Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches

Are you hooked on Pintrest like I am?  What a wonderful place to go to get great ideas and so many different kinds of yummy recipes!  Today's recipe is one that I've seen floating around as other's pins.  It's one that I've been making for a while, given to me by my aunt Janell.  Talk about DELICIOUS!!

On all of the recipes that I've seen on Pintrest and other food blogs, those recipes call for brown sugar.  I remember Janell advising me to use all powdered sugar and no brown sugar in the recipe.  The first time that I tried it, I thought I'd stick to the original recipe.  So I used brown sugar.  BLAH!!  It gives the filling a grainy texture, not like the smooth and creamy filling I had tried at my aunt's house.

Ever since then, I only make this recipe using powdered sugar - NO BROWN SUGAR.  It makes a world of difference!

Another change I'd recommend is using pretzel snaps (square pretzels) rather than these mini twisted pretzels.  The filling stays in much better.

Finally, on to the recipe...

Here's what you'll need:

2 C. creamy peanut butter
4 T. softened butter
3 C. powdered sugar
1 bag of pretzel snaps (not butter snaps, pretzel snaps) (or mini twisted pretzels if you must)
1-2 bags of chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet, I prefer semi-sweet)

Beat the peanut butter and butter until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until well combined.  Make a 1-inch ball of the peanut butter mixture and press between two pretzels.  Place on a cookie sheet.  When the sheet is filled, place it in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to firm.  Dip peanut butter/pretzel sandwiches halfway into some melted chocolate.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze or refrigerate again until firm.  Then they're ready to eat!

Peanut Butter + Chocolate + Sweet + Salty + Crunchy + Creamy = The Perfect Munchies

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chicken Penne Pasta

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other night and she was telling me that she most enjoys the main dish recipes I post on here.  And I think she's much like most people - you just like to try new things for dinner.  It's an extra bonus when it's a quick, easy, and YUMMY dinner!

I got this recipe from my friend, Kolette, who got it from our friend, Heidi.  Both wonderful cooks who I trust entirely.  So I was looking forward to giving this recipe a try.  I love how simple it is to make and even more, how delicious it tastes.

Here's what you'll need:

1 (16 oz.) package penne pasta (or other pasta, I used bowtie)
1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 jar Alfredo sauce
3 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese
3 C. cubed chicken, cooked

Place 1/2 the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.  (I used 4 ramakins and a 7 1/2x11 inch pan since I needed individual servings for a special dinner I did.)  Layer 1/2 the pasta then 1/2 the Alfredo sauce, all the chicken, and 1/2 the cheese.  Repeat layers without the chicken.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

See how easy that is?!  LOVE IT!  I might even try replacing the chicken with a sweet Italian sausage next time.  Mmmmmm...

Sorry I didn't get any after pictures.  It was gone in no time flat.  I hope you enjoy it like we did!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Apple Muffins

What a fun summer we've had!!  It was filled with picnics, parks, friends, birthday parties, bike rides, family, evening walks, campfires, gardening, water parks, and an awesome trip to Jackson, WY.  I really didn't want all the fun to end.  But, alas, all good things must come to an end, I guess.  So, thanks for letting me take a vacation, but now I'm back and ready to start blogging once again.

One bad part about my summer was that my computer crashed.  Again.  But this time, zero of my pictures were saved.  So all those fifty-something recipe pictures I had ready to post?  They're gone.  All gone.  Bummer.  I guess I have some major cooking to do so that I can keep updating.  Shucks.  ;)

About a week ago, we were up at my in-law's having Sunday dinner.  My mother-in-law asked if I wanted any apples from her very well producing apple tree.  YES, PLEASE!  So, we took home a grocery sack filled to the brim with these DELICIOUS apples!  And as I said on Facebook today, they've been sitting on my counter begging me to bake with them.  So I now have a whole list of things I'd like to make using these yummy apples.

First on my list that I made today are apple muffins.  This recipe came from a roommate, Becky, my Freshman year of college.  I was always so impressed with Becky because when she cooked, she made some pretty amazing food.  Well, it looked pretty amazing compared to what I ate.  She used the oven to make things.  I usually ate carrot sticks and PB&J sandwiches.  I was very impressed.

These muffins were one of the things Becky made.  And she actually let me eat one (I believe it was because we were moving out and she wasn't taking them with her and she didn't want them to go to waste).  I thoroughly enjoyed it and asked for the recipe.

When I made these today, my kids have been snarfing them down.  SNARFING.

Here's what you'll need:

3C. flour
1 C. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 C. milk
1/2 C. oil
2 C. grated apples

Combine the first 5 ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and oil.  Beat well.  Set aside.  Get your apples ready.  I like to use my apple slicer, that way you cut out the core and you have small, manageable slices to peel.  Peel the skins then shred or dice.  Which ever you prefer.  I have an old Salad Shooter that I use to make shredding a breeze.
It's okay if your apples brown; they'er going into a brown batter.  No big deal.

Combine your wet and dry ingredients only until moistened, then gently stir in your apples.  You don't want to over mix the batter or else you'll end up with tough muffins.  You want them to be nice and tender.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin tins (I like to use the baking spray with flour).  Scoop the muffin batter into the tins filling them 2/3 - 3/4 of the way full.  I just use one large cookie scoop per muffin.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, the recipe says.  I baked my on convection for 14 minutes.  So, just keep an eye on them and take them out when they start to turn golden brown.  Remove from the pan and cool on a cooling rack.
Then watch your kids snarf them all.  Next time I'll be doubling the batch!
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