Dark Chocolate Brownies with Cherry Flavored Filled DelightFulls™

Oh my goodness, you guys. First of all, roaming around the baking aisle of my local grocery store or Target this time of year can make my heart go pitter patter. I found myself stocking up this weekend on baking supplies (even though I wasn’t planning on doing any holiday baking for another month) all because of these flavor filled morsels. Say whaaaat? I get pretty excited about chocolate-covered cherry things so when I saw the cherry flavor filled morsels and this recipe for Dark Chocolate Brownies with Cherry Flavored Filled DelightFulls™, I was sold. I loaded up my cart and started some early baking.

Dark chocolate chips give this batter a rich, deep flavor (way better than boring old cocoa). Cherry flavor filled morsels are then folded into the batter which ups the ante. Chocolate-covered cherries in a brownie? Yes, pleeeeeeaaaase! There isn’t much else I can say about this other than if you don’t like chocolate-covered cherries, I would recommend some of the other flavors like peanut butter, caramel or mint. These brownies are too good to pass up. And the best part? The recipe doesn’t call for the whole bag of morsels so you’ll have plenty left over to nosh on while you wait for the brownies to bake.

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Preheat oven to 325° F. Line 8-inch-square baking pan with foil. Lightly grease. Heat dark chocolate morsels, sugar, butter and water in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate and butter are melted. Pour into medium bowl. Stir in eggs, one at a time, with wire whisk until blended. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour and salt; stir well.

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Stir in 3/4 cup DelightFulls morsels. Pour into prepared baking pan.

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Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup DelightFulls morsels over batter.

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Bake for 42 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Lift out by foil edges to cutting board. Carefully remove foil. Cut into bars.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love it

Source: verybestbaking.com

Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter

I mentioned yesterday that I served the Nut-Crusted Chicken with an orange-flavored broccoli but my puny description didn’t do this dish justice. I’m pretty used to roasting broccoli and do it more often than steaming it. But this Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter takes it a step further before taking it another step further.

Broccoli florets are roasted and then put under the broiler for a few minutes until nice and dark before being tossed in a mixture of browned butter, orange zest and orange juice. The roasted broccoli alone is flavorful enough but the browned butter and the addition of orange makes this an even fancier side dish than plain old steamed broccoli. I loved this dish with the chicken from yesterday because they both had hints of orange and paired well together but this broccoli will be a perfect addition to any meal.

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Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly browned, stirring once. Heat broiler to high, leaving pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until lightly charred.

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Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. Stir in rind and juice.

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Combine broccoli and butter mixture in a large bowl.

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Nut-Crusted Chicken

I was away for work all of last week and even though I had made food to post ahead of time, I just never got around to it. I flew in on Friday and woke up on Saturday to having zero food in the house so I bundled myself up (seriously, why is it so cold??) and went to the grocery store, list in hand. After eating catered food for lunch and restaurant food for dinner every day, I was ready to eat some home-cooked meals and fresh produce. I’ve been eyeballing this recipe for Nut-Crusted Chicken for a while and decided it was time to get it done.

Dijon mustard, fresh orange juice, salt and pepper coat one side of boneless chicken breasts before being coated in chopped pistachio nuts and baked until perfect. The tang of the mustard and saltiness of the pistachios pack this chicken with flavor leaving it anything but boring. I served mine with some orange-flavored broccoli which I’ll post tomorrow but by all means, try out the rest of the recipe by making the carrots included.

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Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pistachios in a shallow bowl. Whisk together mustard, orange juice, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a second shallow bowl.

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Coat 1 side of each chicken breast with mustard mixture, and dip coated side of chicken in chopped nuts. Place chicken, nut sides up, on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

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Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and nuts are lightly browned. Sprinkle chicken with orange zest, if desired.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Coastal Living magazine

 

White Bean Spread

When you are eating healthy, you need healthy snacks, right? So you buy some baby carrots to have on hand to snack on here or there but after a while you just want to dunk it into some creamy or cheesy dip. Carrots are my quickest go-to when it comes to quick-grab veggies but sometimes, I just can’t eat another one plain. And since I hate cooked carrots more than anything and don’t particularly care for light dressings, I’m left to find myself another way to eat these little guys. Luckily for me, I usually have cans of beans on hand so when I came across this recipe for White Bean Spread, it was like an aha moment.

Canned cannellini beans are whirled together with nothing more than lemon juice, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, producing a fiber and protein-filled snack. This vegetarian dip is simple but complex in flavors and one of the easiest things you can make. The lemon juice gives it a real vibrancy and the thyme shines through subtly. I didn’t process the beans all the way so I could have some chunky bites here and there (for those of us who like lumpy mashed potatoes) which made this feel more like a small meal than a snack. This dip is thick and only gets thicker if you put it in the refrigerator but can easily be thinned out with water or additional lemon juice. If you are sick of hummus, give this fresh dip a try.

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Combine beans, oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor.

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Process until smooth.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Family Circle magazine

Chicken Salad Melts

Why is lunch such a pain? Breakfast is easy. Dinner is usually easy. But lunch? You need something to keep you going that won’t fill you up so much that you can’t get through the rest of a long afternoon. Do you need a super easy, super quick lunch? Well I do! I’ve been working from home lately but that doesn’t mean I’m left with all kinds of time to sit and have a nice long lunch. Between meetings, conference calls and a lot of work to do, I need something fast.  These Chicken Salad Melts are perfect for a quick little bite that won’t take up a lot of time and won’t leave you needing a nap right away.

Precooked rotisserie chicken (a busy girl’s lifesaver) is mixed with fat-free Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, and scallions. The mixture is covered in cheddar cheese and broiled until melted and gooey. Thin slices of fresh apple and leaves of Bibb lettuce round out this little sandwich which can be easily made ahead of time and wrapped up to-go (just heat up the cheese in a microwave or leave it off completely). I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of using Greek yogurt in chicken salad but if there is a nice balance with some light mayonnaise, it can actually provide a nice little tang that you wouldn’t normally get. Give these a try. I mean, it beats yet another boring can of soup or unsatisfying frozen meal!

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Preheat broiler to high. Combine chicken, yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, salt, pepper and scallions in a medium bowl; stir well.

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Place 1/3 cup chicken mixture on bottom half of each muffin. Top evenly with cheese. Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts.

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Top sandwiches evenly with apple, lettuce, and top halves of muffins.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Light mayonnaise

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Spiked Nutter Butter Fluffernutter Milkshakes

Happy Halloween! I’m way too old to go trick-or-treating and I have no kids so I’m not letting myself indulge in the bite-size candy bars that line the aisles for Halloween. I don’t even get trick-or-treaters at my door, probably because no one knows me, and I hope that I’m not known in the neighborhood as the scary lady. While I usually buy candy to have on hand just in case, I decided not to do it this year because no one will come knocking and I will be left with a bag of candy that will torture me day in and day out until I finally cave in and eat each and every bite. I won’t have it! Instead, I’m indulging in some grown-up decadence with this Spiked Nutter Butter Fluffernutter Milkshake. I’m expecting it to act as a comforting blanky tonight while I’m watching scary movies.

Peanut butter, marshmallow cream, and Nutter Butter cookies are mixed with vanilla ice cream and milk (low-fat or full-fat, who cares?) making a sweet fluffernutter milkshake. But THEN, to make it even better, marshmallow vodka is added which makes this milkshake all grown-up and all decadent. This is a sugar bomb for sure but for one night, on Halloween, why not? Peanut butter and vanilla ice cream is my go-to favorite but with marshmallow, vodka, and whipped cream added, it’s even better. Even if you have kids you are taking from house to house, make this ahead, put it in a travel smoothie cup and drink up as you walk around the neighborhood. No one needs to know.

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Spiked Nutter Butter Fluffernutter Milkshakes

  • 2 cups low-fat vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons marshmallow cream
  • 4 Nutter Butter peanut butter sandwich cookies, broken into pieces
  • 2 ounces marshmallow or whipped cream vodka (like Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow)
  • whipped cream

Combine ice cream, milk, peanut butter, marshmallow cream, vodka, and cookies in a blender and blend until smooth.

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Top with whipped cream and crushed cookies.

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For extra indulgence, melt 1 tablespoon peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and drizzle over whipped cream.

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Cheesy Penne with Broccoli

I’ve mentioned this before but I’m shocked by how little I eat pasta anymore. When I was a vegetarian, it was all I ate. Which may be why I never lost weight. Now, I appreciate a good pasta meal but I don’t crave it (thankfully). I had some milk and cheese in my refrigerator that I didn’t know what to do with and some lingering penne that just never seemed to go away. This is typically how I decide what foods to make – by looking at what’s left in my fridge/pantry. Because even though I love to cook, I don’t love to spend a lot of money at the grocery. This Cheesy Penne with Broccoli was an easy way for me to use up some leftover staples I had hanging around my kitchen without having to spend a dime.

Cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese are all melted into an easy milky cream sauce and poured over cooked penne and boiled broccoli. The result is this hearty dish which will satisfy any pasta craving you have. The cheese sauce, even with it’s three cheeses, it light and thin enough to be a backup singer to this song. And even though I get weak (in a good way) when mustard is added to cheese sauce, the best part (in my opinion) is the broccoli. I mean, broccoli and cheese? Yes please. I have to point out that broccoli being my favorite anything is something that never would have come out of my childhood mouth. My how things have changed. Now, I won’t even consider pasta unless it has a veggie in it.

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Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli to pan; drain. Place pasta and broccoli in a large bowl.

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Combine milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened; remove from heat.

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Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, cream cheese, Dijon, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheddar cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

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Add cheese mixture to pasta mixture; toss.

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Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

f

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat penne
  • Whole grain Dijon

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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