The Great 8: Valentine’s Day Recipes

Ready for Valentine’s day?
Or Galentine’s day! This year, my girlfriends and I are getting together for a potluck.  I plan on making some pizza and some goodies from the list below. So, if you’re getting together with your sweetie, friends, or it’s just you and and a glass bottle of wine, here’s a list of some of my favorite delicious in a dash recipes you can easily whip up this weekend.  Share your love with food!

Looking for a breakfast treat?

Peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins.jpgOr how about some homemade granola? My Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola is crunchy and makes a great topping for yogurt, oatmeal or just for great snacking.  It’s much healthier and tastier than anything you get in the store. (cheaper, too!)

Maple Pecan Quinoa GranolaEasy and Delicious Meals:

Tasty Vegetarian: Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash SoupEasy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup.jpg

A hearty sausage and pepper pasta – a perfect winter meal.  Especially enjoyed when eaten after shoveling feet of snow after successive Nor’easters.

20140318-081953.jpgDelicious Desserts:

No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal bars.  No oven needed – whip these up in no time at all!

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For the peanut butter lover:  The best peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, EVER

Super chewy and never flat.  You can make a few cookies and freeze the extra dough for later.

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.jpgFor the chocolate addicts in your life: Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies.  These are for chocolate lovers and must be accompanied by a big glass of milk.

Triple Chocolate cookie stackFinally, the top thing I am making this Valentine’s day is a favorite of my taller half – Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars.  They are made with pomegranate Greek yogurt – so no need to spend your time getting those pesky seeds out of the fruit.  (You can also sub strawberry yogurt if you can’t find pomegranate)Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars.jpgForget about the cards and the mediocre boxed candy.  Share your love with delicious food!  ❤

 

 

Woo!

Happy Monday Everyone! My blog hit a milestone this past weekend – my Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffin recipe was featured in the Washingtonian. Check it out!

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Woo!

On deck: An easy, super chocolatey cookie recipe is on its way to you later this week!  Stay tuned!Triple Chocolate Cookies

No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

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Summer is the season for so many wonderful things: BBQs, beach trips, outdoor concerts, sweating while doing just about anything, and eating tons and tons of ice cream.   This week, I was craving something sweet that was NOT ice cream and I really didn’t want to sweat while making it.  However, there is this whole dilemma that I can’t turn on my oven to bake because it’s just too damn hot on the 5th floor.

The solution – super fast No-Bake bars! 

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I chose butterscotch for these bars because my Taller Half LOVES butterscotch, and his birthday was last week.  Aw. I’m such a good girlfriend. (meanwhile I’m in the kitchen scarfing down half the batch before I even show him what I no-baked) Yes.  I made these bars with total and complete unselfish love.

Anyway,

Let’s review why these bars are amazing and you need to get in your kitchen and No-bake these bars right now:

  1. These bars are subtly sweet, chewy and creamy all in one
  2. They take less than 10 minutes to no-bake
  3.  You only need 7 ingredients (well, 8 if you include salt)
  4. These bars have peanut butter (Protein!) and oats (Fiber!)

You will thank me.  We finished the first batch in 2 days.  TWO days. oops

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My Taller Half says they taste like a cross between a chewy granola bar and butterscotch fudge.  You heard me.  You are making chewygranolabutterscotchfudge bars in less than 10 min!

Let’s no-bake some butterscotch oatmeal bars in a DASH!

First combine the oats, salt and butterscotch chips in a large bowl

Then melt peanut butter, oil, milk and honey in a small saucepan.  Heat slowly and stir.  This mixture can burn easily, so keep the heat low and keep stirring.  Plus, it’s too damn hot out!  No need to turn that burner all the way up!

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Keep stirring. This mixture is not well incorporated yet!

Heat mixture and stir until everything is combined.   Then remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.

Next, simply add the wet mixture to the oat and butterscotch mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until all the oats are coated and the butterscotch chips are nice and melted.  Mmmmm melty butterscotch.  This mixture is deeee-licious.

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Now scoop out everything into a 8×8 baking dish that is lined with parchment paper and squish down to even out the mixture and let it set for about 30 min.  I put the first batch in the fridge to set, because my kitchen is A LOT hotter than “room temp”.  If your kitchen is a normal temperature or you are blessed with air conditioning, then you can probably let them set outside the fridge.

20130729-213423.jpgAfter the bars have set, eat entire pan of oat bars cut into squares and enjoy.  Store bars in fridge, if you have any left after I ate them all.  : )

20130729-213445.jpgMMmmm  look at that chewy, oaty texture.  The creamy butterscotch and peanut butter smooths oat the old fashioned oats and you get this wonderful chewy, creamy bite! Yum!

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20130729-213529.jpgRecipe: No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Resting time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 40 min
  • Makes 1 full 8×8 pan

Ingredients:

     Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

     Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I always bake or no-bake with Skippy)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey (you can use less to make them less sweet) – **see below for tip for measuring
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%, but you can use whatever you have)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Line an 8×8 dish with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and stir
  3. In a small saucepan, combine all the wet ingredients, except vanilla.**
  4. On low heat, melt the peanut butter and stir to incorporate all the wet ingredients.  Do this slowly and keep an eye on it.  This mixture can burn easily.
  5. When peanut butter is melted, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Pour hot wet ingredients directly into bowl with dry ingredients. Stir until all oats are coated with warm mixture and the butterscotch chips are melted. (I used a large rubber spatula to stir this all together.)
  7. Pour into prepared baking dish and press down with either a metal or rubber spatula to make an even layer
  8. Let it set in the fridge for about 30 min.
  9. Cut into bars and Enjoy!

Store leftovers in a air tight container in fridge for about a week.

** To easily measure honey, use the same cup as the vegetable oil and measure after oil.  Or, spray measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam) before pouring honey in.

Recipe source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins

20130619-223034.jpgI have a bit of a sweet tooth. Ok. That’s a lie. I have a mouth full of sweet teeth. Growing up, I always loved to eat sweet stuff for breakfast. My mom always made us eat well balanced lunches and dinners, but when it came to breakfasts, my mom let us eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Count Chocula, and Lucky Charms. Mmmm. I still love all these cereals. I think the weight I put on in college was probably from eating tons of sugar cereals from the dining hall. Although I don’t eat sugar cereals for breakfast anymore too often, I still love a sweet treat for breakfast. That’s where the idea for Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins came from. I know, it’s a mouthful. But these muffins themselves are a mouthful.

20130619-223052.jpgI wanted to make a quick, sweet breakfast to grab and go. I thought muffins would be a perfect, grownup sweet breakfast. They just needed to be tasty, healthy and filling and these muffins fulfill all three requirements. They’re made with simple, whole ingredients that you would eat for breakfast: Peanut butter, banana, old fashioned oats and milk. And of course, cinnamon. Because cinnamon makes everything better! And even better, these muffins have NO butter and NO oil, and they are still super moist and super delicious. You can definitely feel good about eating these for breakfast because of all the good-for-you ingredients!20130619-223101.jpgAnother great thing about these muffins, is that they are super easy to make, they don’t require a mixer and they use up those brown, overripe bananas you have sitting on your counter. How do you make these muffins in a DASH?

First, combine the flour, old fashioned oats, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Next smash two overripe bananas, and mix this with the peanut butter and egg until well combined. You’ll need to use a little elbow grease to really combine the peanut butter and the egg together.

20130619-223405.jpgAdd the remaining “wet” ingredients and stir until combined. Then add the dry ingredients to the mixed wet ingredients. The batter will still be a little thin and a little lumpy and will look like this:

20130619-223611.jpgFill a greased or lined muffin pan with the batter. Be sure to fill cups all the way to the top!

Bake, and be prepared for healthy, moist, muffin heaven.20130619-223621.jpg

Now, I’m going to share a little extra decadence with you. The muffins, as is, are delicious, but if you want to bring them OVER-THE-TOP, you can add a cinnamon sugar topping. It is perfect, little something extra that makes these “weekend muffins”, or what I call breakfast.

To keep these muffins butter-free, you can just dip the top of the muffins in a bowl of cinnamon sugar mixture. Just roll the top around when the muffins are still warm and the cinnamon sugar will stick right to it.

20130619-223120.jpgNow, take a big bite into this soft, moist, peanut buttery, slightly sweet, banana-y, oaty muffin.

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The muffins are not too sweet, and the peanut butter taste is not overwhelming. I tried to add more peanut butter, but it made the muffins really dense. I wanted a lighter muffin, which is what these are. If you want more peanut butter flavor, you could try adding chopped peanuts to the batter, or make a peanut crumb topping. But, I loved these muffins just the way they are. What could be better than peanut butter and banana combo?! Adding oats to it and eating it warm for breakfast. Yum!20130619-223139.jpg20130619-223131.jpgRecipe: Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy creamy peanut butter)
  • 2 medium overripe bananas (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk (I used 1%, but use whatever you have)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, smash the bananas and beat in the peanut butter and egg till well combined. Then add brown sugar, vanilla and milk and stir until blended.
  4. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and stir. Batter will be a little thin and a little lumpy (See picture above).
  5. Fill prepared muffin cups with batter and bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow muffins to cool for a few minutes before adding cinnamon sugar topping

Cinnamon sugar topping!

  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and dip and roll top of muffin in until coated.
Enjoy!  : )

Recipe source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

If you like these muffins – try some of my other peanut butter and oatmeal recipes:

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, ever (I’m serious)

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.jpgNo Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

No-bake Butterscotch Oatmeal bars.jpgMaple Pecan Quinoa Granola

Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola.jpgMaple Almond Cinnamon Granola

Maple Almond Cinnamon Granola

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER

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My best friend, Chelsea, defended her doctoral thesis on Friday, and this post is in honor of her. What is her connection with these supposed “Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER”? Chelsea, is not a cookie lover. You know, she’s the type of person who will choose any other type of dessert over a cookie. Well, ladies and gentleman, this changed after she tried these cookies. She’s actually requested me to make these cookies multiple times AND she nagged me for the recipe. I say nagged, mostly because I took forever to give her this recipe. I stink at writing down recipes, which is one of the reasons I started this blog. It forces me to write down my recipes and it makes it easier for me to share them with my friends and beyond!

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These cookies have clearly changed Chelsea’s life (for the better), and I’m confident they will change yours. What makes these cookies the absolute BEST?

These cookies are super chewy and soft, and they are this way consistently. Look at those beauties. They’re nice and fat.

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If you like crispy cookies, sorry, these are not crispy. But I do beg you to try these, because I bet you will like them. No. You will love them. They might even convert you to being a chewy cookie lover. Seriously, if you follow my easy recipe – no substitutions, they will come out perfect every time you make them. These cookies don’t flatten and these cookies don’t run. The dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated before you bake them, but you can if you need to. Normally, cookies are a delicate beast, so to be able to say these are so easy to make and hard to mess up?! Well, we have a gem on our hands.

Another bonus? The peanut butter to chocolate ratio is perfect and they are not too sweet. I’ve worked really hard to perfect this. *disclaimer: your taste for chocolate/peanut butter may vary.

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Do you need anymore reasons? OK Ok, I have another one for you. The dough freezes really well. This means you can have fresh baked cookies in under 10 minutes anytime you want. ANYTIME. I guess this can be a pretty dangerous thing. But, eh. Enjoy life. You can whip up a batch and divide it into smaller portions and wrap 2x in plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer.

20130418-075253.jpgThen when you want the Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER, you just take a frozen portion out of the freezer, let it thaw for ~ 1 hour on the counter, or a few hours to a few days in the fridge – and bake up a fresh batch. Simple, easy and amazingly delicious. I guess you could say these cookies are Delicious in a DASH : )

20130418-074844.jpgSo how do you make these chewy, chocolatey, peanut buttery cookies in a DASH?

First, pull out your butter so it can soften at room temperature. You never want to melt your butter, just let it sit at room temperature about 5-10 minutes. While your butter is softening, gather up all the other ingredients and bowls and things. I usually prep my dry ingredients first, because my butter is still softening. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. **When measuring flour, be sure to scoop into the cup, and then level off with a knife. You never want to scoop with the cup. It will pack the flour down into the cup and you will measure too much. For more on how to measure flour, check out the King Arthur Flour website.

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Now tackle the step 1 wet ingredients. I cut the still cold stick of butter into 4-6 pieces, this way, it is easier to mix. **A tip for measuring out the creamy peanut butter – spray the cup with non-stick cooking spray – it will make the peanut butter slide out easier.** I also have always used Skippy creamy peanut butter with these cookies, but any creamy peanut butter will do. I’ve never tried natural peanut butter with these cookies, (I usually save that for sandwiches) so I can’t guarantee their perfection, however, you can try.

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In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugars and peanut butter together. If you are using a mixer, do not go above medium speed, it will warm up the butter too much. It should look like the picture below. Make sure the ingredients are very well combined, mix for about 3-4 minutes. You want the sugar to poke holes in your butter so your cookies will have air in them (the baking soda needs some air in there to work with). Now, I should warn you, if you taste this stuff at this phase it will taste like peanut butter frosting. Careful, you need this stuff to make the cookies, but go ahead, taste it. : )

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Next, combine step 2 of the wet ingredients to mixing bowl that contains the well-creamed butter/sugar/peanut butter mixture. ** Tip for measuring honey. Just like the peanut butter, spray the tablespoon with non-stick cooking spray before measuring the honey. The honey will slide right out.** Mix all the ingredients till they are well combined.

20130416-215254.jpgFinally, Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) to the mixing bowl that has the well mixed wet ingredients. I add the dry ingredients in 2 batches – ½ in, stir till combined, then the other ½. Do NOT over mix your cookie batter at this step.

After the flour mixture is incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. Mmmm

To measure out the cookies, I usually use a tablespoon, this is the size cookie that my baking time is for. You can certainly make them larger. You will need to adjust the baking time. These cookies don’t spread, so you can put them closer together than I have pictured here.

20130418-075239.jpgNow you’re ready to bake. Get ready for peanut buttery, chocolatey deliciousness!

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Mmmm! Warm, creamy peanut butter and melty chocolate.

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Recipe:20130416-215148.jpg

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER

Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 and ½ cups of flour (I use all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

Wet Ingredients – step 1

  • ½ cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (1 stick)
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter (not natural kind – I like Skippy the best)
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup of white sugar

Wet Ingredients – step 2

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 and ¼ cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients from step 1. Cream the ingredients until smooth
  4. To that same mixing bowl, add step 2 wet ingredients **To measure out the honey, use a non-stick cooking spray (like Pam) to spray the tablespoon. The honey will slide right off the tablespoon and you won’t loose any honey.
  5. Mix all the wet ingredients (step1 and 2) until well incorporated
  6. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. You may add the mixed dry ingredients in 2 batches to make it easier to incorporate.
  7. Stir the wet and dry until just combined
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips
  9. Drop cookies onto baking sheet using a tablespoon to measure. You can smoosh the cookies with your hands or mold them into balls if you like.
  10. Bake for 7-9 min. 8 minutes is perfect for my oven and the size I bake, but it may vary based on oven and cookie size. ** The cookies will be soft and a will look a little underdone – but will cook a little more as you let them cool on the sheet.  Do not over bake.  The cookies will come out hard and crumbly if you bake them too long. 

Enjoy!

Cooled cookies keep for a week in a sealed container.

Dough freezes well up to 3 months.

You can also refrigerate the dough for up to ~ 3 days before baking.

* I used a mixer because I have one. But you do not need any mixer to make these cookies.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies