Chips on the Banana Boat

 

 

Move along, move along, nothing special here.

Everybody eats banana bread, because everybody saunters into the kitchen one day and finds some bananas looking pretty darn sorrowful and banana bread is the quick answer.

Yet, we get a wee bit tired of plain old banana bread. . . .sooo, we learn to doctor it up!

And this is a prescription for making your banana bread something akin to a dessert while at the same time still calling it a bread, thus making it A-okay for breakfast (if ya get my drift).

This recipe is  fairly simple and easy to throw together, so don’t throw away those overly ripe bananas no more!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lg. ripe bananas
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 – 1 /2 c flour
  • 1/3 c melted butter
  • 2/3 – 1 c chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and grease a loaf pan generously.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar and egg, mixing well. (I used a mixer)
  3. In a separate bowl, place the dry ingredients and whisk together.
  4. Add to the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the butter.
  6. Add the chips and blend.
  7. Pour into the loaf pan and place in the oven for about 40-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes or so before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Serves: 14 slices or so.

NOTE: of course with any recipe like this, you can add anything else you wish such as raisins, dried fruits, nuts. I got this recipe from a site called Salu Salo, but truthfully, this recipe is all over with minor changes.  A dollop of whipped cream would make this a nice simple dessert, along with a few strawberries or raspberries perhaps.

 

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Grilled Veggies with Feta Vinaigrette

 

 

It’s still hot here in Las Cruces, so we are using the grill several days a week. Everything from the usual fare of ribs, steaks and barbecue, but also pizza and one of my favorites–grilled veggies.

Given that summer is the time for the best of vegetables from the garden or the market, it’s the best time to cook them to their finest which in my mind is over a grill.

This is so simple, and a great accompaniment to any meat. It’s easy to make up and frankly, if you don’t scarf it down ahead of  the main event, then you don’t like veggies much!

Do include all your favorites, but of course what is most fresh and at its peak is what will give you the best results.  Vary it and it can be your go-to veggie dish on all those hot sultry days when ovens are shut off.

You could experiment with the cheese, but frankly, I’d not if I were you. The bite of the feta and the saltiness just add the right tang to the dish. But a similar Mexican Cotija might fit the bill here.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Any assortment of your favorites but certainly zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers of several colors, sweet onions, and cherry tomatoes are at the top of the list. Think green beans, scallions, and certainly small or chunked up potatoes too, along with carrots and sweet potatoes.  (About 4 cups–trust me it will shrink down a lot from the cooking)
  • Canola oil
  • 1/8 c of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, microplaned
  • salt, pepper, and about a tsp of oregano, a tbsp if fresh
  • 1/2 c of feta cheese, crumbled.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut up the veggies into chunks, not too small. Place in a plastic  bag and drizzle with canola oil. Shake the bag to distribute throughout.
  2. Place in a grill dish with holes and place on the grill. Once it gets sizzling, stir, and move stuff around until done. Make sure you let it grill long enough to get some char on the pieces.
  3. Put in a bowl.
  4. Make the vinaigrette by  putting the rest of the ingredients together, save the feta, and whisk until well mixed, and then pour over the hot vegetables, stirring to coat. Strew the feta cheese over the top and serve.

Serves: 4

 

 

Cobb Salad Anyone?

 

 

When it’s hot, only a salad will do. But when it’s dinner time, you want a salad that is filling, so meat is on the menu.

Cobb salads are as varied as your imagination, so in one sense, what’s the point of a recipe?

This just gives you the basic outline. Swap out veggies you don’t care for, include those you do, and for goodness sake DO include your favorite dressing. You can make this Italian, or French or Mexican or Caribbean as your heart desires. I’ll include some of the possibilities in the note.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head of Boston Bibb lettuce
  • 1 c of diced chicken breast, cooked (grilling would be great here)
  • 1 c diced ham
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and (one inch dice is nice here)
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 3-4  hard-boiled, peeled and sliced eggs
  • 1 lg avocado, sliced
  • about 1/2 of a red onion, sliced paper-thin
  • Your favorite salad dressing, preferably home-made

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Break apart the lettuce, wash and spin dry. Place in a large bowl.
  2. You can compose the rest of the ingredients as pictured or place them in separate dishes for ease in each person choosing those items they like.
  3. Let each person plate their lettuce, the toppings and add the amount of dressing they desire

Serves: 3 nice servings

NOTE: You can add cucumbers, sweet peppers, green beans, olives, beans which have been rinsed and drained, and cubes of any kind of cheese. The best way to really change up the taste is of course to vary the dressing. I made my favorite blue cheese, but you could easily do a ranch, or adapt that to a southwestern flavor with chipotle powder and some lime juice. Also a strict vinaigrette with black or nicoise olives and some fresh mozzarella would be excellent. Serve with some great rolls and a nice glass of wine of your choice and you have a very filling and delightful meal.

 

Hula Tropical Bundt Cake

Sorry, this is a crummy picture, but trust me, the recipe is to die for.

Actually, it’s a chip off an old block.

It’s the Apricot Bundt Cake redone in new fruit and goodness.

It was utterly terrific and just goes to show how versatile this recipe really is.

So once again, here’s all the stuff you need and how you need to do it.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1/2 c mango nectar)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 1/2 c EACH dried mango and pineapple, chunked
  • 1 regular size jar of orange marmalade
  • 3 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

GLAZE: 1/3 of the orange marmalade, 1/4 c more of the mango nectar), 3 tsp cornstarch

Coating: a cup or so of sweetened coconut and a cup or so of blanched, sliced almonds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. (Note: the original recipe called for 325, but I found that I was cooking the cake a good 30 or more minutes that called for, so I think the higher heat is called for. Still your oven and altitude dictate)
  2. Mix butter and sugar, then add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add
  3. Add sour cream, the nectar, the extracts, and 2/3 of the jar of marmalade. Mix for a good 30 seconds.
  4. Mix in the dried fruit (please toss the fruit in some flour first,  which will help it stay suspended throughout the batter)
  5. Add the flour and soda, and mix well.
  6. Pour into a bundt pan which has been greased and floured. (Note: I used an angel food pan this time because the batter nearly over-flowed my bundt pan. This worked better for me)
  7. Bake from 60-90 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out dry.
  8. Cool for 20 minutes and then turn out onto a plate and cool completely.
  9. Poke holes in the top of the cake and drizzle an additional half a cup of nectar around and let it soak in if you desire
  10. Heat the remaining 1/3 of the marmalade and an additional 1/4 c of the nectar and 3 tsp cornstarch to a bare boil until the mixture thickens. Pour over the top of the cake when it has cooled a bit.
  11. Press coconut around sides and sprinkle on top and then cover the top with the blanched sliced almonds.

Serves: 14-16 (It’s very heavy and a little goes a long way)

NOTE: Store in the fridge. I find that it gets more moist and wonderful as it ages a bit.

 

 

Elegant Eclair Cake

Elegant? Well probably not. But I am alliterative in my naming as you no doubt realize by now.

This is another in my “Midwest” desserts which I define as: easy as get out, and containing either pudding mix or jello, along with other ready-made items.  And please, I’m not being sarcastic.

These are just good tasting things you can throw together quickly, and people almost universally love.

So, get your pudding mix and sit down. Make this and your family will definitely approve,  but beware: you will be called upon to make it often.

Note: I chose this recipe out of dozens I read. It was from Penny R. at Justapinch.

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 2 sleeves of graham crackers, or more
  • 2 boxes vanilla instant pudding
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 8 oz tub of cool whip
  • 1 regular jar of Hershey’s hot fudge sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the pudding in a bowl and add milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in the cool whip until uniformly mixed.
  2. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, layer graham crackers until bottom is covered.
  3. Layer 1/2 of the pudding mix on top and spread evenly.
  4. Add another layer of graham crackers.
  5. Layer the remaining 1/2 of the pudding mix.
  6. Add another layer of graham crackers.
  7. Spread warmed hot fudge sauce on top.
  8. Place in fridge.

Serves: 8-10

Note: You can obviously change this up with different types of pudding and different toppings such as butterscotch or caramel. Also, add some chopped peanuts to the top as a change of pace. Peppermint or mint pudding might be fun as well. Be creative as we always say here!

 

Sausage and Rigatoni Bake

 

 

Nothing like some good Italian food. A side salad and some garlic bread, a bit of Chianti, and well, can you get much better than that?

This is a bit time consuming if you make the sauce from scratch which I do, but I find it worth it since most store-bought sauces are lacking a lot in my opinion.

If you do buy a sauce in a jar, then you can whip this up in no time, and place a first-rate meal on the table worthy of guests.

So do give it a go.

Soon.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of Italian sausage, mild or hot, or other sausage that you love.
  • About 2 -3 cups of marinara sauce.
  • About 2/3 of a lb of rigatoni, or use other hefty dried pasta.
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 8 oz Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c butter, cubed
  • 4 oz – 6 oz Parmigiano cheese, shredded or Romano
  • 1/4 c chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make your sauce. Set aside.
  2. Crumble the sausage and cook. Add to the sauce when browned and simmer until finished. Set aside.
  3. Boil the rigatoni in salted water until al dente. Drain.
  4. In a large baking dish, grease the surface with some butter.
  5. Add the cooked pasta and the cubes of butter, mix.
  6. Add the Mozzarella and the Parmigiano cheese, mix.
  7. Pour the sauce over the top and top with the Asiago cheese.
  8. Bake in 350° oven for about 30 minutes, until warm and bubbly and the Asiago has melted.
  9. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

 

Serves: 6 generously

Note: vary the cheeses, the sausage used, and the sauce as you like. This reheats nicely for leftovers too.

 

Savory Salisbury Steak

Yes, I know my recipe names tend to be alliterative. So sue me.

There are days when only comfort food will do, and believe me, this is true comfort food. It’s the kind of stuff that just makes you sigh, close your eyes, and savor the happy dance going on in your mouth.

Just because the cut of meat is not shall we say premium, doesn’t mean that the flavor can’t wow ya.

So do check out this recipe and give it a go. I promise, it is mouth-pleasing and your family will be much more inclined to help out with the housework in return for this meal.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef, leaner rather than fatty.
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic, microplaned.
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
  • 1 fairly large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup or so of sliced mushrooms of your choice
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 c of red wine
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c fresh chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add garlic salt and pepper to the meat and blend gently. Form into 4 patties.
  2. Place in a large saute pan and brown well on both sides. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add the onions and mushrooms and additional oil if necessary. Saute until softened, and mushrooms have released their juice. Remove and add to the meat.
  4. Add the butter and flour and make a roux, cooking for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the stock and wine and bring to a boil, stirring until thickened.
  6. Add back the meat, onions and mushrooms. Turn burner down to low, cover, and barely simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serves: 4

NOTE: Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles, rice, or my favorite homemade biscuits!