Category: Food

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins, Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins – nothing new, nothing fancy, but oh so delicious. I have tried numerous recipes looking for the perfect muffin and this is it and I have to add that my boys love them.  Like, really, really love them.  Whenever I ask them what they want for breakfast these Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins are in their top three items they will ask for.  And….I have to admit they are one of my favorite breakfasts as well.

I was given this recipe by a teen that used to watch my boys.  He was telling me about these amazing muffins that his mom always made and actually had the image of the recipe on his phone. He said that so many people asked for the recipe after tasting the muffins that this is how his mom would give out the recipe.

These are a basic banana muffin – but a really, really good muffin. There is no fancy ingredient or big secret, just the perfect combination and proportions for a scrumptious treat.  They are moist and fluffy, but not dense or dry.  I attribute the perfect, moist texture to using oil instead of butter. While butter gives great flavor and I would never use anything else for cookies, these muffins benefit in a major way from using oil.  I also find that the rich, delicious flavor of the bananas is elevated by using oil.

These are great any time and keep well, but are especially fantastic right out of the oven.  There is nothing like watching the steam escape the inside of the fluffy muffin as chocolate chips slowly melt onto the delicate crevices.  When I feel like being a real rebel I love to slather mine with butter. Nothing like some additional fat added to the all-purpose white flour baked goodness to really put you into a full on food buzz.

Try these, you won’t regret it.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Crust Crackers

I love the Fall season for so many reasons.  I love the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, I love the crisp mornings and I love that football season has arrived.  However, by far my favorite part of this season is the food!  Oh my gosh, the food!  All the stick to your ribs, comforting, delectable dishes that are so inviting it feels like a warm hug.  Well this dish is a doozy – Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Crust Crackers.  Think Chicken Pot Pie in soup form with crusty pie crust pieces to dunk into this amazing soup.

The genius and inspiration for this soup comes from Chrissy Tiegen’s cookbook, Cravings.  If you haven’t bought it, do it.  Not only is every recipe amazing, she has some of the best, most creative intros to every recipe that you will ever find.

 I did have to make some changes to appease the picky palettes in my house though.  First off, I omitted the peas and pearl onions.  I opted to sauté onions at the beginning of the dish along with the garlic to infuse the onion in the dish there.  Although peas are traditional in all pot pie dishes I just didn’t feel like adding them in because I don’t like ’em so I didn’t.  In the end I opted to use half & half instead of the heavy cream that is used in the original recipe.  Oh…and I cheated. I didn’t make my own crust, I bought it.  Some may call it lazy, I call it great time management, so there.  If you have a great pie crust recipe go for it, if not I like the Trader Joe’s Pie Crust.  The TJ’s version is awesome and will always pass for a homemade version that isn’t just good, but dynamite!  One last thing, I like to make extra crust for extra dunking but if you are not a crust junkie like me than just use half of the recipe.

Stay tuned for many, many more soup recipes.   Soups are a fave in my house.  They make great leftovers, lunches and freeze well. What else could one ask for?  Enjoy this one!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Crust Crackers (inspired by Chrissy Teigen’s recipe in her cookbook, Cravings)

6 c. chicken broth
2 c. whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely minced
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 bouillon cube or 1 Top Ramen Chicken Flavor Seasoning Packet
1 1/2 t. fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 c. diced carrots
1/4 pound deli ham, thinly sliced
3 c. rotisserie chicken meat, shredded
1/2 c. half and half
1 package Trader Joe’s Pie Crust, cooked according to package directions and broken into pieces

Turn your stovetop to low and add the milk and broth.  Bring to a low simmer.  Note do not  bring this to a simmer over high heat, this will make the milk taste funky, hence your soup taste funky.

In a big soup pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat until foamy.  Add the onion and sauce until soft, then add the garlic and stir constantly until toasty for about 1 minute (do not burn the garlic, if you do start over.)  Add the flour, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring for about 2-3 minutes.  Whisk in the broth-milk mixture once cup at a time and then add the bouillon and salt & pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until thickened about 5 minutes.

Add the potato, carrots, ham and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and half & half for an additional 5 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper to taste and serve with pieces of broken pie crust.

Super Simple Spaghetti Bolognese

Super Simple Spaghetti Bolognese

Have you ever slaved over a meal only to have your family either not eat it or simply give you that indifferent look while they force it down?  If you haven’t you’re lucky, however unfortunately I have had this scenario happen to me more than once. I can’t begin to explain my shock when I made this Super Simple Spaghetti Bolognese that my crew loved.  In fact they claimed this was the best bolognese I have ever made.   Uh, ok…noted, I will never slave over my more complex bolognese sauces in the future.

So let me explain how this Super Simple Spaghetti Bolognese recipe came to be.  I became discombobulated and dizzy on Monday.  I thought I was just experiencing a bad headache, however when I continued to feel like I was on a moving boat on Wednesday I decided to go to the doctor.  I can’t tell you how relieved to find out I had vertigo.  All I can say is I was sooooooo happy to be diagnosed with a medical condition and know that this was not all in my head.

Since I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store for some fresh ingredients (and because my family had not had a home cooked meal in days) I decided to throw together a spaghetti bolognese. Ingredients are simple pantry staples and there is no lengthy simmering of sauce and because I used 93% lean ground turkey the meal was low fat as well.

So here is my recipe for Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese.  I hope you enjoy!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cornstarch

I adore chocolate chip cookies, so when I saw the recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cornstarch I knew I had to give them a try .

I have made countless batches always searching for the next best recipe.  I am sure I will try other recipes on occasion, however this is hands down a new classic for me.  I got this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction website.  Click here to see her recipe as well as her absolutely stunning pictures.  

There are several differences in this recipe compared to others I have tried – the three being that you use melted butter instead of softened (which means NO mixer needed!!!!), one egg and a yolk as opposed to two eggs that most recipes call for and 1 1/2 tsp. of cornstarch.  I was a bit skeptical at first, however these have come out heavenly again and again.   The recipe calls for 1 cup of chocolate chips.  I like to mix this up with part dark chocolate, part milk chocolate and part cacao nibs (to sneak in a little added health benefits.)

These cookies are chewy, soft and incredibly delicious.  They remind me of a Mrs. Fields cookie, but without the $2 price tag.  I hope you try these out and let me know what you think.  

CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES (uses cornstarch) – adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup  light brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, cacao nibs and/or some M&M’s

Toss together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.  

In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg, then the egg yolk. Finally, whisk in the vanilla. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft. Fold in the chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to have them evenly dispersed among the dough. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.Roll the dough into balls, about 1-2 tablespoons each. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies


Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur….I never knew this was something that could be concocted using some pretty basic ingredients, but it is.  I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled onto this super simple recipe on a cold December evening.  I had friends coming over and I wanted to serve some Bailey’s on ice along with some other fun cordials, but when looking for my rarely used bottle of Irish Cream I just couldn’t find it.

So who hasn’t been in this situation…you think you have something on hand, but when you realized you actually didn’t and needed it, was in a bind.  Well that is what happened here and I am not gonna lie, I was frustrated. In this case my husband had been using the velvety liqueur to add to his coffee before his morning golf rounds over the previous months.   Since I rarely drink Irish Cream I understand why he didn’t think to tell me we ran out, but in the moment I was annoyed.

I got over it and since almost ANYTHING can be found on the web I decided to see if there was an alternative and was stupid-excited to find out I could make it at home.   Not only did I find a great substitute from store bought Irish Cream, but I also realized that this would make a great hostess gift. Who doesn’t love homemade items? 

Easy, delicious and can makes an excellent hostess gift. It tastes better than Bailey’s, makes an amazing hostess gift and couldn’t be easier to make.  This recipe for homemade Irish Cream Liqueur is a keeper.