Monday, August 30, 2010

Blueberry Banana Bread

Have I ever mentioned how many bananas I have in my freezer on a regular basis? I have, and it's a lot. I also keep blueberries on hand so I was delighted to find this recipe - a way to use them both. And a wonderful way, at that. I brought this bread to two morning meetings at work and it went quickly; I'm sure it will at your house too. This recipe makes 2 loaves or probably 24 muffins; you can halve it if you only want one loaf, or you can freeze the second one after wrapping it well in cling wrap or foil.

Start by placing the bluberries in a medium bowl and tossing them with 1/2 cup flour. Coating the berries with flour helps prevent the batter from turning green from the blue berries.

Next, to make the batter, cream together the applesauce, oil and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time,

beating well after each addition. (I can't really crack an egg with one hand. I did it like this for the photo opp!)

Next add the oatmeal,

flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and vanilla

and mix just until combined. Finally, add the banana

and mix until incorporated, then fold in the blueberry/flour mixture.

Divide the batter between two greased loaf pans and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.

(If you choose to make muffins, I would imagine they would only need to bake for 20-30 minutes.)

Get more inspiration at Mouthwatering Mondays, Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table and Tasty Tuesdays.

Blueberry Banana Bread

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 cups flour, divided
1 cup quick cooking oats
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups mashed banana (about 4-5 bananas)
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

In a medium bowl, toss blueberries with 1/2 cup flour; set aside. In large mixing bowl, cream together applesauce, sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add oats, 3 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and vanilla and mix just until combined. Add banana and mix until incorporated. Fold in blueberry/flour mixture.

Pour mixture into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Loaf can be frozen, tightly wrapped in cling wrap or foil.

Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bok Choy Chicken Salad

This is one of my favorite salads of all time. I can't believe I've been doing this blog for well over a year and haven't made this yet! This is the perfect salad for any occasion - I recently served it for a luncheon at work and it received rave reviews. Bok Choy is a fun vegetable (used primarily in Asian dishes) that has wonderful crunch. If you've never used it before, this is a great way to try it.

Start by making the wonderful crunchy noodles. Break up the ramen noodles with the heel of your hand,

then pour them into a mixing bowl.

Add the almonds

and the sesame seeds.

Sprinkle with the sugar and stir to combine, then pour the melted butter over this mixture.

Stir well to coat the noodles then transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet.

(Still too hot to turn on the oven when I made this so I did this in 2 batches in my toaster oven!)

Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden.

Let cool completely. Try to keep yourself from eating all of this right off the baking sheet. It is yummy. But you need it for the salad - it's what makes the salad so special!

While the noodles "toast" you can prepare the vegetables.

Separate the bok choy stalks and wash them - bok choy is a bit like celery except the stalks are white and the tops have large dark green leaves.

Trim up the bok choy by cutting the ends off the stalk (discard the end)

and then cut the leafy section off and set aside cause you'll be using it later.

I'm going to "chop" the bok choy in my food processor - you can do it by hand if you prefer. Cut the stalks lengthwise into 2 or 3 skinnier pieces for dicing.

Now you should have a pile of "sticks" and a pile of leaves.

Fit the food processor with the thickest slicing blade and then stack the sticks into the feed tube.

Process them through, and repeat with all the remaining bok choy stalks. Pour the chopped bok choy into a large bowl

then coarsely chop the leaves.

Add the leaves to the bowl, and then add the sliced green onions.

Prepare the dressing in a measuring cup. Add the oil, red wine vinegar,

soy sauce

and sugar

and whisk well to dissolve the sugar.

Assemble the salad 30-45 minutes before you are serving it. Add the chicken to the vegetables,

then add the noodles.

Stir it up to mix everything together, then pour on the dressing.

Stir well to coat everything.

One thing that's great about this salad (besides the taste and uniqueness!) is its transport-ability. You may have noticed the "change in scenery" since I assembled this salad at work. It's so easy to bring the "pieces" (vegetables, chicken, noodles and dressing) and then assemble it at your location.

Savor the last days of summer with this delicious salad.

Get inspired at Cooking Thursday, Food on Fridays, Friday Food and Foodie Friday, This Week's Cravings.

Bok Choy Chicken Salad

2 Tbsp. sugar
3 packages Ramen noodles, crushed (discard seasoning packet)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds (3-4 oz.)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 large head bok choy, chopped
4-5 green onions, sliced
4 cooked chicken breasts, chopped

3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar

In a medium bowl, combine crushed ramen noodles, almonds, sesame seeds and sugar. Stir to mix. Drizzle melted butter over and stir well to coat all the noodles. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.

In a measuring cup, combine all dressing ingredients and whisk well to dissolve sugar.

Combine chopped bok choy, onions and chicken in a large bowl. Add cooled noodle mixture and pour dressing over salad. Stir well to coat all vegetables, chicken and noodles.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August Pie

When I saw the title of this pie I knew I had to try it. I understand it was so named because August is when peaches and berries are at their peak. This pie is SO easy to make and it is SO delicious - a light custard keeps the fruit together. I made it with blueberries cause that's what I had on hand, but next time (later this week? ha!) I will try raspberries.

Place your pie crust in a pie plate, then add the peaches

and the berries.

In a small bowl, combine the half and half, egg, sugar,


cinnamon and salt. Whisk well, then pour over the fruit.

Bake for 50 minutes or until the center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.

This is scrumptious served slightly warm with vanilla ice cream!

Get more recipes at Mouthwatering Mondays, Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table and Tasty Tuesday.

August Pie

1 refrigerated pie crust
2 cups sliced peaches
2 cups blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or any combination
1 cup half and half
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Place pie crust in a 9 inch pie plate; place fruit in crust and spread evenly. In a small bowl, combine half and half, egg, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt; stir until well blended. Pour over fruit.

Bake at 400 for 50 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serves 8-10.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kung Pao Steak and Vegetables

Isn't it fun when you can re-create restaurant dishes at home? Especially when it's not too difficult! This dish is easy, and like most stir fries, comes together quickly after all the chopping. And since you made it, you know what's in it - lots of good vegetables, tender steak and a tasty sauce with a kick! My favorite part? Randomly yelling (very dramatically of course) "Kung Pao!" when making this dish.

To prepare the sauce, combine the soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar

cornstarch and chili paste

in a small measuring cup and whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved. Use more or less chili paste to your taste - 2 tsp. will give it a bit of a kick, use more if you're more tolerant to the heat.

Next, chop all the vegetables. I like to combine them all in a big bowl so it's easy to pour them into the pan when the time comes.

I love seeing all those vibrant colors! Finally, slice the steak, then heat 1/2 Tbsp. oil in your skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the steak and then stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

Remove the steak to a bowl or plate and wipe the skillet clean. Add 1 Tbsp. oil and heat again over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the garlic and the green onion

and stir fry for 1 minute. Then add the rest of the vegetables

and stir fry for about 5 minutes or until the broccoli is beginning to get tender. It will cook a little more when you add the sauce so don't overcook it now! It should still be bright green.

Give the sauce another whisking to make sure the cornstarch stays dissolved, then add it to the vegetables.

Cook and stir as the sauce thickens, being sure to coat all the vegetables with the sauce. Add the steak back to the pan,

and stir well to coat the steak with the sauce.

Serve over rice or noodles, and sprinkle chopped peanuts on top.

Find more recipes at Cooking Thursday, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays and Friday Food.

Kung Pao Steak and Vegetables

1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
2-3 tsp. chili paste
1 1/2 Tbsp. oil
1 pound skirt or sirloin steak, thinly sliced across the grain
4 green onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head of broccoli)
1 small red pepper, chopped
6 ounces white mushrooms, quartered
2 ribs celery, sliced
1/4 cup peanuts
cooked rice or noodles

Whisk together the soy sauce, cornstarch, vinegar, sugar and chili paste until cornstarch is fully dissolved; set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute. Add broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms and celery; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

Whisk sauce mixture again, then stir in beef, any accumulated juices and soy sauce mixture. Stir until sauce thickens, then heat through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle peanuts over the top. Serve over rice. Serves 4-6.
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