Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Contrary to this post, we have been cutting back on the sweets and pop at our house.  I was in charge of treats for a pinewood derby for some of the girls in our church group and we decided to have a "pitstop" with all sorts of treats, and I made a few selections.  Hence this post and the peanut butter bar recipe I shared yesterday.

These bars turned out so yummy and I love that they have coconut oil instead of butter.  They tasted great and there was not one left on the platter.  Success!

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies Bars

3/4 cup coconut oil {you can use butter if you don't have coconut oil}
1.5 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs

{cream above ingredients}

then add...
2 tsp. vanilla
1 7/8 cup flour (i know this measurement is random, but i experimented with all different amounts and this was perfect. basically just do a little less than 2 cups :) 
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 cup oatmeal

{mix well}
take 3/4 of the dough, and press it into a greased rectangular pan. {i use an 8x11 pan, but you can use any similar size depending on the thickness you want} set the remaining dough aside.

for the filling...
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. coconut oil {can use butter}
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk {7 ounces}...I used Fat Free
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt above ingredients together on stove or on microwave, just until melted. do not boil!  Pour filling evenly over cookie in pan, and spread it over the top.  Take the rest of the dough, break it up and dot it over the frosting.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Let it cool completely, then cut into squares and ENJOY!

Recipe Source: Well Traveled Wife

Friday, May 23, 2014

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

You know those foods that just take you back to childhood?  I'm talking Otter Pops, Mac 'n Cheese, Koolaid, and the old PB&J?!  These bars fit right into that category for me.  I was always so excited when these babies were on the menu at school.  So good!

My hubby does have a rule when it comes to these...they must have a layer of crunchy PB between the bar and chocolate layers.  I highly recommend it!  Here is one other version of these bars from my Mother-in-Law that are always a fav!

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

Cookie Base
1 cup real butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1  1/2 cups peanut butter, chunky or smooth
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups quick oats
optional: an extra 3/4 cup peanut butter, see notes in recipe below

Fudge Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a rimmed cookie sheet (standard half-sheet pan) lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.

Cream butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add  peanut butter and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat between each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and add mixture to dough.  Beat to combine.  Add oats and mix until incorporated.  Press dough into prepared pan into a flat layer.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes, but up to 15-20.  I’ve noticed that baking time can greatly differ depending on elevation, product brands (especially the peanut butter) etc.  The center should be puffed and set, but still soft.  The one thing you don’t want to do is overbake them.  So just keep an eye on them.

While crust is baking, prepare frosting.  Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Add butter (make sure it’s soft!), boiling water, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and glossy.

When cookie crust is done baking, if desired drizzle about 3/4 cups melted (just nuke it in the microwave) peanut butter on top and then spread on frosting.  Let cool (or leave slightly warm) and cut into squares to serve.  If also desired (and what’s not to be desired here?) serve with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge.  

Recipe Source:  Our Best Bites

Monday, May 12, 2014

Roasted Potato Salad

Let me set the stage for you....

Mother's Day 2014.  The sweet hubby wants to make me whatever my heart desires for dinner, so I tell him to smoke me something (he loves doing it and it is always delicious...a definite win-win situation).  He decides on ribs and beans, so I tell him I will make a potato salad.  After some battling (since he didn't want to make me cook on Mother's Day), he gave up.

I started making this new recipe and he turned up his nose when he saw how that I was going to roast the potatoes.  He is quite partial to his dad/grandmother's recipe and was very skeptical.  But believe me, by the time I was done and we tried it at dinner, there is now one other potato salad he will now eat.  It really did turn out delicious, and leftovers the next day were even better!  

Roasted Potato Salad

4 Eggs
4 Slices of Bacon or more if you’re a bacon lover like me
5-6 Small potatoes, or 3-4 large ones
1 tbs. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Paprika
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 Small Red Onion
3 Stalks of Celery
2 Whole Pickles or 1/4 cup Pickle Chips
3 Scallions
Handful of Chives

3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard or Grainy Mustard
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 Dashes of Hot Sauce
1/4 tsp Old Bay

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Bring eggs to a boil in a pot. Once the water comes up to a boil, shut off the heat, and place a lid on it. Leave alone for 10 minutes, it’ll carry over cook the eggs to perfection. After ten minutes, run cold water over the eggs and add some ice into the pot, while the water is running. This will allow the eggs to cool completely and stop the cooking process. Once cooled, peel the eggs under cool running water, and set aside.

Pre-heat a small skillet over medium heat. Cut the strips of bacon into small pieces and place in the hot pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown and crispy. About 5-7 minutes. Once finished, transfer the bacon onto a paper lined plate, using a slotted spoon. Allow to cool. Set aside.

This dish can easily be made into a vegetarian dish by omitting the bacon. Or if you are religiously against it, by all means, leave it out.

Wash and dry the potatoes, or if you’d like, peel the potatoes. Cut them into a medium dice, all the same size to ensure even cooking. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle in the spices and thyme. Place in the pre-heated oven on the middle rack and roast for 20-25 minutes, turning over once, half way through. Once fork tender and golden brown remove from the oven and allow to cool on pan, on a cooling rack or counter top.

Meanwhile cut the remaining vegetables, red onion, celery, scallions, pickles, into uniform small pieces and put in a large mixing bowl. Dice the hard boiled eggs from earlier and put them in the bowl as well. Toss the ingredients to combine well.

Pour the warm potatoes into the mixing bowl along with the cut veggies. Toss.

In a small bowl place all of the dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over potato veggie mixture and toss well, to coat all of the dressing into the potato salad.

Sprinkle in the bacon from earlier and stir once again, reserving some for the garnish. Taste to make sure seasoning is spot on. Adjust accordingly.

Place in a serving dish and garnish with reserved bacon and chives. Serve as a side dish for any number of summer recipes. Eat immediately or wrap with plastic wrap. Can easily be made days in advance, stored in the fridge. Actually gets better the next day, cold. Yum. Enjoy.

Recipe Source:  The Candid Appetite

Monday, May 5, 2014

Martha Stewart's Peanut Butter Cookies

We recently had a recent widower over for dessert.  When my husband asked him what he liked, he said he didn't like chocolate and a few other things.  When it came down to it, he wanted peanut butter cookies :)  I haven't made PB cookies in a long time so went searching for a new recipe. 

I found this yummy Martha Stewart recipe that made the most wonderful, crispy on the outside, perfect PB cookie I've had in a while.  Definitely a keeper!

Martha Stewart's Peanut Butter Cookies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Dry-roasted, salted peanuts, for sprinkling (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, peanut butter, and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until well combined.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift flour and baking soda together. Add to the butter mixture, and beat just to combine.

Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough, shape into a ball, and place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, placing scoops 3 inches apart. Dip the tines of a fork in warm water; press the dough balls lightly with the back of the fork to flatten them slightly (dip the fork back in the water for each dough ball, to prevent sticking). Sprinkle with a few peanuts, if desired.

Transfer to the oven, and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets between the oven shelves halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Recipe Source:  Martha Stewart

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Copycat Kneaders Chicken Salad

It's Spring!  I was definitely ready for some Springtime meals this last week, and nothing says warm weather meal to me like a chicken salad sandwich!  So I went to my files and found this one I haven't tried yet, and I must say I think I have found my new go-to!

This claims to be a copycat of Kneaders chicken salad, and I must say I haven't ever tried Kneader's version...but I know I love this!  

Copycat Kneaders Chicken Salad

1/4 cup white vinegar
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
1-1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-1/4 cup sour cream
4 stocks celery, chopped
1 bunch green onion, chopped
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cooked and shredded*

Mix vinegar, salt, pepper, mayonnaise and sour cream together.  Mix celery, green onion and chicken in separate bowl. Mix all ingredients together. Let set overnight or for a few hours for the best flavor.  Serve on buns or rolls.

*For my chicken, I placed 6 chicken breasts in the crockpot with a can of chicken stock and sprinkled with seasoning salt.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Place cooked chicken in Kitchen Aid mixer and use paddle attachment to shred chicken to desired consistency.

Recipe Source:  Six Sisters Stuff