Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Always nice to have a few overripe bananas to make some banana bread. I’ve had a number of recipes over the years, but this is my new favorite.  My daughter pointed me to this recipe from the blog Running with Spoons. I made some changes and below is how I make it. I really like putting quick breads in smaller pans rather than one standard size bread pan. They seem to bake more evenly and just nice to cut the smaller loaves.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I usually use whole wheat pastry flour, but not necessary).
  • 1/2  cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    banana-bread

    Double Chocolate Banana Bread

  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt (I use 2% fat)
  • 1/3 cup REAL maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I usually use pecans, but use what you like or none at all)

Put it together:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°
  • Put flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl and whisk together.
  • Put the eggs, bananas, yogurt, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla in another bowl. With an immersion blender, mix all ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour the wet ingredients in the dry ingredients and mix to just combine. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.
  • Pour evenly into 2 well-greased small bread pans. (My pans are ~ 7.5″ x 3.5″). I also use parchment paper and just grease the small ends. Makes for an easy cleanup and the bread comes out so much easier.
  • Bake for  33-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan and cool further on a cooling rack.

Black Bean Brownies

In trying to get more beans and fiber in our diet, I tried this Black Bean Brownies recipe. It is an adaptation from the book, “Spilling the Beans.” It got a thumbs up from the family and you’d have no idea there were beans in it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c rinsed & drained canned black beansbrownies
  • 1 1/4 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 c flour (used whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, if desired

Put it Together:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Rinse the beans and spread them out between some paper towels to absorb the excess moisture.
  3. Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and put in oven to toast lightly (5-7 minutes). Watch them carefully. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a small pan, melt the chocolate and butter being careful not to scorch. Mix to combine and set aside to cool a few minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon.
  6. Place beans and cooled butter/chocolate mixture in a food processor and combine until smooth. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Pulse processor until combined. Add mixture to the flour/salt combining lightly.
  7. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. Do not over mix.
  8. Pour into a greased (I used butter) 8×8″ baking pan. Bake at 350º F for 28-30 minutes. It is done when batter no longer jiggles and is slightly firm. A toothpick inserted comes out very moist & “chocolatey.”
  9. Cool completely before cutting unless you want to eat this with a spoon. When cooled it is very moist and delicious!!

Turkey, Chicken or Pheasant Pot Pie

I don’t have a picture for this recipe, but wanted to write it down so I don’t forget it! I’ve made it twice in the past couple months and it’s delicious! The garlicky sauce that the veggies and meat are mixed in is wonderful. My husband licked the pot clean when I made the sauce.

The pie has one crust on top. You can purchase frozen pie crust in the grocery store, but if you have a food processor, it comes together in a couple minutes.

I listed all the meats in the title, as it’s been made with all of them.

Turkey, Chicken, or Pheasant Pot Pie

Make the Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour (I use King Arthur’s white whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled & cut into small chunks
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. ice cold water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Put it Together:

  • Combine flour, butter, & salt in food processor. Pulse until crumbly. This is about 10 1 second pulses.
  • Stir water and vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Pour half the water-vinegar mixture in processor. Pulse to combine (about 8 1 second pulses). Pour remaining liquid in and pulse til it comes together. (8-10 1 second pulses). Sometimes I have to had a bit more water.
  • Shape into a small ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • This recipe makes enough to make a top crust of 13 x 9 inch pan.

Make the Filling

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (be generous with this)
  • 2/3 cup flour (I use white whole wheat by King Arthur)
  • 3 cups chicken stock/broth (or use water to make 3 cups if not enough broth).
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, diced (I left peel on)
  • 2 cups chopped/sliced carrots
  • 3-4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas
  • 2  cups cooked chopped/shredded turkey, chicken, or pheasant.
  • Cayenne pepper or crushed red peppers to taste
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put it Together

  • Make the filling: Heat the Olive Oil in a large pot. Add onion, potatoes, celery, carrots, thyme, & cayenne/crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté until tender crisp – about 5-7 minutes. Add frozen peas and add meat of choice. Set aside.
  • Make the sauce: Melt 6 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté for a minute. Add flour and whisk until a thick paste forms. Add the stock one cup at a time. Whisk after each cup. Season with salt and pepper. Add to vegetable/meat mixture, stirring to combine.
  • Finish it: Pour mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Roll out your pie crust on a lightly floured board til it hangs slightly over the 13 x 9 inch pan. Finish the edges with fork prints or as you wish. Cut slits in the top. Put in 375 degree preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Brush the warm crust with a bit of butter. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Broccoli Soup

There are a lot of Broccoli Soup recipes out there and many of there are delicious. I’ve made a number of variations myself over the years. Here’s one I made today that went over well.

Broccoli Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped broccoli (I used frozen and the amount is pretty much a guesstimate)

    broccoli-soup

    Broccoli Soup

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup half and half or cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese (Parmesan would work well too)
  • 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 oz. can of white beans, drained and well rinsed (just about any kind work or use a couple cups of freshly cooked beans).
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Put it Together

  • Heat olive oil in a soup pot and then saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes until soft.
  • Add the broccoli, red pepper flakes, and chicken stock. Heat til just boiling and simmer until broccoli is done (6-8 minutes)
  • Add the white beans and heat a few more minutes. Remove from burner and let cool a few minutes.
  • With an immersion blender, puree the soup. You can also puree in a regular blender and work in batches.
  • Add the cheese and cream. Heat a couple more minutes and then serve with crackers, crusty bread or toasted garlic bread. A salad on the side can complete the meal or serve as a side with a main dish.

Kale Quinoa Salad

The original inspiration for this salad came from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve had to make several changes to accommodate the availability of ingredients in our rural area. The end result was a hit with the family and I’ve made it several times since.

Kale Quinoa Salad

Ingredients – Dressing

  • 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

    Kale Quinoa Salad

    Kale Quinoa Salad

  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of kale (I’ve used both the curly kale and the dinosaur (aka Lacinator) kale.
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced part ways up into the green stalk.
  • 5 oz bag dried tart cherries (my daughter used cranberries instead)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted until light brown and cool.
  • Feta Cheese – crumbled
  • Lemon zest gratings

Put it All Together

  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Place the quinoa in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups boiling water and a 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Rinse quinoa well in cold water and drain. Set aside.
  2. Rinse and dry the kale. Remove the leaves from the stalks, discarding the stalks. Finely chop the kale and put in a large bowl.  (Do make sure it is chopped finely. )
  3. Add the quinoa, scallions, cherries, almonds and mix well.
  4. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over the dressing. Grate some lemon zest over the salad. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Add the Feta cheese to the individual servings.
  6. This servers 3-4 as a meal or several smaller servings if used as a side.

Surprisingly, this salad will keep well in the refrigerator for a day.

Easy Cabbage Soup

Not much to say about this soup except that it is TOTALLY awesome. I had posted a link to the recipe on Simply Recipes on Facebook awhile back and it generated a lot of comments. This soup is incredibly easy to make, healthy, and tastes great. I tweaked a few ingredients from the original. The spices are essential to this soup, so please don’t skip them!

Easy Cabbage Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin seed
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds (grind them in a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder used for spices)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

    cabbage soup

    Cabbage Soup

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-7 cups packed of sliced cabbage (I make slices around a quarter inch)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 cups water (depends on desired thickness of soup)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Put it All Together

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter on medium heat in a soup pot (8 qt).  Add the garlic, onions, and spices. Cook until onions are softened, 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add the cabbage to the onions, stirring to mix. Sprinkle with the sea salt.
  3. Add the tomatoes and juices to the onions, again stirring.
  4. Add the chicken broth. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 25-30 minutes or until cabbage is thoroughly cooked.
  5. If soup is too thick, add additional water or broth.

This is a light soup. I have sautéed some sliced Andouille sausage for users to add to the soup at their discretion. My husband likes this addition.

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Almond Topping

I volunteered to bring a dessert for a ladies group that meets in my home town. I was going to make my Applesauce Muffins, but then I got my latest magazine of Cooking Light and stumbled across a recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake that was loaded with blueberries and I was hooked! Made a few minor changes and served it up to family for testing. It was well received.

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Almond Topping

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (if you use frozen, bake a bit longer)

    blueberrycoffeecake

    Blueberry Coffee Cake

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats.
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp Safflower oil (or other light oil)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Put it All Together

  1. Heat the oven to 375.
  2. Wash the blueberries and drain thoroughly.
  3. In a small bowl mix 1 Tbsp flour, cinnamon, sliced almonds, and rolled oats. Pour the 2 Tbsp. butter over the dry ingredients and mix. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the 2 cups flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Remove 2 Tbsp. of the flour mixture and toss with the blueberries. Set the blueberries aside.
  5. In a large bowl, place the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of butter, and safflower oil. Beat until well mixed. Add the egg and beat well.
  6. Add the buttermilk and flour mixture alternately to the sugar mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  7. Coat a 9 inch square pan with cooking spray. Place 1/2 the batter in the pan and spread out with a spatula. Evenly put 1/2 the blueberries on top. Add the rest of the batter mixture and then top with the rest of the blueberries. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar-almond-oatmeal mixture from step 3.
  8. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. You may need to use the outside edges as there are so many blueberries that the toothpick always comes out pretty messy🙂. I use the outside edges for the toothpick and then bake a bit longer to accommodate for the middle of the pan.
  9. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack. Loose around the edges with a knife and remove from pan if you wish.

I haven’t tried it yet, but did think that substituting raspberries or blackberries would also be good — or even a mixture of berries. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream if you wish. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!