August 19, 2009

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I was in the mood to bake this weekend. My husband loves peanut butter and I love the combination of peanut butter and bananas together. So I found this recipe with the best of both worlds. I added cinnamon to bring out a better flavor. I didn't think to put it in and it felt like it was missing something. So that is my suggestion that I added to the recipe below.

1/3 c butter
4 tbsp creamy peanut butter
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare one loaf pan by coating with butter or cooking spray.

Place butter and peanut butter in a large microwavable safe bowl and microwave until melted (about 1 minute). Add the mashed bananas and stir together with a spoon until combined. Add both sugars, beaten egg, vanilla and stir to incorporate all ingredients. Then add flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir just enough to combine but be sure not to over mix.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes and test by sticking the center with toothpick or knife to see if it comes out clean. If not, cook in 5 minute intervals until done.

August 18, 2009

Shower of Cakes

A friend at work has enjoyed my baked goods so much that she asked if I could make something for her sister's bridal shower. We went back and forth for a couple of weeks on ideas for desserts and flavors and finally early the week of the event she asked if I could make 3, 9-inch layered round cakes. I told her SURE! She wanted vanilla with vanilla frosting, chocolate with chocolate frosting and strawberry with strawberry frosting. It sounded easy enough. I went on a search for recipes to use and found the ones to use for all three and of course added my own flair to them. The process of making the cakes and frostings went really smooth. I only had one frosting not turn out and I had to redo it. Otherwise, everything went really well. I started right after work around 6:30 and finished everything around 11:30ish. I was really proud of how they turned out. I tasted the scraps of the cakes and the frosting and they seemed to be flavorful enough to me. She confirmed the following Monday at work that they were a hit and really moist. I was glad to hear it!

August 5, 2009

Mexi-Chick Casserole

We happened to have all the ingredients for this recipe on hand. It was so creamy and delicious. The preparation and cooking didn't take too long either so it was great for a weeknight meal.

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (boiled)
1 c chicken broth
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c milk (evaporated works fine)
1 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 c cream cheese
1 can (10oz) green chile enchilada sauce
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2 c shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
6 tortilla chips, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the chicken in a medium sauce pan until done (about 10 minutes). Remove chicken from pan and set aside to cool. You can also use already roasted chicken from your grocery store. It would definitely add more flavor. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, saute 3 minutes or until soft. Add broth, milk, Monterrey Jack, cream cheese, and enchilada sauce. Stir well until cheeses are melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. While mixture simmers on low, shred chicken with fork or fingers. Add chicken to pan and stir to combine. Turn off heat.

Spray 2-qt casserole pan with cooking spray. Place 4 tortillas in the bottom. Spoon about 2 cups of chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers twice, ending with chicken mixture on top. Then sprinkle sharp cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Bake for about 30 minutes or until melty and bubbly. Serve with salsa on top to add a little heat.

August 4, 2009

Mocha Brownies

I had a chocolate craving the other day and decided to whip up a quick batch of brownies. I didn't want them too sweet so I put less sugar than normal and added a little instant coffee. I must say that was a good move as they turned out just perfect.

4oz unsweetened chocolate (4 squares if using baking chocolate)
3/4 c butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tsp instant coffee granules
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use butter or cooking spray and grease up a 9x13 baking pan. I used a glass pan. (If you use a dark pan, oven should be at 350 degrees.)

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwave-safe bowl stirring every 60 seconds until melted. (About 2 minutes) Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Stir in sugar into chocolate. Mix in vanilla and coffee granules. (Test to see if it has the flavor you want and add more coffee in tsp increments as needed.) Then add eggs one at a time until each one is incorporated into mixture. Stir in flour. Spread in greased pan.

Bake at 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan; cut into squares. Makes 24 brownies.