Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Bars

recipe from Our Best Bites

So, I just realized that I have posted a peanut butter/chocolate combination recently when I shared the Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookie recipe a couple of weeks ago.  I don't know... read into it what you want.  I don't feel that stressed in my life right now, but it would appear that subconsciously I am drawn to insanely indulgent treats with peanut butter and chocolate right now.  :)  One of my favorite candy bars is Reese's peanut butter cups, and I don't know that my life will ever be the same after making these peanut butter bars. They taste so much like Reese's! They are truly sinful.  So, my suggestion is to make these when you have an occasion to share them or you will be cursing me when you are working them off at the gym.  Enjoy!  I know you will!

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 packages)
1 lb (3 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup (2 sticks) real butter, melted
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips
*extra scoop of peanut butter

In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, peanut butter and butter and beat until combined.  Press into a parchment (or waxed paper or foil) lined 9x13 pan.

Place chocolate chips and *extra scoop of peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth.  Pour chocolate over peanut butter mixture and spread out evenly. Place pan in the fridge just until chocolate is set and then cut into bars.  

Tip:  If the bars chill until the chocolate is too hard to easily cut, use a sharp knife and score the cuts first, then gently cut through. Can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature. They will stay firmer if stored in the fridge.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Orange Sesame Chicken

recipe slightly adapted from Jamie Cooks it Up

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy and quickly this recipe came together. Great dish for an "Oh!  It's dinner time already!" moment. It takes about 30-45 minutes to come together start to finish. I think when I make it again, I might try to decrease the soy sauce a bit and see how that affects the sauce because it did taste a little heavy on the soy and not as orange-flavored as I expected.  

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive (or canola) oil

1/2 cup fresh orange juice (you'll need about 2 large oranges)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon orange peel/zest (loosely packed)
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Pour 1/2 cup flour into a medium sized bowl and sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt into it. Toss it together with fork to combine.
2.  Cut your chicken into large chunks and dip them each into the flour, making sure all sides are coated.
3.  Heat a large skillet up over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot, pour 2-3 tablespoons olive or canola oil into pan.
4. Once the oil has gotten hot, place your chicken into the pan. Let the chicken get nice and golden brown.  Then turn each piece over and let it get golden brown on the other side.
5.  While your chicken is cooking, zest one orange.
6. Squeeze the juice from 2 oranges (You will need about 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice)
7. Pour your orange juice, and 1 Tablespoon (loosely packed ) orange zest into a small mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar, 4 Tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 cup cold water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Stir it all together until the cornstarch has dissolved and everything is mixed well.
8. Once your chicken is golden on both sides, pour the orange sauce over the chicken.  Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover, and let it cook for 10-15 minutes over medium low heat stirring occasionally.
9.  When  the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbly, pour 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds over the top of the chicken.  Stir it around to combine.  Serve over white or brown rice.

Serves 6

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies

recipe slightly adapted from Hershey's Kitchens

2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 10 oz package Reese's Peanut Butter Chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
2. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter and sugar in mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.  Stir in peanut butter chips.
3.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-9 minutes.  Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.  
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.