Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banana Bread

I love banana bread! I had never made it before, but after I made it and tried some I realized, I have been missing out on something truly amazing!

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (heat in microwave about 30 seconds)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, if desired (but banana bread is just not the same without nuts
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.

2. Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans. 

3. Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Mine cooked a lot faster than these directions. I checked mine at 45-50 minutes and they were almost too done. So check them frequently!) Cool 10 minutes.
Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Easy Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless chicken breasts pounded to 1/2 in.
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
seasoned bread crumbs (I use Italian)
2-3 tbsp. Olive oil
8 slices mozzarella cheese (If you can't find slices you can use shredded)
16 oz. spaghetti sauce
Shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil in large skillet on Medium-high heat. 2. Whisk together egg and milk in small (but wide) bowl. 3. Dip chicken into mixture then into bread crumbs (in another wide bowl). Brown chicken on  both sides (roughly 3-4 minutes). Then place chicken in greased baking dish. Put 2 slices of cheese on each breast (or a handful). Pour jar of spaghetti sauce over them then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and chicken is cooked through.

This is a personal favorite for me. When I go out to Italian restaurants I usually get chicken parmesan and though this isn't exactly like that it's pretty good for a homemade version. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cashew Chicken

If you love chinese food (let's face it, who doesn't!) You will love this recipe!***  This was so easy (30 minutes) and was amazing!!

1 pound boneless, chicken breasts (cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch cubes)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce + 1/4 cup soy sauce (to add to mixture at the end)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch + 1 tsp cornstarch (to thicken at the end)
3 Tbsp. Oil (1 for chicken, 2 for cabbage mix)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms.
1 small cabbage (shredded, I just bought a head and chopped)
1 tsp. sugar
6 oz. package of cashews
1 can water chesnuts
rice or chow mein

In bowl mix together and let sit for 15 minutes
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Heat 1 Tbsp. Oil. Add chicken and cook. Add onion and mushrooms. Stirfry until soft. Remove. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil add cabbage and sugar. Stirfry 3-4 minutes and add chicken. Add cashews, waterchestnuts and heat a few minutes more. Mix 1 tsp. cornstarch and 1/4 cup soy sauce and add to mixture. Cover and steam for about 1 minute. Uncover and cook until sauce has thickened. Serve over rice or chow mein.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cheesy Chicken with Artichokes

1 14 oz can chicken broth
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I usually use 2-3)
1 9 oz package frozen artichoke hearts ( I haven't been able to find these so I just buy the cans. Buy the quarters not the hearts)
nonstick cooking spray
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms ( I use the whole package)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp bottled minced garlic (1 clove fresh)
4 tsp cornstarch
3/4 c. evaporated milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground white pepper (regular pepper works fine)
2 tbsp dry white wine or chicken broth
1/3 c. finely shredded or grated parmesan cheese

Pour the can of broth into a large skillet; bring to boiling on high, add chicken. Reduce heat. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or just until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup broth. ( I just reserve it all... I love sauce!) Cover chicken and keep warm (I put in microwave.) 

Meanwhile, cook artichoke hearts according to package directions. Drain and keep warm. (Since I use the canned I just put in a pan with a little butter and lemon juice and boil until warm.)

For the sauce, wipe out the skillet with a paper towel; lightly coat skillet with cooking spray. Preheat skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic; cook just until onion is tender. Stir in cornstarch (make sure to add slowly and stir well it will get clumpy... I usually use a whisk.) Add reserved broth, evaporated milk, salt, and white pepper; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in the 2 tablespoons wine or broth.

Place a chicken breast half on each dinner plate. Arrange artichokes around chicken breast. Spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

This is truly a favorite at my house!! I at least make it 2 times a month.

No bake Cookies

So I absolutely love cookies!! And this is a pretty easy and semi-healthy recipe!

2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter (one stick)
2 c. Oats (may need a little extra)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. peanut butter (optional)
1/2 c. coconut (optional)
1/4 c. nuts (optional)

In large pot mix cocoa, salt and sugar. Turn onto medium-heat add evaporated milk stirring (whisking works well) constantly. Bring to rolling boil while stirring frequently. Boil 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla (peanut butter, coconut, or nuts if desired) then add oats. Mix well, if too runny add extra oats. You don't want it to be too thick otherwise they won't set. Lay out wax paper (you can use foil but it doesn't work as well) and scoop tbsp. size portions. (Makes about 14 cookies).

You can make the basic oat and cocoa cookie or mix it up and make peanut butter or more traditional with the coconut. It's fun that you can make a variety of different cookies with just one recipe and a few additions.

Cabbage Rolls

So this is the easiest recipe in the world. And it will make your kids eat cabbage and a full serving of vegetables (with V8.) My son is 10 months old and he loved sharing with me.

1 head of cabbage
1 lb hamburger
1/4 c. rice (not instant)
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle of V8 ( I think it's 32 oz.)
(You could put in whatever other vegetables you would like, but not necessary)

Mix hamburger, eggs and rice and season with salt and pepper. Cut the end off the cabbage and gently pull off each leaf. Put a spoonful of mixture inside leaf of cabbage and roll folded side down in pot. After all of them are stuffed and in the pot cover completely with V8 and cook for 2 1/2 hours on low-medium heat covered. (On my stove I set it to 4.) Once cabbage is soft and hamburger is cooked through it's ready to eat.  *You probably need to season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy!! Easy and tasty!