Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Recipes I Love

I'm not feeling especially Valentine's-y. The boys have been sick and we have been house-bound for over a week now which is making everybody super grumpy. So, I'm turning to recipes I love to lift our spirits. No chocolate. Just easy, yummy, comfort food with a side of hugs and kisses for my runny-nosed little boys. :)




1.
My boys are part monkey. They start almost every day with at least one banana and have been known to take out entire bunches between the two of them. Nevertheless, we regularly end up with bananas past their prime and regularly turn them into delicious banana bread. I have this recipe memorized. It freezes well and is extremely forgiving to distracted moms and little "helping" hands. 
P.S. Not sure why this photo came out so dark... Luckily I will have many more opportunities to snap a better one - this bread is a staple in our house!
P.P.S. A friend of mine made this into mini muffins by reducing the baking time to 18 minutes. :)

Serves 8
INGREDIENTS
Cooking spray
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnut (optional)
DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with and electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat to incorporate. In a  medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine. Stir in nuts, if using, and pour into loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.


2.
My sweet husband got me cooking classes for my birthday a few years ago and for anyone living in the Reisterstown, MD area, I would highly recommend taking a class with Chef Diane at For the Love of Food. One of our homework assignments was to develop a pan sauce for sauteed chicken breasts. My sauce was inspired by a dish I love at Carrabba's called Pollo Rosa Maria. I like to serve it with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Chicken & Mushrooms with Lemon Basil Pan Sauce (adapted from CDKitchen)
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
2 T. olive oil
4 T. butter, divided
8 chicken cutlets
Salt & pepper
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. dry white wine
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. chopped basil
DIRECTIONS
1. Heat olive oil and 2 T. butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with 1 t. salt and 1 t. pepper. When butter starts starts to sizzle, place 2 cutlets in skillet and cook about 3 1/2 min. per side or until done. Set aside and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
2. Add onion and garlic to empty skillet and cook until tender, 2-3 min. Add wine, mushrooms, 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t.  pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown sticky bits on the bottom of the skillet (fond). Cook until mushrooms are tender and liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 5 min. Stir in remaining 2 T butter, lemon juice and basil. Spoon mushrooms and sauce over chicken.


3.
These lettuce wraps are delicious! I usually use romaine lettuce leaves because they are sturdier and crunchier, but Bibb lettuce looks so pretty. I cut back on the sriracha to make it more kid friendly so you may want to add a little more right before eating. I served these with powdered sugar wontons (recipe below).

Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Ellie Krieger)
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
2 t. canola oil
1 1/2 t. ground ginger
4 scallions, thinly sliced and greens separated from whites
1 lb. ground turkey
1 1/2 t. sesame oil 
3 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sherry
1/2 T. sriracha
1/4 c. hoisin sauce
8 oz. water chestnuts, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 c. peanuts
Romaine hearts or Bibb lettuce leaves
DIRECTIONS
Heat oil and ginger in large skillet over medium heat. Add scallion whites and cook 2-3 min. Add ground turkey, break up meat with a potato masher, and cook until no long pink, about 5 min. While turkey cooks, stir together sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sherry, sriracha, and hoisin sauce. Add sauce to skillet, stir, and cook 3-4 min. Add water chestnuts and red pepper and stir to incorporate. Sprinkle scallion greens and peanuts over the top and serve with lettuce leaves and additional sriracha.

Powdered Sugar Wontons (adapted from Ellie Krieger)
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
12 square wonton wrappers
2 t. canola oil
2 t. powdered sugar
DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the wontons in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cut wontons in half on the diagonal (a pizza cutter works well). Brush tops of wontons with canola oil, then turn them over and brush the other side. Bake about 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Dust with powdered sugar.

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