April 24, 2015

Banana Pudding

I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to use up overripe bananas.  You'd think I'd learn to just buy two at a time.

The the upside, I'm finding a lot of really good banana recipes.

Banana pudding seemed like the thing to make this last time.  I happened to have all the ingredients so why not?  I really didn't know that making pudding would be so easy.  I don't know why people use the box stuff now.  I'll be making mine from scratch from now on.

This recipe is easy and great tasting.  Ton's of banana flavor of course, a great way to use up bananas and a not-so-horrible-for-you dessert! And, you can make fresh whipped cream with any leftover heavy cream you have. I'm really glad I made this and I can't wait to try other pudding recipes.

Banana Pudding
Recipe from Jen's Favorite Cookies

  • 2-3 very ripe banana's
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking Directions
  1. Add the squished banana's and the milk and cream to a heavy saucepan. Heat until hot but not boiling and then mash the banana's into the milk mixture. 
  2. In another small dish add the sugar, salt and cornstarch. Whisk together to mix. When the milk mixture is almost to the point of boiling, add the sugar mixture and mix well. 
  3. In a small dish lightly beat the egg yolks.  Slowly add a little bit of the heated milk/sugar mixture to temper the eggs so they don't scramble. Add a little hot mixture while stirring the eggs.  Once the egg mixture has heated up a bit via the mixture you can add it all back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk/sugar mixture. 
  4. Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. 
  5. Add the pudding to individual ramekins or a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool completely or it can be eaten while still slightly warm. 
  6. Top with whipped cream if desired. 

April 21, 2015

PW's Beef Enchiladas

I love Mexican food.  I could eat it twice a week or more.  For some reason I don't make it very often and it's probably because I think it's not going to be as good as the restaurant's.

When will I learn?

This dish has several steps to accomplish but they are easy, and when your end result tastes as delicious as anything you would order at a restaurant, I'd say it's worth it. Plus, the leftovers are just good and it made lunches a lot easier for me for several days after I made it.

You can make this hot or mild depending on the enchilada sauce you use and of course you could also add you favorite spices afterward if you like it really hot.  The flavor is so delicious, the corn tortillas get a little crispy right on the edges and the gooey cheese and yummy filling is so comforting. I love cilantro and it gives every bite a little added freshness.  So good!

PW's Beef Enchiladas
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman


  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (28 ounce) enchilada sauce or red sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 whole medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) diced green chili's
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10-14 whole corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Cooking Directions
  1. For the Sauce: In a large saucepan add the oil and flour and heat over medium heat. Use a whisk to combine and let cook for 1 minute. Add the enchilada sauce, chicken broth, salt, pepper and cilantro. Set aside. 
  2. For the Meat: In a large skillet add the meat and onions and cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onion has softened. Drain any fat. Add the green chili's and the salt and set aside. 
  3. For the Tortillas: Use a small fry pan to heat the canola oil.  Set up your workstation so that you have a dish with some paper towels on it for draining the oil off the tortillas after cooking and a cookie sheet so you can place the tortillas there after you've dipped them in red sauce and are ready to fill them. Get a baking dish ready as well, 9x13 is perfect. Pour 1/2 cup of red sauce into the bottom of that dish and set aside. 
  4. To assemble: Fry each tortilla for just a minute or so to soften them up, you don't want them crispy.  Place them on the paper towels to drain while you cook the rest. 
  5. After they are all cooked, dip them individually into the prepared red sauce and then place them on the cookie sheet.  Place some meat in the middle, then the olives and cheese and green onions (or whatever fill ins you choose).  Roll them and place them in the 9x13 inch dish, seam side down.  Continue until they are all filled and rolled and in the dish. 
  6. Pour the remaining red sauce over the top and sprinkle with more cheese. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until bubbly.  Serve hot, garnish with more cilantro if desired. 

April 14, 2015

Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

My husband rated this recipe as a winner. I rated it as a winner, and (drum roll please) my daughter rated it as a winner.  I just can't believe we all liked the same meal, at the same time, at the same table.  I could just cry with happiness.

This recipe is totally simple to prepare.  No foreign ingredients that you have to hunt for.  I had all this in my house and didn't have to run out to buy a thing!  The chicken was falling apart when we tried to take it out of the slow cooker. Extremely flavorful, sweet but not spicy.  Kids will like it (hopefully) if they like barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce. Great recipe!

Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
Recipe from AllRecipes

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
Cooking Directions
  1. Place the chicken thighs in the slow cooker.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the remaining ingredients and then pour over the top of the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for about 6 hours.

April 9, 2015

Chocolate Banana Muffins

One of my daughters favorite muffins is this banana chocolate chip muffin.  I've been making them for her for years.  This muffin tastes very similar to that muffin.  That means she loved them.  They are moist and delicious with a definite banana flavor and a chocolaty finish.  The sugar on top adds a little crunch and added sweetness. 

This recipe made a perfect dozen muffins and they freeze very well.  This is another great recipe to have on hand, you can make them on a free day and then have them for those hectic mornings.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Muffins
Recipe from Chef In Training

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed over ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • sugar for sprinkling on top
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350º
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the banana, oil, and egg. Mix to incorporate.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and then add to the banana mixture. Incorporate.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Either line a muffin pan with papers or grease well. Add the mixture evenly to each muffin cup and sprinkle with about 1 tsp of sugar per muffin.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

April 7, 2015

PW's Potatoes Au Gratin

So there I was on Easter Day, just getting around to planning dinner for that night.  I'm on top of things around here let me tell ya. So, we knew we'd be doing ham steaks because they're easy, and it's ham, and we all like ham.  We totally disagreed on the vegetable we wanted so all three of us ate a different vegetable.  My husband wanted mashed potatoes and I wanted something different, so we compromised and settled on this Au Gratin recipe from The Pioneer Woman. 

Yum, just yum. 

Creamy, cheesy, garlic-y deliciousness.  It was a perfect accompaniment to our dinner.  It doesn't take long to prepare and I had the majority of the ingredients on hand.  I had to run out for heavy cream but that was it. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.  I hope next year I have my stuff together enough to plan dinner before the actual dinner. :)

PW's Potatoes Au Gratin
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 6-7 small potatoes (I used gold) scrubbed clean and diced
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • fresh chives, thinly sliced
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º
  2. Use the softened butter to coat the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Place the diced potatoes in the prepared dish.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, cream, flour, garlic, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
  5. Pour over the top of the potatoes.
  6. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove cover and bake for 20-30 minutes more.
  8. Right before serving, add the shredded cheddar and bake for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Garnish with chives if desired.

March 30, 2015

Melting Potatoes

Spring break is here!  Finally!  I might be more excited about it then my daughter.  It seems like it's been such a long time since out last break. Do you have any big plans for your spring break? 

One thing I'm always on the look out for is a great side dish.  We usually end up with the old standby of some frozen veggies or a salad but once in a while it would be nice to have something a little, you know, fancier. 

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew I wanted to make it.  I did, that night and guess what? I used a glass baking dish and it shattered into a million pieces in my oven.  But on the bright side, they smelled really good even though it was smeared on the inside of my oven.  Yea, sometimes I don;t read the ENTIRE recipe thoroughly first.  This might have cured me of that bad habit. 

Cut to a week later when I tried it again using a METAL baking dish.  Amazing how well it worked and with no glass to clean up!  Yay!  This recipe does take a little time but it's very worth it.  The crispy flavorful potatoes really do melt in your mouth.  Great flavor from the butter, seasonings and broth.  Great side dish. 

Melting Potatoes

  • 3 pounds gold potatoes, peeled
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 500º
  2. Place the rack in the upper middle position.
  3. Mix the melted butter, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. 
  4. Cut the peeled potatoes into 3/4 inch to 1 inch sized slices.  Square off the ends to allow for easier flipping.   
  5. Toss the potatoes in the prepared butter mixture and arrange in a single layer in a 9x13 inch metal baking dish.  Reserve the remaining butter mixture.
  6. Roast for 15 minutes. 
  7. Use a spatula to flip over the potatoes and cook for an additional 15 minutes. 
  8. Use a spatula to flip over one more time but this time add the garlic and chicken broth as well. Cook for another 15 minutes or until they are tender. 
  9. Baste the potatoes in the remaining sauce and serve. 
*The first time I made this recipe I used a glass baking dish, when I added the broth it exploded. Don't be like me. Use metal. 

March 23, 2015

Homemade Reese's Candy

Easters sneaking up on us so I figured I'd better get started making some deliciousness for you guys.  This one has been on my list to try for a while.  Those little chocolate covered peanut butter eggs are addictive and so are these!  I personally think they taste even better than the store bought kind. 

No baking required, if you don't have a mixer that's OK too.  There's nothing stopping you from whipping some of these up for Easter (or anytime). Lots of sweetened peanut butter yumminess in the middle, covered in a layer of chocolate.  Feel free to use whatever is your favorite type of chocolate too.  I really want to try these with some dark chocolate next time. 

Perfect little treat for the kids this Easter!

Homemade Reese's Candy
Recipe from The Recipe Critic

  • 3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1-2 bags milk chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp shortening
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the powdered sugar, peanut butter, melted butter and milk. Start mixer on low speed until it begins to incorporate, then turn to medium and mix until combined.  The mixture will look a little dry and that's OK. 
  2. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface or on some waxed paper until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a cookie cutter (egg shape for a traditional Reese's Egg) or any shape.  You can even use a knife to cut a design. 
  3. Place the shapes on a cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour. 
  4. Melt a bag of chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp of shortening until smooth.  Usually you can microwave in 30 second increments and then a stir, repeat until smooth. 
  5. Dip each cut out piece in chocolate and place on wax paper until set. Place leftovers in an airtight container or bag and refrigerate or even freeze.