Friday, June 15, 2012

Cheerio Treats


So I grew up with my mom making Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats.  I suppose she made them because they seemed a little more nutritious with some protein in them, rather than just loaded down with butter and marshmallows.  Or maybe she just made them because they tasted better, because they really do!

Because I grew up with these, I have never really liked regular rice crispy treats.   They taste soo different! 

One time I went to make them and only had Cheerios, so I decided to make “Cheerio Treats”, and add a few chocolate chips, and boy were they yummy!  (I really have to resist the urge to eat the entire plateful.)


3 Tbs butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

5 cups cheerios

5 cups marshmallows

1.  Melt peanut butter and butter together in a large bowl for about 30 seconds.  Stir until combined.

2.  Add marshmallows and stir until they are coated with the butters and microwave for about 2 minutes (or until marshmallows are melted), and stir about halfway through.

3.  Add Cheerios and stir until well combined

4.  Press evenly into a 13x9 pan (no need to grease it because of the peanut butter)

5.  Add a few chocolate chips throughout, but not too many because they may overtake the delicious flavor of the bars (but then again I’m not a huge chocolate fan).



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pasta Caprese

America’s Test Kitchen



We often eat this as a main course with a side salad, but this is also a great side dish to take somewhere in the summer.  You could add chicken if you want, but that might take away from the simple, but delicious flavors of the dressing.  This is especially yummy when you use homegrown summer tomatoes.  Don’t even try to make it with canned tomatoes, as it will become a COMPLETELY different dish!

America’s Test Kitchen recommends cubing the cheese and freezing it for about 10 minutes, so that the cheese remains in cubes rather than melting onto the hot pasta, but in the picture above, I simply shredded the cheese in my food processor and added it as the pasta had cooled a little bit, and it still turned out great.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2-4 tsp juice from 1 lemon (I usually add a little more than this)

1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp if you really like garlic)

1 small shallot, minced fine (I usually substitute red onion since I rarely have shallots)

1 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice (I don’t core or seed it)

12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I just use an 8 oz. block of part skim mozz.)

1 lb short tubular or curly pasta, such as penne, fusilli, or campanelle

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1 tsp sugar (this is mainly needed if the tomatoes are not super sweet homegrown.)

salt and pepper

1.  Whisk the oil, 2 tsp of lemon juice, garlic, shallt, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper together in a large bowl.  Add the tomatoes and gently toss to combine;  set aside.  Do not marinate the tomatoes for longer than 45 minutes.

2.  While the tomatoes are marinating, place the mozzarella on a plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes.  Bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil in a stockpot.  Add 1 Tbs salt and the pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente.  Drain well.

3.  Add the pasta and mozzarella to the tomato mixture and gently toss to combine.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in the basil; season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.

If it tastes a little bland, it probably just needs some extra salt!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cilantro worked this year!



Every year my cilantro kind of grows straight, tall and straggly, but this year it finally worked and looks beautiful!  Maybe its because I planted it in with the rest of my garden with all the nutrients, or maybe its because I just dumped half a packet of seeds in and DIDN’T “thin” as they tell you to do.  Regardless, I’m very excited about this!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Winter Citrus Salad

adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe
This is definitely the most loved salad in our family.  In fact, this was a huge factor in getting my son over his salad hatred
1 grapefruit and 1 orange, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 small onion or 1 shallot, chopped
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
lime or lemon juice to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly chopped tarragon or a pinch dried (optional, in fact I’ve never added the tarragon)
mixed greens or spinach
1. whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, lime juice and tarragon until well combined; taste, adjust seasonings and add fruits.
2.  Spoon this mixture over each salad and mix thoroughly.  Add some toasted almond slivers or walnuts if desired.
This should serve at least 4-5 adults.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

West African Peanut Soup

Adapted from Mark Bittman
My version is basically the same ingredients as Mark Bittman’s but I added cilantro at the end, and chopped everything smaller so that the kids have an easier time eating it.  Mark Bittman says to core and halve tomatoes and to slice sweet potatoes into thick slices, but I shredded them with the food processor.
This recipe is surprisingly delicious and packed with vitamins and protein!  (I even like this but don’t usually like sweet potatoes)
1 Tbsp neutral oil (grapeseed, “extra-light olive oil”, peanut oil)
1 medium red or white onion, chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbs minced garlic
1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts chopped
pinch of cayenne pepper
6 cups chicken stock
2 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into thick slices
8 plum tomatoes (coarsely chopped in food processor), or canned diced tomatoes, drained of liquid
1/2 lb collard greens or kale, chopped
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1.  Chop peanuts, or crush them with the side of a knife, orpulse them in a food processor to chop roughly.
2.  Put oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium heat; a minute later, add onion, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 3-5 minutes.  Add chicken and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes, until just coloring.  Add 1/2 cup peanuts and the cayenne and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3.  Stir in the stock and the sweet potatoes, bring to a boil, and turn heat down to medium-low so the soup bubbles gently.  Stir in tomatoes and collards, then cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
4.  Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter.  Taste, adjust seasoning (you may want to add more peanut butter at this point) and serve, garnished with remaining peanuts and cilantro if desired.