Sunday, March 1st is a day for lovers. No, it’s not Valentine’s Day, but chocolate may be involved. It’s Peanut Butter Lover’s Day. Honestly, what goes better with chocolate than peanut butter? But, I digress…. Full disclosure, this is but one of ten days throughout the year that celebrates the amazingly versatile peanut.
According to the National Peanut Board’s website, the peanut plant probably originated in South America. European explorers are said to have first discovered peanuts in Brazil. As early as 1500 B.C., the Incans of Peru used them as sacrificial offerings and entombed them with their mummies to aid in the spirit life. There are likely some PB lovers out there today who wouldn’t mind having peanuts available for snacking in the afterlife, if that would be an option.
While South Americans are credited with being the first to grind peanuts into a paste, peanut butter was first introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and became a significant source of protein during the first two world wars.
Today the average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products a year. The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before graduating from high school. The amount of peanut butter eaten in a year could wrap the earth in a ribbon of 18-ounce peanut butter jars one and one-third times.
There is a lot to love about peanuts! Peanut butter can be added to breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner or desserts. Below are recipes taken from the National Peanut Board’s web site. Experiment and enjoy!
Peanut Butter Piggies in a Pillow
1 box, or 15 count mini fillo shells
1 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup chunky peanut butter
2 cups prepared pancake mix
4 cooked sausage links, cut into 4 pieces each
In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and peanut butter. Drizzle a small amount of peanut butter syrup in the bottom of each fillo shell. Place one quarter piece of sausage in the center of each shell. Carefully spoon prepared pancake batter into each fillo shell.
Place the shells on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes or until the batter is set. Place the shells on a serving plate and drizzle with the remaining peanut butter syrup.
For a balanced breakfast, serve alongside eggs and fruit.
Peanut Butter Apple Spice Oats
1 apple, diced
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, divided
2 cups old fashioned oats
3 3/4 cups water
1 banana, mashed
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
Honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup (optional)
In a medium saucepan sprayed with cooking spray, saute the diced apple and 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice over medium-heat until lightly browned and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove half the apple mixture and set aside. Add the oats to the remaining apple mixture in the sauce pan and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes, until the oats begin to toast.
Add the water, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, banana, and peanut butter. Stir and bring mixture to a boil and then turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Top with the reserved sauteed apple before serving. Drizzle with honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Peanut Pineapple Slaw
10 pounds shredded cabbage
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts
2 cups pineapple tidbits
2 cups Mango Poppyseed dressing
2 pounds shredded carrots
Mix carrots and cabbage together. Add peanuts, pineapples and blend. Blend peanut butter in Mango Dressing mix with slaw.
Makes 40 ounces
Thai-Style Grilled Chicken Breasts
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chunky-style peanut butter
1 cup green salsa
1/4 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 mango, peeled and sliced
In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, salsa and coconut milk and gently heat through. Brush the oil onto the chicken breasts and grill 10-12 minutes, turning once or until the chicken tests done. Slice the chicken and attractively arrange on a platter with the mango. Spoon the sauce over top.
1 cup all- purpose flour (sifted)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup quick oats (grind in blender or food processor to chop finer)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
In a large bowl, cream together butter 3/4 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and oatmeal. Add to creamed mixture.
Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown. After removing cookies from the oven, press flat with a spatula, place cookie on wire rack to cool.
To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Add cream a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth but not runny. You may not need all of the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.
Peanut Banana Chip Brownies
1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 medium ripe bananas, pureed or mashed (2/3 cup)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting (instructions below)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 8-inch square pan with vegetable cooking spray. Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy. Beat in bananas, egg and vanilla. Stir in melted chocolate. Stir in flour and salt until blended, then fold in peanuts and chocolate chips. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until brownies pull away from side of pan (do not overbake). Cool completely on wire rack.
Prepare Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting; spread over brownies. Chill for 5 minutes or until set. Cut into sixteen squares. Cover and store in a cool place.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting:
Melt together, over medium heat, 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter.
Power Packed Peanut Butter & Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie
1 cup black cherry juice
1/4 cup peanut butter, smooth
4 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 small banana
1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp honey, strained or extracted
4 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup ice
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
As an option, replace peanut butter, honey and cocoa with delicious dark chocolate peanut butter and nutrition facts would be slightly different.