Michaelp's stuff to cook

Really Peanut Buttery Cookies with Chocolate Chips
Beef and Spinach Lasagna
Quick and easy Gazpacho

Really Peanut Buttery Cookies with Chocolate Chips

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter w/peanuts (with sugar and stuff like Skippy or Jif, not that all-natural silliness, blech)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp nutella
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • About four dozen dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses (guess how many cookies this will make...)

Preheat oven to 375F. Use a large spoon to mix together the first group of ingredients. Add in the second group. Keep mixing. Mix the third group together and then add to the brew. Mix well.

Roll cookie dough into balls about an inch in diameter. Place 12 of these evenly spaced on an average ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and then flatten balls somewhat using a fork by pressing on each once. Bake for another 6 minutes or until they look basically done (maybe another minute or so). Remove from oven and press one dark chocolate Kiss in the middle of each cookie. Put back in oven for one more minute. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes then remove cookies from cookie sheet to a flattened paper bag for final cooling. Repeat until all of the cookie dough is gone.

Beef and Spinach Lasagna

  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • oregano
  • 50 oz (or a bit more) tomato sauce/strained tomatoes/whatever floats your boat
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 pound part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2.5 oz shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  • nutmeg
  • 10 oz chopped spinach
  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • salt

Note: all three of the steps below can be done in parallel to save a lot of time, but you will probably need a helper.

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet (hopefully large enough to hold all of the tomato sauce as well). Chop the garlic. As the water disappears, add the garlic and spices to taste (if you didn't use really lean beef, drain off the fat before adding the spices and garlic). Let it all cook and brown a bit. Once browned, add the tomato sauce and let it all cook together for a bit. As far as the tomato sauce goes, use whatever you want -- pre-made, make it from scratch, chunky, smooth, you name it, it all works.

Grate the mozzarella cheese into a large bowl. Set aside about a third for later use. If frozen, defrost and drain the water from the spinach. Mix the parmesan, ricotta and mascarpone cheeses along with the spinach and some nutmeg into the two thirds portion of mozzarella.

Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package (usually 12 to 14 minutes cooking). Do not overcook or the noodles can become too soft to handle without breaking apart. Be sure to add salt to the water.

Once the three basic ingredients are prepared, it's time to layer them in a standard rectangular baking pan. If you don't have a non-stick finish pan, wipe the pan down with some olive oil before starting. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of the meat sauce. Cover the sauce with a layer of noodles. Depending on the shape of the pan and noodles, you may need to lay some of the noodles down creatively in order to completely cover the sauce. Next, put in a layer of the cheese mixture. The cheese will probably be quite thick and difficult to spread, so don't try. Just put in little blobs that generally cover the noodles. Now continue adding in sauce, noodles and cheese so that you alter between sauce and cheese layers with noodles in between each until you run out of noodles. At some point along the way, heat your oven to 350F. Chances are that you will have enough sauce left to add one more layer on top of whatever else is underneath. Top it all off with the remaining mozzarella cheese spread as the final layer.

Bake at 350F for 50 to 55 minutes on the middle rack. The top should be browned when it's done. Let it cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


  • 1 1/2 liters syrah wine from box (box is probably 3 liters)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup of orange liquer (grand marnier, cointreau, patron orange, etc)
  • 1 fuji apple cut into wedges
  • 3/4 valencia orange cut into wedges
  • 8-10 strawberries cut in half
  • 2 kiwis peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 3 slices of pineapple from can plus corresponding amount of juice
  • 750ml of sparkling apple juice (preferably sidra if you can get it, with or without alcohol, up to you)
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar according to taste

Combine everything save the sparkling apple in a pitcher for just over two quarts of liquid. Stir it all together and let it steep overnight in fridge. Just prior to drinking remove fruit and pour in sparkling apple juice. Stir just a tiny bit.

Quick and easy Gazpacho

  • 1/2 liter strained tomatoes
  • 1/2 liter diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sherry/red wine vinegar
  • 1 green pepper
  • croutons

Blend all save croutons until smooth. Chill. Add croutons. As an option, have some chopped green pepper, tomatoes and other garnishes that can be added to taste to individual servings.


  • 2 lbs potatoes (any variety you like)
  • 1/2 cup+ olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • optional:
    • 1/2 small onion
    • serrano ham/prosciutto
    • smoked gouda or gruyere cheese
    • chopped spinach

If you are going to add the optional onion, start by slicing into small wedges and then cooking in a bit of the oil in a large skillet (large enough for the entire mixture -- 10 to 12 inches is sufficient). While the onions are cooking, peel and slice the potatoes. Slices should be thin (about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch thick) and then cut into quarters to make management in the pan easier. Cook the sliced potatoes along with the onion and 1/2 tsp salt in about a 1/2 cup of oil on medium heat. The potatoes will be cooked in about 15 to 20 minutes and will be a bit translucent. To cook evenly, move the potatoes around in the pan every few minutes. As the potatoes get close to being done, beat the eggs and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl. The eggs should get a bit frothy. Add the cooked potato mixture to the eggs in the bowl and mix evenly together. If adding any of the remaining optional ingredients, mix them in as well. Let the mixture sit for a bit to "cook" in the bowl. While the mixture is setting, put the skillet back on the stove with a tiny bit more oil on just over medium heat. Once the mixture appears to have "gelled" a bit pour back into the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes or until it is very clearly cooked on the edges. To flip the tortilla, place a plate over the skillet (large enough to completely cover the edges!) and very carefully flip the contents of the pan onto the plate. If it cooked long enough you will have a somewhat browned, solid mass on the plate. If you didn't cook it long enough, you have a big mess. Carefully slide the tortilla back into the pan and cook this side for about the same time as the first. Once again, flip the tortilla onto a plate. Let it cool a bit, then slice and serve.