Blueberry Banana Bundt Cake

I had rotten bananas and I had some blueberries and I had all the other ingredients for this delicious bundt cake in the house. It took about 20 minutes to prep and another 50 minutes in the oven and it’s going into the freezer for another time and place. I cut into it to taste it and will cut it into 4 sections and freeze it for when we come back this summer to Colorado. It freezes so well and the bananas were going in the garbage so there you have it –snacking cake for another time. You can freeze this cake up to 3 months, but make sure you wrap it up carefully and mark the date you freeze it on the bag. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon fine salt (table salt)

1/2 cup butter unsalted and softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs — room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 bananas mashed– very ripe black bananas

1 cup blueberries — rinsed and dried

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I spray a Bundt Pan with Bakers Aid Spray– you can use other sprays but I prefer this one for baking

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set it aside

Cream Butter and Sugar in an Electric Mixer. Add eggs one at a time and the vanilla. Beat until well combined

Add the flour Mixture to the bowl and Combine until just mixed. Fold in the Blueberries and Bananas with a spatula

Pour the batter into the sprayed Bundt Pan

Bake for 50 minutes. Check with a cake tester or toothpick till it comes out clean.

Enjoy!!

The basics: salad dressing- Mustard Vinaigrette and Caesar

Salad Dressing in the Cuisinart

Salad Dressings

While there are some amazingly delicious salad dressings out there these days I prefer to make my own. Sometimes you have to cave and go store bought but if you have a little extra time these are well worth a little extra effort.  It is so easy to make these salad dressings and the taste is so delicious and fresh. They will keep for a few days to a week in the fridge (Ball Jar or Good Seasons Cruet Jar; sold in almost every supermarket.)

For all of the dressing, I throw all the ingredients in a mini food processor, whole garlic and all

This one is my most favorite go-to dressing: 

 My Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing 

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh minced garlic (about two small cloves)

1 egg yolk (unless you’re spooked about raw egg, in which case you can omit and substitute with about a tablespoon of mayo. I always use egg.)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black ground pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

First, I put the garlic in the processor, then add everything but the olive oil. Give it a good whirl, mixing all ingredients together. Then add olive oil slowly; it will emulsify and you can taste and add salt and pepper to taste and adjust the dijon to your liking. You may start with less and add. An option is to squeeze in a little lemon juice. I am pretty true to this recipe and it always rewards.

This is awesome over almost any greens.

Keep excess in fridge for about 3 or 4 days.

Caesar Salad Dressing 

Again I put all ingredients in mini or regular processor

2 cloves garlic

1 egg yolk

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

4-5 anchovies (I like it salty and use 5)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tablespoon (heaping) I like a lot Dijon Mustard

grated Parmesan cheese (fresh is always best)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

First, I chop garlic then add anchovies to the processor, and mix together. Then add lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and egg yolk. I mix all together, and then slowly add olive oil in, mix together and taste for salt, because the anchovies and mustard give it a lot of salt and kick. You can always add more salt, but you can’t take it away. Add pepper.

For the Salad:

Pour dressing on about two heads of romaine. I’ve stretched it to 3 and I know they sell 3 heads in a bag–it’s a bit skimpy, but doable. Mix together and right before serving, add cheese; or let everyone do their own with a hand grater!

I buy Organic Romaine heads (3 in a package). I prefer organic.

Egg Roll in a Bowl

I came across this recipe through a friend on Instagram and knew I had to make it as soon as possible. Thanks @nutritionbynataliee and thanks for this great recipe @40aprons. I did take liberties with the original recipe which is Whole30, Keto, Paleo and Low Carb) Feel free to check out the recipe on 40aprons blog.

I am not a follower of any of those diets so I made it my way and next time would serve over rice!

The flavors were delicious and although there are a lot of different ingredients the recipe cooks up quickly and easily.

This should serve 4 people especially if you add rice.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil

6 green onions (scallions) green and white parts divided

5 cloves minced garlic

1 pound ground pork which I used but you can use beef, chicken , turkey or shrimp or tofu for a vegetarian dish

1 Teaspoon fresh ginger – grated

8 oz. can of water chestnuts chopped

1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce — I used Sriracha and you’ll need more for dressing

1 bag of ColeSlaw Mix — 14 oz. bag

3 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos or Light Tamari or Low Sodium Soy Sauce -I used Braggs Coconut Aminos

1/2 cup onion diced — I used red but you can use spanish onion

1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce

1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Dressing:

1/4 cup Mayonnaise

1-2 Tablespoons Sriracha — I used 2

Pinch of Kosher Salt

Directions:

In a large Frying Pan / Skillet heat sesame oil over medium heat

Add white parts on green onions, diced onion, and garlic and saute. Stir frequently while this cook and onion is completely softened and broken down for about 5 minutes

Add ground meat, grated ginger, water chestnuts, and Hoisin and 1 Tablespoon Sriracha. Cook until the meat is browned, broken up and cooked probably 10 minutes more.

Add Coleslaw mix, coconut aminos or soy sauce or tamari , taste for salt and pepper and add accordingly. Cook , stirring frequently until cabbage is tender — at least 5 more minutes.

In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1-2 Tablespoons of Sriracha, add a pinch of salt to taste. You’ll drizzle this sauce with a spoon over the egg roll in a bowl mixture.

Top with some green onions and if you like some brown rice would be delicious underneath all this .Or any rice you like .

 

 

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Springtime in a Bowl – Shrimp, Asparagus and Tomato Pasta

It is finally Spring! Spring has sprung and all that. Since it is really Spring it just makes you want to lighten up the menu a bit and my mind immediately goes to asparagus!  This recipe is a variation on my Summertime Tomato Pasta. I wanted to use some of those beautiful asparagus out there. Even though I knew Joel would pick them out , I still made this dish. The asparagus are large enough for him to easily pick out and put on my plate. This dish is light and delicious and pretty quick to prepare. It is like springtime in a bowl!  There are so very many things to do with asparagus but this just appealed to me tonite and if you leave the shrimp out you have a lovely vegetarian pasta dish and if you leave the pasta out you have a super light dish!  I used the shrimp.  I also used linguine in this recipe because it just seems to hold on to the flavors nicely. Happy Spring and Enjoy. This recipe was inspired by Giada de Laurentis .

Ingredients:

1 lb. box linguine ( I used Fini Linguine , it was lighter than regular linguine and was just perfect)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 containers of little grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or any small tomato ( app. 20 oz. of tomatoes)  I cut tomatoes in 1/2.

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

* crushed red pepper ( we like the heat) use your own discretion depending on how you like it, totally optional

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1/2 cup dry white wine ( I use whatever I have open)

1 lb. Asparagus , trimmed, stalks cut on a diagonal into app. 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

fresh basil chopped ( app. 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to box directions.( Fini Linguine cooks in 6 minutes perfectly)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes, app.  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and app. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft , it takes about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic. Cook for another few minutes ( don’t burn the garlic)keep on low heat and stir around. Add the wine and the asparagus. Bring to a low boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes . Taste for Salt and Pepper, if it needs more this is when I would add it, and I did. I added a bit more salt here, pepper was fine. You need to use your own discretion about the salt .

Sprinkle shrimp in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and continue to simmer until the shrimp is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Shrimp needs to be firm to the touch, and opaque if cut into. Stir in the chopped basil and the oregano.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well to combine.  You can always add more crushed red pepper when finished.

This was really delicious and light. Joel of course picked out every piece of asparagus, and put them in my bowl. That was fine with me because I love asparagus.

*this dish will easily serve 4, if you like you can always add another 1/2 lb. of shrimp for 4 people.

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Green Beans and Potatoes

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photo 2 (2)I love one pot meals. I think they have become my most favorite kind of meal to make. This one is so delicious and perfect. Chicken was cooked perfectly and the lemons caramelized in the pan adding a delicious flavor to the chicken and potatoes and beans. We thoroughly enjoyed this and it is a perfect recipe for all year round. I made it with 2 chicken breasts for the 2 of us, this recipe should serve 4 beautifully according to directions with 4 breasts. You will need a large baking dish or you can make in a cast-iron skillet. The prep is pretty quick and the shopping is easy. Nothing exotic here just good old cooking with easy ingredients.

The other night I made it with 2 thighs , 2 legs and 1 breast and it was just perfect! IMG_0634

 

Ingredients:

Olive Oil– 6 Tablespoons, divided 1 and 5

2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 you will juice

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound trimmed green beans

8 small red potatoes, quartered

4 chicken breast, bones in and skin on

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I always spray my baking dishes with cooking spray for easy clean-up. Then coat your baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using tongs or slotted spoon again, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl and coat with the olive-oil mixture. Place the chicken , skin side up in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.

Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or the skillet. ( you may want to cut into chicken to make sure it’s ready, I roasted for about 55 minutes) then place the beans and potatoes back in oven for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender. I covered the chicken with aluminum for that 10 minutes.

When potatoes are ready, place a chicken breast on the plate and plate up the beans and potatoes. Serve Warm from the oven.

 

 

Lemon Couscous with Chicken and Peas

photo (8)DSCN0354DSCN0352photo (7)photo (11)photo (5)DSCN0355 Since starting this blog I feel the need to come up with some new and exciting meals and while I love the challenge some days are harder than others.  Around 4 pm. towards the end of my day I start to contemplate what I am going to cook. Lemony couscous with grilled chicken and peas!!! Love it!!! and there you go, it was so easy using very few ingredients and very yummy!   I used chicken breasts and threw them on the grill pan with a little olive oil , salt and pepper. If you really want to make this easy you can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You can also substitute any grain of your choice. I happen to love the Israeli couscous ( pearl couscous), it’s not as mushy and has a better texture for this dish especially. I also like to use organic lemons when I’m using the zest of a lemon. If it’s just the juice of a lemon I don’t get as nuts but I have to say I prefer the organic ones when I know I’ll be eating the skin of the vegetable or fruit.  Enjoy this one.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous ( pearl)

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Zest of 2 large lemons ( organic)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt ( start with less and you may need to add a little more) the parmesan is salty, and you’re salting the chicken.

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

4 green onions, chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb. thin chicken breasts, a little olive oil and salt and pepper or use a rotisserie chicken breast

Directions:

On a baking sheet, brush chicken breasts with a little olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. The thin cutlets grill up very quickly app. 3 minutes per side. Grill and set aside. I cut chicken up into small pieces before adding them to couscous.

In a large saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the couscous and cook until lightly toasted , 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the couscous is tender but still firm to the bite, app. 8 minutes.

I then stirred parmesan cheese into couscous along with the green onions, peas and cut up chicken. Taste for salt and pepper.

I plated it up and we totally enjoyed!

Sheet Pan Shrimp with Asparagus and Potatoes

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This dinner was just delicious.  I used under 8 size shrimp. What this means is that there were about 8 to a pound , so rather large and the cooking times were perfect for them. You will probably have to adjust your cooking time depending on the size of your shrimp. Obviously the larger shrimp took a little longer to cook. I will give you a range of time for anywhere from under 16 to under 8. Timing will vary depending on your oven and the size of the shrimp you use.  The potatoes and asparagus times will remain pretty much the same. I just love cooking on one sheet in the oven! This recipe is a keeper and one I will re-visit often and maybe use different veggies, since I am the only one who ate the asparagus anyway.

Ingredients:

1 pound large shrimp ( anywhere from 8 – 16 count) is perfect – thawed, peeled and de-veined and leave the tails on

Extra – Virgin Olive Oil

3 cloves of garlic-minced

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes if you hate the spice you can omit it

2 Lemons, 1 for zest and juice of, the other 1 thinly sliced

1 lb. Asparagus-trimmed

1 lb. Fingerling Potatoes–halved lengthwise

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper–read directions for amounts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a large rimmed baking sheet for easy clean up

Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil . Add in minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to coat and set aside.

In another mixing bowl , toss the sliced potatoes with 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil. Season generously with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper. Transfer Potatoes to the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast potatoes for anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes, or until they are almost tender.

While potatoes are roasting, toss asparagus with 1/2 Tbsp.of Olive Oil and season with Salt and Pepper,  Set aside

Now add 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice to bowl of shrimp and toss to coat. Season Shrimp pretty generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

After 20 minutes or so remove potatoes from the oven and add asparagus and lemon slices to baking sheet. Continue to roast potatoes and asparagus for another 10 minutes,  potatoes should be tender by now , pierce a potatoe with a fork to check for tenderness. If potatoes still need time you can leave them in for a few more minutes. Using a slotted spoon add shrimp to baking sheet and put back in the oven. Roast for another 10 minutes or until shrimp are pink-opaque and firm to touch. My shrimp took about 12 more minutes, this time will depend on your shrimp. I checked after 5 minutes and using tongs turned them over and continued cooking for another 7 more minutes.

When I removed from oven I sprinkled with lemon zest. Perfection on a plate!

*one added tip– after my shrimp is peeled and de-veined and before I am about to cook I always wrap my shrimp in some paper towels to dry them off. It helps with the oil and spices sticking to shrimp.

 

 

 

Fusilli and Roasted Cauliflower

This is a wonderful recipe with very few items that deliver a full punch of flavor.  I had a head of cauliflower in the house, some capers , garlic, pasta and parmesan cheese. All the ingredients for this delicious pasta dish. It would have been delicious with some added pignoli nuts but I didn’t have any. Next time I’ll be better prepared. In any event this is what I did and while it’s not the most low in calories it’s high in flavor! Just delicious and the really good news is that Joel now loves cauliflower which is nothing short of a miracle . He ate this pasta with gusto and gave it a big thumbs up!

Perfect meatless meal for those of you who are vegetarians.

*this was for the 2 of us– feel free to double up on it

Ingredients:

1/2 head of cauliflower –cut into small bite-sized florets

3 Tablespoons drained-capers

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon extra virgin Olive Oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed– I didn’t need extra

Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

2 medium garlic cloves, grated or minced well

Finely grated lemon zest of 1 lemon

Fresh Lemon Juice of the 1 lemon you just zested

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter softened at room temperature

3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese plus more if you’d like at the table

8 oz. Fusilli Pasta or any other macaroni that you’d like to use–I just like Fusilli because it grabs on to the sauce well

*1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted in oven for about 3-4 minutes –I didn’t have in the house but this would add a delicious layer of crunch

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees

In a bowl, toss the cauliflower and 2 Tablespoons of the drained capers with the 1/4 cup of olive oil , 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill. Spread the mixture out in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast it, tossing it occasionally, until golden brown — app. 30 minutes.

Mince the remaining 1 Tablespoon of drained capers and add to minced garlic in a large bowl and add the lemon zest, butter, remaining 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil and I added the 3 Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese. I mashed it all up together.

Cook Pasta according to directions for al-dente and drain

When the Pasta is cooked and drained add to the bowl along with the roasted cauliflower and pine nuts with the mashed caper mixture. I squeezed in 1/2 the lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper but I didn’t think it needed more because it tasted salty enough for us. Toss well and serve!

Add additional parmesan cheese at the table if you’d like.

Spatchcocking the Chicken –

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I have wanted to roast my chicken this way for quite some time, but always fall back on the standard. I have posted the standard way under Good Old  Roast Chicken.  You’ll need to remove the backbone of the chicken , and I am not that great with butchering so left it to the butcher in Whole Foods or whoever you go to. Just ask the butcher to remove backbone ( I discarded it or save it for making stock)  and cut chicken in 1/2. This removal of the backbone of the chicken is known as spatchcocking , simply put,  you roast the chicken in about 1/2 the time as conventional methods with the maximum crispiness to the skin, and very moist chicken is achieved.  I used my more shallow Le Creuset pan and chicken fit snugly in which is what you want. You don’t want it in too big a pan, just make sure your pan is flame proof , a 12 inch cast iron skillet is also perfect.  This is really easy, and I must give credit where credit is due, I got my inspiration from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I changed it a bit by cutting the chicken in 1/2 but used the times it posted and it was sheer perfection.  Crispy and moist! Served with fresh cranberry sauce and roasted potatoes.  You’ll have to turn your exhaust fans on for this one . By the way did I mention prep to table in an hour???

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken cut in 1/2 and remove backbone ( app. 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 lbs)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (app. 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound)

sweet paprika

olive oil–1 to 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil for the pan

*feel free to play around with seasonings of your choosing. Thyme , garlic and lemon are always perfect

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. I dried the chicken pieces with paper towels on both sides. The drying is very important for maximum crispiness.  I put about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in Le Creuset pan. Lay the chicken breast side down on a seperate plate and with a brush pour a little bit of olive oil over the chicken and salt and pepper and paprika , then turn over to breast side and add a little oil and salt, pepper and paprika. I used clean hands and rubbed the chicken to make sure the spices and oil got all over . Be liberal with the salt, they say 3/4 teaspoon per pound and that is just a guideline, but it’s about right.  I then put pan on the stovetop and heated up the olive oil in pan , you’ll want oil very hot so that chicken will sizzle when you put it in breast side up. You will now place pan in the oven with the chicken. The 2 halves of chicken fit snugly in the the pan.

I cooked at 475 degrees for the first 20 minutes, chicken should start to crisp up, I then flipped it over to the other side for another 10 minutes. Then put it back in the oven for about 15 minutes breast side up till it was finished cooking.  My total oven time was 45 minutes!  Use tongs to handle chicken because you don’t want to pierce skin, you’ll lose too much liquid that way. I removed from oven , checked meat thermometer for the right temperature ( 165) in thigh,  and removed from oven and let it sit for another 10 minutes. This was restaurant worthy chicken for certain. See photos, though they don’t do the crispiness justice. My oven was hot enough at 475 degrees, when you flip chicken over check the crispiness and make sure it’s not burning, so you may need to lower to about 450 or raise to 500 to get it to brown perfectly. My chicken didn’t stick at all due to drying out the chicken and preheating the pan. Total cooking time should be anywhere from 45 – 60 minutes.

Fettucine with Sausage and Kale

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This pasta dish gets a high recommendation from me.  What a perfect anytime of the year pasta dish.  It was so very tasty, and easy to prepare.  If you like sausage and you like kale, and who doesn’t like fettucine? Joel managed to pick out every last piece of kale, but I don’t mind because he put it all on my plate. I used baby kale which is just perfect and if you can get turkey sausage it will be that much healthier. It is light, only 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a little chicken broth and Pecorino Romano and you’re finished. Very quick meal, very few ingredients, and it is restaurant worthy for sure. Simple, hearty and delicious. No extra added salt because you have the sausage which is plenty salty enough. I of course used spicy sausage , use whatever you prefer.

*Originally posted back in 2016 but for those of you new to my site this one is a keeper.

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*serves 4 as main course

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. turkey or pork sausage, out of casing, and crumbled. Use hot or sweet sausage, whichever you prefer — if you can get chicken sausage it would be perfect as well. If you can’t find any of these use crumbled dark meat turkey or chicken!

1/2 lb. baby kale , if you can’t find baby kale use regular kale and remove tough stems and center ribs and coarsely chop the kale. Because I used baby kale, I just used as is, perfection!

1/2 lb. dried egg fettucine

1/2 cup chicken broth

Freshly grated Pecorino Romano for serving

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a 12″ heavy skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers, then cook sausage , breaking up any lumps. Once it browns up, about 7 minutes, take off heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in a 6 – 8 qt. pot of well-salted boiling water, uncovered, I cooked baby kale for about 3 minutes, it wilts quickly. I used a pasta insert and removed the kale and kept that water for cooking the pasta. If you don’t have a pasta insert you can just remove with a small sieve. You’ll want to cook fettucine in this water. I also highly recommend buying a pasta insert for pasta pots. There is a picture of the pasta insert that I use. I use the all clad one, they usually fit all pasta pots.

While pasta is cooking, dried egg fettucine cooks very quickly, add kale to sausage in the skillet and saute , stirring frequently on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add broth , stir and scrape any brown bits from bottom of skillet.

When pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of cooking water, then drain pasta. Add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet, tossing until well coated and well combined. If you require a little more moistening add a little more pasta water at a time till it reaches consistency that you are looking for. I only added 1/2 cup. If you’re going to let it sit for a while you may want to heat it up and throw in a little more pasta water as it heats up.

Serve immediately , with cheese if desired. I plated each bowl individually.