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.

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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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.

Easy Magnificent Muffulettas

February 3, 2009

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With Mardi Gras around the corner, I thought a taste of New Orleans was in order. My best friend in Nashville, Lisa, always talks about making Muffulettas because she entertains a lot, and it’s fun, delicious, casual food that tastes great. This version is really simple, quick and really good. I made these for Super Bowl Sunday, and they were an instant hit. Be sure to choose pitted olives to make your life easier. Feel free to add ham, salami, Italian salami, prosciutto or your favorite deli meats or cheeses. 


Easy Muffulettas

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 pint pitted assorted olives (1 cup  finely chopped)

4 hoagie rolls, sliced lengthwise

3/4 pound sliced deli turkey (I used pepper turkey)

4 slices Munster cheese

4 slices Mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

1. Process olives in a food processor until finely chopped. Spread olives evenly on cut sides of half of the bread. Top with turkey and cheeses and brush 1 tablespoon olive oil evenly over  inside of bread.

2. Wrap each sandwich in lightly greased aluminum foil and place all on a baking sheet. Bake, covered at 350F for 20 minutes. Uncover and brush top of sandwich rolls with remaining olive oil. Bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes more or until lightly browned and cheese is melted. Cut into small slices for appetizers-size sandwiches.

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.

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My family really loves eggnog-even the kids! Last year, I developed an Eggnog Pound Cake, and they loved it. This year, I was asked to do another pound cake for a party, but I got so swamped with kids, work, holiday parties, after-school activities and more work, I decided to attempt to create a recipe using a boxed cake mix.  I had 1 1/2 hours before the party, and I threw this together, and it worked like a charm. I used dark rum (and 1/2 cup seems like a lot), but the cake was very moist, flavorful and delicious. I hope you will enjoy this simple cake as much as they did at our holiday party. 


Eggnog Rum Cake

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 65 minutes

Yield: Makes 16 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons  butter, softened

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix

1 cup eggnog

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup run

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 325F. Grease a 12 cup Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Press almonds on bottom and sides of pan.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, mix all remaining ingredients. Mix on medium speed 2 minutes. Carefully spoon into prepared pan.

3. Bake at 325F for 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

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If you’re looking for the easiest cookie ever, look no further.  With just a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, you can make these cookies with ease. Whether you’re having guests over for the holidays, want to make a holiday snack or headed to a cookie swap, this recipe makes plenty and is sure to please (also kids go nuts over them). They are so small that you won’t feel any guilt eating more than one or two. Feel free to add extra chocolate chips if you like. 

 

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups or 1 (12-ounce) package  semisweet mini morsels

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Powdered sugar

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour; stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers.