Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

I’m actually kind of upset I made these, because now I know how simple rice crispy treats are to make. I have lovely memories of my Nana making these when I was little. I feel like none of these will ever really taste like her plain yummy summer afternoon treats, but let’s be honest here- how can something with chocolate and peanut butter not be good?

I made these for my coworkers who all seem to like these a lot when they are stocked in the break room. Today marks 5 years that I have been at my current company and I wanted to share something delicious with them as a way to say thanks! Hopefully they will like them (I bet they will!)

You will need

5 tbs butter, divided
1 bag marshmallows, mini work best but I had regular and it worked fine too
1/4 cup peanut butter
5 cups rice crispies
3 tablespoons toffee bits
1/2 cup chocolate morsels

In a large pot melt 4 tbs butter on low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Once almost uniform add peanut butter, stirring to combine.

20121015-075054.jpg

20121015-075111.jpg

Grease a 9 x 13″ pan with remaining butter and grease a spatula too while you are at it. Remove the mallow mixture from the heat and stir in the crispies and the toffee. Use the greased spatula to press the mixture into the baking dish.

20121015-075342.jpg

Next add the chips to a microwave safe bowl. You could do a double boiler but I am lazy, I don’t like to wait and I don’t like doing more dishes. Set your microwave to 50% heat- chocolate burns easily. Set the microwave for 3 minutes. After 1 minute, stir. Then stir about every 30 seconds. Mine were done just after 2 mins. Don’t go by how they look, they wont look melted until you stir them. Drizzle the pan with chocolate.

20121015-075631.jpg

Cover and let cool 2 hours or over night. Cut to the size you prefer. I made 15 squares, each is 170 calories… soo could be worse? 😉

20121015-075815.jpg

Sorry for the dark pictures, I should add I made these at 10 pm, haha.

Advertisements
Posted in Just Desserts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta Bake

Wow, this recipe came as a total accident. So much so… I only have pictures from the last half of the process. This was the product of a “what do I have on hand/ how can I use some CSA veggies and what can I make under 500 calories” situation. I pretty much scoured my pantry and came up with this. It was soo yummy and pretty easy. Halfway through I tasted the sauce and thought, crap maybe this *should* go on the blog! If you like butternut squash I think you will like it.

You will need:

2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 cups chicken stock
1 jar lite Alfredo sauce
1 cup water
Fresh cracked black pepper
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
4 cups Swiss shard, stems removed, torn into pieces
1/2 lb of large whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely shredded reduced fat cheddar (I used Cabot)
Olive oil cooking spray

In a stock pot add the squash and stock and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until squash is soft enough to mash. Add alfredo, put 1 cup of water in the jar, shake and add to the pot. Stir to mix. Use an immersion blender to purée the mixture into a smooth sauce. Or you could blend it in batches in a blender. Once blended add the mushrooms and then the chard.

20121001-221512.jpg

20121001-221531.jpg

I looove chard! If you don’t then spinach would work fine too.

Preheat the oven to 350. Let the sauce simmer on low while you cook pasta. I used whole wheat chiocciole for the pasta, it is a big curly tube pasta- it worked very well for this dish. Cook just under al dente since it will finish in the oven.

20121001-221834.jpg

Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.

20121001-221938.jpg

Add pasta to a large casserole dish strayed with cooking spray. Spread crumbs evenly over top and then evenly spread cheese over the crumbs. Lightly spray the top cooking spray.

20121001-222202.jpg

20121001-222247.jpg

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until top is getting to be brown and cheese melts.

20121001-222405.jpg

20121001-222420.jpg

Serve hot with a little cracked pepper on top.

20121001-222517.jpg

I had a hard time not eating this whole pan. Thankfully it makes a lot and there are only 4 servings. 1 serving is just under 450 calories. I am already looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

Posted in Creative Casseroles, Pasta Perfect | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pumpkin Gruyere Foccacia

When I found this recipe I was immediately daunted by the idea of making a yeast bread. I have never baked any type of bread before but a review of the recipe had a first time bread baker who said the hardest part was waiting between the steps. Knowing I had a cup of pumpkin I needed to use up I dove in head first and at the end of the process I couldn’t agree more with the reviewer. This was easy but a long process since you have to wait for the dough to rise… A few times. Seriously though this was delicious and makes a lot! This was adapted from cooking light so it is even healthy for you. Coming in at about 170 calories a piece, the recipe makes 2 loaves with 8 servings a loaf.

You will need:

3/4 cup warm water (100 degrees)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 package dry yeast
3 1/4 cups flour plus more for kneading
3 tbs butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (not the pie filling!)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup grated gruyere- I used applewood smoked!
Cooking spray
1 tsp cornmeal
Chopped walnuts, if desired

Combine water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. The yeast should get frothy (activated) in this time period.

Add 1 cup flour and butter, cover and let rise in a warm draft free place for 1/2 an hour.

20120930-212129.jpg

20120930-212258.jpg

In this time shred your cheese. Don’t get pre-shredded because that usually has flour in it to keep the shreds from clumping.

20120930-212431.jpg

Stir pumpkin and salt into the flour mixture until combined. Add the flour and half of the cheese until the dough forms.

20120930-212614.jpg

20120930-212638.jpg

On a floured surface turn put the dough, kneading until it is smooth and elastic- about 8 minutes. Add small amounts if flour as needed to prevent it from sticking to your hands. No more than 1/4 cup should be needed.

Place dough in a large bowl covered with cooking spray. Turn the dough to coat the top, cover and put back in the warm draft free location. Let the dough rise for 60 mins, it should double in size.

20120930-212915.jpg

20120930-212951.jpg

Once risen punch down the dough. Seriously, just give the dough a few good whacks. It will probably help you relieve some stress while also helping your bread come to it’s fullest potential. 🙂

20120930-213219.jpg

Cover and let the dough rise for 5 minutes. During this time sprinkle the cornmeal on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400. Then cut the dough in half and form 2 circular discs. They should each be about 8″ flat. Put them on the baking sheet and sprinkle on the cheese and a few tsps of chopped walnuts if you want. Press the toppings in a little and then spray with cooking spray and… Yes you guessed it cover and let rise. This is the last time, I promise! Just 20 minutes and your oven is preheating anyhow.

20120930-213600.jpg

The dough will not double in size this time. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bottom has browned. If it looks like the cheese may burn you can shield the loaves with foil towards the end of baking.

20120930-213759.jpg

20120930-213826.jpg

I froze one loaf and served the other with a homemade tomato rice soup. I had a cold last week and this was the perfect pick me up meal.

20120930-213941.jpg

Posted in Special Sides | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rosti with Baked Eggs

In my CSA last week I had some turnips that I was looking to use up. The first thing that pops to mind when I hear turnips is definitely not a savory breakfast casserole, but lo and behold after scouring the Internet for recipes this is where I landed. I literally just finished savoring this meal when I knew I had to immediately post it in the blog. Don’t shy away from this because of turnips you can’t taste them under the delicious homefries, gruyere and eggs that really make this a special dish. Don’t believe me just look at this, how can you say no? And at just over 350 calories a serving you really shouldn’t pass this up!

20120929-143734.jpg

You will need:

5 oz 0% fat Greek yogurt ( I used Chobani)
1 tbs flour
15 oz frozen shredded potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup grated turnip
2.5 oz grated gruyere cheese (I used applewood smoked- mmm)
1 tbs melted margarine
1/8 cup chopped chives
Sprinkle is black pepper and nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
Cooking spray
4 large eggs
More chives and cracked pepper for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a bowl mix together the yogurt a d flour.

20120929-144255.jpg

Next mix in the potatoes through nutmeg, stirring to combine.

20120929-144357.jpg

Spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray and evenly spread potato mixture into the dish. Bake for 30 minuntes or until the tops starts to brown. Remove from oven. Use the back if a spoon to make 4 indentation into the casserole where you will break the eggs.

20120929-144542.jpg

Break an egg carefully into each pocket, making sure not to break the yolk.

20120929-144802.jpg

Bake for about 15 minutes or until eggs are at your desired doneness. I like mine a little runny. You should check on them after 10 minutes to gauge.

20120929-144926.jpg

As you can see 2 of mine went a little too long (for my taste, so keep an eye on them). Serve with cracked pepper and chives on top.

20120929-145038.jpg

20120929-145101.jpg

Also good with a heavy dousing of hot sauce… In my opinion 🙂

20120929-145137.jpg

This recipe was adapted from a Cooking Light recipe.

Posted in Brunch and Breakfast | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lightened Up 5 Layer Mexican Dip

This past Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to see Florence and the Machine with my good friend Marco! We had decided in advance to tailgate a bit before the show and since we were meeting with a few friends I wanted to bring a crowd pleasing appetizer. This definitely fit the bill and was healthy to boot! It makes a lot, so you could always half the recipe if need be. Between this dip and an incredible performance I would say the night as a whole was a big success!

This dip has 5 parts, 3 are easy and the other 2 take some work. I’d say it’s definitely worth it though! The salsa and crema are amazing on their own, but when put together in this dip- MMM!

You will need:

Layer 1:
1 can fat free refried beans

Layer 2:
2 cups 0% fat Greek yogurt or lite sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro
1-2 limes
2-3 chipotle peppers in sauce

Layer 3:
5 Roma tomatoes, cored and diced
1/4 red onion minced
1/3 cup fat free feta cheese
2 tbs chopped cilantro
2 avocados, chopped
1 lime
1 tbs olive oil

Layer 4:
1 cup shredded lettuce

Layer 5:
1/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes

First you want to make the salsa (layer 3) since that will need about an hour to chill. Mix together the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, oil and feta. When you chop the avocado, squeeze the line onto it, this will keep it green and make the dip look nicer. Gently fold in the avocado and then refrigerate for at least an hour.

20120916-215625.jpg

Next up is layer 2, the crema! This is a chipotle lime crema and I love it on pretty much anything Mexican. It comes together super easy if you have an immersion blender, if not a food processor would work too!

20120916-220036.jpg

Blend together the yogurt, cilantro, juice if 1 lime and the peppers. Chipotle peppers are hot, so add between 1-3 depending on how spicy you want it. Remember you can always add more later, but you can’t take them out. Once blended taste and add more lime if needed.

20120916-220244.jpg

This made more than I needed for the dip, but it keeps in the fridge for a few days, just stir before using.

Now it is time to layer!

In a 10 x 7″ dish evenly spread the beans on the bottom.

20120916-220442.jpg

Next up, crema:

20120916-220520.jpg

Avocado feta salsa:

20120916-220553.jpg

Shredded lettuce:

20120916-220623.jpg

And tomatoes!

20120916-220654.jpg

Serve immediately or chill for a few hours. This is better when everything is fresh so you could always jut assemble right before an event if you prepare the components in advance. This was super yummy and hood for you. Use a hearty chip for dipping and enjoy!!

20120916-220908.jpg

20120916-220934.jpg

Posted in Appealing Appetizers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Broccoli and Summer Squash Casserole

Yesterday on break I was on the hunt for a recipe to use up the broccoli and summer squash from my CSA. Surprisingly, there were not many recipes that fit this bill. I did come across one recipe from Southern Living that looked good, but was laden with butter, mayo and cheese. This is my lightened up version and it was too good not to share! I had a strong desire to eat the whole pan, but stuck to one piece thanks to will power. This serves 6 and in my opinion makes a good breakfast, lunch or dinner! It also makes a great side dish too if you wanted meat with it or you could throw some ham in and I bet that would be yummy too!

You will need:

1 tbs white wine
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
2 summer squash, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
Salt and pepper
6 eggs
1/2 cup no fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large pot in medium high heat add the wine and onions, cook for a few minutes then add broccoli.

20120912-074027.jpg

Add in squash and peppers and turn heat to medium and cover, letting steam for a few minutes. One cooked, cut the heat and set aside for a few minutes to cool a bit.

20120912-074131.jpg

In a bowl whisk together 6 eggs and Greek yogurt. Add cheddar cheese and egg mixture to veggies, stirring to combine. Pour into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Evenly sprinkle panko on top and then spray with olive oil mister.

20120912-074459.jpg

Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes or until cooked through and top is beginning to brown.

20120912-074605.jpg

Serve hot on it’s own or as a side dish. This was packed with veggies and flavor!

20120912-074738.jpg

Posted in Special Sides | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Chipotle Chili with a Hint of Cocoa

As promised here is a post of the chili to go with the bacon cheddar chive corn muffins I made over the weekend! I wanted to try a new recipe but also one that was on the healthy side. I know some people may disagree with me, but I like ground turkey in chili more than beef, so this is a turkey chili. I’m sure beef could work too, but the turkey was delicious in this. The chipotle added kick and the cocoa added an additional dimension to the flavor of the chili. This is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe.

You will need:

1 tbs olive oil
1 1/4 lbs lean ground turkey
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 white mushrooms, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes in sauce
1 can low sodium chicken broth
2 chipotle chilis in sauce, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa

20120911-174900.jpg

In a large pot (I used a 5.5 quart Dutch oven that was juuuust big enough) heat to medium high heat and add oil, turkey, onion, peppers, garlic and mushrooms. I also added a little salt and pepper to this mix. Sauté until the turkey is cooked and veggies are soft.

20120911-175121.jpg

20120911-175136.jpg

Next add… Everything else. This is chili people not rocket science. The effort in this pretty much begins and ends at the chopping of a few veggies. Reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer for about 20 or so minutes. I liked to mash it up a but with my spoon as it cooked to thicken it a bit, but you don’t have to.

20120911-175437.jpg

I served mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt (feel free to use sour cream) and a nice sprinkle of chives. Cheese would have been good too, but I forgot and was already overtaken by my need to eat the chili as soon as possible. The corn muffin was awesome with it, I crumbled it up over the top and it was awesome! I took a picture of that but… It wasn’t pretty, haha. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. It reheated nicely and even got a few comments at work.

20120911-175732.jpg

20120911-175753.jpg

Posted in Soups and stews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment