Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bananas Plus Eggs

Here's something that I found on Pinterest that I never would have thought of myself in a million years - Banana/Egg Pancakes.  Only two ingredients.  That's it.  It was so mind-boggling and simple that I had to give it a try.
The original recipe said to combine one mashed ripe banana with two eggs; I halved it because it was an experiment for one person. 
Ladle the batter into a hot frying pan.  I added a touch of butter so it wouldn't stick. After a few minutes, flip and cook the other side, just like a real pancake.  Repeat with the rest of the batter.
The verdict: I was quite surprised; these were actually not bad at all.  While the banana flavor was definitely there, if you looked for the egg taste you could find that as well.  However, I was almost expecting it to taste like scrambled eggs with bananas, and it didn't.  The texture was closer to a crepe than a fluffy buttermilk pancake, but I like crepes, and this was a lot easier.  These pancakes were also plenty sweet enough without needing to add any syrup, although I'm sure you could have syrup if you wanted and they'd taste just fine.

When I was growing up, my mother often added sliced bananas to our pancakes.  I tried it once with my own family and the idea was soundly vetoed, so it's been a long time since I had a banana pancake.  This little experiment brought back some great memories.  And, who knows, maybe I'll even have this for breakfast again someday when there's a lonely, over-ripe banana sitting in the fridge.  Don't be afraid to try this recipe yourself.  You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Frosty Pumpkin Pie

The non-garnished 2017 version with the store-bought crust!

Frosty Pumpkin Pie

9-inch graham cracker crust
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

Beat pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices until smooth. Stir in ice cream. Pour into the crust and freeze at least 8 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and walnut halves.

Sweet Potato Cashew Bake

This is the "cooking for two" version, but the recipe below serves 6-8.

Sweet Potato Cashew Bake

6 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cashews
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 can (15-1/4 ounces) sliced peaches, drained
3 tablespoons butter

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 30-45 minutes or just until tender. Drain and cool slightly; peel and cut into cubes.  In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cashews, salt and ginger. Place half of the sweet potatoes in an ungreased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish; top with half of the peaches and brown sugar mixture. Repeat layers; dot with butter. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until bubbly and heated through. Yield: 10 servings.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chocolate Tidbit Cake

I went looking for this recipe and realized I never posted it here!  That's probably because it's such a favorite of our that it was posted on our family blog, before this one was created.  This recipe can be found under the title "Wacky Cake" as well, but we got it from The Friend years ago.  This week we made a variation using pumpkin and it was just as delicious as the chocolate version.
Chocolate Tidbit Cake 

1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 Tbls cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbls vinegar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
½ cup chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients in 9” square pan. Stir in liquid ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. (Yummy with whipped cream on top.)

Some variations we've tried:
Chocolate Mint: Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract.
Chocolate Chip Cookie: Omit the cocoa and use brown sugar instead of white.
Applesauce or Pumpkin:  Omit the cocoa and substitute 1/2 cup applesauce or pumpkin for 1/2 cup water.  Add some allspice or cinnamon if desired.

Here's a version using a 9x13" pan with a yummy pudding frosting - combine a small package of instant chocolate pudding with 1 cup milk, then stir in a cup or two of Cool Whip.

We discovered this recipe makes great cupcakes as well - Black-Bottom Cupcakes.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Layered Turtle Cheesecake

Here's the other recipe we tried: Layered Turtle Cheesecake
This was awesomely delicious as well, and quite rich!

Personally we thought if it was going to be called "turtle" it needed more caramel and pecans; I'd double, triple, or even quadruple that layer!  But we'll definitely keep this in the recipe binder.

Italian Pork Chops

It's been a while since we've shared any new recipes, but two we tried yesterday were too good not to.  Michelle does a great job finding new ones!  (These were adapted from a Taste of Home magazine.)
Italian Pork Chops
(We decided this sauce would be great on chicken as well.)

Sauté some chopped green pepper, chopped red pepper, diced onions, and sliced mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil.  Scoot to the side, add a bit more oil and brown 4-6 pork chops in the pan.  Add about 2 cups of marinara sauce (we made our own by adding our regular "spaghetti sauce mix" to a large can of tomato sauce), cover and cook until the meat is done.  Add some sliced olives and serve.  We even thought about topping with some cheese, and even though I'm sure that would have been delicious, it was fine without it.

Risotto was the perfect accompaniment!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Susan's Wheat Bread

This bread needs just a little bit of a background story.  Last month we had a Relief Society class on healthy eating which was focused on using whole grains and vegetables.  We had such a great discussion that we ran out of time for part two, which was learning how to make whole wheat bread. So, that's what we did this month.  This particular recipe comes from someone I really admire.  They deal with a lot of food allergies in their family, and rather than not take the sacrament bread (since they can't eat anything without knowing exactly what's in it), they came up with the solution of providing the bread for the sacrament.  And they do it every week!  This is the recipe she uses, and it's really quite simple.  I love the fact that it doesn't take any kneading.  It does take some time, but I mixed the dough at 5:30 this morning, and even with two risings it was finished by 8 AM.  Not only is it simple, it's delicious, AND it's 100% whole wheat.  It should be called Susan's Amazing Bread! So, here's the recipe:

2 cups warm water (even in Florida, this is correct)
1 tablespoon yeast
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water; stir in oil and honey.  Stir in half of the flour and then the remaining flour with the salt.  It will be sticky!  Don't be tempted to add more flour.  Cover and let rise for 45-60 minutes.  (Her directions say to place in an oiled bowl, but I kept it in my mixing bowl and it worked just fine.)  Gently deflate dough and place in a greased (or use parchment paper) 9x5" loaf pan.  I used two 8x4" pans, which is what Susan does.  I just used a spatula to get it out of the bowl, and then patted the top with damp hands. You could also oil your hands for this step.  Cover and let rise another 45-60 minutes.  Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes for the large pan or 30 minutes for the smaller ones.  Tastes best hot out of the oven, yet slices better if you let it cool first.

ready to go in the oven
out of the oven
And it makes great French Toast as well!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ten Minute Rolls (or Corn Biscuits)

We wanted something to serve with the Tamal en Cazuela and so I decided to see if these Ten Minute Rolls really only took ten minutes. Unfortunately, I forgot to time myself, mainly because the soup took longer than ten minutes to make. However,

  • they were quick (heating the oven was the most time-consuming step), 
  • they were a fantastic way to use up the mayonnaise in the fridge (which lasts far too long in our house),
  • I didn't have to cut in shortening (always a plus in my book), 
  • it was a small batch so there weren't any leftovers (for some reason my family only likes "hot out of the oven" rolls) 
  • and, while they were more biscuits than rolls, they tasted great.  

Ten Minute Rolls/Biscuits

1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 - 1/3 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients, then stir in the mayonnaise and milk.  Plop into six greased muffin tins. Bake at 425° for 8-10 minutes.  Serve hot.

Variation: Use 1/4 cup cornmeal in place of 1/4 cup flour. Divide into four pieces and bake on cookie sheet.

Company Potatoes in the Crockpot

I tried a new recipe yesterday, that reminded me of Company Potatoes, only made in the crockpot.  They were just as delicious!
Line your crockpot with foil.  Layer slices of onions, mushrooms, potatoes, cheddar cheese and butter.  Repeat. Fold the foil over the seal a bit then cook for 8-10 hours on low.  I used 2 onions, 4 large mushrooms (I would have used more if I had them), 6 potatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 cup butter.  And that makes about 6 servings.

Grating Corn

The next recipe to try in the Columbia Cookbook was Tamal en Cazuela or, in English, Fresh Grated Corn Mush.  The Spanish name is much more appealing, don't you think?  It called for grated corn, and mentioned that it could be found in the frozen section of the Latin market.  Well, we couldn't find any already prepared, so that meant we had to grate the corn ourselves.  It took 20 ears of corn to get the 5 cups we needed.  And that meant two trips to the store, because I figured 10 ears would be enough.  So, now you know, one ear of corn yields 1/4 cup grated corn (and 1/2 cup of regular corn kernels).
This splatters - notice I removed my glasses!
It really does look like mush.
This makes a lot - use the Dutch oven.
Lots of onions, green pepper and garlic.
Marinate the pork for several hours and then brown it in some peanut oil.
Before the grated corn was added.
So, basically if you want to make this, marinate 1 1/2 pounds of pork overnight (in a mixture of 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste).  Brown the pork in some peanut oil; drain and set aside.  Sauté 4 chopped onions, 2 chopped green peppers and 4 garlic cloves in the oil, then add the pork, 2 cups of tomato sauce, and 2 bay leaves.  Cook until the pork is tender.  Then stir in your 5 cups of grated corn and 7 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour.  Makes 8 servings.

A few months ago we tried a very similar recipe.  It was much easier to make and tasted just as delicious.  Here it is:

Corn Chowder Cuban Style or Guiso de Maiz

1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, cut in strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 pound pork loin, cut in 2" cubes
1/2 pound smoked ham, diced
1/2 cup peanut oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 8 pieces
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut in 3" pieces
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans (15 oz.) whole kernel corn
1 can (15 oz.) cream-style corn
2 ears fresh corn, cut into 2" pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pot.  Brown pork cubes.  Add onions, green pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and tomato sauce. Cover and simmer until pork is tender.  Add broth, potatoes, squash, and ham.  When potatoes and squash are tender, add the corn.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wintertime Peach Pie

We had this pie over the weekend (although not with a lattice crust) and when I went to add the link to the menu plan post, I discovered that I had never finished this post.  Look at the pictures of our old pink countertop!  Anyway, here's the recipe
Wintertime Peach Pie

pastry for a double crust pie
3 to 4 cups canned (or frozen) peach slices, drained (save a bit of the syrup)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peach syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons butter

Line 9" pie plate with bottom crust.  Gently combine peach slices, sugar, flour and salt and pour over crust.  Combine peach syrup and almond extract and pour over.  Dot with butter.  Place top crust over and crimp edges.  Cut a couple of slits in top.  Bake at 400° for 40-50 minutes.  Serve warm or cold, with ice cream or not.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pasta Creation, in honor of Chef Jef

The menu plan ran out on Monday, so Tuesday when it was time to fix dinner I turned to the internet. I had sweet potatoes that needed to be used and I was tired of chicken and beef, so I googled "recipe sweet potatotes sausage" and discovered several recipes that included pasta!  I just couldn't imagine our family liking that combination, but I knew they'd like sausage and pasta, so I googled again and found this
Sausage Pasta Recipe

and this
Makeover Sweet Potato Sausage Skillet Recipe

and this.
Sausage Pasta Recipe

Then I cooked the sweet potatoes separately, and came up with this combination of pasta, sausage, spinach, garlic, onions, olives, red pepper, Parmesan cheese and leftover chicken gravy/sauce from Sunday.
For lunch I put the pasta casserole on top of the sweet potatoes, just to see how the combination tastes.  Keep them separated!
At dinner Wayne asked if I had tried a new recipe.  My reply was "I looked at three different ones and created my own."  He then said that's one of the differences between us; he would have chosen one recipe and followed it exactly.  Which type of a cook are you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Korean Dinner

It's taken us many years to get around to it, but in honor of Wayne's childhood, we decided to try some Korean cooking.  Thank you Google and Allrecipes.com for the help.  In case you want to try it yourself, here's the review.  I thought the salad was too spicy, but it was perfect for Wayne - adjust the red pepper accordingly.  We all loved the carrots.  The Bulgogi was delicious, although not quite as sweet as Wayne remembers and this recipe is missing some spice.  Unfortunately, he couldn't figure out which one.  Fortunately, we won't mind a bit experimenting until we get it correct!  


3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound beef top sirloin, thinly sliced
Combine everything in a ziploc bag.  Marinate for several hours.
Broil for a few minutes until done, and serve with rice.

Korean Cucumber Salad

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 green onion, sliced
1 carrot, julienned

Heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat.  Add sesame seeds, reduce heat, and cook until seeds are brown, about 5 minutes.  Combine with remaining ingredients and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Gingery Glazed Carrots

6-8 carrots, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Cook carrots in boiling water for a few minutes, until mostly soft; drain.  Sauté garlic in butter until golden.  Add carrots and remaining ingredients to the pan and heat through.  Before serving, sprinkle with some cilantro or parsley if desired.

Avocado Bean Wrap

This was a Pinterest find that I adapted to what was in our cupboards, and I thought it turned out great.  Those who got it in their lunch weren't quite as pleased.  So, I guess it needs to be eaten right after assembling.

Avocado Bean Dip

2 cups white beans
1 ripe avocado
2 teaspoons chipotle chile in adobe sauce
2 tablespoons minced onions
salt to taste

Combine everything in food processor until blended.  Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.
To turn into a wrap, slather a generous amount of the dip onto a tortilla, top with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, or even coleslaw.  Roll up and eat.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Here's a simple way to serve potatoes.  It's basically a fancy form of oven fries, and since this particular batch didn't stick together as well as I remember previous times, they really were fries - healthy, oven-baked ones!  Next time I guess I need to make the slices thinner and do a better job of brushing them with oil so they stick together better.
Potato Galettes

potatoes, thinly sliced
olive oil
salt & pepper

Layer the potato slices in a circle on a greased baking sheet.  (Use about one potato per mound.)  Carefully brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chocolate Sponge Cake

After rediscovering my little heart-shaped pans while looking for something else, I decided it would be a good idea to actually use them.  Valentine's Day provided the perfect opportunity.  I cut my Chocolate Sponge Cake recipe into thirds, because we didn't want a lot of leftovers, and it turned out perfectly for three little cakes.
 First, prepare the pans.  Go here to see how I do it.
Beat one egg until thick, then mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon water, a drop of vanilla and a pinch of salt.
 Sift together 1/4 cup flour and 4 teaspoons cocoa powder.
Mix that in gently.
 Pour into the prepared pans and bake at 375° for about 12 minutes.
Wait five minutes, then remove from pans and cool thoroughly.  To serve, dust with powdered sugar.
You don't get a picture of the finished presentation, because along with these beautiful flowers, Wayne brought home a mini chocolate cake from the bakery.  We think alike!
So, I stuck our little cakes in the freezer, and since we really liked this ganache-type frosting, I'll make some of our own when I serve them later!

Here's the original recipe:

Chocolate Sponge Cake
(serves 8 - 146 calories per serving)

2/3 cup cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Lightly grease a 9" cake pan and line with wax paper.  Grease the paper. Heat oven to 375°.  Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside.  Beat the eggs until thick.  Gradually beat in the sugar.  Add the salt, vanilla and water.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture and gently fold it in.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack.  Sift powdered sugar over the cake.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Biscuits Supreme (with Valentine's Variation)

This recipe came from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook we received as a wedding gift.  It's gotten a lot of use over the years!  Since I didn't have time to do cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning, I pulled it out again for cinnamon biscuits.  And because it is Valentine's Day, I added some leftover sprinkles (from decorating dipped pretzels yesterday) just to make them a bit more festive. They taste just fine, and maybe even better, without them!

Biscuits Supreme

2 cups flour
2-3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening.  Stir in milk just until dough combines, then knead gently on a lightly floured surface for 10-12 strokes.  Roll or pat to 1/2" thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until golden.  Serve warm, with as much butter and jam as your heart desires.

To make Cinnamon Biscuits, prepare as directed and roll the dough into a rectangle.  Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Roll up, slice, and bake.  Drizzle with glaze while warm.

And to make Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Biscuits, once the cinnamon topping is in place, roll up one long side, but only half-way.  Start rolling the other long side so they meet in the center.  After slicing the individual rolls, pinch the center to make the heart point.  Place on pan and bake as normal.

Note: I tried the sour cream variation this week and didn't particularly care for it. I had to add extra flour just to be able to pat out the dough, and then the actual biscuits were too tangy. This is just a note to myself that I don't need to try that again!