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Thursday, January 26, 2012

National Peanut Butter Day

Since my whole family loves peanuts and peanut butter, I can't imagine how we all missed National Peanut Butter Day on January 24th.  Had I known, we would have celebrated with all our favorite ways to eat peanut butter.  It would have been hard to choose between peanut butter pie and chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting for dessert, but we could have started our meal with a nice peanut butter soup and moved on to Peanut Butter Chicken for the main course.  I must admit that the girls in the family are the big peanut lovers, followed by my husband and then my son.  My son doesn't like Peanut Butter Chicken but I will share the recipe and you can try it for yourself.  I have been known to have a serious peanut addiction that meant I ate a small amount of peanuts every day.  The last couple of months I haven't felt like eating peanuts though so I must have finally burned myself out on them.

 Peanut butter has an interesting history.  It is thought to have originated in South America where the Indians ground peanuts into a kind of paste.  The modern version of PB probably started in the late 1800's with Dr. Kellogg of Kellogg cereal fame, who made peanut butter and served it to his patients as a nutritious protein.  Other Americans perfected the spread or invented machines to grind up the peanuts.  The National Peanut Board claims that Americans eat more than 6 pounds of peanut butter a year.  Wow!  Peanut butter is very nutritious though high in monounsaturated fats and calories.  It is high in fiber, protein, vitamins B3 and E and iron.  Peanut butter contains more antioxidants than apples and carrots and contains Resveratrol,  a natural anitmicrobial agent that can protect against cancer, viruses, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

I didn't cook with peanuts or peanut butter until several years ago.  Peanut butter was for PB and J's.  Once we were having an early American dinner when the kids were really young and I made peanut butter soup.  The rest of the family wasn't crazy about it but I discovered that peanut butter had so many more possibilities.  The following recipe is is pretty easy and a different from your ordinary chicken.  You'll like it if you like peanuts.

Peanut Butter Chicken
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
8 pieces of chicken such as legs or thighs
Place these ingredients except for the chicken in a microwave safe bowl and microwave 30 seconds at a time until easy to mix.  Place chicken in a large zip top bag, add marinade and close bag.  Massage chicken to make sure it is all coated then marinate about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the following ingredients in a pie plate or similar dish.
1/2 cup ground peanuts
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper
After 30 minutes, remove chicken from bag and roll in the peanut/crumb mixture.  Place in a lightly greased baking dish and bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until lightly brown and done.    

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