Think November and you’re probably longing for turkey and mashed potatoes. Yes, those will be featured prominently on dinner tables across the country later in the month but until then, it’s Peanut Butter Lovers month! To celebrate, grab a spoon and indulge in this delicious protein-packed snack.
My boys grew up loving peanut butter; we were a Skippy Extra Crunchy family. My oldest son really had the PB bug; it was his favorite childhood food, then his most-reliable (maybe only?) source of protein in the college years. When he was deployed overseas, we shipped big jars of the nutty stuff to him for a source of comfort-food reminding him of home and, when he returned and was living on his own as a young bachelor, it was cheap eats for many meals. These days his wife understands his love for the nutty butter and she’s got him eating a healthier version which is wise considering some peanut butters are loaded with sugar. All in all, Matthew is my go-to expert on all things peanut-buttery!
While most people tend to think of peanut butter as a child’s food relegated to brown paper bags, the truth is peanut butter is very versatile and can be used in sophisticated (but still fun!) dishes starting with breakfast and appearing in all sorts of surprising, delicious ways right thru to dinner and dessert. And, since most peanut butters don’t need to be refrigerated, you can always have some on hand. Next time you think, “there’s nothing to eat,” grab the jar of peanut butter and get creative.
Here are a few suggestions for getting your fix this month:
- Slice zucchini ribbons thinly, stir in one spoonful of peanut butter and one small spoonful of jelly mixing thoroughly. I make this for Magpie frequently and she gobbles it up while I’m busy cooking the rest of her meal.
- Top your toast with peanut butter and tomatoes – they are a fruit so this isn’t so far-fetched as you may think.
- Just a dab or two of peanut butter mixed with sauteed onions and thinned with coconut milk and seasoned with a dash of soy sauce and a pinch of chili paste makes a quick and creamy Thai sauce for chicken, vegetables or pasta. You don’t need a recipe for this – just mix and add any of it to your own taste and consistency preference!
- Smear peanut butter on a tortilla then spread a layer of honey-flavored Greek yogurt on top of that. Place a banana on one end and carefully roll the whole thing up. Freeze for 30 minutes then slice and drizzle with chocolate or maple syrup for a fast-frozen dessert yummy dessert.
- Peanut butter makes a delightful spread for hamburgers topped with cheddar. In fact, peanut butter with meat including bacon, bratwurst or pork chops is quite delicious!
- Peanut butter pairs well with cheese and can be a filling addition to a “no-cook” meal: peanut butter, crackers, cheese, olives and fruit covers a broad range of nutritional needs without a lot of effort.
- Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter to your favorite meatloaf mix then top it with a ketchup and mustard glaze for a change from the same old loaf. The glaze caramelizes while cooking providing an extra taste bonus!
If you live with a peanut butter fanatic then you’ve probably also had a conversation or two about the perpetual presence of a peanut butter knife propped against the sink … “I might have another, I’m not sure yet” is what my son always said to justify not putting it in the dishwasher. Some things, like the love of a childhood food, will never change.