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Tag Archives: snack

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

20 May

One peek into our pantry reveals our family’s obsession with granola bars.  Fruit-filled granola bars, nutty granola bars, and the kids’ favorite… chewy chocolate chip granola bars.  But because I’m uber picky about the ingredients that go into the granola bars I buy, it gets pricey keeping a replete supply on hand.

chewy chocolate chip granola bars 3

Granola bars must be one of the best creations of all time.  Busy families can attest to their great worth.  After all, granola bars are a multi-hat-wearing kind of food.  They serve as the perfect breakfast-on-the-go, sans mommy guilt because they’re packed with good stuff.  They are an easy grab for the lunch boxes.  Perfect after school snack.  Car snack.  Shopping snack for the kids 😉

chewy chocolate chip granola bars

Whenever I can, I love making our own granola bars.  We’ve done all kinds of granola bars, but my kids’ ultimate fave are these chewy chocolate chip granola bars.  Like the store variety, they are chewy and sweet, but infinitely better because you made them yourself.  You know exactly what went into them.  No ingredients you can’t pronounce.  Only the good stuff goes into these yummy granola bars.

chewy chocolate chip granola bars 2

Sweetened with brown sugar and honey, chock full of oats, and tossed with mini chocolate chips.  Exactly eight ingredients went into these addictive granola bars.  They store well for days, if kept in an airtight container.

Get ready for a quick and satisfying breakfast or snack.  You just might need to double the recipe.

Enjoy!

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CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP GRANOLA BARS (makes one 8×8 pan)

INGREDIENTS

1/4 – 1/3 cup  light brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/4 cup honey
4 TB salted butter
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Butter an 8×8 baking pan and set aside.  In large bowl, combine oats and cereal only.  In a saucepan, melt brown sugar, honey, and butter over medium heat, stirring, until it reaches a low boil.  Immediately reduce to simmer, and stir another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, and stir in cinnamon and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.

Carefully pour melted honey mixture over the cereal mixture.  Mix until fully incorporated.  Press granola mixture into the buttered pan, pressing down to pack the granola tightly and evenly into pan.  Sprinkle mini chocolate chips evenly over top of granola, using back of spoon or slightly wet hands.  (Mini chips may melt if you try to fully mix into the granola rather than sprinkle on top)

Allow granola to fully cool before cutting.  Store in airtight container.

Note:  If your granola bars break apart, it may help to chill the bars prior to cutting.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from browneyedbaker.com

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Fresh ‘n Chunky Guacamole

29 Jan

Any game day gathering means plenty of chips and dips.  Whenever possible, this chunky guacamole makes an ever-popular appearance in our lineup of chips and dips.  The guacamole is always good to the last drop.  Or scoop.  After the party, there’s nothing left over where the guacamole once sat.

Chunky Guacamole

Last year, someone in our home (Hubby) found himself frequently hunting down a nighttime snack to help keep him awake for those late-night work deadlines.  Nights like that can feel like college all over again, except it feels a little worse when you’re no longer 19.

Snacks.  Our pantry is stocked with a variety of snacks….but alas, let’s not steal from the kids’ lunch box stash.

Super Guacamole for Game Day 2

Hello, Guacamole.  It’s the perfect fresh and healthy snack that curbs anytime munch attacks.  Fresh, ripe Hass avocados.  Freshly diced tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro.  Loads of garlic.  This is not for the faint of heart (aka those who worry about garlic breath.)  If you’re noshing on homemade guacamole, there’s gonna be some onion and garlic breath.  When everyone’s got it, nobody notices it 🙂

Super Guacamole for Game Day 3

We love homemade guacamole for its fresh, bold, and addictive flavor.  But what I secretly relish are the abundant antioxidants in this yummy dip…it’s a total win-win snack.

Serve up the guacamole with flaxseed corn chips, and you’ve got some Super Food…just in time for Super Bowl 😉

Munch on, feel great, and enjoy!

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RECIPE (makes about 2.5 cups, give or take)

INGREDIENTS

3 large, ripe Hass avocados
1 small-medium red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ripe tomatoes on the vine, seeded and chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 TB kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Peel and mash avocados with fork.  Combine with juice of 1 lime and chopped red onion, mixing to combine well.  Add rest of ingredients and mix to thoroughly incorporate.  Serve immediately with corn chips, for best color/appearance.

If serving later, keep guacamole in airtight container, with cling wrap set directly on top of the guacamole, to seal out air.  Place in fridge until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Honey Yogurt Fruit Dip

30 Nov

Despite the fact that fall leaves are long gone and bare branches lay in their stead, it’s technically still fall.  That’s hard to remember in these zones.  It’s been a rough year for apples, and apple pickings were sadly slim,  but our favorite Honeycrisp  variety remains plentiful at the stores.  Our fridge is happily stocked with those crisp apples with honey-like sweetness.

Honey Yogurt Fruit Dip

After the Thanksgiving holiday, where some of us (me) indulged in more rich desserts than we (I) care to reveal, it’s time to gift you with a healthier treat.

Honey Yogurt Fruit Dip

This fabulous honey yogurt fruit dip is bursting with fall flavors.  It’s a no-guilt cure for the sweet toothed – real honey, vanilla greek yogurt, and cinnamon makes up this lively fruit dip.

We love adding generous sprinkles of crunchy granola to give it that extra crisp texture.  Dip your favorite varieties of apples or other fruits into this dreamy dip, and you’re set.  My little ones lapped it up, begging for more apples so they could scrape up every last bit of their dip.  They enjoy plain old apple slices, but the honey yogurt dip brings any slice of fruit to a dessert-worthy level.

Greek Yogurt Spice Dip 4

Greek yogurt tends to be higher in protein, and is thicker than many other yogurts.  If you use a thinner variety of yogurt, it won’t set up as thickly, but it will probably still taste fab.  I use honey or vanilla yogurt so the honey and cinnamon can take center stage, but feel free to experiment with flavors.    This will make about 1 1/2 cups worth of yogurt goodness.  It keeps very nicely in an airtight container in your fridge.

Grab some fruit, granola, and get your yogurt on!  Enjoy 🙂

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RECIPE (1 1/2 cups)

INGREDIENTS
1 cup honey or vanilla Greek yogurt
3 tsp honey (more or less, depending on sweetness of yogurt brand)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
*1/2 cup whipped cream
apple slices or other fruit slices
granola

DIRECTIONS
Gently mix together all ingredients except whipped cream.  Fold in whipped cream and chill.  Serve with slices of fruit and granola.

* To make awesome whipped cream:
Place beaters and medium bowl in freezer or fridge to chill.  Measure out 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup powder sugar.  Put cold ingredients into cold bowl and beat on medium/high until still peaks form.
(If you want a firmer, stabilized whipped cream, see recipe.)

By:  Chewoutloud

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

6 Nov Panko Mozzarella Sticks

If you are a cheese fan and enjoy a good crunch, you’ll really appreciate these Panko Mozzarella Sticks.  They are absolutely the perfect finger food.  These cheesy snacks will be snatched up in a wink if you serve them up for Game Day… or any day, really.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

Gooey warm Mozzarella is encased by a beautifully crisp exterior – thanks to Panko breadcrumbs, in lieu of traditional bread crumbs.  Panko is definitely in.  Thankfully, a bag of Panko can easily be found in Asian aisles of most large grocery stores these days.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

If you’ve never worked with Panko before, it’s only fair to warn you that you just might become addicted to the stuff.  It is extremely versatile.  Panko can be used to coat anything from these cheese sticks to seafood to chicken.  Just use them in place of your standard bread crumbs, and be prepared for an extraordinary crunch that surpasses the old stand by.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

The hubby and kids were all over this crispy, tasty finger food.  It’s so much fun to be treated to one of our favorite appetizers without setting foot in a diner.  Not to mention these mozzarella sticks are tastier, crunchier, and meltier when you do them at home!  But, do serve them up while still hot, so the yummy cheese is savored while it’s still very melty and delish.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

Most of us won’t have a problem devouring these while still fresh and warm.  Chances are, they won’t be sitting around very long at your party.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (makes 32 pieces)

INGREDIENTS

16 sticks of mozzarella string cheese
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups Japanese Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp fresh black pepper
1 TB dried oregano flakes
oil for frying (peanut oil is great for frying)
Marinara sauce for dipping

DIRECTIONS

Place flour in a small dish.  In another bowl, mix together the eggs and milk.  In a third bowl, combine panko bread crumbs with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and oregano.   Cut mozzarella sticks into halves.

Roll a piece of mozzarella in flour, dip into egg mixture, and roll well in Panko mixture.  Press crumbs in place so mozzarella stick is fully coated.  Continue until all pieces are well coated.  Place coated mozzarella sticks on a wax-lined baking sheet and put in freezer for at least 30 minutes.  (The flash-freezing is important in keeping cheese from falling apart in hot oil.)

Pour oil to fill a third way up to halfway up in a heavy sauce pan.  Using a thermometer, keep oil steady at 365F.   Remove frozen mozzarella sticks and fry a few pieces (don’t crowd) at a time, keeping oil temp at 365F throughout frying process (you’ll have to play with turning heat up or down as needed.)  Fry about 25-30 seconds, turning sticks until they are an even golden brown, and drain on paper towels.  Try not to let cheese leak, but a few tiny bubbles are fine.  Continue until entire batch is made.  Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and do eat these while hot!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

12 Jul mint chip ice cream

For whatever reason, I didn’t care for chocolate as a kid.  My mom would buy chocolate bars that would remain untouched by me.  As an adult, I could quite possible live on aforementioned food.  I can also survive on ice cream.  In fact, I eat at least one teeny tiny bowl of ice cream almost every day, to ensure I continue to survive.

So, I heard it’s ice cream week.  In honor of this very important week, I made my family’s favorite flavor:  Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

mint chip ice cream

Mint chip ice cream, aka “peppermint bon bon”

Ooooh, gooood.  Did you know mint chip ice cream is referred to as peppermint bon bon in the Midwest?  I did not know.  Until I stepped up to the window at an ice cream shop a year or two ago and asked to “see what the bon bon flavor looks like.”  Oh.  Isn’t that the same as mint chip?  Why didn’t they write that on the chalkboard menu?

mint chip ice cream

creamy ice cream, lots of chocolaty bits, and cool peppermint

When Hubby finally was able to sample (after the kids swooped in front of him to grab their minty bowls), he didn’t speak.  Bite, swallow, bite.  Yes, he affirms:  His favorite frozen treat is just as good home-made as the ones he would stand in line to buy.  Maybe even a tad better, because you can amp up the mint factor and chocolate bits as you wish.

mint chip ice cream

Grab your spoon and go!

Just try, try to give the ice cream time to firm up in the freezer for a few hours before digging in.  Of course, some of us don’t mind taking a few test bites of slightly melty ice cream.

RECIPE (approx 1.5 quarts)

INGREDIENTS
1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1.5-2 tsp pure peppermint extract, or to taste
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate bar, chopped into tiny pieces
Special Equipment:  Ice cream maker

DIRECTIONS
In bowl, use whisk to combine milk and sugar until dissolved.  Stir in heavy cream and peppermint.  Turn ice cream maker on and pour mixture in for about 25 min.  During the last 5 minutes of churning, slowly put in chopped chocolate.  Put ice cream in airtight container for a few hours before enjoying, if you can wait that long.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Double Chocolate Covered Strawberries

11 Jul Choclate Covered Strawberries

It’s wonderfully warm this summer, and that means one delicious thing for sure:  fresh summer fruits!  I’ve been diligently taking every opportunity to enjoy all the fresh fruits of the season.  The kids know what’s for dessert every night:  fruit!  We’ve been on a strawberry binge.  Farm fresh strawberries just can’t be beat.

Unless they are paired with chocolate.  Or double chocolate.

Choclate Covered Strawberries

Semi sweet chocolate and white chocolate over ripe strawberries

I take the pure, basic route with these goodies.  This is actually an adaption of Hubby’s perfectly cute tuxedo chocolate strawberries, which was the first treat he made for me when we started dating.  Why didn’t I take a photo of those way back then? 😉

So good and so simple – it takes just three ingredients you might already have in your kitchen.  The biggest challenge?  Trying not to keep “tasting” the chocolate, as if I don’t remember what chocolate tastes like.

RECIPE (serves many or only a few)

INGREDIENTS
1 lb fresh, ripe strawberries
10 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
3-4 oz chopped white chocolate

DIRECTIONS
Wash and very gently dry the strawberries, keeping stems on.  Set aside to finish air drying.

Set dark chocolate in a glass or metal bowl, over saucepan of simmering water (bowl not touching water.)  Stir frequently until chocolate is smooth and just melted.  Don’t over cook, so the chocolate doesn’t seize up and thicken.  Remove from heat once melted.

Carefully dip each strawberry in dark chocolate, twisting to cover completely with chocolate.  Set on parchment or wax paper on platter and put berries in fridge to set (about 30 min.)

Repeat melting process for white chocolate.  Using fork or toothpick, drizzle white chocolate over cooled chocolate strawberries.  Return to fridge for at least an hour.

Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud

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