Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread & Variations

This is my first contribution, so we'll see how it goes! My family loves this different take on traditional banana bread! (Note to self: don't forget tags!)

Prep: 15 min., Bake: 1 hr., Cool: 40 min.
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1 cup chopped pecans (opt.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in bananas, pecans and vanilla. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8X4 inch loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Shielding with aluminum foil last 15 minutes prevents over browning.) Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing bread from pans. Cool 30 minutes before slicing.

Toasted Coconut-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
Prepare and bake bread. While bread is baking, stir together 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, and 1/4 cup milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, 1 cup chopped pecans and 2 tsp. vanilla. Remove baked bread and immediately spread tops with coconut mixture. Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or just until topping starts to brown. Cool in pans for 20 minutes. Remove and cool 30 minutes before slicing.
Orange-Pecan-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
Prepare bread batter as directed and spoon into pans. Sprinkle 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans evenly over batter in pans. Press slightly so they stay. Bake as directed. Cool bread in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks. Stir together 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 tbsp. fresh orange juice, and 1 tsp. grated orange rind until blended. Drizzle evenly over warm bread and cool 30 minutes.
Cinnamon Crisp-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana Nut Bread
Prepare batter as directed and spoon into pans. Stir together 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. melted butter and 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Bake and cool as directed.
Peanut Butter Streusel-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
Prepare batter as directed and spoon into pans. Combine 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour and 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar in small bowl. Cut in 1/4 cup putter with 3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter until mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle mixture evenly over batter in pans. Bake and cool as directed.
Toffee-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
Prepare batter as directed and spoon into pans. Stir together 3 tbsp. melted butter, 1/3 cup pus 3 tbsp. flour 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 2 (1.4-ounce) chocolate-covered toffee candy bars, finely chopped. Sprinkle evenly over batter in pans. Bake and cool as directed.
Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Muffins
Spoon evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake ate 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks. Makes 24 muffins.

Note: This recipe calls for all the pecans to be toasted. I didn't add that because it tastes fine regular too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fruit Cocktail with Dumplings

1 big can fruit cocktail
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp oil
ground cinnamon (opt)
ground nutmeg (opt)

(You can add sugar, butter, and lemon juice to fruit cocktail if desired.) Pour fruit cocktail, undrained, into skillet. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Add milk and oil. Drop into pan of boiling fruit cocktail. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over top. Cover lightly with lid so steam can escape. Cook until done.

French Breakfast Puffs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line cups with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, cream together 1/2 cup sugar and shortening. Beat in egg. Stir flour mixture into shortening mixture alternately with milk. Beat well. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. While muffins are baking, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Remove muffins from oven and muffin pan. Immediately, dip the tops of the muffins into the melted margarine, then into the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Repeat with each muffin, until all muffin tops are covered. Serve warm.

Pot Roast

2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 cups water
5 1/2 pounds pot roast


In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture. Add vegetables if desired and add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook on High setting for 4-5 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon steak sauce
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat the grill for medium heat.
In a shallow bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and steak sauce. Set aside a small amount of the honey mustard sauce for basting, Place the chicken and the remaining sauce in a Ziploc bag and marinade for 1-3 hours, if desired.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chicken over indirect heat for 18 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until juices run clear. Baste occasionally with the reserved sauce during the last 10 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aubrie's Fajita Black Bean Soup

1 lb cooked chicken or ground beef
1 large can (29 oz) or 2 medium cans (15 0z) diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 can chopped green chilies or jalapenos
1 envelope Taco seasoning
1 1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
1 15 oz can of black beans (undrained)
1 15 oz can of corn (undrained)
1 can black olives (drained)

Combine meat, tomatoes, onion, chilies, seasoning, and broth together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. It is better to simmer for 1 to 2 hours if possible and it also does well in a crock-pot all day on low.
15 minutes before serving, add black beans, corn, and black olives. Bring soup mixture again to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
Serve with corn chips, grated cheese, and sour cream.
Serves 4-6

Sugar Cookies

1/2 lb butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add dry ingredients. (I find mine turn out better with an extra 1/4 cup flour. I am not sure if it is the elevation, or what, but you might give that a try.) Refrigerate overnight or for 4-5 hours. Bake at 400 degrees F for 6-9 minutes, until edges are just starting to turn light brown. Do not overcook.

If you double the recipe, use 3 eggs.

Split Pea Soup

This recipe is the best split pea soup we've ever had!

1 cup split peas
3 cups water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb cooked, cubed ham or crumbled bacon
Soak split peas in water overnight
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Sautee carrot, onion, celery and curry for about 5 minutes. Add the peas and water, cream, salt, and ham. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 to 50 minutes, or until very thick.

Apple Cranberry Stuffed Pork Chops

2 tablespoons butter
1/8 yellow onion, minced
1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored and diced
2 stalks celery ribs, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 (1 inch thick) boneless pork chops
1 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until the onions are very soft and begin to brown. Remove from heat. Stir in apple, celery, and dried cranberries. Season with salt.
Lay each chop flat on cutting board, and with a sharp knife held parallel to the board, cut a pocket into the pork, leaving three sides intact. Stuff each chop with apple-cranberry mixture.
Melt remaining butter in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Pan-fry chops in butter for two minutes on each side. Cover, and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Transfer chops from pan to a plate, and cover with foil. Place the Dutch oven back on the stovetop over medium heat. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together apple juice, cornstarch, and brown sugar; pour into Dutch oven. Reduce liquid volume by half, stirring frequently. Season to taste with black pepper. Serve this apple glaze over pork chops.

Note: I've tried these in my Express 101, and they were tasty that way! It was faster than the oven and kept the meat very moist. I've never tried it in the oven, so I'm not sure how it works.

Mike's Favorite Bread

3 to 3 1/2 cups flour (or more)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast (one package)
1 cup very warm water (120-103 degrees F)
2 TBSP oil
1 large egg
Butter or margarine


  1. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in mixing bowl. Add warm water and oil. Add egg and beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
  2. Knead for ten minutes, or have electric mixer do it until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in large greased bowl. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  3. Grease bottom and sides of loaf pan. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Shape into loaf and place in greased loaf pan. Cover loosely and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until almost double.
  4. Move oven rack to low position so that top of pan will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 375 and bake 30-35 minutes, or until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan to wire rack. Brush loaf with butter; cool.


This is the basic recipe. I seldom make it that way, though, because we love to try new things. So here are a few we try. Let me know if you try somethings else that's really good.

Token Wheat Flour: Exchange one cup flour for wheat flour.

Honey Wheat Flour: Use half wheat, half white flour, and use honey instead of sugar.

Oat: Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups quick oats and slightly less flour.

Rye: Use half white flour, half rye flour.

Buttermilk: Use buttermilk instead of water. You can also exchange the water for milk in any of the other variations. Just scald it and let it cool until it is 120-130 degrees.


If I'm in a hurry, I let the dough rise in a warm oven. Also, my oven always makes the crust on the top of my loaf too crunchy, so I put a piece of aluminum foil on the top with the SHINY SIDE OUT and the DULL SIDE TOWARD THE BREAD. I take it off with about 15 minutes left to bake, and that way the crust doesn't start to brown until the end.

Cheesecake Supreme

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 5 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the melted butter together. Press mixture into the bottom of one 9 or 10 inch springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, and egg yolks; mix until smooth. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups sugar, the flour, and the cream. Blend until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then turn oven temperature down to 200 degrees F and continue baking for 1 hour, or until filling is set. Let cheesecake cool, then refrigerate.

Grilled Chipotle-Lime Fish Tacos

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 pound tilapia fillets

1 (8 ounce) container light sour cream
1/2 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
salt and pepper to taste

1 (10 ounce) package tortillas
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded
2 limes, cut in wedges


To make the marinade, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning, black pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl until blended. Place the tilapia in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the fish. Refrigerate fish and marinade for 30-90 minutes.
To make the dressing, combine the sour cream and adobo sauce in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat.
Remove fish from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9 minutes.
Assemble tacos by placing fish fillets in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of tomatoes, cilantro, and cabbage; drizzle with dressing. To serve, roll up tortillas around fillings, and garnish with lime wedges.



  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
  • (I like to substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips and slivered almonds for last 2 ingredients)
  • 4-6oz white chocolate for melting and dipping (semi-sweet if using chocolate chips and almonds)


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Mix together oil and sugar. Add vanilla, almond extract, and eggs. Combine flour, salt and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand.
  3. Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12 long by 2 tall, and maybe 5 wide) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough may be sticky;wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F.
  5. Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8-10 minutes on one side, flip to the other side, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until dry. Cool.
  6. Once cookies are cooled, melt dipping chocolate and put on a plate. Dip bottoms only of biscotti in melted chocolate. Place on cookie sheet and allow chocolate to set up.