Monday, June 21, 2010

Strawberry-Banana Muffins

These muffins are amazing. I don't think I've ever had both strawberries and bananas together in a muffin, but I had both on hand and they were getting pretty ripe so I made these for breakfast. Here's what you need:
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • zest of 1 lemon

In a small bowl, mix together strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let sit a few minutes until strawberries give off their delicious juices.

In another small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
Now in a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana, eggs, oil, 1 cup sugar, strawberries, and lemon zest.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Don't overmix. I also folded in a handful of frozen blueberries here at the last minute....totally optional...

Now just scoop into your muffin pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.

Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nanny's Banana Nut Bread

This is my Nanny's Banana Nut Bread recipe. She always has a loaf made, and if one's not sitting on the counter, well, she'll go pull one out of the freezer ;)

Here's what you need:
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup ripe mashed bananas (3)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine the oil, sugar, bananas, and eggs - mix well.

Add the remaining ingredients (except the pecans) and mix.

Now, fold in the pecans...

You can either put this in two loaf pans or muffin pans...up to you. Maybe 1 of each? This time, I used two loaf pans so we could have one to eat and then one in the freezer ;)

Bake at 325 for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.

Chili's Margarita Grilled Chicken

This is a great way to add some variety in your chicken dishes. You only need 3 ingredients to get started! I changed the recipe for 2 servings...
  • 2 chicken breasts (I happend to have strips, so that's what I used)
  • 1/2 cup margarita mix
  • Black pepper

Marinate chicken breast in margarita mix for at least two hours. I just throw it all in a ziplock bag and stick it in the fridge.
Once you're ready to start cooking, drain and sprinkle with black pepper.

Grill chicken...

And top with some homemade pico de gallo and enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blueberry Sugar Cookies

I made these cookies for Memorial Day weekend and absolutely loved them! The blueberries added such a surprisingly delicious taste. First, I made my favorite vanilla/almond sugar could cut out all different shapes of your choice, but I thought the round wavy edge ones would be nice for this...
After baking, I let the cookies cool for a few minutes and melted some white chocolate chips in a small bowl. I spooned some melted chocolate on each one and added the blueberries before it had a chance to melt. You'll want to do one cookie at a time, so the blueberries can really "set" in the chocolate before it melts. Might sound like a strange combination, but the blueberries paired so well, that I actually grabbed the leftover berries from the fridge every time I ate a cookie and would pop 1 blueberry in my mouth per bite. ;) Mmm, so good!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World's Best Lasagna

This really and truely is the *world's* best lasagna. I saw it on the internet and it had over 4,000 five star reviews, so I knew I had to try it, and I've been making it ever since. Fair warning does take some time, but it's definitely worth it! Trust me.

Here's what you will need:
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes - this is the big can guys
  • 2 regular cans tomato paste
  • 2 regular cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Drain any excess fat.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Now throw in your sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Told you this would take some time.
Once it's done simmering, taste the sauce! It's heaven! This actually would be the best homemade spaghetti sauce if you want to stop right here. But let's continue on to the lasagna...

In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Oh, I forgot to mention, if you need to cook/boil your lasagna noodles, you should have already done that by now. I buy the lasagna noodles where no cooking is necessary. Why would you not?!
Time to assemble. Spread about 1.5 cups or so of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles over meat sauce. Top the noodles with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Now top with mozzarella cheese slices to cover. Spoon another estimated 1.5 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with PAM to prevent sticking. I've also made this in two square dishes before (I think they're 8x8 or 9x9...), anyways you can eat one and freeze one! Just divide your ingredients between the two dishes. I decided to make the 1 big one this time...we don't mind eating leftovers of this for a few days. ;)
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

As you can see from the above picture, I might have taken it out of the oven a little early. The parmesan cheese didn't fully melt...but it was late...we were hungry.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chocolate Sack

Ever had one of these Chocolate sack desserts at a fancy restaurant?! Ever wondered how they make them? Ever want to try and do it yourself?! I know I sure have. Here's what you'll need to start:
  • Chocolate bark for melting
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Rasberries
  • Cream
  • Mint for garnish

And that's about all I know. I can't fool you any longer...this was my dessert I took home from a recent work dinner. Isn't it pretty?!? Come on, like I could ever make a chocolate sack!!