Friday, March 28, 2014

Layered Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Treats

Chocolate and Peanut Butter is the best flavor combination ever?  Right?  Chocolate is rich and creamy, combined with the creamy or chunky, my preference, peanuty, peanut butter is pure heaven  I had a box of Cocoa Krispies in my pantry, begging to be used, so I decided on Cocoa Krispies and  Peanut Butter Krispie treats topped with Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache.  These treats are amazing with a layer of Marshmallow Cocoa Krispies with peanut butter, then topped with Mini Peanut Butter Cups, chopped, and covered with another layer of Marshmallow Cocoa Krispies with Peanut Butter, and drenched with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache, Whew!  I'm drooling, already.  These might be a little healthy because of the peanut butter.

 We eat aaaalot of peanut butter in our house, and we are just two people, plus Bailey, a peanut butter loving dog.  We go through about a jar a week, because my husband's breakfast is a toasted multi-grain English Muffin with a healthy dose of peanut butter and fruit spread.  Bailey will wait patiently for her little piece of muffin.  I also put peanut butter on a piece of banana for her.  Does your dog like peanut butter?  These Layered Triple Chocolate Peanut butter Krispie Treats are a fun treat for the peanut butter lovers in my house.  Sorry, Bailey, you won't be getting a bite of these, because of the chocolate.

I made these treats in my new personalized 13 X9  pan that I got for Christmas from That's My Pan  It's perfect to take to potlucks, because you will always be able to take home the right pan.  The lid is tight fitting as well, which is perfect for storing the  treats .

 I also got this spatula from my BFF, Pauli, which is perfect for me.  Baking has always been my therapy. 

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #111 


Layered Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Treats
 Adapted from Liv Life

1st Layer - Cocoa Krispie Treat Layer

3 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies

1/2 bag (10.5-oz) miniature marshmallows
2 Tbs unsalted butter

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter ***

2nd Layer

1 bag  Mini Peanut Butter cups, chopped

3rd Layer - Cocoa Krispie Treat Layer

3 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies

1/2 bag (10.5-oz) miniature marshmallows
2 Tbs unsalted butter

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter***

4th Layer - Peanut Butter Ganache

1 cup creamy peanut butter***
2 cups chocolate, chopped

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray, or alternatively grease pan with butter.  Or line pan with foil, edges overlapping.

Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl, set aside. Melt the marshmallows and butter along with peanut butter, together in a medium saucepan over medium heat, or microwave in 30 second increments, until melted.  Stir to combine. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal mixture, quickly stirring well to evenly coat the cereal. Pour the cereal mixture into the prepared pan and press evenly into the pan. 

Sprinkle the mini peanut butter cups over the top, pushing cups into the Krispies. Refrigerate until cool and firm enough to handle second layer of treats, about 1 hour. 

Prepare second layer of krispies.  Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl, set aside. Melt the marshmallows, peanut butter, and butter together in a medium saucepan over medium heat, or microwave in 30 second increments, until melted.  Stir to combine.  Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal mixture, quickly stirring well to evenly coat the cereal.

To prepare the ganache, melt the peanut butter and chocolate either in a microwave, stirring often, or over a double boiler on the stove, also stirring often, over low heat.  When the chocolate and peanut butter are fully melted, cool slightly and then pour over the krispie treats, smoothing with the back of a wooden spoon. 

Allow to cool.  Place treats in the fridge for about 30 minutes or longer, until the ganache is set). Cut into squares.

*** I used natural Peanut Butter, not like Jif, because that was the only kind that I had in my pantry.  The treats are on the soft side, but I liked them that way.  If you want them crunchier, use a peanut butter like Jif.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

 Lent is the perfect time to add more meatless meals to your menu. I recently made this Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna for a family gathering, and it was a definite hit. With so many dietary restrictions and personal preferences people may have, it makes it difficult to plan gatherings these days. The Vegetarian Lasagna was an easy choice for my party. The Lasagna has layers a of Browned Mushrooms sauce, Spinach, Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.  The mushrooms have a meaty flavor and texture, so you don't even miss the meat, plus all of the gooey, gooey cheese layers.

I used the no boil lasagna noodles which saved a step, plus a pot to wash. The noodles were cooked perfectly in the pan, while being baked in the oven.  I always said that making Lasagna is a labor of love, and  your family or friends will love you for it. Enjoy!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #111 

Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Adapted from Simply Recipes


  • 1 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped  I used white button  mushrooms
  • 1 generous cup of chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus more for keeping the noodles from sticking to each other, if needed
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I recommend Muir Glen brand with added basil)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed in clean towel of excess moisture
  • 1 lb lasagna noodles (16 to 20 noodles) I used the no-boil noodles
  • 1 15-or-16-ounce container of ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil  I used dried basil
  • 1/4 pound pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)  I used the Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 cups)


1 Place mushrooms in a large (6 to 8 quart), sauté pan on high or medium high heat. Stir them with a wooden spoon or shake the pan from time to time. You may hear them squeak. Sprinkle salt over the mushrooms. The mushrooms will sizzle and then start to release water. (Note that you are not adding fat at this point to the pan; this method of cooking mushrooms in their own moisture is called "dry sautéing.) Once the mushrooms start to release water into the pan, stir in the chopped onions. Cook until the mushrooms are no longer releasing moisture and the mushroom water has boiled away, about 5 minutes more.

2 Add the olive oil to the mushrooms and stir to coat.  Saute the mushrooms and onions for about a minute.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, cook for a minute longer. Reserve 1 cup of the tomato sauce (it will go in the bottom of the casserole dish), and put the remaining cup of tomato sauce into the pot with the mushrooms.  Add the large can of crushed tomatoes.  Add one cup of water. Stir in the thyme, sugar, and red pepper flakes. If you are using dried basil instead of fresh, add it now.  Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and simmer on a low simmer, for 20 minutes.

You can skip Step 3, if you use no-boil noodles!

3 Once sauce is simmering, salt the boiling pasta water, and add the dry lasagna noodles to the boiling water.  (The water should be at a vigorous, rolling boil.) Stir gently, making sure that the noodles are not sticking to each other. Set the timer for 8 minutes, or however long is indicated on the package of the noodles. Cook uncovered on a high boil. When the noodles are ready (al dente, cooked through but still firm to the bite), drain the noodles in a colander, and rinse them to cool them with cold water.  As you rinse them, gently separate them with your fingers so they don't stick to each other. Prepare a couple large cookie sheets or baking sheets by spreading a tablespoon of olive oil over the baking sheets. Place the lasagna noodles on the sheets, gently coating them with a bit of that olive oil, and spreading them out. This will help keep them from sticking to each other while you finish the sauce and prepare the layered casserole.  

I used the no-boil noodles, which eliminates Step 3. Layer the noodles over the reserved tomato sauce, as described below.  I used a 13x9 pan, and it worked well.

4 Turn off the heat on the stovetop for the sauce. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the one cup of reserved tomato sauce over the bottom of a large (preferably 10x15-inch) casserole dish. (If your casserole dish is smaller, you may need to add another layer as you go through this step.) Place a layer of lasagna noodles down over the tomato sauce, slightly overlapping. (For our 10x15-inch dish, we ultimately fit 3 layers of noodles, each layer with 6 noodles.  Then we had 2 extra noodles on which to nosh.) Sprinkle half of the ricotta cheese over the noodles. Sprinkle half of the defrosted, drained, and excess moisture squeezed out spinach over the ricotta.  Sprinkle half of the Mozzarella cheese over the spinach, and just a quarter of the pecorino  or Parmesan cheese. Then spoon 1/3 of your mushroom sauce over the Mozzarella. Sprinkle half of the fresh basil over the sauce if using.

5 Repeat the layering process. Place a second layer of noodles over the sauce. Spread the remaining ricotta, spinach, and Mozzarella over the noodles. Sprinkle another quarter of the pecorino or Parmesan along with the Mozzarella. Top with another third of the mushroom sauce and the remaining fresh basil.  Layer your final layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread the remaining sauce over the lasagna noodles, and sprinkle with the remaining pecorino or parmesan cheese.

6 Pull out a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to cover the casserole dish. Spread a little olive oil over the inside of the piece of foil (the side that will have contact with the lasagna). Place the foil over the casserole dish and crimp the edges.  Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 minutes.

Take the lasagna out of the oven when done and let it rest 10 minutes before cutting to serve. Once made, the lasagna will last a week in the fridge or put in freezer bag and freeze for up to two  months.

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