Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Banana Bread/ Banana Cake

This is a coveted family recipe from my Grandma Margaret.  It is her infamous Banana Cake recipe, but I love it better than my banana bread recipe so if we want to make banana bread, we just bake it in a loaf pan.  If I make it a cake, we frost it with her oh so delicious cream cheese frosting.  It is heaven and I bask in my memories of her every time I make it.  My Grandmother's middle name should have been Banana because she is famous for so many wonderful Banana recipes- Banana Bread, Cake, Banana Oatmeal Cookies, and the most wonderful of all, Banana Drink.  Thank you for passing on your love of cooking and your wonderful Banana recipes.  I love you!!!

1 cup sugar
3/4 butter or margarine
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas
1/2 C sour milk  (to do this you measure almost a 1/2 cup milk (about a TBSP less) and add enough vinegar to make it 1/2 cup- it will immediately curdle like sour milk)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
 1/2 tsp lemon extract
 2 1/2 C flour
1 cup chopped nuts (optional) (I never use the nuts- my kids don't like them in breads or cakes)

Mix together sugar, butter and add beaten eggs.  Add bananas.  Sift flour together with soda and baking powder.  Add alternately with sour milk.  Bake in a loaf pan or a 9x13 cake pan.  I also love it in a bunt cake pan.  If you make the loaf, Bake it at 375 for 45-50 minutes.  Check for doneness  with a toothpick.  If you cook it as a 9x13 cake, 25-30 min at 375.  For a Bunt Cake pan, 375 for 40 minutes- checking for doneness.

Crock Pot Potato Chowder

I got this AWESOME crock pot recipe from my great friend and next door neighbor who shared it with me after a friend of hers shared it with her after she had her baby.  It's just too yummy and too easy to not share with everyone you know.

1 pkg frozen shredded hash browns (30 oz)
3 cups chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup green onions (I used half of a small regular onion and it was great)
1/4 tsp pepper

Put all ingredients in crock pot and stir.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  After 4 hours add an 8 oz pkg of cream cheese and stir in.  Cook for an additional 30 min.

I also added some cooked chopped bacon at the same time as the cream cheese.  Another time I added chopped leftover ham at the beginning.  They both turned out yummy. 

As a side note:  I also tried this recipe using low fat soup and low fat cream cheese.  It was still o.k., but the consistency was off- kind of pasty-- sticky.  I think I'll stick to the original recipe- or at least staying with regular cream cheese.

Pork Fried Rice

Here's an idea for using leftover Pork Chops
We had Rosemary Pork Chops on Sunday and then with the 2 or 3 pork chops I had left over, I chopped them up while they were still warm put them in a container to use the next day.  It is ALWAYS easier to cut-up or de-bone meat when it is warm instead of the next day from the fridge.  It may take a few extra minutes the night before while you're trying to clean up, but it is WELL worth the time the next day.

2-3 leftover pork chops de-boned and chopped up
One Rice Pilaf recipe (see below)
1/2 chopped onion
1 carrot shredded
1 cup frozen  broccoli cooked and chopped
1 tsp crushed rosemary

Put 1 TBSP olive oil in a skillet, sweat onions, add meat, broccoli, carrots and rosemary.  Mix together and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add rice and combine all together.

Rice Pilaf:
2 cups Long grain rice
4 cups water
4 heaping tsp chicken bouillon granules
3 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP butter

Another kind of rice that is REALLY good in general, but especially with this recipe is Jasmine Rice.  You can find it next to the regular rice.  It has a very floral aroma.  Just cook according to the directions and you can add the bouillon and lemon juice and butter too.