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Puppy Chow {& How to Customize}

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Puppy chow is a delicious treat made primarily with chocolate chips, peanut butter, and chex cereal! NO baking required!

Jazz up your puppy chow with some fun additions like adding M&Ms, miniature chocolate chips, Reese’s pieces, etc. This puppy chow also makes a great gift; add it to decorative boxes or tins and give it out for a fun holiday treat.

Speaking of holidays, you can jazz up your puppy chow for any occasion! Use seasonal M&Ms or sprinkles to jazz up this snack mix for a special event, holiday, or birthday! Today I’ve jazzed up this puppy chow for Easter; if you want to gift this snack mix with a free printable bag topper, check out this Easter treats post.

Overhead photo of puppy chow with a child's hand grabbing a piece

Overhead photo of puppy chow with a child's hand grabbing a piece

Puppy Chow

Puppy chow is a delicious, sweet, & crunchy cereal snack mix made with chex cereal, peanut butter, chocolate, butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. This treat is especially easy to make as it doesn’t require any baking!

This treat is often called puppy chow because of the close resemblance to dog food. So although this might not make the prettiest treat, you’ll be obsessed from the first bite!  Just make sure you don’t actually feed your dog(s) or pet(s) this snack 🙂

Regardless of what you want to call this snack mix, it’s addictively delicious AND simple to make. I’ve got step-by-step process photos and a quick process list below. 

Process shots-- images of the ingredients being melted and added to the Chex mix

Process shots-- images of the ingredients being melted and added to the Chex mix

Step by step process

  • Measure: the cereal into a very large bowl. Grab a bowl large enough that everything can be easily mixed together.
  • Melt: the butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter and mix together. Add in the vanilla (extra flavor) and a pinch of salt (to balance the sweetness)
  • Combine: add the chocolate-peanut butter mixture to the cereal mixture and toss until combined. I use a plastic spatula to gently fold everything together.
  • Coat: transfer the mixture to a large bag, add the powdered sugar, and shake to combine! If you want to add in sprinkles, stir them into the powdered sugar first.
  • Decorate: either eat as is, or stir in some festive colored candies to jazz up this puppy chow! More ideas below.

One of the best things about this snack is how easy it is to customize! You can jazz up this mix for any occasion; below are some ideas.

  • Holiday: add seasonal colored M&Ms to this mix, put the mix in a bag, and attach a free printable bag topper (Easter: Bunny Bait, Valentines: Cupid’s Crunch, Halloween: Goblin’s Goodies)
  • Birthday: add frosting and birthday sprinkles to the mix (check out this recipe)
  • Tailgating: add football decorated chocolate almonds to this puppy chow recipe (chocolate almond tutorial here).

Overhead photo of puppy chow recipe and M&Ms to mix in

Overhead photo of puppy chow recipe and M&Ms to mix in

Quick breakdown of this puppy chow recipe

  • This recipe doubles well. This recipe also halves well.
  • For storing: store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. We like it best within 3-4 days and after that it begins to taste a bit stale.
  • Freeze: you can freeze it in an airtight container/bag for up to 3 months; thaw at room temperature.

Photo of finished puppy chow in a bowl

Photo of finished puppy chow in a bowl

More fun snacks

Puppy Chow

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Puppy chow is a delicious treat made primarily with chocolate chips, peanut butter, and chex cereal! NO baking required!

Puppy Chow

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #33658a; }

Puppy chow is a delicious treat made primarily with chocolate chips, peanut butter, and chex cereal! NO baking required!

Ingredients

  • 9 cups (318g) rice chex cereal
  • 1/2 cup (125g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup (178g) milk or semisweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard or Ghirardelli)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (use less if using table salt)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (176g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup festive/holiday M&Ms or Reeses Pieces, optional

Instructions

  • Into a large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

  • In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butter. Microwave in bursts of 15 seconds, stirring in between each burst for 15 seconds until the mixture is melted and smooth. Add in the vanilla and salt. Pour over the prepared cereal. Stir well, but gently, until the cereal is evenly coated.

  • Pour half of the cereal mixture into a gallon sized ziplock bag and pour half of the powdered sugar over it. Seal and shake until the cereal is evenly coated. Repeat with the other half of the cereal and powdered sugar in the same or a different bag. Shake until all the cereal is well coated! (Separating the process makes it easier and allows all the cereal to get evenly coated)

  • Remove into a large bowl and if desired, stir in the M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces or any other additions desired. Enjoy!

  • Store leftover muddy buddies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 222kcal

Calories in puppy chow

Calories in puppy chow

These Muddy Buddies (also known as Puppy Chow) are the best easy treat! No baking required and only 7 ingredients required! Plus variation ideas! via chelseasmessyapron.com #puppy #chow #muddy #buddies #recipe #easy #quickly #no #bake #recipe #dessert #kidfriendly #party #snack

These Muddy Buddies (also known as Puppy Chow) are the best easy treat! No baking required and only 7 ingredients required! Plus variation ideas! via chelseasmessyapron.com #puppy #chow #muddy #buddies #recipe #easy #quickly #no #bake #recipe #dessert #kidfriendly #party #snack

Pesto Chicken with Corn & Bean Salsa

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Delicious pesto chicken bowls with lemon chicken, an avocado & corn salsa, and plenty of pesto! This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly!

These pesto chicken bowls are an all-in-one meal with a base, protein, and salad in the form of the avocado corn salsa. So while sides aren’t necessary, this bruschetta or Italian salad would be great accompaniments to this meal. 

Overhead photo of pesto chicken bowls with chicken, corn & white bean salsa, and pesto

Overhead photo of pesto chicken bowls with chicken, corn & white bean salsa, and pesto

The other day I saw fresh corn on the cob in the produce section and got embarrassingly excited. There are few things I love as much as fresh grilled corn on the cob. I’ll find just about any excuse to add fresh corn to any dish I’m making. So naturally, corn made it into these pesto chicken bowls!

If I can pick a favorite recipe of 2019, this pesto chicken with an avocado & corn salsa is IT. Not only is this meal incredibly flavorful, it also ticks all the boxes: healthy, filling, and simple to make.

Process shots: chicken being pounded to even thickness with a meat tenderizer

Process shots: chicken being pounded to even thickness with a meat tenderizer

How to make pesto chicken bowls

  • Pesto couscous: couscous is fast and easy to make. In fact, it can be ready in about 10 minutes or less which is a nice break from other grains that take 20+ minutes. To infuse the couscous with plenty of flavor, we stir in some pesto and a little bit of lemon juice.
  • Chicken: the chicken is made with a 1-ingredient marinade AND then sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning before cooking. (More on the chicken prep below)
  • Avocado Corn Salsa: This salsa simple and is the highlight of this dinner. It’s an easy salsa as there’s not a lot of chopping which most salsas require.
  • Assemble: pesto couscous goes first, chicken next, plenty of the avocado corn salsa, and finish it all off with a nice big scoop of pesto!

Sun Dried tomatoes used for the salsa topping the pesto chicken

Sun Dried tomatoes used for the salsa topping the pesto chicken

A few quick tips:

  • Fresh pesto: The pesto you use can make or break this dish! Avoid the jarred pestos and go for fresh made basil pesto at your store. (I love Buitoni basil pesto — not sponsored). While this dish calls for store bought pesto to make it a quick & easy meal, you can certainly make your own pesto for this meal. 
  • Sun dried tomatoes: The other crucial ingredient to this dish are the sundried tomatoes. Make sure to grab sundried tomatoes that have been packed in oil and julienne cut to make the salsa prep quick (picture above). The oil from the tomatoes will also be used in the salsa.
  • Grill the corn: while you don’t have to grill the corn on the cob, it is incredible grilled!
    • To grill corns on the cob: peel back husks and remove silk. Rub vegetable oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred. Remove let cool and then slice off the cob. You can also use this same method for a grill pan.
    • (Alternatively, you can sauté corn in a skillet. Sauté (drained or completely thawed out) corn kernels in a preheated large cast-iron skillet 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until kernels are lightly charred over high heat. Remove to let cool completely before adding.)

Process shot of dinner creation -- draining white beans and stirring up pesto

Process shot of dinner creation -- draining white beans and stirring up pesto

Dietary Modifications

  • Vegetarian: we’ve made this meal without meat countless times. Simply leave out the chicken and serve the pesto couscous with salsa on top and more pesto! It’s surprisingly filling just like that and the beans provide plenty of protein. (Plus, it’s even quicker to make vegetarian (20 minute prep time or less!))
  • Vegan: if you make it as stated above, it’s vegan too!
  • Dairy free: this meal is naturally dairy free (as long as the buttermilk marinade is not used) AND with a homemade (cheese-free) pesto.
  • Change up the protein: grilled steak would also be delicious in this meal. You can also always use thighs in place of breasts for this pesto chicken meal.

Variations on these pesto chicken bowls

Process shot white bean and corn salsa

Process shot white bean and corn salsa

More on the chicken

  • Marinate: use the marinade recipe below or my famous grilled chicken marinade
    • For the QUICKEST marinade ever: submerge (halved and pounded to even thickness) chicken breasts into buttermilk for 30 minutes up to 8 hours. Remove, pat dry, and proceed with the recipe!
    • If you don’t have buttermilk, but do have regular milk, you can even make your own DIY buttermilk.
  • For the lemon pepper seasoning, grab your favorite blend (I like McCormick’s lemon & pepper seasoning best OR Mrs Dash’s.) You can even make your own if desired.

Up close photo of pesto chicken bowls

Up close photo of pesto chicken bowls

Similar chicken dinners:

A lot of ingredients overlap (particularly fresh lemon), but have been written out twice for easier reading.

Pesto Chicken with Corn & Bean Salsa

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Delicious pesto chicken bowls with lemon chicken, an avocado & corn salsa, and plenty of pesto! This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly!

Pesto Chicken with Corn & Bean Salsa

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Delicious pesto chicken bowls with lemon chicken, an avocado & corn salsa, and plenty of pesto! This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly!

Ingredients

Chicken (Note 1)

  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 and 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, optional
  • 1/4 cup white flour, optional
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional

Bean and Corn Salsa

  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted corn OR 2 ears fresh fresh corn (Note 2)
  • 1 large avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil + 2 teaspoons oil from the jar, julienne cut (Note 3)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons juice)

Bowls

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups chicken stock or veggie stock (water also works)
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 container (7 ounces) basil pesto sauce, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 large lemons (2 tablespoons juice + additional wedges for serving)
  • Optional: fresh basil for topping

Instructions

  • CHICKEN PREP: slice the 2 chicken breasts in half horizontally to form 4 chicken cutlets. Cover with plastic wrap and pound (use the bottom of a frying pan or meat mallet) to pound the halves into even pieces (they don’t need to be super thin, just equal thickness throughout). IF marinating, place the chicken in a large plastic bag or similar container and cover with buttermilk. Place in fridge for 30 minutes up to 8 hours. When done marinating, remove from buttermilk and drain then pat dry with paper towels. Lightly sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt.

  • COOK CHICKEN: Grill/Grill PanPreheat the grill to about 400 degrees F (grill pan to medium high heat). Make sure your grill grates (ridges of grill pan) are clean and greased. To grease, dredge a paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it all over the grate. Evenly sprinkle both sides of the chicken generously with lemon pepper seasoning. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through (about 4-6 minutes per side depending on heat of the grill and thickness of chicken) Chicken should be at 165 degrees F at its thickest part. Tent with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly or chop into small pieces.Skillet: In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour and lemon pepper seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, turning to coat evenly. Place the chicken in the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes per side or until done (add more olive oil if needed). Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.Tent with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly or chop into small pieces.
  • SALSA: In a medium sized bowl, combine the drained and rinsed white beans, drained corn (or corn cut from the cob) chopped avocado, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of the oil from the tomatoes, chopped basil, lemon juice, and salt + pepper to taste. (I add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper).

  • COUSCOUS: Meanwhile, add the chicken stock, veggie stock, or water to a small pot. Add in the butter and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat. Stir in the couscous and cover the pot with a lid. After about 2-3 minutes the liquid should be absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Stir in 1/3 cup pesto, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and about 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper (again to personal preference on salt and pepper).

  • ASSEMBLE: fill up 4 bowls with even amounts of the pesto couscous. On top add the cooked chicken. Add generous amounts of the salsa to the side. If desired add a wedge of lemon to each bowl. Spoon the remaining pesto evenly over the bowls. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: you can marinate in buttermilk or forgo a marinade entirely. Also the flour and butter will only be used if you’re cooking the chicken in a skillet. If grilling/using a grill pan the flour and butter are not necessary. Note 2: To grill corns on the cob: peel back husks and remove silk. Rub vegetable oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred. Remove let cool and then slice off the cob. You can also use this same method for a grill pan. Note 3: I buy the julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes to save some chopping time and they’re perfect for the salsa

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 625kcal

Nutrition facts for pesto chicken

Nutrition facts for pesto chicken

Note on calories: this is assuming every bit of pesto AND the salsa is eaten in a serving.

{One Pan} Sausage Pesto & Veggies

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One pan and only EIGHT ingredients to make this flavor-packed and nutritious sausage pesto and veggies! 

Pair this sausage pesto and veggies with an easy salad such as this strawberry salad or this Italian salad. This meal reheats well and works as a healthy weekly meal prep option.

 

Picture of finished pan of sausage pesto and vegetables with a spoon picking up some of the meal.

Picture of finished pan of sausage pesto and vegetables with a spoon picking up some of the meal.

I’m having a minute with green herby sauces as evidence by this pesto chicken, this chimichurri chicken, and this shrimp couscous. And today we’re adding another dinner covered in a green herb sauce (pesto) to the collection! With less than 10 ingredients, one dirty sheet pan, and overall healthful ingredients — this is my latest weeknight dinner win.

Because with 3 kids now and about a million more things to do than hours in the day, the weeknight dinner struggle is real.

And this meal is a lifesaver! I’m fairly certain you can fully prepare this meal quicker than waiting in a dinner rush fast food line, AND it’ll be better for you. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let’s talk about the delicious components that make up this easy sausage pesto and veggies.Process shot of sundried tomatoes for this sausage pesto meal

Process shot of sundried tomatoes for this sausage pesto meal

Ingredients in this sausage pesto and veggies

  • Smoked chicken sausage: grab a flavored smoked chicken sausage (such as roasted garlic or Italian-seasoned) to amp up the flavor without adding a ton of extra seasoning. Any smoked sausage will work in this meal, but we prefer the chicken sausage.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes with herbs: I took a picture (above) of my current fave sun-dried tomatoes (not sponsored). They’re already thinly sliced and seasoned perfectly so they add a lot to this meal while keeping the ingredient list down. We also use the oil they’re soaked in to cook the veggies in, so you don’t even have to grab extra oil on your grocery store run. Win-win!

Process shot of trader joe's frozen cauliflower gnocchi, cut up asparagus, and easy seasoning mix

Process shot of trader joe's frozen cauliflower gnocchi, cut up asparagus, and easy seasoning mix

Ingredients continued

  • Gnocchi: have you heard about the viral sensation known as Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi? I’m a huge fan (again, not sponsored). The gnocchi can go from FREEZER TO OVEN without thawing. Sorry to shout, but this is important for one pan dinner dreams. Don’t have a TJ near you? No problem, any frozen gnocchi will work here!
  • Asparagus: keeping things spring-y with this veggie. We cut it into 2-inch pieces so it will be roasted in about 7-10 minutes.
  • Pesto: the last “main” (there are a few spices plus the obvious salt & pepper) ingredient is pesto! To stay true to our ridiculously easy weeknight dinner prep, we’re using a good store-bought pesto. Grab the freshly made pesto in the refrigerated section of your grocery store and be forever changed. Fresh basil pesto is the way to go for this sausage pesto dinner (Buitoni makes a fresh refrigerated pesto I love and Kroger stores sell a freshly made basil pesto that is also great). 

Asparagus is added to sheet pan to go back into the oven; process shot

Asparagus is added to sheet pan to go back into the oven; process shot

Recipe variations

  • Switch up asparagus: as long as the veggie you’re thinking about can roast in about 20 minutes, you can add it to this sausage pesto recipe. Some ideas: chopped zucchini, chopped yellow onion, chopped broccoli florets, quartered brussels sprouts. This chart is helpful for more ideas! If you add in a veggie that roasts for about 20 minutes, add it in at the beginning instead of halfway through cooking time. (Asparagus only needs about 7-10 minutes to roast.)
  • Switch up the gnocchi: this recipe calls for frozen cauliflower gnocchi, but we’ve also tested it with regular frozen potato gnocchi. We’ve also tested this with shelf stable gnocchi and it works. (Tasters all preferred frozen for flavor!)
  • Different sauce: if you’re not a fan of pesto, a good herb sauce would work great in its place. I’d recommend the basil sauce from this caprese salad.

Process shot of meal: sausage, asparagus, and gnocchi are cooking

Process shot of meal: sausage, asparagus, and gnocchi are cooking

Pesto sausage recipe tips

  • Use a LARGE sheet pan: the more space the vegetables, gnocchi, & sausage has (the less crowded they are) the better they roast in the oven. When vegetables are overlapping on a sheet pan, they end up steaming instead of roasting. This will make them taste soggy not deliciously caramelized. I recommend using a (this) 15×21 inch sheet pan for this recipe.
  • Grate the parmesan cheese with a microplane. It gives it the perfect texture and melts beautifully into the asparagus, sausage, and gnocchi.

Meal prep

If meal prepping with this sausage pesto recipe, I recommend choosing a different vegetable than asparagus (like broccoli or bell peppers). I don’t find the asparagus sits well with the other ingredients after a couple of days.

To meal prep: store the pesto in a separate container. Warm the sausage, gnocchi, and vegetable portion in the microwave. Give the pesto a good stir and add it along with some parmesan cheese before enjoying each day. This meal prep is best eaten within 3-4 days.

Finished plate of sausage pesto dinner with a scoop of pesto and fork digging in!

Finished plate of sausage pesto dinner with a scoop of pesto and fork digging in!

More easy one pan dinners:

One Pan Sausage Pesto & Veggies

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One pan and only EIGHT ingredients to make this flavor-packed and nutritious sausage pesto and veggies! 

One Pan Sausage Pesto & Veggies

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #33658a; }

One pan and only EIGHT ingredients to make this flavor-packed and nutritious sausage pesto and veggies! 

Ingredients

  • 1 package (13 ounces) smoked roasted garlic chicken sausage, sliced 1/4th inch thick on the diagonal
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen cauliflower gnocchi, Note 1
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in oil and herbs), finely chopped + 2 tablespoons oil from container
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends snapped off and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic powder
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 (5 ounce) container fresh-made store bought basil pesto Note 2
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic powder, and salt & pepper (add to taste; I use 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper) Set aside.

  • On a LARGE (at least 15 x 21 inches) sheet pan, toss together the sliced chicken sausage, frozen (unthawed) gnocchi, 1 tablespoon oil from the sun dried tomatoes, and 1/2 of the seasoning mix. Toss until combined. Bake for 12 minutes at 425 degrees.

  • Remove and flip the sausage + gnocchi using a metal spatula. To the other side add cut (in 2 inch pieces) asparagus, remaining 1 tablespoon oil from the sun dried tomatoes, and remaining seasonings. Toss to combine (I do this on the hot tray with tongs; you can toss everything in a bowl separately, but that uses more dishes). Return to the oven for another 7-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp tender. Gnocchi and sausage should be crisp on the outside, soft and tender inside. Toss everything together. On the hot sheet pan, add the chopped sundried tomatoes. Taste for salt/pepper seasoning remembering that the Parmesan cheese and pesto will add some saltiness.

  • Serve on plates with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a few spoonfuls of pesto per plate. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: we use the cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joes. Any other frozen gnocchi will work in this dish. No need to thaw, just break or cut apart any connected gnocchis. Bake straight from freezer. Note 2: don’t grab the jared variety; grab the fresh in refrigerated section of store. Of course homemade can be used in place of store-bought!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 438kcal

Calories in pesto sausage

Calories in pesto sausage

Snickerdoodles {Soft & Chewy}

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The ultimate BEST EVER SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES! Crisp edges, soft and chewy center, and SO much flavor! These are the BEST EVER! Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com | #snickerdoodle #cookie #dessert #bake #baking #treat #holiday #cookies #christmas #cinnamon #sugar #easy #video #tutorial

The ultimate BEST EVER SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES! Crisp edges, soft and chewy center, and SO much flavor! These are the BEST EVER! Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com | #snickerdoodle #cookie #dessert #bake #baking #treat #holiday #cookies #christmas #cinnamon #sugar #easy #video #tutorial

The best soft, chewy, and thick snickerdoodle cookies. Sharing all my tips and tricks for making delicious snickerdoodles with chewy centers and perfectly crisp edges!

Once you’ve become hooked on these snickerdoodles, try these other delicious cookies: oatmeal cookies, chewy chocolate chip cookies, or white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

Up close photo of delicious snickerdoodle cookies that are so soft and chewy!

Up close photo of delicious snickerdoodle cookies that are so soft and chewy!

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodle cookies have always been just an “okay” cookie for me; I’d much rather have mine stuffed (or dipped) in as much chocolate as possible. But when my soon-to-be brother-in-law said snickerdoodles are one of his favorites, I set out to perfect the snickerdoodle cookie.

My sister and her fiancé are having a “cookie bar” at their reception with 10 different kinds of cookies and I volunteered to develop the recipes AND make the cookies (luckily I have a lot of help on the baking!). I’ve been working on my final cookie recipes for months (I get way too excited over these kinds of things!).

So I’ve worked on this snickerdoodle recipe for a few months now and have made dozens of batches, trying to get them just right. And if I’m being honest these cookies have not only converted me to be a snickerdoodle lover, but they’ve also been deemed by the almost brother-in-law to be the “BEST EVER.” These snickerdoodles have just the right amount of cinnamon, and are soft on the inside with perfectly crisp edges. The flavor is incredible and the texture is unbelievable.

If you’ve never experienced the joy of a snickerdoodle, you might be wondering what they taste like. They are buttery and sugary with a hint of vanilla and a tang from the cream of tartar. The dough has a hint of cinnamon and the unbaked dough is rolled in cinnamon sugar before being baked further enhancing the cinnamon flavor.

Forming the dough for snickerdoodle cookies; balls of dough being rolled and placed on a sheet pan.

Forming the dough for snickerdoodle cookies; balls of dough being rolled and placed on a sheet pan.

First things first, snickerdoodles are sometimes confused with sugar cookies since they have a lot of the same basic ingredients.

What’s the difference between a sugar cookie and snickerdoodle?

There are two main differences between sugar cookies and snickerdoodle cookies. First, snickerdoodles have cream of tartar which gives them that signature tang to the flavor. Secondly, snickerdoodles are rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture making them more cinnamon flavored. Sugar cookies rarely have cream of tartar and don’t contain cinnamon.

So you might be wondering…

Why are snickerdoodles called snickerdoodles?

The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, but it’s also very possible that the name is simply a nonsense word without any particular meaning.

Before we get started on process and talking tips, let’s talk ingredients!

Snickerdoodles are made of:

  • Butter: use unsalted to ensure you perfectly control the amount of salt (If you use salted, omit the extra salt addition)
  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk: the extra yolk adds so much flavor. Use leftover whites in these Spinach and Feta Wraps
  • Pure vanilla extract: for flavor!
  • White all-purpose flour: make sure to spoon and level this measurement so you’re getting the right amount of flour.
  • Cream of tartar: this ingredient is what gives these snickerdoodle cookies that classic “tangy” flavor; it’s also a stabilizer.
  • Salt: to intensify all the ingredients’ flavors
  • Baking soda
  • Cinnamon: added to the dough AND the topping for extra flavor!

How to make snickerdoodles

For these cookies we start with partially melted butter. I don’t melt it all the way because it tends to make the cookies a bit greasy. Cookies can also become “greasy” if the melted butter is so hot that it melts the sugars — make sure you give the butter a second to return to room temperature.

We melt the butter because it adds an incredible texture to these snickerdoodle cookies. When you melt butter for cookie recipes, chilling the dough is a MUST before baking. This matters because the fats need to re-solidify. If the dough is baked immediately with melted butter in it, the cookies will spread while baking and become thin, hard, and crispy. The longer the fat stays solid, the less the cookies will spread.

The sugar in the dough also gradually absorbs liquid so when you chill the dough, the sugar has a chance to absorb more liquid further preventing spread.

Up close photo of freshly baked cookies

Up close photo of freshly baked cookies

Baking Tips

  • Correctly measure the flour: If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour you will pack in way too much flour (which will result in cake-like cookies with the wrong texture). To properly measure your flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup until its overfilled. Then use the back of a butter knife to level the measuring cup at the top. You’ll have a perfect flour measurement now!
  • Use room temperature eggs: This ensures the eggs disperse more evenly into the batter giving these snickerdoodles a lighter texture (the eggs trap air). Soaking refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes is a quick way to do this. Otherwise, pull the eggs out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before use.
  • Roll tall cookie dough balls: Instead of rolling a perfect ball, I’ve found if you roll the dough so it’s taller and skinnier, when the cookies bake you’ll get that perfect thick & chewy center AND the crisp edges. Using this technique, the bottom of the cookie “ball” bakes first, which will push out and become the crisp edge. The top of that tall cookie dough “ball” then becomes the thick and chewy center. Perfect texture every time! (See the 2nd picture in this post for how I roll my cookie dough balls.)

Plate filled up with the dessert

Plate filled up with the dessert

 

More Delicious Cookie Recipes:

Snickerdoodle Cookies

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The best soft, chewy, and thick snickerdoodle cookies

Snickerdoodle Cookies

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The best soft, chewy, and thick snickerdoodle cookies

Ingredients

  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter, 80% the way melted
  • 2/3 cup (135g) white sugar
  • 2/3 cup (120g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 3/4 cup (337g) all-purpose white flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1/4 cup (50g) white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • In a large bowl add the 80% melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Whisk together until smooth. Add in 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk (reserve the whites for a separate recipe or discard) and the vanilla extract. Whisk until just combined and smooth.

  • In another bowl, stir together the flour, cream of tartar, salt, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Whisk together.

  • Add all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Do not overmix the dough. Cover tightly and place in the fridge for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. (If you have a convection oven, do 325 degrees F at convection bake). In a small bowl stir together the white sugar and cinnamon.

  • Remove the dough and roll tall balls of dough (see the 2nd photo in the post). If you have a kitchen scale, the balls of dough should be about 1.7 ounces.  Roll the balls of dough generously into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

  • Place dough balls on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan and bake for 9-11 minutes. Watch carefully being sure to not over-bake. I think slightly under-baked snickerdoodle cookies are the BEST!

  • Remove and let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

  • Cookies best enjoyed within 2-3 days.

Recipe Notes

*Prep time doesn’t include mandatory chilling time

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 134kcal

Testing began with these cookies on Genius Kitchen and evolved to become this recipe! 🙂

Nutrition facts in snickerdoodle cookies

Nutrition facts in snickerdoodle cookies

M&M Cookies

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These M&M Cookies are sweet with chewy interiors and crispy edges. They’ve got bright pops of crunchy M&M’s® and melty milk chocolate chips. These cookies are simple to make and you only need one bowl and a spoon — no hand or stand mixer required! They’re also great to customize for holidays or special events by using certain color M&M’s.

Try our other favorite cookie recipes next: snickerdoodlesoatmeal chocolate chip cookies, or pistachio cookies.

Overhead image of the M&M cookies, ready to eat.

Overhead image of the M&M cookies, ready to eat.

Every year after our first day back to school, my mom would surprise us with either M&M’s cookies or rice krispie treats. It made going back to school after a fun summer a little bit easier. And now, I’m the mom and my kids know that after the first day of school, they’ll have a sweet treat waiting.

My personal favorite were the chocolate chip M&M cookies because it also meant there was a bag of the rest of the M&M’s somewhere that could also be eaten (haha).

Process shot-- Image of the melted butter and sugar in a bowl for these M&M cookies.

Process shot-- Image of the melted butter and sugar in a bowl for these M&M cookies.

M&M Cookie ingredients

  • Butter not shortening: These cookies use butter which gives them a great flavor base and wonderful texture. I don’t recommend substituting margarine or shortening in these cookies.
  • Maple syrup: Seems like a strange ingredient but it keeps these cookies ultra soft and chewy. It also adds a really delicious subtle sweetness different from the sugars.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar has a higher moisture content than white sugar and thus will produce a chewier cookie than if you just used white sugar. 
  • White sugar: We also include white sugar for cookie stability and to ensure the cookies aren’t overly sweet (using only brown sugar would result in extremely sweet cookies).
  • Egg: Make sure to use a large egg in this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract: It’s added for flavor.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch helps to keep these cookies soft and chewy.
  • Baking soda/baking powder: The leavening agents ensure these cookies bake properly
  • White all-purpose flour: Make sure to measure this ingredient accurately (more on this below). It’s the most important measurement to ensuring you get the perfect M&M cookies!

Process shot-- Image of the maple syrup and egg being added to the sugary butter mixture.

Process shot-- Image of the maple syrup and egg being added to the sugary butter mixture.

Tips for these cookies

  • Let the melted butter cool: Once the butter is melted, it needs to cool back to room temperature. If the butter is hot, it will melt the sugars and cause greasy, flat cookies.
  • Chill the dough: Since we melted the butter, the dough needs time to chill to allow the butter to re-solidify so you don’t have flat cookies. The chilling time also allows the flavors and textures to meld together and intensify.
  • Bake on a Silpat® liner or parchment paper: This helps the cookies bake more evenly and keep the bottoms of the cookies from getting too brown.

QUICK TIP

Measure carefully: The most important measurement is the flour. If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour you are most likely packing in way too much flour– which will yield cakey and less-flavorful cookies. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level the top with the back of a table knife. The printable recipe includes gram measurements if you prefer to measure using a scale.

Process shot-- Image of the dry ingredients being added to the best M&M cookie recipe.

Process shot-- Image of the dry ingredients being added to the best M&M cookie recipe.

Avoid flat M&M cookies

If your cookies come out flat, it’s most likely because the cookies did not chill long enough. Since there is melted butter in the batter, it needs a chance to firm up again. Also, if the butter was too hot when you added in other ingredients, they’ll likely end up a bit flat and greasy.

Another reason these cookies could be flat is if the flour was under measured. One other factor that comes into play is if you live in a high-altitude area

Keeping the M&M cookies soft

After baking the cookies, let them cool completely on a wire rack (this will keep the bottoms from getting soggy from the steam). Once cooled, place cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature. For tips on how to “revive” no-longer-soft cookies, check out these tips from Cooks Illustrated.

Process shot-- Image of the M&M's and chocolate chips being added to the dough for these cookies.

Process shot-- Image of the M&M's and chocolate chips being added to the dough for these cookies.

I recommend freezing dough balls instead of freezing the baked cookies. To freeze: Drop the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls into an airtight container/bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

To bake: You can bake the cookies straight from the freezer; just add 1-3 minutes onto the cooking time. (Or thaw the dough in the fridge and bake according to directions.)

M&M cookie variations

  • M&M sugar cookies: For more of an M&M’s sugar cookie feel, use the recipe as written, but replace the chocolate chips with more M&M’s.
  • Easter M&M cookies: Replace the regular M&M’s candies with Easter M&M’s! This also applies to every other holiday — typically M&M’s are made for each holiday in the holiday’s colors. Grab a bag of the themed M&M’s and use them in this recipe! If you can’t find the specific colors you’re looking for, you can also pick out certain colors from a big bag of regular M&M’s.
  • M&M chocolate cookies: Use this chocolate cookie recipe and replace some of the chocolate chips with M&M’s!
  • Different types of chocolate chips: While we love milk chocolate chips in these cookies, any type will work well — semi-sweet, dark, or even white chocolate chips!

Overhead image of several of the M&M Cookies with milk on the side.

Overhead image of several of the M&M Cookies with milk on the side.

M&M Cookies

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These M&M Cookies are sweet with chewy interiors and crispy edges. They’ve got bright pops of crunchy M&M’s and melty milk chocolate chips. These cookies are simple to make, you only need one bowl and a spoon — no hand or stand mixer required! They’re also great to customize for holidays or special events by using certain color M&M’s.

M&M Cookies

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These M&M Cookies are sweet with chewy interiors and crispy edges. They’ve got bright pops of crunchy M&M’s and melty milk chocolate chips. These cookies are simple to make, you only need one bowl and a spoon — no hand or stand mixer required! They’re also great to customize for holidays or special events by using certain color M&M’s.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (133g) light brown sugar packed
  • 1/3 cup (67g) white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (34g) pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt reduce if using table salt OR if sensitive to salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (213g) white all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) M&M’s candies
  • 1/2 cup (85g) milk chocolate chips separated (OR use semi-sweet or dark chocolate — whichever is your favorite)

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a very large, microwave-safe bowl. Once melted, refrigerate it for 5 minutes. It’s important the butter isn’t hot when you add in the sugars or it will melt the sugar and make the cookies greasy.

  • Once butter is cooled to room temperature, stir in the light brown and white sugars. Stir until smooth. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Stir until smooth.

  • Add in the cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Again, stir until smooth. Add in the accurately measured (See Note 1) flour and mix until JUST combined. Don’t over mix.

  • Gently stir in 1 cup of M&M’s and 1/4 cup chocolate chips until combined.

  • Cover the bowl tightly and chill for 1 hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a pan with parchment paper or use a nonstick liner.

  • Roll balls of dough into tall cylindrical balls. Place 6-8 cookie balls on a sheet to give the cookies plenty of room to spread. Dough balls should be about 1.7 ounces.

  • Bake for 8-12 minutes, erring on the side of underbaking, which keeps them soft and chewy (we like ours right at 9 minutes)! Remember, the cookies will continue to “bake” a little more out of the oven, so take them out as soon as the edges start to lightly brown.

  • Remove from the oven and press the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies (ensures even placement of chocolate and also makes them look pretty!). Allow to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

  • STORAGE: We like these cookies best on days 1 and 2 of being made. They do last up to 1 week, but they do begin to lose texture and flavor. To store: Place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature. Wait until cookies are completely cooled before adding to the container.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level the top with the back of a table knife instead of scooping the flour from the bag into a measuring cup. This method assures the most accurate measurement.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg

 

Pesto Chicken with Corn & Bean Salsa

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Delicious pesto chicken bowls with lemon chicken, an avocado & corn salsa, and plenty of pesto! This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly!

These pesto chicken bowls are an all-in-one meal with a base, protein, and salad in the form of the avocado corn salsa. So while sides aren’t necessary, this bruschetta or Italian salad would be great accompaniments to this meal. 

Overhead photo of pesto chicken bowls with chicken, corn & white bean salsa, and pesto

Overhead photo of pesto chicken bowls with chicken, corn & white bean salsa, and pesto

The other day I saw fresh corn on the cob in the produce section and got embarrassingly excited. There are few things I love as much as fresh grilled corn on the cob. I’ll find just about any excuse to add fresh corn to any dish I’m making. So naturally, corn made it into these pesto chicken bowls!

If I can pick a favorite recipe of 2019, this pesto chicken with an avocado & corn salsa is IT. Not only is this meal incredibly flavorful, it also ticks all the boxes: healthy, filling, and simple to make.

Process shots: chicken being pounded to even thickness with a meat tenderizer

Process shots: chicken being pounded to even thickness with a meat tenderizer

How to make pesto chicken bowls

  • Pesto couscous: couscous is fast and easy to make. In fact, it can be ready in about 10 minutes or less which is a nice break from other grains that take 20+ minutes. To infuse the couscous with plenty of flavor, we stir in some pesto and a little bit of lemon juice.
  • Chicken: the chicken is made with a 1-ingredient marinade AND then sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning before cooking. (More on the chicken prep below)
  • Avocado Corn Salsa: This salsa simple and is the highlight of this dinner. It’s an easy salsa as there’s not a lot of chopping which most salsas require.
  • Assemble: pesto couscous goes first, chicken next, plenty of the avocado corn salsa, and finish it all off with a nice big scoop of pesto!

Sun Dried tomatoes used for the salsa topping the pesto chicken

Sun Dried tomatoes used for the salsa topping the pesto chicken

A few quick tips:

  • Fresh pesto: The pesto you use can make or break this dish! Avoid the jarred pestos and go for fresh made basil pesto at your store. (I love Buitoni basil pesto — not sponsored). While this dish calls for store bought pesto to make it a quick & easy meal, you can certainly make your own pesto for this meal. 
  • Sun dried tomatoes: The other crucial ingredient to this dish are the sundried tomatoes. Make sure to grab sundried tomatoes that have been packed in oil and julienne cut to make the salsa prep quick (picture above). The oil from the tomatoes will also be used in the salsa.
  • Grill the corn: while you don’t have to grill the corn on the cob, it is incredible grilled!
    • To grill corns on the cob: peel back husks and remove silk. Rub vegetable oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred. Remove let cool and then slice off the cob. You can also use this same method for a grill pan.
    • (Alternatively, you can sauté corn in a skillet. Sauté (drained or completely thawed out) corn kernels in a preheated large cast-iron skillet 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until kernels are lightly charred over high heat. Remove to let cool completely before adding.)

Process shot of dinner creation -- draining white beans and stirring up pesto

Process shot of dinner creation -- draining white beans and stirring up pesto

Dietary Modifications

  • Vegetarian: we’ve made this meal without meat countless times. Simply leave out the chicken and serve the pesto couscous with salsa on top and more pesto! It’s surprisingly filling just like that and the beans provide plenty of protein. (Plus, it’s even quicker to make vegetarian (20 minute prep time or less!))
  • Vegan: if you make it as stated above, it’s vegan too!
  • Dairy free: this meal is naturally dairy free (as long as the buttermilk marinade is not used) AND with a homemade (cheese-free) pesto.
  • Change up the protein: grilled steak would also be delicious in this meal. You can also always use thighs in place of breasts for this pesto chicken meal.

Variations on these pesto chicken bowls

Process shot white bean and corn salsa

Process shot white bean and corn salsa

More on the chicken

  • Marinate: use the marinade recipe below or my famous grilled chicken marinade
    • For the QUICKEST marinade ever: submerge (halved and pounded to even thickness) chicken breasts into buttermilk for 30 minutes up to 8 hours. Remove, pat dry, and proceed with the recipe!
    • If you don’t have buttermilk, but do have regular milk, you can even make your own DIY buttermilk.
  • For the lemon pepper seasoning, grab your favorite blend (I like McCormick’s lemon & pepper seasoning best OR Mrs Dash’s.) You can even make your own if desired.

Up close photo of pesto chicken bowls

Up close photo of pesto chicken bowls

Similar chicken dinners:

A lot of ingredients overlap (particularly fresh lemon), but have been written out twice for easier reading.

Pesto Chicken with Corn & Bean Salsa

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Delicious pesto chicken bowls with lemon chicken, an avocado & corn salsa, and plenty of pesto! This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly!

Pesto Chicken with Corn & Bean Salsa

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Delicious pesto chicken bowls with lemon chicken, an avocado & corn salsa, and plenty of pesto! This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly!

Ingredients

Chicken (Note 1)

  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 and 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, optional
  • 1/4 cup white flour, optional
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional

Bean and Corn Salsa

  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted corn OR 2 ears fresh fresh corn (Note 2)
  • 1 large avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil + 2 teaspoons oil from the jar, julienne cut (Note 3)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons juice)

Bowls

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups chicken stock or veggie stock (water also works)
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 container (7 ounces) basil pesto sauce, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 large lemons (2 tablespoons juice + additional wedges for serving)
  • Optional: fresh basil for topping

Instructions

  • CHICKEN PREP: slice the 2 chicken breasts in half horizontally to form 4 chicken cutlets. Cover with plastic wrap and pound (use the bottom of a frying pan or meat mallet) to pound the halves into even pieces (they don’t need to be super thin, just equal thickness throughout). IF marinating, place the chicken in a large plastic bag or similar container and cover with buttermilk. Place in fridge for 30 minutes up to 8 hours. When done marinating, remove from buttermilk and drain then pat dry with paper towels. Lightly sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt.

  • COOK CHICKEN: Grill/Grill PanPreheat the grill to about 400 degrees F (grill pan to medium high heat). Make sure your grill grates (ridges of grill pan) are clean and greased. To grease, dredge a paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it all over the grate. Evenly sprinkle both sides of the chicken generously with lemon pepper seasoning. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through (about 4-6 minutes per side depending on heat of the grill and thickness of chicken) Chicken should be at 165 degrees F at its thickest part. Tent with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly or chop into small pieces.Skillet: In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour and lemon pepper seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, turning to coat evenly. Place the chicken in the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes per side or until done (add more olive oil if needed). Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.Tent with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly or chop into small pieces.
  • SALSA: In a medium sized bowl, combine the drained and rinsed white beans, drained corn (or corn cut from the cob) chopped avocado, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of the oil from the tomatoes, chopped basil, lemon juice, and salt + pepper to taste. (I add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper).

  • COUSCOUS: Meanwhile, add the chicken stock, veggie stock, or water to a small pot. Add in the butter and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat. Stir in the couscous and cover the pot with a lid. After about 2-3 minutes the liquid should be absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Stir in 1/3 cup pesto, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and about 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper (again to personal preference on salt and pepper).

  • ASSEMBLE: fill up 4 bowls with even amounts of the pesto couscous. On top add the cooked chicken. Add generous amounts of the salsa to the side. If desired add a wedge of lemon to each bowl. Spoon the remaining pesto evenly over the bowls. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: you can marinate in buttermilk or forgo a marinade entirely. Also the flour and butter will only be used if you’re cooking the chicken in a skillet. If grilling/using a grill pan the flour and butter are not necessary. Note 2: To grill corns on the cob: peel back husks and remove silk. Rub vegetable oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred. Remove let cool and then slice off the cob. You can also use this same method for a grill pan. Note 3: I buy the julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes to save some chopping time and they’re perfect for the salsa

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 625kcal

Nutrition facts for pesto chicken

Nutrition facts for pesto chicken

Note on calories: this is assuming every bit of pesto AND the salsa is eaten in a serving.

{One Pan} Sausage Pesto & Veggies

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One pan and only EIGHT ingredients to make this flavor-packed and nutritious sausage pesto and veggies! 

Pair this sausage pesto and veggies with an easy salad such as this strawberry salad or this Italian salad. This meal reheats well and works as a healthy weekly meal prep option.

 

Picture of finished pan of sausage pesto and vegetables with a spoon picking up some of the meal.

Picture of finished pan of sausage pesto and vegetables with a spoon picking up some of the meal.

I’m having a minute with green herby sauces as evidence by this pesto chicken, this chimichurri chicken, and this shrimp couscous. And today we’re adding another dinner covered in a green herb sauce (pesto) to the collection! With less than 10 ingredients, one dirty sheet pan, and overall healthful ingredients — this is my latest weeknight dinner win.

Because with 3 kids now and about a million more things to do than hours in the day, the weeknight dinner struggle is real.

And this meal is a lifesaver! I’m fairly certain you can fully prepare this meal quicker than waiting in a dinner rush fast food line, AND it’ll be better for you. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let’s talk about the delicious components that make up this easy sausage pesto and veggies.Process shot of sundried tomatoes for this sausage pesto meal

Process shot of sundried tomatoes for this sausage pesto meal

Ingredients in this sausage pesto and veggies

  • Smoked chicken sausage: grab a flavored smoked chicken sausage (such as roasted garlic or Italian-seasoned) to amp up the flavor without adding a ton of extra seasoning. Any smoked sausage will work in this meal, but we prefer the chicken sausage.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes with herbs: I took a picture (above) of my current fave sun-dried tomatoes (not sponsored). They’re already thinly sliced and seasoned perfectly so they add a lot to this meal while keeping the ingredient list down. We also use the oil they’re soaked in to cook the veggies in, so you don’t even have to grab extra oil on your grocery store run. Win-win!

Process shot of trader joe's frozen cauliflower gnocchi, cut up asparagus, and easy seasoning mix

Process shot of trader joe's frozen cauliflower gnocchi, cut up asparagus, and easy seasoning mix

Ingredients continued

  • Gnocchi: have you heard about the viral sensation known as Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi? I’m a huge fan (again, not sponsored). The gnocchi can go from FREEZER TO OVEN without thawing. Sorry to shout, but this is important for one pan dinner dreams. Don’t have a TJ near you? No problem, any frozen gnocchi will work here!
  • Asparagus: keeping things spring-y with this veggie. We cut it into 2-inch pieces so it will be roasted in about 7-10 minutes.
  • Pesto: the last “main” (there are a few spices plus the obvious salt & pepper) ingredient is pesto! To stay true to our ridiculously easy weeknight dinner prep, we’re using a good store-bought pesto. Grab the freshly made pesto in the refrigerated section of your grocery store and be forever changed. Fresh basil pesto is the way to go for this sausage pesto dinner (Buitoni makes a fresh refrigerated pesto I love and Kroger stores sell a freshly made basil pesto that is also great). 

Asparagus is added to sheet pan to go back into the oven; process shot

Asparagus is added to sheet pan to go back into the oven; process shot

Recipe variations

  • Switch up asparagus: as long as the veggie you’re thinking about can roast in about 20 minutes, you can add it to this sausage pesto recipe. Some ideas: chopped zucchini, chopped yellow onion, chopped broccoli florets, quartered brussels sprouts. This chart is helpful for more ideas! If you add in a veggie that roasts for about 20 minutes, add it in at the beginning instead of halfway through cooking time. (Asparagus only needs about 7-10 minutes to roast.)
  • Switch up the gnocchi: this recipe calls for frozen cauliflower gnocchi, but we’ve also tested it with regular frozen potato gnocchi. We’ve also tested this with shelf stable gnocchi and it works. (Tasters all preferred frozen for flavor!)
  • Different sauce: if you’re not a fan of pesto, a good herb sauce would work great in its place. I’d recommend the basil sauce from this caprese salad.

Process shot of meal: sausage, asparagus, and gnocchi are cooking

Process shot of meal: sausage, asparagus, and gnocchi are cooking

Pesto sausage recipe tips

  • Use a LARGE sheet pan: the more space the vegetables, gnocchi, & sausage has (the less crowded they are) the better they roast in the oven. When vegetables are overlapping on a sheet pan, they end up steaming instead of roasting. This will make them taste soggy not deliciously caramelized. I recommend using a (this) 15×21 inch sheet pan for this recipe.
  • Grate the parmesan cheese with a microplane. It gives it the perfect texture and melts beautifully into the asparagus, sausage, and gnocchi.

Meal prep

If meal prepping with this sausage pesto recipe, I recommend choosing a different vegetable than asparagus (like broccoli or bell peppers). I don’t find the asparagus sits well with the other ingredients after a couple of days.

To meal prep: store the pesto in a separate container. Warm the sausage, gnocchi, and vegetable portion in the microwave. Give the pesto a good stir and add it along with some parmesan cheese before enjoying each day. This meal prep is best eaten within 3-4 days.

Finished plate of sausage pesto dinner with a scoop of pesto and fork digging in!

Finished plate of sausage pesto dinner with a scoop of pesto and fork digging in!

More easy one pan dinners:

One Pan Sausage Pesto & Veggies

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One pan and only EIGHT ingredients to make this flavor-packed and nutritious sausage pesto and veggies! 

One Pan Sausage Pesto & Veggies

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One pan and only EIGHT ingredients to make this flavor-packed and nutritious sausage pesto and veggies! 

Ingredients

  • 1 package (13 ounces) smoked roasted garlic chicken sausage, sliced 1/4th inch thick on the diagonal
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen cauliflower gnocchi, Note 1
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in oil and herbs), finely chopped + 2 tablespoons oil from container
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends snapped off and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic powder
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 (5 ounce) container fresh-made store bought basil pesto Note 2
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic powder, and salt & pepper (add to taste; I use 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper) Set aside.

  • On a LARGE (at least 15 x 21 inches) sheet pan, toss together the sliced chicken sausage, frozen (unthawed) gnocchi, 1 tablespoon oil from the sun dried tomatoes, and 1/2 of the seasoning mix. Toss until combined. Bake for 12 minutes at 425 degrees.

  • Remove and flip the sausage + gnocchi using a metal spatula. To the other side add cut (in 2 inch pieces) asparagus, remaining 1 tablespoon oil from the sun dried tomatoes, and remaining seasonings. Toss to combine (I do this on the hot tray with tongs; you can toss everything in a bowl separately, but that uses more dishes). Return to the oven for another 7-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp tender. Gnocchi and sausage should be crisp on the outside, soft and tender inside. Toss everything together. On the hot sheet pan, add the chopped sundried tomatoes. Taste for salt/pepper seasoning remembering that the Parmesan cheese and pesto will add some saltiness.

  • Serve on plates with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a few spoonfuls of pesto per plate. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: we use the cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joes. Any other frozen gnocchi will work in this dish. No need to thaw, just break or cut apart any connected gnocchis. Bake straight from freezer. Note 2: don’t grab the jared variety; grab the fresh in refrigerated section of store. Of course homemade can be used in place of store-bought!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 438kcal

Calories in pesto sausage

Calories in pesto sausage

Snickerdoodles {Soft & Chewy}

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The ultimate BEST EVER SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES! Crisp edges, soft and chewy center, and SO much flavor! These are the BEST EVER! Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com | #snickerdoodle #cookie #dessert #bake #baking #treat #holiday #cookies #christmas #cinnamon #sugar #easy #video #tutorial

The ultimate BEST EVER SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES! Crisp edges, soft and chewy center, and SO much flavor! These are the BEST EVER! Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com | #snickerdoodle #cookie #dessert #bake #baking #treat #holiday #cookies #christmas #cinnamon #sugar #easy #video #tutorial

The best soft, chewy, and thick snickerdoodle cookies. Sharing all my tips and tricks for making delicious snickerdoodles with chewy centers and perfectly crisp edges!

Once you’ve become hooked on these snickerdoodles, try these other delicious cookies: oatmeal cookies, chewy chocolate chip cookies, or white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

Up close photo of delicious snickerdoodle cookies that are so soft and chewy!

Up close photo of delicious snickerdoodle cookies that are so soft and chewy!

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodle cookies have always been just an “okay” cookie for me; I’d much rather have mine stuffed (or dipped) in as much chocolate as possible. But when my soon-to-be brother-in-law said snickerdoodles are one of his favorites, I set out to perfect the snickerdoodle cookie.

My sister and her fiancé are having a “cookie bar” at their reception with 10 different kinds of cookies and I volunteered to develop the recipes AND make the cookies (luckily I have a lot of help on the baking!). I’ve been working on my final cookie recipes for months (I get way too excited over these kinds of things!).

So I’ve worked on this snickerdoodle recipe for a few months now and have made dozens of batches, trying to get them just right. And if I’m being honest these cookies have not only converted me to be a snickerdoodle lover, but they’ve also been deemed by the almost brother-in-law to be the “BEST EVER.” These snickerdoodles have just the right amount of cinnamon, and are soft on the inside with perfectly crisp edges. The flavor is incredible and the texture is unbelievable.

If you’ve never experienced the joy of a snickerdoodle, you might be wondering what they taste like. They are buttery and sugary with a hint of vanilla and a tang from the cream of tartar. The dough has a hint of cinnamon and the unbaked dough is rolled in cinnamon sugar before being baked further enhancing the cinnamon flavor.

Forming the dough for snickerdoodle cookies; balls of dough being rolled and placed on a sheet pan.

Forming the dough for snickerdoodle cookies; balls of dough being rolled and placed on a sheet pan.

First things first, snickerdoodles are sometimes confused with sugar cookies since they have a lot of the same basic ingredients.

What’s the difference between a sugar cookie and snickerdoodle?

There are two main differences between sugar cookies and snickerdoodle cookies. First, snickerdoodles have cream of tartar which gives them that signature tang to the flavor. Secondly, snickerdoodles are rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture making them more cinnamon flavored. Sugar cookies rarely have cream of tartar and don’t contain cinnamon.

So you might be wondering…

Why are snickerdoodles called snickerdoodles?

The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, but it’s also very possible that the name is simply a nonsense word without any particular meaning.

Before we get started on process and talking tips, let’s talk ingredients!

Snickerdoodles are made of:

  • Butter: use unsalted to ensure you perfectly control the amount of salt (If you use salted, omit the extra salt addition)
  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk: the extra yolk adds so much flavor. Use leftover whites in these Spinach and Feta Wraps
  • Pure vanilla extract: for flavor!
  • White all-purpose flour: make sure to spoon and level this measurement so you’re getting the right amount of flour.
  • Cream of tartar: this ingredient is what gives these snickerdoodle cookies that classic “tangy” flavor; it’s also a stabilizer.
  • Salt: to intensify all the ingredients’ flavors
  • Baking soda
  • Cinnamon: added to the dough AND the topping for extra flavor!

How to make snickerdoodles

For these cookies we start with partially melted butter. I don’t melt it all the way because it tends to make the cookies a bit greasy. Cookies can also become “greasy” if the melted butter is so hot that it melts the sugars — make sure you give the butter a second to return to room temperature.

We melt the butter because it adds an incredible texture to these snickerdoodle cookies. When you melt butter for cookie recipes, chilling the dough is a MUST before baking. This matters because the fats need to re-solidify. If the dough is baked immediately with melted butter in it, the cookies will spread while baking and become thin, hard, and crispy. The longer the fat stays solid, the less the cookies will spread.

The sugar in the dough also gradually absorbs liquid so when you chill the dough, the sugar has a chance to absorb more liquid further preventing spread.

Up close photo of freshly baked cookies

Up close photo of freshly baked cookies

Baking Tips

  • Correctly measure the flour: If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour you will pack in way too much flour (which will result in cake-like cookies with the wrong texture). To properly measure your flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup until its overfilled. Then use the back of a butter knife to level the measuring cup at the top. You’ll have a perfect flour measurement now!
  • Use room temperature eggs: This ensures the eggs disperse more evenly into the batter giving these snickerdoodles a lighter texture (the eggs trap air). Soaking refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes is a quick way to do this. Otherwise, pull the eggs out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before use.
  • Roll tall cookie dough balls: Instead of rolling a perfect ball, I’ve found if you roll the dough so it’s taller and skinnier, when the cookies bake you’ll get that perfect thick & chewy center AND the crisp edges. Using this technique, the bottom of the cookie “ball” bakes first, which will push out and become the crisp edge. The top of that tall cookie dough “ball” then becomes the thick and chewy center. Perfect texture every time! (See the 2nd picture in this post for how I roll my cookie dough balls.)

Plate filled up with the dessert

Plate filled up with the dessert

 

More Delicious Cookie Recipes:

Snickerdoodle Cookies

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The best soft, chewy, and thick snickerdoodle cookies

Snickerdoodle Cookies

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The best soft, chewy, and thick snickerdoodle cookies

Ingredients

  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter, 80% the way melted
  • 2/3 cup (135g) white sugar
  • 2/3 cup (120g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 3/4 cup (337g) all-purpose white flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1/4 cup (50g) white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • In a large bowl add the 80% melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Whisk together until smooth. Add in 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk (reserve the whites for a separate recipe or discard) and the vanilla extract. Whisk until just combined and smooth.

  • In another bowl, stir together the flour, cream of tartar, salt, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Whisk together.

  • Add all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Do not overmix the dough. Cover tightly and place in the fridge for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. (If you have a convection oven, do 325 degrees F at convection bake). In a small bowl stir together the white sugar and cinnamon.

  • Remove the dough and roll tall balls of dough (see the 2nd photo in the post). If you have a kitchen scale, the balls of dough should be about 1.7 ounces.  Roll the balls of dough generously into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

  • Place dough balls on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan and bake for 9-11 minutes. Watch carefully being sure to not over-bake. I think slightly under-baked snickerdoodle cookies are the BEST!

  • Remove and let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

  • Cookies best enjoyed within 2-3 days.

Recipe Notes

*Prep time doesn’t include mandatory chilling time

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 134kcal

Testing began with these cookies on Genius Kitchen and evolved to become this recipe! 🙂

Nutrition facts in snickerdoodle cookies

Nutrition facts in snickerdoodle cookies

M&M Cookies

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These M&M Cookies are sweet with chewy interiors and crispy edges. They’ve got bright pops of crunchy M&M’s® and melty milk chocolate chips. These cookies are simple to make and you only need one bowl and a spoon — no hand or stand mixer required! They’re also great to customize for holidays or special events by using certain color M&M’s.

Try our other favorite cookie recipes next: snickerdoodlesoatmeal chocolate chip cookies, or pistachio cookies.

Overhead image of the M&M cookies, ready to eat.

Overhead image of the M&M cookies, ready to eat.

Every year after our first day back to school, my mom would surprise us with either M&M’s cookies or rice krispie treats. It made going back to school after a fun summer a little bit easier. And now, I’m the mom and my kids know that after the first day of school, they’ll have a sweet treat waiting.

My personal favorite were the chocolate chip M&M cookies because it also meant there was a bag of the rest of the M&M’s somewhere that could also be eaten (haha).

Process shot-- Image of the melted butter and sugar in a bowl for these M&M cookies.

Process shot-- Image of the melted butter and sugar in a bowl for these M&M cookies.

M&M Cookie ingredients

  • Butter not shortening: These cookies use butter which gives them a great flavor base and wonderful texture. I don’t recommend substituting margarine or shortening in these cookies.
  • Maple syrup: Seems like a strange ingredient but it keeps these cookies ultra soft and chewy. It also adds a really delicious subtle sweetness different from the sugars.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar has a higher moisture content than white sugar and thus will produce a chewier cookie than if you just used white sugar. 
  • White sugar: We also include white sugar for cookie stability and to ensure the cookies aren’t overly sweet (using only brown sugar would result in extremely sweet cookies).
  • Egg: Make sure to use a large egg in this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract: It’s added for flavor.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch helps to keep these cookies soft and chewy.
  • Baking soda/baking powder: The leavening agents ensure these cookies bake properly
  • White all-purpose flour: Make sure to measure this ingredient accurately (more on this below). It’s the most important measurement to ensuring you get the perfect M&M cookies!

Process shot-- Image of the maple syrup and egg being added to the sugary butter mixture.

Process shot-- Image of the maple syrup and egg being added to the sugary butter mixture.

Tips for these cookies

  • Let the melted butter cool: Once the butter is melted, it needs to cool back to room temperature. If the butter is hot, it will melt the sugars and cause greasy, flat cookies.
  • Chill the dough: Since we melted the butter, the dough needs time to chill to allow the butter to re-solidify so you don’t have flat cookies. The chilling time also allows the flavors and textures to meld together and intensify.
  • Bake on a Silpat® liner or parchment paper: This helps the cookies bake more evenly and keep the bottoms of the cookies from getting too brown.

QUICK TIP

Measure carefully: The most important measurement is the flour. If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour you are most likely packing in way too much flour– which will yield cakey and less-flavorful cookies. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level the top with the back of a table knife. The printable recipe includes gram measurements if you prefer to measure using a scale.

Process shot-- Image of the dry ingredients being added to the best M&M cookie recipe.

Process shot-- Image of the dry ingredients being added to the best M&M cookie recipe.

Avoid flat M&M cookies

If your cookies come out flat, it’s most likely because the cookies did not chill long enough. Since there is melted butter in the batter, it needs a chance to firm up again. Also, if the butter was too hot when you added in other ingredients, they’ll likely end up a bit flat and greasy.

Another reason these cookies could be flat is if the flour was under measured. One other factor that comes into play is if you live in a high-altitude area

Keeping the M&M cookies soft

After baking the cookies, let them cool completely on a wire rack (this will keep the bottoms from getting soggy from the steam). Once cooled, place cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature. For tips on how to “revive” no-longer-soft cookies, check out these tips from Cooks Illustrated.

Process shot-- Image of the M&M's and chocolate chips being added to the dough for these cookies.

Process shot-- Image of the M&M's and chocolate chips being added to the dough for these cookies.

I recommend freezing dough balls instead of freezing the baked cookies. To freeze: Drop the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls into an airtight container/bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

To bake: You can bake the cookies straight from the freezer; just add 1-3 minutes onto the cooking time. (Or thaw the dough in the fridge and bake according to directions.)

M&M cookie variations

  • M&M sugar cookies: For more of an M&M’s sugar cookie feel, use the recipe as written, but replace the chocolate chips with more M&M’s.
  • Easter M&M cookies: Replace the regular M&M’s candies with Easter M&M’s! This also applies to every other holiday — typically M&M’s are made for each holiday in the holiday’s colors. Grab a bag of the themed M&M’s and use them in this recipe! If you can’t find the specific colors you’re looking for, you can also pick out certain colors from a big bag of regular M&M’s.
  • M&M chocolate cookies: Use this chocolate cookie recipe and replace some of the chocolate chips with M&M’s!
  • Different types of chocolate chips: While we love milk chocolate chips in these cookies, any type will work well — semi-sweet, dark, or even white chocolate chips!

Overhead image of several of the M&M Cookies with milk on the side.

Overhead image of several of the M&M Cookies with milk on the side.

M&M Cookies

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These M&M Cookies are sweet with chewy interiors and crispy edges. They’ve got bright pops of crunchy M&M’s and melty milk chocolate chips. These cookies are simple to make, you only need one bowl and a spoon — no hand or stand mixer required! They’re also great to customize for holidays or special events by using certain color M&M’s.

M&M Cookies

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These M&M Cookies are sweet with chewy interiors and crispy edges. They’ve got bright pops of crunchy M&M’s and melty milk chocolate chips. These cookies are simple to make, you only need one bowl and a spoon — no hand or stand mixer required! They’re also great to customize for holidays or special events by using certain color M&M’s.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (133g) light brown sugar packed
  • 1/3 cup (67g) white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (34g) pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt reduce if using table salt OR if sensitive to salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (213g) white all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) M&M’s candies
  • 1/2 cup (85g) milk chocolate chips separated (OR use semi-sweet or dark chocolate — whichever is your favorite)

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a very large, microwave-safe bowl. Once melted, refrigerate it for 5 minutes. It’s important the butter isn’t hot when you add in the sugars or it will melt the sugar and make the cookies greasy.

  • Once butter is cooled to room temperature, stir in the light brown and white sugars. Stir until smooth. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Stir until smooth.

  • Add in the cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Again, stir until smooth. Add in the accurately measured (See Note 1) flour and mix until JUST combined. Don’t over mix.

  • Gently stir in 1 cup of M&M’s and 1/4 cup chocolate chips until combined.

  • Cover the bowl tightly and chill for 1 hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a pan with parchment paper or use a nonstick liner.

  • Roll balls of dough into tall cylindrical balls. Place 6-8 cookie balls on a sheet to give the cookies plenty of room to spread. Dough balls should be about 1.7 ounces.

  • Bake for 8-12 minutes, erring on the side of underbaking, which keeps them soft and chewy (we like ours right at 9 minutes)! Remember, the cookies will continue to “bake” a little more out of the oven, so take them out as soon as the edges start to lightly brown.

  • Remove from the oven and press the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies (ensures even placement of chocolate and also makes them look pretty!). Allow to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

  • STORAGE: We like these cookies best on days 1 and 2 of being made. They do last up to 1 week, but they do begin to lose texture and flavor. To store: Place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature. Wait until cookies are completely cooled before adding to the container.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level the top with the back of a table knife instead of scooping the flour from the bag into a measuring cup. This method assures the most accurate measurement.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg

 

Puppy Chow {& How to Customize}

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Puppy chow is a delicious treat made primarily with chocolate chips, peanut butter, and chex cereal! NO baking required!

Jazz up your puppy chow with some fun additions like adding M&Ms, miniature chocolate chips, Reese’s pieces, etc. This puppy chow also makes a great gift; add it to decorative boxes or tins and give it out for a fun holiday treat.

Speaking of holidays, you can jazz up your puppy chow for any occasion! Use seasonal M&Ms or sprinkles to jazz up this snack mix for a special event, holiday, or birthday! Today I’ve jazzed up this puppy chow for Easter; if you want to gift this snack mix with a free printable bag topper, check out this Easter treats post.

Overhead photo of puppy chow with a child's hand grabbing a piece

Overhead photo of puppy chow with a child's hand grabbing a piece

Puppy Chow

Puppy chow is a delicious, sweet, & crunchy cereal snack mix made with chex cereal, peanut butter, chocolate, butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. This treat is especially easy to make as it doesn’t require any baking!

This treat is often called puppy chow because of the close resemblance to dog food. So although this might not make the prettiest treat, you’ll be obsessed from the first bite!  Just make sure you don’t actually feed your dog(s) or pet(s) this snack 🙂

Regardless of what you want to call this snack mix, it’s addictively delicious AND simple to make. I’ve got step-by-step process photos and a quick process list below. 

Process shots-- images of the ingredients being melted and added to the Chex mix

Process shots-- images of the ingredients being melted and added to the Chex mix

Step by step process

  • Measure: the cereal into a very large bowl. Grab a bowl large enough that everything can be easily mixed together.
  • Melt: the butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter and mix together. Add in the vanilla (extra flavor) and a pinch of salt (to balance the sweetness)
  • Combine: add the chocolate-peanut butter mixture to the cereal mixture and toss until combined. I use a plastic spatula to gently fold everything together.
  • Coat: transfer the mixture to a large bag, add the powdered sugar, and shake to combine! If you want to add in sprinkles, stir them into the powdered sugar first.
  • Decorate: either eat as is, or stir in some festive colored candies to jazz up this puppy chow! More ideas below.

One of the best things about this snack is how easy it is to customize! You can jazz up this mix for any occasion; below are some ideas.

  • Holiday: add seasonal colored M&Ms to this mix, put the mix in a bag, and attach a free printable bag topper (Easter: Bunny Bait, Valentines: Cupid’s Crunch, Halloween: Goblin’s Goodies)
  • Birthday: add frosting and birthday sprinkles to the mix (check out this recipe)
  • Tailgating: add football decorated chocolate almonds to this puppy chow recipe (chocolate almond tutorial here).

Overhead photo of puppy chow recipe and M&Ms to mix in

Overhead photo of puppy chow recipe and M&Ms to mix in

Quick breakdown of this puppy chow recipe

  • This recipe doubles well. This recipe also halves well.
  • For storing: store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. We like it best within 3-4 days and after that it begins to taste a bit stale.
  • Freeze: you can freeze it in an airtight container/bag for up to 3 months; thaw at room temperature.

Photo of finished puppy chow in a bowl

Photo of finished puppy chow in a bowl

More fun snacks

Puppy Chow

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Puppy chow is a delicious treat made primarily with chocolate chips, peanut butter, and chex cereal! NO baking required!

Puppy Chow

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Puppy chow is a delicious treat made primarily with chocolate chips, peanut butter, and chex cereal! NO baking required!

Ingredients

  • 9 cups (318g) rice chex cereal
  • 1/2 cup (125g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup (178g) milk or semisweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard or Ghirardelli)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (use less if using table salt)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (176g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup festive/holiday M&Ms or Reeses Pieces, optional

Instructions

  • Into a large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

  • In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butter. Microwave in bursts of 15 seconds, stirring in between each burst for 15 seconds until the mixture is melted and smooth. Add in the vanilla and salt. Pour over the prepared cereal. Stir well, but gently, until the cereal is evenly coated.

  • Pour half of the cereal mixture into a gallon sized ziplock bag and pour half of the powdered sugar over it. Seal and shake until the cereal is evenly coated. Repeat with the other half of the cereal and powdered sugar in the same or a different bag. Shake until all the cereal is well coated! (Separating the process makes it easier and allows all the cereal to get evenly coated)

  • Remove into a large bowl and if desired, stir in the M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces or any other additions desired. Enjoy!

  • Store leftover muddy buddies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 222kcal

Calories in puppy chow

Calories in puppy chow

These Muddy Buddies (also known as Puppy Chow) are the best easy treat! No baking required and only 7 ingredients required! Plus variation ideas! via chelseasmessyapron.com #puppy #chow #muddy #buddies #recipe #easy #quickly #no #bake #recipe #dessert #kidfriendly #party #snack

These Muddy Buddies (also known as Puppy Chow) are the best easy treat! No baking required and only 7 ingredients required! Plus variation ideas! via chelseasmessyapron.com #puppy #chow #muddy #buddies #recipe #easy #quickly #no #bake #recipe #dessert #kidfriendly #party #snack