Almond Butter and Jelly Muffins

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I’m finally on Pinterest! I finally decided on a new way of organizing my recipes and ideas for recipes. I though it would be the most appropriate to do this on Pinterest so all of you can join along!

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To celebrate this new beginning, I decided to share a recipe I discovered yesterday evening. It was around 9 PM and I had to stop myself from going to the kitchen when I stumbled upon this. It doesn’t help that I live with hungry college students. Or that I’m a hungry college student.

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Most of you probably have everything you need to make this. I give you permission to go check. Go now. I’ll be here. You need almond butter, brown sugar, eggs, milk, oil, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, and jam. Back? Ok, lets move on.

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Making this is even easier. You combine everything in a large bowl, sandwich some jam between batter in a muffin tin, bake it for 20 minutes and be prepared to serve a delicious breakfast the next morning (if they even last that long). The original recipe used peanut butter which probably makes a little more sense for most people but I love my almond butter. Feel free to experiment with your own combinations because this recipe is pretty flexible!

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A few weekends ago, my friends and I went strawberry picking at a local U-Pick strawberry farm. Since they were relatively post-season, I decided to make my own strawberry jam. They ended up perfect in these muffins.

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Almond Butter and Jelly Muffins

Adapted from two peas & their pod, seen on Food Librarian

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of your favorite jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together almond butter, brown sugar, canola oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Add in flour, and baking powder and whisk gently until just combined.
  3. In a greased (or lined) muffin tin, add 2 Tbsp of batter. Add a heaping teaspoon of jam. Cover with another 2 Tbsp of muffin batter or until approximately 3/4 filled.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just set and the muffin bounces back lightly when you touch the top._MG_1366
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Chicken Parmesan

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A lot of people have a recipe they keep up their sleeves. Its typically a casserole or a meatloaf… something they can just throw together quickly on a weeknight without thinking. I never really knew I had one until I decided to make a chicken parmesan. To be fair, I didn’t really decide that I wanted to make chicken parmesan. In fact the conversation with my best friend went something along the lines of this.

Me: “I really want eggplant parmesan. Too bad theres no eggplant…”

Jerry: “Don’t you have chicken…”

Me: “Thats not eggplant”

Jerry: “Its chicken… I love chicken”

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And thus chicken parmesan was on the menu for dinner. In his defense, I didn’t really care what we ate for dinner. The whole concept of chicken parmesan just didn’t cross my mind, I just wanted something that I could throw together. That was what I received.

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Chicken breasts are briefly tenderized with a cast iron skillet (or anything heavy really), that I later used to cook them in. They are then dredged in flour, eggs, and seasoned bread crumbs, After being briefly crusted in a pan, pasta sauce and cheese join the crowd and the whole pan is sent in a preheated oven to simmer into deliciousness.

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If the cast iron skillet you’re working with isn’t thoroughly seasoned I highly recommend using a foil lined pan, an enamel dish or something that isn’t cast iron by itself. Chances are, iron could leech into the acidic tomato sauce and bad things could happen. I was lucky that the pan I was using has withheld some pretty serious beating–I was just too lazy to transfer the chicken to another dish.

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Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 can, your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella
  • Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Wrap chicken breasts gently in plastic wrap and beat the chicken until flattened, about 1/2 to 1/4 of an inch thick.
  3. Line three plates up. In the first plate, add flour with a dash of salt and pepper. On the second plate, add the beaten egg. On the third plate, add the bread crumbs, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. Mix the spices to combine.
  4. Dredge the flattened chicken by coating it in flour, dipping it in the beaten egg, and then coating with the seasoned bread crumbs.
  5. In a large skillet, heat up 1 Tbsp of oil (I used olive oil) over medium high heat. Fry the dredged chicken for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip and repeat.
  6. If you’re making this in a cast iron or enamel skillet, add the pasta sauce to the pan. If you are doing this in a separate baking dish, transfer the chicken to the baking dish and cover with the pasta sauce. Cover with the shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle parmesan over, lightly covering the mozzarella.
  7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers the chicken to have reached 165F. Serve with a side of pasta and a extra sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan.

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Magical Peach Cobbler

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I’m not going to lie, I’m not the biggest fan of ambiguity. I like knowing things and I like details. This is true for use of broad words like “cobbler”, as well as uncertainty in recipes that are supposed to just work. I’m all about the nerdy science behind things – graphs, data and logic.

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When I first came home with a box full of ripe and fragrant peaches, I knew I had to make a cobbler. Although the cobbler is inspired by the British, I resisted my urge to follow a food’s origin as I have with the macaron, and dug into the archives for a Southern recipe. I’ve had a peach cobbler recipe filed away for a while now, a recipe from Paula Deen.

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I was a little intimidated by the process since I usually research my recipes. I look around to find my favorite aspects of each recipe and combine things into a consolidated recipe. This wasn’t the case with this cobbler. Some versions I came across relied on the use of pie crusts and puff pastries while other versions used cake mixes or biscuits. It was hard to find a recipe that was consistent on some level (other than the use of peaches). A uncomfortable feeling, part of me was too scared to experiment with something I wasn’t familiar with. Another part of me knew I had to keep true to Paula.

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Then, I questioned my decision. The recipe starts with cooking peaches down in some sugar. Butters is then melted in a pan in the oven. The “biscuit” batter is then poured over the melted butter. The assembly is completed with the peaches are gently placed on top and the syrup gently drizzled. No part of this made sense. This order is the exact opposite of the supposed finished product. The end result was a tender, cakey, biscuit covering warm, delicious peach slices. Somehow, a 35 minute trip in the oven, a dash of cinnamon, and a whole lot of will power from eating all the peaches (guilty!) created a delicious final product that magically reverses the layers I made and killed any doubt I had for the Queen of Southern Cuisine.

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For those of you who are stumbling onto this via a link, you can find out how to peel peaches from my post yesterday. To slice the peaches, hold it in your hand and run the knife down until you hit the pit. Move over to the right and run the knife down again until you hit the pit, this time pulling the knife in the direction of the cut you made earlier and pulling out with a gently flick so the fruit comes up with the knife. Repeat this for your peaches and again, resist the temptation to eat all the peaches. 12

I was able to put a few twists of my own on this recipe. Instead of letting the butter just melt, I let the butter brown slightly to add a nutty aroma. Instead of self-rising flour, I used regular flour, added baking powder and salt to make my own self-rising flour. Its important to note that the pan must be baked on a cookie sheet to prevent anything from burning. I also made sure to spoon in my peaches very gently before pouring the syrup on the pan even more gently to prevent any mixing between the batter and the syrup. Give this recipe a try. I had to try to preserve 2 extra servings before 5 people devoured the entire recipe!

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Magical Peach Cobbler

Adapted from Paula Deen

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled, sliced peaches (I used about 5)
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Ground cinnamon, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
  2. Combine peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan. Mix gently and bring to a boil. Simmer peaches for 10 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Melt butter in a 3-quart baking dish, or a 13 by 9 pan ad place in oven to melt until golden brown.
  4. Mixing remaining cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and milk gently to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter and do not stir. Spoon fruit evenly over batter and gently pour syrup over. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon, if desired. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  5. Let cook for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or by it self!

Peeling peaches in 2 minutes

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Yesterday my grandparents came to visit me. They insisted on taking me grocery shopping. As we walked into Costco, a whiff of aromatic peaches hit me as I walked pass the aisle of goods they place near the entrance. I pulled the cart and started going backwards, eyeing the delicious fruits and grabbed two cases. Although they weren’t the cheapest peaches, they proved to be one of the juiciest peaches I’ve ever tasted.

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When I went home, I knew I had to do something with these peaches except I didn’t know how to do anything with these peaches. I was feeling experimental since peaches weren’t something I enjoyed on a regular basis. I knew I had to try making something I’ve never made before. This ended up being peach cobbler.

My biggest problem: peeling the peaches. The peaches I had were ripe, soft, and juicy. There was no way I could take a fruit peeler without making a huge mess. I headed over to Our Best Bites, and thankfully Kate was able to give me some direction. Turns out her method works for basically any stone fruit including nectarines, peaches and even tomatoes. Thanks Kate!

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How is this done? Simply bring a pot of water to a boil. Score the peaches gently with an “X”. Drop the peaches in the water for 30-45 seconds, longer if the fruit is harder, or less ripe, and drop it in a ice bath. Once its cool enough for your to grab it, all you need to do is rub or peel the skin from the X you marked. The peaches were so easy to peel, the skin was coming off as I picked each one up.

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The end result? a perfectly peeled peach. I ended up having to eat a peach on the spot. I mean: I ended up  needing to test a peach to make sure they weren’t cooked by the water. (They weren’t).

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