Banana Bread!

Banana Bread: My Favorite!

slices

I know pumpkin bread is really popular about now, and I love pumpkin bread,  but even more delicious to me is banana bread, which is my favorite.  Fortunately, it’s easy, and a great use for those bananas sitting on the shelf.

Time: 10 mins prep, 40-50 minutes baking.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
2 c. flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup milk

Mash your bananas, then add your sugar, eggs, and butter.  Mix thoroughly.  Sift your flour, spices, and soda together and add them to your wet ingredients.  Mix it all up until you have a somewhat stiff batter.  It’s much thicker than cake batter. Which is why I like to use a little milk to smooth it out. I also tend to double the batch as this freezes well.

Spray your loaf pan with non-stick spray.  I just LOVE using the little loaf pans.  They gift easily, for one.  Also, while I can’t seem to stop at one slice of bread, I do have to stop at one loaf.  This recipe makes 3 little loaves if you want to go that route too.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until you pass the toothpick test (where you stick it into your bread and it comes out clean).  For my little loaves, usually 40 minutes.  For a traditional loaf, closer to 50.

Jack and I have both been enjoying the bread. It is soooooo good!

 

It’s All In A Day

On Saturday I:

  • Walked the dogs, hung the bird feeders and had a cup of tea.
  • Made breakfast, cleaned it up and got dressed.
  • Went with Jack to a WW II Museum in Wolfboro, NH.
  • Drove to Jack’s favorite Chinese Buffet for lunch.
  • Was able to eat white rice, egg drop soup, and some plain cookies.
  • Came home, got Heavenly Jam Batch #1 on the stove.
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  • Sterilized the lids and caps and jars.
  • Cooked the jam for an hour, added the pectin and cooked it another 20 minutes.
  • Canned 12 jars of Peach Jam at 4 PM.
  • Got out a 7-pound chicken and seasoned it, tied it up and put it in the rotisserie to cook for 2 hours.
  • I got Batch #2 going on the stove.
  • Sterilized the lids and caps and jars.
  • Cooked the Jam 1 hour, added pectin and cooked another 20 or so minutes.
  • Canned 12 jars of Peach Jam at 6:30 PM.
  • Cooked two baked potatoes.
  • Sat down for a few minutes and then the chicken was done and I served dinner to Jack and me.
  • At 8 PM I finished the dinner and the cleanup and I could sit down!
  • Bedtime will come in a few minutes, and quite frankly I am exhausted!

Nite-Nite!

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Another Day

Well, yesterday, after my disaster with the last batch of Heavenly Jam, I set about peeling, pitting and setting about two batches of Jam to work on today.

The biggest problem is that doing the prep work is so labor-intensive. What to do, what to do?

Well, this is what I did:

  1. I cooked the peaches for one minute and fifteen seconds, then toss them in ice water and the skins seemed to slip off very easily. Then I crushed the peaches in my hands until they were in tiny bits.
  2. I juiced the oranges and removed all the pulp inside then tossed the rinds in my food processor and shredded them. This was in place of me sitting there finely chopping them into ribbons.
  3. Then I did sit and dice the cherries. That was a bit labor-intensive, but there is no quick alternative.
  4. I measured out the sugar and mixed it all well, covered them, put that in a cool place and set it to rest.
  5. Later on today I will carefully cook and can these two batches and then I am done!
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Jack wants to go to a World War II Museum today and although I would usually be thrilled by this, today I would be happier to stay home, do my jam, and rest. But, he sort of guilted me into it, so I will go.

Meanwhile, I will be making him pancakes this morning. He got a box of pancake mix when we went shopping the other day and wants them for breakfast. Okay, one more thing to cook. As well as a rotisserie chicken for dinner.

Pass my apron!

Peaches

Usually, I cook and can my Heavenly Peach Jam in early August. But for us, this year, our peach crop is still not completely ripe.

Our Spring was very wet, very cold and very late. Our Apple and Peach trees blossom in mid-May, but this year it was the first week in June!

Thus the Peach Crop is small and late. We have all the supplies that we need to make the Heavenly Jam, but it will be the weekend before I can even start.

It got me to thinking back to when my friend Emily lived next door. She would come over and the three of us would work, Dipping the peaches in boiling water for a minute, tossing them in ice water and then peel off the skin and then we would take out the seed, and chop the peaches.

Em and MeEmily and I back in August 2006.

Yes, Jack, Emily and I were a great team and the prep time went fast and we talked and joked and had fun. Below you will see some of the Jam we made together.

24 Jars Of Heavenly Jam & A New Hair Cut

I sure miss Emily and I wish that she lived closer! Of course, she and her husband are expecting baby boy #2 any day now, so I don’t think she would be up for jam making.

So on Wednesday I will be preparing the peaches and setting the Jam to rest before cooking it up on Thursday and canning it.

The Recipe can be found HERE

A little aside, if you share this recipe, I am all for it, but please be sure to credit me. Recently someone “borrowed” one of my very own recipes and took credit for the recipe. For the first time in my 60 years, I felt bad. Perhaps it was because I’d worked hard to create that recipe. In any case, use whatever you would like and please don’t forget me!

Maribeth’s Marvelous Meatloaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Meatloaf!

May 12 12

Ingredients:
1 lb hamburger
1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1 tbs olive oil
½ onion finely diced
¼ cup finely diced green pepper
¼ cup finely diced red pepper.
2 tsp Cumin
2 tbs spicy mustard
3 sliced Italian bread
water
½ cup dry Italian bread crumbs. (you may need slightly more)
3 slices of bacon

First, take the 3 slices of Italian bread and place in a large bowl. Add as much water as it takes to cover them.
Meanwhile, in a saute pan using 1 tbs olive oil, saute onions, and peppers until the onions are translucent. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, beat egg, Cumin, and mustard until well mixed. Set aside.

Take Italian bread and squeeze out all the water and pour all the water out of the large mixing bowl.

Add ground beef and ground pork.
Add soggy bread that you have mashed up.
Add the egg mixture
Add cooled onion and pepper mixture.
Mix thoroughly with your hands. Add the dry bread crumbs and mix well. You may need slightly more or less. Make sure mixture is well mixed and evenly mixed.
Place in large loaf pan sprayed with PAM.

Place bacon over the top lengthwise. Tuck edges down the side of the meatloaf.
Place in 350-degree oven and bake for 1 hour.
Turn heat up to 400 degrees and cook for 15 more minutes.
Remove from stove. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Carefully place on a platter. Slice into potion size as needed.
Serve with a salad, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Makes great sandwiches the next day!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

My neighbor shared a beautiful big zucchini with me yesterday. Jack immediately asked me to make my Stuffed Zucchini Boats for dinner.

I was feeling a little under the weather, so I was moving slowly. I sometimes believe I cook best when I go slowly. These certainly did come out nicely.

Here is the recipe for my

Stuffed Zucchini Boats.

20190731_185411Not the best picture, but it was very good!

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 c. onion
  • 1 cup chopped green & red peppers
  • 1 c. rice (I used Basmati Rice)
  • 1 large jar tomato sauce (I use Classico Sausage, Onion & Pepper)
  • 1 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil
  • 8 slices Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely

Cut Zucchini in half and scoop out the center.
Place on a microwave plate and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Place zucchini shells in a casserole dish.
Sauté beef, garlic, onion, and peppers until done, add cooked rice.
Mix tomato sauce with Italian Seasoning, then pour 1/2 into the dish with beef mixture.
Cook until hot.
Stuff cooked mixture into zucchini and pour remaining tomato sauce over zucchini.
Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
Uncover. Top with cheese and bake another 10-15 m. minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Italian Style Eggplant Parmesan

I found this quite interesting. Real Italian Eggplant Parmesan is not breaded! I had it when I was down in Connecticut and fell in love, all over again, with this great meal! Try it!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 pounds eggplants (about 3 smallish or 2 medium, peeled)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste (give or take)
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, preferably the Italian Basil variety
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus additional basil for garnish
  • Freshly grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 ½ cups, packed).

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • To roast the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.
  • Line two large rimmed, baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Slice off both rounded ends on one eggplant, Peel, then stand it up on its widest flat side.
  • Slice through the eggplant vertically to make long, even slabs ¼- to ½-inch-thick.
  • Brush both sides of the eggplant slabs lightly with olive oil (you’ll likely need about ¼ cup oil).
  • Arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the top sides with a few dashes of salt and pepper.
  • Roast until golden and tender, about 20-30 minutes—halfway through baking, rotate the pans 180 degrees and swap their positions (move the pan on lower rack to upper rack, and vice versa).
  • The pan on the lower rack might need a few extra minutes in the oven to turn golden. You may need to flip the eggplant.
  • Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, to make the tomato sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering.
  • Add the onion and green pepper, and a pinch of salt.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender and translucent, about 4 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and tomato paste.
  • Cook, while stirring, about 1 minute.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce has thickened about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chopped basil, salt.
  • Taste, and add more salt if necessary (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon).
  • When you’re ready to assemble, spread about ¾ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” square baker.
  • Arrange about one-third of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly (cut them to fit, if necessary).
  • Spoon another ¾ cup of the sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Arrange about half of the remaining eggplant slices evenly on top.
  • Spread another ¾ cup sauce on top and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top and top with ¾ cup sauce (you might have a little leftover) and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
  • Bake on the lower rack, at 350 degrees, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden about 1 hour.
  • Let it cool for at least 15 minutes to give it time to set, then chop and sprinkle additional basil on top.
  • Slice with a sharp knife and serve.
  • Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. Reheat before serving.

Zucchini & Summer Squash Saute

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2 small zucchini squash
2 small summer squash
1 large Vidalia onion
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 orange pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 small cloves garlic chopped
PAM

  • Slice squash into 1/2 inch slices, and make sure the slices stay small. Slice them 1/2 X 1/2 inch.
  • Chop onions, peppers into bite-size pieces.
  • Slice mushrooms.
  • Spray large saute pan with PAM.
  • Add onions, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic.
  • Saute until tender.
  • Add Zucchini and Squash and allow to cook.
  • Toss in some salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add fresh basil.
  • Cook until all vegetables are tender.

Enjoy!

My Flaxseed Muffin Recipe

Flaxseed Muffin
3 WW Points

Ingredients:

¼ cup Flaxseed meal                         1 Egg

½ tsp. Baking Powder                        1 tsp. Splenda or Stevia

½ tsp Cinnamon                                  1 tsp sugar-free applesauce

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Spray a heavy coffee mug with PAM non-stick spray and add a beaten egg. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Microwave on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Loosen around the edges and turn out on a plate. I cut it into thirds and use a little Fat-Free margarine. Yum!

 

To make Flaxseed meal, place whole seeds into a coffee grinder or food processor and grind until meal consistency. Store all Flaxseed in the fridge in a covered container after opening the bag.

Beef Stew

Or what to do when a roast is tough!

After cooking a beautiful Standing Rib Roast the other day and finding that although cooked perfectly, the meat was tough, I decided today to remake the roast into a Beef Stew. If the meat is tough, keep cooking it until it softens. That is my motto!

So, here’s my recipe, developed over the years.

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Large fireproof Dutch Oven, 3 inches deep (large size)

1 -2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
2 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
4 carrots chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1/2 cup green pepper,
1/2 cup red pepper chopped
1 – 2 large onion chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cups of a full-bodied young red wine, or a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic chopped
1/2 – 1 teaspoon thyme (to taste)
1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered, sauteed in butter
3 medium potatoes peeled and quartered.
1 package frozen peas with pearl onions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Place olive oil in Dutch Oven and toss the beef in flour and then saute the beef. Remove to a dish.

(Since the meat has been cooked, when you cook the vegetables, take 2-3 tablespoons of flour and mix with 2-3 tablespoons butter in the pot. Allow to cook in order to form a base for the sauce.)

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Cook mushrooms in saute pan with butter.

Return the beef to the Dutch Oven and toss with the salt and pepper. Add mushrooms.

Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 3 – 4 hours. Add potatoes after 1 hour. Then add the frozen peas and pearl onions. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

For immediate serving: Serve in its casserole.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Serves 6.