Earlier this week, I touched on some pretty heavy topics. And while some of those topics might come up again in the future (they certainly aren’t issues that are going away anytime soon AND I think it important to maintain an open dialog), today we’re going to keep things light and cheery. Because above all else, this is a food blog. And I think it’s important to honor that.
So let’s turn all of our attentions to these beautiful Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies with Raspberries.
When I decided to make this recipe, I was all like “I got this. I’m just going to whip these babies up in no time. Easy peasy.” But boy, was I wrong.
The first batch of brownies I made was so terrible that I had to THROW AWAY THE ENTIRE PAN! Like, completely in-edible. I honestly don’t know what happened. I mean, how badly can a person mess up peanut butter and chocolate that it’s so gross it becomes trash? I don’t know. I made them at 6:00 am, so I’m wondering if in my sleepy haze I completely forgot a major ingredient or something. I never really figured it out.
The second batch was good (and edible), but not great. The texture was a bit odd and I overcooked them slightly (note: those are actually the ones in the photos, so yours will probably look a little less dry when baked). But by the third time, I nailed it. I brought them to the brewery and all my friends gobbled them right up. And I even received a marriage proposal as a result of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies with Raspberries. Are you impressed yet?
Spoiler alert: I’m still happily single.
So here are a couple things that I learned during this process. First, I got much better results when I used a big brand name peanut butter (like Skippy or Jiff). The brownies I made with my natural peanut butter didn’t have the smooth texture I was ultimately looking for. If the idea of those big brands really turns you off and you want to use your favorite natural/organic brand of peanut butter, go right ahead. But please be aware that you’ll likely have to add in a little more salt and sugar to make up for the fact that those natural/organic brands usually contain less to start with. The second thing I noticed is that the temperature of the two layers is related to how “pretty” your swirls will come out. The brownie batter should be warm already (since it gets started on the stovetop). But if your house/kitchen is cold, you might want to microwave the peanut butter layer for a few seconds to help loosen it up.
The raspberries were a last minute addition, because it’s almost Valentine’s Day and I wanted to throw in a little bit of pink flare. If you’re one of those individuals that isn’t down with fruit in your brownies, then just skip them. You might not get a marriage proposal, but I can guarantee they will still taste amazing.
Recipe adapted from my Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
I feel like we’re all collectively screaming for comfort food right now. The weather is cold, dark and generally kind of shitty. The political landscape in America is bleak, at best. And Valentine’s Day, which I’ve found to be a rather dreaded day for both singles and couples alike, is looming on the horizon.
All of these things are reason enough to dig into some good old fashioned Italian comfort food. Which is why I decided to make us some Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta for today. AND I made it all in just about 30 minutes. Because sometimes when you need comfort food, you need it FAST.
Something you may have noticed over the past year or so on this site is a shift towards almost exclusively plant-based recipes. And while I’m not claiming to be a vegetarian (I still enjoy non-vegetarian recipes on occasion), I’d estimate that about 90% of my meals consumed at home are strictly plant-based.
I don’t really have one glaring reason for this shift in my diet. All I can really say is that eating plants makes me feel good. It’s as simple as that. So I’m going to continue down that path for now. And throw in a few non-vegetarian recipes every once in a while when a craving hits.
Meatballs are one of the few foods that I remember really liking as a child. I was a picky eater, so most things were off limits at meal times. But meatballs were almost always welcome.
I like to make my meatballs from ground chicken (although you could certainly use ground turkey). And I always bake them in my oven. Which I suppose isn’t very traditional. But I appreciate that they are a little bit leaner. And not to mention, less messy and more hands off to prepare. Once you get the meatballs in the oven, you can concentrate your efforts elsewhere in the kitchen – like tackling a batch of this homemade tomato sauce and whisking up the creamiest mascarpone cheese polenta EVER.
This recipe can undoubtedly be made from start to finish in 30 minutes. I’ve done it successfully many times. There is very little chopping. And each component requires less than 20 minutes of actual cooking time. BUT I have to be honest and say that there is some coordination/multi-tasking required to get it done within a 30 minute time frame. You’ll have to manage the tomato sauce and the polenta at the same time. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but it can feel kind of rushed the first time you try it. If all that sounds unpleasant to you, feel free to warm up a big jar of your favorite store-bought tomato sauce on the stovetop in lieu of making your own. That will save you a few minutes.
Polenta is kind of a new-ish ingredient for me. I didn’t grow up eating polenta, so it tends to fall off my radar periodically. But I’m trying to incorporate it more into my life. It’s a great base for everything from these chicken meatballs to barbecue pulled pork to roasted vegetables. How do you usually use polenta? I’d love to hear some additional suggestions!
Are you craving even more meals that you can prepare in 30 minutes or less? Of course you are! Well, lucky for you it’s 30 Minute Thursday. If you scroll down past the recipe below, you’ll find links to other quick and easy recipes from some of my blogging friends. Make sure to check them all out!
One Pot 30-Minute Pasta e Fagioli from Flavor the Moments
Tuna Casserole from My Kitchen Craze
Easy Chicken Pad Thai from Life Made Sweeter
One Pot Black Bean Fajita Pasta (Make Ahead) from Sweet Peas & Saffron
Italian Chicken Tortellini Skillet from The Recipe Rebel
Lightened Up Baked Chicken Parmesan from Kristine’s Kitchen
Healthy Taco Chickpea Lettuce Wraps from She Likes Food
30 Minute Chicken Stew from Bake.Eat.Repeat
Garlic Parmesan Gnocchi with Mushrooms from Pumpkin ‘N Spice