Dubbed Wendy’s Crafty Sweatshop years ago, the week or two before Christmas is time to make all the treats to go along with the jars of jam and veggies put up over the summer. This year added caramels to the lineup (recipe and pics soon) that always includes biscotti and chocolate covered popcorn.
I came across this recipe a decade ago through in an email newsletter from Worldwide Recipes. It’s been in the holiday line-up ever since.
A few notes- doubling this recipe makes about 14 gift-sized bags of popcorn, fewer servings if you pack it in tins. I like to mix the white & the chocolate together.
Heavenly Popcorn packed into gift bags.
- 14-15 cups plain popped corn (remove uncooked kernels)
- 2 cups dry-roasted peanuts
- 1 lb confectionery coating *
- 3 TBS creamy peanut butter
In a large deep roasting pan, combine popcorn and peanuts. In the top of a double-boiler over simmering water, melt coating and peanut butter, stirring occasionally (I did this step in the microwave). Pour over popcorn and stir to coat. (Take off rings or use gloves- this makes a mess). Spread evenly on waxed paper and allow to set for about an hour before bagging.
Coat the popcorn, allow to set on waxed or parchment paper.
* Look for confectionery coating (also called bark, almond bark or candy coating) in grocery stores with baking supplies or in stores selling chocolate candy discs for melting and pouring into molds. I would not recommend using a regular chocolate candy bar. I don’t think it will set for you correctly when it hardens.
1) Use up stuff in the fridge.
2) Goes together quickly.
3) Kids actually excited to help AND eat.
This ingenious recipe from Kiwi Magazine uses egg roll wrappers instead of crust, saving both time and calories. I make it even quicker by saving a few cooked chicken breasts in the fridge from a previous night’s dinner and skip the chicken cooking step.
- 2 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 cup all natural chicken broth
- 4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
- 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 2 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- 12 egg-roll wrappers
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add second tablespoon of olive oil and garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
If someone in your house eats one of the chicken breasts you had planned to use in this recipe, some chopped steamed potato works well too. (Yes, the chili covered mango and dark chocolate is an essential snack while making dinner).
- Add chicken, tarragon, salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk chicken broth and cornstarch until well combined. Add to skillet, along with peas and corn, and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue to simmer and stir gently until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
- To prepare the bundles, use a nonstick muffin pan with 12 medium-size cups. Gently place 1 egg-roll wrapper into each cup, letting it extend over the sides.
- Place a generous 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture into each wrapper.
Fill, top with parm cheese, then twist closed.
- Sprinkle Parmesan evenly on top.
- Bring the corners up and over the top of the filling, pressing and folding to seal the edges together (it doesn’t have to be perfect!).
Ready for the oven.
- Brush the remaining oil on top of each bundle. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
These are a HUGE hit in my house. Whatever is left over from dinner goes to school in lunches the next day or is gobbled up as an after school snack.
Serves 6Per serving (2 bundles): calories 380, fat 9g, protein 24g, carbohydrate 48g, fiber 4g, sodium 650mg
Another confession…..I am a total tweaker. I’ll make something the way it’s written once and before I’m even finished the recipe has already evolved and changed in my mind. This one is a great example. Cooking Light has a fabulous banana bread recipe that I have been making for years. The structure hasn’t changed much (eggs, yogurt and butter provide the fat and the binding ingredients) but I’ve added flax seed for crunch (and avoids the nut-allergy issues), swapped the all-purpose flour for a combo of AP and whole wheat or all white-wheat flour for added fiber and protein and cut the sugar in half. If I’m feeling especially generous I’ll toss in half a cup of mini chocolate chips. The purchase of my latest favorite kitchen gadget, the one-tablespoon cookie scoop along with a few mini-muffin pans ensures that I can make these quickly, and do so at least once a week. They’re eaten as fast as I can make them and are a great during or after-school snack.
- 2 cups flour (240 grams) white-wheat OR 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup whole wheat
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
- 1/3 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
- 1/8 cup flax seed
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife or measure by weight. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
- Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Add flax seed and mix briefly.
I use my stand mixer and toss the bananas in whole.
- Scoop batter into mini-muffin tins coated with cooking spray.
Fill using one-tablespoon cookie dough scoop. Do not overfill.
- Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. (Can also bake as a loaf. Coat an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and bake for 1 hour).
Cool in the tray for a few minutes then finish cooling on a wire rack.