Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars

Like many people, the week leading up to the new year really gets me thinking about my new year’s resolution(s). In the past I’ve made some resolutions that have stuck, and I’ve made others that haven’t. Back in high school I gave up pop (aka soda), and a few years ago I vowed to give up artificial sweeteners; I’m proud to say, both of these resolutions are still in effect today. As I look to the year ahead, I’m thinking my new year’s resolutions are going to be to drink more water and to (try to) reduce processed foods. The latter one is tough, since occassionally processed foods are needed for convenience purposes, not to mention, sometimes they taste good!

One way I already try to reduce my processed food in take is by making one of my favorite, go-to snacks, rather than buying it packaged. I love granola bars because they’re filling, satisfying, easy to grab on the go, and they’re something I can give to my son. There are so many recipes for granola bars, but when I discovered this simple version of Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars, I knew it was a winner. With sweet dates, oatmeal, almonds, almond butter and chocolate chips, this recipe is sure to please almost any palate. Since making this recipe several times, I’ve switched out the almond butter for peanut butter, and I’ve also tried dried blueberries instead of chocolate chips. In addition to changing the nut butters, I’ve also used almond slivers instead of whole almonds when I’m giving this to my son. The best part is that these granola bars can be stored in the freezer for prolonged freshness, and they thaw in only about 15 minutes on the counter!

Before I share the recipe, I wanted to tell you about a great program and special offer that I’ve learned about through my partnership with Cooking Light Magazine. Although I don’t know the exact stats, I’d guess that the majority of people making resolutions focus on health or weight loss, so telling you about the Cooking Light Diet comes at a good time! The CLD is calorie-driven weekly meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Through the plan, you’ll receive a meal plan, that is easily customizable, sent to your inbox. You’ll receive sample menus, and if you don’t like something on the menu, easily swap it out by scrolling through the many alternatives that fit within the calorie allotment. If you’re interested in signing up for the Cooking Light Diet, visit CookingLightDiet.com and use coupon code DIETSAVE20 to save 20%.

I wish you all luck with your resolutions and a very happy New Year!

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Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars

Adapted from the Minimalist Baker

What You Need

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey (sub maple syrup or agave if needed)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter or unsweetened peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup raw nuts (almonds, almond slivers or pecans)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips or dried blueberries (or any other dried fruit)

What To Do

  1. Place dates in a food processor and mix until small bits remain and they form a ball. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add oats, nuts, and chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking down the dates so they disperse fairly evenly throughout the ingredients. Small chunks are OK.
  2. Warm honey and almond butter in a microwave safe dish, (being careful not to heat too long), pour over dry ingredients. Stir quickly to evenly coat. The chocolate chips will get a little melty, which is great.
  3. Transfer to a shallow pan (such as 8×8 or loaf pan) lined with parchment or plastic wrap and top with another piece of plastic wrap and use your hands to form the mixture into a tight square (keeping in mind you want them about 1/2 thick and you’ll cut them into 10-12 bars) with a uniformly flat top.
  4. Still covered, pop them into the freezer to set for 15 minutes. Remove and cut into 10-12 bars. Store in an airtight container or bag in the fridge to keep fresh, or in the freezer for longer term storage.
http://glorioffood.com/2014/12/30/chocolate-chip-almond-butter-granola-bars/

Happy Holidays

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It’s a beautiful day in St. Louis today, and it doesn’t feel at all like Christmas. We’re spending time outside and later going to family’s house for a delicious meal. Whatever your holiday traditions entail, I wish you and your family a Happy Holiday!

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe for Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas is astetically appropriate for this time of year, so I couldn’t think of a better time to share it than right before Christmas. The recipe consists of tender shredded chicken wrapped in a flour tortilla, smothered in a delicious green chile sauce, and finally topped off with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and a dusting of cilantro. When I eat enchiladas, the sauce has to be the star of the dish. What’s so great about this recipe is the sauce is guaranteed to be great with very little work involved. I’ve taken my favorite store-bought green sauce (Frontera Green Chile Enchilada sauce) and blended it with cilantro and onions to give it more depth. I used to scoff at store bought sauces, but once I discovered this high-quality flavorful option, making the sauce from scratch isn’t necessary. Although I baked the chicken, another time saving option for enchiladas is using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and shredding it. I love how quickly a satisfying meal comes together with a few simple tricks. I hope you get to enjoy this green and red festive dish sometime this holiday season!

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Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Yield: 6 enchiladas

What You Need

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or 1.5 lbs rotisserie chicken shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (not needed if using rotisserie chicken)
  • Ground black pepper and garlic salt (not needed if using rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 8 ounce packages Frontera Green Chile Enchilada sauce, or other store bought green chile/verde enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped purple or white onion
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • Diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro for garnish

What To Do

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and coat evenly with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Generously coat with ground black pepper and garlic salt. Bake chicken for 30 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink. (Skip this step if using rotisserie chicken)
  2. While chicken is baking, pour both packages of sauce in a blender. Add cilantro and chopped onions and blend until uniform.
  3. Once chicken has cooled, using two forks, shred chicken. When shredded, I like to take a sharp knife and chop the chicken so it is fine and there are no large shreds. Place chicken in a mixing bowl.
  4. Place 1/4 cup cream cheese in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it. Add cream cheese and 1/2 cup of blended sauce to the chicken. Stir until the chicken is evenly coated.
  5. Divide chicken evenly among six tortillas. Wrap tortillas and place in a baking dish seam-side down. Once all six filled tortillas are side by side in baking dish, pour remaining sauce evenly over enchiladas. Top evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through.
  6. Top with diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
http://glorioffood.com/2014/12/23/green-chile-chicken-enchiladas/

Caramelized Cauliflower Slivers

Until I got into cooking, I never realized that the way a food is sliced can completely change the way it tastes and the way that particular ingredient becomes part of a dish. A zucchini cut into discs is certainly different than a zucchini cut into long ribbons. You may find those discs sautéed into a stir fry, whereas the ribbons would be better suited for a fresh summer salad. I love when I’m at a restaurant and a certain vegetable will be sliced uniquely, and the new shape totally changes the way I think about the food and in turn, changes the way it tastes.

Although I’ve had roasted cauliflower many a times, when I saw this recipe for Caramelized Cauliflower Slivers, I was captivated by the thin pieces which are so different than the large florets that typically emerge from my oven. I loved how the slim pieces allow for more surface area to become roasted and crispy. I’m not one to compare a health food to a snack food, but my husband and I literally popped these cauliflower slivers like they were chips and the entire pan disappeared in mere minutes. I can’t believe I’m professing my love for something as basic as roasted cauliflower, but by simply using this new slicing technique this dish became anything but basic. I know this new preparation has me thinking about other ways I can slice vegetables to step them up a notch, and I hope it does for you too!

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Caramelized Cauliflower Slivers

Recipe Source: The Family Cooks

What You Need

  • 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower and/or broccoli cut from top to bottom into thin slices (some will crumble, that's ok)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (enough to thinly coat all the vegetables), plus more for the baking sheets
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

What To Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil 1 or 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the cauliflower and/or broccoli with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss until thoroughly coated. Transfer to the baking sheet(s) and spread out so that the pieces aren't crowded.
  3. Roast until golden and tender, flipping occasionally so that the slices brown evenly, 25-30 minutes.
http://glorioffood.com/2014/12/17/caramelized-cauliflower-slivers/

Spiced Pecans

This holiday season, Cooking Light is running a Bake It Forward campaign, encouraging people to bake an extra batch of treats for a friend, coworker, charity, community organization, or anyone who could use some good cheer. I can totally get behind this idea because I’m a firm believer that good food should be shared, especially food that is homemade with love. If you following me on Instagram, you may have seen that I Baked It Forward by bringing brownies to the fire station in our neighborhood. It was an unexpected surprise for them, and it made me feel good to see their reactions. You can post your own Bake It Forward picture on Instagram and #BakeItForward for a chance to win $500 from Cooking Light.

Last week I made these Spiced Pecans, and although they’re not technically a baked good, I thought they’d be an easy thing to make an extra batch of and share. Anyone on the receiving end of these sweet and spicy nuts will love how they can be enjoyed as a quick snack or added to the top of a salad. They would also look enticing on a coffee table during a holiday party. The ancho chili powder, syrup and other seasonings make these Spiced Pecans a tasty homemade gift for anyone to Bake It Forward!

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Spiced Pecans

Recipe Source: Cooking Light Magazine

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoons ancho chile powder (add an additional teaspoon for extra spice)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups pecan halves

What To Do

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Combine maple syrup, Worcestershire, chile powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring well. Add nuts to syrup mixture; toss well to coat.
  3. Arrange nuts in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375° for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer sticky. Cool completely on pan.
http://glorioffood.com/2014/12/09/spiced-pecans/

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