Sunday, July 26, 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
(makes one regular size pan, and one pan of "Mini" muffins)

1/2 cup of Crisco 
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 large, ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
several good shakes of cinnamon
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together the shortening, sugar, and vanilla.  Add the eggs, beat well.  Blend in the mashed bananas.  Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Beat till batter is blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Spray your pans, and fill one regular muffin pan, and one mini muffin pan.  Bake in 350 oven.  The mini muffins are usually done after about 15 minutes, and the larger muffins take about 5 minutes more.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Banana Bread with Nutella Swirls

If you want a yummy breakfast treat or snack - try this bread! 

1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
1/2 cup Nutella, softened 10 seconds in microwave
1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips (optional) 
cinnamon sugar (dusting on top)

Prehead oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9" bread loaf pan with Baker's Pam.  

Mix eggs, vegetable oil, mashed bananas and vanilla extract.  Slowly add dry ingredients and blend well.  Divide batter roughly in half, putting half in another bowl.  Add the chocolate chips to the plain half, and the add Nutella to other bowl and mix well.  Glob the two different types of batter in the sprayed pan.  Use a kitchen knife to swirl the batters together - do not overmix! Sprinkle the top of the loaf with cinnamon sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 70 minutes, or until bread tests done.  Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before removing.  

Creamy Tomato Spinach Tortellini and Sausage Soup

A co-worker shared her recipe for this soup that features tortellini, sausage, and spinach in a creamy tomato base.  She uses a crock pot, and I prepare it on the stove.  It is delicious and easy either way!

2 boxes of chicken broth (I use Swanson's low fat/low salt -32 ounces each)
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes with basil
1 pound of sausage (I use turkey sausage)
1 10 oz. box of frozen spinach
1 large package of fresh tortellini (I use Wegmans)  If you like more broth, use less tortellini.
1 8 ounce block of light cream cheese
pepper and basil to taste
top with shredded Pecorino Romano cheese.

Brown sausage and break up into bite size chunks.  Warm the spinach in the microwave, drain, and add to soup.  Pour in the broth and tomatoes - season with pepper and basil and simmer.  Cut the cream cheese into chunks and soften in a microwave for about 30 seconds for easier blending - add to soup.  When soup is bubbling, add tortellini - when they float to the top it is done.  If soup gets too thick, before reheating add more chicken broth.

For crockpot:  Brown sausage and break into chunks, warm spinach in microwave and drain, warm cream cheese (cut in slices).  Put all ingredients in the crock pot and cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Serve with crusty Italian bread and a nice salad and your meal is complete.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Savory Shrimp and Pasta

This was a perfect summer meal, can be prepared in about 30 minutes, and can be changed to include different vegetables in season.  

1 pound of shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 1/2 cups of orzo pasta (I used Wegman's Organic whole wheat orzo in the Italian Classics line)
1 6 ounce bag of Wegmans baby spinach, rinsed and drained.  (I cut off long stems)
1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil (I used F. Olivers Heady Garlic)
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 large Vidalia onion, diced 
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced.
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 jar (8 ounce) of Classico traditional basil pesto
1/2 cup black olives, whole or sliced
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cook pasta according to directions, drain. 
2.  In large skillet or electric frypan, swirl 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in the pan. (heat 350 degrees) 
3.  Add diced onion, garlic, and red pepper.  Saute' till soft. 
4.  Add fresh shrimp and cook till pink.  Do not overcook.
5.  Add spinach and wilt quickly. 
6.  Add beans. 
7.  Squeeze the 1/2 of lemon juice into the pan.  Remove any seeds. 
8.  Add pesto.
9.  Incorporate pasta, and toss to coat and mix.
10.  Season with salt, pepper, and dust with Pecorino Romano cheese.
11.  Garnish top with olives and fresh basil leaves.  

Enjoy! You could also use zucchini and yellow squash in this dish, or substitute baby kale for spinach.  Serves 4.  If you have it leftover, I'd try to finish it the next day.  Seafood is best eaten within a day or so. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Southwestern Spaghetti Pie

If anyone in your family enjoys spicy food, this is the recipe for you!  It can easily be adapted to add or decrease the heat by switching the meat, omitting the Rotel tomatoes and chilis, and decreasing the chili powder and pepper.  

8 ounces of spaghetti (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste)
1/2 cup of milk
1 egg
1 pound of ground pork (if you want it really spicy, use the hot - less spice use 95% ground beef or turkey)
1 medium pepper, seeded and diced
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 10 ounce can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chili's, drained (I used mild)
8 ounces of grated cheese - I mixed Monterey Jack and Cheddar.

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Cook spaghetti per directions.  Drain the pasta, Whisk together the milk and egg in a large bowl, and add the drained pasta.  Spread in a (use Pam) 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
3.  While pasta is cooking, brown the sausage, onion, green pepper and garlic.  Cook till pork is no longer pink, and drain or blot excess grease.
4.  Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Stir in the tomato sauce and drained tomatoes/chilis and cook for a few more minutes.
5.  Spread the meat mixture over the pasta, and sprinkle both cheeses evenly over the top.
6.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheeses are melted and casserole is bubbling.
7.  Let stand for 5 minutes, cut into squares and serve.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spicy Meatballs and Sauce

This recipe was based off a Giada's turkey meatball recipe, but changed a bit.  First, Wegmans was out of ground turkey tonight, so I substituted 95% lean ground beef, I also made a few more changes.  Here's my recipe:

1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of fresh parsley (Italian flat leaf type)
1 Tablespoon of ketchup
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of gr. black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
2 large garlic cloves
1 small onion, finely chopped

1 pound of turkey sausage, casings removed
1 pound of 95% lean ground beef

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper, or spray with non-stick spray (like PAM).  Cut the onion in chunks, add the two garlic cloves, and the fresh basil leaves, and the fresh parsley - pulse in a food processor till finely chopped.  Beat two eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, onions, garlic, spices, and ketchup. Blend well with a large fork or spoon.  Add the meat.  Mix the mixture well with your hands, until everything is blended.  Form large balls (about 1 1/2 diameter).  I had 23.  Place on the baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, turn then bake another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (rinsed can and added about 1/4 can of juice/water)
1 28 ounce can of Hunts regular Tomato sauce
fresh herbs (I used thyme, basil, spicy basil, oregano, and Italian flat leaf parsley)
a spoon full of granulated sugar
1/2 cup or so of red wine
2 bay leaves
teaspoon of black pepper
dash of red pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic pressed
1/2 large onion, chopped
olive oil (about 1 Tablespoon)
additional dried basil, oregano, and thyme to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Saute' garlic and onion till softed.  Add the crushed tomatoes, sauce, and water.  Add wine, sugar, spices.  Simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  When meatballs are done, add them gently to the sauce.

Prepare pasta of choice according to box directions.  I like to use Penne, spirals, or rigatoni with sauce.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pulled Pork Pizza!

In the mood for a different type of pizza?  Try this pulled pork pizza - it will hit the spot!

I used the Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast, about 1 pound of pulled pork (I bought Wegman's from their dinner to go counter - they sell it by the pound), about 1/3 of a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce {I tried the vidalia onion because I wanted a savory BBQ sauce}, half a red onion, and one green pepper, and one 8 ounce bag of Wegmans pizza blend shredded cheese.  The pizza blend has provolone in it, which I really like for my pizzas. I used 2 of the yeast packets, because I have a large pizza pan, and we like a thicker crust.  So:

about 4 1/2 cups of flour (divided - start with 2 cups)
2 envelopes of pizza yeast
3 teaspoons of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/3 cup of very warm water
6 Tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat the over to 425 degrees.  Spray pizza pan with PAM.

Combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the water and oil.  Mix until well blended.  Gradually add the remaining flour, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Dough will be sticky, but forming a ball shape.  Knead on a floured surface, adding additional flour if the dough gets too sticky.  Knead about 4 minutes, and either roll or press the dough so it fits in the pizza pan.

Meanwhile, slice the pepper into rings, and slice the onion into thin semi-circles.  Saute' in a bit of oil still softened.  Squeeze the BBQ sauce on the crust, then smooth into a thin, even layer.  Top evenly with the pulled pork.

Add the sliced peppers and onions, and then sprinkle liberally with cheese.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, or till crust is a golden brown and cheese is melted.  Yum, dig in!