{In case you're wondering, that means "Everyone to the table to eat!" in Italian}

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mamacita's Gourmet Smothered Burritos

When we were in California last summer, we had some yummy, huge burritos at a little place called Jalisco's Gourmet Burritos. We liked them so much that I had to invent my own after we got home. We stuff flour tortillas with black beans, cilantro rice, salsa chicken, and cheese. I added the smothered part myself, because I like my burrito a little more moist, but you could leave off the enchilada sauce if you prefer it that way.
Mamacita's Gourmet Smothered Burritos
10 large flour tortillas
2 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
1 tsp salt
1 tb. lime juice
1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves
1 large can refried black beans (or just smash some regular canned beans)
2 chicken breasts, cooked
1/4 c. salsa
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 can green enchilada sauce (optional)
Cook your rice according to package directions, adding salt, lime juice and cilantro with water. Chop cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces, mix with salsa. On each tortilla, layer some rice, black beans, chicken and cheese. Roll up tightly. Lay in large greased baking dish, pour enchilada sauce over burritos, if desired. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Banana Cream Pie

I keep saying that Chocolate Almond Mousse Pie is my fave, but I think I'd forgotten how much I loved homemade Banana Cream Pie. It is at least a close 2nd, if not a tie for the top. I got this recipe from my mom-in-law. PS I am going to admit that there was one slice left the next morning, and it was so scrumptious, I just couldn't help it, so I ate it for breakfast! :0

Banana Cream Pie
3 cups milk
3/4 c. sugar
5 tb. cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2 tb. butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas
1 baked pie shell

Scald milk in a glass bowl in microwave for 5-6 minutes on power level 8. Meanwhile, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk the mixture into the scalded milk. Beat the egg yolks, slowly pour in 3/4 c. of the milk mixture, stirring. Add the egg mixture back to the rest of the milk mixture and whisk. Cook on power level 8 for 3-4 minutes. Whisk, then cook for 2 more minutes. Whisk again, cook for 1 minute and continue this until custard is very thick. When thickened, stir in butter and vanilla. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate (can be made the night before serving). When ready to serve, gently mix in sliced bananas (or coconut) and spread in pie shell. Be sure to serve with REAL whipped cream!

Creamy White Chili

This is another recipe I found on My Kitchen Cafe. It definitely has a little kick, but if you tone down the chiles and cayenne to make it mild, even the kids will eat it. Dustin thought it tasted a little like chicken enchiladas. YUM!
Creamy White Chili
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (I used 2 cloves fresh minced garlic)
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies (if you like less kick, add just one can)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I would decrease or even omit this for kids)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.

Perfect Pumpkin Roll

I got this recipe from the My Kitchen Cafe website and it was easy and oh, so yummy! A perfect fall dessert!
Perfect Pumpkin Roll
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
2/3 cup mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan. Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan and leave an inch overhang on each of the short ends of the pan. Lightly grease the wax paper and sides of the jelly roll pan.Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, eggs and pumpkin in a large bowl. Once mixed, pour mixture over the waxed paper. Sprinkle the walnuts, if using, on top of the mixture. Bake for 14-15 minutes until edges pull away from the sides of the pan and center is done.Lay a large dishtowel on the counter top (it is best to use a dishtowel without any texture - a tea towel or similar towel works best). Spread a thick dusting of powdered sugar all over the towel. When the cake comes out of the oven, turn the pan upside down on the powdered sugar-laden towel so the wax paper is on the top. Gently peel off the wax paper, being careful not to tear the roll. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the pumpkin cake up with the towel to cool. While the roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until it is light and creamy. Once the roll is cool, unroll and with an offset spatula, carefully spread filling in an even layer over the cake. Roll it up without the towel and place in the refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap or wax paper) for about an hour before serving.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coconut Curry Chicken & Chicken Divan

These are my 2 favorite chicken curry dishes. We especially love the Coconut Curry Chicken, a Thai-inspired dish I adapted from my Pampered Chef cookbook. It is chock-full of tender curried chicken, sweet juicy pineapple, and sweet bell peppers, covered in a dreamy coconut sauce and topped with toasted coconut. The Chicken Divan is also easy and fabulous and came from a college roommate. I serve both on top of sticky rice.
Coconut Curry Chicken
3 cups hot cooked white rice
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
1 1/2 tb. curry powder
1 tb. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 can coconut milk (NOT cream of coconut)
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
2 tb. snipped fresh cilantro
Toasted coconut (toast on cookie sheet in 350 oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown).
Coat non-stick pan with oil or spray. Saute peppers with a dash of salt until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine curry, cornstarch, ginger, and salt in zipper bag. Pat chicken pieces dry, add to bag and toss to coat. Remove peppers from pan, heat on high with a little more oil. Saute chicken pieces and garlic until chicken is browned, about 6-7 minutes. Reduce heat, add coconut milk, peppers, and pineapple. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Add cilantro, toss. Serve on top of rice with a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Chicken Divan
2 heads fresh broccoli, cut into small florets, or 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
2-3 c. diced, cooked chicken breast
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. curry powder
Steam broccoli until tender, drain. Meanwhile, combine mayo, soup, lemon juice, and curry powder in 11 x 7 pan or large casserole dish. Stir in cooked chicken and broccoli. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minute, until hot and bubbly. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Y'all in Mississippi Now!

Don't even ask about the title of this post- you had to be there! Anyway, this is a tribute to my southern relatives- a true southern down-home meal that even Paula Deen would be proud of. It consisted of Buttermilk Baked Chicken (a recipe I got off another foodie blog, I can't remember which one), Fried Okra (awesome, if you've never tried it you just have to. Incidentally it's the only way to properly eat okra in my opinion. We grew some in our garden a few years back and tried alternate recipes, and trust me, don't bother- it's slimy and disgusting prepared any other way), Super-sweet Cornbread, and some fabulous heirloom tomatoes we got at the farmer's market (ummm- ok, I made this in the summer, obviously there are no tomatoes now. Sorry I'm a little slow on the posting!). YUMMY!

Buttermilk Baked Chicken
8 slices bread, processed into coarse crumbs
1 c. buttermilk (I use milk + 1 tb. lemon juice, let it sit a minute)
1 tsp. Tabasco
salt and pepper
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 lbs. dark chicken parts (I used 2 lbs. boneless skinless breasts instead)
In 1 bowl, mix buttermilk, tabasco, salt and pepper. Place chicken parts in bowl, turning to coat (I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to marinate, but you don't have to). In 2nd bowl, mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and thyme. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk mixture and dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a well-greased baking sheet or large pan, making sure they don't touch. Bake at 400 degrees until chicken is golden brown and done in the center, about 35 minutes.

Fried Okra
1 bag frozen sliced okra (or fresh if you can find it)
salt and pepper
vegetable or canola oil, for frying
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large pan to 350. Mix an egg or two with a little milk in one bowl, and the flour with a little salt and pepper in another. Dip okra slices first in egg, then in flour. Fry until golden brown, drain on paper towels. Mmm, delish!
Super-sweet Cornbread
I'm not a fan of the really grainy cornbread, so this recipe really suits me- it has equal parts flour and cornmeal, and lots of sugar. Really more like a cupcake than a corn muffin! Delish!
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. buttermilk (I use 1 c. milk + 1 tb. lemon juice)
2 eggs
Melt butter. Beat in sugar and eggs. Combine buttermilk and baking soda, stir in. Add cornmeal, flour, and salt. Pour into greased 8 x 8 " pan or 12 muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees about 30 minutes (20-25 for muffins), or until done in center. You can double the recipe to make a 9 x 13 " pan full.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pizza & Breadsticks, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and Chili Rellenos!

Okay, I have to catch up before I post my more recent recipes. So sorry they are all clumped together. The above picture is some pizza and breadsticks I made with the 100% whole-wheat bread dough (recipe below a few posts). They were delicious! For the pizza, I used about 1/3 of the dough, rolled it into a 15" circle on my pizza stone, topped it with 1 c. sauce, 2 c. mozzerella, and toppings. I baked it for about 15 minutes at 425. The breadsticks I just rolled another 1/3 dough into a large rectangle, cut into strips with my pizza cutter, and brushed with butter/garlic salt/parmesan mixture and then baked until done. I used the other 1/3 dough to make a small loaf of bread.
This is the delish cake the kids made me for my birthday (with my supervision, of course). I got the recipe from my new favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. The recipe calls for rum, but you can just leave it out and it still turns out great! Oh, yeah, she hates the bright red cherry thing, so she didn't do that, but I like them so I added them back in.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored (I used 1 can pineapple slices)
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (saved from pineapple can)
2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake
Special equipment: A well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet. If you lack a cast-iron skillet of this size, make the caramel in a small pot and scrape it into the bottom of a similarly-sized cake pan. (I used a 9″ cake pan in the pictures above, do not use springform, it will leak!)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make topping: Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.
Make batter: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.) Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet five minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack. Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.
Both Dustin and I love Mexican food, and we both agree that although we like tacos, enchiladas, and the likes, our very favorite is chile rellenos (stuffed green chiles). However, the varieties found at some restaurants (actually most of them around here) are sadly lacking. They most often consist of a smallish chile and some cheese wrapped in humongous amounts of an eggy batter, fried, and then soaked in red enchilada sauce until soggy. Yuck! Nothing like the lightly breaded, slightly crispy rellenos that really let the smoky flavor of fire-roasted chiles shine through. So we make our own. I adapted this recipe from Mrs. Grigg's Cookbook.
Chile Rellenos
10-15 large whole skinned fire-roasted Anaheim chiles (canned or fresh*)
colby-jack, cheddar, or jack cheese, sliced into strips about 1/4" by 3"
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk
salt and pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
Heat oil (about 1" deep) in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Rinse seeds out of chiles, pat dry. Place one strip of cheese in each chile. Mix eggs and milk in one bowl, and flour with a little salt and pepper in another bowl. Dip each chile in egg mixture, then flour mixture, then egg again, and flour again. Slide carefully into hot oil. Fry about 4-5 at a time until golden, turn over and fry until golden on second side. Remove with tongs onto a plate lined with paper towels. Fry remaining chiles, eat and enjoy! I usually serve them with refried beans and either corn or spanish rice, along with some quesadillas for the kids.
*If you want to roast your own chiles, choose large straight ones. Using either a gas burner or a grill, roast the whole chiles over a hot fire until completely black, turning to roast all sides. Wrap chiles in a damp kitchen towel, and allow to steam for 10-15 minutes. Peel off black skin and remove top and seeds.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Oh, my. How I love baklava. I had never tasted it until we moved here to Price. How I went for over 30 years without experiencing this delectable treat is beyond my comprehension. One of Dustin's Greek patients sent him home with a load of food one day when we were in the hotel, including a plate of baklava. Oh, yummy! Since then, I've had it a few more times, including at the Greek festival here (there are a lot of Greeks in Price, believe it or not), where it cost me around $3 for a tiny piece. Crazy, I know, but I couldn't resist. Anyway, I got the craving lately, and decided it was time to have my first experience working with Phyllo dough. The results are fabulous! The recipe's a little long, so instead of posting it here, I'll just include the link to the recipe I found. It also has lots of great tips. It was time consuming, but not difficult, so if you are up for it, give it a try! Go here for the recipe. Meanwhile, enjoy drooling over the pictures! PS, I am not a fan of walnuts, so I used almonds instead and it turned out great.

Easy Homemade Yogurt

OK, seriously, why has no one ever told me how easy this is before? I saw this recipe on my friend Natalie Pope's blog, and I knew I'd eventually have to try it. We've been eating a lot of yogurt lately (Dustin for late-night snacks when I have ice cream, and the kids and I for afternoon snacks). It costs a fortune! If I buy a pack of Go-gurts for the kids, a few Yoplaits for me, and a quart of Dustin's favorite yogurt, that would cost me about $7.50 a week (assuming they are all on sale). It cost me about $1.25 to make a HALF GALLON of this delicious, creamy yogurt. Next time it'll be less than a dollar since I can use my own yogurt for the culture. And it has only 3 ingredients and no high-fructose corn syrup. I can live with that! Thanks, Natalie!
Easy Homemade Yogurt
Half gallon (8 cups) milk (I used skim)
1/2 c. yogurt (plain or vanilla is best)
In a crock-pot, pour 8 cups milk. Cover and turn on crock-pot to low, cook for 2 1/2 hours. Uncover and turn off heat, let sit for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, or until milk cools to 120- 135 degrees (you don't want to kill the yogurt cultures when you add them). Once cooled, stir in the yogurt (next time you can use your own yogurt to do this). Cover with lid and lay one or two heavy towels on top of crock-pot. Leave on counter at least 8 hours or overnight. In the morning it will have turned into creamy, delicious yogurt!  If you want it thicker (Greek-style), Place several layers of cheesecloth in large strainer and pour in yogurt.  Place over a bowl and let sit in fridge for several hours. It is unsweetened, so you can add a little sugar, honey or other sweetener and vanilla, or a tablespoon of jam to your bowl of yogurt. Or use instead of sour cream. YUM!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Little Slice of Heaven (Homemade Bread)!

I have always been intimidated by baking bread. It's one of those things, like pie crust, that people think is hard to do right. But we are eating so much bread lately (about 4 loaves/week) that I figured I better learn. I will only feed my family whole-grain bread, and that gets expensive! It is a little tricky, but now that I've done it and had it turn out great, I have an opinion on why it's known for it's difficulty: the wrong ingredients. Seriously, I really think it's that simple. This bread is 100% whole wheat, and unlike most homemade whole-grain breads, it is NOT a brick! On the contrary, it is fabulous- light, soft, fluffy, and delicious. It slices easily, so it's perfect for sandwiches. If you have any left. We devour it warm by itself or with butter and jam, and hope there's some left for sandwiches. The secrets I've learned: vital wheat gluten, new instant (or rapid-rise or bread-machine) yeast, and the right whole-wheat flour are essential. The flour I've always gotten is too coarse and weighs the bread down. You've gotta find a really fine flour, and I especially like soft white spring wheat flour (as opposed to hard red winter wheat, which if it doesn't specify, it probably is). The kind I found I like is Wheat Montana Prairie Gold Whole-Wheat Flour ). I got it at Wal-mart. A 5 lb. bag will make about 6 loaves of bread. You can usually find the gluten by the yeast. Enjoy!
100% Whole Wheat Fluffy Homemade Bread
Mix together:
3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. vital wheat gluten
1 heaping tb. instant yeast
Mix in:
2 1/2 c. hot tap water
Mix for one minute, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes (this is called sponging).
Now mix in:
1/3 c. oil (I use canola)
1/2 c. honey or sugar
1 tb. lemon juice
1 tb. salt
1 egg
1 tb. flax seed, optional
Lastly, add in:
2 to 2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, a little at a time.
Dump dough onto your counter. Only add enough flour that your dough is barely not sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand, or until the dough feels nice and elastic (you could also use a mixer for all this if you want- I use my Bosch and only knead for about 5 minutes). Heat your oven for 1 minute to warm it for rising, then turn it off. Divide dough in half, roll into 2 logs. Place dough in large greased loaf pans, then flip and kind of flatten the dough and squish it into the corners of the pan. Place in warm oven to rise about 30-45 minutes, or until it rises just about an inch over the top of the pans. If you let it rise too much, it may cave in when you bake it. When risen, turn on oven to 350 degrees, set timer to bake for 30 minutes. When finished, remove from pans, brush top with butter for a soft crust, and let cool for 1-2 hours before slicing (if you can stand it!). Freezes well, but slice it first and wrap it well.
Makes 2 loaves.

*You can also use this recipe for rolls, cinnamon rolls, or cinnamon raisin bread. YUM! If you want to use the dough for pizza, this amount makes enough for 3- 15" crusts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Baked Apple Pancake

This recipe came from a box of Hormel Little Sizzlers (our favorite sausage- we like the maple flavored ones). It is a quick, easy and delicious recipe for a special breakfast! Serve w/ a glass of cold milk.
Baked Apple Pancake
1 package Hormel sausage links, cooked, drained and sliced into pieces
1 medium apple, finely chopped
1 c. baking mix (like Bisquick)
2/3 c. milk
1 egg
2 tb. sugar
2 tb. melted butter
1/4 tsp cinamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
maple syrup (for serving)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine baking mix, milk, egg, sugar, butter and spices. Stir in apple and sausages. Spread in greased 9" pie plate. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and set in center. Slice and serve w/ maple syrup. YUM!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ranch Cheddar Chicken

I got this recipe off a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, and we love it! It is so tender and yummy. The sauce is good enough to eat with a spoon.
Ranch Cheddar Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (it really is the best!)
1 tb. flour
1/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
Cut chicken breasts in half. Mix dressing and flour. Dip each chicken piece in dressing mixture to coat. Place in baking pan. Pour any extra sauce on top. Mix cheeses, sprinkle on chicken. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes (the recipe says 350 for 45 minutes, but I bake all my chicken hotter and faster, it makes it more tender and juicy). YUM!

Turkey Avocado Wraps

I love to serve these in the warm months. They are quick, easy and delicious. I serve them with a simple fruit salad.
Turkey Avocado Wraps
4 large flour tortillas
12 slices deli turkey
grated cheese
alfalfa sprouts
1 avocado, mashed
1/4 c. ranch dressing
1 tomato, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced (optional)
Mix mashed avocado and ranch dressing. Spread evenly on 4 tortillas. Layer tortillas with turkey, sprouts, cheese, and tomato & cucumber, if desired. Roll tightly, cut in half on diagonal. Serve with fresh fruit salad.

Monday, February 16, 2009

California Club Croissants & Cucumber Salad

I just love these sandwiches. They are so easy and delicious! I usually make them in the summer, but I needed a change so I made them a few weeks ago. The cucumber salad is really yummy, too, and makes an easy side dish for sandwiches or burgers.
California Club Croissants
4 deli croissants, large size
12 slices deli turkey
4 slices deli cheese (I like muenster, havarti or provolone)
1 avocado, sliced into 12 slices
Cut croissants in half. On bottom of each croissant layer 3 slices turkey, 1 slice cheese, and 3 slices avocado. Top with other half of croissant. Eat cold, or microwave for about 30 seconds each to melt cheese (we like it this way). I serve them with cucumber salad and fresh fruit salad.
Cucumber Salad
1 large cucumber
onion salt
real bacon bits, optional
Peel cucumber. Slice into thin slices. In bowl, sprinkle with onion salt to taste. Let sit for 1/2 hour or longer (cucumber should soften a bit, and there should be liquid in the bowl). Drain off excess liquid, add enough mayo to coat and bacon bits, if desired. Serve cold. You can add more cucumbers to make enough for a picnic or potluck. You can also add sliced tomatoes if desired, I do this only in the summer when I have good garden tomatoes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Real Comfort Food!

I love chicken noodle soup, or turkey noodle soup. When I'm sick, when it's cold outside, or just whenever I feel like it. It only takes about 30 minutes, and once you've made it yourself, the canned stuff just won't do. So here's my own recipe, after much experimentation to make it the very best. We all love it, and it's always the first thing I make with leftover turkey (along with turkey/cranberry sandwiches). I usually just make a basic chicken or turkey noodle soup with leftover cooked meat, but I sometimes add variations to make it a creamier soup, so I'll add those at the end of the recipe. Try it!
Chicken or Turkey Noodle Soup
2 tb. butter or canola oil
4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and chopped 1/2 inch
1/2 med. onion, chopped
1/2 lb. baby carrots, cut in half
2 c. chopped cooked chicken or turkey
8-10 c. chicken broth (I use 10 c. water + 3 tb. bouillon granules)
1 tb. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. (1/2 package) egg noodles
In large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute celery, onion and carrots in butter/oil for about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, parsley and pepper. Bring to boil, turn down heat. Simmer about 10 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender. Add egg noodles and cook 7-8 minutes more. Add chicken or turkey and heat through. Serves about 6-8 hungry people.
*Variation for Creamy Chicken or Turkey Noodle Soup: Prepare as directed, adding 1 can cream of chicken soup or 2 c. homemade turkey gravy with the meat at the end. Heat through. If you need a good turkey recipe, just ask. I've got one that makes the best, most juicy, tender turkey and fabulous gravy. And it's easy!

Beautiful Brown Bananas

Most things are bad when they go bad, right? Except bananas! When bananas get over-ripe you can make the yummiest things! My 2 favorite things to make for snacks (or breakfast) when my bananas go brown are banana bread and chocolate-banana milk. I actually make banana pancakes, too, but I haven't made those in a while, so I don't have a pic. I have had many banana bread recipes over the years, but this is my favorite. Dustin brought some home that an old lady patient of his had made, and it was the best I'd ever had, so I told him he had to get the recipe. The secret is butter instead of oil, and 4 bananas instead of the typical 3. When I only have 1 or 2, I make chocolate-banana milk, my own recipe.
Best Banana Bread
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
4 mashed bananas
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
3 tb. buttermilk (I mix 3 tb. milk and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice and let it sit a few minutes)
Cream butter and sugar. Add bananas and eggs. Add dry ingredients, then buttermilk. Pour into greased loaf pans (1 large, 3 small, or 24 muffins). Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes (large pan). 3 small pans takes about 25-35 minutes, muffins take about 20-25 minutes.
Chocolate Banana Milk
4 c. milk
1-2 bananas
chocolate syrup (as much as you like)
Mix all in blender until smooth. Serves 4. YUM!