Monday, June 29, 2015

Bananas Foster Dip

My friend Donna shared this yummy Pampered Chef recipe with me.  I think this recipe has been around for years.   My girls loved it.  I served it with sliced apples and graham sticks.  Enjoy!!

Bananas Foster Dip (adapted from Pampered Chef)

1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 medium banana, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 jar (12 oz) hot caramel ice cream topping
extra chopped pecans for topping
apple slices, graham sticks or butter cookies

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large mixing bowl, mix banana, lemon juice, cinnamon and ice cream topping.  Spray a pie pan or small baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour in mixture and sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.  Serve with apple slices and/or graham sticks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Family Favorite - Yummy Thin Pizza!

I love, love pizza!  My family loves pizza!  I found this package of three really thin crusts at our local Hy-Vee Grocery Store.  I am sure you can find something similar.  They have a regular and a wheat.

We keep the crusts and most of the ingredients... all of the time.  We make a Chicken/Pesto pizza that is probably everyone's favorite.  We make a Buffalo Chicken Pizza and a Barbecue Chicken Pizza, a Caprese Pizza, a Thai Pizza and a Greek Pizza.  We have been keeping grilled chicken tenders in the fridge so we are ready for any pizza!  We are just creative and try just about anything.

I bake them all at 425 for about 8 minutes - directly on the rack!  You can really load on the toppings.... and the flavor will be amazing but the pizza might not be as crisp in the middle as you like.  We don't like "floppy" pizza.  I recommend lots of toppings but don't go overboard.

I will give you a few ideas and details but enjoy being creative!

Chicken Pesto - Spread a generous amount of pesto over entire crust, top with grilled chicken, purple onion, feta cheese, shredded Parmesan cheese and bake

Buffalo Chicken - Melt a TBSP or two of butter and mix with a little garlic salt and onion salt - brush over crust.  Top with shredded buffalo chicken, purple onion, blue cheese (or another cheese), drizzle with ranch dressing and bake.(please see Buffalo chicken - we like to cook a whole bag of frozen chicken to have on hand - freeze what you don't eat - for later)

Barbque Chicken - spread your favorite sauce over entire crust, top with grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese and purple onion rings, bake

Caprese - love this new try!  Spread a thin layer of light chive and onion cream cheese over crust, top with cherry tomato halves, strips of fresh basil, and small chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese.  Drizzle with a balsamic glaze (sweet and yummy).  I also added grilled chicken and possibly strips of sundried tomatos...... but the pizza is yummy w/o both.

Greek Pizza - spread favorite hummus over the bottom, top with favorite ingredients such a feta cheese, grilled chicken, maybe artichoke hearts, greek olives,  bake - then drizzle with a little Tzatziki sauce or a little greek salad dressing

Thai Pizza - we make a Thai Lahvosh using these ingredients so I knew it would yummy on these thin crusts too.  Spread Thai sweet chili sauce over crust, top with grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, pieces of chopped cashews, cherry tomatoes, green onion ( can bake with the cherry tomatoes and green onion or add them on top after you bake) Drizzle with more sweet Thai chili sauce.  Love the sweet/salty!

Have fun being creative!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Pesto Pasta Salad

I love pesto sauce.  I have a basil plant at my house every summer.....basil is just one of my favorite herbs.  I also love the store-bought pesto sauce.  We keep a jar of the Costco pesto sauce in our fridge.  We are constantly putting it on thin pizzas, different types of grilled cheese, pasta or just serve it in a bowl with a sliced baguette.

I made this yummy summer salad last night.  I decided this is one of those recipes that you can put just about whatever in it.  Consider avocado, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted walnuts, pine nuts or slivered almonds (I used toasted slivered almonds because that is what I had) Craisins, cherry tomatoes, green onions, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, etc.

I just went with what I had in my house.... Craisins, cherry tomatoes, toasted slivered almonds, feta cheese and Parmesan cheese - we loved it.

I did think the sauce soaked into the pasta as the night when on so you may have to reserve a little to add later or add a little more prepared pesto later.

Summer Pesto Pasta Salad

For the base of the salad....

1 - 16 oz box of pasta, cooked according to directions, drained, cool (I usually toss with a little olive
                                     oil while it is cooling so it doesn't stick together.  I don't rinse the pasta)
Mix together...

         1 cup prepared pesto
         1 small container of plain Greek yogurt

Toss over cooled pasta and add rest of ingredients.  Chill and serve!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Key Lime Pie

Love this easy Key Lime Pie!  My friend Kathy shared this recipe with friends - I got it from my good friend Michelle.  Kathy eats gluten free, and I know she made the crust using gluten-free cracker crumbs and thought it was fabulous.

I recommend using a really, really deep-dish pie pan.  I had a clear glass deep-dish pyrex.  It worked! I filled it to the very top and extra key-lime mixture that I baked in a little ramekin - also yummy! We topped this with whipped cream - perfect for a gluten-free taster since no cracker crust!

This recipe isn't low-calorie but oh-so-yummy!  Please use key lime juice and don't leave out the lime zest.  I recommend topping it with fresh whipped cream or Reddi-Wip and a fresh lime slice. Enjoy!!

Enjoy this yummy summer dessert!!

Key Lime Pie

Crust - Mix together....

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, softened
3 Tbsp sugar

Lightly spray a large deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.  Pat your crumbs into the pan, all over the bottom of the pan and up the sides.  Bake at 375 for 8 minutes.  Let cool.

Filling - Mix together....

3 cans condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Key lime juice ( I found bottled Key Lime juice at our local stores)
1 Tbsp of lime zest (or more)

Mix well with a hand-mixer or whisk.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 8 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Chill all day or over night.  The pie is best when really cold.  Serve as is or top with homemade whipped cream or Reddi-Wip and garnish with a fresh lime slice.


Printable Version

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fudge Sauce from The Excelsior House in Jefferson, Texas

The Excelsior House Hotel in Jefferson, Texas is a historic hotel that has been welcoming visitors since the late 1850's.  I grew up about twenty minutes from Jefferson and have enjoyed many trips to Jefferson for great antique shopping, yummy restaurants, etc.  If you are traveling in East Texas, Jefferson is close to Caddo Lake and they have great Bed and Breakfasts!

This recipe came out of an old Excelsior House Hotel Cookbook.  I love this fudge sauce.  I have made it for all three of my girls grad parties - so fabulous over good vanilla ice cream.  I recommend making it and keeping it in your fridge all summer.  Keep some vanilla ice cream in your freezer and you will have a perfect summer dessert for your guests!

Fudge Sauce from The Excelsior House Hotel in Jefferson, Texas

2 sticks butter
4 oz. Baker's unsweetened chocolate
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large can of evaporated milk

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler over boiling water.  After melted, gradually stir in sugar, approximately 4 Tbsp at a time.  Add salt.  Mixture will be thick and dry.  Slowly stir in evaporated milk.  Continue to heat and stir until smooth and sugar is dissolved.    Store in refrigerator.  Makes 1 quart.

*We heat a little at a time as needed :) pour over ice cream and add toppings

Printable Version

Friday, June 5, 2015

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

I have mentioned before that I am always looking for that perfect Banana Bread Recipe.  We love taking really dark, ripe bananas and making Crater Cake - yummy combination of bananas, chocolate chips, cinnamon crumb topping... but sometimes you just want plain banana bread.

I saw this recipe somewhere online and liked the crumb topping idea so I gave it a try. I thought it was very yummy.  I did use three banana.  Also, some sweet breads don't always get done in the middle when I cook them in a loaf pan.  I decided to try this one in a small rectangular glass Pyrex dish. It turned out beautifully.  I loved it!   I found this recipe at Little Bits of Real Food & Real Talk

Please visit Little Bits of Real Food & Real Talk for great pictures and other ideas....

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread (adapted from Little Bits of....)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup  butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk ( I used 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar mixed together)
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Crumb Topping:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
In a large bowl, use a mixer and  beat together the sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Add the butter and beat until smooth and the butter is fully incorporated. Beat in the buttermilk and bananas.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet until all the flour is incorporated. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and pour in the batter. * Note that not all loaf pans are the same size. You may have extra batter, so just pour in enough so there is still about an inch or 2 of space before the top of the pan.  Pour into a pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Make the crumb topping by combining the powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon salt and melted butter. Using your hands, crumble the mixture over the batter in the pan. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  *Remember this will vary depending on the size of the pan
After slightly cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar and ENJOY!!  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scalloped Corn

I was joining some friends for a Memorial Day celebration.  This family always has great food.  Their daughter had just returned from a semester in Uganda and requested Monster Bars and Oreo Balls.  Of course, I made both for our sweet friend Taylor.  I wanted to take something for lunch too.  I found this yummy recipe for Scalloped Corn - easy too!  I would double it for any gathering!

OOPS - Trying to multitask and do too much, I baked it without the cheese.  I just sprinkled some on top with more French Fried Onions but it would be better if you are smarter than me and you follow the directions and actually mix the cheese in the recipe.

Check out another great baked corn recipe - Mexican Corn!

Scalloped Corn ( adapted from Top Cooking Guide via Facebook)

1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can cream corn
2 green onions, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
20 RITZ crackers, crushed
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup or more of French fried onions (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a square glass pan or smaller rectangle pan with cooking spray.  Mix the first nine ingredients.  Pour into prepared pan.  Top with French fried onions.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly brown and bubbly. 

*I would double for a crowd
**If double and use a deeper, bigger pan - may need to bake longer.