Best Ever Banana Bread
I love just about anything chocolate! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert; basically any time of the day as long as it doesn’t have coffee mixed in with it. You can imagine my surprise then when I ended up feeling kind of ho hum about these pancakes.
I had them on my menu for quite a few weeks. I would write them down and then life would get busy on a Saturday morning and pretty soon it would be afternoon and I wouldn’t have made them for breakfast. Well, that finally changed one Saturday morning toward the beginning of October.
I popped the recipe up and got to work on making the batter. I thought, hmmmmm, this doesn’t seem like it is making much. Nope. I didn’t realize that the recipe was for 1 serving. Oops, I guess I’ll have to triple the recipe so that all three of us can eat.
I poured the batter on the griddle and I waited and waited. I wondered how I would be able to tell whether they were done when they were already dark. I finally figured it out when my nose told me there was a slightly burnt smell. Yep, first batch turned out okay but a little overdone. Round 2 fared a bit better. I was able to tell when they were done without getting them too crispy. After I fed the other members of the family, I decided that for round 3 I would make the pancakes a little bit bigger than called for so I could try to capture a decent picture. It was funny how they turned out just a bit smaller than the next.
While this recipe was something different to try, I don’t think you’ll see it on our kitchen table again. Just not very filling, not really a great chocolate taste, and I guess I like my pancakes a bit more fluffy. If you try it, I hope you are able to find a way to enjoy it!
Brownie Batter Pancakes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 1/2 tablespoons milk (or non-dairy milk)
Mix dry ingredients (from flour to salt) very well, then add wet (applesauce to milk). Pour batter on preheated griddle. Cook until edges are dry. Flip and cook opposite side for about 1 minute longer.
Makes 1 serving (about 3 medium sized pancakes)
Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.
Mmmmmmmm, pot pie. When I hear the words “pot pie” they bring to mind thoughts of winter time, warm fireplaces, cozy blankets, and candles burning. Perfect for dinner as these Fall nights get cooler and darkness descends earlier. One of the things I don’t necessarily think of is pot pie being an icebreaker but that’s exactly the role it played in our family this week. Let me introduce you to our challenge and then I’ll briefly tell you how it played this role.
The Daring Bakers have had a lot of sweet challenges lately so I was pretty excited to see a savory challenge for this month. I looked at the recipes that were offered from our hostess and I thought long and hard about making the Mediterranean Pizza Pot Pie but when I asked my husband what kind of pot pie he wanted he resoundingly said, “Chicken. Chicken. Chicken.”
I decided to look at my collection of recipe books and found a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie in my Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. I haven’t found too many recipes of hers that aren’t delicious so I chose to go with her Perfect Pie Crust and her Chicken Pot Pie Filling hoping for a delectable outcome.
I didn’t want to have to cook up the chicken so I bought a rotisserie chicken and this turned out to be one of the best decisions of the day. The pie crust went together quickly and the filling was easy to make. I decided to not make a double crust after much deliberation because a double crust meant double the calories in an already higher calorie dish. Instead, what I decided to do was to take the extra crust from around the edges of the bottom crust and form some dough into stars that I could put on the top so that there was a bite of crust with each bite of filling.
I’m sure you are just dying to know how this dish is an icebreaker, right? Well, I don’t usually air our dirty laundry, and I still won’t be airing much but I thought it was fitting for this challenge to share just how good this pot pie is.
The evening that I was supposed to bake this up we ended up having a long day and we still had to go get a few ingredients to be able to make dinner. My thoughts were that we should probably just stop and pick up some fast food but this was soon after I had kind of ripped into my husband for not being supportive of my efforts to watch what I eat so I can lose a few pounds; needless to say we didn’t stop for fast food.
One person’s stubbornness eggs on the other person’s stubbornness and you get the idea. Pretty soon we were really not saying much to each other and as the evening went on there were even less words spoken. We put our boy to bed and the pot pie went into the oven. When the timer went off to let me know it was done I was working on school stuff and hubby was down in the basement. The pot pie sat cooling (and it looked really good by the way) but I wasn’t about to cut into it because I was still being stubborn. Remember, the whole no fast food but have to come home and make pot pie stubborn. Yeah, I’m not proud of it but I’ll own up to it.
When he finally did come back up I managed to tell him that it was done but I didn’t know if he wanted to eat any so late at night (you’ll probably have to picture that conversation in short, clipped tones). He dished me up a slice and he dished himself up a slice. When I took my first bite I emitted an “Mmmmm” as I was walking away. He heard it. When he took his first bite he started laughing because he heard my muffled “Mmmmmm” and was wanting to say out loud how good it was but was still stuck in stubborn mode. We both started laughing and realized how silly we acted for most of the evening. It really was THAT good. I will definitely make this again (but hopefully no stubbornness will be involved). Enjoy!
Perfect Pie Crust
Source: Pioneer Woman
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter, gradually work the shortening into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Separate the dough into halves or thirds. (Halves make a generous double crust; thirds are a bit thinner.) Can be frozen at this point.
Chicken Pot Pie Filling
Source: slightly adapted from Food Network
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled
1 large yellow onion
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup half-n-half
1 teaspoon salt
When you typically don’t eat a meatless diet it is so hard finding recipes when you have friends over who are vegetarians. Main dishes seem to be a big challenge for me to decide on.
I decided to go with the good old stand by of mac and cheese and decided to jazz it up with a bit of broccoli. It was a hit all around, kids and parents alike. Enjoy!
Broccoli Mac and Cheese
12 ounces high fiber elbows
12 ounces fresh broccoli florets
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup flour
2 cups skim milk
1 cup fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
salt and fresh pepper to taste
2 cups reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Cook pasta and broccoli together in a large pot according to package directions for al dente pasta.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add onion and cook over low heat about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook another minute or until the flour is golden and well combined. Add milk and chicken broth and whisk, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil; cook about 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the sauce is thick, remove from heat; add cheddar cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked macaroni and broccoli and mix well.
Pour into prepared baking dish. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.
Makes 8 servings
These savory pancakes were delicious! Can you guess who chose to make them for his dinner night? Yep. The youngest member of our family who would choose breakfast every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
I was surprised at how tasty they were. I’m thinking these will make another appearance on our table, either for breakfast or dinner. The syrup was a great accompaniment. I tried it with regular syrup and without any syrup at all and the apple syrup really made the flavor. Enjoy!
Apple and Sausage Pancakes
1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup pancake mix
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded peeled apple
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
In a skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In a bowl, beat the egg, milk, and oil. Stir in pancake mix and cinnamon just until moistened. Fold in apple and sausage. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown.
For syrup, combine the sugar, cornstarch and pumpkin pie spice in a saucepan. Gradually stir in cider and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Serve warm with the pancakes.
Makes about 8 pancakes
The last time I made a fruit pizza was many, many, many years ago. I took it to our Sunday School class on the day that I had signed up to bring treats and it was a hit! The only downfall was that it seemed like it was so much work to have the fruit all peeled and cut perfectly and right before the start of class so it doesn’t get brown and . . . you get the picture.
I have had it in my mind to make mini versions for some time now but no occasions came up at the right time of year. For the past few years when I have hosted book club it was in the winter and I wanted a more “homey” dessert (most likely chocolate and warm and rich). I definitely didn’t want to make it without an occasion because who needs the extra calories sitting around with our little family of three.
Finally! I hosted book club in early September when the weather was still nice and the fruit was still in season (although getting close to the end). I made mini pizzas and there was enough for one each for book club members and then an extra for my two guys so they weren’t left out. It was much more doable making them in a mini version. I didn’t have to cut up a bunch of fruit and the fruit I did cut was used between the few pizzas there were. While the presentation of the full size on was pretty WOW, the mini versions were pretty cute and they were much easier to make. Enjoy!
Mini Fruit Pizza
1 package (18 ounces) of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups assorted fresh fruit (sliced strawberries, kiwi, bananas, or peaches; blueberries or raspberries)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For crust, divide cookie dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Place ball on a lightly floured surface and flatten slightly with palm of hand. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to a circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place dough on a baking sheet (preferably a baking stone) and bake 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown; cool 10 minutes. Carefully loosen cookies from baking stone, transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely.
For topping, combine cream cheese and sugar in a bowl; mix well. Spread mixture evenly over top of cookie. Slice fruit and arrange it over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate.
Makes 8 mini fruit pizzas
I wanted to make my guys a special treat for the start of football season. My husband grew up as a Viking fan, and while their record is nothing to cheer about so far this year, he still loves his team. He loves them so much he is trying to turn our son into a Viking fan as well.
I had a lot of fun making these cookies! It was great to surprise my little guy with his very own helmet, jersey, and football.
I definitely need to work on the jersey icing skills though. The second time I iced a jersey it turned out much better. I did the jersey a solid color and then piped on the detail. I guess practice does really make perfect.
You can find the recipe for the cookies and icing here.
Our little guy who is just shy of 7 years old chooses and makes a dinner every now and again. It is supposed to be once a week but sometimes we just get a little too busy or we don’t do our grocery shopping, and boy is he disappointed when that happens. If you have noticed any kind of trend with his recipes then you will notice that they typically fall in the “breakfast for dinner” category. He thumbs through the pages of my cooking magazines and he is drawn to pictures of waffles, pancakes, eggs, and of course, desserts.
A few of the choices have been okay but not ones that I would make a second time. These waffles however don’t fit that bill. I would make these again any time. They were a delicious savory waffle, crisp yet fluffy. Enjoy!
Bacon and Cheese Waffles
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 cups pancake mix
6 to 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a medium bowl, beat egg; add milk, sour cream, and butter. Stir in pancake mix; mix well. Fold in bacon and cheese. Bake in a preheated waffle iron until golden brown.
Makes 12 waffles
What a great way to start off October, with soup!
I hadn’t made a batch of soup in ages and I think I had Olive Garden on the brain so I searched for a pasta fagioli recipe at one of my favorite sites.
This soup was super easy to make. We will definitely be having it again at this house. Enjoy!
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
15 oz. can of cannellini beans
15 oz. can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
28 oz. fat-free chicken broth
1 large bay leaf
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. dry ditalini pasta
grated parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
In a deep pot, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat.
Blend the can of beans with one can of water in an electric blender until almost smooth. (Optional step if you don’t want the texture of beans.)
Add beans to pan, then add the can of tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, bay leaf, basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Add 1 cup water and bring to a slow boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook uncovered until pasts is al dente, according to pasta directions.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated cheese.
Makes 5 – two cup servings
Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy. just plain delish!
Yahoo! It’s Daring Bakers time and for once I completed the challenge and don’t feel a time crunch. How awesome is that!
I have seen my fair share of Tres Leches cakes but had yet to partake of one, let alone bake one. Which is kind of strange since I live in a community where the Mexican influence is very strong and I teach in a school where we have many students from the Latin culture.
I think I shied away from this cake for so many years because the thought of soggy cake turns me off. Yes that’s sad, I know. I don’t know what it is about soggy bread or cake but I just can’t do it. I tried to make a strata one time for breakfast and I was really unnerved at having to let the french toast sit in the egg mixture overnight in the fridge. I thought that maybe the magic would happen in the oven the next day when it baked, but it didn’t. It was still soggy the next day after baking and while everyone in my family proclaimed it delicious I had to make myself something else to eat. Maybe that gave me a bad taste (or feel) in my mouth when it comes to the thought of “soaking” a bread material.
I did sweat a bit during the cake mixing portion. I was so worried about beating the eggs too much and making them fall flat that I probably didn’t mix the chocolate into the batter as much as I could have. I love the marble effect it had though.
The cake sliced in half easily and I started in with my drenching of the “three milks”. I was a bit quizzical that I could get all of the mixture into my cake because it seemed like A LOT in the bowl. I kept brushing it on, letting it sit, brushing it on, letting it sit. Finally at about 11:15pm I had to call it good. I still had “milk” left but I couldn’t take any more time between brushings. I put it in the fridge, hoped for the best, and figured maybe it would be good for me since it wouldn’t be quite so “soggy” with less milk used.
Since it was a Sunday and our football team was playing I decided to decorate it with coconut tinted with our team’s colors. Good luck charm? Absolutely! We won again so that’s got to count for something.
I enjoyed this challenge! It was easy to do and it pushed me out of my comfort zone to try something I was familiar with but had yet to bake. Enjoy!
You can find the recipe here until I get a chance to type it up.