Wednesday, August 31, 2016

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I am both happy and dismayed to have found this recipe early this summer. Happy because it was a huge hit at every get together that I took it to; Dismayed because I had NO self-control when it came to eating it. I am a person that posted on Facebook years ago that there should be Reece's Peanut Butter Cup flavored gum. I would buy it by the case. This recipe has just the right combo of ingredients to strip away all of my will power.  Don't let that discourage you, though.  You DEFINITELY want to make this for your next get together.  (Just make sure you have some people to share it with.)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter, smooth
  • 2 cups (about 1 pack or 9 grahams) graham crackers, broken/crushed
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil to help melt the chips
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Spray or line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper or tin foil.
  2. Break or crush the graham crackers into smaller pieces. (I put the crackers in a plastic bag and rolled them with a rolling pin to make a fine crumble.  You may like yours more chunky.  You really can't go wrong here.)
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter and peanut butter together, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the crushed graham crackers and powdered sugar. Once mixed, add in the peanut butter mixture, and mix to combine.
  5. Spread the peanut butter graham cracker mixture evenly into the pan.
  6. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and oil.  Microwave on medium for a minute at a time, stirring in between, until melted.
  7. Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter layer.
  8. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until they are set.
  9. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Difficulty: easy
Time: about 1 hour, including cooling time
Source: adapted from http://thefirstyearblog.com

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Asian Stuffed Cabbage

"These aren't too labor intensive for a birthday meal, are they?"

When my husband asked me that question when I served these for dinner the first time, I knew I had hit the jackpot. I was already fairly certain. After all, the recipe has some of my favorite ingredients in the Asian-inspired sauce - sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce - and I have always loved stuffed cabbage. The thing is that prior to this recipe, I had never actually made stuffed cabbage. In my head, it was way too labor intensive. In reality, for me, the most labor intensive part was cleaning the cabbage leaves. And really, that wasn't a big deal. I did have to watch a video to make sure I was rolling them right (I found this quick one to be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-OAM89WulQ) but beyond that, this recipe is surprisingly easy. And offer the sauce as a dipping option. It was a huge hit.


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa (I used quinoa)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili or chili-garlic sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • leaves from 1 large head of Napa cabbage

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare your filling by gently combining uncooked beef (or turkey), shredded carrots, cooked rice (or quinoa), garlic, ginger, onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, chili sauce and a pinch of salt and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. To make your leaves easy to roll, use a rolling pin to flatten to make leaves more pliable. If you find that your leaves are on the smaller side, use two to roll, overlapping both ends to make one big leaf.
  4. Spoon your filling to each leaf. Carefully roll each leaf tightly and place side by side in a large baking dish. Pour 1 cup of water over stuffed cabbage rolls and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until completely cooked through.
  5. Serve with juices from baking dish and additional chili sauce.


Difficulty: easy-medium
Time: about 50 minutes total
Source: http://aggieskitchen.com/asian-stuffed-napa-cabbage-rolls/