Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Banana Coffeecake with Macadamia and Coconut

I'm always on the look out for new things to do with bananas, in an effort to keep my freezer stash under control. This is basically a banana bread with a delicious topping - a brown sugar sauce with macadamia nuts and coconut. This is FANCY banana bread!

Start by preparing the pan - spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray, then line the bottom with wax paper. It's easy to do this by tracing the bottom of the pan on the wax paper.

Cut out your tracing, then place in the pan pressing down so it sticks to the cooking spray.

Now spray the wax paper with more cooking spray.

Ok, let's get baking. Combine the sugar, vanilla, egg and oil in a large mixing bowl.

Add the nutmeg,

then the bananas. (If you're using frozen bananas, just throw them in - peeled of course! - if they're fresh, you'll need to mash them.)

Beat this mixture on medium speed for about a minute or until well blended. Add the flour,

salt, baking powder and baking soda,

and beat until blended. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan

and bake for 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and remove the wax paper.

For the topping, combine the brown sugar, water and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and stir in the macadamia nuts and coconut.

Spread over the cake.

Serve warm. Carmelly topping for breakfast. Yum.

There's more inspiration at What's Cooking Wednesdays.

Banana Coffeecake with Macadamia and Coconut

3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg
1 cup mashed banana
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. butter
2 Tbsp. chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
2 Tbsp. flaked sweetened coconut

Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray, line with waxed paper, then coat paper with cooking spray.

Combine first six ingredients (sugar through banana) in a large mixing bowl and beat until combined. Add flour and rest of cake ingredients, and beat until blended. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and remove wax paper.

Combine brown sugar, water and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in nuts and coconut. Spread over cake.

Serve cake warm. Makes 12 servings.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cucumber-Dill Shrimp Dip

There's nothing that motivates me to eat raw veggies more than a delicious dip! I had some shrimp leftover after making the stir fry and risotto, so I was excited to re-discover this recipe in my collection.

I love shrimp and dill, and well, cucumbers, too, so I knew this would be a great combination. And it didn't disappoint. I'm eating it even as I type this post.

Combine the sour cream, salt and dill in a small mixing bowl.

Add the cream cheese,

then beat until smooth.

Set aside 3 whole shrimp for a garnish, then chop up the remaining shrimp.

Chop the cucumbers and set aside 2 Tbsp. for the garnish.

Add the remaining cucumbers to the creamed mixture.

Then add the shrimp.

Stir well to mix all ingredients, and then refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving. Serve with vegetables or crackers.

Get more great snack inspiration at Monday Munchies. There are more great ideas at the Ultimate Recipe Swap, Mouthwatering Mondays, Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table and Tasty Tuesday.

Cucumber-Dill Shrimp Dip

3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill or 1 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
6 oz. cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup diced unpeeled cucumber

In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, dill, salt and cream cheese and beat until smooth. Set aside 3 shrimp and 2 Tbsp. diced cucumber for garnish. Finely chop remaining shrimp. Add shrimp and cucumber to creamed mixture and stir well. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve with vegetables and/or crackers. Serves 8.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beef with Broccoli

I made up this recipe based on my mom's cashew chicken, which I make often. I adapted it to beef and broccoli by adding vegetables and using beef broth instead of chicken broth in the sauce. It's good!

When I make stir fry dishes, I like to have a mise en place. That's the fancy way to say all my stuff chopped and ready to go. Since the idea with a stir fry is to cook things quickly, you need to be ready - you don't want the beef to burn while you're chopping broccoli!

For this, I use green onions, pepper (yellow this time), broccoli and mushrooms, along with garlic (of course)! And the beef! I used round steak but sirloin steak is probably my preferred cut for this recipe.

To make the sauce, add soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar to the beef broth, and whisk well to combine.

Now you're ready to cook. First, heat a bit of oil in the skillet, then add the beef. You want the skillet to be plenty hot. If it is, you'll only need to cook the meat about 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

Remove the beef to a bowl and wipe out the pan, then add a bit more oil. When it's hot, add the onion, garlic, and peppers,

then the broccoli, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until they're crisp tender and brightly colored.

Then add the mushrooms and stir fry another 1-2 minutes. (Mushrooms cook a lot faster so I add them last.)

Give the sauce another whisking and then add to the vegetables. Because of the cornstarch, it will start to thicken right away. Stir constantly until it is nicely thickened and coating the vegetables. It will boil slightly and get darker in color.

Then add the beef to the pan, and stir well to coat everything. Let it simmer for a minute or so to thoroughly warm the meat.

You can serve this over rice or soba noodles.

Get more ideas at the Ultimate Recipe Swap, Cultural Connections, Food on Fridays, Family Recipe Fridays, Friday Feasts, Foodie Friday, and the Recipe Swap at the Grocery Cart Challenge.

Beef with Broccoli

2-3 T. vegetable oil
1 pound sirloin steak, diced
4 green onions, sliced
1 red/green/orange pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 cup fresh mushrooms, quartered
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Combine beef broth, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch in measuring cup; whisk well to dissolve cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in skillet and stir fry beef until medium rare, about 3 minutes. Set beef in a bowl and wipe out skillet. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil to skillet and stir fry onion, garlic, broccoli and pepper for 3 minutes til brightly colored and crisp tender. Add mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes. Whisk the sauce again and add to the pan, stirring frequently until sauce boils gently and thickens. Add the beef and stir well to coat.

Serve over rice or soba noodles.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower

I saw something similar to this at a restaurant a while back, and then re-created it at home. It's now my favorite way to eat cauliflower, except if you count with broccoli and cheese in a soup (that recipe coming soon!).

The measurements that you'll need of each ingredient will vary a bit depending on how large the head of cauliflower is - so I'll give you ranges.

First, cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets - you can usually do this just by breaking them off, then halving some of the larger ones. Place them in a large mixing bowl.

Drizzle with the olive oil, and stir well to coat.

Next, add the garlic and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Stir again to ensure that all the pieces are seasoned.

Then pour the cauliflower out onto a large rimmed baking sheet.

Just like when roasting vegetables, I like my Pampered Chef bar pan for this. If you're not using stoneware, spray your baking sheet with cooking spray before pouring out the cauliflower.

Sprinkle with parmsan cheese.

Roast at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until tender, stirring about every 10-15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Be sure to scoop up all the crispy parmesan bits!

There are more great recipes at What's Cooking Wednesdays and Healthy Helpings.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. minced garlic
3/4 - 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2-3 Tbsp. shredded or grated parmesan cheese

Place cauliflower florets in large mixing bowl; drizzle with olive oil and stir well to coat. Add garlic and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and stir well. Pour out onto a large rimmed baking sheet coated with nonstick spray (or use stoneware). Sprinkle pieces evenly with parmesan cheese.

Roast for 30-40 minutes until tender, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4-6.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins

I love the changing seasons. I am not ready to be done with summer by any means, but at the same time, I crave fall. I can hardly wait to make soups, stews, and do all my fall baking. I started with these, and held myself back from posting them until the first day of autumn! (oh well, I just heard on the radio that the first day of fall is tomorrow...well, this is in ANTICIPATION of the first day of fall!)

These muffins are SO good. They don't have any oil or butter and rely on the pumpkin and applesauce to keep them moist. And the spices! Oh, your house will smell amazing while these are baking. I also love that this recipe makes 36 muffins so you can share with a friend, or stock your freezer for busy mornings.

First, soak the raisins in hot water to plump them up a bit. I don't know about you, but I routinely do this when I bake with raisins and craisins. Here I've used a combination of both since I didn't have enough raisins! I place the dried fruit in a large measuring cup, and then just cover them with hot water from the tap and let them sit for about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar and applesauce.

Add in the pumpkin,

and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and powder, salt and all the spices. For this recipe, I use two cups whole wheat, and the remainder all purpose, with good results.

Gradually add this to the pumpkin mixture and beat just until combined and smooth.

Drain the raisins, and stir them in.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups lined with papers or greased with nonstick cooking spray. (For low fat muffins, I prefer papers because muffins without fat tend to stick to the pan, even with generous spraying!)

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Storing these in an airtight container overnight will help them release from the papers easily.

Ah, the smells and tastes of autumn. I can practically hear the leaves changing color now...

There are more great fall recipes at the Ultimate Recipe Swap. Get even more inspiration at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, and Tasty Tuesday.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2 cups raisins
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup applesauce
1 - 29 oz. can pumpkin (or two 15 oz. cans)
4 3/4 cups flour (use 2 cups whole wheat if you have it)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Soak raisins in hot water for 10 minutes to plump.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, applesauce and pumpkin and beat until smooth. In another bowl, combine the flour and remaining ingredients. Gradually add to the pumpkin mixture and beat just until combined and smooth. Drain the raisins and stir into the batter.

Spoon batter into muffin cups lined with papers. Bake at 350 for 30-35 mintues or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 36 muffins.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Caramel Banana Sundaes

I have had this recipe SO long, and every time I look through my collection, I think "I really should make this, I know I would love it!" But, alas, I never have whipping cream. So when I bought cream to make risotto, I resolved to also make this. Now, I may just have to buy stock in cream, cause this is SOOOO good!!

I've only had bananas foster once, but if I recall correctly, this tastes just like it. The difference with this recipe is that you don't need to worry about setting anything on fire.

Start by combining the sugar, butter and cream in a skillet.

Add the vanilla, rum extract and the cinnamon.

Turn the heat to medium and bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

Cook for two minutes and then remove from the heat momentarily.

Add the bananas,

stir until they're coated, and then return to the heat and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring ocassionally.

Let cool just a few minutes, then serve warm over ice cream.

Because the bananas are coated in sauce, the leftovers can easily be refrigerated. The bananas will get a little soft, but it will still taste great! (as if you'll have leftovers...)

There are more great ideas at Food on Fridays, Family Recipe Fridays, Friday Feasts, and Foodie Friday.

Caramel Banana Sundaes

3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. rum extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 medium firm bananas, cut into 1/2 inch slices

In a skillet, combine the brown sugar, butter, whipping cream, rum, vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook for two minutes. Remove from heat; add bananas and stir until coated. Return to heat; cook two minutes longer, stirring ocassionally. Serve warm over ice cream. Serves 4.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Apple Pie Muffins

I came up with this recipe this past weekend when I didn’t know what to do with a can of apple pie filling in my pantry. I used my banana muffin recipe as the base, and just added the pie filling. Then I made a streusel topping. The results are delicious. I have been eating them for breakfast, but I think they would be equally good warmed up and served with vanilla ice cream! (And I do think you could substitute any flavor of pie filling that you like: peach, cherry, etc!)

First, cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the vanilla and the eggs and beat until combined.

Gradually add the flour, then the baking soda and salt and mix just until combined.

Then add the can of pie filling. You want the beaters to kind of chop up the apples a bit since they are in slices.

Fill the muffin cups with the batter. These will be VERY full – up to the rim!

To prepare the streusel, combine the flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon and chopped almonds.

Cut in the butter until coarse crumbs are formed. Spoon the topping over the muffin batter.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Get more ideas at Monday Muffins, What's Cooking Wednesday and What did you Bake Today?

Apple Pie Muffins

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can apple pie filling

Streusel topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs; beat until combined. Gradually add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix just until combined. Add the pie filling and beat well until apples are chopped up. Spoon batter into 12-16 muffin cups.

To prepare streusel: combine the flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, sliced almonds and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using fingers or two forks, cut in butter to flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Spoon topping onto muffin batter.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Makes one dozen.
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