Peanut butter muffins

Kiddo started public school in January so this year I had a whole new adventure: packing lunch. Being seven, he’s terribly busy at lunch doing important things like gut laughing at fart jokes discussing global economic issues, so I need to send food that packs a nutritional punch and tastes good. I thought peanut butter muffins might be a good way to get some protein in him while being a little bit of a departure from a plain ol’ peanut butter sandwich.

When I went looking for a new recipe to try, I literally looked for the recipe with the most amount of peanut butter. Let’s not fool around here! Kiddo and I (and Peanut, actually) LOVE peanut butter, and we want to taste it! This recipe started with “no such thing as too much peanut butter.” I knew we had a winner! The original recipe was filled with mini Reese’s cups and had a sweet topping. While that sounds freaking amazing, I was going for a lunch food here. 🙂

 

Peanut butter muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (that’s 169.6 grams*)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and line or grease a 12-muffin pan
  2. Beat butter, peanut butter, and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer until very well combined.
  3. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then milk
  4. Stir together dry ingredients, then mix into wet ingredients until JUST combined — some little lumps are okay, you just don’t want any dry flour
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out dry

Notes

*measuring peanut butter is for the birds — much easier to set the mixing bowl on a scale and scoop out what you need!

Second grade isn’t far off! Would love to hear more suggestions for easy-to-pack lunches! What do y’all make?

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Alabama white sauce

I am really, really lucky.

And by really, really lucky I mean I live about a mile away from Martin’s BBQ Joint. This is nationally acclaimed BBQ practically in my back yard!

One of my favorite things there (which is a pretty major decision; it’s all amazing) is the Alabama white sauce. It’s incredible on Martin’s smoked wings, but it’s also incredible on turkey sandwiches, meatballs, you name it. Fortunately Pat Martin shared the recipe with Garden & Gun a while back, so I get to make it at home now, too. I scale it way down to 1/4 of his recipe (see below); you can see Pat’s original proportions here.

Alabama white sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
  • 5 ounces cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt (heaping)
  • 1/2 tbsp. black pepper (heaping)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Stir it all together (I use a whisk), then store in a squeeze bottle or Mason jar
  2. Add to everything you can think of.

Pineapple bacon sandwich rolls

The Yankee went through a period where he was making bacon pretty regularly, which meant I had a fantastic supply of bacon grease to use up. I thought I’d try something new with them, and these turned out great. The bacon grease makes them very hearty, with a hint of sweetness from the pineapple juice — really great for turkey sandwiches!

These are a riff on my earlier blogged yeast rolls. Please to enjoy!

Pineapple bacon sandwich rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm pineapple juice (heating it for a few seconds in the microwave is fine)
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons room temperature bacon grease
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and knead together in a stand mixer for about six or seven minutes on the second speed; the dough should clean the sides of the bowl
  2. Let it rise till doubled, about an hour
  3. Separate dough into 16 pieces, roll into balls and place in two greased pie or cake pans
  4. Let rise again until rolls are touching and very puffy
  5. Bake at 350F for about 20 or 25 minutes until golden brown; cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool

I’m thinking I need to try these for pimento cheese sandwiches, too. What else?

Pimento cream cheese

As discussed here over honey mustard, I’m still new to liking mayonnaise. One of my favorite things about liking mayo, though, is pimento cheese. It COMPLETES me. I always have some in the fridge now. Pimento cheese on Wheat Thins? Possibly a perfect snack.

My very favorite kind of pimento cheese is Palmetto Cheese, which is made with mayo and cream cheese. The cream cheese gives it a little extra thickness and tang and it’s just so, so good. When I heard Damaris Phillips mention on TV that she made her pimento cheese with cream cheese, I knew this was a recipe I had to try. I change hers up just a bit, using sharp yellow cheddar and adding some hot sauce; it’s a definite staple in my house now.

Pimento cream cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2 ounces mayonnaise (I use Duke’s or homemade)
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces diced pimento (one small jar)
  • Hot sauce to taste (I use Louisiana)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix together cream cheese and mayo until thoroughly combined
  2. Add in cheese and pimento and stir till well mixed
  3. Add hot sauce, salt, and pepper, tasting as you go till it’s perfect to you!

If you haven’t yet,  you really must try mixing pimento cheese into your scrambled eggs. I also love it on the afore-mentioned Wheat Thins, and of course pimento cheese sandwiches.  How do y’all eat it?

Chicken Lazone

This is one of those fabulous recipes that is so simple and easy to make, but tastes like you spent a long time on it. BONUS.

It originally comes, I’m told, from Brennan’s in New Orleans; I found it here on Food.com.

The sauce is rich and creamy without being complicated, and because I used chicken tenders rather than chicken breasts, this cooks up really quickly — perfect for a weeknight meal.  I used more cream than the original recipe called for because I wanted enough sauce for the pasta too; I also added some olive oil, and some cayenne pepper for a little kick.

Chicken Lazone

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Angel hair pasta

Instructions

  1. Get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta
  2. Combine spices and sprinkle over both sides of chicken tenders
  3. Heat olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter in heavy pan until sizzling, then cook tenders till the pink is gone, about 4 minutes a side
  4. Add remaining butter and cream and simmer till sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes or so
  5. Cook pasta while sauce thickens, then serve chicken and sauce over pasta

Now here is my question: who is good at reheating cream sauce? Know any tricks? This is amazing the right out of the pan, but I have not yet learned how to reheat cream sauces without them separating and being weird. Who can school me?

Oven roasted cheesy sausage and potatoes

When I came across this recipe from Boy Meets Bowl it seemed simple and looked delicious, and I had kielbasa and potatoes on hand already. I prepped it all and put it in the fridge to make for my friend for supper.

I’ll spare you the details, but then there was a potato tragedy.

Fortunately, said friend had some red potatoes, and I had some bratwurst in the fridge. Supper was saved! V and I have now each made this an embarrassing number of times with varying combinations of kinds of potatoes and sausages and it is SO GOOD. I won’t name any names, but one of us might have eaten it cold in the car on the way home one day. Still good.

You must try it.

Oven roasted cheesy sausage and potatoes

Ingredients

  • 6 medium/large red potatoes, chopped into 1″ pieces (or more — can’t have too many potatoes)
  • 1 package kielbasa sliced into rounds
  • 2 slices yellow onion, diced
  • Olive oil or bacon grease
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Stir together potatoes and sausage in a 9×13 baking dish and drizzle with olive oil or melted bacon grease (or both — live a little)
  3. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, and paprika — just use your judgment here, no specific measurements
  4. Bake at 400 for about an hour, stirring around every 15 minutes or so, until everything is crispy and sizzling
  5. Serve covered in grated cheese

Pepperoni sauce

So when I say pepperoni sauce you either immediately think of Top Chef or you think, “Wait, what?”

Michael Isabella made this during the 2011 season of Top Chef and I was fascinated by it.  How had this never been done before? It’s brilliant, and certainly never occurred to me to make it.

I’ve made some tweaks to it for us — we like a little more sweetness in our tomato-based sauces, and I also used bacon grease instead of olive oil — sticking with the pork theme, right? But I didn’t stray too far from the original.

This sauce is fantastic on a meatball sandwich, on pasta, or anything you’d use red sauce on. I definitely want to try it with pizza soon. Love it!

Pepperoni sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. or so bacon grease (or olive oil if that sounds better to you)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces pepperoni, cut into thin slices (I used Boar’s Head)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat the bacon grease in a large, heavy pot till it’s nice and hot, then cook the onions over low to medium heat till they’re very soft — a good 15 minutes or so. If you’re worried about them burning you can add a few splashes of water to the pan to help with that
  2. When the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or so until they’re soft — keep an eye on them because they’re easier to burn
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 45 minutes, but longer won’t hurt anything
  4. Puree with a stick blender or in an actual blender till completely smooth, and enjoy!

I need more ways to incorporate this into my life. What would you use it on?