Thursday, August 27, 2009

Banana Bread

Well, we had several bananas browning on our counter, and with Doug (the banana bread pro) busy, I thought I would try my luck at a new recipe. It was good. I liked the spices- that added a fun new twist.... BUT, Doug's banana bread still reins supreme. Try though I may, it cannot be topped, at least not to my knowledge. :)

Banana Bread (Not Doug's Famous Version... but still good, if you are wanting to branch out, which I don't know why you would, or why I did. :)

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas, peeled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

1 Preheat oven 350 and coat 2 loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinamon, nutmeg, and salt. Make a well in the center. Mash bananas in separate bowl. Add eggs, sugar and butter and beat until fairly smooth.
3. Pour banana mixture into well in dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Fold in walnuts, then divide batter evenly between loaf pans.
4. Bake loaves at 350 for 35 minutes, or until browned and tops spring back lightly when gently pressed. Remove to wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, and serve.
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Mini Cheddar Meat Loaves

This is another great one they made me for my baby shower. I really like this one- it is fast and easy and quite tasty! It is also a great one to double if you are taking a meal to someone.

Mini Cheddar Meat Loaves
1 Egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1 lb. lean ground beef
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp. prepared mustard

In a bowl, beat the egg and milk. Stir in cheese, oats, onion, and salt. Add beef and mix well. Shape into eight loaves; place in a greased 9x13 baking dish (*word to the wise - cover with foil for a lot easier clean-up.) Combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard; spoon over loaves. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and meat thermometer reads 160. Yield 8 servings.

Herb Chicken

When I had my baby, some of my good friends threw me a "practical" baby show where they made me some nice freezer meals for when I wasn't feeling up to cooking (which takes a lot for me. :) But it was so nice. This was one of the meals the made me. It was really tasty, and I meant to post it way back, but misplaced the recipe, and just came across it again.

Herb Chicken
6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
3/4 cup butter, melted (I think 1/2 cup or one cube would be plenty.)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1 cup herb seasoned stuffing mix
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Rinse chicken breasts and pat with pepper towels to remove moisture. In a small bowl combine all ingredients except chicken. Stir together until well blended. Place each chicken breast in herb mixture and coat on both sides. Place on greased baking sheet and cook at 325 for about 45 minutes. Makes 6 or more servings.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zucchini Bake

Well- this one is definitely in the lead for the zucchini bake-off this year! Winner- I loved the cracker crust. It was just yummy over all! I found it in an American Profile magazine insert.

Zucchini Bake
4 small zucchini, diced (about 3 cups total)
2 cups club cracker crumbs (I just crumbled one tube in the package, opened, and dumped)
2 T butter (cut in little squares)
*I added thinly sliced ham sprinkled over zucchini
3 eggs
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Monterrey)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350. Grease 9x9 baking dish. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in large saucepan. Add zucchini; reduce heat and simmer about 3 minutes. Drain well. Press cracker crumbs on bottom of dish to form a crust. Dot with butter. Spoon zucchini on top. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until fluffy. Stir in onion, milk, 2/3 cup cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Pour over zucchini and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheddar and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered,35 minutes, or until golden on edges. Serves 6-8.
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Shredded Beef in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

I dedicated this dish to Doug- all his favorites in one meal: Beef/Meat, Mushrooms, and Rice. I made my Crockpot Shredded Roast Beef Au Jus this last week, and this is a great way to remake the left-overs. I love disguising, even improving them in some new dish. I created this sauce, and was pretty proud of coming up with a tasty flavor!

Shredded Beef in Creamy Mushroom Sauce
1 cup shredded roast beef (you could use deli roast beef and thinly slice it)
2 cups half and half
1 pkg. sliced mushrooms
2 tsp. garlic minced
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 cup beef broth (I used left over Au Jus from Roast Beef)
1 cup ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp lime juice
Cooked rice

Saute mushrooms and garlic in a little olive oil on medium heat. Add beef and the rest of the ingredients, stirring them in until they are fully incorporated. Heat through and serve over cooked rice.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Peanut Butter Cake Bars

This is a good one! I could hardly control myself! I know I can only make this one on special occasions! Can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate, then throw cake into the mix, and it's just got to be good! ...And it was.... it really was.

Peanut Butter Cake Bars (Simple and Delicious)
2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 packed cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. (11-1/2 oz.) milk chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread into a greased 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes (they were done in about 30-35 in my oven) or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen
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Rich Slow Cooked Squash Casserole

It's that time of year folks! The squash and zucchini are on and I have been experiementing with some new ways to serve them up. This was a pretty good one (had to add a bit of diced ham to make it a "meal"). It had a tasty flavor, but it was a bit runny. I'm still looking for the perfect recipe for squash- I would love suggestions! Doug and I decided it would be really yummy served over rice.

Rich Slow Cooked Squash Casserole
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (a bit more expensive, but adds a yummy flavor)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 T cornstarch
1-1/4 tsp. dried basil
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1 package (8 oz.) sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
3 large summer squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 large zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1. Stir together cheeses, bread crumbs, cornstarch, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onions; cover and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Coat slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer 1/3 of the squash in bottom. Add 1 cup mushroom mixture over squash; sprinkle 2/3 cup ricotta mixtures on top. Layer with another 1/3 of squash, the rest of mushrooms and another 2/3 cup of ricotta mixture. Place remaining squash and ricotta mixture on top.
4. Cover; cook for 2 hours on HIGH or 4 hours on LOW. Serve immediately.
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Pepperoni Pinwheels

Sometimes I like to buy random ingredients and then find a recipe that uses them. This time, I bought one of those refridgerated pizza crusts. I happened to have some pepperoni hanging out, so this recipe work perfectly! This makes a fun meal or appetizer! It was easy to make- the girls had fun helping. It had a yummy flavor too!

Pepperoni Pinwheels (Simple and Delicious)
1 tube (13.8 oz.) refridgerated pizza crust
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzerella (I used cheddar- I think any cheese would work)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped pepperoni (I acutally didn't know you were supposed to chop them- mine were fine though.)
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce, warmed, optional

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Sprinkle iwth cheeses and pepperoni.

Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the long side. Cut into 2 inch slices. Place cut side down in a greased 15x10 inch baking sheet. Lightly press down to flatten. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with spaghetti sauce if desired.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I have been wanting to try this one out for a while. You just can't go wrong with a snickerdoodle theme, I think! I made these a little while back for my little sister's baby shower, and I forgot to post them... not that they should be easily forgotten! They were delicious! I found the picture on

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Recipe: (from My Baking Addiction)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar
2 tsps cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Beat the butter and brown sugar together. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well.
Mix in vanilla.
Gradually stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Press into a greased, 9x13" pan.
Combine the cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg for the topping and sprinkle on top, using all of the mixture.
Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool in pan before cutting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The BEST Blueberry Muffins I have ever made...

I have taken the liberty of typing this recipe as a doubled batch, because I think it would be a sin only to make 10 of these! Now you can make 20 or more and eat to your hearts content! This was a fabulous recipe I found is the Family Circle magazine. I made a couple changes and I suppose you can half it, as was originally intended, but I think you'd be crazy to! Delish- the best muffins ever and easy to whip up quick!

Best Blueberry Muffins This Side of the Mississippi
(Either side, that is, depending on which one your on.)

4 cups flour (I did 2 white and 2 wheat)
1-1/2 cup sugar (plus 9-10 tsp for the top)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp grated orange zest (I used lemon- fabulous!)
2 cups fresh blueberries

1. Heat oven to 375. Coat a standard size muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Make a well in the center.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, oil and orange zest. Pour milk mixture into well in flour mixture, then stir just until combined. Fold in blueberries.
4. Spoon better into prepared muffin pan, 1/3 cup batter in each cup. Each muffin cup should be about 3/4 full.
5. Sprinkle each muffin with 1/2 tsp sugar. Bake muffin at 375 for 23-25 minutes, until crowned and lightly brown. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pork Sirloin & Beans

Typically when I make a crockpot meal, I'm looking for shortcuts. Why not make "easy" easier? :) But, I have to admit, not taking shortcuts on this one paid off! The flavor was such a rich pleasant surprise. Doug said anyone could enjoy bean done like this. :) (I enjoy them dangerously all to much no matter how you do them up, but this was probably one of the best most flavorful ways I've had them.) The for was super tender! So yummy- normally I wouldn't do the browning it thing at the beginning (just dirties up another pan) but I think it is worth it- just sets in the flavor nicely. This is a good one! A crock pot winner!

Pork Sirloin & Beans
1 tsp each dried sage and rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2-1/2 lbs boneless pork loin (I used extra lean boneless country ribs.)
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup white wine (I subbed apple juice.)
2-3 cans (14.5 oz. each) great northern beans
1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup parsley leaves
2 T toasted pine nits (I used walnuts)

1. Rub dried sage and rosemary, half the garlic, the salt and pepper over pork.
2. Heat halt the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; brown pork all over, about 8 minutes. Place in slow cooker.
3. Cook onion in skillet over medium heat 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium high. Add wine; boil 7 minutes. Drain and rinse beans; stir into skillet with tomatoes. Simmer 12 minutes.
4. In food processor, finely chop remaining garlic, 2 T oil, fresh sage, parsley and pine nuts. Stir half into tomato mixture, then pour over pork. Cover; cook on low for 5-6 hours or until pork is tender.
5. Remove pork; snip off strings. Turn slow cooker to high; stir in remaining herb mixture to heat. Serve with pork.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Black Bean Salsa

We had this at a family get together and it was delicious! I love salsa that is not too hot! You could for sure add some heat, but this just has a yummy fresh taste!

Black Bean Salsa
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
2 (16-oz) cans diced tomatoes (or 4 cups fresh)
1 onion, chopped fine
2 avocados

4 tsp. dried cilantro, or 1/2 a fresh bunch chopped
1 T. olive oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3-4 T. lime juice

Mix all and pour over vegetables. Serve with corn chips.
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My cute sister-in-law Kylie whipped up with yummy side dish. I'm sure you have head of it, but I was happy to finally get the recipe down.

1 box pistachio pudding
1 (No. 2) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 c. miniature marshmallows
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip
1/2 c. pecans or walnuts (optional)

Combine pistachio pudding and pineapple. Add marshmallows, Cool Whip and nut meats. Stir all together. Tastes best if made the day before.

Quick and Easy Fried Chicken

I made some yummy fried chicken last night. I know there are a million ways to make it, but this was a fast and easy way to do it.

Quick and Easy Fried Chicken
1/2 cup canola oil
5-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beat
1/2 cup bread crumbs, seasoned or plain

In a large skillet, heat oil at medium high. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken friers. One chicken piece at a time, dip and coat with egg, then dip and coat with bread crumbs. Place carefully in warm oil. Fry about 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through. Take chicken out and let it drip on a paper town before serving.
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Baked Veggie Medley

This made a delicious side dish without too much fuss on my part. I loved the new potatoes! They cost a little bit more, but they really bumped it up a notch.

Baked Veggie Medley
2 T olive oil
1 lb. new potatoes
4 large carrots, roughly sliced
1/2 head of cauliflower, sliced
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper

In 9x13 baking dish, toss veggies in oil until coated. Sprinkle with garlic pepper, salt, and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or until veggies are soft and tender.
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Frozen Orange Cream Pie

I watched an episode of Down Home with the Neely's and they made a Frozen Lemonade Pie, that looked delicous, and because "necessity is the mother of invention" I came us with my own yummy looking twist for lack of Lemonade. :) I was so proud of myself making a real graham cracker crust too! It was my first time, and it really wasn't that hard. This was a good recipe for that! I was happy with the results. It reminded me of a big orange dream sickle. Mmmmm...

Frozen Orange Cream Pie

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted

Orange filling:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
  • 1 (12 ounce) container whip topping, thawed
  • 1 (6 fluid ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, keep frozen
  • 1 can of mandrine oranges


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In medium bowl, combine cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of sugar, and the melted butter. Press firmly on bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake for 7 minutes and let cool completely.

In a medium bowl, add chilled sweetened condensed milk and cool whip and fold gently. Add frozen lemonade and continue to gently fold. Do not let the mixture become soupy. Pour mixture into the pie crust and freeze overnight. Garnish with mandrine oranges.

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Florida Baked Chicken

I discovered this delicious baked chicken on the Prepared Pantry site. It was easy to make and easy to double when I made a big batch for company. Plus, bone-in chicken is usually a little cheaper, so it made for a tasty, inexpensive meal. I really enjoyed the yummy citrus blend!


1 lemon, zest and juice
2 oranges, zest and juice
1/3 to 1/2 cup peach or apricot jam or jelly
1/2 small onion, grated
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
cut up fryer pieces, enough to fill an 8 1/2 x 13-inch pan, about four pounds


1. To make the sauce, combine the zest, juice, jam or jelly, onion, butter, and mustard in a saucepan. Heat and simmer for five minutes.
2. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side up. Spoon the sauce over the chicken reserving about 2/3’s of the sauce.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until the chicken tests done with a meat thermometer. After 20 minutes of baking, spoon about half the remaining sauce over the chicken. After 30 minutes, spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken.
4. Serve hot. Garnish with orange slices or lemon wedges.

Baker’s Note

We used Peach Pineapple Paradise Jelly in our testing and it was delicious. We think a tart jelly or jam will work best.

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Gooey Chocolate Cookies

I found this EASY 5 ingredient cookie in simple and delicious when we needed a chocolate fix. :) It was a quick one that turned out well!

Gooey Chocolate Cookies
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pkg. (18-1/4 oz.) chocolate cake mix

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add cake mix and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Roll rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes or until tops are cracked. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
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