Friday, May 27, 2011

Banana~Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

 We are very fond of muffins around here. I make them often and sit and daydream about different flavor combinations. I buy extra bananas and let them ripen so I can bake up more muffins.  I thought of these flavors and googled to find a recipe that uses yogurt.  I hit the jackpot when I found Diana's Desserts. She has several muffin recipes I can't wait to try.  These are moist and delicious with just the right amount of chocolate.  Bananas and strawberries absolutely belong with chocolate.

My girls helped me in the kitchen after school today. They even got to eat a muffin before dinner. Now they think I'm a cool Mom! They are excited to take muffins to share with their friends tomorrow. 


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/2 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 large)
1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate), 1/4 cup reserved for top
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries, 1/4 cup reserved for top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pans with 21 liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, yogurt, vanilla, and bananas.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. 

Toss 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips with 1 T flour.  Add to the muffin batter and stir to combine.  Carefully fold in 1 1/4 cups of the chopped strawberries.  Use a ice cream scoop to fill the muffin liners 2/3 of the way full. 

Top the muffins with the reserved strawberries and chocolate chips.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until toothpick tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Diana's Desserts

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fudge Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling

My daughter's birthday was last month, and I bought a cake mix as a back-up just in case the homemade Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes were not perfect.  Lucky for me, the cupcakes were more than perfect and I'm left with a box cake mix.

I thought about making some Homemade Oreo Cookies, but then creamy peanut butter filling took over my thoughts.  Reese's are my favorite candy bar, and these cookies are a chewy version.  They are quick and easy, and I know your family will love them!

Cookie Ingredients:

1 Box Pillsbury Devils Food cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir until well blended.  Form walnut size balls and place on cookie sheets.  Note:  Cookie dough mixture will be thick; Makes about 25 cookies 

Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheets for another 5 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 T milk, as needed

In a large stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until combined.  Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar.  Mix and slowly add milk as needed.  Mix for 3 minutes.

When the cookies have cooled, you can add the peanut butter filling.  Roll 1 T peanut butter filling mixture into a ball and place on smooth side of cookie.  Place another cookie on top and press lightly to sandwich.  Continue and assemble all cookies.  Enjoy! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Homemade Granola

Have you tried the $1 yogurt parfaits at McDonald's?  They are so good, but homemade is always better.  My favorite part is the granola that you sprinkle on top.  It adds texture and sweetness to the creamy yogurt and fresh fruit. 

I watch Food Network every Saturday morning while drinking my coffee.  Marcela from Mexican Made Easy was making a Mother's Day brunch menu that included yogurt parfaits with homemade granola.  I found the recipe and read the reviews.  The only change I made was the oven temperature and cooking time.  It turned out perfect.


2 cups old fashioned Oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
4 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a 9x9 baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang over the edges.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, cranberries, almonds, cinnamon, and salt.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine the butter, light brown sugar, and honey.  Stir until mixture comes to a boil.  Turn off heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Pour over oat mixture and stir well to coat.  Transfer to prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Mixture should be light brown.  Remove from oven and lift foil out of pan onto counter.  Spread mixture out and let cool and become crispy.  Serve over yogurt with fresh fruit, or in a big bowl with some milk.  Enjoy!

Store in an airtight container or jar at room temperature.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Banana Blueberry Strawberry Muffins with Oat Streusel Topping

I'm always looking for a new breakfast muffin recipe.  I have been making lots of strawberry treats lately and wanted to make a muffin for our Saturday morning breakfast.  Some of our favorite breakfast muffins are bananabanana blueberry, and banana apple.

This muffin starts with a white and whole wheat flour banana base and is filled with blueberries and sweet strawberries.  It is then topped with a crunchy brown sugar and cinnamon oat streusel.  They are absolutely scrumptious!  

Muffin Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
6 T butter, melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, stir together mashed bananas, sugar, egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract.  Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill 10 muffin cups 3/4 of the way full.  Push 5 strawberry pieces into the top of each muffin.  Prepare streusel topping.

Oat Streusel Topping:

2 T old fashioned oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 T all purpose flour
2 T cold butter, diced

In a small bowl, add all ingredients and cut in butter until mixture resembles cornmeal.  Sprinkle over each muffin.

Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to continue to cool. 

I recommend serving warm on big family platter.  Enjoy!

Store at room temperature on plate covered with foil since they are so moist.  Although, there might not be any leftovers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Spicy Black Beans~2 Recipes

If you have been following my cooking adventures for very long, you know that Tex-Mex is my favorite type of food.  I am always trying to come up with new ways to eat it.  My family prefers cheese enchiladas and chicken enchilada casserole, so I decided to use these flavors for a new enchilada recipe.  I served some spicy black beans to go with mine and hubby's.  I served the kids some refried beans.  I know my kids enjoy my cooking when they clean their plates and ask for more. 

These enchiladas are made using rotisserie chicken and the new Kraft Philadelphia Santa Fe Cooking Cream. They are topped with salsa and shredded cheese and then baked.  You can set out your family's favorite toppings to serve over top, like sour cream, avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo, olives, queso, and salsa.

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Ingredients:

2 Rotisserie chicken breasts, chopped
2 tsp olive or canola oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
kosher salt
black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
10 oz. container Santa Fe Philadelphia cream cheese
10 corn tortillas
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
Toppings of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, jalapenos, garlic, salt and pepper.  Saute until tender.  Add the spices and chicken broth.  Stir in the cream cheese and cook for a few minutes to heat through.  Remove from heat.

Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and place in microwave on high for 1 minute.  Assemble enchiladas by spooning mixture into the middle of corn tortilla, roll up, and place seam side down in prepared casserole dish side by side.  Spoon some salsa over each and top with shredded cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Serve with your favorite toppings and some Spicy Black Beans.

Spicy Black Beans

1 tsp olive or canola oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt
black pepper
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, jalapeno, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Saute until tender.  Add the chopped tomato, cumin, and paprika.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth and black beans.  Turn heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve with enchiladas.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream

This has to be the best strawberry ice cream I've ever tasted.  It tastes very similar to the ice cream my mom made when I was growing up.  It reminds me of fun summers with my family.  My mom would make the ice cream base, and my brother and I would layer the ice and rock salt into the loud churning ice cream maker on the back patio.  We would either add in fresh strawberries or peaches, but sometimes, we would just keep it vanilla.  Our little family trick is to use pure vanilla extract from Mexico.  It makes all the difference!


8 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 lb strawberries, diced small
1/4 cup sugar

In a medium sauce pan off the heat, whisk together egg yolks with 1 cup sugar,  and salt until blended.  Slowly whisk in the milk.  Turn the heat on medium and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until thickened, about 12 minutes.  The mixture should coat the back of wooden spoon when ready.  Don't let mixture boil as it will curdle.  If it begins to boil, turn heat down to low and stir constantly.

Prepare an ice bath using a large bowl.  Place a smaller glass bowl in ice bath and pour thickened mixture through fine sieve into bowl.  Stir mixture until chilled.  Stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract. 

Pour mixture into ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.  Meanwhile, place chopped strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in bowl and mash using potato masher.  Let sit for 10 minutes, then add to churning ice cream.

When ice cream is soft serve consistency, remove to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.  Enjoy!

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Roasted Parmesan Herb Zucchini

This is a light, flavorful, and extremely simple side dish.  Zucchini is sliced thin, tossed in extra virgin olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme, salt, and pepper.  It is then baked until tender and topped with shredded parmesan cheese.


3 medium zucchini
2 T extra virgin olive oil
rosemary, finely chopped
thyme, finely chopped
kosher salt
black pepper
shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Wash and slice zucchini into 1/4 inch rounds and place in a large bowl.  Add the olive oil and seasonings and toss well to coat.  Lay seasoned zucchini in a single layer on baking sheet.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until tender.  Top each round with parmesan cheese and return to oven for 3 minutes.  Remove to a platter and serve warm.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Jam

I absolutely love this time of year.  The flowers are blooming, the trees are filling out, it's not too hot to enjoy lunch outside, afternoon rain showers, and of course, an abundance of sweet strawberries. 

I stocked up on strawberries this weekend and used half of them in this sweet homemade strawberry jam.  I found a recipe that doesn't use pectin and was very easy to make.  The original recipe called for 4 cups of sugar for 2 pounds of strawberries, and I just thought that was way too much.  I only used 1 cup of sugar and added 1/4 cup of honey.  It's still very sweet, but my girls said it was perfect.  We used it on buttery croissants, biscuits, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this week. 


2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

In a large stock pot, add strawberries and mash with potato masher.  Add sugar, honey, and lemon juice.  Turn the heat on low and stir until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat to medium high and bring mixture to a full rolling boil.  Cook, stirring often, until mixture comes to 220 degrees, about 30-40 minutes. 

Note:  If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can do the frozen plate test to see if it has jellied.  Place a small plate in freezer for 10 minutes while strawberry jam is cooking.  After 30 minutes, add a teaspoon of jam to plate and put back in freezer for 1 minute.  If you can run your finger through the middle without it running back together, it is ready. The mixture should be nice and thick. It will thicken more when chilled.

Remove from heat and transfer to glass bowl.  Let come to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.  We tested some warm jam on croissants and it was really good!  Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Key Lime Coconut Pie

I bought a huge bag of key limes at the grocery store because it was only 88 cents.  I've been finding ways to use them these past two weeks.  We've used the key limes in carne asada tacos, guacamole, mexican shrimp cocktail, and of course, adult cocktails.  The remaining 20 key limes were used in this tangy Key Lime Coconut Pie.

I usually make a no-bake key lime pie, but wanted to venture out and try something new and original.  My hubby and daughter's favorite pie is coconut cream pie, and I only make it during the winter holidays.  I thought this key lime base would be delicious with some sweetened shredded coconut and vanilla extract.  I also added cinnamon to the graham cracker crust just like I do for my famous cheesecake.  I topped the pie with homemade whipped cream and garnished with toasted coconut.

Crust Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
7 T unsalted butter, melted
3 T sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, stir together all crust ingredients.  Press into the bottom and sides of pie dish.  You can use a metal measuring cup or small glass to help press firmly up the sides.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Filling Ingredients:

3 large egg yolks, room temperature
One 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, plus extra for garnish

In a large stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk and beat for 5 minutes.  Add the key lime juice and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of bowl and mix.  Remove the whisk attachment and stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut.  Pour filling into cooled crust. 

Bake for 15 minutes, or until filling is set.  Place some coconut on a sheet pan to toast while the pie is baking, which will take about 10 minutes.  Remove pie from oven and let cool to room temperature on wire rack.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

When ready to eat, you can make the whipped cream.

Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 T granulated sugar

In a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment, beat together the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Pipe or spread onto pie.  Garnish with toasted coconut.  Store in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Joy of Baking

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mexican Style Frittata

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I made this Mexican style Frittata for me and hubby to eat before our morning walk.  This is the first time I made a frittata, and was surprised how simple it was from start to finish.  The eggs are nice and fluffy, and full of flavorful filling.  You can customize it however you like.  I served it with avocado slices and salsa.  It gave us the energy we needed for our power walk.  To top off our day, we made carne asada tacos for dinner...oh so good!


1/2 cup Owen's breakfast sausage
1 T unsalted butter
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T pickled jalapenos, chopped
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
6 large eggs, beaten
2 T cilantro, chopped
kosher salt
black pepper
ground cumin
1/2 cup Mexican shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a 10 inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat, brown the crumbled sausage until cooked through.  Remove to a bowl.  Lower heat to medium low, add the butter, then the green onions and mushrooms.  When mushrooms are done, add the garlic, jalapenos, and cherry tomatoes and cook another minute.  Add the cooked sausage back to the skillet.

In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the cilantro and season with salt, pepper, and cumin.  Pour the eggs into the skillet and stir slightly.  Top with shredded cheese.  When the eggs have set around the edges and slightly in the middle, transfer to the oven.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through and fluffy.  Carefully slide frittata onto serving platter.  Garnish with green onions, cherry tomatoes, and avocado slices.  Serve with a side of salsa.  Enjoy!
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