These Peanut Butter and Jelly bars came out of nowhere. I agreed to make some sort of treat for the office when they hit a goal. The recipient would get a treat themed as the prize according to their role during our event. I hadn’t thought out what I’d make and figured I’d wing it when it happened. Welp. It happened earlier than I thought (which was a good thing) and SOMEHOW I was able to whip these babies up with ingredients at home.
On our event, the participants, volunteers, and staff go bananas over these gramwiches. They seem to only be available in huuuuge quantities (like catering quantities, not even wholesale quantities). I attempted a homemade version and they were amazing. Maybe we were just starved and up to our eyeballs in calls/emails/etc but these seemed perfect. I’m not a big baker so that’s precisely why I don’t need to be humble about these babies. Stellar.
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup jam (I used strawberry)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 graham crackers, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350-degrees and grease a 9×9 baking pan.
Using a stand mixer, mix 1 stick of butter, sugar, and vanilla for about 2 minutes.
Add peanut butter, eggs and mix until combined, scraping down the sides.
Mixing on low, add flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
Add peanut butter chips and mix by hand.
Press into the bottom of the baking pan.
Top with jam.
Melt other stick of butter and mix with brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, and graham crackers into a crumble.
Add topping to the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.
These were so good. You know what makes them this good? The butter. The topping was so good because all good things have butter in them. It makes such a difference.
I totally need to make these again. I’d probably up the jelly ratio…and maybe I’d double the batch.
My event is over. Phew. I’m still just so tired. My head is spinning. There is a lot of stress, pressure, and info swirling but I’m happy. I’m happy how it went. I’m happy how our team did, annnnd I’m happy I don’t have to do it again this weekend already.
Now I’m detoxing. We work so hard and so long that eating and sleeping aren’t top priorities. Now I need to eat real food. I love organizing our meals but feeding that many people, with enough options, is exhausting. Every meal we were at I was thinking of if the next needed confirmations, to be picked up, or paid for. Now I’ll slowly get back to real life.
1 large chicken breast (or 2 small, or 3 tenders)
1/2 cup creamy caesar dressing
2 tbs Italian dressing
1 head romaine lettuce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup croutons
2 tortilla wraps
Marinade chicken in 1/2 of the caesar dressing and Italian dressings overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Grill chicken until cooked through completely.
Chop/slice lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber while chicken cooks.
Toss lettuce, Parmesan, and remaining dressing.
Cut cooked chicken into bite size pieces.
Assemble wraps drizzling with extra caesar dressing.
It was really good. I used tomato basil wraps and they have a nice sweetness to contrast the dressing. The chicken was really good off the grill.
Sandwiches are such a quick dinner. The quantity of chicken for this is so small, but is the perfect amount for a wrap. It is definitely an economical way to include some protein.
Totally unrelated. Here’s the pup Windsor. He was feeling ashamed after being told to get his head out of the dishwasher. He’d love to be a pre-wash if not told to stop…but isn’t that face so cute??
Let’s reminice, shall we? I randomly remembered going out to breakfast, as a kid, on the Cape, and getting pigs in a blanket. Once I thought of it, I was obsessed. It may have happened the very next night. I am kind of on the fence about sweet breakfast. It always seems like a good idea at the time, but I really only want savory items in the morning. This is such the best of both worlds.
When I was a kid, I got sausage links with a pancake rolled around it. The crumbles just seemed much easier. And I was using sausage from the freezer.
I served them with some brown sugared apples
They were fluffy and sweet with the perfect hint of savory.
Today Mr. J provides a guest post for you. He’s quite the cook, though he doesn’t get as many chances to make dinner. With dinners like this, he could be cooking a lot more often!
First and foremost, I do not claim to have a Mexican cooking background nor is this an authentic recipe. This was my interpretation of Huevos Rancheros based on looking at a few recipes online and determining what we had on hand for ingredients. I was looking for a quick weeknight breakfast meal for dinner and came across several Huevos Rancheros recipes online, many of which offered different variations on preparation and ingredients.
I didn’t have all the ingredients to make a fresh salsa, so I chopped some fresh tomato and added it to some existing jar salsa to freshen it up a bit.
I preheated the oven to around 250 degrees, and then heated some olive oil on a griddle pan. I dropped two flour tortillas on the pan for about 2-3 minutes per side, just long enough to get some browning and bubbling, and then transferred them to the oven to stay warm.
The eggs are the key ingredient in my mind, and I noticed some recipes taking a shortcut by using scrambled eggs. I prepared them sunny side up, because the runny yolk ties everything together and is so delicious.
When the eggs were almost done, I pulled the tortillas from the oven and topped with shredded cheese,
Then topped that with the sunny side up eggs,
Followed by the salsa,
Finally finishing with more shredded cheese and a dash of parsley.
I was really pleased with how these turned out. They didn’t take more than 10-15mins to prepare and are perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
Here’s a copy-cat recipe from Pioneer Woman making a pretty tasty spread for sandwiches
I made these kind of envisioning that they would bridge the gap between winter and spring. They’re also easy. And they’re cheap. Yup, spring-ish/easy/cheap fit the bill perfectly. Work is a bit crazy right now. I can’t believe it is May. I’m not sure if I should feel like crying or puking right now.
1/4 pound sliced honey ham
2-4 slices of American cheese
2 tbs stone ground mustard
2 tbs mayo
1 tsp poppyseeds
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp honey
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Mix ingredients for the sandwich spread: mustard, mayo, poppyseeds, vinegar, garlic, and honey.
Cover and bake for 10 minutes.
I liked the spread, but I don’t know that I’d purposely make it again. It might be a fun option at a sandwich bar or making the every-day-lunch more exciting. I don’t use horseraddish often but maybe that was really the missing link. I think this spread was just OK but when Ree Drumand makes it, there’s prob a reason why she adds horseradish.
This is a mild spread. I love condiments so this one was only “ehhh” to me. The sandwiches were melty and warmed through while not having any butter or grease. I think they were a pretty good option to keep things different but I might not make them all that regularly.
rolls: 2 @ $0.45 each
ham: 1/4 pound @ $4.99 per pound 1.24
cheese: 1/2 pound @ $5.99 per pound 2.99
stone ground mustard: <$1.00
poppy seeds: <$2.00
total: about $7.13 for 2 sandwiches or $3.56 each (prob wayyy less if you already have mayo/mustard/etc)
If you have leftover poppy seeds whip up some everything bagel dip!
I make calzones a lot and have figured out some helpful tips I think are worth sharing. There’s nothing worse than spending the time to buy everything, assemble, bake, and then discover it feels like there’s nothing inside! They are easy to prep and work perfectly to prep in advance.
1) Preheat the oven to 400-degrees AND preheat the pan or pizza stone.
This helps the bottom of the calzone get crisp enough and not soggy.
2) Prep inside ingredients while the oven is preheating. Today’s example is turkey meatballs, shredded mozzarella, and fresh spinach. I like to keep fillings simple and varied. Mess around with the cheese a veggie or whatever else. The best calzones have a few textures and don’t only have wet ingredients.
some of my favorites have been: Chicken Cordon Bleu (chicken cutlets, shredded swiss, and ham); Cheeseburger Calzone (ground chicken, American or cheddar, tomatoes, spinach, and special sauce); Prosciutto, Apple, and Brie (with only those ingredients or swapping pear for apple); and of course turkey meatball, spinach, and mozzarella.
3) Assemble your calzone on the surface you’re baking it on. I can’t even imagine trying to move a calzone. By using a hot pan or pizza stone it will actually cook the bottom of your calzone a tiny bit while you assemble! Multi-tasking! Fill that calzone more than you think is necessary. Seriously. Really fill it up so much that you have to stretch the dough to close it up. You want layers and the filling to reach completely to the edges and piled high.
Close it up by pinching the dough around the insides. Put some pressure on the fillings to spread them out again. Don’t squish it completely though.
4) Cut some slits into the top so air can come out. This allows it to vent and cook better. I bake mine for about 30 minutes or so at 400-degrees. Bake for 15 if you’re going to freeze it and cook it the rest of the way later, or if you’re serving it another day. Then you’ll bake it the rest of the way and it won’t be overcooked. Brush the tops with eggwash if you want them shiny. I often skip this and just spray a bit of olive oil over the tops for some shine.
5) Cut and enjoy! Or, Label with preheating instructions if you’re not the one cooking it the rest of the way.
Quick and easy. That’s the mode I’m in right now. My head whirls for the months of April/May. Buckle up, my mind is scattered and dinner is so important right now. Dinner is my stability.
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
3 tbs honey
1 tsp garlic
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup black beans
1/2 cup green onion
Marinate the chicken in teriyaki sauce, honey, garlic, salt and pepper for at least 3 hours.
Grill chicken until cooked through.
Mix pineapple, green onions, black beans and salsa together.
Serve chicken over rice, topped with pineapple salsa.
This is so easy and most can be prepped in advance. The chicken could marinate all day while I’m working and I didn’t make the salsa from scratch…I just added to it. What a quick fix?!
I had a hankering for pineapple, but mango would be fresh too. I chopped a few tomatoes into the salsa too just so the pineapple pieces didn’t seem like the only big chunks. The cool fresh salsa is so good over smoky tangy chicken.
Hooooooly crap. It is May. HOW did that happen. I’m stunned I suddenly have what feels like zero days until my event happens. My entire year’s worth of stress happens all at once…and let me tell ya, I’m not a pretty picture right now. April was a good month with some good dinners. I hope May leaves me still with enough energy to get a bit more creative.
My favorite post of the month was also my highest viewed post of the month! Cheeseburger Calzone is a must-try if you didn’t already see it.
I did a smoothie that I fell in love with: Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
This month also had a guest post about Charleston from my ‘rents and a book review of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Sometimes it is just so great to have some help or some quick posts. Did I mention I’m going bananas at work right now? HINT HINT #guestpostswanted
I was thrilled with this Potato, Leek, and Bacon Pizza
This sandwich with grilled chicken, pear, arugula, and cheddar. Ohh goodness. So delicious.
I was really happy with this side dish of warm brussels sprouts. I never focus on the side dish.
Any quickies you’d recommend for a busy May? Want to be a guest blogger for me? email email@example.com for more details!
One of my favorite parts of Mac & Cheese is that buttery crumb topping. I like the toasty crunch in contrast to the soft noodles. I was thinking I’d give that a go for a really different pasta dish.
I grabbed some creamy tomato sauce at Trader Joe’s and it was great in this. I normally just use “kitchen ready” tomatoes but any tomato sauce would work. Pesto or alfredo would be delicious too. I used parsley but was wanting basil. Parsley is what I had though. This dish requires so few ingredients that I’d urge you not to cheap out on the fresh herb or fresh garlic. It is worth it this time!
1/2 pound spaghetti/linguini/linguini fini
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup tomato sauce
Boil water for the pasta
In a flat pan, over medium heat, heat olive oil, butter, panko, parsley, and garlic. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add pasta to the water, and cook according to the package (just don’t overcook it).
Add salt, pepper, and parmesan to the breadcrumbs. Stir and remove from heat.
Drain pasta and toss with tomato sauce.
Top pasta with breadcrumb topping.
I liked this. It had an easy and more interesting feel to it. It seems more than a thrown together bowl of spaghetti, whereas it really is just that. This breadcrumb topping takes just as much time as for the pasta to boil.
This is uber cheap, flavorful, and vegetarian. Pair it with a glass of wine and bam, that’s dinner.