Banana Bread

imageBanana bread is soooooo good in the morning ….. or midday ……. or afternoon, well anytime! It’s tasty and sweet and filling. I usually pick up bananas every time I go shopping at Costco because they are such a good value, and since there are only three of us in the house the dilemma becomes what to do with the over ripe bananas no one wants to eat. Well, they do not ever go to waste at our house! I peel them, bag them and freeze them for smoothies. Or I make Nanner Pudding. Our dogs love them. But my favorite recipe for over ripe bananas is Banana Bread! It’s even better after it has been refrigerated! I can’t get enough. Here is the recipe:

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (I used 1 Cup All-Purpose & 1 Cup Soft White Whole Wheat I milled myself – but that’s an entirely different blog post!)
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Beaten Eggs
3 – 5 Mashed Ripe Bananas
3/4 Cup Raw Unfiltered Honey or 3/4 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Oil or Melted Butter (I use extra virgin olive oil)
Optional: 1/4 Cup Chopped Nuts
350* Oven

Preheat the oven. Grease & lightly flour two 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 inch loaf pans. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and set aside. In another bowl mix the beaten eggs, mashed bananas, honey, vanilla and oil. Combine the two and stir until moistened and lumpy. This is the time to fold in the nuts – I don’t because I am the only one in the house that likes them in bread :-(. Bake until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean – about 50 minutes. Once it is cooled I like to refrigerate mine. And it taste soooooooo verrrrrry goooooood!!!
Let me know if you try it. Or if you have a better recipe, I would love to try yours!


Chicken Pie

One of my favorite recipes is Chicken Pie! This is not to be confused with Chicken Pot Pie, because my chicken does not come from a pot. Yours certainly can, but mine comes from the rotisserie chicken section at Costco. 😉 You see one of my husband’s favorite meals is rotisserie chicken with mash potatoes, gravy, peas and biscuits. So then the next day I use the left over chicken and peas for Chicken Pie. Here is the recipe:

Left Over Chicken from a Rotisserie Chicken
2 Refrigerated Pie Crust (usually 2 come in a box)
2/3 C Heavy Cream
1 3/4 C Chicken Broth
1/4 C Carrots Chopped into Bite Size Pieces
1 Potato Cooked & Cut into Little Squares
1/4 C Peas
1/3 C Chopped White Onion
1/3 C Flour
1/3 C Butter
1/2 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper
1/2 t Garlic Powder
1 Egg Beaten
425* Oven

In a pie dish lay out the bottom sheet of pie crust, put aluminum foil in it and line with dry beans or pie beads to keep the bottom crust from rising. Place in a heated oven for a few minutes until it starts to turn light brown (do not leave in too long because it is going in the oven again once you fill it).
In a deep pan over medium heat melt butter & cook onion until translucent. Stir in flour & cook until smooth (using a small whisk works well). Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, heavy cream & chicken broth. Stir until combined. Then add peas, cooked potato, carrots & chicken.
Pour this mixture into the pie crust & cover with the second pie crust. Cut slits into the top of the crust to allow for vapor. Baste the top of the pie crust with egg so that it gets a nice brown color while cooking.
Cook in your oven’s top shelf for about 35 minutes.
**Tip: Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place on the oven’s second shelf to catch any drippings – makes it easier for clean up.

This pie is a hit at our house. Hope you try it. Enjoy!


Stuffed Shells

I love easy menu options and tonight’s dinner fit the bill. I made stuffed shells. Between prep and cooking the entire meal was made in under an hour. A quick dinner preparation was exactly what I needed tonight after running around all day! Among other things we had a homeschool coop this afternoon, so dinner prep time was very limited. Here is the recipe:

1 Box (12 ounces) of Pasta Shells
32 oz Ricotta Cheese
2 Eggs, Beaten
1 tsp Parsley
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1 to 1 1/2 Jars Pasta Sauce (I used Bertolli Olive Oil & Garlic but use your favorite. You can make it with just one jar; we like extra sauce.)
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta as per box directions. Mix the beaten eggs with the ricotta cheese and all the seasonings. I did not add any extra salt to my recipe, because I figured there was enough salt in the rest of the ingredients. Stuff the cooked shells with the cheese mixture and arrange in a 9×13 inch oven safe dish. Pour desired amount of sauce over the stuffed shells. Sprinkle Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over top and place in preheated oven for about 35 minutes. Remember to let the dish cool for about 10 minutes before serving so that it does not fall apart on you as you try to serve it.

I served the stuffed shells with a salad and garlic bread. It was delicious!


I Struggle Making Dinner

I do. There it is. I struggle. It’s not that I don’t like to cook; I really enjoy making a nice meal for my family. And God knows that I love to bake:

I have never understood people who don’t like desserts, but that’s altogether an entirely different post. It is just that – I struggle. I like to eat out. Example dinner tonight:



Think about it: you are seated, choose what you want, it is brought to you while you enjoy conversation with people at your table, your drink is refilled and your food is brought to you without any effort on your part. When you are done someone picks up the table, boxes the leftovers, and does the dishes. Who doesn’t like that? Unfortunately, this habit is expensive and restaurant calories are usually much higher than homemade meals.

Maybe I need a schedule. I do a much better job of cooking dinners when I plan our meals in advance. It seems like such a chore to me. I’ve seen so many lovely blogs where ladies plan their weekly and monthly menus and actually stick to their plan. I do good for a week or so and then I get tired. How do you keep from getting tired or bored or just sick of cooking? Maybe I am missing the daily cooking gene. Most admirable, I think, are those who can whip up an entire meal without much thought or planning – every night!

You know what I don’t mind – laundry. I can do laundry everyday! Or even cleaning! Toilets – No Problem! But cooking, now that’s a chore!

I am going to resolve to do better. Honestly, not because I really want to cook more (hey, I said I was being honest), but because I want to save on the budget. All that extra laziness missing the daily cooking gene is taking a toll on the wallet. So I am going to take a stab at it. Any suggestions or recipes for me? They will all be much appreciated.