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Feb. 25th, 2010

cookie

Moist Banana Bread with Nuts and Chocolate Chips

Ever have a bunch of bananas that get softer than you like to eat them? Don't throw them away! Seriously. If you enjoy banana breads that you've had at cafe's or bakeries, you will love your own homemade, moist, delicious banana bread that's easy as pie! (I don't know where that expression came from, pies are NOT easy to make...)



Items Needed:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons or 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 or 6 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup unsweetened chocolate chips

Secret Ingredient
  • 1 cup Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt

Tools
  • 2 medium sized bread loaf baking pans, greased and floured
  • 2 large bowls

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the sugar and better in a large mixing bowl until light and flyffy. Add one egg at a time and beat them thoroughly.

In another large bowl mash up the peeled bananas with a potato masher or large fork. Add in the milk, cinnamon, and yogurt and mix well. Add this to the first bowl and stir in. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix this just until the flour disappears. Too much mixing can cause a bread to come out too tough and dense. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips just until well distributed.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans and bake in the oven about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check the bread with a toothpick as different ovens, different pans, and different altitudes can yield different baking results.

After the bread is done, set pans out to cool for 15 minutes before removing. To remove the bread from the pan, simply invert over a cooling rack. if they stick at all just use a butter knife to scrape along the edges of the pan, although if you greased and floured the pan well, this shouldn't be an issue. You can slice it up while it's still warm or wait for it to completely cool. It's delicious either way!

Serves really well warm with just some butter, or plain, or even a little peanut butter. If you love warm banana bread, when returning to this decadent loaf of bread, simply put 2 slices in the microwave for 10 seconds before you eat it. Mmmm.

Feb. 15th, 2010

ingredients

easy chili mac

Ever find that those instant boxed foods are really convenient, just not exactly as tasty as you'd hoped for? I find it hard to leave things like boxed Macaronin and Cheese alone.

Most commonely I use Kraft Instant Macaroni and Cheese, or a local generic brand. I have found that some generics are really horrible, and some are pretty much the same as the Kraft.

When a bunch of my friends show up randomly I sometimes throw this little dish together. Please note that this is NOT a healty diet food.

Items Needed:

Tools
  • Cooking pot
  • Stirring Spoon
Ingredients
  • 2 boxes of Instant Macaroni and Cheese (4 servings each)
  • 1 Can of Hormel Chili with beans
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • A handful of jalapenos, fresh or pickled.
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Directions
Boil a pot of water, just use what looks right, the amount doesn't really matter. When the water comes to a boil pour in the boxes of macaroni. While the maccaroni is cooking, finely chop the onion, and the jalapenos. It also helps to put the chili in a microwave save container and warm it for a minute in the microwave.

When the macaroni is done, drain it, and return it to the pot. Add in the powdered cheese packets and the grated cheddar cheese. Pour in the chili, jalapenos, onions, and milk. Stir completely until all of the chese is melted. If the sauce is a bit thick add a little more milk. Serve on plates or in bowls. And if you're really into spicy food, just add some Frank's Red Hot or Tobasco sauce.

Notes:

It's very rich, fattening, and delicious. Versatile, as well. Easily turned into vegetarian with vegetarian chili. Pretty much any canned chili will work. This meal goes over really well with my brother, and my good friends who are mostly young men between the ages of 16 and 24.

Feb. 12th, 2010

pasta

Pasta tip

If you're cooking a small amount of pasta, maybe as a side or a little pile to put your main course on top of, you don't need to always cook it in the traditional way. I'm sure you know how long it takes to bring a pot of water to a boil, as I'm sure you'll notice that the pasta you put in the pot takes up about a fourth of the water. Instead, put your pasta in a deep frying pan and add enough water to cover it. Bring that to a boil and let it simmer until the pasta reaches your desired texture. This will take half the time. The fun part now is that you can either just drain it, or turn it into a stir fry!

For reheating pasta, instead of throwing it in the microwave for a minute, throw it in a strainer. Run hot water over it for about a minute. This will revitalize the pasta, giving it that just-out-of-the-pot texture!

Also keep in mind the flavors you can add to your pasta. Add some oil and salt, or some garlic, maybe even some hot peppers to your pasta water. Be creative with the food you love. The flavors will be absorbed by the pasta so that every bite has just the right amount of flavor. 
cookie

Rich Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies




Chewy, gooey, delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with a rich flavor that will have your friends wondering just what kind of magic you are working in your kitchen.


Items needed:

Tools
  • large bowl
  • mixing utensil or a mixer/handheld beater
  • spoon for measuring out cookie
  • spatula
  • cookie sheets

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 cups oatmeal or quick oats
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional (omit if you use crunchy peanut butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Secret Ingredients
  • 1 fluid oz or one shot glass of coffee
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit

Put butter and peanut butter in a small bowl and soften in microwave - careful not to overheat it. The butter should still hold a solid shape.
In a large bowl, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter until completely blended. Stir in vanilla and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Place gobs of the cookie dough on the baking sheets aproximately 2 inches apart. It doesn't really matter what size you make them, it really depends on how big you want your cookies. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until desired texture is achieved.

Amount produced:
This recipe made me just about 24 cookies. It will, of course, vary based on how large you make your cookies.


Notes on this recipe:
This recipe can be versatile. I made it based on the ingredients I had on hand, and spontaneous experimenting with flavors. You don't need any special coffee for this recipe, just keep a shot from the pot you brew in the morning. If you don't have any sour cream, just use another 2 tablespoons of butter. If you substitute margarine for butter, add another 1/2 cup of flour, but I generally don't recommend using margerine or hydrogenated oil spreads. The small amount of calories it saves you isn't worth the sacrifice in flavor and texture. I wouldn't recommend cooking lard for the recipe. Lard tends to produce a dryer dough, more the texture of pastries. These cookies are meant to be soft and chewie and moist. They are simply delicious right out of the oven.


Allergens:
Contains nuts, eggs. Gluten can be avoided if you purchase gluten-free oats.