Trying a New Online Recipe: One Banana Banana Bread

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The banana hook at our house is rarely empty for long though it does get stuck with overly ripe fruit from time to time. When the yellow skin starts channeling 101 Dalmatians, I start thinking one thing: banana bread. This time there was one lonely banana sitting in the fruit bowl attached to the hook. Since my usual recipes need at least a banana and a half, rather than crossing my fingers that this wasn’t a *”Two Banana Day” and winging it, I decided to see what I could find while searching for a one banana based recipe. What a Crock’s “One Banana Banana Bread” seemed very straight forward and easy so it was the winner.

Banana bread muffins

Here is my breakdown of this recipe.

  • Ingredients shopping:  Easy. Everything was already in the kitchen.
  • Prep:  Easy. The most time consuming part was melting the butter and chopping up the banana. Since I was using my KitchenAid stand mixer, I wasn’t going to experiment and see what the paddle attachment could do to a whole banana. My guess was make a mess.
  • Baking:  The muffins cooked much faster than I expected. Maybe I preheated the oven too long. I know I was multi-tasking while they were in the oven so that too can be added to the list of why they came out a bit too browned and slightly burnt at the bottoms of a few. Luckily, I had used cupcake liners or I would have been scraping muffin bits out of the bottom of the tins..
  • Make it again:  Yes. Even with the slight overbaking, they were quite good. Darth Husband liked them as well. Next time I’ll set my timer at short intervals to figure out the best range of time for my oven.
  • Modify it:  Maybe, but not right away. Getting a nice golden color needs to happen first. Then I can see what I could add. Nuts were an optional ingredient but since we had none in the pantry that would mesh well, I opted not to use them.
  • Works for leftovers: Baked goods generally result in leftovers in our house. I stored them in a gallon sized  zip top bag and a few days later, they still tasted good.

*Big Block Sing Song is a kid show I never knew about until someone mentioned the song. Of course, it got stuck in my head.

 

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Trying a New Online Recipe: Pancakes from Pennies & Pancakes

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During the week, I am all about grabbing a quick breakfast since I am definitely not a morning person. Some days it might be fruit, yogurt, and granola. For others, it is take-out or something designated as a breakfast item per the writing on the plastic wrapper. Sitting down and enjoying a leisurely breakfast is left for the weekends.

Last Saturday, I woke up with pancakes on the brain. I was the first one up and after getting a semi-coherent “yes” to my asking Darth Husband if he was hungry, I dodged the galloping kitten and went to make breakfast. I was going to try a boxed coconut mix that I picked up from Trader Joe’s for me and then make our usual boxed mix for him.

Coconut mix? Check. Usual boxed mix? Nope.

After searching through the pantry like a forlorn Jack Sparrow (“But why is the mix gone?”) and deciding that I was still making pancakes and ones from scratch, I found the  post containing the Favorite Pancake Recipe on Pennies and Pancakes. First of all, if a blog name INCLUDES the word “pancakes”, that is a good sign.

pancakes

Here is my breakdown of this recipe.

  • Ingredients shopping:  Easy. I had everything but the whole wheat flour already in the kitchen.
  • Prep:  Easy. The hardest part was using the sifter and not making a mess.
  • Cooking:  Easy to medium. Figuring out when to flip a pancake is a skill I mastered within the last five years. Though I fully understand that in the grand scheme of stovetop cooking it isn’t extremely difficult, I have mushed and burned many a pancake. After the first few using this batter, I was able to time it quite well.
  • .Make it again:  Definitely. This turned out extremely well and both Darth Husband and I really enjoyed them.
  • Modify it:  Yes. This time, out of necessity, I used regular flour instead of whole wheat flour. In the future, I could see doing something like adding a bit of cinnamon to the batter.
  • Works for leftovers: Yes. I reheated some on Sunday and topped it with strawberry jam instead of butter as I had done on Saturday. I had a few others for a weekday breakfast as well.

Trying a New Online Recipe: 5-Star Cheeseburger Casserole

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Even though I usually try to set up a meal plan for the week, often when I’m out shopping it will just be planned ideas and not for exact days. This works especially well when the weather is crazy and I don’t want to use the oven or I’m running amuck in the evening and have less time to cook.  Occasionally, I will end up with something that gets passed over and next thing I know, I am having to make it before it ends up in the garbage. This happened with some ground beef. I had a little time before the use by date but wasn’t planning to risk it by waiting any long. It was 93%/7% so I was thinking to make pasta with a meat sauce. When I mentioned that to Darth Husband, he suggested I make cheeseburger casserole instead. I had meshed together a few recipes to make one and he liked it. Since this was before I started my Wednesday recipe attempt posts, this time I decided to follow one recipe, 5-Star Cheeseburger Casserole from Bakerette.

Here is my breakdown of this recipe.

  • Ingredients shopping:  Easy. Everything was already in my kitchen or easily found at my local grocery store since nothing was out of the ordinary.
  • Prep:  Easy. Basic cutting and measuring.
  • Cooking:  Easy. Even though this includes both stovetop and oven based cooking, neither was difficult.
  • .Make it again:  Definitely. The recipe works great for the two of us but could also easily be served for a group.
  • Modify it:  Yes. I excluded the pickles. I could also see swapping out the noodles for rice noodles or corn noodles if I wanted to change things up a bit.
  • Works for leftovers: Yes even though we only had enough for Darth Husband to take for lunch.

Trying a New Online Recipe: One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta

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If I have planted the container garden, there is always basil. It has become automatic since I have repeatedly kept that plant alive. Some years are better than others but it still survives. This year is one of the better years. My basil plant has grown like crazy! In an attempt to keep it from being predominantly patio decor, I’ve been trying to use it in my cooking. Pasta dishes is an easy default but that usually means a sauce. This time I tried something different yet not too out of the ordinary for us – One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta Recipe from Apron Strings.

Here is my breakdown of this recipe.

  • Ingredients shopping: Easy. Other than the fresh basil outside, everything but the linguine and the vegetable broth was already in the kitchen.
  • Prep: Easy/Medium. Though it is basic cutting and measuring, the cutting part needs to be thinly slicing the garlic and onion. I don’t have superb knife skills so I have to cut slowly which adds to the prep time. If you have great knife skills, this will be easy.
  • Cooking: Easy/medium. The timer is your friend. I did not want to burn anything so I used it constantly.
  • Make it again: Yes. You can’t go wrong with tomato, basil and pasta in my opinion. This was a great way to have that all together in one dish. I’m a fan of one pot cooking since it easily combines all the flavors and uses less pots and pans.
  • Modify it: Yes. This time I used a red onion because I didn’t realize my sweet onions had gone bad until I cut into them. Plus, it was too late to go to the grocery store. I searched online about red vs sweet onions and learned that adding a bit of sugar will make the red more like the sweet. It made sense so I added ¼ tsp of white sugar. Next time I will use a sweet onion. Also, the vegetable broth box was only 4 cups so I added ½ cup of warm water. Next time I will also use low-sodium broth to cut the initial salt level. Then adding salt to taste at the end can be an individual preference.
  • Works for leftovers: Yes. It reheated pretty well in the microwave. Any extra liquid did cook off but I was expecting it to do so. I could also see reheating this in the oven and topping it with shredded cheese.

Trying a New Online Recipe: Melt in Your Mouth Chicken

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Almost every week our menu planning includes at least one chicken dish. After Darth Husband saw an advertisement about cooking chicken with Greek yogurt, we wanted to give it a try. There are numerous recipes online but we wanted to start with a basic one. The one I found, Melt in Your Mouth Chicken, is just that.

Here is my breakdown of this recipe.

  • Ingredients shopping:  Easy. None of the ingredients are difficult to find and the majority were already in our kitchen.
  • Prep: Easy/medium – Basic cutting and measuring. Coating the chicken was a bit messy. I first tried using a spoon and then gave up and just used my fingers.
  • Cooking: Easy.
  • Make it again: Definitely. The chicken was tender and the flavor was delicious. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with the simple combination of Parmesan cheese and garlic.
  • Modify it: Yes. I can see replacing the Parmesan with almost any other shredded cheese. Salt, pepper, and garlic are a seasoning base that we use for various dishes. I would just need to look in the spice cabinet to find numerous others that would work.
  • Works for leftovers: Yes. I had some cold on a pretzel bun one day and heated up some more another time.

Trying a New Online Recipe: Spinach Lasagna III

I love spinach. Though I often eat it in salads, in sandwiches, and by itself topped with a bit of butter and sea salt, my favorite way is in a pasta dish. The idea to make spinach lasagna got stuck in my head and I knew it wouldn’t go away until I actually made it. The last time I tried winging it and it ended up more mixed pasta dish than lasagna. This time I wasn’t messing around and while looking up a recipe online, I found allrecipes.com’s Spinach Lasagna III.

Here is my breakdown of this recipe.

  • Ingredients shopping: Easy/medium – I didn’t have all the cheeses so I had to track them down in sizes that would work for the recipe. Everything else was either already in the kitchen or easily found at the grocery store.
  • Prep: Easy/medium – Basic cutting and measuring plus multiple steps for the filling. Layering the noodles takes a bit of patience but as long as you don’t rush the placement it works out.
  • Cooking: Easy – Sautéing veggies was easy. Once the dish was in the oven, all I had to do was set the timer.
  • Make it again: DEFINITELY! It was cheesy and delicious and satisfied my wanting spinach lasagna.
  • Modify it: Yes. The leftover mushrooms I intended to use had gone bad in the fridge. Since I wasn’t going out for one item, I substituted asparagus.
  • Works for leftovers: Yes. I made just shy of the full recipe (since I bought slightly less ricotta) which is TWELVE servings. We both ate it several days and gave some away. It also reheated extremely well in the microwave.