Sunday, January 20, 2008

Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Last week we had my cousin Jeanne, her beau Steve, and her son Connor over for Sunday dinner. I say “we,” but that’s just to take credit for the delish Bubble & Squeak my sis and her hubby Clive made. B&S is an English favorite that’s made its way into our apartment due to this transatlantic marriage business … B&S is traditionally a mash made with leftover veggies, but Jules and Clive make up a big pot of it with whatever root vegetables are in season, plus beets (for a weird pink color), and a few other things … once I get the recipe figured out, I’ll post it. In the meantime, I want to write about something that I’ve actually written about before but think falls naturally into my January-Is-The-Month-For-Easy-Recipes theme: Peanut Butter Cookies.

After we finished eating our Bubble & Squeak, we realized we didn’t have any dessert. But I had all the makings for my mom’s classic PB Cookies, leftover from a cooking project with my after school program. Ten minutes later, the cookies were baking away … and they were a huge hit, or at least the ones I didn’t drop on the floor were—we had a wee bit of red wine with our dinner. The secret quickie ingredient? Yellow cake mix. Just add peanut butter, eggs, oil, and water, and you have the best PB cookies ever. Whatever you do, though, don’t read the ingredients on the cake mix box. I have never seen such an unhealthy and possibly toxic ingredient listing in a single place, with the exception of a Twinkie box. That said, consider these a special treat, to counteract all that green tea you drink with your blueberries and cranberries and organic quinoa!

Peanut Butter Cookies

- 1 package yellow cake mix (extra moist)
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter (see note below)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 eggs

Combine ingredients. Drop round 1-inch balls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet, 1-2 inches apart. Press cookies flat, making a criss-cross pattern with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Peanut Butter Note:
I usually use Skippy. Not because I want to, but because it tastes best. But the last time I was in a rush and picked up a Whole Foods brand peanut butter: the kind that has sugar in it … this is very important. It worked---sorry, Skippy.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Turkey Meatloaf

It’s January. It’s cold and dreary (even here in L.A.). December was exhausting---juggling jury duty, working, gift shopping, and getting myself over to London took it out of me, not to mention watching my sister prepare a Christmas feast in her flat for her new family, my parents, and me. Now that I’m back, I just want to ease into the flow of all my New Year’s resolutions. I don’t want to hassle in the kitchen, but I do want some comfort when I eat.

This turkey meatloaf is a standard for me, though I often substitute ingredients for whatever I have in the cupboard. A makeshift version I once made with Ritz Crackers was unbelievably good, and the fancy version I tried with thyme and a little white wine was nice, too, though in general meatloaf lends itself to less refined ingredients. I also consider this my Trader Joe’s dish, since I get everything I need for it, except the Worcestershire sauce, at my favorite one-stop shop. Freeze the turkey, keep the ingredients on hand, (pair it with soup in the winter and a salad in the summer) and you always have something healthy and satisfying for dinner. Though I’ve included measurements below, they are guesstimates, as this is really a “pinch of this, dash of that” dish.

Turkey Meatloaf


- 1 package ground turkey (about 1 lb.)
- 1 egg
- A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- A few Tbsp barbecue sauce
- 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste


1) Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a loaf pan.

2) Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or up to an hour, depending on your oven.