Friday, December 30, 2016

Toffee, Peanut Butter and Caramel Cookie Bars

So I found this recipe sometime between September and November, and they have been talking to me.  Since I don't like having sweets in the house, I thought I'd make them for Thanksgiving, except it was just me and D.  Then I thought I would make them for my work's cookie swap, but someone was diagnosed with meningitis and the days after, I noticed how many women don't wash their hands after using the rest room.  So I didn't want to participate in the Great Meningitis Cookie Swap.

Christmas rolled around and my back started acting up, so cheesecake was out (requires getting out of a chair a lot).  So back to these.

They were really simple to make.  But man was the pan heavy!   I was going to only eat just 1.  I ate 4 over the week. I gave 2 away.  D had some. My brother had some. My dad had some.

I would make again.

I used my hand mixer (seriously, am I the only person who finds a hand mixer easier to use than the Kitchen Aid Heavy As Shit Stand Mixer?).  The butter/sugar takes a bit to blend that way.

Toffee, Peanut Butter and Caramel Cookie Bars

Photo by ALB

12 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
2 c light brown sugar (or dark...whatever you have)
½ c creamy peanut butter (or crunchy...whatever you have)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (used's what I had)
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
1 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
1 cup Heath toffee bits
Cooking Spray

Caramel Filling
11 oz bag Kraft caramel bits (or unwrapped caramel squares)- unwrapping them is a PITA
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 Tablespoons butter, doesn't matter if it is softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick foil (or spray the hell out of the pan with cooking spray).

Cream butter and sugar together in mixer. Add peanut butter and beat. Add eggs and vanilla.

Add flour, oats, baking powder, and salt.

Stir in chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and toffee.

Cookie Dough 

Press 2/3 of the cookie dough on the bottom of the pan.

Place all filling ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until smooth. Stir in between! (this took 5 30 second/stir increments for me)

Pour caramel mixture evenly over the dough.

Drop the remaining dough on top using your hands. (Like a crumble, a little here, a little there)

Ready for the Oven

Bake for about 30 minutes (mine were 35... next time I'm trying 33).

Fresh out of the Oven

Let cool completely and cut into bars.

From Hugs and Cookies XOXO, with my comments

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Slow-Cooker Barbacoa

So in an effort not to eat roller food/spend money out on food, D made this before we went to a beer festival.  I guess he put it on at 9am.  We got home at 8pm.  Then I forgot to put it in the refrigerator (it was on warm on the Crock Pot).  (I may have also had roller food).

So Sunday rolled around, and we decided to have it (after we put it in the refrigerator, and then heated it up).  It was dry, I'll admit, but I think that was the function of the cook and his helper. It also didn't shred, so D sliced it.

Anyway, except for being dry, it was really good.  A lot of flavor.  I liked it.

We had with refried beans, and served the meat taco-style. I forgot a picture.

Slow-Cooker Barbacoa

Serves 8

3 to 4-pound beef chuck roast
3 bay leaves
1 cup cider vinegar
juice of 2 limes
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, drained
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chicken broth
flour tortillas
Toppings: shredded Colby Jack cheese, shredded lettuce, guacamole

Place roast and bay leaves in a large slow cooker. In a food processor or blender, combine vinegar, lime juice, peppers, garlic and seasonings. Process on high until smooth. Pour vinegar mixture and broth over roast. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, until roast is fork-tender. Shred beef with 2 forks; return to juices in slow cooker. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.

11 Smart Points (toppings not included)

Goosebury Patch, AUGUST 2013

Mongolian Beef and Vegetables

It's interesting we have a Mongolian Beef recipe, yet neither of us really remember it.  What's even odder, is we had it like 3 weeks ago.  I think I like this one better anyway, because it has vegetables in it.  Not that I love vegetables, but I love bulk.  So anyway, D made this (of course).  We were able to use a carrot that was in the refrigerator.  Instead of sugar snap peas, we subbed edamame for that because we had some from last week.

We were supposed to have with a Soba Noodles recipe (subbed with Whole Wheat Spaghetti, because shocking...Kroger didn't have soba or buckwheat noodles), but a miscommunication between D and me, led to plain noodles. It was ok. They were good, and soaked up the sauce.

Mongolian Beef and Vegetables

Photo by ALB

TOTAL TIME 35 mins
YIELD Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 cup)

12 ounces flank steak, thinly sliced (used 14 oz)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided (did not use)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1 cup snow peas, halved diagonally (used edamame)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (used 4 cloves)
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger

Place steak and cornstarch in a bowl; toss to coat. Combine sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and soy sauce in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Heat a large skillet over high. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil; swirl to coat. Add steak to pan in a single layer; cook 5 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Remove steak from pan; keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil and remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil to pan. Add broccoli, onion, and carrot; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add snow peas, garlic, and ginger; cook 1 minute. Add steak and soy sauce mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 258; Fat: 9.7 g; Sat fat: 2.3 g; Mono fat: 4.2 g; Poly Fat: 2 g; Protein: 22 g; Carbohydrate: 21 g; Fiber: 3 g; Cholesterol: 53 mg; Iron: 3 mg; Sodium: 513 mg; Calcium: 82 mg; Sugars: 12 g; Est. Added Sugars: 10 g

7 Smart Points (with my additions/subtractions)

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Quinoa Bibimbop Bowls

So before I start on what is a really good meal, I have a pet peeve.
What is it with Cooking Light giving out portion sizes like 12 oz ground beef.  What store sells ground beef in less than 1 pound packages?  And really, why am I going to do with 4 oz.  Yes, I can put it in the freezer where it will fall between a freezer burnt bag of open peas, and that 2oz of sausage I put in there from another recipe, only to never be seen again.  OK, rant over.

So I found this recipe either in the Cooking Light that is in the bed or the Cooking Light that is on the coffee table.  Either way, I dog-eared the page, and remembered there may be a recipe in there that I was interested in.  D and I were lazy about making a grocery list on Saturday, which meant I had about 5 hours to make one on Sunday while he was at work.  This recipe got added on, as I made the list both on the couch and right before taking a nap.

So we had this last night.  We had decided against frozen green beans because we didn't see why they were needed. D figured it out last was because cooking fresh ones involves another pot (versus the microwave), and a lot of bowls were already used. Still fresh green beans are a keeper.

The taste was very good.  I'm reading now about the heat from the jalapeno... I must not have taste buds.  There was heat to the dish?    I loved the egg yolk over everything.

Definitely would have again.  (I did do the dishes).  For lunch I had it sans egg.  It was still tasty. I forgot to bring Asian Hot Sauce to add.

Quinoa Bibimbop Bowls

Photo by ALB (with and without the egg)

Bibimbop is a Korean dish that means "mixed rice." For this version, we took a hearty grain like quinoa and served it with crunchy vegetables and a fried egg. Jalapeño seeds add heat to the spicy-sweet beef mixture; remove the seeds and membranes before mincing for sensitive palates. Let the family build their own bowls, so this way, everyone's happy.

Yield: Serves 4

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 large carrot, cut into 3-in. julienne strips
1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
4 radishes, very thinly sliced
1 (8-oz.) pkg. microwave-in-bag haricots verts (French green beans) (used fresh green beans)
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided (used 1tsp)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium jalapeño, minced
12 ounces 90% lean ground sirloin (used 1lb)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 large eggs

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Stir in salt.

2. Bring rice vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add carrot; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in onion and radishes. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. Drain.

3. Heat beans according to package directions. Combine beans, 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon oil in a bowl, and toss to coat.

4. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and jalapeño; sauté 1 minute. Add beef; cook 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Stir in remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and sugar; cook 1 minute. Place beef mixture in a bowl.

5. Return pan to medium-high heat. Crack eggs into pan; cook 2 minutes. Cover and cook 1 1/2 minutes. Spoon 2/3 cup quinoa into each of 4 bowls; top each with 1/3 cup beef mixture, 1/2 cup carrot mixture, 1/4 cup beans, and 1 egg.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 472; Fat: 19.5 g; Sat fat: 5.8 g; Mono fat: 8.7 g; Poly fat: 3.1 g; Protein: 32 g; Carbohydrate: 42 g; Fiber: 6 g; Cholesterol: 241 mg; Iron: 6 mg; Sodium: 670 mg; Calcium: 106 mg; Sugars: 10 g; Est. Added Sugars: 3 g

12 Smart Points (with my additions/subtractions)

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2016