Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Banana Bread

Ok, see, I cook sometimes! I had several bananas sitting on my counter that were in danger of hitting the trash can if I didn't do something with them. Enter your standard Banana Bread. Don't get me wrong, I love banana bread with Oreos, and bread with strawberries or blueberries but sometimes you just can't beat the traditional bread with nuts. Yum.

This is my fall back recipe, the one I make when I want it to turn out for sure every time. I've never had it not work so it's good for my self esteem too. The picture is not good for my self esteem but I knew if I waited until morning to take it the bread would be gone.

Banana Bread

1 loaf/16 slices

3/4 c sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 c. (2 med) mashed bananas
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped nuts, if desired
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Heat oven to 350.  Grease bottom only of loaf pan. In large bowl combine sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Add bananas, milk and vanilla; blend well.
2. In small bowl combine flour, nuts, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add to wet mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into greased pan.
3. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator.

*can also substitute 1 cup applesauce for mashed bananas and add 3/4 tsp cinnamon with flour.

Cal 190; Fat 9 g; Fiber 1 g.

Monday, November 29, 2010

French Apple Pie

Wow, it's the week after Thanksgiving and I didn't manage to post a single recipe! In my defense I caught a bug that I'm sure was directly related to bubonic plague and felt like something stuck on the bottom of a shoe for over a week but still. Fail.

Luckily, I only had to provide one pie for Thanksgiving dinner this year and I did the easiest one I could think of. Apple. I even fudged the top crust and did a crumb topping that was pretty darned tasty if I do say so myself. An added bonus was that I got to pull out the apple peeler and go crazy...I'd forgotten how fun that gadget is!

This pie was good on its own but was even better with a drizzle of caramel topping or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Seriously, try it. ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fancy Pants Mac and Cheese

I've been eyeing this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website since it was posted. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/12/fancy-macaroni/ 
I printed out the recipe and took it to the store like a good little wanna be chef in training because I typically follow the recipe pretty closely the first time I make it. However, after pricing the cheeses listed I folded that sucker up and put it in my purse for a day that I felt a little richer. It's been kind of haunting me though. For weeks. I love mac and cheese as long as it doesn't come out of that box...just sayin'. {shudder} So, after much pondering of the contents of my fridge and a last minute call to my neighbor so she could ponder the contents of her fridge I decided to embark upon my own Fancy Pants Mac and Cheese Adventure.

Honestly, it turned out VERY good. Everyone liked it, the whole pan was almost gone after only one meal! The leftovers weren't as great so if you aren't planning on eating a bunch halving the recipe is a good plan. We really like the combination of the peppered bacon (thanks Jen!!) and the Pepper Jack cheese. It gave it a little extra zing that you don't typically find in mac and cheese and it beat that stuff out of the box hands down, no contest.

Fancy Pants Mac and Cheese
Servings 8

1 box macaroni, whatever shape
2 onions halved and sliced thin
1/2 lb peppered bacon, cut into small pieces
1 T. ish reserved bacon grease (come on, admit it, I'm not the only one that saves it in the fridge...)
1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. milk (this would be better with some half and half or cream)
2 whole egg yolks beaten (probably could skip this without too much trauma)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. pepper jack cheese shredded
2/3 c. Italian cheese blend (I just used what I had in the fridge)
2/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook macaroni for approx 2/3 of the recommended cooking time. Drain and set aside.
  3. Fry bacon just until crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Reserve grease.
  4. Melt 3 T butter and 1 T. bacon grease or olive oil in skillet and saute onions over medium low heat for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Really, don't rush this step, it's worth the extra couple of minutes to do it right. Set aside.
  5. Melt 4 T butter with 1 T. bacon grease in pot. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Cook stirring constantly for about a minute (it will kind of turn a golden color). Pour in milk, cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Beat egg yolks and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks stirring constantly. Stir until combined.Pour egg mixture into the sauce and cook for another minute.
  7. Add cheeses and stir until melted.
  8. Combine with onions, most of the bacon pieces and macaroni. Stir until everything is mixed well and turn into a sprayed casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top.
  9. Bake for 20 minute or until sizzling and bubbly.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spicy Teriyaki Chicken`

OK, this is a purely made up concoction type of recipe that I've tweaked every time I've made it so it's still technically a work in progress. However, the fact that the only instructions I've written down are currently residing on a very cramped, stained, and splattered pink post it note I decided that I should at least write down what I have done to this point before I have to start over.

I think that if you wanted to take the time to bread the chicken this would be pretty tasty as well as just stir frying it like I've done. I am always in a hurry so I haven't done that but that certainly doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be done.

The marinade is just slightly zingy. If it were just Jeff and myself eating I would ramp up the heat a bit more with some red peppers but since we have to share with the other two this is a pretty good compromise.

Spicy Teriyaki Chicken
serves 6

1 1/2 c. pineapple juice (orange also works but I like pineapple better)
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/2 c. Teriyaki sauce
3/4 t. creole seasoning (I used Zatarain's)
4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

2 T. jalapeno pepper (all I had was pickled, it worked but fresh would be better)
Arrowroot or cornstarch
1/2 c water
2 T. oil

Combine first 5 ingredients. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour 2/3 of the marinade over the chicken and lest rest in fridge for 30-45 minutes. Stir peppers into the remaining marinade and set aside.

Heat oil in frying pan. Cook the chicken 5-6 minutes or until the chicken is done. I like to let it sear really well before giving it a stir. While chicken is cooking create a slurry with the water and cornstarch or arrowroot. Bring the reserved marinade up to a boil and mix in the slurry stirring constantly. Let boil for a couple of minutes or until the sauce thickens up. Pour over the chicken and mix well. Cook an additional 2 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

4 Packet Roast

Sunday dinner. For as long as I can remember growing up we had a roast with potatoes and carrots for Sunday dinner. When I got married I tried to recreate that Sunday dinner and it was never quite right. My gravy was terrible and even though I followed my mom's directions to the letter the roast was never very good. I decided that it must just be one of those things that only Mom could make and moved on to other Sunday dinners for my own house. When Randy was called to be in the Bishopric several years ago I decided to try again because I needed something that I could walk away from and come home and have yummy dinner. We both had callings that required more Sunday time from us than ever before.

Enter my second favorite kitchen appliance. The Crock Pot. Over the years I've assembled a collection of crock pots in various sizes and shapes, I think it's a sickness actually. Anyway, I decided that I would try throwing the roast in the crock pot and seeing if I liked it any better than my previous attempts in the oven. Hello and hallelujah! It was so easy and so good. I've fiddled around with different seasonings depending on what we are doing with the meat but this is now the only method to cook roast. So tender and best of all easy!

I found this variation on Sunday dinner on My Sister's Cafe when I was doing my weekly blog check. I found all the seasoning packets in my cupboard yesterday so this was dinner and it was delightful.

I dumped potatoes, carrots and onions in with the meat and thickened the drippings for gravy. It was definitely a do again.

4 Packet Roast

1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet Italian salad dressing mix
1 packet onion soup mix
1 roast of choice
1 cup of water

assorted veggies if desired

Place roast in crockpot. Arrange vegetables around the roast if being used. Sprinkle the mix packets over the roast. Pour water around the roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.