used a white onion)

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine (I used semi-sweet)

1/4 tsp dry thyme

1 cup croutons (I used Texas Toast brand)

4 slices provolone

1) Crank up grill

2) Rub 1 tbsp olive oil into one side of steak, followed by 1 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp sea salt; flip and repeat on opposite side; set aside

3) In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil; add onions and saute 15 minutes until they soften up and begin to caramelize; stir in beef broth, red wine, and thyme; reduce heat to low and cook additional 15 minutes (or roughly equivalent to the length of time it takes to grill your steak–coming up next), stirring occasionally

4) Meanwhile, preheat oven to broil and toss the steak on the grill (for medium, we grilled 7-8 minutes each side); when meat is cooked to your taste, transfer from grill to oven-safe skillet

5) Add croutons to onion mixture and immediately pour over steak in skillet; top with provolone; place in oven and broil 1-2 minutes until cheese melts and begins to go gold; remove from oven, slice into individual portions and enjoy!

Servings: 4

PERFECTING KATE ~ NOW AVAILABLE!

PERFECTING KATE: A Head Over Heels Inspirational Romance  ~ Please welcome Kate Meadows and Dr. Clive Alexander back to my fictional family (they’ve been out of circulation a while).

KATE’S CREED: Thou shalt embrace singledom and be unbelievably, inconceivably happy. Yeah, right.

Kate Meadows, a successful San Francisco artist, is this close to giving up on finding a nice, solid man with whom to spend her life. So when not one, but two eligible bachelors enter her orbit in rapid succession, it seems too good to be true. And it may be.

Michael Palmier, a nationally-known makeup artist, is actually flirting with Kate, rather than her physically flawless housemate. Trouble is, he seems more intent on doling out the business cards of beauty professionals and plastic surgeons than discovering Kate’s inner beauty. Is he trying to stamp out every last bit of self-esteem she has?

As for Clive Alexander, the good doctor sends Kate’s pulse skittering every time he’s near. Too bad the man is only interested in her work—and doesn’t think she’s much to look at. It’s enough to send a girl running for her paint-splattered, relaxed-fit jeans and swearing off men altogether. But after undergoing a makeover from Michael’s staff, Kate suddenly finds herself the recipient of admiring glances. Maybe she should try contacts, consider some fancy dental work, and—you know—that mole really could stand to go.

The question is, what kind of work will Kate do on herself? And who is she really trying to please?

To read an excerpt, visit: www.tamaraleigh.com

To purchase, visit: Amazon.com, iBooks Store, Kobo, Barnes & Noble

USA TODAY’S HEA Recommends ~ BARON OF GODSMERE: Book One (The Feud)

Serena at USA TODAY’S HEA recommends Tamara Leigh’s BARON OF GODSMERE and books by Jody Hedlund and Dina Sleiman as “Medieval Romance Recs.” In lovely company 🙂

THE FEUD ~ England, 1308. Three noblemen secretly gather to ally against their treacherous lord. But though each is elevated to a baron in his own right and given a portion of his lord’s lands, jealousy and reprisals lead to a twenty-five year feud, pitting family against family, passing father to son.

THE DECREE ~ England, 1333. The chink in Baron Boursier’s armor is his fondness for a lovely face. When it costs him half his sight and brands him as one who abuses women, he vows to never again be “blinded” by beauty. Thus, given the choice between forfeiting his lands and wedding one of his enemies to end their feud, he chooses as his betrothed the lady said to be plain of face, rejecting the lady rumored to be most fair.

THE ENEMY ~ On the eve of the deadline to honor the king’s decree of marriage, the fair Elianor of Emberly takes matters into her own hands. Determined none will suffer marriage to the man better known as The Boursier, she sets in motion her plan to imprison him long enough to ensure his barony is forfeited. But when all goes awry and her wrathful enemy compels her to wed him to save his lands, she discovers he is either much changed or much maligned. And the real enemy is one who lurks in their midst. One bent on keeping the feud burning.

NOTE: BARON OF GODSMERE is a romance wrapped in an inspirational message true to the time period often referred to as “The Age of Faith.” Due to an integral part of the plot—that of a woman whose past causes her to fear even a husband’s intimacy—it is not tied up with a bow too sweetly pretty to untie. Hence, due to the hero’s efforts to court his lady, this romance is more a “Clean Read” than an “Inspirational Read.”

To read an excerpt or purchase for $4.99 visit Amazon.

WONTON TURKEY MEATBALL CUPS

Yes, I’m at it again–making food cups out of wontons. This time those crispy critters hold meatballs. My guys liked the ones made with meatloaf, but it was the meatball version that had them urging me to pleeease make this again. Easy and very very tasty!

36 turkey meatballs, thawed (I used Armour brand, fully cooked)

spray olive oil

36 wonton wrappers

3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese

3/4 cup white cheddar cheese

1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (I used Gia Russa brand cherry tomato)

1 green onion, sliced thin on the diagonal

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Spray olive oil in each cup of a 12-cup muffin pan; assemble 12 wonton cups as follows: layer 3 wonton wrappers in each muffin cup; lightly spray wrappers with olive oil

3) Layer each meatball cup as follows, evenly dividing ingredients: sharp cheddar cheese, meatballs (3 to a cup); bake 8-10 minutes until wontons begin to blister and turn golden; remove from oven

4) Evenly dividing spaghetti sauce, spoon over and around meatballs; sprinkle tops with white cheddar cheese and green onions; return to oven and bake 3 minutes until cheese melts; remove from oven and serve

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions or 12 appetizers

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe, meaning it was previously featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog–the one that disappeared into a black hole a while back (which is the reason WordPress and I met up).