Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Wow…just WOW…that is all there is to say about this wonderfully delicious cake!  Banana Whipped Cream cake is a traditional treat for birthdays in Mark’s family and this year, since we were just having his mom over (and there wasn’t any big family birthday party), I just couldn’t stand the idea of spending a whole bunch of money on a cake (and it is harder than you might think to find a banana whipped cream cake). So, I went onto good old allrecipes.com and found a recipe for banana cake and a recipe for whipped cream frosting (which I adapted to fit what I was looking for) and the final result was heavenly!  Please….please…if you like banana bread…make this cake!

Banana Cake:


  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 2 1/8 c. white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3 over-ripe bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 275° F.  Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. In a small bowl, mash bananas with the lemon juice and set aside. 
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. 
  5. Into the creamed butter mixture, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
  6. Stir in the banana mixture and pour into prepared pans.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30-45 min., or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (this could vary widely)
  8. Once cooked, remove cake from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 min. **

**The freezer step was part of the specific instructions found on allrecipes…I have no idea if it actually makes a moister final product.  I didn’t want to mess up the cake, so I did follow this step and I will say that the cake was nice and moist even after cooking so long. 

Whipped Cream Frosting:


  • 6 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/8 c. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream


  1. In a small bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Beat until smooth (the longer the better). Fold in the whipped cream. 

Note:  I kept the cake in the refrigerator once it was decorated with this frosting so that the whipped cream wouldn’t “deflate”.  I allowed the cake to sit at room temp. for about 20 min. prior to cutting and serving.


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Chicken Parmigiana

This recipe is DELICIOUS!  It is one that I found back in high school watching the food network…actually I think that the lady who originally made this recipe is off the air now!  Anyway, it is wonderful…the chicken stays deliciously moist as it simmers in the sauce!  Mark requested it for his birthday dinner and I couldn’t say no since it is one of my favorites as well.  I am thinking that it would freeze well so I might try that next time I make it for dinner!

Chicken Parmigiana:


  • 1-2 c. flour
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 lbs. chicken breast halves
  • 7 c. tomato sauce (we use our Meaty Spaghetti Sauce), simmering hot
  • 1/2 c. Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c. Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Place flour in a large shallow bowl.
  3. Wisk eggs, salt and pepper in a large shallow bowl.
  4. Place bread crumbs in a large shallow bowl.
  5. Dip chicken breasts in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.
  6. Re-dip chicken in the egg and breadcrumbs, placing all chicken on a large plate or cutting board as you finish dipping.
  7. Once all chicken has been breaded, heat olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat.
  8. Brown chicken breasts for 3 min. on each side.  The chicken will not be completely cooked at this point.
  9. After chicken has been cooked 3 min on each side, remove from pan and onto paper towels.
  10. Pour 2 c. sauce into the bottom of a glass baking dish (9 X 13).  Place chicken breasts on top of sauce and cover with 1/2 or all remaining sauce**.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 15 min. or until sauce and cheese are bubbling.
  11. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with hot pasta. 

**We use about 4-5 cups of sauce in the baking dish and reserve the rest to serve alongside the food.

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Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

This is our go-to recipe for Spaghetti Sauce.  The amounts are rough estimates since each time I make it, I do it a little differently….this is our basic ingredient list and the general cooking directions….

Meaty Spaghetti Sauce:


  • 1 # Ground Beef
  • 1 # Italian Sausage (now that we try to avoid pork products, we use italian turkey sausage or just more beef)
  • 3 C. chopped onion
  • 1 C. chopped carrots
  • 1 C. chopped celery
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. dried basil
  • 2 T. dried parsley
  • 4 T. dried oregano
  • 4 (28 oz) cans of stewed tomatoes (I use 2 cans crushed and 2 cans diced)
  • tomato sauce/paste as necessary (for desired consistency)


  1. Brown meat in large pot and drain fat and set aside.
  2. Saute onions, carrot, and celery until tender.  Add garlic and cook lightly.
  3. Add seasonings, cooked meat, and tomatoes to pot and stir together.
  4. Allow to boil and then simmer for several hours. 

Sound easy?  Well it is!  This recipe makes a pretty thick-style sauce.  Just add more tomatoes to thin it out…we like our sauce to be chunky and thick!  This is the recipe we use for making lasagna as well as chicken parmigana…yummy!

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This recipe is FANTASTIC!  It received RAVE reviews and I love love loved it!  It is really yummy with a nice loaf of French Bread!  It was originally inspired by a wonderful soup I had at New Seasons that was a Lentil Vegetable Soup with Kale.

Beef and Veggie Soup with Lentils:

  • 1  1/2 c. lentils
  • 2 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1 T. Olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 6 carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 4 c. cabbage (1/2 head)
  • 2 c. kale
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans tomatoes (I used one can whole tomatoes and one can diced)
  • 1 T. salt (more to taste)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 T. curry powder


  1. Place the lentils into saucepan and add water to twice the depth of the lentils. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse lentils; set aside.
  2. In large stockpot, brown ground beef in olive oil.  Drain fat if necessary.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients to stock pot and bring to a boil. 
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 1  1/2 to 2 hours or until veggies are tender.  (Add lentils back to stockpot after about 1 to 1  1/2 hours) 

Makes 1 Large Stockpot full of soup

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Homemade French Bread

Here is another new favorite!  I made up a batch of this bread a few months ago.  We ate 1/2 of a loaf and froze the other 1 and 1/2 loaves (in 1/2 loaf portions) which we have used for last minute meals (like french bread pizzas) as well as to give away with soup in meals for family and friends.  This is a very easy recipe and tastes delicious! 

Homemade French Bread:

  • 5 tsp. yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. honey

Dissolve yeast in water and honey and allow to activate for 5-10 min.

  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. warm-hot water
  • 8 cups flour (I use 6 c. Whole Wheat Flour and 2 c. White flour)
  1. After yeast has activated, add the remaining honey, olive oil, salt, and water.  Stir together until reasonably mixed. 
  2. Stir in the remaining flour (adding slowly and stopping when dough is appropriate consistency.
  3. Knead dough for 10 min. or until it is smooth and elastic. 
  4. Place in a greased bowl, turning once, and allow to rise until doubled
  5. Punch down dough and let rise an additional 15 min.
  6. Divide dough in half. 
  7. On a floured surface, roll the dough (one half at a time) into a rectangle (about 12″ X 15″). 
  8. Roll up, starting from the longer edge.
  9. Place bread on a greased cookie sheet (seam side down) and make 4-5 diagonal cuts across the tops of the loaves and let rise until doubled.
  10. If desired, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min.

Makes 2 large loaves

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Hooked on Hummus!

I am absolutely HOOKED ON HUMMUS!  A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I had a sudden craving for hummus (which is funny because I have never particularly loved it-especially the original variety).  Well, I checked good old allrecipes.com and found a highly rated hummus recipe.  I headed straight to the store and picked up all the necessary ingredients and got right to it!  It was so super easy and after just one taste I was hooked!  So, here is a super quick and easy recipe for hummus….I am on batch three right now!  My new favorite lunch is a hummus plate with hummus, carrots and celery, and a piece of naan. Also, for a really yummy taste, try sprinkling feta cheese over the hummus and then drizzling with a little extra virgin olive oil!

Basic Hummus Recipe:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained (juice reserved)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 3 T. Tahini Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin


  1. Place garlic in food processor and process until very finely chopped
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and process until smooth, adding juice from garbanzo beans as necessary for smooth texture and desired consistency.

This is such a nice recipe to make up and keep in the fridge for those moments where you need a nice crunchy and healthy snack!  There are endless variations on this recipe-have fun experimenting!


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I found this recipe while sorting through all my old Cooking Light Magazines and since broccoli and bell peppers are my two favorite veggies, I just had to try it! 

Southeast Asian Fried Rice

  • 1 T Brown Sugar
  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce (the original recipe used 1 T soy and 1 T fish sauce, but I didn’t have any fish sauce on hand)
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 tsp. chili paste, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 T. coconut oil (or substitute peanut oil)
  • 2 1/2 -3 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
  • 1 lg. shallot
  • 1 lb. chicken breast
  • 3-4 c. broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic


Combine sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, 1/2 tsp chili paste, and 1/8 tsp salt in a small prep bowl. Stir together and set aside.  Combine eggs and remaining chili paste in a bowl.  Beat lightly and set aside.  Diagonally cut the green tops of the green onions and set aside.  Cut the white bottoms of the green onion into 1 inch pieces and combine with garlic and 1/8 tsp. salt and set aside in a small bowl.  Slice shallot and place in a small prep bowl.  Julienne-cut the red pepper and combine with the broccoli in a bowl.  Cut chicken into 1/2 inch  pieces and place in a bowl.  Place cooked rice in a large bowl.

At this point, I like to set out all of my prep bowls in the order that I will need them since the cooking part of this recipe goes pretty quickly.  Here is how I line them up:

  1. Rice
  2. Shallots
  3. Chicken
  4. Soy sauce mixture
  5. Broccoli and Pepper
  6. Onion bottoms, garlic and salt

When you are ready to cook, make sure you have everything sitting out so that you don’t have to walk away from the stove and accidentally overcook your stir-fry.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Add 2 tsp coconut oil, swirling to coat evenly.  Add brown rice and stir constantly, stir-frying for 1 1/2 minutes.  Transfer back to the large bowl. 

Return pan to stove top and add another 2 tsp. coconut oil, swirling to coat.  Add shallots and stir-fry for 30 sec. or until tender.  Add chicken and stir-fry 2-3 min. or until lightly browned.  Add soy sauce mixture and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 min. or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.  Transfer chicken mixture to the large bowl with rice.

Wipe pan clean with a paper towel and return to the stove top.  Add remaining 2 tsp. coconut oil and turn heat to med-high.  Add broccoli and pepper mixture and stir-fry for 3 min. or until veggies are tender (if you like your veggies more tender or if you have very large pieces, try adding 2 T. water and covering so that the veggies can have a quick steam).  Add the onion bottoms, garlic and salt and stir-fry 1 min or until fragrant. 

Add the chicken and rice mixture back to the pan with the veggies and cook for 2 min. or until heated through.  Transfer entire mixture to the large bowl. 

Return pan to med. heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add the egg mixture to the pan and cook just until egg is set (about 30 sec.).  Transfer to a cutting board and chop.  Stir into the rice mixture.  Top the rice with green onion tops, serve and enjoy!

 This recipe looks like a lot of work, but it only took about 30 min. from start to finish and was very fresh and tasty!

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