Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Need something for my son's lunch tomorrow so trying a new recipe.  He loves peanut butter to a point of taking tablespoons full of it and eating it plain.  He also loves chocolate chips cookies so when I asked him if he wanted peanut butter cookies or chocolate chip he said both. So I made a peanut butter chocolate chip bar for him. It made it easier on me than making cookies and pleased his love of chocolate and peanut butter.  I'll send a whole plate for his co-workers.

2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ sticks of butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (you can use chunky if you like)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.  Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray.  I like to use the aluminum ones so I can turn it upside down and cut the bars.

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugars until combined. Use a whisk or a rubber spatula to mix in the eggs,  peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined (be careful not to over mix the dough or the bars will be tough). Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, pressing and smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until the top is slightly golden and firm to the touch and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely.

Lift up on the foil overhang to remove the bar from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board.  Cut 2 inch squares.

Variation - You may add additional peanuts for more crunch if you like.

They are roofing and in the heat, these should give them the energy they are going to need for the job.

Hope you have a great day.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Since this week was Cinco de Mayo, I made enchiladas for book club yesterday and thought I’d share.  I made beef/chicken enchiladas (fickled and could not make up my mind J) .  You can make just beef or chicken if you like.  Saylor is spending the weekend and he can’t have dairy so he made his own without cheese.  They are already gluten free.

I have simplified the dish by using salsa instead of chopping onions, tomatoes, jalapeño, etc.  Pick your favorite salsa.


3 tbs. olive oil
1 pounds chicken (I use both dark and white meat.  You may use chicken breasts if you like)
1 pound lean ground beef
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tsp. cumin powder x 2
1 tsp. garlic powder x 2
1 tsp. chili powder x 2
1 cup salsa 
20 corn tortillas
2 cans enchilada sauce (you can pick hot, medium or mild)
2 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses (Mexican blend)

Sour cream
Green chilies
Green onions
Black olives
Chopped tomato and lettuce

Coat large sauté pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and chili powder before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow it to cool.  Shred it or cut into small pieces.

Brown your ground beef adding the cumin, chili powder and garlic powder.  When done add your chicken to it.  Add your salsa and sauté for a minute.  Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Let cool.

Microwave your pile of tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable so they don’t crack when you roll them.  I set up an assembly line of tortillas, sauce, meat, cheese and your pan.

Coat the bottom of 2 (13 x 9 inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce (I did one 9 x 13 inch pan and two 9 x 9 inch pans with the recipe so I could freeze the 9 x 9 for another day). Using a large shallow container, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture in each tortilla.  Add a small amount of cheese.  Fold over the tortilla and roll.  I placed 10 enchiladas in the larger baking dish with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and lots of Mexican cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 350° oven until cheese melts.  Have individual garnishes such as chopped scallions, sour cream, guacamole, black olives, green chilies, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes for each person to garnish the way they like.  I like a little sour cream, lettuce, tomato and black olives on top of mine.

To top it off I made churros cheese cake for the dessert. 

Churros Cheesecake

1 package of Pepperage Farm Puffed Pastry (use both sheets)
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) whipped cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup sugar (divide in half)
2 tbs. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Unroll pastry dough and press one sheet into the bottom of a greased 13 × 9 inch baking pan. 

Using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, vanilla, egg and 1/2 cup of the sugar well until completely blended.

Spread it evenly onto the bottom crust.

Mix ½ cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Top the cream cheese mixture with the remaining pastry dough.   Sprinkle it with ½ cup of sugar and the 2 tbs. of cinnamon mixture.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

I served mine with homemade chocolate syrup at the table.


3/4 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugars to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the cocoa powder, salt, and corn syrup, whisking until all of the solids have dissolved.

Allow the mixture to simmer until it has slightly reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and cool to room temperature.

If you want it to taste more like a Mexican chocolate add a pinch of cinnamon to the cocoa powder.  I didn't because I was putting it on a lot of cinnamon already.  This goes great on ice cream or use it to make chocolate milk.  

Pour into a squeeze bottle and refrigerate.   

Had a wonderful day with friends.  Hope your day is as full and great.  Have a wonderful Mother's Day, be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lobster Pizza

Sam and I made lobster pizza today for lunch.  It is our version of something we had similar at Red Lobster sometime ago.  We loved it and I’ll be making this again.  We put our own spin on a copy cat recipe that I had saved. 

4 thin crust pre-baked pizza crusts
Alfredo Sauce (use your favorite store brand to save work)
1 medium tomato
Sprinkle of dried basil or chopped fresh basil (what ever you have)
2 lobster tails 
Shredded Italian 5 blend cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice

Boil lobster tails and cut the shell in half to pull the lobster meat out of the shell. Chop into bite sized pieces.  Add a small splash of lemon juice (1/2 tsp.) and a pat of butter and let it melt.  Set aside.

Dice and drain your tomato on paper towel.  Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 450°.

Spread a bit of olive oil on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle a very small amount of Kosher salt and a bit of pepper on top of the oil.  Lay down 2 pizza crusts.  Lightly spread 3 cheese Alfredo sauce on top. Sprinkle the blend of cheeses on top. 

Spread the diced tomato evenly on the top.   Sprinkle a small amount of fresh or dried basil over the top. Top with pieces of lobster.

Bake it for five minutes or until the cheese is melted and browned a bit.   Everything is already cooked.  You just need to heat and serve allowing you to make up in advance and just heating before serving.

Slice the pizza into eight pieces.  Recipe made 4 small pizzas. 

These make great individual pizzas or appetizers. 

Variation - You can substitute the lobster and use crab, imitation crab or small shrimp.  I will be buying the thin crust pre-baked pizza crusts again in the future and making my own little mini pizzas with my own twists on them. 

They  would make a great appetizer for a Kentucky Derby party this afternoon.  Hope you have a great Saturday.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.