Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Peanut Butter & Honey Popcorn

Next time you're looking for a quick snack, try this sweet, peanutty popcorn. You only need about 5 ingredients, and you probably already have them in your kitchen. You can adjust the gooeyness with the amount of popcorn you use.  I popped an extra 4 cups with one batch of the coating. It only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish and cleanup is easy. I lined a baking sheet with wax paper and spread the air-popped corn on to drizzle the coating over top. After a quick stir, let it set a few minutes and then transfer it to a bowl. It's a bit addicting!

Source: The Kitchn

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fine salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (should be free of added sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Have a clean paper shopping bag or oversized mixing bowl ready.

Heat a 4-quart heavy pan over medium heat and film the bottom with vegetable oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the popcorn, shake to distribute, then put a lid on the pan, leaving a small crack for steam to escape. When the first kernel pops, put the lid on all the way. As the popcorn starts popping, shake vigorously to make sure the kernels are distributed evenly. When the popping slows to a few seconds between pops, take the pan off the heat.
Pour the popcorn into the paper bag or bowl to cool, and attempt to leave any unpopped kernels behind in the pan. (Coated with peanut butter caramel, the unpopped kernels are a serious tooth hazard). Lightly salt the popcorn to taste.
Mix the honey and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the peanut butter. Stir vigorously until all the peanut butter is melted, then mix in the vanilla.

Immediately pour the peanut butter caramel over the popcorn and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon until it's all coated. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.


• This recipe will also cover one standard bag of microwave popcorn, so you can substitute that for the stovetop popcorn if you wish.

• This keeps well overnight. If you want the gooeyness of freshly made popcorn, though, warm a bowl of leftover popcorn in 15-second bursts in the microwave until slightly warm and soft.

• As noted in the comments, some people prefer adding something spicy, like Sriracha, in lieu of the vanilla.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oven Baked French Fries

This recipe came to me as part of the Swap from Coleen at Does Not Cook Well With Others. I was excited to make this because it would be a great side dish to go along with an easy weeknight meal. The great part about these fries is that they are not only healthy, but they are less work and less clean up!  I just line the baking sheet with foil and toss when it's done. I've tried making oven fries a few times, but I always seem to have the same problem - they turn out more like roasted potatoes, and never crisp up enough to really qualify as fries.  I had the same problem this time. The flavor was good - just a  bit spicy.  I baked the fries for about 50 minutes total and they still weren't quite crispy.  Maybe the pan was too crowded? Maybe the oven temp was off?  Next time I will cut them a bit thinner and try to get a little crunch.  I am getting a new oven in about a week, so that should fix the heating issues - I can't wait!  Thanks for the recipe Coleen!

Source: AllRecipes.com

  • 1 large baking potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Cut potato into wedges. Mix olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder together. Coat potatoes with oil/spice mixture and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Light Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

For Superbowl Sunday, the 3 of us watched the game from our living room. Sort of. Aaron spent the weekend working on a project in the garage - making more storage space! Yay!  He was in and out during the game. Caitlin all of a sudden became sick in the afternoon and wanted to lay on top of me the rest of the day.  I was able to get her comfortable on the couch (watching the Superbowl?!) and get into the kitchen to make this for dinner. It can pass for football food, right?  :)   I roasted 2 chicken breasts in the oven, and left out the dressing and chips. It was just a little spicy, but very creamy with a crunchy top. I would never guess that this was a healthy/light version of an otherwise high calorie & high fat meal!

Source: Shannon's Kitchen Creations

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken, cooked
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot sauce (preferably Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 1/4 cups 1 % milk
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded cheese blend of cheddar, Monterey Jack and mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup light blue cheese dressing
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 7 baked tortilla chips crushed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/4 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the milk, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Top with blue cheese dressing, crushed tortilla chips, and parsley. Bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings, 8 points + each

Nutritional information, 1/6 of casserole – 8 points +
297 calories, 10.6 grams of fat, 94 mg of sodium, 32.3 grams of carbs, 1.2 grams fiber, 17 grams protein
Blog Template by Delicious Design Studio