Homemade Granola Bars

So as I was browsing on Pinterest I came across a recipe for some Homemade Granola Bars. I thought they looked pretty good and I had everything on hand so I figured why not trying making them? I knew I would be the only one eating them since the Mister isn’t into Peanut Butter like I am (Don’t ask – I don’t know what is wrong with him!). I threw a few in the freezer so we’ll see how they keep that way!

[Adapted from this recipe]

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ cups Rice Krispies
  • 2 cups Oats
  • ¼ cup Mini Chocolate Chips [optional]
  • ½ cup Honey
  • ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with wax paper. If you’d like chocolate on your bars you can spread some chocolate chips on the bottom of the dish.

Please note: The chocolate chips will melt a bit. I don’t think I’ll add them in the next time. I didn’t feel like they really added that much to the bars.

Place honey and brown sugar in a medium sauce pan.  Heat the mixture over medium heat until it boils; stir constantly. Once it begins to boil, remove from heat.

Stir in the Peanut Butter and the Vanilla until it’s well blended.

Pour your peanut butter & sugar mixture over your dry ingredients. You want to quickly blend the two together until they are well combined. I thought this was the most challenging part! since the larger bowl I would normally use was being occupied!

Press your granola mixture into your prepared dish. I used a sheet of wax paper spread the granola evenly and to compact it down. Set the pan aside to cool completely.  Once they are cooled,  cut the bars and wrap individually!

I thought these bars were pretty good! I definitely like them better than the ones (Quaker, etc) you buy from the grocery store. I think the next time I would cut the Rice Krispies down a 1/2 cup (and use 2 cups). I felt like they could be a bit moister.  If you look at the original recipe you will see they add a few more ingredients in there, but I didn’t want to add those items. And like I mentioned before the next time I’d leave the chocolate chips out.

If you want some chocolate with your granola bar you could always melt some chocolate chips and lightly coat one side of the granola bar with the chocolate. That would probably look prettier than the melted globs of mini chocolate chips. It wasn’t all that pretty so I didn’t take a picture of that side! :)

I’m sure you could also change up the flavors a bit to suit your tastes.  Imagine Nutella in place of the Peanut Butter?! Oh the possibilities are endless…

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Ever since I got my new Wolfgang Puck Multi-Cooker that you can brown/sear in, I’ve been in heaven. That thing is wonderful! I love that I don’t have to dirty any extra dishes. Everything can be made in 1 pot! I don’t have to pour anything into a saucepan so that I can thicken it on the stove. I can do it right in the crock pot. I’ve definitely been using my crock pot more because of this.  So this recipe is AWESOME if you have a Multi-Cooker, but if you don’t you can still make it in a regular crock pot.

A friend posted a recipe for Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken on Pinterest and it sounded wonderful! I knew I needed to add it to my long list of recipes to try. And what made it even better is that I had everything on hand to make it already. Don’t you love that?

(Adapted from Six Sisters Stuff)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 tablespoons water
  • Sesame seeds (Penzeys, of course!)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat crock pot to the sear setting if you have a Multi-Cooker. If you don’t, you can skip the browning step OR you can brown the chicken in a pan on the stove. That’s totally up to you. Season both sides of chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Add in 1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil.  Brown the chicken.

In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil and garlic. Pour over chicken.

Cook on low for about 4 hours or just until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from crock pot. Turn the crock pot setting to “Sear” and let it heat up. Shred the chicken.


Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce.  It should thicken up pretty quickly. If you don’t have a crock pot that will heat up quickly to allow you to thicken the sauce, you can try one of two things. Once you add in the cornstarch mixture you could replace the lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened (I would think that it would take longer than 10 minutes, but this is what they had in the Six Sisters Stuff recipe so I’m guessing it works?); OR you could transfer the sauce to a saucepan and thicken it that way. It’s totally up to you. As you can see below, the sauce is bubbling away and thickening very nicely.

After the sauce has thickened, add the shredded chicken back into the crock pot and toss with the sauce before serving.


Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

MY NOTES

As usual I usually change or tweak a few things. So this is the part where I tell you what changes I made from the original recipe I saw. To start, I used 2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken because I wanted leftovers! This worked out well because we got a few more days out of this meal. Perfect for lunch!

Since I used my handy dandy Multi-Cooker, I decided to brown the chicken first. So what I did was I put 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in the crock pot and browned the chicken in that.  I did not use the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil that the recipe called for. I thought the sesame oil gave it some great flavor.  If I wasn’t going to brown the chicken first I probably wouldn’t even add in the oil.

I’m usually a “double the sauce” kind of girl when it comes to recipe. I feel that some recipes skimp on the sauce. But not this one! There is no reason at all to to double the sauce – you get plenty, trust me!

Instead of serving the chicken in chunks, I decided to shred it. I thought this was a great idea – the sauce gets mixed in and it’s nice and sticky – goes well with the rice!

And we don’t like heat, so I didn’t add in the red pepper flakes. But if you like heat I’m sure you can add in however much you want! :)

5 Ingredient Friday: Baked Acorn Squash

So as you are well aware, I belong to a CSA program. I got a Green Acorn Squash in this week’s CSA Box, so I figured I should do something with it! Now I’ve never had Green Acorn Squash before; I’ve only had Butternut Squash.  So I kept the Acorn Squash so that I could try it out. I wanted a pretty easy recipe to try, so I tried the Baked Acorn Squash recipe from Simply Recipes. I made a few changes to the recipe, so if you want to see the original recipe, click here.

 

  • 1 Acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 4 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Honey
  • dash of salt (freebie)

 

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Using a strong chef’s knife, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end.

Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half.  Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife.


Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.

Coat the inside of each half with one tablespoon of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter (I still used a dash, even though I used salted butter). Add two tablespoons of brown sugar to the cavity of each half.  Drizzle on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half. Do the same with the honey.

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving.


Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas. Serve!

 

I love brown sugar, maple syrup, and butter, so I did enjoy this dish. I thought the honey gave it a nice flavor. I wish everything got a bit more syrupy, but it’s not a big deal that it didn’t. I think the next time I may try a little bit of cinnamon in there as well. I think that would definitely boost the flavor a bit!  It was a good recipe, but I can’t see myself running out to buy an Acorn Squash anytime soon. Especially since I’d only be making it for myself; Mr. Curly Fry turned his nose up at it. ;)