Recipe—Banana Toffee Cookies

Banana Toffee Cookies

We have over ripened left over bananas at our house on a pretty frequent basis. I’m not one to let things go to waste so I’m always finding new ways to use them. My typical go to recipe is my banana nut bread but last week I still had several loaves in the freezer. I happened to have on hand, some leftover white chocolate chips and toffee bits so like a mad scientist I went to work on creating something new. Now normally I have the self-control to wait for cookies to cool but when these came out of the oven they were practically going straight to my mouth. Totally irresistible sugar bombs are what these are! Super sweet and totally addicting! The banana flavor definitely comes through and then there were these fabulous little chewy toffee bits mixed in. Okay, I could so go for another batch right now. If you like bananas and have a sweet tooth then this is the recipe for you!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c butter, softened
1/3 c bananas, smashed
1 tsp vanilla
18.25 oz box of Duncan Hines Butter Golden cake mix
3/4 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c Heath Toffee Bits for baking

STEPS

  • Beat together the butter, bananas, and vanilla.
  • Stir in the dry cake mix and mix thoroughly.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and toffee bits until evenly distributed.
  • Place the dough in the freezer and chill for 30 minutes. (This makes it much easier to work with.)
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Roll the dough into 1” cylinders and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet making sure to give them adequate space. (I found that my dough spread out a lot while baking when I made them into circles so I made them more vertical and they did not spread out as much.)
  • Bake the cookies for 10–12 minutes making sure not to overcook them. They will still look undercooked but they will set as they cool.
  • Leave the cookies on the sheet for 3–5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or a parchment paper lined cutting board.
  • Enjoy!

 

Are you bananas over bananas? Perhaps you would love these other fabulous recipes!

Banana Nut Bread

Moist Banana Nut Bread

Chunky Monkey Cookies

Chunky Monkey Cookies

Banana Split Pie

Banana Split Pie

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Recipe—Lamburgers

Lamburgers

Growing up my dad used to live on the edge of Wyoming, right up against the Idaho border. I would go out and visit him several times a year. He lived in this gorgeous 3-story ranch house right next to a sheep farm. I always loved looking at the sheep. Especially in winter when those cute little white fluffy lambs were out in a snow-covered field. It wasn’t until I was a young teenager that I discovered that those cute little fluffy white sheep were raised to be someone’s dinner. I was appalled that anyone could eat such a cute little creature! That is, until I got my first taste of lamb. Yum-o! Sorry lamby, you taste too good not to eat.

Lamb is absolutely delicious and, in my opinion, like no other meat. It has this absolutely delicious rich flavor that is unlike any other meat. I have been wanting to try making lamburgers at home for sometime now but it can be difficult to find ground lamb. Just about every year my dad purchases and entire lamb from the sheep farm. When I saw him a couple of weeks ago he happened to still have some of the ground lamb leftover from his last purchase, so I bummed it off him just so that I could make these exotic burgers. These were mind blowing good. I felt so bad for my husband because he happened to have a cold when I made them and was unable to taste much of anything. Looks like I am going to have to make them again very soon. Aw shucks!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tsp cumin
1–1 1/2 lb ground lamb
salt and pepper
olive oil
block of feta cheese sliced
red onion slices
green leaf lettuce
4 burger buns

STEPS

  • In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and cumin and set in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Season the ground lamb with salt and pepper.
  • Form the ground meat into 4 thin patties.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the meat patties to the hot skillet and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  • Flip the patties and add the slices of feta cheese to the patties.
  • Continue cooking the lamburgers for another 4 minutes.
  • While the meat is cooking, lightly toast the buns in the oven.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and while the cheese finishes melting spread a good amount of the cumin mayonnaise onto the cut side of both the top and bottom buns.
  • Arrange the lettuce and red onion on the bottom half of each bun.
  • Top with the most delicious lamburger patty ever.
  • Add the top of the bun to your masterpiece and enjoy!

Recipe—Lemon Chive Rice

Lemon Chive Rice

Sometimes pairing side dishes with entrees can be a daunting task. If you aren’t quite sure what to serve with a main course, consider rice. Rice is incredibly versatile! Just toss in a couple of ingredients that complement the flavors of your main dish and you’ve got it made! I actually made this rice dish the other night to pair with macadamia nut crusted halibut. I love fish with some fresh lemon! This had just the right amount of zest to it so it wasn’t an overpowering flavor. This rice would also go great with some baked or grilled chicken. I find myself cooking with lots of citrus throughout the warmer months of the year. There is just something so refreshing about fresh citrus of any kind. This is definitely a side dish that the whole family will enjoy.

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 c rice
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp lemon zest, divided
3 c chicken broth
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and sauté until transparent.
  • Add the rice and the turmeric and stir until all the grains of rice are coated.
  • Stir in half of the lemon peel and all of the chicken broth.
  • Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer for 20–25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let rice sit covered for 8–10 minutes.
  • Fluff rice with a fork.
  • Stir in remaining lemon peel, chives, salt, and pepper.

Recipe—Italian Style Stuffed Artichokes

Italian Style Stuffed Artichokes

One of my best friends used to work in this cute little Italian deli that had numerous homemade Italian dishes. My three favorite things there was their gelato (which my friend kindly delivered to my door step while I was pregnant, becasue she’s awesome like that), eggplant parmesan, and their Italian stuffed artichokes. I LOVE their stuffed artichokes! They are a tad bit messy to eat but so delicious! When I eat artichokes I’m the type of gal that needs soemthing to dip the leaves in, whether it be mayonnaise, aioli, or garlic butter. However with these there is so much flavor in the bread crumbs that no dip is necessary. You just pull the bread crumbs off with the tender ends of the leaves.

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic
salt and pepper
1 c Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
2 large artichokes
1/2 of a lemon

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.
  • Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  • Remove the skillet form heat and stir in breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
  • Season bread crumbs with salt and pepper.
  • Put a pot of water on to boil. (The amount of water you will need will depend on the size of your baking dish. You will need enough that the artichokes can sit in 1” of water.)
  • Prepare the artichokes by slicing off the stems and their tops and then pulling off the small outer leaves. (I trim about an inch off. This exposes the center leaves making it easier to remove them.)
  • Using a pair of kitchen shear trim the pointy tips off of the leaves.
  • Take the lemon half and rub it all over the artichokes. (This keeps the cut areas from turning an ugly brown color and gives it a nice little zest.)
  • Gently try to loosen up the dense center leaves by pressing them outward.
  • Pull out some of the thin center leaves if you are able to, creating a small well in the middle.
  • Stuff the prepared breadcrumbs in the center well and in between the large leaves.
  • Place the stuffed artichokes in a baking dish.
  • Once your water has come to a boil, carefully pour it into the baking dish so that the artichokes are sitting in 1” of water.
  • Cover the entire baking dish tightly with foil.
  • Bake in the over for 1 hour or until the leaves are cooked to desired tenderness.

Recipe—Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

Chicken parmesan has got to be one of my favorite Italian dishes. I don’t make it very often because of the amount of work that it requires but I love the stuff! I also love meatloaf, the hubby not so much. Well I saw a recipe the other day for an Italian chicken meatloaf and I thought to myself, why not give it more of a kick and incorporate my favorite chicken parm qualities, flavorful marinara and melted mozzarella…and this gorgeous chicken parmesan meatloaf was made. I expected the loaf to be much dryer, but with the sauce and eggs, it was the moistest meatloaf I have ever made, hands down. The parsley and basil give the meat a nice Italian flavor but really took it over the top was the homemade sauce and fresh mozzarella smothering the top. Delish! I love that this recipe is not only tasted fantastic but it is light on carbs and low in calories. I was able to whip this recipe up in less than 15 minutes so the hardest part was waiting for it to bake. And best of all, the hubby liked it.

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

Note: I used panko instead of breadcrumbs to keep the carbs down but I imagine some Italian seasoned breadcrumbs would be wonderful!

INGREDIENTS
2 lb ground chicken meat
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 eggs
1–1 1/2 c panko
2 c marinara sauce, divided
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped, divided
1/4 c fresh Italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
8 oz fresh mozzarella ball, sliced

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • In a large bowl combine the meat, garlic, onion, eggs, panko, a 1/2 cup of the marinara, parmesan cheese, a 1/4 cup of the chopped basil, Italian parsley, salt and pepper. (I start with a cup of the panko crumbs and add more as needed to help absorb some of the moisture.)
  • Mix until well combined.
  • Shape the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place in a large greased baking dish.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Remove loaf from oven and pour remaining marinara sauce over the top.
  • Layer the sliced mozzarella over the top and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Turn on the broiler for 3–4 minutes to brown the cheese.
  • Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish the meatloaf with the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped basil and slice to serve.

Recipe—Shrimp in Creamy Red Pepper Sauce Over Linguine

Shrimp in Creamy Red Pepper Sauce Over Linguine

A couple weeks back I was having my good friend Sarah over for dinner on a work night. Work nights are already crazy so I needed something snazzy but yet quick and easy so I wouldn’t be spending our whole night together in the kitchen. Well one thing that cracks me up about Sarah is that she eats whole bell peppers like an apple. This girl loves her bell peppers! So I knew I wanted a dish that had a nice red pepper flavor. This one was it! The pepper flavor is very mild and goes great with the rich creamy wine sauce and of course shrimp cook super quick. We had a winner! This recipe was a huge hit. I served this pasta dish with a green salad and a fresh baguette for a quick and impressive dinner you’d think came out of a restaurant.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
1/4 c white wine
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp chili paste (more if you like things on the spicy side)
1 pt whipping cream
1/4 c fresh bail, chopped

STEPS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and heat through for about 1 minute making sure not to burn it.
  • Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté the shrimp and cook most of the way through, about 3–5 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooked shrimp to a bowl and cover with foil.
  • Pour the wine to the skillet and cook until it reduces by half.
  • Add the bell pepper, chili paste, and cream.
  • Simmer for 5–6 minutes or until the cream begins to thicken.
  • Add the shrimp back into the skillet and simmer in the sauce for another 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the majority of the basil leaving some for garnish.
  • Serve the shrimp and a spoonful of the sauce over cooked linguine and garnish with some of the leftover chopped basil.

Recipe—Honey Spice Glazed Pork Chops

Honey Spice Glazed Pork Chops

There is just something ultra tasty about a nice cut of tender pork in a savory sweet sauce. This recipe is so incredibly quick and easy that it is the perfect dinner on a work night and yet still classy enough for a dinner party. All the spices give the sauce a nice little pop. This dinner is perfect for everyone in the family. Even the pickiest of eaters will love the sweet flavor of the sauce. My three year old ate almost an entire pork chop. This sauce is also great with a ham steak or chicken breast, heck it would be good on a piece of leather! Try this honey glazed pork chop tonight, the whole family will be begging for more.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c honey
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
4 boneless thick cut pork chops (or 6–8 think cut)
salt and pepper

STEPS
Note: If using thin cut pork chops, cooking time will need to be adjusted since they will cook much quicker.

  • In a bowl mix together the honey, mustard, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the pork chops and cook for 3 minutes per side.
  • Pour the honey mustard sauce over the pork chops and cook for an additional 10–12 minutes or until cooked through flipping the chops halfway through.
  • Transfer the pork chops to a plate and spoon the sauce over the chops.

Recipe—Bacon Jalapeño Cheese Ball

Bacon Jalapeño Cheese Ball

I have always loved the idea of cheese balls, but have been turned off by the fake processed taste of the premade ones you get at the store. Well cheese balls seem to be redeeming themselves with all the creative gourmet versions popping up all over the place. I recently threw my husband a little birthday bbq and wanted an appetizer that could be prepared ahead of time and then just set out once the party started. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew it was exactly what I was looking for! My husband loves bacon, and of course loves the spice of jalapeños. (Don’t all men? Okay I guess vegetarians may be repulsed by the bacon but there are substitutes for that.) Once I had the bacon cooked and the jalapeños chopped this recipe came together in about 5 minutes. It was super quick and easy. A perfect recipe for any social events you may have coming up. By the end of the night I had several people asking for the recipe, which, in my mind, is a very good sign.

Note: This can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp green onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 jalapeños, deseeded, deveined, and finely chopped, divided
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
1/4 c pecans, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium mixing bowl stir together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions, garlic, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Fold in half of the chopped jalapeños and half of the crumbled bacon until well blended.
  • On a large plate combine the remaining jalapeños, remaining bacon, and the pecans and mix together.
  • Using your hands shape the cream cheese mixture into a large even ball.
  • Once you have formed the ball roll it in the pecan mixture until it is evenly coated.
  • Place the finished cheese ball on a plate and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
  • Serve with your favorite crackers.

Recipe adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

Recipe—Potato Salad

Potato Salad

The weather is warming up which means one thing—BBQs! No BBQ is complete without a big bowl of potato salad. It’s just un-American! Whenever we have a BBQ and my friend Casey asks what she can bring I say potato salad.  I don’t know what it is that she does, but it is amazing! By far the best ever! While I don’t have her recipe I have tried endlessly to recreate it. I think this batch is my closest ever! It turned out so good. I ended up using equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise and it was just the right balance of creaminess, not overly oily like some of the store bought ones. And I added bacon. Bacon makes everything good. Next time you are looking for a classic American side dish give this recipe a try.

Note: This salad can be made 24 hours in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. 

INGREDIENTS
5–6 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2” pieces (I like to leave the skin on a couple of potatoes)
3/4 c mayonnaise
3/4 c sour cream
2 tbsp mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
4 hardboiled eggs, chopped
red bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2.25 oz can sliced black olives
paprika

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  • Add the diced potatoes and cook for 7–10 minutes or until fork tender.
  • While the potatoes are boiling mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, salt, pepper, and celery seed.
  • When the potatoes are done cooking drain them in a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the hardboiled eggs, bell pepper, celery, green onions, bacon, and olives. (I like to save some of the green onions, bacon, and olives to add to the top of the salad for garnish.)
  • Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with some paprika and garnish with the green onions, bacon, and olives if you saved any.
  • Cover with a lid or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Recipe—Snickers Cake

Snickers Cake

This cake should be called the Devil’s cake. Because that is exactly what it is. It will suck you in and you won’t be able to resist it’s evil chocolately goodness! My husband loves his sweets but isn’t much of a cake guy. (How did I ever marry him?!?!) Just kidding, I love my husband, so much so that I was on the hunt for the PERFECT birthday cake for him. One of his favorite candy bars is a Snickers so I knew if I could make a cake that even remotely resembled a Snickers bar, he would probably like it. I think I gained 10 pounds just making this cake because I was indulging myself while putting it together. That is part of being a good cook right? Taste everything you serve. Well I did. I tasted the cake batter, the caramel sauce, the chocolate chips, the chopped snickers, the whipped cream, etc. I was so bad, and it was soooo good! Every layer of it! If you are or have a Snickers lover in your family bake them this cake. They will love you forever, unless they are on a diet. This is a fabulous cake, not a diet cake.

Note: This cake can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS
16.5 oz box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix
1 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz jar Smucker’s Hot Caramel ice cream topping sauce
1 c chocolate chips
1 pt heavy whipping cream
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 Snickers candy bars, chopped
1/2 c peanuts, coarsely chopped
caramel sauce
chocolate sauce

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs at medium speed for 2 1/2 minutes.
  • Pour the cake batter into a greased 9” x 13” Pyrex.
  • Bake the cake for 25–30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  • While the cake is baking mix together the condensed milk and jar of caramel sauce until thoroughly blended.
  • When the cake is done cooking, but still hot, poke 20–30 holes in the cake using a straw.
  • Pour the caramel sauce over the entire cake.
  • Allow the cake to finish cooling completely.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake.
  • In a medium mixing bowl beat together the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla at high speed until it is nice and thick, about 3–5 minutes.
  • Fold the chopped Snickers into the whipped topping.
  • Spread the whipped topping over the top of the cake.
  • Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the top and drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauce.
  • Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Plain Chicken.