If you’re like me, you’ve gone through upwards of eight jars of peanut butter since being at college. If you’re normal, maybe you’ve gone through one or two. Regardless, peanut butter eaters of all speeds should be blessed with some advice on how to make the absolute most out of each drop of peanut-y, butter-y goodness found in those (arguably too small) jars. It’s a delicious, fairly healthy diet staple--unless of course you’re allergic, in which case substitutes such as almond, soy, or sunflower seed butter are more than welcome to join the party. I present to you: a definitive guide on the best uses of peanut butter.
If you’ve ever stalked a fitness guru on Instagram, chances are you’ve come across glorious bowls of oatmeal with a glob of protein-packed peanut butter thrown on top. Turns out, this breakfast is ideal, even for days when you’re planning on studying or binge-watching rather than hitting the gym. My favorite recipe uses plain, old fashioned oats cooked in some unsweetened almond milk.
While its cooking (about 2 minutes), I slice an apple up into cubes (apples and peanut butter—classic combo). Once my oats are fully cooked, I mix in two heaping spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s Organic Peanut Butter. After throwing my cubed apples on top, I like to garnish with shaved coconut, honey, or cinnamon. Honestly, this is one of my new favorite things—sooo delicious, while also delivering a dose of whole grain, fruit, and protein. Interested in some more dorm-friendly breakfasts? Check some out here.
2. Banana poppers
Another one of peanut butter’s classic BFFs: the banana. This snack is super easy, filling, and tasty. When studying, I always need to be eating a grab-able snack, and these do just the trick. I slice up a banana or two into pieces about a half inch thick. Then, I spread some peanut butter on top of half of them, add a squirt of honey, and cover ‘em with another banana slice. If you’re feeling extra fancy, or looking for some productive procrastination, these can be dipped in melted chocolate and popped in the freezer to enjoy in a few hours.
3. Ice cream of your dreams
Of course, peanut butter does not have to be healthy. With a taste so creamy and rich, a natural dessert partner is ice cream! Simply nuking some peanut butter for a few seconds and drizzling it on your frozen treat will add new dimensions to any flavor—chocolate and vanilla of course, but others like coffee or White Mountain’s black raspberry will unexpectedly blow your mind.
4. Dunk Tank
It’s no secret that apples and peanut butter go amazingly well. I like to kick it up a notch by adding some granola to the game. After dipping an apple wedge in some peanut butter, I dunk it in another bowl filled with granola-- I use my grandma's almost-famous homemade granola-- until its coated. This adds some sweetness and a whole lotta crunch, while also making it a more substantial and filling snack.
5. Hershey, who?
Who says you need to blow your Eagle bucks on Reeses from the vending machine? This recipe calls for only peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and chocolate. Best of all, it’s NO BAKE so you and your squad can make these while hanging in your dorm. Recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/peanut-butter-balls-21812
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
- Prep Time:45 mins
- Cook Time:0
- Total Time:45 mins
- 1 cup peanut butter or substitute
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup or more powdered sugar depending on dough consistency
- 8 oz. chocolate chips
All you do is combine the peanut and regular butters, then add the powdered sugar until the dough can be collected into one large ball. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, roll into balls, then refrigerate for about 30 more. Next, just dunk or drizzle with melted chocolate, let harden, and feast!
Sounds like the perfect treat to prepare for next week’s Bachelor, if you ask me.
6. It’s Party Thai(m)
My favorite thing about Thai food is that they make damn sure to get their peanut butter in! While Boston is home to some amazing Thai restaurants, sometimes you just don’t feel like getting on the T. This peanut sauce can be whipped up in the comfort of your own dorm, with a few purchases of ingredients (recipe: http://www.mamalovesfood.com/2015/02/three-ingredient-asian-style-peanut.html)
Thai Peanut Sauce
- Prep Time:10 mins
- Cook Time:0
- Total Time:10 mins
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
Mix it all up (I thinned it a little with some water) and enjoy!
This sauce is unbelievably good on pasta, salads, or chicken—because we know the Mac's grilled chicken needs all the help it can get. So go ahead, make this sauce, bring it to the dining hall for dinner and watch your friends drool with envy.
7. Why alter perfection?
These recipes and snack hacks are great, trust me-- But to be honest, the majority of my peanut butter consumption is from spooning that baby straight from the jar. It’s preparation-free, cleanup-free, and so, so good. My advice? Next time you’re reaching for your snack to accompany your Netflix time or studying streak, just reach for a spoon instead. You’ll thank me later, and so will all of the peanut butter producers in the area.