Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Well hello there....I am glad our paths crossed :)  These little babies are a sweet/salty lover's dream....pretzels, peanut butter, chocolate, and caramel.  Amazing!  My hubby thought these tasted just like a Take 5 Bar, and I'd have to agree.  They are totally delicious.

I sent these to work with my hubby so I didn't gain back those 5 pounds I just lost!  Once again, he brought home a clean tray and everyone seemed to LOVE them.  If you like these, also try the Chubby Hubby Bars I made last week inspired by Ben and Jerry's popular Chubby Hubby flavor.  

I tell you what, make up a batch of these for your next gathering of friends, college football party, Labor Day BBQ, baby shower, etc and you will be getting compliments forever ;)

Chubby Hubby Truffles

1½ cups pretzel pieces
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

1. Put the pretzel pieces into a resealable plastic bag and crush into very small bits (a rolling pin works great for this).

2. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Stir until all of the ingredients are completely blended and smooth. Add the pretzel bits to the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar and mix until completely combined.

3. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop, or about 2 teaspoons worth of peanut butter mixture, gently shape into a ball with your fingertips. Place the ball on the wax paper-lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.

4. When ready to dip the truffles, microwave the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening together in a small bowl at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth.

5. Working one at a time, dip one peanut butter-pretzel ball into the melted chocolate and use a fork to roll it around, ensuring that it is completely coated with chocolate. Let any extra chocolate drip off and place back on the wax paper-lined sheet. Repeat with all of the peanut butter-pretzel balls. 

6. Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator and again chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with a drizzle of melted peanut butter and crushed pretzels, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe Source:  Brown Eyed Baker

Monday, August 27, 2012

Italian Grinder

So we went to Costco the other day, and after sampling the deliciousness of the salami I ended coming home with a couple packages.  Now what to do?!  I wasn't going to eat the entire package as-is!  I looked back to my good old list of recipes I wanted to try, and this one popped up.  These turned out really yummy and super easy.  It's good for those weekdays when you have NO time because of crazy-busy schedules.

We also made some pizza with the sauce, cheese, more pepperocinis, pepperoni, salami, olives, and mozzarella cheese (sorry, no pic...got gobbled up too fast!).  I am also thinking about an antipasto salad of some sort...stay tuned for that!

Italian Grinder

1 Crusty hoagie
Mayonnaise, to taste
3 slices of provolone
Shredded lettuce
Tomato slices
Italian dressing, to taste
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste

Spread mayonnaise on each side of each side of the hoagie bun. Layer each side of the hoagie with ham, salami, and pepperoni then layer the provolone cheese down the center. Place into the broiler (on low) and cook, watching carefully, for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Place the lettuce down the center followed by the tomatoes and pepperocinis. Drizzle the top with Italian dressing, to taste and a sprinkling of sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, crushed red pepper, to taste. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Recipe Source: For the Love of Cooking

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zucchini Sticks with Bloomin' Onion Sauce

Here's a post I shared over at Kiki Creates earlier this week.  Go check out all the fun things on Kiki's site!  {click button below}

I was sad when we moved out into the country mid-summer and missed my chance to plant some yummy veggies.  This year, my veggies are coming from the grocery store and farmers markets.  Oh well, there's always next year!  I know there are many of you with zucchini coming out your ears, and there are only so many loaves of zucchini bread you can take :)  I wanted to introduce you to a side dish we had recently that was AWESOME!  I have had variations of zucchini sticks (or fries) before with a side of marinara, but this dip rocks!  It gives it a whole new flavor, and you can use it as a spread on sandwiches, burgers, dip your chips in it, etc.

Zucchini Sticks with Bloomin' Onion Sauce


1 tablespoon butter
1 medium sweet onion, about 1/2 pound, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste


3 medium zucchini, unpeeled, cut into 3"-long stick
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
scant 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Pizza Seasoning or mixed Italian herbs
olive oil spray
1/2 cup egg substitute; or 2 large eggs; or 3 egg whites, lightly beaten

1) To make the dip: Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over moderate heat, and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, then caramelize. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. The lower the heat, the longer it takes, but the less likely you are to burn the onions.

2) Once the onions are a medium brown, remove from the heat and add the vinegar.

3) Place the onions and vinegar into a small food processor. Add the honey and mustard, and process or blend until smooth.

4) Add the mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

5) To make the zucchini sticks: Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt. Let the zucchini drain for 1 hour or longer; rinse and pat dry.

6) Combine the Panko, Parmesan, and pizza seasoning; set aside.

7) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.

8) Dredge sticks a few at a time in the egg, then roll in the crumb mixture. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet.

9) Bake sticks for 12 minutes, turn over, and bake for an additional 8 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

10) Serve immediately, with sweet onion dip.

Any leftover sticks can be wrapped and stored in the fridge. Reheat at 350°F for about 10 to 15 minutes, if desired.
Yield: about 3 dozen zucchini sticks, and 1 1/2 cups dip.

Recipe Source:  King Aurthur Flour

What is your favorite way to enjoy zucchini?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chubby Hubby Bars

Well, I know you love the name of these bad boys!  And doesn't the name just say "GOOD FOR YOU!" Ha!  You know how at the top of my blog it says Sometimes Healthy, Sometimes Delicious, Always Yummy? This is the indulgent portion of my blog for you :)

My husband is FINALLY working in his profession after many years of schooling.  Now he thinks I need to make treats for him to take into work all the time.  This really works out for me on many levels.  1) I am a food blogger, I like to cook.  2) My thighs will like me better.  I love to make sweets, and if I get to make them, taste them, and send the rest off for others to eat....all is well with the world!  3) I get to make new friends by bribing them with dessert.  

See.  Things are good around here!

Onto these bars.  They were inspired by Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor.  I applaud those people that can come up with recipes like these.  And I am thankful they are willing to share :)

*UPDATE!  The hubs came home from work with a clean tray, excellent reviews, and some of his co-workers did not even get any...guess I better double my batch for next time :)

Chubby Hubby Bars

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pretzels
1 (8oz) bag of Reese’s Mini cups (or 2 cups coarsely chopped full sized Reese’s)
1 (14 oz) bag of caramels, unwrapped
2 Tbsp water
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
How to Make

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a 9×13 pan lightly with cooking spray.

Beat together your butter and sugars until light and fluffy, approx 1 min.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix until incorporated.  On low speed add in your salt, baking soda and flour, mixing until just combined.
Slowly add in your Reeses and Pretzels, mixing until evenly distributed.  Spread in your prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool completely. Approx 30 minutes to an hour.

When cooled, melt your caramels and 2 Tbsp water in a microwave safe bowl stirring every minute until melted.  Pour over your bars.  Chill in fridge for 15 minutes to set caramel.

Melt your chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave and spread over caramel.  Put back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.  Cut into squares when ready to serve. The caramel will start to "leak out" after they sit for just a bit.  It is fabulous!

Recipe Source: Cookies and Cups

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Turkey Wrap with Cucumber Cream Cheese

  • Summer lunches for me generally consist of some sort of salad thrown together with whatever is on hand, sandwiches, or leftovers from the night before.  Every now and again I get on these kicks for making all sorts of wraps, which I love greatly and are so simple to make.  This one has 4 ingredients...including the tortilla.  Talk about a no brainer!  It reminds me of one of my favorite sandwiches from Einstein Bagels...yummy :)

  • Turkey Wrap with Cucumber Cream Cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 4 tablespoons softened cream cheese (or hummus, or laughing cow wedge)
  • 3 flour or wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 pound sliced smoked turkey breast
  • (some sandwich sprouts would taste awesome on this as well :)

  • Stir cucumber into cream cheese, spread on tortillas, layer with turkey slices and roll up.

  • Recipe Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray

Friday, August 10, 2012

{Better For You} Ranch Dressing

Say hello to a delicious version of the old bottled classic!  This dressing tastes great, and best of all...made with Greek yogurt so you can feel slightly less guilty when you partake of it.  Eat it as a dip with your veggies, or with a slight tweak you can have the consistency of salad dressing that pours easily.  My source on this dressing says that it is only 255 calories for the whole bottle....so take that for what's it's worth!  Enjoy :)

Healthier (and delicious) Ranch Dressing

1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
1 packet hidden valley ranch (dressing, not dip)
1/2 cup 1% milk

Whisk together in bowl and chill for 1 hour before serving.  You may have to mess with the milk ratios a little bit to get the consistency you prefer (either for a dip or dressing).  Start with a small amount of milk and keep whisking until you are satisfied :)

Recipe Source: Caffeinated Chronicles of a Supermom

Monday, August 6, 2012

Blueberry Syrup

Here we are again!  It's still raining blueberries at our house, and I'm happy to say that I am not sick of them yet!  It has been fun to throw them in salads, desserts, and now...BREAKFAST!  I was feeling lazy on Sunday night and thought breakfast would do for dinner, so that's just what we did.  I found about the simplest idea for blueberry syrup out there, and it turned out fabulously and was done in 5 or 6 minutes!
Blueberry Syrup

Put the syrup and blueberries into a pan and bring to the boil.
Let bubble for 2 to 3 minutes, and then pour into a jug and bring to the breakfast table with the pancakes.

Simple, right?!  Hope you enjoy this and make it time and time again :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Honey Peanut Chicken

Well, I have been trying to amp up my veggie intake lately, and stir-frys seem to be a great way to get in a bunch of veggies all at once.  And not to mention, don't all the different colors look awesome!  

I loved the spiciness to this dish, perfect amount for me.  I also doubled to sauce from what is listed below, because I like my sauce and am glad I did.  Leftovers were great, so pack you some up for lunch the next day!

Honey Peanut Chicken

2-3 cups hot, cooked rice
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch      cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup dry-roasted cashews, unsalted
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Combine chicken and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss to coat.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola and sesame oils. Add chicken mixture, and sauté for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Increase heat to high, and add broccoli and the next 4 ingredients (through red bell pepper). Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is done, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add vinegar mixture to chicken mixture; toss to coat. Serve with rice.

Recipe Source:  adapted from On My Menu

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

I am still loving my blueberries, absolutely loving them in every shape and form :)  Have you been out blueberry picking?  What have you been using your berries for...I'm always open to more blueberry recipes!

Say hello to a fabulously refreshing summertime dessert!  It really is not complicated to make at all, the hardest part is waiting for each step to cool.  This would be super impressive for entertaining, so whip one up and then you'll have an excuse for a party ;)

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

For the Crumb Crust:
9 large rectangular graham crackers (around 1 1/2 cups), crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
For the Cheese Custard:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Freshly grated zest from 1 lemon
For the Berries:
2 cups blueberries, rinsed
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter. Pat the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8 minutes, until very lightly browned and set. Let the crust cool completely before filling. Leave the oven on.
Meanwhile make the cheese custard: in a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add the eggs and beat well. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour into the cooled shell and bake until just set, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
While the custard is baking, combine the berries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook for one minute, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat and cool until tepid.
Spoon the berries over the custard. Chill for at least one hour before serving.
Recipe Source:  Williams Sonoma Desserts via Mels Kitchen Cafe