Saturday, March 31, 2012

Blog Awards...and Citrus-Walnut Brown Rice Pilaf

Happy weekend, my friends...hope you have some fun adventures planned! Michael and I are in search of great tacos in San Antonio today, then Sunday is lunch with a friend and an afternoon smoothie break with another friend. In between all this activity will be some cooking for next week’s blog posts. Good thing I always seem to have a ton of energy in Spring! Before I share a fantastic side dish recipe today, I want to thank some of my blogger friends for some cool awards they’ve given me this week. 

First was Heidi at Young Grasshopper, who gave me a Versatile Blogger award. Then my friend Becky from Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves gave me a Kreativ Blogger award. They say good things come in three's, which was the case this week when Peter at Feed the Soul gave me a second Versatile Blogger award. I’m always touched when a fellow food blogger lets me know that they enjoy what I do here! These awards came with a couple of instructions. The first is to share with your favorite I'm sharing these awards with ALL my food blog friends. Swipe the Versatile Blogger or Kreavtiv Blogger button on the right and add it to your blog! I’m also supposed to tell you 10 things about myself. Since most of you only know the foodie side of me, here’s some things you might not know.
  1. I’m in my mid-40s, but I'm very young at heart...I love to laugh and have fun. To me, life’s a grand adventure both in the kitchen and out!
  2. I originally moved to San Antonio in 2000 to attend law school. Yes, I graduated -- and I even passed the Texas Bar on the first try!
  3. I love all kinds of movies...from silly comedies to Oscar-worthy dramas. This includes documentaries and foreign films. Oscar season is one of the highlights of my year!
  4. A peek into my mind: my favorite silly comedies are Wedding Crashers, Tropic Thunder, Old School, and Bridesmaids.
  5. I love all kinds of music, but my favorites are The Beatles, U2, Elton John, and Sting/The Police. Except for The Beatles, I've seen them all live...but I have seen Paul McCartney live several times!
  6. My favorite U.S. cities to visit are New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco/Napa. It’s no coincidence that they all have excellent food!
  7. I’m a political junkie...I don’t talk politics in here, but I have very strong political opinions!
  8. I'm not a picky eater...but the few foods I do dislike, I despise with a passion. Olives are pretty much Public Enemy #1 to me.
  9. I have a sister (6 years younger) and a brother (12 years younger). Tina lives just outside Cleveland, and Kyle lives in the Houston area.
  10. I’m a huge Houston sports cheering for the Texans, Rockets, and Astros. We’ve traveled to Chicago and New York specifically to watch the Astros play road games at Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium (old AND new), and Shea Stadium.
Before I head out in search of tacos...and a visit to the gym...I have a unique and simple rice pilaf to share with you today. Side dishes are often overlooked since they’re the supporting cast of the meal...but that doesn’t have to be the case! I love to pair a flavorful side dish with a simple main dish like grilled chicken or pan-seared fish. As soon as I saw this rice pilaf recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I knew I had to get in the kitchen and play around with it a bit. Brown rice, colorful veggies, lemon, and walnuts combine to make a side dish that truly takes center stage!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Exciting News...Big Changes Coming!!

Hello, may notice a few changes afoot here at The Weekend Gourmet! I have some very exciting news to share!! First off, I'm happy to officially announce that I have a new domain:!! This domain is via Blogger, so my old url will automatically forward readers here. Making this transition as easy as possible for myself and my readers was really important to me. 

After nearly two years of blogging, I decided that it was also time to  spruce things up around here a bit with some added functionality and a new look! You can see a few of the changes that are in effect already: first is the new banner, which I absolutely adore! I wanted to keep the look/feel of my original banner...but in a fresh new way! You'll also notice a white center box for my posts, and a fancy red font for all post titles. And that's just the beginning! Over the next week or so, be on the lookout for tabs at the top with jump pages for new and exciting content. 

Now is your chance to leave me a comment below...tell me what you think about the changes so far, and let me know if you have any suggestions to make The Weekend Gourmet reflect what YOU like to see when you come to visit. My readers are very important to me, so I want to know what you enjoy about The Weekend Gourmet...and what additions/changes you'd like to see. As always, I appreciate all feedback and comments!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cookbook Review: 150 Best Indian, Thai, Vietnamese & More Slow Cooker Recipes...Featuring Filipino Chicken Adobo

My friends at Robert Rose Publishing recently sent me several cookbooks from their Spring catalog to review and share some recipes with you. Today, I’m excited to tell you about 150 Best Indian, Thai, Vietnamese & More Slow Cooker Recipes by Sunil Vijayakar. I was immediately intrigued by the concept since I use my slow cooker year-round...even in warmer months. During summer, it heats up my kitchen much less than turning on my oven. Besides...a slow cooker is a busy cook’s best friend: assemble everything and let the slow cooker do the work for you while you take care of other errands!
It had never occurred to me to use my slow cooker to cook Indian and Asian food...but Sunil says it’s a natural fit. The longer, slower cooking process is perfect for allowing the spices in curry-based dishes develop...and even cheaper cuts of meat turn out juicy and tender in the process. I thumbed through the cookbook trying to decide what to feature, and so many recipes from around the globe caught my eye. Check these out:
  • Aromatic Shrimp Pilaf
  • Bombay Chicken Curry
  • Vietnamese Spiced Beef & Noodle Broth
  • Cambodian Pork & Lemongrass Curry
  • Sri Lankan Green Bean Curry
I ultimately decided to try a recipe I’ve always been curious about but had never cooked: chicken adobo. This is Filipino comfort food at its best: simple ingredients cooked over low heat until the flavors combine into something that’s way more than the sum of their parts! Chicken is essentially braised in a mixture of chicken broth, soy sauce, cider vinegar, lots of garlic, and a few spices. The initial prep takes about 20 minutes, and then the slow cooker does the rest. If your slow cooker has a timer and a stay-warm setting, you can put this on before work -- and dinner will be ready when you return home. I made this after work last night since Michael was working late -- by the time we were ready to eat at 900, the chicken was fall-off-the bone tender...and my kitchen smelled amazing!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spicy Soyrizo-Potato Tacos With Chile-Lime Crema...Featuring Frieda's Meatless Soyrizo

Living in San Antonio, we naturally eat quite a bit of Mexican food...and one of our favorite foods is chorizo (chor-EE-so). Unlike Spanish chorizo, which is cured sausage that’s sliced into rounds...Mexican chorizo is a highly-seasoned fresh sausage that’s removed from its casing and broken apart into crumbles as it cooks in a skillet. It’s spicy and a bit tangy from the addition of vinegar. Chorizo is yummy, but it has one big downside: it’s usually very high in fat! So imagine how intrigued I was when my friends at Frieda’s sent me a coupon to try a healthier meatless version of chorizo called soyrizo.

When he heard the word SOYrizo, Michael was a bit skeptical...having grown up eating the real deal. But, he was interested to give the soyrizo a try since Casa Garcia has our share of cholesterol issues. We don't eat regular chorizo very often for health reasons, so we were excited to find a guilt-free product that could enjoy more often! I decided to feature the soyrizo in a meatless dinner: Spicy Soyrizo-Potato Tacos with Chile-Lime Crema. The flavorful veg-friendly taco filling contains Yukon gold potatoes, onion, Anaheim pepper, and soyrizo. After everything is combined and cooked into a hash-like consistency, it’s scooped into warm flour tortillas and topped with a cooling chile-lime crema and creamy jack cheese.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Easter Blog Hop...Featuring White Chocolate-Strawberry Easter Cake

Happy weekend everyone! My other half has the entire weekend off...which isn’t usually the case in his line of work. So...I’m planning to hang out with him and have a bit of springtime fun! Perhaps we’ll find some bluebonnets to snap photos of...and hopefully we’ll catch Will Ferrell’s new movie! I’ll be back with a new post on Monday featuring soyrizo -- a meatless version of Mexican chorizo that tastes great and is much healthier than chorizo, its high-fat cousin! In the meantime, I'm hosting an Easter blog hop (ha...a pun!) to share some of our Easter favorites...only two weeks to go until Easter, and it's always good to have a few good recipe options to choose from!

I'm going to share a few recipes, but I wanted to spotlight one of my favorite recipes from 2011: my White Chocolate-Strawberry Easter Cake. It was my very first decorated cake. It was a bit of a challenge, but a lot of fun...and I was thrilled with the final results! As I discovered last year, it makes a really cute centerpiece to your Easter dessert table. It tastes fabulous, and isn't difficult to make thanks to using a cake mix as your jumping-off point. The decor is whimsical and fun...and easy enough that someone who doesn't have mad baking skillz (like me) can pull off something that’ll impress your friends and family. It’s not only cute, but it tastes great too...that white chocolate buttercream is sinfully delish, and it pairs really nicely with the fresh strawberry filling.

This cake features white chocolate in both the cake batter and the cream cheese icing. Strawberry filling is placed between the two cake layers before it's frosted with the white chocolate cream-cheese icing. I tinted the icing a light shade of green and topped the cake with green coconut "grass," Cadbury mini eggs, and a cute Vosges chocolate bunny. It was a very simple idea, but it turned out pretty cute. If I can do this? I PROMISE that you can too!!! If you've got kids at home, this could be a fun project to do with them in lieu of...or in addition to...coloring eggs!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Foodbuzz Tastemaker: Van de Kamp's Parchment Bake Tilapia...and Zesty Caprese Pasta Salad

After a hectic day in the office, sometimes someone who loves to cook...and maybe even writes a food blog...just wants to chill out and take a little break from the kitchen. Too bad many fast food dinner alternatives can be unhealthy: pizza, takeout burgers, etc. Luckily, I was recently asked to sample new Van de Kamp’s Parchment Bake tilapia as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program. I received several coupons to try the fish and share my thoughts with you. Each box of Parchment Bake contains two individually packaged portions of tilapia and sauce sealed in a parchment packet. You simply place the packets in the oven to bake, and dinner’s done in just under 30 minutes.

Add a quick-cook side and whip up a simple green salad...and you’ve got a healthy meal in a matter of minutes! Even better: each serving of this fish has only 80 calories and 1 (NOT a typo!) gram of fat. Keep in mind that the portions are pretty small -- Michael needed two pieces of fish to feel full, but I was ok with one 3-ounce piece of fish and sides. We tried two flavors: Classic Grilled and Garlic Butter. Both were tasty, but I preferred the Classic Grilled. After steaming in the parchment pouch, the fish was moist and flaky, and the sauce had a spicy flavor that didn't overpower the delicate fish. I would keep a couple of boxes of Parchment Bake in my freezer for those nights when I want something quick and easy that tastes good...and is low in fat and calories. As a bonus, you can click here to get a buy-one-get-one-free coupon to try Parchment Bake yourself.

I served this fish with a simple green salad and leftover Zesty Caprese Pasta Salad that I made for my Feature Publisher Spring Menu earlier this week. As promised, I’m going to share the recipe for this flavorful pasta salad today. Since this pasta salad doesn’t contain a lot of ingredients, make sure that you buy the freshest tomatoes and the best-quality fresh mozzarella that you can! I bought flavorful marinated handmade mozzarella from the Central Market cheese shop, but you can easily use fresh mozzarella pearls or cut bocconcini into bite-sized pieces. My preferred pasta for the salad is orechiette, because the little cups cradle bite-size pieces of all the other goodies. To me, the key to this pasta salad is taking a few minutes to whip up the fabulous homemade shallot vinaigrette!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Foodbuzz Featured Publisher: My Favorite Springtime Menu...Featuring Shrimp and Lemon Rosemary Skewers

Even if the calendar didn’t already say so, I can vouch that Spring has definitely sprung in Texas! Temperatures have been mostly in the 70s the past couple of weeks, and the bluebonnets are blooming like crazy between here and Austin. As you can see, frolicking in the bluebonnets is something I enjoy doing! Forget the groundhog...when Texans start seeing bluebonnets and other wildflowers blooming? It’s Spring! That’s why I was so excited to be chosen to take part in a special Foodbuzz Featured Publisher post to create my favorite Springtime meal and share it with you! Spring is a time for lighter foods and fresh flavors, so that was my idea when I submitted my proposed menu to them a couple of weeks ago.

The Springtime al fresco menu I sent to Foodbuzz features several of my favorite warm-weather foods and flavors. My menu features the following: Zesty Caprese Pasta Salad, Shrimp and Lemon Rosemary Skewers, and corn on the cob with my homemade Citrus-Herb Compound Butter. The flavors I chose were specifically designed to complement each other. The compound butter that’s brushed on the grilled shrimp skewers and the corm is flavored with the ingredients that I used my pasta salad and the shrimp: garlic, lemon, rosemary, and basil. I saved time by prepping the pasta salad and compound butter the night before and letting them hang out in the fridge overnight so the flavors could combine nicely.

By taking an hour or so to do some of the prep work and making the pasta salad the night before, this meal can be on the table in about 30 minutes. Both shrimp and corn cook quickly, so they’re ready in just a few minutes once the prep work is completed. I like to serve this meal with my Refreshing POM-Berry Sparkler or my version of Giada's Sparkling White Sangria. To me? Miles Davis's Kind of Blue is the perfect chill background music to have playing while you enjoy this dinner!! I’m sharing the recipe for the delicious, simple grilled shrimp skewers today...but be sure to come back on Friday to get the recipe for the flavor-packed pasta salad!

Monday, March 19, 2012

March Secret Recipe Club: THE Chicken Salad from Everyday Insanity

Hard to believe, but it's already time for the March Secret Recipe Club reveal! This month, I was assigned the blog Everyday Insanity. Cindy's motto is, "Tackling Life One Brownie At a Time," which seems like a great philosophy to me!! While looking through her blog over the past few weeks, I've discovered that Cindy loves spending time with her kids and grandkids...and she cooks lots of tasty dishes. Narrowing down which recipe to feature was hard, but I knew I'd found what I was looking for when I stumbled upon her recipe for Party Chicken Salad Sandwiches, which she calls THE chicken salad!

I love chicken salad, but I don't really have a go-to recipe...not until now, at least! Cindy's chicken salad has lots of great flavor and texture going on from the addition of bacon, dried cherries, nuts, and a flavorful creamy dressing. I made a few minor changes to her recipe to use what I had on hand in my kitchen; I used dried cranberries instead of the cherries, and I used shallots instead of green onions and added some black pepper to the dressing. When I got home with my roasted chicken, it was a bit smaller than I had I had to scale down the ingredients for 3 cups of diced chicken. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Biscoff-Toffee Easter Truffles...Featuring Biscoff Crunchy Spread

It’s St. Patrick’s Day...and I don’t have an Irish or green-themed recipe to share with you today. But...I'm wearing a U2 t-shirt...does wearing an Irish rock band count?!? Easter is just around the corner, and I have really fun recipe and giveaway to share with y’all today. Last fall, I tasted Biscoff Spread for the first time, and I immediately fell in love! If you like Biscoff cookies, then you’ll LOVE Biscoff Spread: it tastes just like the cookies, but in a creamy spreadable form. It has the texture of peanut butter and the buttery-cinnamon-caramel taste of Biscoff cookies. I featured the spread last year in my Triple Threat Biscoff Blondies

Biscoff Spread is terrific mixed into softened vanilla ice cream, paired with apple slices, or even straight-up on a spoon. Biscoff recently sent me a jar of their newest creation: Biscoff Crunchy Spread, to create an original Easter-themed recipe to share in here. Not only truly IS your lucky day: they’re going to give one of you a gift pack containing two jars of Biscoff Crunchy Spread and this ADORABLE ceramic Easter Bunny cookie jar that’s filled with a variety of individually wrapped Biscoff cookies!! 

Biscoff Crunchy Spread features little pieces of Biscoff cookies mixed into the creamy spread. How is it, you're wondering? AMAZING...and totally addicting!! I’m a crunchy peanut butter lover, so I loved the extra crunch of this spread. This stuff is so good that I had to force myself to save half the jar for today’s featured recipe rather than dip my spoon into the jar every time I walked into the kitchen. That’s how good it is!! I considered making cupcakes, then a cheesecake...and then? A light bulb went off: if I can make Peppermint Oreo Truffles for Christmas, why not Biscoff-Toffee Easter Truffles?!?!? These truffles are simple to make, totally delicious, and contain a few ingredients. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Daring Cooks' Challenge: Brave the Braise...Featuring Ooh-La-La Braised Chicken

It’s time for another Daring Cooks' kitchen challenge! This month's challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book Ruhlman’s Twenty. Braising is a basic cooking technique that every cook should have in their culinary bag of tricks. Braising uses heat and liquid over low heat to cook anything from meat to veggies. The final dish is usually very moist and tender thanks to this one-two punch! Braising is pretty versatile: it can be done in an oven, or on the stovetop.

I originally had wanted to try my hand at cooking beef short ribs in red wine, but I wasn’t happy with the ribs I found the day I was cooking this meal. So, I opted to braise chicken instead. I did some poking around online and found a great recipe at the Cooking Light website for Bistro Braised Chicken. One ingredient especially intrigued me: dried plums. AKA? Prunes. I wasn’t sure about that, but knew I could add some gorgeous plump golden raisins at Central Market and use them for adding a similar sweet undertone to the sauce. I also used 1 cup of white wine in place of the water the recipe called for, and I added some rosemary and garlic as well. 

The recipe is homey and comforting: veggies, aromatic herbs, chicken stock, and white wine combine with chicken breasts and thighs to make a truly comforting meal. Once the chopping is done and the chicken is browned, the rest of the meal is hands-off while the whole thing simmers away in a Dutch oven on the stovetop for 45 minutes. I served the finished braise over butter-parsley egg noodles the first night. And the raisins? They gave the finished dish a slightly sweet undertone...and they plumped up and tasted great after soaking in the sauce for nearly an hour!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guest Post at The Chickpea Chickadee: Spicy Tandoori Meatballs & Cooling Yogurt Sauce

Hey, everybody! I'm excited to share some fun and exiting news today: I'm doing my first-ever guest post, over at The Chickpea Chickadee!! Stephanie is a food blogger who also lives here in San Antonio...we recently discovered each other's blogs, and we've been having fun getting to know each over the past few weeks. Her blog has lots of great recipes and fabulous photography, so I know y'all will love it!! 

I'm sharing a recipe for Spicy Tandoori Meatballs & Cooling Yogurt Sauce, so please click on the link to visit Stephanie's great blog...and get this recipe! Here's a picture to whet your appetite...I served these meatballs as part of a mezze plate for our dinner a few nights ago. The plate included the meatballs, toasted pita, the yogurt sauce, hummus, and lettuce topped with feta and spices.

While you're here, don't forget to enter my giveaway for a 32-ounce jar of Tropical Traditions organic virgin coconut oil. All you have to do is visit my new and improved Facebook page for The Weekend Gourmet. If you haven't Liked the page yet, please do. Then all you have to do is leave a comment on the post announcing the giveaway! You have until tonight at 11:59 p.m., so don't miss out on a chance to win this fabulous product...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Clear-the-Cupboard Oatmeal Cookies...Featuring Tropical Traditions Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Winter paid Texas one more visit this March weekend...temperatures have been in the 40s since yesterday, and it's been gray and rainy. It's perfect weather to stay inside and bake some that's exactly what I did this afternoon! Last week, I received a 32-ounce jar of organic virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions to try out in my kitchen. I've never cooked with coconut oil before, so I did some online research. I found out that coconut oil is a great substitute for butter when baking cookies, so I decided to jump in with both feet and give it a try. 

These cookies are my spin on an oatmeal cookie recipe that I found in a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that I recently bought. The cookie has peanut butter, raisins, and a double shot of oatmeal: rolled oats and Cheerios. I subbed crunchy peanut butter for smooth for texture, added a bit of pumpkin pie spice and shredded coconut, subbed some of the sugar for brown sugar, and used a combo of dried cranberries and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of raisins. Michael loves oatmeal cookies...and these are oatmeal cookies on steroids! They're full of flavors and textures...and they bake up perfectly: crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out...Featuring La Gloria Ice House

The Weekend Gourmet started as a way to share recipes with my family and friends…but it’s grown beyond anything I ever anticipated! I’m having such a great time, and I’ve made so many wonderful friends through the food blogging community. I’m happy that I have readers from all across the United States…and the rest of the world too! However, I recently decided to add a monthly feature specifically for my Texas-based readers….not that the rest of you won’t enjoy these posts, though! I live in San Antonio, which is in the middle of the state and 70 miles from the capital of Austin. Between these two cities, along Interstate 35, there are some fantastic restaurants. San Antonio is a big tourist destination, so I’m adding a monthly post spotlighting a local restaurant. I’m going to include the entire SA-Austin Corridor in my definition of “local.” Today is my first post in this series. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program: Alexia Beer Battered Onion Rings and Speedy Spicy Dipping Sauce

Happy Monday…it appears that spring has sprung here in Central Texas! The weather this weekend was absolutely gorgeous, and we saw the first bluebonnets blooming along I-35 during a quick drive up to Austin yesterday afternoon. The long, hot summer will be here again soon enough…but not just yet! Warmer weather means lots of things to me: walks in the neighborhood, opening the windows to let the cool breezes in, and eating lighter food. As you know by now, we love burgers and fun sides at Casa Garcia. One of my favorite burger partners is onion rings, but I rarely make them at home: all that slicing, dipping, and frying is a lot of work...and it's messy. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cornaby's Five Star Spreadable Fruit Giveaway...Featuring Raspberry-White Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

After battling a stomach bug for the past couple of days, I'm finally feeling much better today. Well enough to get into the kitchen to bake up a little something special to spotlight a really fantastic product that I'm going to share with you today!!  Cornaby's recently sent me two jars of their Five Start Spreadable Fruit to try: Raspberry and Raspberry-Jalapeno. These low-sugar fruit spreads are made from raspberries that they grow on 20 acres of land in Utah. These spreads are thickened with natural ingredients and contain no corn syrup...and about half the calories of regular jams.

These products are very tasty...when I opened the first jar, I was immediately impressed with the fresh smell of the jam. It smelled just like fresh raspberries! The Raspberry flavor was not overly sweet, which really lets the natural tart flavor of raspberries shine through. The Raspberry-Jalapeno has a very mild heat that does not overpower the flavor of the berries. I served part of the Raspberry-Jalapeno over cream cheese with crackers for a snack one evening. It was so good that I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of it! I'm saving the other half of the jar to make a spicy red wine-raspberry sauce to serve over roasted pork tenderloin.

After using part of my Raspberry spread on biscuits one morning, I saved the rest until I found the perfect recipe to showcase its fruity goodness. When I was flipping through a cookbook earlier this week, I found a recipe for Chocolate and Raspberry Croissant Pudding. I immediately decided that this could work! I altered the recipe to sub in white chocolate for the milk and dark chocolate the recipe called for...and I decided to cut my croissants in half and spread them with the Cornaby's Raspberry Five Star Spreadable Fruit. When paired with fresh raspberries, this gave my bread pudding a delicious one-two punch of raspberry flavor!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Celebrating National Peanut Butter Lover's Day...with PB&J Puff Pastry Doughnuts

Today is National Peanut Butter Lover's Day...and I do indeed love peanut butter!! I had planned to share a really great recipe for a peanut-buttery blonde brownie base topped with strawberry jam and fresh strawberries. But that will have to wait for just a bit. I came down with a horrible stomach virus last night, so cooking was off the agenda. I'm still under the weather today, but I'm jumping on the computer really quickly to post one of my favorite peanut butter treats from last year so I can take part in the peanut butter love! 

What's not to love about peanut butter...especially when it's paired with jelly in the form of a flaky homemade doughnut? Today's recipe is a snap to whip up thanks to frozen puff pastry. Not only are these doughnuts easy to make, they taste AMAZING!! This recipe was my first-ever time to use puff pastry, and I was thrilled with how easy it was to use...and how pretty the end result was!! I adapted a recipe that I found at the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry website. They have all sorts of easy recipes for appetizers, desserts, and pastries...but one recipe jumped out at me immediately: PB&J Doughnuts. 

The idea of one of my all-time-favorite sandwiches in a doughnut form had me dashing out the door to head to the grocery store to buy some puff pastry! I loved these doughnuts so much that I made several variations for different parties we attended last year. One of my favorites was white chocolate chips, diced strawberries, and a dollop of strawberry-flavored cream cheese! This doughnut features warm peanut butter filling and raspberry jam, but you can feel free to use your favorite jelly flavor combination of choice

PB&J Puff Pastry Doughnuts
adapted from Pepperidge Farm

Step 1:  Remove frozen puff pastry from the box and set the two pieces on a baking sheet to thaw. This takes about 30-40 minutes. While the pastry is thawing, combine the following ingredients in a small bowl: 1/2 cup peanut butter, 3 tbs. whipping cream, 2 tbs. powdered sugar, and 1 tbs. honey. Stir well to combine and set aside.

Step 2:  Preheat oven to 400. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut each piece of puff pastry into nine rounds (18 total rounds). Place half of the puff pastry rounds on a non-stick cookie sheet...a Silpat or parchment paper will make cleanup much easier! Top each puff pastry round with 1 rounded tsp. of the peanut butter mixture and 1 tsp. of your favorite jam or jelly. I used seedless red raspberry jam since that's what I had in my kitchen.

Step 3:  Combine 1 egg and a bit of water and whisk well until frothy. Brush the egg wash around the edges of the rounds. Top with the remaining nine pastry rounds. Use a fork or clean fingers to seal the two pieces seal together...go slow so you get a really nice seal. This will prevent any of the filling from coming out the sides during baking.

Step 4:  Bake the doughnuts for 15-20 minutes, until they are puffed and golden. I turned my baking sheet around halfway through to ensure even browning. Make sure to let the doughnuts cool for at least 10 minutes before you eat them. Otherwise, you might end up with very hot peanut butter burning your mouth! Just before serving, dust the doughnuts with powdered sugar.

These doughnuts are the best of both worlds: fancy enough to serve to friends for a Sunday brunch, but simple enough to whip up for a yummy after-dinner treat. The first thing you notice is the crisp, light texture of the doughnut...and then you taste the slightly sweet peanut butter and the tart jam. All you need is a cold glass of milk, and you're ready to dig in!!