Thursday, January 27, 2011

Going Bananas

With the current economy I am having to find ways of reducing food waste. I can see the dollar signs falling into the waste bin and it bothers me. One area I notice waste more than any other is fruit. It seems that no matter how small a bunch I buy, I always seem to have bananas that become overripe before we can enjoy them. Walking past the fruit basket today, I decided to try and do something about this.

With no real plan in mind I riffled around our pantry and discovered a leftover bag of pecans from Christmas. With that my idea was born, leftover banana nut muffins. I am not usually a muffin person, they always seem too sickly here in the states. These however turned out lovely and light. These are a great addition to a lunch box for a midday snack.

-Going Nuts, Banana Muffins- 

Makes about 18 muffins (Depending on size)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (chopped)
4 bananas
1 1/2 sticks butter melted
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 eggs

Get Cooking:

Preheat the oven to about 175 F- this will vary depending on your oven. 

1. Cut two bananas up and put them into a mixing bowl along with the brown sugar. Whip this together with your electric mixer on high for about five minutes. 

2.While your bananas and sugar are mixing lightly mash the remaining bananas with a fork. You want these to have some texture to them, so do not over-mash them. Set these aside along with your chopped nuts. 

3. To the banana sugar add the remaining wet ingredients including butter, eggs and vanilla. Turn your mixer back on to high for about 7 minutes. The mixture should be quite light and fluffy. 

4. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add these to your mixing bowl in batches until fully incorporated. 

5. Lightly fold in the nuts and mashed banana. 

6. Spoon this mixture into a lightly greased muffin tin. Make sure to tap the tin on the counter before baking, in order to remove any air bubbles. 

7. Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How many ways can you cook a chicken?

I find that I run out of new ideas on how to keep the same ingredients exciting.  Most weeks I go through the same routine, and after a while I must say it gets quite boring. Tonight was one of those nights when I looked in the freezer and said "Oh, great chicken again". Instead of doing my regular baked chicken with roasted root veg, I decided to try a new variation of them both. So out of my cooking boredom I give you my One-Dish Rosemary Lemon Chicken. 

-One-Dish Rosemary Lemon Chicken-

Feeds 4

4 large carrots
2 garlic bulbs (peeled and separated into cloves)
4 chicken thighs (Skin on)
1 Lemon
Olive Oil
Sweet White Wine

Preheat oven to 300. 
1. In a roasting dish place chicken skin side up. Slice carrots and place them into the same dish along with the garlic cloves. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the chicken.

2.Sprinkle on a generous amount of thyme and rosemary, and add a slight drizzle of olive oil. Pour a little white wine into the pan, about half a cup.

3. Cover the dish with tin foil and place it into the oven. Bake this way for about 45 minutes.  

4. Turn the oven up to 400 and remove the foil. Let the dish roast for about 30 minutes until the chicken is crispy, and the garlic has caramelized. 

Serve with rice, and use the drippings from the pan for a delicious gravy. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Simple Chicken Enchiladas

My husband and I both love Mexican food, however it can be quite stodgy. If you want a great tasting meal that wont weigh you down, you have to try these simple chicken enchiladas. 

Instead of a heavy filling this recipe is creamy and light. By pairing it with a salad and some Spanish rice you have a wonderful meal that your family is sure to enjoy. 

-Simple Chicken Enchiladas-
Serves 4 or two with lots of leftovers

4 chicken thighs
A handful of cilantro (chopped)
1 ½  to 2 cups Shredded cheese
3 large tablespoons Sour Cream
4 Spring Onions (chopped)
Salsa- (depending on your preference you can use mild, medium or hot)
Flour Tortillas

Cook chicken:
1. Season 4 chicken thighs or breast with salt and pepper. 
2. Place in oven at 375F until cooked through. 
3. Remove from oven and let cool.

Prepare filling:
1. Shred the chicken with a fork and place into a bowl.  

2. Add a cup of cheese, ½ a cup of salsa, sour cream, spring onions and cilantro. 

3. Mix together and spoon into tortillas.

4. Roll tortillas up and place in an ovenproof dish with seam side down. 

5. Generously spread salsa over top. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with a cup of cheese (add more or less depending on what you prefer) bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is warm and bubbly.

Serve hot table side with Spanish rice and a simple salad.