mrs.b and her boys

embrace the chaos

Month: March 2016

BANANA BREAD

In our house, banana bread can be breakfast, or a snack, or even lunch instead of that PB&J in the lunch box.

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Does this look familiar?

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It happens in my freezer all the time. Before I know it there are 47 overripe bananas in my freezer. So, when I get around to baking banana bread, I generally make big batches. I make a double batch TWICE! That way I have it in my freezer for when we want a sweet bread, but I don’t have time to make it. And I love having it ready to give to someone as a thank you or during a hard or busy time in their life.

I usually add chocolate chips to mine because we love the banana-chocolate combination in our house – and I never {I said never!} add nuts. But please add or don’t add whatever you prefer. Walnuts, chocolate chips, etc. Or keep it simple and pure and add nothing.

I have had this recipe around for years. It is so moist and has a lot of banana flavor to it. The key to the moistness is the buttermilk. I’m telling you it makes all the difference in the world. If you have to eliminate the dairy from the recipe, I would think coconut milk would have the same effect on it.  I have not tried it – but let me know if you do! I am sure it would add another level of amazing flavor to it as well.

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*Tip: If you use bananas from the freezer, leave time for them to thaw. And, you do not have to mash them!

 

BANANA BREAD

 

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

¾ cup salted butter, softened

1 ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

7-8 medium overripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup buttermilk

½ bag of chocolate chips (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 325˚. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans.

 

In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk; set aside.

 

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, bananas, vanilla and buttermilk, and beat at medium speed until thick and blended. Be sure to scrape down sides of bowl.

 

Add flour mixture to banana mixture, blend at low speed until just combined. With a spoon, stir in chocolate chips.

 

Pour batter into greased pans. Bake on center rack for 60-70 minutes. At this time, check center of loaf with toothpick. If it does not come out clean, cook in 5-10 minute increments until done and the sides of bread should be pulling away from the pan. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on cooling rack.

EASY ITALIAN CHICKEN

There are nights that we just need to get dinner on the table {we got places to be people!}, and with limited time to do so. This chicken dish is perfect for that. It has only three {3} ingredients, it’s pretty healthy and it is scrumptious!

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The hardest part is to figure out what to serve with it. Whether it’s salad and garlic bread or steamed broccoli. Or how about one of my pasta salad or potato salad recipes? Remember to keep it simple. If you cannot prep it ahead of time, be sure your side dish can come together quickly in the time it takes the chicken to cook.

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As much as I love to cook, there are nights I do not feel like cooking. It’s just reality. This is a dish that I make those nights when I’m not feeling it, but still want something homemade on the table.

I use chicken thighs in this dish because they have such great flavor and are more affordable. If you prefer to use chicken breasts, I promise it will be just as delicious.

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This is a dish everyone will like. It is flavorful for the grown-ups, but simple tasting enough for our picky little eaters.

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EASY ITALIAN CHICKEN

 

1 Tb. olive oil

½ cup Italian dressing (divided into 2 – ¼ cup)

20 oz. chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

 

In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil and ¼ cup Italian dressing over medium-high heat. Add chicken, stir to coat with oil mixture; sauté until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

 

*Tip: There have been times that there is too much liquid in the pan from the moisture of the chicken. I drain most of it, because the chicken is supposed to be able to brown a bit.

 

When chicken is cooked through and starting to brown, add remaining ¼ cup Italian dressing, stir to coat and cook additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

DILLY POTATO SALAD

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It has been a while since my last blog post. Life has been happening. But, I am back and back with this amazing side dish. My Dilly Potato Salad is not your traditional yellow picnic potato salad. It is light, yet full of deep flavors. So simple with only five {5} ingredients.

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It is great for a side dish with almost anything you are serving for dinner. It is a perfect dish to bring to a potluck or your family reunion.  I wrote this recipe years ago and have been making it ever since.

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The key to the depths of flavor in this dish is getting the dressing mixed into the potatoes while they are {HOT}!!! As it chills in the fridge, the flavors set in and makes it an incredible, creamy side dish that will {WOW!} everyone.

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DILLY POTATO SALAD

 

2 lbs. baby red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

2-3 stalks celery, cut into 1/3-inch slices

¾ oz. pkg. fresh dill, cut off stalks and minced

1 cup mayo or salad dressing

1 Tb. Dijon mustard

1-2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

 

Place the cut potatoes in a pot and cover with water; about 2 inches above the top of the potatoes. Bring to a boil and boil at medium-high heat until tender; about 12-15 minutes.

 

While the potatoes boil, in a large mixing bowl, whisk dill, mayo and Dijon until well blended. Set aside until potatoes are done.

 

Drain the potatoes. DO NOT rinse! Let the drained potatoes sit in the pot on stove-top for about 5 minutes to let some of the moisture evaporate. Pour the hot potatoes into the mayo mixture, add salt and pepper, and toss gently until well blended.

 

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours; stirring once every 45 minutes or so, as to allow it to cool throughout.

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