Sunday, August 25, 2013

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

This morning I realized I had 3 over-ripe bananas in my fruit bowl & didn't want them to go to waste, so I decided to make some banana muffins.  I found a really basic recipe on Pinterest that only called for 2 bananas & I actually had all of the other ingredients at my house, so I decided to give it a whirl.

My banana muffin idea was great in theory, but as I started peeling the bananas to mash them, I realized 2 of the 3 were disgustingly over-ripe & I couldn't use them.  But by this point I had already gathered my other ingredients & was REALLY dying for some muffins, so I started thinking about what I could use as a banana substitute--all I needed was the equivalent of 1 more banana.  As I started to think about this, I thought of how my grandmother always used to make me bananas & peanut butter for a snack--and VOILA!  There was my idea.  It took some tweaking, but I actually ended up with some seriously good muffins!  I am usually a stick-to-the-recipe kind of girl when it comes to baking, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well these turned out.  Enjoy!

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

1 ripe banana
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy b/c that's what I had)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk

Crumb Topping (optional--just mush these 3 ingredients together with a fork):
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 375 & grease muffin pan or line with paper liners.
2. Mash banana & mix with peanut butter, egg, vanilla, & butter.
3. Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. Dump dry mixture into the wet mixture.
5. Gradually add milk (up to 1 cup) until you get a good muffin texture--not like cookie dough, but not too runny.
6. Spoon into muffin pan & sprinkle with crumb topping.
7. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pizza Pockets

So, what do you do when you have a can of crescent rolls that's about to expire and you need a quick dinner?  Tonight, my first instinct was to take the tried & true pig-in-blanket route--but alas, there are currently no hot dogs in my refrigerator!  I also have a great creamy chicken pocket recipe (that I will have to remember to post on here soon!)--but only frozen chicken that I wasn't in the mood to thaw & cook.  SO...I started digging around for something that sounded like it would taste good wrapped up in a crescent roll.  (Although, let's be honest--what WOULDN'T taste good wrapped in a crescent roll, right?)  I decided to get a little creative with some pizza-making ingredients left over from the weekend and pizza pockets were born!  I added a nice salad on the side and VOILA!  Dinner in about 20 minutes! 
AND it got a thumb's up from my toughest little food critic! :-)
Here are the ingredients I dug up:
(SIDENOTE: If you have a Publix in your area and you are a feta cheese fan, give their basil & tomato feta a is to DIE for!!)

Pizza Pockets

(Serves 4)

1 can of crescent rolls
pizza sauce
shredded cheese
desired pizza toppings
(Optional topping -- garlic powder & grated Parmesean cheese)

1.  Preheat oven to 375.
2.  Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles on a cookie sheet & press seams together.
3.  Spread a pizza sauce, cheese, & desired toppings on each rectangle.
4.  Fold in sides of crescent rolls to create a pocket & press seams together to seal in the filling.
5.  Sprinkle a little garlic powder & Parmesean cheese on top before baking for a little added flavor.
6.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lemon Peeper Cookies

In my search for a fun, toddler-friendly treat to take to Morgan's school for her Easter party, I came across these! These have to be the cutest, easiest cookies I've ever made! I came across a similar idea on Pinterest, but the original recipe comes from Pillsbury and can be found HERE. There was no photo on the Pillsbury website, so I had to just wing it (no pun intended!) when it came to the decor. Being in the huge hurry that I always am, I had to make do with what I could dig up at our Wal-Mart (which I am convinced is THE world's worst...but that's another story for another day.) So here we go:

Lemon Peeper Cookies
Makes 12-18 cookies
(depending upon size)

1 box of lemon-flavored cake mix (or whatever flavor you want them to be)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
Orange Tic-Tacs & chocolate chips (or other decor of your choosing)

Yellow food coloring (to make brighter yellow)
Coconut or yellow sugar crystal sprinkles

1.  Combine cake mix, eggs, & oil in a large bowl and mix until dough forms.
2.  Add yellow food coloring (if desired).
3.  GREASE a cookie sheet.
4.  Roll a ball for the body (about 1 1/2") and a smaller ball for the head and put on cookie sheet touching each other.  (You may want to flatten them a little and mush the 2 balls together a little for a prettier end result.)
5.  Sprinkle with yellow sugar sprinkles.
6.  Bake for 10-12 min. at 350, or until they are barely starting to brown.
7.  Remove from oven & immediately add candy for faces.
8.  Cool on rack.

SEE!  Told you it was easy!

My Notes:
1.  If you add a lot of food coloring or it's really humid, you may need to add extra flour to the dough until it gets un-sticky enough for you to roll it into balls.  Otherwise, you'll just make a huge mess & get frustrated!
2.  The original recipe says to roll the balls in coconut flakes before putting them on the baking sheet.  I'm not big on coconut (and I didn't think toddlers would be, either), so I chose to use yellow sugar crystal sprinkles instead.
3.  The original recipe says to use pastel yellow petite mints (petite non pareils) for the beaks...but I couldn't find such a delicacy at I went the orange Tic-Tac route!
4.  Per Melissa's suggestion on my Facebook page, these would also make great snowmen for winter!

Hope everyone has a HAPPY EASTER!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Skinny Cajun Chicken Linguine Alfredo

I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest...but it originally came from  One bite & you'll never believe it's low fat!  If you like Pasta Milano from Macaroni Grill, or Cajun Chicken pasta from Chili's, you'll LOVE this!

Skinny Cajun Chicken Linguine Alfredo
Serves 4

1 lb. chicken, cut into chunks
6 oz. linguine, cooked al dente
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
3 tbsp reduced-fat butter
2 green onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (if using oil-packed, blot well w/ paper towels)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
ground black pepper to taste

1.  Place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl and toss to coat.
2.  In a large nonsitck pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
3.  Add chicken pieces & cook chicken until no longer pink (5-7 minutes).
4.  Reduce heat, add green onions, milk, tomatoes, basil, garlic powder, and black pepper.
5.  Cook for a few minutes until heated through.
6.  Add cooked linguine to chicken mixture, add parmesean cheese, and stir to coat pasta.
7.  Divide among 4 pasta bowls & serve immediately.

My Notes:
1.  I didn't have any Cajun seasoning on hand, so I sprinkled on a little Old El Paso taco seasoning.  (I keep a big shaker of this in my NEVER know when it will come in handy!)
2.  I used skim milk & it turned out great--you'd never know I used fat-free!
3.  I've found that sun-dried tomatoes are one of those love/hate kinds of ingredients.  If you don't like sun-dried tomatoes, I bet some chopped red peppers would be a delicious substitute!
4.  Next time, I think I might double up on the sauce mixture & try adding in some veggies like yellow squash, broccoli, or zucchini.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Here it is...probably my most-requested recipe ever--and probably one of the easiest!  How long does it take you to open 5 cans?  Well...that's how long it will take you to throw this together!

I really can't take credit for it, though.  The original came from the Fix It and Forget It cookbook, but I have modified it so much over time that it has kind of taken on a mind of its own.  You can switch out the types of beans, meat, and level of spiciness to fit your taste.

This is also one of the few recipes I could make while I was pregnant and on salt restriction due to my super cankles.  Simply buy the "no salt added" versions of the canned stuff for a lower-sodium alternative.

There is no "right" way to make this...but here's my favorite rendition:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Serves 8+

2-3 chicken breasts (you can just throw them in frozen!)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can Rotel
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa (mild, medium, hot...whatever your taste)

Tortilla chips
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
Chopped green onions
Whatever else you like!

1.  Dump all of the above ingredients in the crockpot (no need to drain anything) & cook for 6-8 hours on low.
2.  Before serving take chicken breasts out, shred them & return them to the soup.

...and you are DONE!  THAT'S IT!!!

Put some tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl, dump some of this yumminess on top, & garnish with sour cream, cheese, green onions...whatever taco-like toppings you like!

FYI:  This recipe makes A LOT, but freezes great!  So have a couple of containers on hand.

Cheesy Tomato-Chicken Skillet

Per Anna's request, one of my faves! :)  This one came from one of those little Pillsbury magazine-like cookbooks you see in the checkout line at the grocery store.  The link to the original recipe is HERE.

Here is my modified version:
(Photo courtesy of

Cheesy Tomato-Chicken Skillet
Serves 4

2 cups bowtie pasta
3/4 lb. chicken breast chunks
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
3-4 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 cup Italian blend cheese

1.  Cook pasta as directed on package.  Drain & cover to keep warm.
2.  Meanwhile, spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
3.  Add chicken and cook 4-6 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.
4.  Reduce heat to medium & add soup, tomatoes, milk, & basil.
5.  Mix well and cook & stir until bubbly.
6.  Add pasta and mix well.
7.  Remove from heat, sprinkle cheese on top, and cover for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Now go enjoy your ooey, gooey goodness! :)

Crustless Quiche Muffins

Now this particular recipe resulted from a range of ideas and other similar recipes.  I am a fan of quiche, but it seems like it always takes FOREVER to fun when you are starving for brunch after church and you have a crazed toddler running around!  So I came across a pin on a friend's board on Pinterest that was for making a quick "to-go" breakfast for weekday mornings using Egg Beaters and toppings in a muffin pan.  So when I was looking for something to whip up for brunch after church this morning, I thought why not try this out with all of the usual ingredients for quiche?  Cooks faster, much easier to get out of the pan, AND I can put them in baggies to grab for a quick on-the-go!

So here's how it all came together:

Crustless Quiche Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

8-10 eggs
3/4-ish cup milk or half & half (I used a bit of both because I didn't have much half & half left)
omelet/quiche-like toppings (I used chopped bacon, Roma tomatoes (which are great b/c they don't have too much juice), and Vidalia onions and then topped with cheddar cheese because that's what I had on hand)

1.  GREASE a muffin pan.  (Be very thorough!)
2.  Beat eggs & milk together and divide among muffin cups (fill about 3/4 full)
3.  Add toppings.
4.  Bake for 30 min. at 375 degrees.

Notes for next time:
1.  Perhaps cut up a pre-made Pillsbury pie crust to put underneath each muffin to make a true mini-quiche in a little pie shell.
2.  Add a little salt & pepper (ended up sprinkling it on to taste after...wasn't sure how much salt the bacon was going to add already)
3.  More grease in the pan!!!