March 4, 2014

Banana Bread

I know there are a ton of recipes out there for banana bread.  I've tried some different ones, but I always end up coming back to this recipe.  This is our family's favorite.  It's simple and always turns out great.

After one of my attempts at making banana bread about 13 years ago, my husband suggested I try this recipe.  He had called his mom and asked her for her banana bread recipe.  I made it and it's been our favorite ever since.

Ingredients (printable recipe)
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 medium) mashed bananas
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/4 cup milk OR buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease (not oil) bottom only of 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, blend first 6 ingredients. Beat 1 minute at medium speed.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients just until dry ingredients are moistened.
4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing bread from pan. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack, covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep moist.
Makes one loaf  (I usually double this recipe to make two loaves.)

1.If you're a little low on mashed banana, add some applesauce to make up the difference.
2. While baking, if the top begins to get too brown before the bread is done, make a tent with aluminum foil and loosely cover the top of the bread--shiny side away from bread.
3. Since only the bottom is greased, use a spatula or butter knife to loosen the sides of the bread from the pan before turning it out onto the cooling rack.

Source: Mother in Law

First 6 ingredients. I usually double this recipe and make two loaves instead of one.

Stirring in the dry ingredients
Add some nuts if you like. I made two loaves and poured half of the batter into a prepared pan and added the nuts to the rest of the batter. That way I had one loaf with nuts and one without.

The kiddos ate their banana bread with Nutella and candied pecans on top.

The Results... 
This banana bread recipe has always turned out delicious.  My husband usually wants the end piece.  He likes the sweet crust on the outside.  Inside it is moist and full of banana flavor.  The kids put some Nutella on their slices and sprinkled some candied pecans on top.  They are so smart! 

More Banana Recipes:

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January 23, 2014

Crab Rangoon Dip with Baked Wonton Chips

I have more party food for you today, Crab Rangoon Dip with Baked Wonton Chips.  I like the idea of turning Crab Rangoon into a dip.  I had to give this recipe a try!    

Ingredients (printable recipe)
8 oz. imitation crab, finely chopped
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 package (12 oz.) wonton wrappers
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. I made the wonton chips first. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut wonton wrappers in half diagonally and lay in a single layer on top of baking sheet. Spray tops of wonton wrappers with more cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. 
2. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.Watch closely as they can go from golden to dark brown very quickly!
3. Combine all the dip ingredients and mix well. Spoon into a 1 quart baking dish or small pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Serves about 12

Adapted from Lemony Thyme

I started by making the wonton chips. If I had double ovens, I would make the dip first and then make the chips in the second oven while the dip is baking.
Spray the baking pan, add the wonton wrappers, spray again, lightly salt and bake. So easy!
My favorite part of this recipe was the baked wonton chips. You can't eat just one!
The original recipe chops the imitation crab in the food processor. Since my food processor is still packed away, I just chopped it finely by hand.
All the dip ingredients are mixed together. I baked my dip in an aluminum pie plate.
Hot, bubbly and ready to eat!
The Results...
Everyone really liked the baked wonton chips! They were kind of addicting.

The dip wasn't bad.  We decided on 3 (out of 5) stars.  I don't know if I will make the Crab Rangoon Dip again, but I will definitely make more baked wonton chips---crispy, crunchy and lightly salted yumminess!

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January 19, 2014

Lemon Cheesecake Cheese Ball

It's that time of year again.  The Superbowl is just two weeks away.

I've only watched a few games this season while my husband and son were watching.  Since I don't watch football very often, my son assumed that I don't know a thing about football.  But, a few weeks ago I popped into the room while they were watching a game.  The quarterback of one of the teams got totally sacked.  I said, "Wow! That was quite a sack!"  My son couldn't believe that I even knew what a sack was. :)  I surprised him with a little of my football knowledge.  You can't grow up with five brothers and not pick up at least a little football knowledge. :)

Today we're watching the conference championships.  I thought it would be nice to try a new snack to munch on while we watch together.  Is Lemon Cheesecake Cheese Ball a manly enough football snack?

Ingredients (printable recipe)
10 oz. cream cheese, softened enough to stir
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
zest of 2 meyer lemons OR 1 large lemon
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 graham cracker sheet, coarsely crushed
1. Combine cream cheese and sugar in bowl. Stir together with a spoon or spatula until well combined and smooth.
2. Mix in lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth.
3. Transfer mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a ball, wrapped tightly. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.
4. Coarsely crush the graham cracker and transfer to a plate or bowl. Roll the cheese ball in the crumbs until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves about 6.

*If you have a large group, I would double the recipe. This serves 10-12 people
20 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
zest of 4 meyer lemons or 2 large lemons
2 1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 graham cracker sheets, coarsely crushed
Same as above, except after mixing together, divide mixture into two cheese balls. Refrigerate at least 3 hrs. Roll each ball into the graham cracker crumbs until well coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Adapted from Annie's Eats and Kirstin Jackson for NPR

My little cheese ball wrapped up and ready for the refrigerator
Here's the cheese ball after it stayed in the refrigerator overnight. It still stays somewhat soft.
Time to Roll.......

We ate our cheese ball immediately.
And it was devoured!
The Results... 
Lemon Cheesecake Cheese Ball may not sound like manly football food, but it was a HUGE hit around here.  Everyone gave it a full 5 stars.  We had apples slices and graham crackers with it.  Strawberries, vanilla wafers or animal crackers would also be yummy.  

Lemon Cheesecake Cheese Ball was creamy, not overly sweet and full of fresh lemon flavor.  I really liked the Meyer lemons that I used in this recipe.  Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange and have a sweeter, less acidic flavor than the more common Lisbon or Eureka supermarket lemon varieties.

Give this a try for your Superbowl party or any get together or just for fun.  You won't be disappointed!

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