Sunday, October 30, 2011

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

You will never look at bananas in the same way after this.  I was getting so sick of buying bananas, eating a few and then having the rest turn brown on me before I was able to eat them or use them.  I mean, come on, you can only eat so much banana bread.  This discovery has changed my life.  The possibilities are endless.  
1.  Take your browning bananas, peel them and slice them.  Place in a freezer container and freeze for at least one hour or until completely frozen (I let them sit in there overnight).  
2.  Place frozen banana slices in your food processor and process.  It will look chunky at first, but just keep going. 
3.  After a minute or two you will have a creamy, amazing goodness that will shock you that it really came from an old banana.  
4.  It will be the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  If you want to be able to scoop it, place it in the freezer for a few hours.

   Click Here to see another yummy way to use this ice cream and see what it looks like after it has been frozen.  It does not melt as fast as regular ice cream.  


One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

- Ripe Bananas, however many you have (I used two)

Peel the bananas.  Cut into slices and place in a tupperware.  Freeze for an  hour or two or until completely frozen.  Remove from freezer and place in food processor.  Process until the consistency of ice cream, scraping down sides occasionally.  Add any extra ingredients as desired and process until combined.  Serve immediately or re-freeze until ready to enjoy.

Variations:
- Add peanut butter and cocoa 
- Add chopped nuts
- Add Nutella
- Add strawberries 
- Add maple syrup
- Add caramel syrup
- Add graham crackers or Nilla Wafers 
- Make a banana split with banana ice cream instead of vanilla
- Use the bananas instead of ice in a breakfast smoothie

Jenn's Notes:  This really does turn out smooth and creamy and has the consistency of ice cream - not icy at all.  I added a little unsweetened cocoa powder to one of my batches and it was not my favorite.  I think it would taste good with melted chocolate or chocolate chips, but the unsweetened cocoa tasted too "unsweetened".  I used to love mixing bananas, ice, milk and a chocolate Carnation breakfast mix into a smoothie for breakfast.  Now, I will freeze the bananas and skip the ice. You will never have to feel guilty about eating this ice cream.  I used two smaller bananas and it was the perfect serving size for one person (two big scoops).    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stuffed French Bread

This recipe is easy peasy and it's one that can feed your whole family!  I got this recipe from one of my mom's church cookbooks, which are some of the best cookbooks, in my opinion, because the recipes are tried and true!  I've made this one a few times, but hadn't made it lately, because it is hard for only two people to eat an entire stuffed french bread, but I got an idea the other day.  
Remember this homemade french bread?  Why not make a half of a batch and make mini french breads?  Genius idea.  I was planning to make two mini loaves, one for each of us, which is what I did, but they raised a lot more than I thought they would, so I still ended up having leftover.  Next time, I will only make one mini loaf for both of us to share and save the other loaf for some yummy chili or lasagna or something!      
Stuffed French Bread
adapted from: Shauna B.

1 loaf french bread (store-bought or homemade)
1 Lb. lean ground beef
2 Tbl. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery and
    any other vegetables you like
minced garlic
salt and pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
a little milk, if needed
1-2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1-2 c. grated cheese
chopped parsley, for garnish, opt.

Slice of very top of french bread; set aside.  Scoop out the bread in the center of loaf and crumble; place in a bowl with the shredded cheese.  Brown ground beef in medium skillet.  Add onion, celery and any other veggies you want.  Saute a few minutes until tender.  Add garlic and cook 30 more seconds.  Add soup and Worcestershire.  Season with salt and pepper.  If mixture is too thick for your liking, add a splash or two of milk.  Add hamburger mixture to crumbed bread and cheese.  Stir to combine.  Pour into center of french bread loaf.  Place top back on bread and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Slice and serve.  

Jenn's Notes:  I think this tastes great with both store-bought french bread and homemade!  I cut this recipe in half and I only added celery and didn't add any other veggies, but I think it would be delicious with a green bell pepper or some carrots!  Once it is baked it becomes nice and crispy!  I like to serve it sliced and eat it like a sandwich.  The end is my favorite part, because it is extra crispy! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ooey Gooey Caramel, Chocolate and Pecan Pumpkin Blondies

Have you ever looked at a recipe and thought that it looked pretty good, but then after you read the description, it sounded really really good?  Well, that is what I did with these pumpkin blondies!  I read the name and saw the picture a few days ago and didn't think anything of them, but then I saw them again and realized they didn't just have caramel in them, but they also had chocolate and pecans!  SOLD!  I made them that night! 

These are soooooooo good!  You should really get up and make these tonight!  I served the blondies warm with vanilla ice cream and more caramel sauce!  I am really loving warm desserts with cold ice cream lately!  It must be the Fall weather?  Do not leave the pecans/walnuts out (unless you are allergic, then please do!), they added such a perfect balance from the sweet caramel and chocolate!  Next time, I will add more pecans!  
Ooey Gooey Caramel Pumpkin Blondies
adapted from: Lauren's Latest

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Filling:
1/2 c. roughly chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) pkg. caramels, unwrapped
1/4 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9x13 inch pan; set aside.  Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin puree and blend until combined.  Slowly add cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, soda and salt.  Spread about 2/3 of the batter into pan evenly.  Sprinkle chopped nuts and chocolate chips over the top.  Microwave the caramels and heavy cream until melted, stirring every 20 seconds.  Pour over nuts and chocolate chips and spread evenly.  Dot remaining batter over top.  Try to spread dollops out.  It is okay if some of the caramel peaks through.  Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  It might have caramel on it, but it shouldn't have cake batter.  Serve warm (might get oozing caramel) or cool completely.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  

Jenn's Notes:  I cut this recipe in half and baked it in an 8x6 inch pan and baked it for 30 minutes.  This was really good.  It is dense but soft, chewy and moist!  Next time I will add more pecans and possibly more chocolate!  I loved this warm and I loved it at room temperature.  I let it set for about 10-15 minutes when I took it out of the oven before I cut into it and I didn't get any oozing caramel, it held it's shape really well.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yummy Taco Pasta

I love this dish!  

It is creamy, cheesy, slightly spicy and easy enough that you can make it any day of the week.  I have made it many times and it turns out perfect every time.  I have tried it with ground turkey and ground beef and it tastes delicious either way.  I love using ground turkey, because it is healthier than ground beef and honestly, I can't really tell the difference in my dishes.  It is a great way to save some calories without sacrificing the flavor of the dish.  
I have also made this with water and with beef broth and it is delicious both ways.  So, the good news is, this dish is very user friendly and if you don't have one of the ingredients on hand, it most likely will taste just as good if you substitute something similar.
Taco Pasta
adapted from: Fake Ginger

1 Lb. ground turkey or beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can mild Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles)
4 c. water or low-sodium beef broth
2 c. small pasta
2 Tbl. butter
2-3 Tbl. flour
1 c. milk
1 1/2 c. Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped cilantro, for garnish, opt. 

Brown ground meat in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add taco seasoning, undrained Rotel, water or beef broth and uncooked pasta and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover.  Simmer 12-14 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.  If the liquid has all been absorbed and the pasta is still not done, add more liquid.  

In a separate saucepan, melt butter; add flour and stir until a thick paste forms.  Cook a few minutes to allow the flour flavor to cook out, stirring occasionally.  Slowly whisk in milk and stir until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the grated cheese until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour sauce mixture into pasta and stir to combine.  Cook a few minutes or until reaches desired thickness.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired.  Serves 4.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chewy Butterscotch Brownies

I have had this recipe saved since last year!  I found it in a Better Homes and Gardens 2010 Holiday Baking magazine.  I love Holiday magazines!  They are just starting to appear in the stores for this season and I can't wait to pick up a few, even though I already have a million several, I still can't resist the new ones!  

So, I finally tried these bars!  They were very very tasty!  The bottom layer is made up of coconut, butter, pecans and sugar and when it bakes it becomes a chewy caramelized yummy concoction.  Then you have the chewy brownie, topped with toasted marshmallows and a caramel drizzle!  They are not too sweet at all and taste like the holidays!  They are a little messy to eat and I found them easier to eat with a fork than with my hands, so beware of that if you want to serve them at a party.  I wondered if they would taste as good if you spread the brownie batter on the bottom and then spread the coconut/pecan mixture over that and then topped with the mallows and caramel?  It would be easier to eat that way?  

Chewy Butterscotch Brownies
adapted from: BHG 2010 Holiday Baking Magazine

1/3 c. butter
1 1/3 c. shredded coconut
3/4 c. chopped pecans
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. small marshmallows
1/2 c. chopped pecans, opt.
caramel-flavored ice cream topping, opt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan; set aside.  In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup butter over medium heat until melted.  Stir in coconut, 3/4 cup pecans and 2/3 cup brown sugar.  Press mixture evenly onto bottom of the prepared pan; set aside.  In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with and electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add 1 cup brown sugar, baking soda and salt.  Beat until combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  Beat in flour until combined.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the marshmallows and the 1/2 cup pecans (optional).  Carefully spread mixture over coconut layer.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until top is evenly browned (center may jiggle slightly when gently shaken).  Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup marshmallows.  Bake about 3 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly browned.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars.  If desired, drizzle with caramel topping.  Makes 24 brownies.  

Jenn's Notes: My only changes are that I did not add pecans to the brownie batter and I added more marshmallows to the top than it called for.  I completely covered the top of the brownies with marshmallows!  The bottom layer was my favorite part!          

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cheeseburger Pizza

This might not be the prettiest pizza around, but it sure was yummy!  I love all kinds of pizza, but when it comes to homemade, I always find myself making the same two versions.  I branched out with this one and I am glad I did, because I really liked it and now I have three pizzas I can make all the time!  I made one batch of my fave pizza dough and I used half for this pizza and the other half for my fave cinnastix!  Dinner and Dessert with one batch of dough!  How easy is that?  I think this is a pizza both kids and adults will like.  A great way to please the whole family with one dish!  
Cheeseburger Pizza
1 batch pizza dough
1/2 Lb. lean ground beef
14 1/2-oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 c. green onions, chopped
melted butter
garlic powder

Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat; add desired seasonings (I added salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder).  Drain any excess grease.  Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface (should be enough dough for two medium pizzas).  Transfer to baking sheet.  Brush dough with a little melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Spread tomatoes evenly over crust; sprinkle with beef, cheese and green onions.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese is melted.  

OR

Pizza Stone Directions (What I do):  Place pizza stone in cold oven.  Preheat to 500 degrees.  Sprinkle a little cornmeal over a pizza peel (this will help the dough slide off easily).  Place dough onto pizza peel and cover with toppings as described above.  Slide dough onto hot pizza stone.  Lower oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake until crust is nice and crispy (you don't want it burnt crispy, just nicely browned, so it will still be chewy), about 10-15 minutes.  

Jenn's Notes:  The original recipe uses a prebaked pizza crust, but homemade is so much better.  It also just cooks the ground beef plain, but I felt like it needed some seasonings, so I added salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder.  I also added some diced green pepper, because I love that on my pizza!  I was worried that it wouldn't taste as good without pizza sauce, but trust me, I didn't miss the sauce at all.      


Linked up at Wow Me Wednesday!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Way Better Than That Pizza Place's Cinnastix

Whenever I order a pizza, no matter where I am ordering it from, I always order a side of their cinnastix.  I promise that these are wayyyyyyyy better than any pizza place around! 

This could quite-possibly be my new favorite snack!  I think I need to schedule a weekly pizza night, just so I can eat these cinnastix!  Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I have actually made some kind of pizza once a week for the past three weeks, just so I could have an excuse to make these! Imagine a warm chewy pizza crust, topped with cinnamon and sugar and a warm ooey gooey vanilla icing!  
Homemade Cinnastix 
prepared pizza dough (I use my favorite dough)
melted butter
a little vegetable oil
1 Tbl. ground cinnamon mixed with 1/2 c. sugar

Icing:
1 Tbl. melted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a little milk

Pizza Stone Directions (What I do):  Place pizza stone in cold oven.  Preheat to 500 degrees.  Meanwhile, roll out pizza dough into desired shape(s) and size(s).  Using a perforated roller or pizza cutter, cut dough into strips, not quite cutting the entire way through the dough.  Combine some melted butter and a splash of vegetable oil and brush all over dough.  Sprinkle a little cornmeal over a pizza peel (this will help the dough slide off easily).  Place dough onto pizza peel and slide dough onto hot pizza stone.  Lower oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake until crust is nice and crispy (you don't want it burnt crispy, just nicely browned, so it will still be chewy), about 10-15 minutes.  While the dough is baking, combine all of the icing ingredients and whisk until smooth, adding milk until it reaches desired consistency.  Very carefully remove pizza from oven and immediately sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture (as much as you want).  Then, brush or drizzle icing over the top while still hot.  Serve while warm.    

*I highly recommend a pizza stone.  You have never had GOOD homemade pizza until you try it on a pizza stone.  I really think it makes all the difference in the world, well that and having a good pizza dough recipe helps too!  They really aren't that expensive and are well worth it.  Mine is similar to this one and I love it.  I also have this pizza peel to transfer the dough to the hot stone. 

Oven Directions without a pizza stone (I have not tried this version):  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out pizza dough into desired shape(s) and size(s).  Using a perforated roller or pizza cutter, cut dough into strips, not quite cutting the entire way through the dough.  Combine some melted butter and a splash of vegetable oil and brush all over dough.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until cooked through, keeping a close eye on it, so it doesn't over bake.  While the dough is baking, combine all of the icing ingredients and whisk until smooth, adding milk until it reaches desired consistency.   Remove pizza from oven and immediately sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture (as much as you want).  Then, brush or drizzle icing over the top while still hot.  Serve warm.

Jenn's Notes:  The original recipe calls for buttered flavored oil, which I did not have.  That is why I mixed a little melted butter with vegetable oil.  I don't know if that is the same thing as buttered flavored oil, but that is what I did and it has worked every time!  I have not tried it with just straight butter, but I would imagine it would work just fine too.  I roll out the dough pretty thin, because it puffs up a lot during baking.  I usually make a full batch of my pizza dough and make one regular pizza and one dessert pizza.  I prefer shaping the dough into a rectangle, that way, the cinnastix all end up the same size!  So, depending on the size and shape of cinnastix you do, you might have to adjust the cinnamon and sugar measurements and the icing measurements.  Pre-slicing the dough makes them easy to just pull-apart when they are done baking.

Idea adapted from: Jam Hands            

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Smokey Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I LOVE it when I try a new chicken dish and it turns out to be a big hit.  This chicken was delicious.  Just look at that perfectly browned, crispy coating with the ham and cream cheese starting to ooze out the side. Yummy!  How could a cream cheese stuffed chicken not be good?  Served with a side of my favorite Twice Baked Potatoes  and Yummy Homemade Rolls it was an amazing Sunday Dinner.  
Smokey Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken
adapted from: Jamie Cooks It Up!

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. ham, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (I used more)
4 chicken breasts
1/3 c. flour
1 egg, beaten
1 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. olive oil

Combine cream cheese, chopped ham, green onions, minced chipotle chile, salt and smoked paprika; set aside.  Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket in each chicken breast starting at the thickest part.  Open up the pocket and stuff with filling.  They will be stuffed full.  Take some toothpicks and fasten the cut sides of the chicken together.  Dip each stuffed chicken breast into the beaten egg, then in the flour, then in the panko bread crumbs, making sure that all sides are coated.  

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add the olive oil and allow to heat up.  Add your chicken to the hot pan.  You should hear a nice sizzle.  Let the chicken brown on both sides.  Transfer chicken breasts to a greased 9x13 baking pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is done.    Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then serve (make sure to remove the toothpicks). 

Jenn's Notes:  I cut the filling in half and cooked two chicken breasts.  It made quite a bit of filling and the breasts were stuffed pretty full and got a little messy.  I used thick cut deli ham and I also used more smoked paprika than the recipe called for, because I really like that stuff.  Sometimes the canned chipotle chiles can make your dish pretty spicy, but I didn't think this was too spicy at all.  It was perfect.  Just make sure to remove the seeds from the canned chipotle pepper before you mince it.  The chicken was moist in the inside and crispy on the outside.  I will be making this again!        

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

This is the BEST, from scratch, pumpkin cake that I have ever had!  I knew it would be delicious as soon as I saw the picture in my Paula Deen Holiday Magazine.  I am seriously so impressed with this cake.  I made it last Thursday and it still tastes delicious today (Monday).  I hate it when I try a new cake recipe and it tastes great the first night, but it just keeps getting more dry as the days go by.  That is not the case with this cake.  It is still as moist as ever!  The texture and the moistness reminds me of a carrot cake.  I loved this cake and it most likely will be making an appearance at my dinner table this Thanksgiving!  I made a three layer mini cake, some regular cupcakes and these skeleton cupcakes out of this cake recipe and they were all amazing! 
Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream
adapted from: Paula Deen

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk
Cinnamon Buttercream (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans; set aside.  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in pumpkin.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.  Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.  Bake for 18-22 minutes (my baking time was way different - see my notes below) or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.  Spread frosting between cake layers and then frost the top and sides of the cake.  

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting:
1 c. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
5 c. powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, beat butter, cinnamon and salt at medium speed with a mixer until creamy.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Add cream and beat until reaches desired consistency.

Jenn's Notes: I made the entire batch and I got 11 regular cupcakes and a small 3 layer cake.  My cupcakes baked for 19-20 minutes and my cake took about 35 minutes.  Don't be alarmed if your batter looks separated after you add the pumpkin puree, it comes back together when you add the dry ingredients.  I used french vanilla coffee creamer instead of the whipping cream in the frosting.  The cinnamon buttercream compliments this cake perfectly.  Loved everything about it!            

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Halloween Skeleton Cupcakes

Halloween is only a few weeks away!  Do you want something fun to make?  You should make these skeleton cupcakes!  They are not like those other "fun cupcakes" that are decorated really cute, but you would never want to actually eat all of the candy on them?  With these, you have one marshmallow - yum!  White chocolate covered pretzels - yum!  And frosting with sprinkles - double yum!  But if you don't actually want to eat the skeleton part, all you do is remove the body in one part, you won't have to sit and pick off all of the candy!            

Here's how to make them:
Supplies:
prepared cupcakes
prepared frosting
halloween colored sprinkles
sucker sticks
large marshmallows
black food marker (food marker really works best, 
     I tried a small black gel squeeze tube at first 
     and it really didn't look as good)
white chocolate covered pretzels (I used the ones that
     come that way, but you could always make 
     your own)

1.  Put a mound of frosting onto your cupcake.  Smooth out the top and the sides. It doesn't have to be perfect, because the sprinkles will cover it up.  Make sure and reserve some frosting for attaching the pretzels.
2.  Pour your sprinkles onto a plate and roll the sides of the cupcake into them until completely coated.  Press sides slightly to make sure the sprinkles are attached.
3.  Depending on what size sucker sticks you have, you might need to trim a few inches off one end.  It depends on how tall you want your skeleton to be.
4.  Take a large marshmallow and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
5.  Insert your sucker stick into the mallow.  Use a food marker to draw a funny skeleton face onto the face of the mallow.    
6.  Now you need to adhere the white chocolate covered pretzels to the stick.  The easiest way I found was to take a small amount of frosting and fill the bottom circle of the pretzel, then insert the sucker stick into that bottom circle and slide up to place.  Then, smooth the frosting around the stick and the hole of the pretzel.  Repeat with remaining pretzels.  I added three.  Don't worry about it looking messy.  You really can't see the frosting on the finished skeleton.  
7.  To make the arms: Use a sharp knife and carefully cut off the top part of the pretzel.
8.  Dip one end in frosting.  
9.  Insert the frosting covered end into the front hole of the top pretzel.  You can either have the arms straight to the sides or angled up a bit.  Repeat with other arm.  Then, I let the frosting harden a bit before I added the skeleton to the cupcake.  When frosting has hardened, carefully pick up the skeleton and press the bottom of the sucker stick into the center of your cupcake.  Repeat with remaining skeletons.  Enjoy!  
This idea came from Cookies and Cups

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homemade Granola

Have you guys ever hear of wheat germ?  I just discovered it the other day.  From what I have read on the internet, it is really good for you.  You should look it up and read about all of the many nutrients it has and what kind of things it can do for you.  I purchased a jar of it the other day and I have already used it twice.  I added it to this granola and to some waffles.  You can pretty much add it to anything.  I am going to try it in some homemade bread.  Just lessen the flour by however much of the wheat germ you add.  Why not sneak in a little healthy ingredient here and there when you can?  

This is just a base recipe for granola and you can pretty much add whatever you want to it, like some dried fruit, banana chips, chocolate chips, chopped nuts or whatever you have on hand.  There are many ways you can eat this too.  Sprinkle it on some low-fat ice cream or add some to your yogurt.  You could pour some milk over it and eat it as cereal for breakfast.  You could even sprinkle a little over some muffin's before you bake them!     
Homemade Granola
1 c. oats, uncooked (not quick-cooking)
1/4 c. sweetened flaked coconut
2 Tbl. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. wheat germ
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (I didn't add)
2 Tbl. honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbl. oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, combine honey, vanilla and oil; blend well.  Pour honey mixture into oat mixture and blend well.  Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Let cool, then store in an airtight jar.  Makes 1 1/2 cups.  

Jenn's Notes: The original recipe says to bake 20-25 minutes and I baked mine for 20, which I thought was almost too done.  Next time, I will try 17 minutes.  It will get more crunchy once it cools.  I added up the protein in all of the ingredients and this is what I got: 1 cup old-fashioned oats = 10 grams, 4 Tbl. wheat germ = 6 grams and 2 Tbl. sunflower seeds = 3.5 grams, making it a grand total of 19.5 grams of protein in just 1 1/2 cups of this granola.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Frito Chili Pie

I found this recipe a few days ago over on The Pioneer Woman's blog.  It immediately caught my eye, because she literally served this in mini Frito bags.  What in the world?  Then, that night, I saw a show on Food Network that did the exact same thing.  For something I had never seen before, to seeing it twice in the same day, I guess I had to try it.  The only problem was, that I would have to buy a big box of variety chips in order to get the small Frito bags and I didn't want to do that and there wasn't a vending machine around to buy two bags from.  So, I didn't get to try the fun way of serving this and went with the boring way of just eating it a regular old bowl.  This was really really yummy.  What better way to welcome October, than with a warm comforting bowl of chili.
Frito Chili Pie
adapted from: The Pioneer Woman    

1 Lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped, opt.
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped, opt.
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 Tbl. cumin
1 Tbl. chili powder
1/2 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbl. masa or cornmeal
1/2 c. warm water
Fritos
Cheddar cheese, grated
sour cream

Brown ground beef in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the onion and green pepper and cook until tender.  Add garlic and cook 30 more seconds.  Add tomato sauce, Rotel, salt, oregano, cumin and chili powder.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the kidney beans and pinto beans.  Cover and simmer another 20 minutes.  Combine masa and warm water and add.  Simmer a final 10-15 minutes.  Serve with Fritos, shredded Cheddar and sour cream.  Serves: 4

Jenn's Notes: Pioneer Woman's recipe does not include onion or green pepper, but I had some in my fridge, so I added them.  I even had one garden tomato, so I diced it and threw that it in there too.  I also added more water than her recipe called for, because it was super thick without it.  I cut the above recipe in half and it was perfect for the two of us to each have a big bowl full with no leftovers      

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cook's Zucchini Bread

I didn't try very many different zucchini recipes this year.  I made my zucchini cookies and I made these zucchini muffins about 5 or 6 times and then I made this bread.  I usually try all kinds of recipes, but I just got stuck on the same ones this year.  I had picked up a Cook's Illustrated magazine at Costco a month or two ago and this bread was the 1st recipe I tried out of it.  I also saw this recipe on a few different sites, including Mel's Kitchen Cafe, that claim this recipe is the BEST. 
 It is definitely different than any zucchini bread I had tried before - you have to drain the zucchini and you add yogurt?  I experimented a lot with yogurt this year.  It is so much healthier than other ingredients and I had great results!  I also had to purchase my first bottle of allspice.  I hadn't ever baked with it before this and I'm not sure what I think of it?  Does it have a strong clove flavor?  Or is it just me?  Next time I make this bread, I think I will omit the allspice.  Other than that, this bread was really good.  I even liked it better the 2nd day than the 1st day. 
Cook's Illustrated Zucchini Bread
2 c. (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 1/2 c. (10 1/2 oz.) sugar
1/4 c. plain yogurt
2 large eggs
6 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbl. juice from 1 lemon
1 Lb. zucchini, shredded and drained*

*Grate zucchini, peel and all.  Place grated zucchini in a clean dish towel and then wring out as much liquid as possible.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Generously coat a 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt in large bowl.  Whisk sugar, yogurt, eggs, butter and lemon juice in medium bowl until combined.  Using a spatula, gently fold yogurt mixture and grated zucchini into flour mixture until just combined.  Transfer batter to prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted in center comes out clean with few crumbs attached, 45-55 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour.  Makes one 9-inch loaf.  

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