Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Banana pecan muffins

I believe there are fewer issues more divisive than whether you like nuts in your food.  Allergies aside, people have very strong feelings about nuts versus no nuts.  I'm firmly in favor of nuts in everything and I don't care who knows it!  Dave, on the other hand, is less fond of them.  He didn't seem to mind the pecans in these muffins so I call that a win.

I bought a bunch of bananas intending to make smoothies but then I got lazy during the week and the bananas were turning that lovely shade that signifies they should be baked with rather than eaten plain.  I like my bananas slightly underripe so the thought of an overly ripe banana as a snack is slightly upsetting.

These muffins were tasty and only slightly adapted from Tyler Florence's recipe.  I made half a batch and they fit perfectly in my mini muffin pan.


1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2 overripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 sticks butter melted and cooled
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat your oven to 375 and spray the ish out of your muffin pan with cooking spray.

Mash your bananas and combine with sugar.  Beat vigorously until well combined.  Add the butter, egg and vanilla and beat again.  Mix in flour, baking soda and salt until just combined.  Fold in the nuts with a spatula.  Scoop your batter into muffin cups and bake for 12ish minutes, until golden brown.

Adapted from Tyler Florence's Banana Nut Muffins

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lemon Brownies

Ew... Lemon brownies? There is no cocoa in them, and therefore they are not brown, but they are the consistency of brownies so I don't really have a better name.

Does anybody know where those random recipes that pop up on facebook come from? That is where I found this recipe and it was like a little bit of magic fell from the facebook abyss. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors of almost everything. It goes on my list of things that you add to a dish that needs a little something extra (lemon, garlic, onion or avocado).

1/2 c butter
3/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice

1 c powdered sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8 pan.

Beat first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl, and whisk the next 3 ingredients together in a small bowl, and then add the small bowl to the large and beat until smooth. Pour into pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, edges should be golden brown and center solid but moist.

Whisk the glaze ingredients together (definitely use a whisk, a fork didn't do the job). When the brownies are done and completely cool, pour the glaze over the top. It should set up if left uncovered, and I love that. I love hardened icing.

These have a super-strong lemon flavor, it is not subtle at all. For me, they are absolutely delicious! I used the zest of two whole lemons between the brownie and the glaze, and I think it was about the right amount. I juiced the two lemons, intending the use it in the recipe and then proceeded to spill that fresh squeezed juice all over myself. I was pissed. So instead I used bottled lemon juice and it was just fine.

I really want to try these in both lime and orange and see if they are just as good. I think they might be. Then I could have rainbow brownies! Oooh... I am giving myself even more ideas!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sauteed Chicken Pasta

This was a recipe born out of things I had around the house one weekend when I needed to make a meal, and it turned out to be easy and delicious. Growing up, we never ate pasta (and only ever spaghetti) without massive amounts of Prego on it. I do still have a nostalgic love for cheap pasta sauce with hamburger in it. Trying to get away from that, I like finding new stuff to put on pasta. Also, it feels kind of hamburger-helper-y, and I am, you know, fancier than that, ya'll.

Basics are:
Olive oil
Chopped garlic
Chopped tomato
Sliced mushrooms
Cubed/sliced chicken breast
Lemon juice

First, saute the garlic in butter and then add the chopped tomatoes. A few minutes later, add the mushrooms. Dredge the chicken in flour and add it to the pan after a little olive oil.

Start water boiling for your pasta, and get it cooking at the same time. I like angel hair, but in this instance, pretty much anything you like will work.

Cook the chicken through, then add some more olive oil, lemon juice, and the salt, pepper and basil to taste. I try to make sure there is enough liquid to make it a tad saucy, and then throw in your cooked pasta and toss together!

I love garlic and lemon together on pasta. I usually think pasta is pretty boring, but lemon and garlic make everything bright and tasty. It's not really anything revolutionary, but it is basic, has ingredients that are usually in the house, and tastes really good.

Also, this makes great leftovers. It seems like a lot of stuff I make isn't good on the second day. It gets mushy, or discolored or otherwise weird and unappetizing, but this is almost just as awesome reheated!