Key Lime Yogurt Pie

You may recall that giant box of Cheerios I got for free and was trying to use up. Well, despite making another batch of peanut butter Cheerio bars, the bottomless Cheerio pit was still not exhausted (can you believe it?) You’re probably thinking, Sarah, just throw out the dang box of Cheerios already. You won’t go to hell. I know, I know. But I can be a real stickler about food waste, so I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of how to finally mine the last of the Cheerio quarry. Somehow or other I started to wonder if crushed Cheerios could stand in for crushed graham crackers as a pie crust. Recently I’ve been craving a yogurt pie my grandma used to make with a chocolate Rice Krispy crust. If Rice Krispies can suffice as pie crust, why not Cheerios, eh?

With this in mind, I decided to look for a yogurt pie recipe that I could try with a Cheerio crust. I ended up opting for a Greek yogurt-based key lime pie, chosen primarily for the fact that it doesn’t contain any Cool Whip (or marshmallow snot, as I like to call it–seriously, have you ever read the ingredients in Cool Whip?) The result was a luscious, creamy dessert with no artificial ingredients.

So there. Now I’m FINALLY rid of that entire monolith Cheerio box.

I’m freeeeeeeee!

Except……guess what came in the mail yesterday:

Noooooooo!!! (These ones are definitely getting donated to church.)

Greek Yogurt Key Lime Pie
(Heavily adapted from Cooking on the Side)

Ingredients:

1 1/3 c. crushed Cheerios (or graham crackers)
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 c. plain Greek yogurt
1 c. key lime juice
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
whipped cream, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine crushed Cheerios or graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar. Press into the bottom and sides of a 10″ tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before filling.

Whisk together Greek yogurt, lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and eggs. Pour into prepared crust and bake approx. 25 minutes or until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly. Chill for at least two hours. Garnish with whipped cream.

Betcha wouldn’t have guessed those are crushed Cheerios!

Herb-Marinated Tilapia with Mango Salsa


Pop quiz: what’s the world’s most popular fruit? Apples? Bananas? Tomatoes, if we’re going to be fussy and technical?

Nope, none of the above. Numerous reports name the world’s most widely consumed fruit as the mango. Around the globe, mangoes outrank apples by 3 to 1 and bananas by 10 to 1. We Americans have some catching up to do in terms of our mango savvy. If this were the Olympics, the Brazilians and Indians would be slaughtering us.

I’m not actually sure I had ever eaten a mango before about the age of 25. My dad has always told me the story of his near-death-experience-mango-allergy, so genetics being what they are, I always steered clear for fear of some terrible case of sticky-sweet anaphylaxis. Fortunately, whenever I did eventually get up the guts to taste some, mangoes were kind to me and did not bring me any closer to death. Quite the opposite. They’re loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and fiber, so if anything, they should add to my lifespan. So indulge me while I give you a second mango-related post in the space of three days.

This dinner is one of those powerhouse meals that manages to be healthy, delicious, and gorgeous at the same time. It’s ideal for company, as it looks straight out of a magazine and is almost entirely prepared ahead of time. To make this for dinner last night, I made the mango salsa a day ahead (gives the flavors more time to meld anyway) and put the tilapia in the marinade in the early afternoon. Served with rice and steamed broccoli, it’s just what summer ordered!

P.S. If your local grocer does not offer mangoes, or if they are out of season, I recommend purchasing them frozen. Trader Joe’s sells pre-peeled, pre-chopped mangoes in their frozen section, which is what I almost always use for this recipe. Frozen fruits are typically picked at the height of ripeness, so you’re much better off buying frozen than fresh if the fruit you’re looking for is not in season.

Herb-Marinated Tilapia with Mango Salsa
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

1/2 c. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
4 large tilapia fillets

For the salsa:

1 1/2 c. mango, peeled and diced
1/3 c. red pepper, diced
1/3 c. red onion, minced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
2-3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt to taste

For best results, prepare the salsa ahead of time (up to 48 hours) by combining the mango, red pepper, red onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Stir in lime juice and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.

Place tilapia fillets in a large Ziploc-type bag. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, basil, black pepper, and salt. Pour over fillets, coat with the marinade, squeeze excess air out of the bag, and seal. Marinate refrigerated for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place tilapia fillets in a glass baking dish, draining off excess marinade. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve topped with mango salsa.

NOM

Mango Coconut Muffins


I’m probably the last food blogger on earth to discover the world-famous site Smitten Kitchen.  So I’ve spent pretty much every waking second of free time in the last 48 hours gawking through the hundreds (if not thousands) of posts the First Lady of Food Blogging Deb Perelman has created since 2006. There’s plenty to gawk over: this woman does incredible recipe development, gorgeous photos, and has a great sense of humor–and all this in a 42 square foot galley kitchen in New York City. Are you reading between the lines here?

I’m jealous.

Well, not jealous about the 42 square foot galley kitchen. Just all the other stuff. This is Deb Perelman’s full-time job. She spends her days doing what sounds like creative dynamite to me: innovation through cooking. She even has a published cookbook (with dozens of 5-star reviews on Amazon).

Still, Deb Perelman seems like a totally down-to-earth, accessible person I’d love to be friends with. I’m sure she is. And when I grow out of the maturity level of an 8th-grade-girl I’m sure I will feel far more delight than jealousy while perusing her wonderful blog. For now, I know I can learn SO much from her experience, her cooking methods, her process of recipe creation, and of course the recipes themselves.

Speaking of which, I’m waxing awfully heavy here for a post about such light, delicious muffins. These mango coconut cuties (adapted from–where else?–Smitten Kitchen) really came together beautifully, a very nice change from my usual choices of fruit in muffins. And despite the fact that, upon seeing them, my 2-year-old exclaimed, “The muffins are hairy!” they do not contain any actual hair. Just “polka-nut,” as she later revised her description.

And Deb Perelman, if you ever read this, thank you for blazing the trail for food bloggers all around the world, and for just generally being awesome. Can we be friends?

See? No hair. Just some lightly toasted polka-nut.

Mango Coconut Muffins
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. Greek yogurt
1/2 c. white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
1 c. mango, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/2 c. shredded coconut. In a separate bowl, mix oil, yogurt, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined. Fold in chopped mango. Divide between 12 muffin cups and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 c. coconut on top.

Bake about 20 minutes.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad

When I made this familiar dish the other night, I said to my husband, “This is my favorite vegetable experience.” Spoken like a real food nerd, I know. But seriously, as vegetable experiences go, this is a smokin’ good one. Broccoli, zucchini, and carrots at their roasted crispy-sweetest, layered in fluffy couscous with perfectly al dente feta, held together with the undergirding tartness of a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Holy couscous salad, Batman!

While you may assume this is a side dish–and it very well serve as one–it always serves our family as an entree. (Well, an entree that leaves a little room for dessert.) As a vegetarian meal, it’s got it all: carbs, protein, and veggies.

Here’s the lowdown on how to make it:

Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad
(Recipe is original except for dressing from Food.com)

Ingredients:

For the salad:

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 in. x 2 in. matchsticks
2 carrots, cut into 1/2 in. x 2 in. matchsticks
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 c. dry couscous

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss zucchini, carrots, and broccoli with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 25-30 minutes, turning vegetables every 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, make the couscous according to package directions.

Also make the dressing: mix all ingredients except the oil together. Add oil to mixture and mix well with a whisk/fork.

Toss couscous with roasted vegetables, feta, and dressing.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Two Ways

How would you describe the perfect cookie? I think I would describe it like this:

Wait, no. Like this:

Nope, changed my mind again. Like THIS (as in most of the way eaten):

Hmmmm, I’m sensing a theme here. Chocolate and peanut butter…peanut butter and chocolate…Finkel and Einhorn….wait, what? Certain food pairings were simply meant to go together–wine and cheese, strawberries and banana, and definitely peanut butter and chocolate. I have this daydream that in the Garden of Eden the peanut butter tree was located right next to the chocolate tree, and that’s how the magic started. And even though Adam and Eve went and royally messed things up, at least this flavor combination has endured to make for happy tongues and tummies to this day.

In a nutshell, with peanut butter and chocolate, you can’t go wrong. Well, okay, maybe you could if you went and added eggplant or something, so just steer clear of a move like that. (I’m guessing you knew that.)

These are two of my favorite PBCH desserts: a soft, chewy chocolate drop cookie with peanut butter chips and a decadent Reese’s cup-type bar. Both satisfy the craving for good-to-the-last-crumb dessert comfort food. Now just imagine what it would be like to eat them together.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

1/2 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the peanut butter chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for about ten minutes, or until just set.

Makes approx. 20 cookies.

A bit ironic that I made both of these the week I did a lesson on dietary fat for my nutrition course…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
(Also adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and  peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 8×8 inch pan.

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Chill at least one hour before slicing. Store in the refrigerator.


If you ever need to identify me by my dental records, please refer to this cookie.