Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Bars (Cookie Sheet Size)

School Lunch Peanut Butter Bars
1 1/2 C Flour
1¼ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Baking Soda
¾ C Butter
¾ C Sugar
¾ C Brown Sugar
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 C Creamy Peanut Butter (split)
2 Eggs
1 ½ C Quick Oats

½ C Butter (1 stick)
3 ½ C Powdered Sugar
2 T Cocoa
¼ C Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, 3/4 C peanut butter, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Then, stir in the oats. Spread onto a greased 11 x 15 Jelly Roll Pan (cookie sheet). Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes.

The frosting is a two step process. First, whip the remaning ¾ C Creamy Peanut Butter until it becomes lighter colored and fluffy. Carefully spread the whipped peanut butter over the pan cookie.

Then, add butter to a small sauce pan and melt the butter. Add the milk and cocoa. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Heat just until boiling. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Then, gradually add the powdered sugar. Stir until thickened. Pour over the peanut butter and gently spread over the cookie. Cool completely, and slice into bar cookies.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Baked Potato Soup

3 Tbs butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C flour
4 1/2 C milk (low fat works great)
1 14oz can chicken broth
4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) baked*
2 C grated cheddar (or sharp cheddar) cheese, divided
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 C  sour cream (low fat is fine), divided
1/2 C chopped green onions, divided
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
*don’t have time to bake potatoes in the oven?  Just pierce them with a fork a few times and then pop them in the microwave.  Cook in 5 minute intervals until a knife easily pierces through them.  It usually takes 5-10 minutes.  To bake in the oven, pierce each potato with a fork and place directly on oven rack.  Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes.

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.  Add flour to pan.  Slowly add milk a little at a time while whisking constantly to eliminate lumps.   Whisk until smooth and then add chicken broth. (Now, if you get to this point and don’t have a smooth liquid.  Stop!  Save your soup by popping the mixture in the blender, then continue.)  Bring soup just to a simmer and heat until thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Once soup is thickened, turn heat down to medium-low.  Cut potatoes in half length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out potato flesh into the pot.  Use a wooden spoon to smash potatoes, breaking up large clumps.  Add 1 1/2 C grated cheese and salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted.  Remove pan from heat and stir in 3/4 C sour cream, 1/4 C green onions, and 4 strips of the crumbled bacon.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with each serving with the remaining sour cream, onions, cheese, and bacon.
Our Best Bites

Pumpkin Bars

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
/4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)

Blend together sugar, oil, and eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add can of pumpkin and mix well again. Put batter in a sheet pan that has been sprayed well. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool completely, then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar

Mix together well until light and fluffy.


Lettuce Wraps

1 lb ground chicken breast
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
about 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp and 1 tsp rice vinegar
2-3 Tbsp sliced green onions
about 1/2 can sliced water chestnuts, diced
Large iceberg lettuce leaves

Cook chicken in non-stick skillet. Breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Add garlic and ginger to chicken when it is almost done. Continue cooking. Mix together olive oil, soy sauce, water, peanut butter, honey and vinegar. Add this mixture to the chicken when chicken is completely cooked. Continue cooking for a few minutes, then add green onions and water chestnuts. Continue cooking for 3-4 more minutes. Serve in lettuce leaves.