Recipe Roundup: Peanuts and Pecans

by | Mar 30, 2017


WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month, Brian and Lisa feature award-winning recipes using North Carolina pecans and peanuts.

Gail Fuller of Raleigh took home second place in the N.C. Pecan Competition at the N.C. State Fair with this mouth-watering chicken recipe covered with pecans. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Stuffed Pecan Chicken


  • 6 chicken breast cutlets – pounded to 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup pecans – toasted and finely chopped
  • 1⁄3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup honey mustard sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise


  • 8ounce package cream cheese – softened
  • 2⁄3 cup dried cranberries – chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup red onion – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 cup green onions – sliced


Mix all filling ingredients until combined and smooth. Cover and chill. Combine pecans, bread crumbs and salt and pepper in a shallow dish.
Mix honey mustard sauce and mayonnaise. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this sauce. Brush one side of each cutlet with the mustard and the mayonaise mixture. Then coat with pecan/bread crumbs and place pecan side down on parchment-lined baking pan.
Divide filling among cutlets and spread on half of chicken. Fold the other half over the filling. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. To serve, drizzle with reserved honey mustard sauce.

Gail Fuller also won first place at the Fair with this creative recipe for the N.C. Peanut Growers Association. Try it with your favorite jelly.

PB&J Pretzel Bars



  • 2 cups pretzels – crushed into small bits
  • 1⁄2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup butter – melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


Jelly layer:

12-ounce jar seedless raspberry jam, or your favorite jelly

Peanut butter layer:

  • 3⁄4 cup butter – room temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1⁄2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Crumb topping:

  •  1⁄2 cup flour
  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon butter – cold and cubed
  • 2 tablespoon pretzels – crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh peanuts, finely chopped (garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together crushed pretzels, graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 8-10 min. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together butter and peanut butter. Add in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy and smooth. Spread over pretzel base and refrigerate for 1 hour. Once peanut butter is chilled, spread jam over top. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar and pretzels. Cut butter into mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumble on top. Bake for 15-20 min. or until crumble turns golden brown. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Cut into bars, garnish with chopped peanuts and enjoy.

Lisa notes that the next recipe is a unique combination of ingredients that is sure to be a hit as a side dish during a cookout. The peanuts give it just the right flavor punch and crunch to complement any plate.

Peanut Pasta Salad

  • 5 ounces corkscrew macaroni
  • 10 ounces frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 cup cocktail peanuts
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese cubed
  • 2 tablespoons onions minced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and chill in cold water. Cook peas and carrots according to package directions, drain and chill in cold water; drain. Put macaroni and vegetables in a bowl and toss with peanuts, cheese, chopped eggs and onion. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, mustard, relish, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir into macaroni mixture. Chill until serving time. Makes 6 cups.

Carol Brown from Mebane won first Place in the N.C. Pecan Growers Association contest at the 2016 NC State Fair. Lisa says it is a Local Dish favorite and each layer is a delicious surprise.

“Hidden Treasures” Pecan Bars

Shortbread layer:

  • 1 1⁄2 cups flour
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup butter, melted
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, chopped

Cheesecake layer:

  • 8-ounce cream cheese
  • 1⁄3 cup butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pecan layer:

  • 3⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup corn syrup
  • 1⁄3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brandy
  • 1 1⁄2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1⁄4 cup white chocolate chips

Shortbread layer: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix flour and brown sugar together. Then add the butter and pecans. Spread onto prepared baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Cool slightly for about 10 minutes.

Cheesecake layer: Cream together cream cheese, butter, sugar and flour until well combined. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Pour on cooled shortbread layer and bake for 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

Pecan layer: In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and melted butter. Add eggs and beat until well incorporated. Add pecans, dark and white chocolate chips, brandy and salt. Pour over cooled cheesecake layer and bake for 35-40 minutes until center is set and pecan layer is a rich brown color. Optional: drizzle with ¼ cup melted white chocolate chips.

Margaret Howard from Fuquay-Varina won first place with her pound cake recipe in the King Arthur Flour Baking Contest at the N.C. State Fair. The praline topping could be a great addition to French toast or spooned over ice cream.

Praline Pound Cake

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8-ounces sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar

Praline glaze:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3⁄4 cups brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Add 2-½ cups sugar gradually, beating until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time until yellow disappears. Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in flavorings. Beat egg whites until foamy; gradually add ½ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees  for 1 ½ hours or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Place on serving plate. While warm, prick cake surface at 1-inch intervals with a wooden pick. Pour warm praline glaze over cake.

Praline Glaze

Combine butter, sugar, cinnamon and water in small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in pecans.