PB & Chocolate Pan Cookie from Southern Living

For those who know me, and I mean, really know me, they know that I am a peanut butter lover. I am even a bigger fan of peanut butter and chocolate. This mixture of dark chocolate, chunky peanut butter and baking mix makes a rich, crusty cookie that is simple and divine. This recipe is perfect when you’re in a hurry or need to make something quick and easy for a party, bake sale or just to wow the kids after school.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook 25 minutes

Yield: Makes about 24 pieces

Ingredients

3/4  cup  chunky peanut butter

2  large eggs

1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

1  cup  firmly packed light brown sugar

2  cups  all-purpose baking mix

1  (12-ounce) package dark chocolate morsels, divided

Preparation

1. Stir together peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl.

2. Stir in brown sugar until combined. Add baking mix and 3/4 cup dark chocolate morsels, stirring just until moistened. Spread mixture in a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.

3. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate morsels; let stand 5 minutes or until chocolate melts. Spread melted chocolate evenly over top. Cut into triangles, bars, or squares.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Bisquick All-Purpose Baking Mix and Hershey’s Special Dark Chips.

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Banana-Apricot Bread from Real Simple

I love to make quick bread, which in food terms, means “bread that is quick to make because it requires no kneading or rising time”. And whether you have 3 kids or not, time is everything. Using dried apricots and bananas creates a wonderful flavor combination. You can also add red or golden raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries and flaked coconut if you wish. I like it how it is below, and it’s perfect to have on hand for the weekend (except for the fact that it goes so fast). Please share with me some of your favorite quick bread recipes when you get some open time. Thanks, Alison

 

Apricot-Banana Bread

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

3  cups all-purpose flour

1  cup  granulated sugar

2  teaspoons baking powder

1  teaspoon baking soda

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

4  tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1  cup chopped dried apricots

1/2  cup chopped pecans (optional)

2  large, very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

1  cup nonfat buttermilk

2  eggs, beaten

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 350º F. Lightly coat a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like coarse crumbs. Mix in apricots and pecans, if desired. Stir in the bananas, buttermilk, and eggs until well blended. Pour into pan.

2. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack.

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It’s amazing to have all the great response from friends and fans of my blog. I really appreciate it, and I am so glad that so many kids, high schoolers and college students who have tried my recipes. Today, I thank Jackson, a 12-year-old friend of my son’s, who took time to write a comment on my blog. With that in mind, I decided to share a breakfast treat and snack that’s very popular at my home with my 3 children. With only 170 calories and 4 grams of fat, you won’t feel guilty eating homemade blueberry muffins. These are super easy to make, and the touch of oats, buttermilk and cinnamon give them a wonderful flavor and texture without adding any oil.  

 

Low-Fat Blueberry Muffins

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Yield: 15 servings

Ingredients

1/4  cup regular oats

2  tablespoons brown sugar

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

1/4  cup  butter, softened

1  cup  granulated sugar

1/2  cup  egg substitute

1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

2  cups all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon  baking soda

1/2  teaspoon  baking powder

1/2  teaspoon  salt

1 1/4  cups  fat-free buttermilk

1  cup  fresh blueberries

Vegetable cooking spray

Preparation

1. Stir together oats, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside.

2. Beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg substitute, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

3. Combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, ending with flour mixture. Gently stir in blueberries. Spoon batter into muffin pans coated with cooking spray, filling two-thirds full. Sprinkle evenly with oat mixture.

4. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden. Cool muffins in pans 5 minutes; remove from pans, and cool on wire racks.

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This three ingredient recipe was one I made for Christmas, but since there are so many white chocolate fans, I thought I would feature it again for Valentine’s Day. It’s so easy, quick and delicious. It also can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. I used Nestle semisweet morsels, and it worked great! Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy!

 

Dried Cherry and Pistachio Bark

Feel free to double or triple this recipe.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 1 minute

Yield: 11/2 pound

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels or any white chocolate

1 cup pistachio nuts, shells removed and toasted

1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Preparation

1. Place white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, covered with wax paper on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Add pistachios and cherries, stirring well. Spread on large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

2. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break bark into pieces. Store in a tightly sealed container in refrigerator up to 1 month. Pack in decorative boxes or tins lined with wax tissue paper or colored cellophane for gift giving.

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I had so much fun on “Talk of the Town” yesterday in Nashville. I thank my Nashville friends, Lisa and Rob, News Channel 5 and all of the Nashville subscribers and facebook fans for tuning in to watch me. One of the recipes I shared was this Spiced Nuts mix which I posted before Thanksgiving. It was very popular and is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday. It’s a lower-fat nut recipe and is ideal for a Super Bowl Party, holidays, or you can enjoy them as a snack or also tossed in a salad. Feel free to use any type of nuts that you want. These are worth every bite, and there’s no oil or butter in the recipe.

 

Spiced Almonds and Pecans 

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Yield: 41/2 cups

Ingredients

2 (6-ounce) packages pecan halves

1  (6 ounce) can whole natural almonds

1/3  cup  packed brown sugar

11/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin

2  large egg whites, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Combine pecans, almonds and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in egg whites. Spread mixture evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Stir mixture; bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Transfer foil to a wire rack; cool almond mixture. Break almond mixture into small pieces.

Note: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

Low-fat, low-calorie manicotti? Is that possible? With only 325 calories and 8.5 grams of fat, I can say, yes, that is possible. This combination of lean ground beef, fat-free ricotta, egg white and fresh herbs creates a delicious and easy manicotti recipe. I developed this recipe for Laura’s Lean Beef Company a few years ago, and it has been a family staple for a few years. Feel free to use ground turkey or pork instead of beef if you choose. Also, you can prepare it a day ahead and bake it the next day.

 

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package manicotti

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (15-ounce) container fat-free ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 egg white

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

Preparation

1. Cook manicotti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Brown ground beef, onion and garlic 5 minutes or until meat is browned; drain and let cool slightly.

3. Combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and next 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the meat mixture and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce in a lightly greased 13-x 9-inch baking dish. Fill manicotti shells with the meat mixture and arrange in a single layer in prepared dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until sauce bubbles and is heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Carrot Cake with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting from Cooking Light

Since I have bombarded you with main-dishes and soups this week, I thought I would start the weekend with a dessert. I love carrot cake, and one day I will share one of my ultimate favorite which is a full-fat and calorie recipe. But since it’s January, and I’m trying to be good (and helpful to all of you), I thought I would offer up this recipe that is under 300 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving. If you don’t like raisins, you can omit them, and if you want to add nuts, add 1/3 cup chopped pecans. The touch of maple syrup in the icing makes it extra special. Enough said-it’s awesome!

 

Carrot Cake

Prep: 12 servings

Cook: 40 minutes

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 piece)

Ingredients

CAKE:

3/4  cup  all-purpose flour (about 3 1/3 ounces)

1/4  cup  quick-cooking oats

1 1/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon

1  teaspoon  baking powder

1/2  teaspoon  baking soda

1/4  teaspoon  salt

1  cup  granulated sugar

1/4  cup  canola oil

1  (2 1/2-ounce) jar carrot baby food

2  large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/4  cups  finely grated carrot (about 4 ounces)

1/2  cup  golden raisins (optional)

Cooking spray

FROSTING:

1/3  cup  (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat or fat-free cream cheese, softened

1  tablespoon butter, softened

1 1/4  cups  powdered sugar, sifted

1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/4  cup  flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a food processor; pulse 6 times or until well blended. Place flour mixture in a large bowl. Combine granulated sugar, canola oil, baby food, and eggs; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Stir in grated carrot and raisins. Spoon batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 325° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

To prepare frosting, combine cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, vanilla and maple syrup, beating at low speed until smooth (do not overbeat). Spread over cake; sprinkle with coconut. Cover and chill.