Cherry Berry Granola Bars

I don’t waste time posting mediocre meals. All of the dishes featured on this blog are ones I consider deliciously yummy. I often speak of blogworthy recipes, and the easiest way for me to know if something blogworthy is Brent’s reaction to the dish. I made Cherry Berry Granola Bars on Saturday morning, and before they had even finished cooling Brent popped 3 bars in his mouth. As if he was playing a game of chubby bunny, he attempted to say, “These are really good!” I happen to agree. The variations on this recipe are endless. Switch things up by using pecans or almonds. Try any combination of dried fruits, and use a variety of nut butters for different flavors. Have fun with this tasty breakfast bar.

1 2/3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (I processed rolled oats in a food processor)
1 cup dried fruit (I used a mixture of cherry, blueberry, cranberry)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup nut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Coat the parchment paper with non-stick spray.

Stir all the dry (including nut butter) ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, maple syrup, corn syrup and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them down to make sure they are evenly spread, and molded. I used a ziploc bag to help me press the bars down, as the mixture was very sticky! Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes, or until they’re brown around the edges.

Cool the bars in their pan completely. Once complete cool, cut the bars into squares. If they are too crumbly, try cooling them in the freezer for a few minutes. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or to be more eco-friendly, stack them in an airtight container. These bars can also be frozen for later use. Makes 12 bars.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Pesto Pea Orzo

I thought about calling this dish Pesto, Pea, Pancetta, and Parmesan Pasta, but I figured that was probably going overboard with the alliteration. This dish makes for a great weekend lunch. The sweetness of the peas, along with the saltiness of the pancetta and Parmesan makes for a simple, yet satisfying meal.

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup pesto
4 ounces diced pancetta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Cook 4 ounces diced pancetta in a skillet with olive oil until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon.
2. In a large saucepan, cook orzo as directed on the package, adding the peas during the last 4 to 6 minutes of cooking time, cook until tender.
3. Drain excess liquid. Add pancetta, pesto and Parmesan and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve. Makes 5 servings.

Red Velvet Cake Balls

With the huge popularity of Nutella Cake Balls, I decided to experiment a new cake ball combination. What I love about Red Velvet Cake Balls is the bright color when you take a bite. I like to make cake balls over the weekend, store them in the refrigerator and have a yummy bite size dessert ready to enjoy after dinner. I am still working on how to best dip the cake balls in the chocolate. Although delicious, they do not have the smooth truffle look I was going for. Any tips?

1 box red velvet cake mix/ingredients listed on cake mix
1/2 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
2 bars semi-sweet chocolate
Wax paper

1. Bake the cake according to directions on the box.
2. Cool the cake completely, then crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1/2 can cream cheese frosting. Some recipes call for the entire can, but I prefer a more cakey cake ball.(Make sure the cake is cooled, otherwise your cake balls will be soggy.)
3. Roll mixture into balls and lay on cookie sheet. You choose the size, but think a little smaller than a ping pong ball.
4. Chill for several hours in the fridge, or 45 minutes in the freezer.
5. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
6. Dip balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. This is the trickiest part for me. This time I used toothpicks.
7. Store in the refrigerator.