PB&J Quinoa Bowl

The best Monday breakfast you could ever hope for.

This PB&J Quinoa Bowl is the perfect healthy breakfast to get your week started on the right foot.

That’s right. This PB&J Quinoa Bowl will change the way you view beginning-of-the-week breakfasts forever, and I don’t think you’ll be one bit mad about it.


I don’t know about you, but the weekends always feel like a crazy whirlwind of fun for me, and it’s always just a little bit tough to go to bed on Sunday night knowing I have to wake up and face the “real world” the next day. Yes, I work from home and yes, many feel that’s quite the luxury, but I promise it’s still not easy. If anything, I feel more accountable for being productive, especially after an event-filled weekend like the one I just had.

I’ve been up north at the parents’ house since last Wednesday and I’ll actually be working from up here for the next week due to a heavy influx of close friend and family obligations. I helped cater one of my good friends’ baby showers this past Saturday and next weekend we have a family birthday party, so I just decided to forego 8 extra hours in the car (no bueno for a pregnant mamma!) and stay up here for the week.

The downside of that is, now I’m here surrounded by family, and they all have fun, exciting things that they want to do, yet I still need to be sure I find the time to actually WORK and get done what I need to get done since I’m still held accountable for doing my job, even when I’m not physically at my “home base.” Does anyone else struggle with this? Please tell me you do and give me pointers!

But enough about my time management/life balancing skills, let’s talk about what we REALLY need to get out on the table today (both literally and figuratively) – these PB&J Quinoa Bowls!

Two PB&J Quinoa Bowls ready to be enjoyed on any weekday or weekend morning!

Real life talk: this is another recipe where I have to give all creative credit to a favorite eating establishment of mine. When I first moved to Santa Barbara, one of the things I remember being most excited about was the fact that they had an entire eatery based around the concept of one of my favorite breakfasts – the acai bowl! Yes, I get excited about these things because, hey, I am a food blogger. And there most definitely were no such places in Napa, where I lived previously.

Let me tell you a little bit about Backyard Bowls and why it is so amazing. Well, they literally have any sort of acai bowl you can imagine – green bowls, power bowls, tropical bowls – you name it! Then on top of that they have a whole list of smoothies, PLUS a line of non-acai bowls that are also healthy and taste absolutely amazing. This is the section of the menu where the PB&J Quinoa Bowl resides.

A big PB&J Quinoa Bowl is the perfect healthy, filling breakfast to get your week started on the right foot.

When I was still working in a “real office” full time, a PB&J Quinoa Bowl from Backyard Bowls was one of my favorite breakfasts to pick up on my way to work and eat at my desk, especially if I had a long day ahead of me where I didn’t know what time I’d be able to get to any sort of lunch.

It’s chock full of protein, yet still tastes indulgent at the same time. And the quinoa, oh the quinoa. If you have never ventured into the world of quinoa served oatmeal-style for breakfast, I highly recommend you do so soon (you can try this Banana Peach Breakfast Quinoa with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans while you’re at it.) It is so tasty, super healthy, and full of protein. And yes, quinoa tastes just as good with sweet breakfast-y ingredients as it does with savory dinner-y ingredients.

So here’s the PB&J Quinoa Bowl scoop: First off, you literally cook it just as you would oatmeal. And instead of cooking it using water as the liquid, you’ll use good ol’ cashew milk. In fact, you could really use any sort of regular OR nut milk, I just used cashew because I was trying to really capture Backyard Bowls’ take on the whole thing and that’s what they use. But it’s totally up to you!

Overhead shot of the super-creamy and delicious PB&J Quinoa Bowl. The perfect healthy breakfast!

Once the quinoa is cooked (but while it’s still warm) you’ll stir in a little additional cashew (or other) milk along with your favorite peanut butter to make it extra creamy.

That’s it as far as cooking goes! The next bit, the toppings, is what really takes your PB&J Quinoa Bowl over the edge. First off, your favorite jelly is KEY. I’m quite the traditionalist and prefer to stick to strawberry jam, but feel free to use your own creative license here and use whatever your little heart desires.

Next, you’ll want to add some texture with nicely toasted slivered almonds. They add the perfect crunch to an otherwise texturally one-dimensional bowl. And are such a fun contrast to the peanut butter!

Finally, slice up some fresh banana and fan that out over top. Because what’s a breakfast bowl without a sliced banana topping?

Long story short, this PB&J Quinoa Bowl is a super easy and insanely delicious recipe that needs to make an appearance in your kitchen ASAP. It’s the perfect breakfast to really turn a week around and I guarantee you won’t be mad about it once your piping hot bowl is sitting in front of you on a Monday morning before heading to work.

PB&J Quinoa Bowl topped with strawberry jam, slivered almonds and fresh bananas. The perfect healthy breakfast!

Grab the recipe below and here’s to another productive week ahead! Xo

This PB&J Quinoa Bowl is the perfect healthy breakfast to get your week started on the right foot.
Print
PB&J Quinoa Bowl
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
9 mins
Total Time
24 mins
 

Protein-packed quinoa gets a morning makeover when cooked with your favorite nut milk and swirled with peanut butter and jam, plus even more delicious toppings!

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed tricolor quinoa
  • 3 cups unsweetened cashew milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter, plus more for topping (if desired)
  • 2-4 tablespoons strawberry jelly
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 bananas, sliced
Instructions
  1. Bring quinoa, 2 ½ cups of the cashew milk and honey to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. 

  2. Turn down the heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 10 more minutes. 

  3. Turn off the heat and stir in additional ½ cup of cashew milk, salt and peanut butter. 

  4. Scoop quinoa into 2-4 bowls and top with strawberry jelly, almonds, banana and more peanut butter, if desired.

PB&J Quinoa Bowl | CaliGirlCooking.com

Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken

Looks can be deceiving…

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

I know, I know, this photo doesn’t necessarily jump out at you as the PRETTIEST dish around, but boy oh boy does it make up for its looks in flavor. There’s a reason Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken has been a favorite family recipe of ours for longer than I can remember!


Let me just paint a little picture of the cooking situation in my family for you: My dad is the one who never relies on a recipe, simply using them for “inspiration” and successfully pulling dishes together relying on his taste memory and previous cooking knowledge. When I was younger, whenever there was a dish at a restaurant that we absolutely loved, my dad would be able to taste it and recreate it back at home without even asking the waiter or chef what all was in the recipe.

My mom, on the other hand, is more of a by-the-book gal. This may be partly due to the fact that she’s the primary baker in the family, and we all know that bakers must adhere to much stricter measurements and instructions to come out with the perfect treat. Mom’s always skimming magazines and cookbooks and dog-earing different recipes she wants to try. Some of these recipes end up being massive fails, but others take us by surprise and end up appearing in regular rotation on the dinner table.

I can’t remember exactly where my mom found this recipe, but it’s since become her own, hence why I’m dubbing it Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken. It’s an incredibly homey meal, the ultimate comfort food, which is why I feel the need to share it now before our weather gets too warm for us to want to make anything that requires time both on the stove AND in the oven!

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I am a HUGE peanut butta lova.  Yep yep! I’m pretty much addicted to it it and have been for as long as I can remember, which is why there should be no question as to why I love this hearty, tummy-warming dinner so much.  Seriously, take any dish and add peanut butter to it and you’ve pretty much sold me.

I also love that Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken is loaded with spinach and tomatoes, yet all of those veggies are covered up in the most delicious peanut butter flavor. Served over a bed of brown rice, this is a healthy, protein-packed meal that I’m pretty sure even the pickiest of eaters will love (yes, if they can get past the looks 😉

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

This dish is also incredibly easy to make, and even the most novice of chefs will have no problem whipping it up on any night of the week. The key to bringing it all together is a trusty Dutch oven, and if you’re looking for an affordable option, I highly recommend my go-to Lodge 6-quart cast-iron one, which you can grab on Amazon for less than $60. Seriously, you’ll never regret this purchase.

The Dutch oven and your stove/oven are ALL you’ll need to bring Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken recipe together in just about an hour and a half. We start with a quick sear of the chicken, and then throw all of the veggies and sauce ingredients into the same Dutch oven before literally setting it and forgetting it. That’s right, after you get all of the ingredients combined, you just pop this big pot of deliciousness in the oven and let it cook away for about an hour.

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

I do want to note that this recipe makes a HUGE amount of food. It’s great if you’re serving a large group (growing up, we were a family of five) or if you want to have days and days of leftovers 😛

While Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken is cooking, steam up some brown rice because you’re definitely want some extra carbs to soak up all of that delicious peanut butter-y sauce. Now how’s that for a complete meal?

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 15 mins
 

Chicken is topped with a creamy, vegetable-filled peanut sauce to make a healthy, protein-packed comfort food meal for any night of the week.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 one-pound can Italian tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved
  • Reserved tomato liquid, chicken broth or tomato juice
  • 1 pound frozen spinach
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus additional for seasoning chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper plus additional for seasoning chicken
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1/2 cup ground peanuts, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Heat butter and olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add them, in batches, to the pan, browning on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside to add back in later. 

  3. Add the onion to the warm pan and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and spinach, stirring to combine. Add the chicken back to the pan.

  4. Place reserved tomato liquid in a measuring cup and add chicken broth or tomato juice until combination measures 1 ½ cups. Add liquids to a medium mixing bowl with peanut butter and whisk until mixture is smooth. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cumin (if using) and whisk to combine. Pour sauce over chicken mixture in Dutch oven.

  5. Place Dutch oven in 350 degree oven and cook for one hour, or until chicken is tender. When serving, garnish with ground peanuts.

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

Banana, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Chip “Faux”-Yo

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip "Faux"-Yo | CaliGirl Cooking

Who says you can’t have dessert when you’re focusing on eating whole, extra-healthy foods? Thanks to our lovely, versatile friend the banana, we have options, like this Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip “Faux”-Yo (cue happy dance.)


But first, how was everyone’s Fourth of July? What did you do? Where did you go? Most importantly, what did you eat and drink? I had quite the action-packed holiday, starting with some great games of beach volleyball and ending with a stunning fireworks show over the Santa Barbara Harbor. I tell ya, though, I feel like I need another weekend just to recover from this last one!  I’m very much looking forward to a quiet evening of wedding planning at home with my man. We’re making a healthy dinner of grilled chicken, tomatoes and zoodles (the best!) and I’ll most likely be digging into some of this Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip “Faux”-Yo for dessert.

Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip "Faux"-Yo | CaliGirl Cooking

So, do you want to hear all about it? Well, I’m sure you’ve already heard ALL about the banana ice cream phenomenon, as it seems to be the new wonder child in the healthy dessert world. The thing is, it’s soooooo easy and I often find myself wondering how there are soooo many recipes for this one-ingredient dessert taking over the Interwebs. I mean, c’mon, do you really need a recipe for putting a bunch of frozen bananas in a blender and whirring them together?

Hence why I took it upon myself to jazz this super-simple treat up a bit. Looking back through my recipe archives, I guess it’s no secret that I absolutely LOVE peanut butter. Take, for example, this Peanut Butter & Jelly Pull-Apart Bread, these Summer Rolls with Red Curry Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce and these Thai Chicken Burritos.

Although I’ve branched out a bit and now dabble in other types of nut butters, peanut butter has been my OG for as long as I can remember. And, well, we all know that peanut butter and bananas are a match made in heaven, so of course I had to get these two together in my “faux”-yo. And you can’t ignore the fact that every dessert needs chocolate, so we’ll just make this as healthy as possible by using the darkest chocolate chips we can find.

Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip "Faux"-Yo | CaliGirl Cooking

This recipe takes just a little bit of planning, but maybe not if you’re a hoarder of bananas like we are in our household. We go through tons of bananas each week for our morning smoothies, but sometimes we have just a few leftover once we hit the weekend (at which time breakfasts must consist of bacon, eggs and avocado), or we find ourselves leaving on a trip and know they’ll be stinking up the house when we get back if we don’t do anything with them. It’s times like these when we simply chop up said bananas, toss them in a Ziploc or Tupperware, and pop them in the freezer. The frozen bananas are key here.

You’ll want at least 6-8 bananas in your freezer stash before you try and make this uber-delicious, not so guilt-inducing Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip “Faux”-Yo.  Once frozen, you simply toss the bananas into a food processor, add the peanut butter, and let said food processor do its thang. Pretty soon, you’ll see the creamy deliciousness of the “faux”-yo forming and you’ll want to dig in right then and there with a spoon….BUT WAIT!!

Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip "Faux"-Yo | CaliGirl Cooking

Now’s the time to stir in the dark chocolate chips. Can’t forget those! We gently mix in our “Vitamin C” (as my Dad so fondly calls them) and then, just then, can we dig in with our spoon in front of our favorite reality TV show. Sound like a plan?

Aside from the freezing of the bananas, this Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip “Faux”-Yo takes just minutes to make and has just three ingredients. Win-win! It’s the perfect, easy, vegan(!), healthy dessert to whip up when you need just a little something sweet but don’t want to derail your whole healthy eating plan. So start freezing your bananas and get your food processor ready – once you start “faux”-yo-ing you won’t want to go back!

Banana, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip "Faux"-Yo | CaliGirl Cooking

Banana, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Chip “Faux”-Yo

30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 4-6 servings

A three-ingredient creamy, healthy take on frozen yogurt featuring bananas, a swirl of creamy peanut butter and a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips. A delicious vegan treat that's perfect for warmer weather.

Ingredients

  • 8 bananas, chopped up and frozen
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Place frozen bananas and peanut butter in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse food processor until the banana breaks down and a creamy mixture forms.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in chocolate chips. Enjoy immediately (or see Notes.)

Notes

If not serving immediately, you can store the “faux”-yo in the freezer, just know that the banana might turn slightly brown and will start to refreeze. Whenever you’re ready to dig in again, just take the “faux”-yo out of the freezer a few minutes in advance so it can start to soften up again.

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Banana, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Chip -Faux Yo | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m “faux”-yo-ing and might never be coming back!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread

We’re taking this week by the horns, and this Peanut Butter & Jelly Pull-Apart Bread is going to help us do it.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

There’s nothing like conquering a delicious bread recipe to give you some motivation and an extra boost of confidence (when it turns out well, that is.) Not considering myself an “experienced” bread baker, I have to admit that I had my doubts about this recipe throughout the ENTIRE baking process. I powered through and told myself to keep going even when the gumminess of the dough was making my stand mixer overheat. Thankfully the amount of butter in this recipe loosened things up nicely and the result was a rich, moist dough laced with creamy peanut butter and jelly.


But first, how was everyone’s weekend? We had a great couple of days with my folks, going out to eat at some tasty Santa Barbara restaurants and hitting up the Paul Simon concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl last night. It was a triple date with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and Chris and I (the first time we had ever done such a thing) and it was a blast! The Santa Barbara Bowl is an out-of-this world outdoor concert venue and if you’re ever in the area between the months of April and October (“Bowl Season”) I highly recommend you get a ticket to whoever happens to be playing while you’re here, it is so worth it!

Anyhow, I digress. Back to this Peanut Butter & Jelly Pull-Apart Bread. This was a bit of a nostalgic recipe for me to create. I came up with the idea based off of this Pull-Apart Beer Bread with Comte and Whole Grain Mustard. It came out so well and got such rave reviews that I knew I wanted to play around with the “pull-apart” concept and come up with some different flavor combinations. If you’ve known me for any period of time, you’ll know that I am a biiiiiiig peanut butter-lover. Like, I kind of need to have it in some form or another every single day. And peanut butter and jelly are just natural partners, amiright? There’s nothing that goes better together (IMHO.)

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

So, since this flavor combo would be a little sweeter than the Comte and whole grain mustard I filled the beer bread with, I decided to go with more of a brioche dough for this bread. I pulled out my trusty Bouchon Bakery cookbook (can’t go wrong with that, even if it’s a leeeetle bit intimidating) and found Thomas Keller’s recipe for Craquelins. Technically, Craquelins are brioche’s sugar sweet cousin. They’re these cute little rolls dusted in pearl sugar with a sugar cube tucked inside each one. I didn’t go quite that far, but slightly adapted Mr. Keller’s recipe to come up with a buttery, slightly sweet dough laced with vanilla and cinnamon.

Important note: The dough needs to rest quite a bit (including an overnight rise) so you’ll want to plan in advance when making this recipe. But the waiting is the hardest part. When you break it down step by step, the actual techniques and ingredients required are REALLY easy.

The first step is to make a “starter” and let that sit for about an hour. Then we get into the mixing and kneading of the dough. We let the dough go through a rise as is before lacing it with the peanut butter and jelly, then let it rise overnight in the pan in what will eventually be its finished form. In the morning, we bake it off and less than an hour later we have a delicious, messy, sticky, sweet loaf of Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

Eat it right away, freeze it for later, or cut it into pieces to pack in your (or your child’s) lunch. This is an incredibly rich bread and you really don’t need very much to feel satisfied. A little bit goes a long way!

Now, go forth and make this bread! I have nothing but faith in you, you can do it!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread

Yield: Makes one 8-inch loaf

A delicious, indulgent pull-apart bread laced with peanut butter and jelly.

Ingredients

    For the starter:
  • 3 ½ tablespoons whole milk, warmed to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 2 3/8 teaspoons instant yeast (about 1 1/3 packets)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons plus ¾ teaspoon flour
    For the dough:
  • 2 ¾ cup plus 2 teaspoons flour
  • ¼ cup plus ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon butter, cut into ½ inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
    For the filling:
  • 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup jelly (your choice of flavor, I used strawberry)
    For the egg wash:
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. First, make the starter. Combine milk and yeast in a small bowl. Add flour and mix ingredients together using your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for one hour.
  2. Place the flour, sugar and salt for the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix to combine. Add the starter and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. While the mixer is still running, add eggs, one at a time, mixing each time until incorporated. The dough will be incredibly dry. Don’t stress! Mix on low speed for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on your mixer and give it a rest throughout the process if needed. My mixer got a little warm by about minute 10 so I stopped mixing and let it rest for a few minutes to cool down.
  3. Next, add the butter, a few pieces at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until incorporated. I stopped the mixer and used my hands to incorporate the butter for the first couple of additions, until the dough loosened up a bit. Once all the butter has been added, run the mixer for an additional two minutes. The dough will be very sticky at this point.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (you may need to use a spatula to get the dough cleanly out of the bowl.) Pat the dough roughly into the shape of a rectangle, then take the right side and fold it over to the middle. Repeat for the left side (like you’re folding a letter.) Form dough into a ball. Spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray and place dough in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least one hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Once again, turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into a long rectangle. Spread peanut butter, then jelly, evenly over the dough. Roll dough up into a log on the floured surface, then cut the log into slices (each slice should be 1 ½ to 2 inches thick.) Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and carefully tuck the slices of dough into the pan. When it bakes, the dough will meld together and form the pull-apart bread.
  6. Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove loaf from refrigerator and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is golden and bread feels fairly solid when tapping on the center. Check the loaf at minute 35 or so. If the top is already pretty golden, cover with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much. Let bread cool completely before serving.
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Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

It’s peanut butter-jelly time!