Paula Deen's Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

I recently discovered that Paula Deen is on at the exact same time I eat my egg beaters with Vlasic pickles every morning (that's a different post.) I love Paula. I wish she was my grandma. I especially love her because most of her recipes are SO easy. Just how I like them!

I needed to make some treats for Preston's home teachees tonight and I remembered watching Paula make these on an episode from last week. The recipe looked easy enough so I gave it a try. Yum. My recommendation? Twelve minutes is about two minutes too long. At least in my oven. The first batch was a little dry but once I shortened the cooking time they were perfect. Especially with milk!


* 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
* 1 stick butter, at room temperature
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
* Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.


Balsamic Asparagus Chicken

Have you ever had the Chicken Madeira at Cheesecake Factory? This recipe is nearly identical. SO. GOOD. We tried it out for Sunday dinner tonight and it did not disappoint. The sauce is so delish. Preston made the mashed potatoes to go with it and I couldn't believe how good they were. His response? "Just because I don't cook doesn't mean I can't cook." Noted.

(Excuse the stinky iPhone picture.)

This recipe is super easy, although it does require juggling a few different things at one time. Let's be honest, if I can do it, anyone can. Also, you could probably make this recipe a whole lot healthier by using fat free cheese but hey, it's Sunday, we only cook like this once a week.


4 chicken breasts

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I used Wishbone Balsamic Vinaigrette because it was WAY cheaper than straight Balsamic Vinegar.)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp brown sugar
pepper to taste

2 TBLS vegetable oil
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 can (about 2 cups) beef broth
1 TBLS butter

12 asparagus spears
4 slices provolone cheese
4 slices of mozzarella cheese

Place chicken between 2 pieces of Saran wrap and pound until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Place chicken in a Ziploc bag. Combine marinade ingredients and pour in the bag. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and refrigerate for about 2 hours. About 20 min before chicken is done marinating, heat oil in large skillet. Add mushrooms and saute for a couple minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 30 min or until sauce thickens and reduces to about 1/4 of its original volume (when it is done, the sauce should be dark brown in color).

While the sauce is simmering, place chicken in a lightly greased glass dish and bake 400 degrees for 15-20 min (or until cooked through). While chicken is baking, prepare the asparagus. Bring a saucepan, filled 1/2 way with salted water, to a boil. Toss in asparagus and boil for about 4 min. Quickly remove asparagus and drop in an ice-water bath. Remove chicken from the oven (when it's finished) and layer on one slice of provolone cheese, a few asparagus spears, then one slice of mozzarella (I grated mine instead) on each piece of chicken. Set the oven to broil and broil about 3 min or until cheese is melted and starts to brown a little. Right before serving, spoon some of the sauce over each piece of chicken.