Monday, December 28, 2015

Banana Cake with Butter-Rum Frosting

I had more very ripe bananas and wanted to make something different than the regular banana bread. So I looked up some recipes and came across this one. I altered it a little and was very happy with the result.  Quick  and delicious!  Enjoy!
For cake:
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
-1 1/3 cups sugar
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 large egg
-4 very ripe bananas, peeled
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-1/2 cup walnut topping
For frosting:
-3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
-3 cups powdered sugar
-1 Tbs rum extract
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat 9x13 pan (bottom and sides) with baking spray (the one with butter and flour). Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, beat the butter on medium for 30 seconds.  Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix well. Add the egg, bananas (no need to mash them before, just toss them in), oil and vanilla.  Beat until well combined.  Stir in the flour and walnuts. Mix well and pour in prepared pan, spreading evenly.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place pan onto wire rack.  Cool completely.
While cake is cooling, let's make the frosting.
Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Switch mixer to low and add the powdered sugar, extracts and milk.  Beat until spreading consistency.
Spread that yumminess over cooled cake.  Slice and enjoy!
Original recipe found here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken and Corn Soup

This dish is super easy to put together, as you pretty much toss everything in the slow cooker.  Then you come home to a delicious dinner!  Enjoy!
-1.5 lbs chicken thighs, skinless, boneless, cut into chunks
-2 (10.75 oz each) cans cream of chicken soup
-1 (14.5 oz) can cream style corn
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 (15.25 oz ) can sweet corn, drained
-1 small onion, finely chopped OR  handful of dehydrated chopped onion
-1 tsp celery salt
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 cup water
-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Place all ingredients, except for the bacon, in the slow cooker.  Give it a good stir, cover, and cook on low for 4.5 hours.
Once done, stir again, ladle into bowls and top with crumbled bacon.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2015

BBQ Steak Bites with Roasted Peppers and Polenta

I don't have enough words to describe this amazing dish!  It is so, so tasty!  I bet you were drooling just by reading the title, right? :)  It's also very quick (under 30 minutes) and the burst of flavors is absolutely amazing!  Enjoy!
For Polenta:
-4 cups water, divided
-1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tsp salt, divided
For Steak:
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-1 1/2 lbs steak, cut into chunks
-2 tsp smoked paprika
-1 (16 oz) jar roasted pepper strips (if it doesn't have strips, take the peppers out and cut them into strips)
-1/2 cup hickory bbq sauce (we prefer Sweet Baby Ray)
Make the polenta first.  Place 3 cups water and 1 tsp salt in large sauce pan and bring to a boil.  In a small bowl, mix remaining cup of water with the cornmeal and remaining tsp salt.  Mix well and add to boiling water.  Stir, cover and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes.  Stir once in a while, but be very cautious as the mixture will be VERY hot.  Remove from heat, uncover and give it another good stir.  Let it sit until steak bites are ready.
Heat oil in large skillet.  Add the steak chunks and sprinkle with the smoked paprika.  Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until steak is cooked to your liking.  Remove onto plate.
Return skillet to stove.  Add the pepper strips and liquid from the jar.  Stir in the bbq sauce.  Mix well and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.  Return steak to the skillet and stir to coat.  Cook for 1 minute.  
Serve on top of the warm polenta.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chicken and Pasta in a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

If you love gorgonzola cheese, this is the dish for you.  Yes, the taste of the cheese is quite prevalent and strong, so you have to love it. :)  Everything combines really nice and it becomes such a delicious dish.  You can use any kind of chicken you have; just make sure it cooks all the way through.  Enjoy!
-1 lb pasta (I used penne, but you can use any kind)
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-8 chicken drumsticks, scored (cut a slit on each side of each drum for better cooking)
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-2 cups Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
-1/2 tsp rubbed sage
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet.   Add chicken and cook until nice and brown on all sides.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
Stir in the cream and broth.  Cook until slightly thickened and chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the Gorgonzola, sage, salt and pepper.  Cook until cheese is all melted.
Drain the pasta and add to the skillet.  Stir to coat.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Quick and Easy Chocolate Pie

Sometime I just want something quick and yummy, but don't have time to make anything fancy.  That's when I turn to things that are packaged and can be transformed in a matter of a few minutes.  I made this pie using a frozen pie shell because it's more tasty and flakier, with that yummy buttery taste.  However, to cut down even more on time, a store bought graham cracker or Oreo crust would work just as well.  Then all you have left to do is make the pudding, set it in the fridge and you're good to go.  Delicious and easy!  Enjoy!
-1 frozen pie shell
-1 (3.9 oz) instant pudding and pie filling + milk, to make it
-whipped cream
Thaw pie crust and bake according to package directions.
While crust is cooling, make the pudding, according to package directions, but make sure you follow the ones for the pie, not pudding.  Pour filling into cooled crust and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until pudding is set.
Decorate with some whipped cream, slice and enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Smoky and Spicy Pork Stir-Fry

Quick and easy, this dish is quite a delight! Make sure you have everything chopped and ready to go before you heat up that wok. :)  Enjoy!
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-2 lbs pork, skinless, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into bite size chunks
-2 tsp smoked paprika
-2 tsp salt
-1 Tbs sesame oil
-1 orange or red bell pepper, halved and sliced
-1 lb asparagus, trimmed and broken into 1 inch pieces
-1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely shredded
-1 garlic clove, minced
-3 Tbs rice vinegar
-1 Tbs soy sauce
-2 tsp sugar
-1 tsp sriracha
-1 lb bag tricolor cole slaw
-5 green onions, trimmed and sliced
-cooked rice
Heat vegetable oil in wok or large skillet.  Add the pork chunks and season with the paprika and salt. Give it a good stir and cook until golden brown on both sides.  Remove onto plate.
Return wok to stove and heat up the sesame oil.  Add the bell pepper, asparagus, ginger and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until veggies are crisp and tender.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sriracha.  Add to the wok with the veggies.  Give it a good stir.  Return the pork, and all the accumulated juices, to the wok.  Cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the coleslaw mix and cook for a couple of minutes or until cabbage has wilted.  Lastly, add in the green onion and give it a good stir.
Serve on top of cooked rice.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Easy Mint Chocolate Chip Fudge

Perfect for the holidays or any day treat.  This is super easy to put together and so, so delicious!  We really love this one.  Enjoy!
-3 1/4 cups white chocolate chips
-2 Tbs unsalted butter
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1 Tbs mint extract
-a few drops green food coloring
-3/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
Line and 8x8 square pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Place white chocolate chips and butter into large bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds.  Remove bowl from microwave and stir until smooth. Add the milk and mint extract.  Give it another good stir. Add a couple drops of food coloring and stir.  Adjust to desired color.
Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.  After that add to it 1/2 cup of the mini chocolate chips.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and press it down.  Sprinkle on top with remaining chips, gently pressing them into the fudge.
Place fudge in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until set.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Spicy Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes

This is such a nice spin on the classic mashies.  There's a little heat, but not much.  Plus the blue cheese gives it that unique flavor that makes you want to go for seconds. :)  This is also lower in calories because instead of the butter and cream/milk normally used, I added some olive oil with garlic. Very flavorful and still silky smooth!  Enjoy!
-4 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
-1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Boil the potatoes in some salty water.  When done, reserve 1/2 cup of the water and discard the rest.  Keep the potatoes in the same pot and set on counter.
While the potatoes are boiling, heat the oil in large skillet.  Add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute or until garlic starts to brown.  Pour this over the potatoes and start mashing everything. Add the reserved water, blue cheese, crushed pepper and at least 2 tsp salt.  Mash and mix well.  Taste and adjust the salt, if needed.  Enjoy! 


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