Monday, April 26, 2010

Peanutty Goodness

Not sure if this really counts as an official pregnancy craving but ever since Easter brought about my favorite Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in plenty, I've been enjoying a lot of desserts with peanut butter.  So I started looking up some recipes on to see what I could bake using peanut butter, and found the one I'm including below, although there were many tempting options.  Of course, if the trend continues, you'll be sure to see some more peanut butter recipes on this blog very soon.  The peanut butter cookies I made really turned out well...they were light, peanut buttery, and had just the right amount of sweetness.  Even a few days later, their consistency stayed the same, which I can't say about many cookie recipes I've tried.  Enjoy!

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
(Courtesy of Bon App├ętit, January 1998 issue)

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned style or freshly ground)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, peanut butter and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Beat in both sugars. Scrape down sides of bowl. Stir half of dry ingredients into mixture. Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Mix in remaining dry ingredients.

For each cookie, roll 1 heaping tablespoonful of dough into 1 3/4-inch-diameter ball. Arrange dough balls 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using back of fork, flatten dough balls and form crosshatch design on tops. Bake cookies until dry on top and golden brown on bottom, about 14 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

This recipe can be found at

Friday, April 9, 2010

Easy Entertaining: Baked Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

It's funny how food moods change with the seasons.  Given how warm it's been (unusually warm for Washington, DC as well), I've been wanting lighter, fresher meals.  So when my family came for a visit over Easter weekend, I knew I wanted to make a shrimp dish.  I found the perfect one - Baked Lemon-Garlic Shrimp.  The taste was light and fresh, and it was definitely healthy.  I baked it in one big casserole dish and then served it over cous-cous.  Perfect!  This is a good dish for company since it's easy to assemble and it's healthy.  Your guests will thank you.

Baked Lemon-Garlic Shrimp
(Courtesy of  The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook)

1 1/4 pounds large shrimp
1 bunch (10-12 ounces) fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. lemon-pepper seasoning salt
Parsley sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Shell and devein shrimp.

In bowl, combine spinach, tomatoes, 1 T. olive oil, and 1/2 t. salt.  Toss to coat.  Place spinach mixture in four 1-1/2 cup shallow casseroles. (I didn't have individual casserole dishes, so I just used one large casserole dish, which worked just fine.)

In the same bowl, combine shrimp, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, lemon-pepper seasoning salt, 1 T. olive oil, and 1/2 t. salt; toss shrimp to coat.  Arrange shrimp mixture over spinach mixture.

Bake 12-15 minutes, until shrimp are opaque throughout.  If you're using individual casserole dishes, the recipe recommends that you serve this dish by placing each casserole on plate and garnishing with parsley sprigs.  (I served the shrimp over cous-cous.)

Note:  This recipe makes 4 main-dish servings (it allows plenty for seconds or leftovers).  Each serving is about 205 calories, 26g protein, 6g carbohydrates, 8g total fat (1g saturated), 219 mg cholesterol, 865 mg sodium.