Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Banana “Ice Cream”

I bet most, if not all, of you have heard of this before and maybe even tried it, because I know I have found this recipe many different times. But, we made it again the other day and I thought I’d better share it, just in case.

This is a yummy, easy, healthy alternative to ice cream and it really does satisfy the cravings I have for a treat.

For one serving, I use about one and a half bananas. I always have bananas in my freezer, but if you don’t, just chop up a ripe one and toss it in the freezer. Once they are frozen, throw them in the blender until they are nice and creamy. At this point, you could be done, but I love to add a few things to make this extra yummy.

I usually add a dash of vanilla extract, a bit of peanut butter, a little cocoa powder. Add anything that sounds good. Enjoy!

I know this is a great treat because last time we made it, Nathan just kept saying, “Ice cream is nummy!”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beef and Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

This is a really easy Jillian Michaels recipe that I LOVE! I use soy meal starters (fake ground beef) and whatever mushrooms are on sale and it still turns out great. I made it once for Andy with the actual beef strips and he couldn't get enough.

2 tsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 cup Portobello Mushroom (or whatever mushroom is available. You can even nix the mushroom completely if that's not your thing)
1/3 cup Onion (I like using yellow)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
3 Tbsp. Flour
14 oz Beef Broth
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Low-fat Sour Cream
1 lb. Beef Flank Stake (or soy crumbles or ground beef. If you use the steak, just make sure it's thin enough to cook through quickly).


Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add steak and cook until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (The meat will be rare, but will continue to cook as it rests.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut lengthwise into 2 long pieces then crosswise, across the grain, into 1/4-inch-thick slices. The smaller they are, the better they cook once you add them to the rest of the mixture.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are very tender and lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. A little thyme taste pretty good with it too.

Stir in broth and vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer, and continue cooking, stirring often, until the mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in sour cream, the sliced steak and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.
*A great companion to the meal is corn kennels (cut them off the cob or use canned corn) mixed with 1 tsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of red wine vinegar. Cooked broccoli or zucchini is also a favorite in our house with this dish.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe when Ryan and I got married and it is so moist and dark and YUMMY!

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

1 ¾ c. flour

2 eggs

2 c. sugar

1 c. milk

¾ c. cocoa

½ c. vegetable oil

1 ½ t. baking soda

2 t. vanilla

1 ½ t. baking powder

1 c. boiling water

1 t. salt

Combine dry ingredients in large mixer bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat two minutes at medium speed. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into greased and floured 13x9 pan. Bake at 350ยบ for 35-40 minutes. Frost with butter cream frosting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Homemade Soft Pretzels

One of my major pregnancy cravings so far has been big, soft buttery pretzels. Actually, I'll take pretty much anything with butter on it. But especially pretzels. So I thought I try my hand at making my own. It was actually really easy! I used this recipe, found at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She says she adapted the recipe from the one from King Arthur Flour. I think next time I make them, I’ll adapt them a little more to make them work for me.

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water

1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes (see pictures below).

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn’t, it will make your pretzels splotchy. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (anywhere from 14 to 22 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 7 to 9 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time – it won’t hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.

Here's what my pretzels looked like (I say looked, because these babies DID NOT last long):


Oh my sweet heavens, these were yummy! Here’s what I would do differently next (there’s definitely going to be a next time). I think these were a little dark for my taste, and I only cooked them 6-7 minutes so I want to adjust the cooking time a little bit. Also, I would use less baking soda in the wash, because they tasted a little baking soda-y to me. I think I would also roll them longer and thinner so they turned out looking more like pretzels and less like puff balls. But what really matters is that they taste good. And oh my, they did!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet Teriyaki Chicken

A couple of years ago I discovered Red Robin's Teriyaki Chicken and have never ordered anything else since. I had a copycat recipe I've been meaning to try forever. I've never gotten around to trying it because it involved pounding the chicken flat with a meat mallot and that just seemed like far too much work. So, this week we had a pineapple, so I decided to try it, minus the pounding.

The Red Robin Burger is a sweet teriyaki chicken breast topped with swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, and mayo. I decided to make mine into a salad so I could use up more of my lettuce and pineapple. 

Makes 4 (adult) servings

4 chicken breasts
8 canned pineapple slices
4 slices Swiss cheese

First prepare the marinade:

1 3/4 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Make teriyaki marinade by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium/high heat. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Let cool and pour some over chicken breasts and pineapple (I did one breast per salad) and marinade 4-12 hours. Be sure to reserve some to use as a salad dressing. If you wanted to do sandwiches, you'd pound your chicken flat before you marinade it.

I didn't actually marinade it, I just brushed the chicken and pineapple and baked in the oven. I'm not sure for how long, I just made sure the chicken was cooked. At the very end of cooking, top the chicken with Swiss cheese. It's the Swiss that makes this meal.

Cut up chicken and pineapple and toss with lettuce and tomato. For the dressing, I mixed some of the marinate with mayonaise to make it nice and creamy. So good!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shrimp Salad

I just discovered this recipe and it's amazing. It tastes like something you'd have in a restaurant. Try it even if you're not big on the seafood. It doesn't have a very fishy taste at all.

1 pound large peeled and deveined cooked shrimp

1 cup chopped celery

1 large carrot, shredded

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

3/4 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

We eat this over a big bowl of fresh spinich. It makes about 4 servings with each serving being 350 calories.

Split Pea Soup

Into the crockpot goes:

A bag of dry split peas
A little ham (I usually do about a half cup diced. I like the flavor, but I try not to eat too much. You could leave it out all together)
Water to cover everything (Add more as needed)
Chicken bullion
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Bay leaf

Cook on high for 6 hours. This is so yummy and filling and only has about 100 calories per cup!