Monday, August 31, 2009

Hazelnut Nutella Banana Bread... and Mini Loaves

I have been wanting to make banana bread for a long time, but since my kids are monkeys I just can't keep bananas until they hit the over ripe stage. I went to the store 4 times before I finally decided to just hide 2 bananas for my precious banana bread. I do not like walnuts in banana bread at all, so I was researching online for a yummy banana bread recipe and I saw a recipe from Baking Bites for Hazelnut Banana Bread, and then I had the most marvelous idea to add Nutella... Best. Idea. Ever!!!!
It was so delicious that my husband ate the entire loaf except a small piece I saved for myself. So, of course, I had to make some more. My second batch I made into mini loaves and left out the Hazelnuts, so it was a slight variation to the first loaf, but just as delicious. I think I prefer the bread without the hazelnuts and with more Nutella... how can you ever get enough of that delightful, chocolatey concoction? Not possible.

Hazelnut Nutella Banana Bread

1 cup whole hazelnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
4-5 Tbsp Nutella

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a food processor, pulse whole hazelnuts until finely ground. Add in sugars, eggs, vanilla and bananas and whizz until well-combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of flour mixture to the food processor and pulse to incorporate. Add half of the milk and pulse again. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk and the remaining flour.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add in the butter and whizz for several seconds to incorporated it.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Melt Nutella in the microwave with a cup of hot water. When Nutella becomes runny or pourable, swirl into loaf. Leave some on top for a crunchy crust.
Bake for 70-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf.

I didn't quite get my Nutella swirled in enough on my first loaf, but it was still delicious. I also didn't use a food processer to mix my ingredients because I don't have one. Definitely use one if you have one to make everything nice and smooth.

Now onto the Mini Loaves. Aren't they the cutest things you've ever seen?

For the mini loaves, I left out the hazelnuts, but kept the rest of the recipe the same. I decided to do 3 variations. One plain, one with semi-sweet chocolate chips, and one with Nutella swirled in. Just make the recipe and pour into a mini loaf pan. Decide what additions you want and have fun. I have to say my absolute favorite was the Nutella, but very close second was the chocolate chip. Look how nice and swirled this mini loaf is. It was absolutely delicious! And so pretty.
They looked so cute all wrapped up as little gifts. The possibilites are endless with these delcious little treats. Have fun and let me know if you find a new combination that I didn't try.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

My mom gave me 5 pounds of frozen blueberries, so I've been trying out some new recipes using blueberries. Of course, the first one I had to try was Blueberry Pancakes. Yum! These were so delicious. I think they tasted better than any that I have had at a restaurant. I've always been a breakfast person so lots of times we'll have breakfast for dinner. We've been doing that a lot lately. I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

2 c. sifted unleavened cake flour
4 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. salt
4 lg. eggs, separated
2 c. buttermilk
4 tbsp. unsalted butte
r, melted and cooled
2 full cups frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
butter for greasing skillet

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to blend. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and buttermilk to blend slightly. In another
bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form when beater is raised. Set aside briefly.

Add the yolk mixture to
the flour mixture and mix lightly with a fork until flour is moistened. Stir in the cooled melted butter. The batter should be lumpy. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
Preheat the skillet. Lightly grease the skillet before each batch of pancakes.
Pour out the batter to make four inch rounds. Quickly drop about six to eight frozen berries onto each pancake. Test for doneness by lifting a corner of a pancake with a metal spatula. When golden brown, turn over and cook about 30 seconds on the other side. Serve with warmed maple syrup.
Makes between 18 and 22 four inch pancakes. Pancakes may be frozen and reheated.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gravy Baked Pork Chops

Here is another delicious, EASY, meal that is so perfect for busy nights. I know the picture is craptastic, but at least there is a picture. You can forgive me, right? I found the original recipe on All Recipes and modified it to fit our tastes. The pork chops turn out so tender and delicious, and the gravy is perfect for mashed potatoes. It's a favorite at our house, and one that I'll be making often after baby is born because it's so easy!

Gravy Baked Pork Chops

  • 4 (1 1/4 inch thick) pork chops
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1-2 tablespoons Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put the 1/2 cup flour in a shallow bowl. Rinse pork chops in water. Season pork chops with salt and pepper to taste and then dip in flour. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the pork chops in the butter for about 5 minutes per side.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, combine the milk, water, soup, and soup mix. Place the pork chops in a 9x13 inch baking dish and pour the soup mixture over the chops.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Strawberries and Cream Cookie Squares

I found this recipe on Real Mom Kitchen and new I had to try it. Any recipe with "strawberries and cream" is a must try for me. I thought they were absolutely delicious! Perfect for a summer treat. I brought them to a family get together and got great reviews.

Sorry about the picture. I had to have my brother in law take it with his phone because I didn't have my camera. At least I got a picture though!

Strawberries and Cream Dessert Squares

1/2 cup butter; room temp.
1 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp soda
1 cup white vanilla baking chips (6 oz)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
10 to 12 drops red food color, if desired
Heat oven to 375°F. Grease a 15x10x1- or 13x9-inch pan.Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla & mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt & soda & stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In small microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips uncovered on High 45 to 60 seconds or until chips are melted and can be stirred smooth. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in melted chips until blended. Spread mixture over crust. Refrigerate while making topping.
In small bowl, crush 1 cup of the strawberries. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in crushed strawberries and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in food color. Cool 10 minutes. Gently stir in remaining 3 cups strawberries. Spoon topping over filling. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set; serve within 4 hours. Store covered in refrigerator.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hot Hoagies

I've been wanting to try this recipe for quite some time and finally got around to it. My Kitchen Cafe has so many great recipes that I knew this one wouldn't disappoint. And it didn't!!! My kids ate it too, which is a big bonus. I loved that it didn't quite seem like a sandwhich, but was filling and delicious. I had to stop myself from eating more than I did. It's definitely a winner in my book.

Hot Hoagies

1 loaf french bread, cut lengthwise
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup light mayo
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried)
2 cups shredded cheese
Olives, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place french bread on large baking sheet. Mix all topping ingredients together in a bowl. Spread topping evenly on top of both lengths of french bread. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and edges are lightly browned. Slice into pieces and serve immediately.