Mom’s banana bread

My mom didn’t make banana bread very often because she doesn’t really like bananas, but my dad, sister and I did, so when she made it, it was a great day. I was pretty surprised at how easy this is to make. It’s perfect for a cold late winter day.

Print Recipe
Mom's banana bread
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter or Crisco. No need to flour the greased pan. Mix the wet ingredients into a bowl, adding the milk last.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. If your brown sugar is a little lumpy, that's ok! It will add pockets of caramel notes.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together.
  4. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 55 to 60 minutes until the top is brown and a toothpick comes out clean and the sides start to pull away from the greased pan.

My opinion: This makes your whole house smell amazing. It’s delicious and one of my most favorite breakfast foods. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter (if you add peanut butter reduce the oil by one tablespoon). The options are endless!

Advertisements

Chicken Fried Steak

Jason had been craving this for a solid two weeks before we had a chance to make it from this recipe. Despite the hot oil concerns, it was pretty easy and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients:
2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided (leave 1 teaspoon for the gravy)
1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided (leave 1 teaspoon for the gravy)
4 (4 ounce) cube steaks
38 saltine crackers, crushed (we used a whole sleeve in a ziplock bag with a rolling-pin. Great for aggression relief!)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1/4 cup is for the gravy)
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 3/4 cups milk, (divided into 4 cups and 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil (you want enough to cover at least half the coated steaks)

Directions:
Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over steaks. Set aside. Combine cracker crumbs, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper, and baking powder into a shallow dish. Whisk together 3/4 cup milk and eggs. Dredge steaks in cracker mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge again in cracker mixture. Pour oil into a 12″ skillet; heat to 360 degrees (do not use a nonstick skillet, we used the cast iron skillet). Fry steaks 3-4 minutes.

 

Turn and fry 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove steak to wire rack over a cookie sheet to let it drain. Keep steaks warm in a 225 degree oven.

Carefully drain hot oil, reserving cooked bits and 1 tablespoon of oil in dripping in skillet. Whisk together remaining 4 cups of milk, 1/4 cup of flour, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add milk mixture to reserved drippings in skillet; cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, or until thickened. You’ll think this is never going to come together. Keep whisking. After about 5 minutes it should start to come together. Whisk for a few minutes after you think you should stop. Should be a light grey color at first and darken slowly. Serve gravy with steaks.

My opinion:
Disclaimer: Be careful draining the oil. And don’t send it down the sink! Find a metal coffee can or other receptacle to help with this. Obviously, hot oil is hot. Be careful! As for the dish, it’s the right amount of salty and rich. I don’t normally love gravy, but topping the steaks with this gravy makes the dish. It’s even better the next day, though not as crispy.

C’s Texas Sheet Cake

I’ve mentioned before, my sister, C, has a knack for perfecting baked goods. She did it again with this super delicious, never dry (even after three days!) recipe. It’s a combination of Joy of Cooking and our Mom’s family recipe.

 

Ingredients and Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature, about 70 degrees f. Pre-heat the over to 375 degrees f. Grease a 13×9 pan. if you don’t have the pan, you can use 2 round pans for an 8×11 pan and a loaf pan (the pan isn’t the most important part).

Whisk together in a large bowl until well blended:
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly:
1 cup strong, black coffee (apparently, this is Mom’s secret ingredient)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder

Pour the hot mixture over dry ingredients and stir together just until smooth. Let cool slightly (about 3-5 minutes), then work in:
2 large eggs
1/2 buttermilk (regular milk works, too)
1 tsp vanilla

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 3-5 minutes (until the cake is just warm) and spread on the icing.

Mom’s Icing:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together and spread over warm sheet cake.

My opinion:
I might like this better than regular chocolate cake. Hard to believe, I know, but it is so good. I can’t wait for the next time C has a reason to make it!

C’s Blueberry and Peach Buckle


My sister has a gift. The gift of making extremely amazing baked goods. This is one of my new all time favorites. Right up there with her pound cake recipe. She created this dessert using a hybrid of the recipes from Alton Brown and Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients:
1 large ripe peach, halved, pitted and cut into small chunks (or 4-5 if you’re just using peaches)
Combine with:
1 1/2 cups blueberries or boysenberries
whisk together:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can use up to 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Combine in another bowl and beat until light and fluffy:
1/4 cup or 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup sugar if the peaches are very sweet)
1 large egg
Gradually beat in 1/2 cup milk

Struessel topping:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (chilled)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
In addition to the directions above, position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan or 9-inch square baking dish (C uses shortening instead of butter). Combine all the dry ingredients and then cut the butter up into pieces, using a fork to blend in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.

Add the flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the batter is smooth. Gently fold in the fruit. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the struessel topping over the batter. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick (or butter knife) inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes before serving.

My opinion:
Like an extra delicious coffee cake. Perfect at any time of day for any occasion.

Robert Irvine’s Eggplant Parmesan


I’m rather picky when it comes to Italian food. I blame my trip to Florence for spoiling Americanized Italian food for me forever. Luckily, there are a few recipes that measure up to my expectations and one of them is this delightful Eggplant Parmesan from the Food Network with a few modifications.

Ingredients:
eggplant, peeled (we particularly enjoyed an heirloom variety) and cut into disks
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups vegetable oil (we used our deep fryer)
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder (we used a bit more)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (we used about 2 tablespoons, since we didn’t have fresh oregano)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or minced fresh if you have it)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (we used a little more of this too, about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups egg wash (which for us, was four eggs and one cup milk)
1 pound penne or fusilli pasta, cooked (we used bowtie because that’s what we had)
2 cups red sauce
Grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling (we used Mozzarella)
cooking spray of your choice (we used Pam Olive Oil spray)

Directions:
To bread the eggplant, first add the eggplant disks into the buttermilk and allow to soak, 1 to 2 hours (we let it soak for about an hour and a half).
Next, over medium heat, bring the oil to 350 degrees F in a wide shallow saucepan or deep fryer; then hold the oil warm until frying. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan powder, garlic, parsley, oregano and pepper in a bowl. Remove the eggplant from the buttermilk, and then coat with flour and tap off the excess. Dip the eggplant in the egg wash and finish with the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture, coating well. Repeat the process with each eggplant, and then fry in the preheated oil. Allow the eggplant to brown, and then flip the cooked eggplant to ensure even cooking. Once golden brown on both sides, remove the eggplant and place on paper towels to allow the excess oil to drip off.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Drain the cooked pasta and once all the water is removed, toss with 3/4 cup of the red sauce. After tossing the pasta with the sauce, portion the pasta on plates. Place the cooked eggplant on a cooking spray covered baking sheet and finish with the remaining sauce. Add some cheese and bake, 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. After baking, place the eggplant over the sauced pasta and serve.

My opinion:
This is the best and simplest Eggplant Parmesan recipe we’ve found. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this to friends and family.