Saturday, January 26, 2008

Banana Bread & Walnut Chicken

Last night my husband made me invite people over for dinner at the last minute. He wanted me to make pork tenderloin with tabasco onions. I wasn't thrilled about it but sent him off to the store. The husband of the couple who we invited over is a fabulous cook. I was nervous to cook for him.

While DH was at the store, I realized that we had bad bananas. Instead of throwing them out I made a loaf of banana bread for dessert. Nothing fancy, toasted pecans on top since the kids don't like them mixed in the bread. I baked it as usual. After letting it cool a bit, I tried to get it out of the pan and it wouldn't budge. In trying to get the bread out, I stuck my thumb through the crust and discovered it wasn't cooked all the way through. I tossed it back into the oven for a while and let it finish. I couldn't figure out what went wrong. But it tasted good, very good, better than usual. It didn't last long at all. I was able to snap a picture just before we finished the loaf.


Banana Bread
from the Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Add milk, vanilla and bananas. Mix well. Mix together flour & baking soda. Add to batter and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

And now that I'm writing the recipe out, I know what I did wrong. I used a cup of butter. Wow, not so good for you, but the extra butter made for a tasty loaf of banana bread.

DH came home from the store with chicken instead of pork. I was happy because I'm nervous about cooking pork tenderloin. What if it turned out dry? Yuck. I made Walnut Chicken instead. DH actually requested it and I complied. It is an easy recipe and my kids eat it. I forgot it is spicy so the other kids didn't eat it. Oh well. I offered PB sandwiches instead. They all said no. Their father (the one I was so nervous to cook for) said not to worry about it. He thought the chicken tasted great, not too spicy, his kids are just too picky.


Walnut Chicken
from my sister
  • 2 lbs chicken
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, ground to a powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix egg & milk in a bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Dip chicken in egg mixture then in walnut mixture and place in pan. When all chicken is breaded, drizzle with melted butter.

Cook for 30-40 minutes at 350.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Country Noodles and Pork

I found a recipe in the newspaper last week in the Double Duty column. That were you cook one meal and then use the leftovers for a second meal. It was for a pork tenderloin. I knew I had one in the freezer so I ripped it out.

The tenderloin was just marinated in italian dressing and roasted. It was good but nothing to rave about. The leftover recipe was Country Noodles and Pork. It seemed simple enough so I gave it a try. Of course, you would think with a name like Country Noodles & Pork, I would check to make sure I had egg noodles. Nope. We had Country Spaghetti and Pork instead.


Country Noodles & Pork
adapted from Double Duty recipe
  • 4 cups chicken stock (divided use)
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 8 oz noodles
  • 1/2 c diced red pepper
  • 1/2 c small green peas
  • 2 cups pork diced
  • 2 T butter

Take 1/4 cup of stock & mix in cornstarch and set aside. Bring rest of stock to a boil and add noodles. Cook for 5 minutes. Add peppers & peas. Cook until noodles are done. Stir in stock/cornstarch. Cook until thickens. Add pork and butter.

So I substituted the spaghetti for the noodles. No red pepper, I used green. No tiny peas, I used peas & carrots that I had in the freezer. I left out the butter.

Overall, it was good. DH & A enjoyed it. Both said that I should fix it again. The boys picked at it. J was eventually cajoled into eating it. B threw it across the room. But he throws most of his food. I'm starting to not take this personally.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

I made my chicken in the crockpot and then froze the meat. I didn't really need the chicken right then, I just wanted to try the crockpot method. So for the past week I've been thinking about how to use the meat. Yesterday I decided on chicken enchiladas. Another favorite from my childhood that I rarely make.

Since the children probably won't eat them, I experimented. I pretty much took what was in the pantry and in the fridge and threw it in. I didn't feel like the mess or the calories of frying the tortillas. I did a quick internet search for "How to soften corn tortillas" and came up with this site. I used the microwave method and it worked fairly well.


Chicken Enchiladas
  • couple of cups shredded chicken
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • cumin
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups sour cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • salsa (I used 2 tbsp or so of DH's homemade salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese
Combine the chicken, beans, chiles, onions & 1 1/2 cups sour cream. Mix in sour cream. Add cumin to taste, approx 3/4 tsp. Spray tortillas with Pam, wrap in paper towel and heat in microwave for 1 minute. Add couple tablespoons of filling to middle of tortilla & roll. Place in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Stir some salsa into sour cream and then thin with chicken stock to preferred consistency. Pour over enchiladas, top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Overall this meal was kind of blah. My main mistake was that I didn't add any salt. It needed it. The other issue was that it needed some spice. Some pepper jack cheese or jalepenos, something zippy. I didn't put it in because there was a chance that the kids might eat this meal. A did eat it and said it was okay. I ended up making chicken quesadillas for the boys. DH said it was okay, that it had potential. Maybe next time it will be better.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cheese Soup

Yesterday a cold front came through and dropped the normally tepid temps of North Texas in the 30s. It was cold. DH came home from the grocery store with a bag of potatoes that was only $.99. He showed it to me, very proud of his bargain purchase, and said "You are going to make cheese soup, aren't you?"

Cheese soup is a favorite recipe from growing up. It is yummy and is a definite must on our rare very cold nights.


Cheese Soup
adapted from some old church recipe book
  • 4-5 potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup or so diced ham
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup or so shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Add potatoes & carrots to pan, add water just to cover. Bring to boil and then simmer until cooked. Make a white sauce with the butter, flour & milk. Cook to thicken & then add cheese. Add cheese sauce & ham to cooked vegetables. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crock Pot Chicken & Stock

A friend of my mine months ago told me that she roasts chickens in the crock pot. I've wanted to try ever since. Last week, roast chickens were on sale so I bought a couple for me to try. My crock pot is huge so I thought I could cook 2 at once. I either bought huge roasters or my crock pot is not as big as I thought.

It was so simple. The chicken turned out moist and flavorful.

Crock Pot Roast Chicken
adapted from internet recipes
  • 1 roast chicken
  • salt, pepper
  • any other spices you wish
Crumble 3-4 balls of foil and put at the bottom of the crock pot. Rinse & pat dry the chicken. Salt & pepper the inside & out. Add any other spices you wish. Put breast side down on top of the foil balls.

Cook on high 1-2 hours, then on low 4-6 hours.

Once I gleaned the meat from the bones, I decided that I shouldn't waste all that good stuff. I'm making chicken stock. I went to this site and used his directions.

This is fun!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tomato Soup

A. rarely eats from the cafeteria at school, but when grilled cheese and tomato soup is on the menu, she always buys.

I found an old copy of Everyday Food in a drawer. I paged through and this soup caught my eye. It was a simple recipe, easy to make and it tasted fine. And the added bonus, I got to use my immersion blender. I blended it more than it said, knowing the children wouldn't take kindly to big chunks of tomatoes. All of them ate it. A. liked it even though it wasn't exactly like the cafeteria. My only complaint was slightly sweet. I might try different tomatoes next time.


Classic Tomato Soup
adapted from Everyday Food March 2006

  • 4 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 t dried)
  • 2 cans reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • salt & pepper
  1. In 5 qt dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat; add oil & onions. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour & tomato paste, cook 1 minute
  2. Add thyme, broth & tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, 30 minutes
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree soup leaving a fair amount of chunks. Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

kid made pizzas

No pictures of this rather unpretty dinner. I'm not suppose to say U-G-L-Y anymore, it isn't a nice word.

Dh picked up ready made pizza crusts, fake boboli. I told him to get more cheese because we didn't have much. He didn't listen.

So I gave the kids tomato sauce, spices, a tiny little bit of motz cheese and a new can of parmesan. The pizza could have been better, but they made a mess and enjoyed themselves.

Here is a picture of the fun:

Pot Roast Meat Pies

DH made pot roast in the slow cooker on Sunday. Yesterday I made the leftovers into meat pies. A loved them, J ate them and B threw them. I thought they were great.

This is by no means gourmet food. But comfort food is good food too.


Pot Roast Meat Pies
  • 2 cups or so of leftover roast, carrots & potatoes chopped
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, cut into 8

Mix leftovers veggies & soup. Put big scoop of filling in pie crust, fold over and fork close. Baked at 400 ~ 18 minutes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Test Post

new blog for cooking/eating/thinking about eating