Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

BLOG_July 29, 2014

Two of my favorite things in one decadent dessert, alright alright alright. These are BIG brownies, so they are meant to be cut into small squares, but if you want to eat the whole pan I won’t judge you.

The peanut butter top is made with cream cheese (I used reduced fat – in case you’re also inclined) so it’s actually not overwhelmingly sweet, but a mild creamy peanut flavor that pairs perfectly with chocolate. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Brownies
Author: Q&DK
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 box Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate brownie mix
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 and 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used 1/2 of a 4 oz. Ghirardelli baking bar)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Bake the brownies according to the box instructions in an 8×8 pan. Let cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until combined. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Using a spatula, spread the mixture over the brownies and smooth evenly.
  3. In a heat-proof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the whipping cream and stir until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and let cool. Drizzle the cooled melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer. Place in the refrigerator and let chill until firm. Cut into bars and serve.

 

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Loaded Miso Soup

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I’ve been craving miso soup like crazy, but really wanted something that would provide a full meal. So why not make miso soup loaded with goodies to make a complete meal?

Done and delicious.

This makes a large pot with 4-6 bowl-sized servings. Great for lunch or dinner, and perfect for packing for work lunches. Enjoy!

Loaded Miso Soup
Author: Q&DK
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. Somen, rice vermicelli, Soba, Udon or any other type of noodle
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced bok choy, stems and leaves
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced (whites and greens)
  • 5 slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 8 oz. diced tofu, drained
  • 6 cups water
  • About 5 tbsp. miso, to taste
  • Salt, optional
  • 2 cups baby spinach, or chopped spinach
  • Soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and reserve a tbsp. of pasta water. Drain and set noodles aside; toss with the pasta water to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large pot set over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and then add the bok choy, scallions, ginger, and tofu. Cook until fragrant and tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 5 cups of water to the pot – reserve the last cup and add the miso to that cup and whisk until smooth (this just makes it easier to dissolve the miso). Add the miso water to the pot, stir to combine.
  4. Bring the soup to a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes. Do not boil, just simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more miso, and/or salt if needed. Once the seasoning is adjusted, stir in the spinach and a splash of soy sauce. Remove from heat.
  5. Add noodles to each bowl and then ladle soup onto the noodles. Serve immediately. Store leftover noodles separately – if you store them in the soup they can soak up the broth and become soggy.
Notes
Miso comes in three types: red, yellow, or white. Any variety works in soup. I use a type called Mellow White Miso. I have to buy it at Wholefoods or Asian markets in a refrigerated area. Do not just get a miso soup mix – you want actual miso. Different types vary in the strength and sodium which is why I can’t put an exact tbsp. amount in the recipe. Start with a few and then taste. The Mellow White is mild and low in sodium so I use a good amount and add a bit of salt to taste.

 

How to Make Crepes

Crepes are one of those things I just assumed must be difficult to make, so even though I LOVE them, I always ordered them out. But thanks to America’s Test Kitchen great recipe, I finally made them at home and was shocked at just how easy they were to make. Easier (and faster) than regular pancakes in my opinion.

I devoured almost the entire batch (10 crepes!) with fresh squeezed lemon and a dusting of sugar – so delicious! You could, of course, fill these with anything – fresh fruit, jam, chocolate, nutella … the list goes on.

If you follow the instructions carefully these are really so simple. But this is not the type of recipe you can leave for any amount of time, they cook in a matter of seconds so you need to be at the stove at all times.

How to Make Crepes

Author: Slightly adapted, America’s Test Kitchen
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • Any desired toppings/fillings
Instructions
  1. Place oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over low heat for at least 10 minutes. Prep your butter by melting over stove top or in the micro (I suggest 10 sec increments so you don’t overdo it); set aside and let cool.
  2. While skillet is heating, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. Add half of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in remaining milk mixture until smooth.
  3. Using a paper towel, wipe out skillet, leaving a thin film of oil on bottom and sides. Increase heat to medium and let skillet heat 1 minute. Test the heat by placing 1 tsp of batter in the center and cook for 20 seconds. If the mini crepe is golden brown on bottom, the skillet is properly heated; if it is too light or too dark, adjust heat accordingly and retest.
  4. Pour 1/4 cup batter into one side of the pan and tilt/shake gently until batter covers the bottom of pan evenly. Cook without moving until the top surface is dry and crepe is starting to brown at edges, about 20 seconds. Loosen one side with a rubber spatula and flip, using your fingertips to help if needed. Cook about another 20 seconds unitl the second side is lightly spotted. Transfer crepe to a wire rack to cool and continue cooking until batter is gone, letting the pan reheat for about 10 seconds in between crepes.
  5. To reheat, stack on a plate and invert a second plate over the crepes. Microwave until warm, about 30 seconds. Top crepes with desired fillings and fold into quarters, roll, or stack flat like pancakes. Serve warm.

 

Blueberry-Lemon Banana Bread

BLOG_July 01, 2014

Blueberries are in season, so why not include them in fabulous banana bread? This is a Cooking Light recipe that was quite delicious. The recipe included a glaze, and I include instructions for one below, but next time I will skip it. The bread is definitely sweet enough without a glaze. If you decide to use a glaze, I would only pour it on right before eating. Enjoy!

Blueberry-Lemon Banana Bread
Author: Cooking Light
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • Cooking spray
  • For the glaze (optional):
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the banana, egg substitute, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the flour mixture; beat at low speed until just moist. Gently fold in blueberries and lemon zest.
  3. Spoon batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool bread for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
  4. To make the optional glaze – combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. I had a hard time getting the cream cheese smooth, so I used a mini food processor. You could also substitute sour cream for the cream cheese or make a simple glaze with milk and confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle over the loaf immediately before serving.

 

Chicken and Broccolini Mac and Cheese

A simple comfort-food quality dish that features one of my favorite veggies – broccolini! There’s nothing too complicated or fancy about this, just simple, homemade goodness in the form of a casserole.

This is a Martha Stewart recipe that I lightened up substantially with some recipe tweaks, so you can feel good about every bite. Enjoy!

Chicken and Broccolini Mac and Cheese
Author: Adapted, Martha Stewart
Cook time: 55 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half horizontally OR chicken cutlets (you want a thin cut for cooking purposes)
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese or Neufch√Ętel cheese
  • S/P
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles
  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 3-quart broiler-proof baking dish with oil or spray with cooking spray. Bring milk to a simmer in a pot. Add chicken; simmer until cooked, 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Remove pot from heat; whisk in mustard and cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Shred chicken. Cook noodles in a pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Add broccolini; cook until noodles and broccolini are al dente, 2 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain noodles and broccolini; toss with chicken, sauce, pasta water, and cheddar. Transfer to baking dish.
  3. Toss breadcrumbs with oil; sprinkle over casserole. Cover with foil; bake 20 minutes. Uncover casserole; increase heat to broil. Cook until top is golden brown in places and breadcrumbs are crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.

 

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