Today I’ve partnered with Annie’s to give you sweet & savory options for your holiday hoorah. While the cookie stuffed peanut butter cups we will discuss are acceptable for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, I’d imagine the lightened-up green been casserole would be best for just Thanksgiving or Christmas. But if you want to serve your Halloween guests green bean casserole, more power (and fiber) to you and your guests.
For obvious reasons (i.e. chocolate), let’s start with dessert.
I figured probably about 99.9% of the population loves the chocolate and peanut butter combination (the other 0.1% being Andrew…he makes no sense). So the majority of the time bringing pb + chocolate to the table will win you friends.
So let’s get into it.
Life has taught me that if you stuff a cookie inside something, it’s going to be good. So I baked up some Annie’s Chococlate Chunk Cookie Dough and into the peanut butter cups the cookies went. My mind is telling me all the other things I should be putting in peanut butter cups, but for now let’s be present in the moment.
Just sit there and imagine taking a bite of peanut buttery-chocolate chunk cookie-chocolate covered goodness.
Now these peanut butter cookie cups are easy-peasy to make. First, bake up 12 of Annie’s Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough balls, I took the cookies out of the oven when they were still soft & chewy<–always a good life decision. Set the cookies aside.
Then melt 2 cups dark chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, by heating chocolate for 30 seconds and then stirring until chocolate is melted. Line a muffin tin with 12 thicker cupcake liners. Scoop a layer of melted chocolate into each muffin tin. Add a spoonful of peanut butter (~1-2 teaspoons worth) into the center of the melted chocolate.
Then gently press a cookie into the melted chocolate + peanut butter so that the melted chocolate hugs the cookie edges (yes, a melted chocolate hug…how nice…unless the chocolate is too hot). You may need to cut the cookies a bit with a smaller glass to make them fit in your muffin tin. See below…
Then add another drizzle of melted chocolate, enough to cover the cookie. Bang the muffin tin on the counter a couple times to remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the chocolate. Allow peanut butter cups to sit overnight to harden OR place them in the fridge for one hour. I did the latter because cookie stuffed peanut butter cup.
Let’s move on to the equally delicious savory options now. Holiday hoorahs are made for side dishes. This lightened-up green bean casserole is an option to add to you holiday menu. If you’ve already planned out your holiday menu, ohmygosh I want to be you and have your organization. I’m very much a VERY last minute person.
I’ve accepted it.
But assuming you haven’t already planned out the plethora of side dish you’ll be bringing to your holiday table, perhaps consider this lightened-up green bean casserole.
You start by blanching your green beans and coating them in a creamy dreamy cheesy sauce. I’m very much a creamy dreamy cheesy sauce person. Who isn’t?!
This sauce is lightened-up a bit by just using regular milk + flour + a touch of cheese. But I promise that it’s still cheesy perfection, because we all know I’m very enthusiastic about cheese.
Then you coat your green beans in the pillowy, creamy sauce. A day filled with a creamy sauce embrace means it’s a good day to be a green bean. Agreed? Agreed.
Then into a skillet the cozy green beans go and a mix of bread crumbs, Annie’s cheddar bunnies and parmesan cheese covers the top. Again, still a really good time to be a green bean.
AND I’m thinking this same recipe would be completely fab if using corn instead of green beans. I’ll let ya know.
For now, just know that it’s time to start investing some time in your holiday menu planning. Perhaps a holiday meal planning inspiration pinterest board is in order?! I think yes.
Lightened-up Green Bean Casserole
Yield: serves 4-5
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
1 lb green beans, cut in half
1/3 cup onions, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup milk
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pieces stale bread (I used a asiago bread from the store)
2/3 cup Annie's cheddar bunnies, crushed
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bring a pot of water to boiling. Add in your green beans and cook for 5 minutes. Strain green beans through a colander and plunge green beans into ice water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in onions and cook until soft, ~15 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, ~1 minute. Pour in milk and sprinkle flour over the top. Reduce heat to low and stir mixture until the milk is thick and creamy. Stir in half the cheese and the salt/pepper.
Scoop in your green beans and coat in the creamy sauce. Pour green beans into a skillet. Roughly chop your bread into small pieces. Top green beans with bread crumbs, crushed cheddar bunnies and remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Check after 12 minutes to make sure topping isn't getting too cooked. If the topping is looking pretty golden brown after 12 minutes, top skillet with a piece of foil to keep topping from burning. Serve hot!
If you don't have stale bread, just pop your bread into the toaster until crunchy.