An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


Delicata Squash with Leeks

Delicata Squash with Leeks
2 servings

Delicata squash are so great and easy because you can eat the skin making preparation quick! This recipe could also be used for other varieties of squash.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 delicata squash - halved, seeds removed and reserved, and squash thinly sliced
1/4 cup chicken broth, or as needed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; saute squash until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Add chicken broth and slightly cover skillet; cook until squash is very tender and broth is evaporated, 5 to 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat; saute leek until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat; saute squash seeds until lightly browned and a few make popping sounds, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix leek into squash and add more olive oil if desired; season with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkling of squash seeds.


Three to Get Ready

This year has been full of change, new beginnings, good times with new and old friends, and a very sunny summer. My blogiversary falls in September every year; a good time to reflect on the past year as we start to bundle up and prepare for colder weather. I've learned a lot this year from many different people and experiences. You'll notice that some of my life lessons are food related and some are more just generally speaking...but all in all, my passion for food has led to all of these findings. Thank you to my family and friends and everyone I have shared the past year with!

Without further ado, here are this year's lessons learned:

 Action expresses priorities. -Ghandi

A sprinkle of paprika makes almost everything look fancy.

Fiascos often lead to great new discoveries, as painful as the transition may be.

When a guy on the street asks if you put your finger in the electric socket every time you walk by him, just laugh.

Most bad days can be turned around with a slice of pizza and a glass of wine or two.

The path of more resistance is likely the more rewarding of the two.

Hard-boiling eggs only takes 20 minutes; a possibility before work.

The big things in life often arrive in different packaging than we planned...and may even be better.

If opportunity isn't knocking, try a different approach.

Inspiration often arrives after a good sweat.

Sharing wine with someone, even from a plastic water bottle, brings you closer.

Everyone who eats meat, will like buffalo chicken dip.

If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that. -quote on FB

Trust your instincts and follow your passion even if you don't know where it's leading you.

If you can do it, you must...even if you are tired and don't want to.

Vulnerability makes us all more human.

Goals, regardless of size, make us grow.

When you are having a spectacular day, make a list of all the things that make you happy and keep it in your wallet for bad days.

Pita bread makes extraordinary pizza crust.

Always, always, always try your hardest.

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.  -Nietzsche

Be grateful for family and close friends...they are mirrors of ourselves.

Appreciate the path you've taken. It has made you who you are today.


Cheesy Zucchini Casserole

I woke up the other morning with a slight nagging feeling of what to do with the pile of zucchini in my fridge. I had been playing dodge ball with them all week. All the traditional methods of cooking zucchini didn't sound good. Therefore I didn't prepare them at all.

And then viola, Allrecipes sent a newsletter with a recipe video for yellow squash casserole. The recipe called for squash (or in my case zucchini), eggs, Cheddar cheese, bread crumbs, and milk. Done and done. I had all of those items. Although, I was going to have to 'make' bread crumbs with my saltine crackers. So I jumped out of bed ready to tackle the zucchini.

First on the agenda was to crush crackers with a rolling pin. I was so pleasantly surprised how easily they crumbled. Just a few rolls of the pin, and crackers transformed into crumbs. I sauteed the zucchini and onion, added a touch of bacon for a hint of salty, and and pulled out fresh figs as a sweet finish for the meal. Standing there sipping coffee while it baked for 20 minutes, I was quite pleased the universe answered my plea for a new way to cook zucchini.

Cheesy Zucchini Casserole
Inspired by
Makes about 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
salt and black pepper
1 slice cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs)
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8x8-inch baking dish.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; saute zucchini and onion until lightly browned and softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer squash mixture to a medium bowl and mix in crumbled bacon.

Mix bread crumbs and Cheddar cheese together in a separate bowl. Whisk egg, egg white, and skim milk together in a third bowl; pour egg mixture into squash mixture and mix well. Pour about half the bread crumb-Cheddar mixture into squash mixture and stir until bread crumbs are evenly moistened.

Pour squash mixture into the prepared baking dish. Stir melted butter into the remaining bread crumb-Cheddar mixture until moistened; sprinkle over casserole.

Bake in the preheated oven until casserole is set and topping is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Cool in the baking dish for about 10 minutes before serving.


Homemade Energy Bars

Energy bars used to be an intangible sort of recipe so intimidating I simply opted for store-bought. Every prior attempt to make them either ended in a crumbly mess, stuck to the pan, or had hints of cardboard flavor. Recipes always seemed to have a large list of ingredients I probably couldn't find or would be a small investment in Whole Foods. These fearful thoughts have been lingering in the shadows of my mind for years....until now.

The 'energy bar' has finally been demystified. It's really not all that scary. It reminds me of the rafting trip the girls and I took last summer. I spent many sleepless nights sweating out my anxiety over the three hour rafting trip. What if the raft tipped over; what if I got caught in a rapid, what if my paddle flew over the edge. But in the reasonable part of the day, usually after a cup of coffee, I reminded myself people go on rafting trips every day...this was no big deal. And it really wasn't. I did get nervous during the initial training of what to do if you get caught under an over-turned boat. But I swallowed my fear, put on my fancy sunglasses, and pretended not to be scared. As we launched into the water I succumbed to the idea there was no turning was us and the rapids.

It started out as a smooth and calm float down the river. We all chatted and sunbathed. Then the water started moving a little quicker; the instructor started getting firmer in her tone. Then suddenly we were in the thick of the rapids. We did whatever she told us to do to keep the boat afloat. Then there would be calm and we high-fived each other. This cycle continued for an hour or so, boosting our confidence after every rapid. Then the clouds darkened and we got to very calm water where we could jump in and swim. We played boat games of one side paddling so we could do river 'donuts'. Then the clouds started getting ominously dark, followed by the crack of thunder, cold rain, hail, and lightening. Back to survival mode again. At this point, we just wanted to get back to base camp. We paddled our frozen arms as fast as possible to warmth. We docked, quickly carried boat and paddles to camp, peeled off our soaked wet suits, and warmed ourselves with cups of hot chocolate.

Energy bar recipe fear may be a drastic comparison to rafting trip fear. But it only takes pulling out the mixing bowl to start. May this carry over into other areas of my making pork chops or mastering crow pose ;/

Homemade Energy Bars
Makes about 48 small squares
Adapted from Allrecipes Magazine First Edition

Energy bars are one of the most forgiving recipes. The original recipe called for a lot more dried fruit and nuts, used only peanut butter versus the coconut butter-peanut butter-tahini mixture, and called for puffed rice instead of puffed millet. I didn't want to go to the grocery for all those ingredients, so I ad-libbed with what was in my cupboard. Bump up the protein content by adding protein powder or more nuts.

1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup multi-colored raisins
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup trail mix (seeds, nuts, dried cranberries)
4 cups puffed millet
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup palm sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 pinch salt

Combine dates, raisins, chocolate chips, sesame seeds, and trail mix in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until evenly chopped. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in millet and oats.

Mix coconut oil, palm sugar, peanut butter, tahini, and honey together in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until mixture is bubbling, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour peanut butter mixture over millet mixture; stirring or using your hands until evenly coated.

Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with enough plastic wrap to go over edges as pictured above. This will help with easier removal. Pour millet mixture into the prepared dish. Firmly press mixture into dish using the back of a spatula. Wrap the plastic wrap over the top of bars and press down. Refrigerate until solid, at least 2 hours. Cut into small squares using a bench scraper/chopper. Store in refrigerator to keep solid.


Mediterranean Pita Pizza

I had it in my head all day last week that I was going out for pizza that night for dinner. I had the specific pizza in mind - mortadella on a perfectly crispy-chewy flatbread topped with arugula. Thoughts of sitting at the bar with a nice martini or glass of red wine were making me type faster at work. Pizza. Wine. Open windows. Crowded restaurant. Formula for a perfect evening in my book.

I gathered my two armloads of bags, put on the walking shoes, and stepped outside to find it was much chillier than it had been earlier in the day. So I pulled a wrap out of my gym bag to start the walk home. I would have to go home first to change into warmer clothes.

You know how some days it seems to take twice as long to get home? It happened that day...and my commute is always the same: a half hour. Being a walking commuter, traffic never influences the time. So it was just my mental traffic jam that made my feet feel like lead. My bags started feeling like sacks of flour. Pizza seemed so far in the horizon I couldn't even see it. Until...

...I realized this scene, minus the crowded restaurant part, could be created at home. I had pita bread, a freezer full of cheese, artichoke hearts, olives, feta, and wine. This could work. Italian restaurant, home-version. So the Mediterranean pita pizzas materialized. Within 20 minutes I was seated, drinking wine, and enjoying a crisp and hearty pizza.

I taught myself a lesson that night: things in life often materialize in different ways than planned and can been just as good if not better. And 3 out of 4 is pretty good.

Mediterranean Pita Pizza
2 servings

There are two secrets in this recipe. The first secret is a quick way to give garlic a semi-roasted flavor and texture. The second secret is to slit the pita bread and stuff it whatever you like for a double-loaded pizza.

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 pita bread
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
1/4 cup green olives, sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silicon mat.

Mix garlic and olive oil together in a microwave-safe bowl; season with salt and pepper. Microwave in 20 second intervals until garlic is sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Carefully slice the corner of each pita bread horizontally as pictured above. Spoon some of the garlic-olive oil inside each pita; sprinkle a little mozzarella cheese into the inside. Close pitas.

Brush the remaining garlic-olive oil on the top of each pita bread; top with mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, olives, and feta cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven until pita bread is almost crispy and cheeses are melted, about 10 minutes. Turn on the oven's broiler and broil pizzas until cheeses are lightly browned and bubbling, 1 to 3 minutes.


Roasted Mushroom and Carrot Salad

Wasn't this year's Memorial Day weekend one of the best? Here in Seattle, we usually don't expect the weather to be particularly sunny. So we plan accordingly. This year almost all of my friends stayed in town and we all made the decision to just be spontaneous. And it turned out to be a successfully unplanned adventure of a weekend.

This salad was a result of such (un)plans on Monday. Friday through Sunday I had had a sprinkling of social engagements, exercising engagements, grocery store engagements, and shopping engagements. So I indulged in a Monday of staying home and tackling one of those looming projects that I don't even know has been burdening me: going through a stack of at least a dozen magazines. 

My mom and I were talking the other day about how this shouldn't cause annoyance. We have chosen to subscribe to these magazines! And once we do actually start looking through them, we enjoy it. So why not get excited upon seeing them in the mailbox, rather than dread them, when they do bring value to our lives. Well life happens I suppose. We get busy. Mail piles form. Schedules fill.

I really did enjoy going through all of them and now have a small stack of ripped-out recipes to try. It felt even better to put all the magazines in the trunk of my car to sell at Half Priced Books. I now have two cleared out bedside baskets and hopefully the de-cluttering will ease my unknowing looming stress.

Roasted Mushroom and Carrot Salad
Makes 2 servings

This is quite a delightful afternoon salad, especially with a glass of vinho verde. The salad materialized in my mind after sifting through cooking magazine after cooking magazine.

2 cups mushrooms, quartered
2 cups baby carrots, halved
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cooked Great Northern beans

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper

2 cups baby spinach
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.

Combine mushrooms and carrots in a large bowl; drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon cumin, thyme, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to evenly coat vegetables. Spread vegetables on the baking sheet.

Roast for 15 minutes; carefully stir. Roast for an additional 10 minutes. Add Great Northern beans to vegetables; stir well. Roast until vegetables are tender and beans are beginning to get a little crisp, 5 to 10 more minutes.

Whisk mustard, vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.

Divide spinach among two serving plates; arrange hard-boiled eggs around edges. Toss roasted vegetables and beans in mustard vinaigrette. Spoon vegetables and beans onto the two serving plates.


Artichoke Hearts and Peas with Parsley Bread Crumbs

The power of suggestion can be strong sometimes, especially when you want it to be. We really do have the power to will a situation into being. It is like Paulo Coelho says in The Alchemist: The universe is kind to those who follow their hearts. That story is a reminder that what we envision for our lives can come true, even our wildest dreams. Or even on a smaller scale...

It was toward the end of the workday one day last week. It was the time of day to start thinking of the dinner menu. I wasn't in the mood for the fallback roasted vegetable topped with an over medium egg. I wanted something different.

Inspiration was inevitable because I work for a food website. But I wanted something fresh that would help me branch out a little. And low and behold, after only a few minutes of scanning, I came across a dish with artichoke hearts, peas, and tomatoes. It was quite visually appealing and got the culinary juices flowing. Sometimes a nudge is all we need. And I am not speaking of the 'nudging' that goes on in Words with Friends, although I have been guilty of nudging a friend or three to take their turn dangit.

 I knew my freezer held artichoke hearts, bread crumbs, and chicken sausage. I always have a partially cut-up onion. Kale, peas, and parsley were the only components to buy and would 'green-up' the dish. My coworker and friend A and I are always discussing how we forget how good sauteed bread crumbs are sprinkled over pasta or vegetables. The Brutus salad at Steelhead Diner has the best gremolata made with pine nuts sauteed with crushed croutons. So I decided to make a variation of that with garlic, bread crumbs, olive oil, fresh parsley, and lemon zest for the topping.

Whether we are looking for dinner inspiration, a new apartment, or a new perspective on life, sometimes all we have to do is type it into the search bar.

Artichoke Hearts and Peas with Parsley Bread Crumbs
Makes 2 servings

This does seem like a gigantic list of ingredients and steps, but it is ready pretty quickly. You can always make the bread crumb mixture ahead of time. It keeps well in the refrigerator. The sausage can also be cooked ahead as well. The result is definitely worth it for a nice light weeknight dinner or in a small portion as the first course for a dinner party.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
salt and black pepper
2 cups frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken sausages, sliced

1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over low heat; saute onion, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and slightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir artichoke hearts, basil, and thyme into onions. Saute, stirring often, until artichoke hearts are completely cooked and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat; saute sliced chicken sausage until browned, about 10 minutes. Add sausage to artichoke hearts. Pour half the lemon zest, all the lemon juice, and the peas into artichoke mixture and immediately cover; simmer on low.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a third skillet over medium-low heat; saute garlic and bread crumbs until fragrant and bread crumbs are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and pour bread crumb mixture into a small bowl; fold in parsley and remaining lemon zest.

Transfer artichoke mixture to two plates; sprinkle with bread crumb mixture.


Mango Coconut Compote

The first time visiting Hawaii, we stayed at a place that served coconut syrup at the breakfast buffet. In addition to the tropical landscape, endless pineapples, and a Mai Tai option at ever corner, the coconut syrup was one of the most memorable aspects of the trip. That was four years ago.

I actually never sat down to figure out how to make it until the other day in the midst of making this compote for Saturday pancakes. I had the realization that the creaminess in the coconut syrup was probably from coconut oil. So at the last minute, I stirred in a spoonful. It made all the difference.

It is always a risky move to stir something into a self-concocted recipe...right at the end. I had committed a good 20 minutes to this compote and was so relieved when the the coconut oil made it even better. It rounded out the sweetness. Let this be a lesson in life. Round things out at the end by taking a calculated risk from time to time. It might just be worth it.

Mango Coconut Compote
Makes about 1/3 cup

3 mandarin oranges, peeled
1/2 cup frozen chopped mangoes
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Place oranges in a blender; blend until completely pureed. Transfer orange juice to a small saucepan; add mangoes, water, vanilla extract, and honey. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until reduced to a syrup consistency, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in shredded coconut and coconut oil.


Cheesy Eggs with Tortilla Chips

Thanks to having the best job in the world, I was inspired to make this dish two nights in a row this week. My colleagues threw a breakfast party last week that featured migas, which was new to me. We received an email in the morning to join the party in the cafe. Not knowing what migas were, my cube-mates and I followed the seductive aromas up the stairs.

If you could bottle the sensations of weekend brunch, this would have been an exact replica. Coffee brewing, onions and red peppers sauteing, eggs and cheese scrambling, orange juice pouring...and the low lull of conversation weaving through the warm, humid air.

A colleague was crunching and folding tortilla chips into a huge skillet of scrambled eggs and I was enlightened. How has this never crossed my mind? Basically crossing breakfast burritos with tacos with tamales creates a salty skillet of perfection.

We were driving home from a weekend at the cabin on Sunday and little by little I realized all the ingredients for migas were in my kitchen. What a great way to spend Sunday evening after a relaxing, sunny weekend in the mountains. Migas and beer for dinner is pretty much heaven on a plate.

Cheesy Eggs with Tortilla Chips
2 servings

Basically sauteing any variety of vegetable with onions will do the trick. Wrapping a corn tortilla around the cheesy, veggie-inspired eggs is even more of a treat. Serve a green salad alongside for a complete meal.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
2 cup chopped cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper
1 cup tortilla chips, roughly crushed
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet; saute onion, red peppers, and cauliflower until tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper. Fold tortilla chips into vegetable mixture; keep over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a separate small skillet over medium heat. Whisk eggs and milk together in a small bowl; pour into the hot oil. Cook egg mixture, stirring very gently, until scrambled, about 5 minutes.

Fold scrambled eggs and Cheddar cheese into vegetable mixture until cheese melts.


Buffalo Chicken Dip

It is the first Monday of the month, which means: Recipe Swap time. Christianna of Burwell General Store sifts through a vintage cookbook for a unique and sometimes very unique recipe for us to alter and make our own. This month was 'Stuffed French Pancakes'. It entails simmering a creamy, chicken-based sauce that is poured into the center of a pancake. The pancake is rolled around the sauce and served with a ladle of Morney sauce. Upon reading this, my stomach kind of turned. But then in all fairness, I considered ham and cheese-filled crepes, realizing savory crepes are quite nice. This wasn't so bad.

Timing worked out perfectly with the Super Bowl yesterday. T was having her annual party and a chicken-inspired dish was the perfect addition to the snack table. Buffalo chicken dip seemed to be quite a popular topic in conversation at work this January, so why not make a cheesy chicken dip for the swap and the party?

My natural inclination is to use creative liberties to change recipes, especially if it can be made healthier or a little lower in fat. But keeping the spirit of calorie-dense food consumption on game days, I bought full fat cream cheese and regular ranch dressing. But I did at least buy Annie's dressing, and was pleasantly surprised to learn Frank's Hot Sauce only has five ingredients, none of which are artificial red food coloring. The sauce is naturally red from cayenne peppers. So all in all, not so bad...and quite delicious.

Super Bowl parties are about the socializing, the food table, and the halftime entertainment for me. Even though I am not football's number one fan, I do love a national gathering day that brings friends and families together. I was laughing with some of the friends at the party at how we only see each other once a year at this party. It is always a great opportunity to invite other groups of friends for a merging of friend circles. Although most people are getting pumped up for the actual football game, there are so many other great parts of the day that form and maintain the bonding spirit. Woot woot!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Yields many servings
Inspired by an recipe

1 chicken breast
1/2 cup hot sauce (such as Frank's(R) Hot Sauce)
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup ranch-style dressing (such as Annie's(R))
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add chicken breast. Cook at a rolling boil until chicken is completely cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken from water and place on a cutting board. Shred chicken using two forks.

Heat a skillet over medium heat; add chicken and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer and stir in cream cheese, stirring continuously until cream cheese melts, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in ranch dressing and cook until dip becomes smooth and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Fold in Cheddar cheese and parsley; cook until Cheddar cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Transfer dip to a fondue pot or slow cooker. Serve with celery sticks.


Peanut Butter Buckeyes

A few years ago I dedicated a post to peanut butter. A few readers were disappointed after committing themselves to a recipeless post. So now, two years later, I have made a set of the miniature balls of decadence. It was quite a thrilling exercise to finally make the little confections; it was like walking behind the scenes. I am from Ohio, and have consumed dozens of them in my life, but have never coated my hands in peanut butter and done the deed. It should be a right of passage to make them at least once.

There was a certain sense of pride seeping into the kitchen the afternoon, the Midwest and the Northwest combining forces. I was humming a little bit more while gliding around the kitchen. The sun seemed to be shining brighter through the blinds. Going beyond peanut butter and chocolate and embracing my roots was so grounding. The rest of the day felt like an open canvas. Now I just need to remember that feeling and do something inspiring, however small it is, everyday...who knows where it could lead. Buckeyes sure are memorable little things.

Peanut Butter Buckeyes
Makes 15 buckeyes
Inspired by an recipe

3/4 cup natural peanut butter (such as Adam's(R))
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pinches salt

1/4 10 ounce bag good quality dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter

Mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, softened butter, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl until evenly combined. Roll peanut butter mixture into 15 ping pong ball-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate peanut butter balls for at least 1 hour.

Heat chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon butter in the top bowl of a double boiler over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth.

Insert a toothpick into a peanut butter ball and dip into the melted chocolate until the majority of the ball is covered; transfer back to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining balls. Pinch the tops of the buckeyes back together to close the hole where the toothpicks were used. Refrigerate buckeyes until chocolate has solidified, at least 30 minutes.