Guy Food: Peanut Butter Bacon Bars & Taco-Corn Chili

     I may not be a big fan of NFL football, but I am a lover of just about anything that could make its way onto a Superbowl party menu.  We didn’t have a party for Superbowl Sunday, but our little family still enjoyed some delicious “guy food” for dinner.  

     The main course was Taco-Corn Chili, which I adapted from a recipe I found on Betty Crocker’s website.  It was super easy to make.  All I did was cut up a few chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and brown those in a big pot along with a chopped onion.  Then I added a can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed), a can of corn, a packet of taco seasoning, a small can of diced green chiles, a pint jar of mexican-seasoned tomatoes and a pint jar of tomato sauce.  Once it all came to a boil, I reduced the heat and simmered it for about 20 minutes.  By that time, the cheesy-garlic biscuits were ready to come out of the oven and we all dug in!  (By the way, those biscuits are from Betty as well; the mix comes in a pouch and all you’ve got to add is water.  They remind me of the biscuits at Red Lobster.)

     The chili was pretty spicy.  You could always just use half a packet of taco seasoning if you want it a little milder.  We all liked it and I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon.  Violet gave it one thumb up.  Her other hand was busy holding her milk glass, trying to quench her chili-inspired thirst.

     Now it was time for a special treat.  Chocolate-Topped Peanut Butter Bacon Bars.  

     Hold on a sec.  I forgot to take my cholesterol medicine.

     There. That’s better.  Anyway, looks like it’s Theme Night, because this is another number from our friend Betty.  I’d been wanting to try this recipe for months, thinking it might be something that hubby would really like.  There are few things that don’t get better with bacon, right Dave?

     So, all you need is a pouch of Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 Tablespoons maple syrup, 1 egg, 10 slices of bacon (crisply cooked and crumbled), 1/2 cup chopped peanuts and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Stir together the cookie mix, oil, syrup and egg. Keep aside 1/4 cup bacon for garnish. Stir remaining bacon and peanuts into dough. Press into an 8×8  pan. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees, then sprinkle with the chocolate chips and bake one minute longer.  Immediately spread the chocolate over the bars and sprinkle the remaining bacon on top.  Chill the bars completely before cutting.  I let them cool on the counter for an hour, then stuck them in the fridge for a while longer.  Otherwise, they fall apart when you try to plate them.

     I hate to say this, but these bars were a disappointment.  My mother turned me on to peanut butter and bacon sandwiches when I was a kid, so I hoped this dessert would be even better.  Unfortunately, I could hardly taste the bacon — though it did lend a rather pleasant, chewy texture.  The peanut butter was the outspoken flavor and it was all almost too rich.  

     I can’t believe I just said that.

     Violet gave it two thumbs up, but that is no surprise.  The child has a major sweet tooth.  This recipe is not a keeper for me.  On the bright side, I got the latest issue of Food Network Magazine in the mail today and it is The Chocolate Issue!  Let the baking begin…


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