Meaty Lasagna with Eggplant Noodles

Eggplant “faux” lasagna is another meal idea which I have seen referenced several times in the 4-HB circles.  So, again, I had to give this one a shot! This turned out really tasty (and hardy!).  I have to be honest – the active cook time is a bit longer than most of my other recipes on here; but sometimes it’s that extra work and time that makes the flavor simmer right on up to its tastiest potential! I guarantee there are a number of ways to cut down on the meat/tomato sauce time, if you so desire.  But overall, I am pleased with the concept; and am thrilled with how well eggplant worked in this scenario as a substitute for lasagna noodles.  Furthermore, I always dig having leftovers in the fridge for any lazy mealtimes the remainder of the week!

Ingredients:

For the “noodles”:
2 large eggplants
Olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1.5 lb ground beef (can be substituted with ground turkey, sirloin, etc.)
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
1 28-oz can, diced tomatoes
1 6-oz can, tomato paste
1 8-oz can, tomato sauce
1/3 cup, water
1.5 tsp, Italian seasoning
2 tsp, dried basil
1 tsp, garlic powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup, baby spinach leaves
1 tsp, red pepper flakes (optional)

For the “cheesy” layer”:
1.5 cups cottage cheese (I used 1.5% milkfat)
1 tbsp, pesto sauce (Trader Joe’s has a good pre-made one)
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

  • Chop the green bell pepper and onion into large chunks.  Dump into a small food processor along with the garlic, and process until well-chopped and combined.
  • Combine the contents from the food processor with the ground beef (by hand is easiest).
  • In a large dutch oven or pot, cook the meat over medium heat until browned.

  • Pour in the cans of tomatoes and the water, along with the Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, basil flakes, and garlic powder.  Stir to combine.
  • Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.  Continue to cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Wash and peel the thick outer skin of the eggplants.  Discard the skin.

  • Slice the eggplant into approximately 1/4-inch rounds.  Place slices on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Lightly coat the eggplant in olive oil and season both sides with salt & pepper.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until eggplant softens.

  • In a separate bowl, beat together the 2 eggs; then combine eggs with the cottage cheese and pesto.
  • When the sauce has finished cooking, layer the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with 1.5 cups of the meat & tomato sauce.  Top with a layer of spinach leaves.

  • Place eggplant slices in a single layer over top of the leaves.

  • Top the eggplant layer with about half of the pesto cheese mixture; spread to evenly layer over the eggplant.
  • Add another 1.5 cups of the meat sauce over top of the cheese layer.
  • Place another layer of eggplant slices over top.  Layer with the remaining pesto cheese layer.  Depending on how much sauce & eggplant remain, continue by alternating with another meat sauce layer, followed by an eggplant layer, using the remainder of the meat sauce as the top and final layer. Sprinkle red pepper flakes over the top if you’d like to add some heat!

  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 F for approximately 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking for another 25 minutes.
  • Leave to rest and cool for 10-15 minutes after removing it from the oven, then cut and serve!

Slow Cooked Saucy Pulled Pork

Ah yes, it’s another slow cooker recipe! I love the concept; I really do.  I pulled this one from TV, yet again, while watching Kelsey’s Essentials – but, of course, omitted the brown sugar to make it 4HB-friendly.  It still tasted very rich and yummy to me! Now, if only I could have piled it up high on a bun to make myself a pulled pork sandwich… Oh well – baby steps (I’ll save that one for a cheat day)! I will say, however, that it tasted very delicious on its own.  I’ve also found that it’s pretty versatile.  For one, it is pretty terrific as a meat sauce on squash noodles or spaghetti squash noodles.  My goodness, how things are coming together!

One big reason that I like this particular recipe is because the spice combination gives you good pulled pork flavor, without making it taste too much like a Mexican-style pulled pork.  Which, of course, I also love (ahem, slow cooked carnitas, anyone?).  But it’s always nice to have some variation up your sleeve for meals! Plus, this version is super saucy – rich and flavorful.

That intro kind of reminds me of this recipe: sort of a long process, but with an eventual outcome of pure delicious satisfaction!

Hey, let’s crock it to the pot!

Ingredients:
1 pork shoulder or butt (3-4 lbs)
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

Directions:

  • Combine the tomato sauce, chili powder, coriander and cumin in the bottom of your slow cooker.  Stir to combine.

  • Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker.

  • Using tongs, flip the pork around in the pot a bit to evenly coat with the tomato sauce and spice mixture.

  • Mince and dice the garlic and onions.  Add to the slow cooker and toss the meat, again, with tongs to evenly distribute its contents.

  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours until the pork is tender and beginning to fall apart.

  • Remove the pork and place in a large bowl or plate.  Let it sit and cool for a few minutes.(As you can clearly see below – my pork turned out so tender that I had to take it out in several large clumps! Was falling apart at the touch.  That’s some quality tenderization, there!)
  • With 2 forks, pull apart and shred the meat.  Remove and discard any excess fat.

  • Skim off any excess fat from the sauce that is left remaining in the pot.  Stir in the lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. (The purpose of the lime juice is to tame, slightly, the boldness and richness  in flavor that is ultimately created from the slow cooking of fat in the sauces.  Delicious flavor, already, but the citrus flavoring creates a product that really works well for the overall pulled pork flavor).

  • Add the shredded pork back into the slow cooker and toss with the remaining tomato sauce and meat juices.

  • Scoop generously onto plates!

Leftovers? Good news! The pulled pork can be stored in its sauce and refrigerated for a few days.  In fact, the next evening, it went quite well on zucchini and squash noodles! 

Sweet porky victory!

Grilled Garlic Butter Zucchini and Onions

Oh man, have I a mouth-watering side to share.  It’s so garlic-stinkin’ easy, too; and truly ideal when you already have the grill going with whatever else your delicious cuisine entails!

Ingredients:
Zucchini (as much as you’d like)
Yellow Onions (ditto!)
Garlic cloves. minced (about 1-2, per large zucchini…or more!)
Butter
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Cut zucchini into large cubes; cut off the ends of the onions and peel off the outer layer, leaving them intact.

  • Tear off a few sheets of aluminum foil large enough to eventually form “packages” for the zucchini and onions.  Place the zucchini pieces and onions on separate sheets.

  • Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle minced garlic over top of the pile of zucchini cubes and onions, and top with a slice of butter.

  • Fold aluminum foil to form a package, making sure that there are no open areas exposed.  Pinch foil edges to seal.

  • Place on the grill over medium-high heat, approximately 12-15 minutes.

  • Remove from the grill and let sit for a couple of minutes.  Then, unwrap the foil, being careful not to let the juices from the butter spill all over your kitchen, and plate the zucchini and onion pieces.

Tender to the touch! Now how’s that for a rich, tasty side delicacy?

Balsamic & Rosemary Pork Tenderloin w/ Roasted Veggies

Hooray for experiments in meat cookings! I had not had much (okay…none) experience with cooking pork tenderloin, but I can’t say the idea hadn’t frequently piqued my interest.  As ridiculous as it may sound, I love the idea of a plate full of several small medallions of sliced meat, “crusted” on the outside with  flavor and the natural char from the grill.  So flavorful, yet so simple! None of this is truly important, I know – it all becomes “one” in the stomach, after all.  But why not let the simplest things become the enjoyment within the culinary experience? I’m all for these little mini, meaty delights – just give me lots of those cute little rounds o’ protein!

At my last Trader Joe’s stock-up session, I decided to pull a log of pork tenderloin from the meat fridge.  Commitment is the in the purchase after all; so soon after, I did a quick internet search to nail down the important concepts – such as – how high to heat the grill, how long to cook it, and what people are typically using to marinate (all building up to the development of ideas to chalk it up to a 4HB-worthy quality).  So I decided to keep it simple this go-around….and trust me; sometimes less IS more! (I feel like I say that a lot.  That’s good).

Now to the part where we make good things happen.

Ingredients:
1 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
A few springs, fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 tsp garlic, minced

Directions:

  • Season tenderloin with a light salting, and less-light peppering.  If you’re feeling extra-oderificly frisky, add a touch of garlic salt in lieu of regular salt.
  • Pour the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.  Toss in the rosemary.  Put in the fridge and let marinate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight!).
  • Meanwhile, this would be a good time to start preparing the veggies.  Since this particular pork tenderloin will be grill-roasted, I thought I’d take advantage of the cooking tenderloin to allow some veggies to roast right alongside with it, soaking up its smoky & juicy goodness.  I selected “good” grilling/roasting veggies, such as: red onion, bell peppers, asparagus, and some squash.
  • On a grill preheated at medium-high, place the pork tenderloin either directly on the oiled grate, on a roasting pan (as imaged), or even on/in aluminum foil.  The latter of the two would make the most sense if you are planning to roast your veggies alongside the tenderloin.  But it works just as well to grill these on separate space on the grill.  Don’t limit yourself!
  • Cook the tenderloin for about 12 minutes, rolling it to alternating sides every few minutes or so to ensure even cooking.  If you reserved the freezer bag of marinade, you can use it to baste the tenderloin, occasionally, while it’s grilling.
  • About midway into the cooking process, add your chopped veggies alongside the tenderloin.  My first try at this, I added the veggies at the same time as the tenderloin, but ended up removing them much earlier (and covering with foil to keep warm!), as they clearly cook much faster than the meat.  Noted for future!
  • Lay a sprig or two of fresh rosemary over top the tenderloin/veggies for added flavor, if preferred.

  • After about 12 minutes, remove the tenderloin from the grill and let sit for a few minutes.

  • Slice up into medallions (mmm juicy!).

  • Distribute sliced pork rounds and piled-up roasted veggies to your plates!

Lemon Pepper Tilapia

Shown above with:  Squash Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies

I’d like to give a shout out to all the little fishies out there! Thanks for offering up a great way to throw some variety into the meal rotation.  I’m sure you flip for joy over your role in my world.

Cooking fish can be much quicker and simpler to prepare than a boring ol’ chicken breast. Truly! And let’s be honest.  It’s not every day that I am so prepared with a plan before I even head out the door for the day (a.k.a. slow-cooker meals…which clearly takes some pre-planning).  And some days, I’m just pretty beat from the day, and don’t particularly feel like spending too much time cooking up some creation! So in these situations, there’s not much that really beats a quick fix of a fish on top of a huge pile of salad veggies.

The idea of seafood is a bit intimidating initially for some, for certain. But tame it out a little, use the right seasonings, and you’ve got a good potential of bringing those fish-fearing folks over to the sea side.  One thing that I have learned, at least when it comes to white fish such as tilapia and halibut, is that less is more.  And nothing seems to handle this on the seasoning front better than a lemon/pepper version.

One disclaimer I always like to note about fish is – the less “fishy” they smell, the fresher those little flippers are.  So if you’re buying your fish already thawed at the seafood counter, I’d advise using it within 2 days.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil, for cooking)
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for coating the fish, pre-seasoning)
3 filet tilapia, approximately 3/4 to 1 lb (for 2 people)
1 lemon
Salt
Black pepper, freshly ground

Directions:

  • Rinse tilapia under cold water, and pat to dry.
  • With a basting brush, lightly coat the fillets on all sides with extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Lightly season both sides of the tilapia with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Slice the lemon into wedges, and squirt with a couple of sprays on each side.

  • Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan, over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil has heated up (but not yet smoking), add the tilapia filets.

  • Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side (around 7 minutes, total).
  • Top it off with another spritz of fresh lemon juice, for added flavor (and squeeze over top the salad veggies, if applicable). 
  • Serve!

See? Sometimes the intro is just way more monstrous than the recipe, itself!

*Note:  This same recipe also works well if you prefer to cook it on a grill.  Simply omit the coconut oil and pan-frying steps.  Put the fish on a square of aluminum foil, and place the foil on a pre-heated grill over medium-high heat.  Cooking time will be similar (if not a minute or 2 more), but you can always test for done-ness once the fish can be flaked easily with a fork.

Tilapia over a veggie-filled salad, sprinkled with fresh cilantro and red cabbage

Slow Cooked Carnitas

Ole!

As most of us have come to learn, Mexican food tends to be just about the simplest cuisine to suit the 4HB lifestyle, with only slight modifications.  Has the riceless Chipotle Burrito Bowl become your fall-back meal plan, fast-food staple, yet? I’m originally from South Carolina, and was never a huge fan of Mexican food until I moved out to San Diego almost 7 years ago. It wasn’t long until I actually craved Mexican food.  I accredit this to one of two things:  subsequent deviation from a once-extremely picky palate (a.k.a – growing the heck up); or new exposure to Mexican food in a location actually close to the border (with no mass body of water in between!).   It’s all about authenticity sometimes; and good (almost-local) ingredients!

Once again, I’ve shot off on quite the tangent.  But when I think carnitas, I think of a good, home-cooked, Mexican dish.  This is one of my husband’s and my favorite slow-cooker meals.  Work all day; fiesta in the eve! Tender and juicy, with a touch of outer crispness; this hunk of meat is flavorful and filling!

Let’s get right down to this porky delight:

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless pork butt (or pork shoulder)
1/2 medium yellow onion
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
2 tsp Butt Rub Seasoning (optional)
Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Directions:

  • Cut up the pork butt into approximately 1 1/2 inch cubes.  If you’re purchasing your pork from a butcher, they will usually cut it for you, if you ask.  
  • Trim off some of the excess fat, if you desire (but not all of it !)  If you’re like me, and a little frightened by the big splotches white, just trim off some of the fat.   Don’t get too obsessive over it, however, as you actually do want some of that fat to cook with the meat in order to allow for extra tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.  And trust me – the fat will melt right off of the meat, anyway, when it is finished.
  • Toss the cubed meat into the slow-cooker.
  • Season the meat with salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, cumin (and any other seasonings, should you choose to add-on), and toss to coat.  If using liquid smoke, pour the small amount into the pot.
  • Sprinkle the minced garlic & red pepper flakes over top the meat.  Cut the yellow onion half into 2 or 3 chunks, and rest the pieces, intact, on top of the meat.

If you are making this ahead of time, put the lid over the crock pot and let sit  in the fridge, absorbing that extra flavor. Otherwise, go ahead and plug it in and get it started! Trust me, your flavor will be delicious, as is.

  • Cook on low setting for 6-7 hours.

  • When finished, and ready to serve; remove from the pot with a meshed or slotted spoon, placing it into a pile on a cutting board or plate.
  • Discard the onion pieces.
  • Using a fork, press onto the pork to shred into pieces.  This will not be a labor intensive process, in the least, as it will literally just fall apart under the fork.
  • Dish out onto plates, and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.  Serve as-is, or top with a seasoned & sautéed assortment of bell peppers, onion, and carrots; as imaged below. This mix of veggies, I’ve found, complements the meat really well! And, of course, it offers more resemblance to the innards of a yummy burrito.

Squash Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies

This might not necessarily qualify as a brand new recipe, but more of a build-off of the recently posted standard squash noodle method.  This just takes these noodles a step further by preparing, and tossing them with, sautéed/stir-fried veggies.

This is my absolute favorite way to prepare squash noodles.  It’s a fantastic way to use up any remaining veggies in your fridge toward the end of the grocery week.  Call it, “shopping your fridge,” if you will!  But even more importantly – it’s a great way to get a good mix of vegetables in with your meal! Veggies are good for you, kiddos! Haven’t you heard?

So – if you’ve already read through (and perhaps even mastered for yourself!) the squash noodles recipe, you can probably skip over some of the beginning preparation below.  But for the sake of consistency, and for any new recipe-surfers out there; I’ve included the full process.

Ingredients:
1-2 large yellow squash, zucchini squash, or eggplant (all work well for this)
1 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil), separated
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (contingent upon your preference of spiciness!)
Hodgepodge of chop-able veggies

Directions:

  • Wash and pat dry the squash or eggplant.
  • With a vegetable peeler, peel away the thick outer skin and discard
  • Once you have removed the outer skin, continue using your vegetable peeler along the full length of the squash to peel away into fettucine-like sized strands. (Tip: I find the best way to maintain full-length strands is by laying the squash down on its side on the cutting board, and pulling the peeler along, horizontally – rather than holding the squash as you peel)
  • Continue to rotate the squash as you peel away the strands, so your “noodles” remain somewhat uniform
  • Stop peeling once you reach the seeds, as the seedy strands will become mushy in the cooking process (I usually end up either chopping up the remaining vegetable to toss into a stir-fry for mixing with the noodles, or save it to chop up into a salad, later…I just hate wasting anything!)
  • Season the noodles with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you wish
  • Put plate aside, and chop up your veggies for the stir-fry.  (My standards: red or yellow onion, assorted bell peppers, broccoli, spinach leaves, jalapeno, sliced mushrooms, the remainder of the squash/eggplant post de-noodling).
  • In a medium frying pan, over medium-high heat, add the first 1/2 tbsp coconut oil. Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the veggies and minced garlic, and saute for about 5-7 minutes until vegetables become soft.
  • Once almost cooked to completion, dump the contents into a paper plate to sit while you cook the noodles (below).
  • Using the same frying pan as was used to cook the veggies, heat the second 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the squash strands.
  • Saute the noodles in the pan, pushing them around frequently for 2 minutes as they cook in the oil.  The squash will turn a bright color when finished, and will have become limp and noodle-like.  2 minutes is all it takes, and your noodles are complete!
  • Once the squash noodles are almost at that 2-minute mark, I then dump the stir-fried veggie contents from the paper plate, back into the pan with the noodles, and toss briefly together to combine and reheat.
  • You’re now fully ready to distribute the oh-so-colorful mix of veggies & noodles onto your plates to enjoy! Hooray!!

Squash Noodles: Quite Simply

So – to my knowledge thus far, there are 2 pretty good ways of imitating noodles for your 4HB dish.  The spaghetti squash method; and a quicker, and probably my favorite method:  the standard squash noodle method.  Yep, at word-value, you’re probably wondering what distinction I’m pretending to make, here.  Keep on reading, oh skeptical one.

Squash noodles are so easy.  So quick.  And so good.  And they are a great way to cram those extra veggies in, all the while fulfilling that little pasta craving that has been creeping up on you somewhere mid-way between your cheat days.  A great thing about “pasta,” too, is that there are so many different variations your  course can take.  Serve as a side, or top with a chicken breast or filet of fish!

Plain and simple:

Ingredients:
1-2 large yellow squash, zucchini squash, or eggplant (all work well for this)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Any other seasonings

Directions:

  • Wash and pat dry the squash or eggplant.
  • With a vegetable peeler, peel away the thick outer skin and discard
  • Once you have removed the outer skin, continue using your vegetable peeler along the full length of the squash to peel away into fettucine-like sized strands. (Tip: I find the best way to maintain full-length strands is by laying the squash down on its side on the cutting board, and pulling the peeler along, horizontally – rather than holding the squash as you peel)
  • Continue to rotate the squash as you peel away the strands, so your “noodles” remain somewhat uniform
  • Stop peeling once you reach the seeds, as the seedy strands will become mushy in the cooking process (I usually end up either chopping up the remaining vegetable to toss into a stir-fry for mixing with the noodles, or save it to chop up into a salad, later…I just hate wasting anything!)
  • Season the noodles with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you wish
  • Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the squash strands.
  • Saute the noodles in the pan, pushing them around frequently for 2 minutes as they cook in the oil.  The squash will turn a bright color when finished, and will have become limp and noodle-like.  2 minutes is all it takes, and it’s ready!
  • Eat plain, or top with 4HB-friendly marinara or pesto sauce, or with a mix of stir-fried veggies.

Garlic Cauliflower “Faux Mashed Potatoes”

Who other than myself misses a big heaping pile of smooth, warm mashed potatoes on their plate? We’ve been grilling more steaks these days while on the 4HB; but I have to confess that steaks just taste better with a wholloping side of garlic mashed potatoes. There’s just something about that combo!

When I was initially exploring more variety in meals within the 4HB scope, cauliflower mashed potatoes came up quite a bit in my internet searches.  At that point, I wasn’t quite bored enough yet with our current meal plans to really miss mashed potatoes that much; but naturally, I did still want to give it a shot.  It tasted good and all, for being seasoned cauliflower – but in no way did it turn out like mashed potatoes! Maybe I didn’t follow the recipe correctly.  I wouldn’t put it past myself – sometimes I’m just a little too impatient.  So I accepted my recipe fail and stuck to other sides. 

Then – I stumbled upon a paleo site that delivered a very different method for making cauliflower mashed potatoes.  It held the golden ticket of all that is good in the world of cauliflower “faux mashed potatoes.”  This is pretty much as close as you’re going to get to the make-believe mashed potatoes, my friends! It’s pretty darn close, for sure.  And – it’s completely re-heatable.  I’ve not come across much on the side front that is worth considering nuking for a round two. And I could swear that eating these actually seems filling (perhaps it’s just that potato memory ringing in the back of my head).  But irregardless of reasoning, I have no trouble saving some leftovers with this one.  Thank you, for posting this recipe, new hero!

I’m seriously excited to spread the word on this side dish recipe.

Ingredients:
1 large head cauliflower
5-6 garlic cloves
Salt
2 tbsp butter (grass-fed, if you have it)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • In a large pot, with a steamer insert, fill with about 1 inch of water and heat on high heat to boil.  Wash the cauliflower.

  • While you’re waiting for the water to boil, chop up the head of cauliflower into smaller florets and stems. Slice up your garlic cloves into just a few pieces, per clove – these will be further blended down later in the food processor.

  • Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower pieces and garlic slices into the steamer and season with salt (don’t be shy).  Cover with a lid and steam for at least 10 minutes. A little more won’t hurt anything, but this should be all you need.

  • Dump into a colander to drain.

  • Then, pour the contents of your colander into a food processor, fitted with a steel blade.
  • Add ground pepper, nutmeg, and butter.
  • Process everything until completely smooth. Add any other seasonings that you desire, and it’s ready to go!

It’s still really warm at this stage in the process, too, so ready to serve! But however (or whenever) you so choose to enjoy this creamy concoction, you can seal it up in a microwaveable container and store in the fridge for a few days, until that time comes.  When you’re ready to enjoy it, just heat it up for a few minutes, stirring once or twice during the microwaving process to evenly distribute the heat.

Crisp Almond Lace Cookies


So I like to cook.  And to bake.  So it’s only natural that I post some of my favorite cheat day baked munchies to the site! I stumbled upon a PHENOMENAL cookie recipe while doing some sweet-treat surfing one cheat day morning; and it’s only good and right of me to credit the recipe creator before I further titillate your tastebuds.  This is not, after all, my creation – but I’ll tell you one thing – I sure know how to be a good replicator of it.  Thank you, Ming, for sharing your delicious recipe on the interweb for me to StumbleUpon!

These cookies are so light, buttery, and crisp; you’ll probably die.  There is absolutely, 100%, not one single thing bad about dying from happiness.  And – here’s the clincher – these are SO incredibly easy to make! And it does not even require you to develop an oddly uneven set of arm muscles through the mixing process, as you’re dealing with a very fluid batter concoction, here.

Before I waste anymore of your valuable cheat-day time with my feelings on the mere thought of these sweet, tasty crispers; go ahead and get your oven preheated (350 F), and get this party started.

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 stick of butter, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Grind almonds in a food processor until very finely chopped.

  • In a large bowl, combine the almonds, brown sugar, flour, and salt.
  • Add egg, vanilla, and melted butter.  Beat until just combined.

  • Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil, and drop batter by the teaspoonful, leaving at least 3 inches of space between each cookie (these will definitely spread out).

  • Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until brown.

  • Once the cookies have cooled, peel them from the foil.  (Note: The cooler they are, the less likely they are to break when you peel away.  Not that appearance is in the least bit indicative of taste, in this scenario).

  • Eat and enjoy! And be prepared for some seriously high praise from your friends and family upon tasting these.