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.