Menu Plan

Menu Plan | The Pajama ChefWeek of April 7

Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: light fettuccine alfredo
Wednesday: Mexican dinner w/ my Bible study :) – I’m bringing my Mexican lentils and rice, of course :)
Thursday: frittata
Friday: homemade taco pizza
Saturday: black bean burgers
Sunday: breakfast for dinner….yum! or popcorn & smoothies, something easy  :)

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Oatmeal Fudge Bars

I know people have been on the sweet and salty dessert kick for awhile, but it’s taken me some time to get on board. If you’ve read my blog for awhile you may have noticed that I don’t put salt in many of my recipes. My mom doesn’t either, and hasn’t really ever, so I’m super sensitive to salt. But in these Oatmeal Fudge Bars, the salt is what makes them GREAT! Picture a gooey, fudgy, peanut buttery layer surrounded by a hearty, soft oatmeal-based crust with just a hint of salt to balance the sweetness, and you have these bars. If you don’t have these bars, you’re missing out, so you should make them, stat. They are a perfect way to celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day today too!

Oatmeal Fudge Bars | thepajamachef.com

These bars are a bit finicky to make, but their sweet-salty goodness makes them well worth the effort! Mind you, when I say these bars are “finicky” I mean you have to make and bake the crust, wait for it to cool, then add the filling and the topping. So really, not too complicated… but an extra step or two and a bit of time.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars | thepajamachef.com

They are so fudgy and rich that just a small, warm slice is perfectly satisfying. Because I ran out of chocolate chips [I knowwww] while making them, I used some peanut butter chips too. You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate, can you? Enjoy!

one year ago: Neely’s Lemon Pasta Salad
two years ago: Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken
three years ago: Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops with Pineapple and Coconut Toasted Rice

Oatmeal Fudge Bars [from Carpe Season]
click to print

Ingredients:

for crust/topping

  • 1 cup oats [original recipe suggested quick oats, I used old-fashioned]
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose]
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

for filling

  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose]
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter chips [or can use all chocolate chips], divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 square baking dish with foil and grease thoroughly.

In a medium bowl,  prepare the crust/topping. Whisk together oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour in melted butter, then stir to combine.

Save 3/4 cup of this mixture for the topping, then press the rest evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake crust for 8-9 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cool completely [can refrigerate pan for 20-25 minutes to speed process up, if desired].

As crust cools, prepare the filling.

Stir together flour, brown sugar, instant coffee, and salt in a bowl. You can use the crust bowl, wiped out with a paper towel, if desired. When crust is cool, melt 1/2 cup chocolate and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips together with the butter in a bowl in the microwave in 20 second increments, for a total of about a minute. Stir in between each microwave session.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. When chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, pour chocolate into the egg and whisk constantly so as to not cook the egg. Pour egg/chocolate into the flour mixture, stirring with a fork to combine. Mixture will be thick–like icing.

Spoon the filling over the cooled crust. Don’t worry if crust isn’t completely covered. Sprinkle reserved topping over chocolate mixture, then top with reserved chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Bars are done when filling starts to pull away from the sides of pan.

Cool bars for 30 minutes before removing from pan with foil, then cut into bars and serve.

Store in the fridge for best results.

Time: 2 hours [30 minutes active].

Yield: 16 servings.

Menu Plan

Menu Plan | The Pajama ChefWeek of March 31
Monday: Lemony Kale Pasta
Tuesday: grilling chicken with one of Ben’s special marinades Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Tasty Mexican Lentils [I'm obsessed]
Friday: sandwiches or something quick before a dodgeball tourney at church :)
Saturday: breakfast for dinner
Sunday: out to eat

Mystery Dish: Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins

Happy Mystery Dish Friday! Today I have some AMAZING muffins to share with you. They are seriously some of the coolest muffins I have ever made [and from this muffin addicted girl, that's saying a lot]. But how can you not agree?! They have KIWI on top. So fun, so tropical, so green. Spring, please come soon!

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.com

This month for Mystery Dish, Kat from I Want Crazy was in charge. When our original founder, Dani, who has since left blogging due to family, was trying to organize the group, I suggested she ask Kat to join. I knew Kat from church [we were still living in Indiana then] and she had recently started blogging. She joined and the rest is history… errr, the rest being that this month she chose our fun ingredients [including the aforementioned kiwi] to be: boxed cake mix, Peeps, oats, ginger, honey, wine, shallots, coconut, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, kiwi, dried fruit, and cinnamon. Some of those ingredients I looove [COCONUT] and others I hate [Peeps. With a passion.] so the choice was pretty simple.

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.comI pinned these Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins months and months ago, and now I finally had an excuse to make them. They are a tropical delight! Basically, you make a soft coconut muffin and top it with a slice of kiwi fruit and a smattering of coconut flakes. The coconut on top gets all golden and toasty, though in an ideal world I’d like it to be toastier [but didn't want to toughen up the muffins]. I added a touch of ginger to the muffin batter, both to satisfy Kat’s request for us to use three ingredients AND because I just thought it sounded wonderful. And they turned out wonderful, if I do say so myself. Lime, ginger, and coconut go so well together in these fun muffins, and the kiwi is the cherry on top. :) A bit o’ color and flavor if you will. These muffins were perfect for a rainy/snowy week. Hope you enjoy, and that you check out some of the other recipes this month for Mystery Dish!

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.comone year ago: Sweet & Sour Chicken
two years ago: Turkey, Spinach, & Kale Stuffed Shells
three years ago: Baked Potato Skins

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins [slightly adapted from Clever Muffin]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • zest of one large lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • scant 1/2 cup coconut oil [90 grams]
  • 1 cup buttermilk [quick shortcut=1 tablespoon vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup; let sit for about 5 minutes to thicken]
  • 1 egg
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare muffin tin with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, shredded coconut, lime zest, and ground ginger. Make a well in the center.

In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut oil, buttermilk, and egg. Pour into the well then stir until just combined.

Spoon into prepared muffin tin, then top with a slice of kiwi and some shredded coconut.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Eat or freeze within three days.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 12-16 muffins.

Mystery Dish March Collage | thepajamachef.com1. Coconut Shrimp with Thai Chili Ginger Sauce by Joyful Healthy Eats
2. Sangria Poached Pears by Baking a Moment
3. Baked Mini Carrot Cake Donuts by Culinary Couture Blog
4. Funfetti Cookies with Peeps Marshmallow Frosting by I Dig Pinterest
5. Carrot Oatmeal Cookies by Yummy Healthy Easy
6. Gooey Oatmeal Cranberry Bars by I Want Crazy
7. Honey Lime Coconut Oatmeal Cookies by Blahnik Baker
8. Chocolate Almond Date Balls by The Well Floured Kitchen
9. Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins by The Pajama Chef
10. Nesting Peeps Cupcakes by The Dessert Chronicles
11. Carrot Cake Cookies by Chez CateyLou

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup

Updated March 30, 2014… so today, I was looking through some blog pics and realized I made a terrible error! The soup that had been pictured here was NOT this wonderful Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup, but rather a Minty Tomato Soup. Whoops! Somehow I mixed up my labels. Sorry about that! This soup is still delish no matter how it looks, but I wanted to come back and make it right with you. :) Forgive me? 

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup | thepajamachef.com

I hope you’re okay with another soup recipe this late in March! If you aren’t, look away. But be forewarned: you’ll miss some awesome soup. It was snowing in Nashville yesterday [not enough to stick, but still], so soup is entirely justified I think!

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup | thepajamachef.com

Earlier in the year, my mom texted me a picture of her dinner: a delightful orange-y colored soup. I asked for the recipe and received a text with a picture of the recipe, which I immediately made for lunch the next day. Yay for iPhones and technology! :) That soup is the one before your very eyes now… a creamy, flavorful, filling Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup. I’ve made plenty of black bean and pumpkin soups in my day–but never together, and never this good. The soup is a cinch to throw together and definitely gets better as it sits. With just a hint of spice and a bit of sweetness, this soup is unlike any I have ever tasted. Next time I make it I will be sure to stock up on sour cream, green onions, and pumpkin seeds because the [unpictured] toppings are the very best part! Enjoy!

one year ago: Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing
two years ago: Cinnamon Curry Tuna Wraps
three years ago: Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup [slightly adapted from a magazine via my mom]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil [STAR Fine Foods Grilling Cuisine Cooking Oil is what I used; extra virgin would also work]
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded [optional]
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups chicken [or vegetable] broth
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons molasses or bourbon [optional]
  • sour cream, for topping
  • sliced green onions, for topping
  • pumpkin seeds, for topping

Directions:

In a food processor, combine black beans, tomatoes, and spinach. Process until smooth.

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium. Add onions and jalapeno [if using] and cook until soft. Add garlic and cumin and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Then stir in broth, pumpkin, vinegar, and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in molasses if using, then serve with sour cream, green onions, and pumpkin seeds as desired.

Time: 35 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 8 servings [about 2 quarts]