Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19, 2011

The big kids are home, and school begins next week. My in-laws brought them home to us, and we got to spend some extra time with Ryan's parents before they headed back west. They spent a few days with us and we played games, hung cabinet doors, and enjoyed the time. My father-in-law loves all things peanut butter (even PB & pickle sandwiches!), so in honor of him I just had to try out this new Peanut Butter and Jelly bar recipe that crossed my path. It made a lot, so I individually froze quite a few and will be adding them to the kids' lunches. Thankfully the elementary school here is not a peanut free school.

While the big kids were still out of town last week, I enjoyed a lunch date with a dear friend. We went to a little cafe that we used to frequent when we were co-workers. They have the most delicious chicken salad over mixed greens. I've never made chicken salad before, but when we had some leftover chicken in the fridge, I decided to try to make some. I used a recipe for inspiration and tweaked it to my liking. It turned out delicious, and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Lastly, I hopped on the "buffalo" train this week. I made Buffalo style Chex mix for my book club, and the same night we had Spinach Topped Buffalo Chicken. I plan on making the chicken again to change it a bit, and then I will share the recipe. We all enjoyed it, but I think one step in the recipe has to be altered, and I want to test it out first. So, look for that one in the weeks ahead. The Chex mix was decent, but not fabulous enough to earn "keeper" status.

Have a great week!

New Recipes
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Cranberry Chicken Salad

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars


* 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 2 large eggs
* 18 ounces/ 2 cups creamy peanut butter
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 18 ounces/ 1 1/2 cups raspberry jam
* Handful of salted peanuts, chopped if desired (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, then spray it.
3. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow.
4. Add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
6. Slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
7. Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan.
8. Spread the jam evenly over the dough.
9. Drop the rest of the peanut butter dough evenly over the jam, but don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven.
10. If desired, sprinkle the peanuts over the top. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
11. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Wow! These really taste like a PB & J sandwich!!!! We enjoyed these, but next time I would use a larger pan to make them a little thinner. I might need to increase the amount of jam to make sure there is still enough for the amount of PB cookie layer. I used seedless raspberry jam, but use whatever flavor you most enjoy. We've put a bunch in the freezer so the kids can take them in their school lunches.

Cranberry Chicken Salad


* 1 1/2 cups chicken breast meat, cooked and chopped
* Just under 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* Just under 1 tbsp white wine
* 1/4 tsp garlic powder
* 1/2 tsp kosher salt
* 1 stalk celery, diced
* 1 green onion, chopped
* 1 tbsp dried cranberries


1. For the dressing, combine the mayo, wine, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl.
2. Add in the chicken and moisten with the dressing. Add the celery, scallions and dried cranberries. Mix everything together.
3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
4. Serve on a roll, wrapped in a tortilla, or on a bed of mixed greens.


I saw a chicken salad recipe that appealed to me, but not quite. It called for raisins, some curry powder, and chutney, but I knew I could use that recipe as the basis of inspiration for my first chicken salad. I had some leftover chicken breast from a previous meal, and I changed the recipe to better reflect my taste. Instead of raisins, I added cranberries. I simply left out the chutney, and traded curry powder for a hint of garlic powder. I let the salad rest, and then served in on a roll (leftover from the previous night when we had Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs). I must admit, I thought it was delicious. I've never made chicken salad before, but I can see myself making this whenever we have leftover chicken but not quite enough for another family meal!