Friday, May 31, 2024

Chocolate Chip Ricotta Banana Bread

My Chocolate Chip Ricotta Banana Bread is so tender and moist and full of banana and chocolate flavor that this may become your favorite banana bread recipe!




Chocolate Chip Ricotta Banana Bread


It's been a while since I've actually made a banana bread.  I'm not sure why because I love them.  We usually get a slice every time we go to a coffee shop so I decided it was time to make a really special one.  This Chocolate Chip Ricotta Banana Bread is special since it has ricotta cheese in it.  Using ricotta cheese in place of milk give you a bread that is really tender and moist. Add in that bananas and chocolate are a match made in heaven and you have one great quick bread.

We eat this mainly for breakfast but I've also been known to eat this as a snack with hot tea or coffee, and I've even made French toast with leftovers....decadent!  With just 8 ingredients and one bowl, you can have a loaf of banana bread ready to enjoy for your breakfast or anytime you choose.  Making it in one bowl makes it quick and easy to pull together.  The hardest part is waiting the 50 minutes for it to bake!  Let me tell you there is nothing better than a warm piece of banana bread with big banana flavor and gooey chocolate inside.

Enjoy!




What Ingredients do I need?

  • bananas
  • ricotta cheese
  • sugar or sugar substitute ( I often use King Arthur's Baking Sugar Alternative)
  • eggs
  • flour
  • pure vanilla extract
  • baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • chocolate chips


Substitutions and Variations

  • Chocolate:  Use a mix of dark and semi-sweet chocolate or leave out the chocolate for regular banana bread
  • Nuts:  Add in pecans
  • Fruit:  Add in strawberries or blueberries instead of the chocolate

  • For more whole grains:  use wheat flour for half of the amount of flour requested



Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Pan size:  use a 9x5 loaf pan for the best results
  • Testing for doneness:  the bread is done when a tooth pick that is stuck in the center of the loaf comes out clean
  • Cooling the bread:  Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it.  Place the removed bread on a cooling rack to continue to cool for about 15 more minutes before cutting.
  • Storing:  Store your bread in a vented plastic bag.  If it is airtight the bread will become soggy.
  • Do not overmix the batter:  As with muffins you want to stir the batter just until it comes together (barely all the flour is incorporated).  If you stir vigorously you will end up with a rubbery and dense product.  A thick and lumpy batter is a good batter!


HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to emails at the top of this page and follow along on Facebook,  and Pinterest for all of the latest updates.








Chocolate Chip Ricotta Banana Bread


yield:  1 loaf


3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 cup  dark chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, ricotta, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined, do not overmix the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.














Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Red White and Blueberry Salad

Go patriotic this Memorial Day with my Red White and Blueberry Salad.  It's filled with plump red strawberries, mild feta cheese, and juicy blueberries on a bed of spring greens to make the perfect salad!



 

Red White and Blueberry Salad


Memorial Day is a day for remembrance for those that have died in service to our country.  To many it is the unofficial start of summer and the grilling season.  To honor and celebrate those we tend to have a big outdoor feast, grilling up American favorites such as hamburgers and hot dogs with all the side dishes.  Today's recipe is my Red White and Blueberry Salad which is perfect for Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day celebrations.

A based of tender spring greens is topped with the most luscious strawberries, blueberries and crumbled feta to represent the red, white, and blue.  They are also accompanied by crunchy walnuts and slices of red onion.  Then we top it off with a creamy balsamic dressing that is to die for!  The flavors blend together so well that this will become a go to salad during the summer months when berries are in season.

Enjoy!





What Ingredients do I need?

Salad:

  • spring greens
  • strawberries - buy ripe juicy ones
  • blueberries - fresh during the season is best
  • walnuts - whole or pieces will do
  • red onion
  • feta cheese - I always by feta in a block and then crumble it, slice it as I need it

Dressing:

  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • Dijon mustard
  • garlic powder

Substitutions and Variations

  • Nuts - for allergies, leave them out.  Try pecans or almonds for a change
  • Cheese - try goat, white cheddar, or Monterey jack.  
  • Greens - spinach, red leaf, or butter lettuce would all be good choices
  • Onions - leave them out if you prefer or try green onions, or a sweet Vidalia onion for a change
  • Use your favorite store bought dressing
  • Add protein - grilled chicken or deli turkey would turn this salad in to a meal



Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Great for low carb diets as the berries are low in sugar while being rich in antioxidants
  • You'll get healthy fats from the olive oil and the walnuts
  • You can toast your nuts in a pan for a few minutes you'll get a deeper flavor.
  • Don't care for raw onion?  Soak onion slices in cold water for 5-10 minutes will reduce the pungency
  • Meal prep friendly - this would be easy to divide the salad in to containers.  Just leave the salad undressed and then place dressing in a container on the side.  If using a mason jar, place the dressing on the bottom, them place the greens on that and then layer the rest of the salad.


HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to emails at the top of this page and follow along on Facebook,  and Pinterest for all of the latest updates.










Red White and Blueberry Salad


serves 4

Salad
10 oz spring greens
6-8 medium strawberries hulled and sliced
1/2 pint blueberries
1/3 cup whole walnuts
1/4 medium red onion, sliced
½ cup feta cheese crumbled

Creamy Balsamic dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, I use full fat
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl or jar make the salad dressing.  Add all the ingredients and whisk or shake vigorously until combined.

In a large bowl or platter add your spring greens and tope with the strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, onions, and feta.  Either drizzle dressing over the salad or allow each person to dress their own.










Saturday, May 18, 2024

Quick and Easy Bruschetta Chicken Casserole

Quick and Easy Bruschetta Chicken Casserole is filled with tender chunks of chicken, fresh ripe juicy tomatoes, garlic, basil, and gooey cheese.  The tastiest and easiest weeknight casserole around!



 

Quick and Easy Bruschetta Chicken Casserole



Quick and easy throw-together meals are my thing right now.  If it can't be on the table in 30-45 minutes I don't even want to attempt it.  With a new puppy I'm all about simple and easy, yet tasty ingredients that pack a punch!  My Quick and Easy Bruschetta Chicken Casserole is that and more.

Tender bite sized pieces of chicken are stir fried then layers in a casserole dish along with fresh ripe tomatoes, garlic, seasonings, mozzarella cheese to meld in the oven. This makes the most heavenly sauce when baked.  Then top it with fresh basil.  Just 7 ingredients!  This is easy enough for a weeknight meal and packs a ton of flavor.  My husband totally raved about this dish, ate 2nds the first night and then took it the next day for lunch.  I love when that happens!  This one is a keeper!

Enjoy!



What Ingredients do I need?

  • chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • Roma tomatoes - ripe ones
  • garlic cloves 
  • mozzarella cheese - buy a ball and grate it yourself for the best flavor
  • dried oregano
  • balsamic vinegar - you want a good quality one that has depth of flavor
  • fresh basil - fresh is best for the most flavor punch


Substitutions and Variations

  • Not tomato season? - buy Campari or cherry tomatoes that are ripe in the off season.
  • Meat variation - use chicken thighs or chicken tenders cubed. 
  • Ready-made suggestions -  Leftover sliced chicken or even rotisserie chicken sliced will work.  I would brown it in a skillet for just a minute or two to give it some more flavor.
  • Cheese - leave off the cheese or substitute Monterey Jack or a little sprinkling of Parmesan 



Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Use the freshest ingredients for the best flavor



HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to emails at the top of this page and follow along on Facebook,  and Pinterest for all of the latest updates.









Quick and Easy Bruschetta Chicken Casserole


serves 4


1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced in medium chunks
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 - 1.2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and ground black pepper
fresh basil leaves, chopped




Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir fry the chicken, stirring often, until golden brown on the sides and almost cooked through.

Take an 8x8 baking/casserole dish and spray with cooking spray. Add the chicken to the dish. Top with tomatoes, oregano, and garlic. Stir to combine. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
 
Bake in the oven uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.












Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Butter Garlic Cajun Chicken Bites

Need an EASY DINNER IDEA?  Try my Butter Garlic Cajun Bites for a quick dinner in under 30 minutes!



 

Butter Garlic Cajun Chicken Bites


We just a new puppy (Bogie) and I am chasing him around so much that I don't have time for anything else. 




Boy do I ever need some quick dinner ideas!  We eat a lot of chicken and I'm sure you've seen the viral videos for the Butter Garlic Chicken or Steak bites, so I decided to do a variation on that by adding some more flavor.  Cajun flavor.  

These little bites of heaven are rich and full of buttery herb flavors.  They are so quick to make you will have them on the table in under 30 minutes.  They make a healthy meal that is low in carbs, gluten-free, and Keto friendly.  With the addition of a few more spices and some hot sauce you can have these Butter Garlic Cajun Chicken Bites as your next meal.  A one pan dinner in under 30 minutes.  Just add a simple side dish and you have an easy weeknight meal!

Enjoy!





What Ingredients do I need?

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • onion powder
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • garlic cloves
  • Italian seasoning
  • hot sauce - I like Sriracha
  • low-sodium chicken broth
  • fresh lemon
  • parsley
  • Crushed red chili pepper flakes


Substitutions and Variations

  • Can't handle the heat?  Leave out the hot sauce
  • Substitute the protein:  This would work with steak or pork as well.  Just cut bite sized pieces and follow the instructions.





Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • You can enrich the sauce by adding some white wine instead of chicken broth
  • Don't overcrowd the pan when cooking the chicken bites. Cook in batches if necessary, so each chicken bite has this delicious crisp golden crust!
  • For a variant you can use whole chicken tenders instead. They’re delicious, and you can skip the cutting board! 
  • What to serve with chicken bites?  I like serving these with basmati rice, roasted or pan-seared asparagus, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, or summer squash.





HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to emails at the top of this page and follow along on Facebook,  and Pinterest for all of the latest updates.





Butter Garlic Cajun Chicken Bites


serves 4


3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon hot sauce, (Sriracha)
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Crushed red chili pepper flakes, optional
Slices of lemon, for garnish


Season bite-sized chicken chunks with salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Heat half of the butter (4 Tablespoons) and olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Gently stir-fry the chicken on all sides until golden brown.

Lower the temperature, add two teaspoons minced garlic, the remaining butter, and Italian seasoning and stir and cook with chicken bites until fragrant. Depending on your skillet size you may need to cook the chicken in batches to avoid crowding the pan and have steamed chicken instead of browned pieces.

Deglaze the skillet with a little chicken broth, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Toss the chicken bites in the sauce to coat.

Garnish the garlic butter chicken bites with parsley, crushed chili pepper, and serve with lemon slices immediately. 


















Friday, May 10, 2024

Spring Fling: 14 Strawberry Recipes

May is the start of strawberry season and here is a round up of 14 irresistible strawberry recipes!



 

14 Strawberry Recipes


Each year in May we have our Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, Ca.  It's filled with lots of booths selling artistic creations and crafts, food vendors selling strawberry delicacies, and then there's the heavenly strawberries themselves!  We always bring home a flat of these gems so I can make all the different dishes that include this luscious fruit.

Below is a round up with links to 14 of my favorite strawberry recipes.  I hope you enjoy them.



1.  Strawberry Lime Slushy - perfect to cool down with on a summer afternoon.









2.  Grandma Landon's Strawberry Cake - a throwback recipe that is the best around!






3.  Strawberry Pear Smoothie - The perfect drink during the Spring when strawberries are popping up and pears are still around.  The pears lend a delicate flavor that compliments the strawberries.





4.  Spinach and Strawberry Salad - The perfect light salad.  Simple and delicious.  Great for Mother's day, Easter, or Memorial Day.






5.  Strawberry Banana Pancakes - get ready for all those Spring brunches.  This recipe is a crowd pleaser!






6.  Strawberry Shortcake Scones - I've made these scones for Mother's Day for many years.  They are elegant, flavorful, and lend something special to the day.





7.  Strawberry Waffles with Yogurt - These waffles are sweet with the flavor of strawberries in the batter and light with a dollop of yogurt instead of the heavy maple syrup.






8.  Strawberry Avocado Toast - this recipe is a WINNER!  Strawberries, avocado, and feta top toasted bread for one heck of a combination!







9.  Healthy Breakfast Banana Split - Banana Split for breakfast?  Yes! This modified version uses yogurt along with strawberries and almonds to top bananas.  It's heaven on a plate.





10.  Strawberry Couscous Spinach Salad - A favorite salad during the Spring and Summer months featuring strawberries and couscous.  Great for the 4th of July!







11.  Lighter Strawberry Crisp - An delicious dessert for spring and summer.  This is a lighter version!






12.  Strawberry Crostini - A great appetizer for any summer gathering.







13.  Mixed Berry Oatmeal Bars - I love these bars.  These are the best snacks!  I made these recently to take along with us on a road trip to Oceanside.









14.  Strawberry Banana Chunk Muffins - Muffins are a great breakfast treat.  These are filled with fresh strawberries and bananas that the whole family love.




Thursday, May 2, 2024

Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wraps are a family favorite! Let me show you how easy they are to make at home!


 

Lettuce Wraps 



The first time I tried Lettuce Wraps was at PF Chang's.  Remember those?  Well I haven't been to one in many years and yet I still love lettuce wraps.  So I make them at home.  They are SO EASY to make, you'll wonder why you didn't try this before now.

Crisp cups of butter lettuce is filled with ground turkey (you can use chicken or pork), fresh vegetables, and an Asian sauce that will bring all the flavors together and knock your socks off!  Did I mention you can make this dish in under 30 minutes?  Perfect for a quick weeknight meal when you don't want to fuss and want dinner on the table in a flash.  This is one dish the whole family will be asking for more.

Enjoy!





What Ingredients do I need?

  • Butter lettuce or Boston Bibb lettuce - these are shaped with cupped leaves
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Shredded Cabbage (optional) - note: I couldn't find mine so my pictures do not include the cabbage, but I recommend it for a little crunch and color.

  • Cilantro - fresh
  • Cashews or peanuts
  • Ground turkey
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Lite soy sauce
  • Limes
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Ginger - fresh minced or paste
  • Garlic cloves - fresh



Substitutions and Variations

  • Meat:  Use ground chicken or pork or go vegetarian with tofu
  • Vegetables:  Add sliced green onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, or bell peppers
  • Nuts: These add nice crunch but if you are allergic then leave them out
  • Toppings:  Fried wontons or crunchy fried chow mein noodles add nice crunch.




Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Leftovers?  Store the chicken and the lettuce separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer Friendly:  The chicken mixture can be made, cooled, and then placed in a freezer bag or container for up to 2 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator before heating.
  • Reheat: I would add a smidge of water or chicken broth to the mixture and then reheat in a skillet over medium heat.


HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to emails at the top of this page and follow along on Facebook,  and Pinterest for all of the latest updates.





Lettuce Wraps

serves 4

Sauce:

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons lite soy sauce
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon ginger, minced or paste
1 clove garlic, minced

Wraps:

1 lb. ground turkey
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 large head Butter or Bibb lettuce
1 pkg of shredded carrots
1 pkg of shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup cashew halves

In a small bowl whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, chili garlic sauce, ginger, and garlic.  Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat add canola oil.  When heated add the ground turkey and cook 5 - 7 minutes breaking up in to small pieces.  When fully cooked add the sauce and stir to coat all the meat.  

On a platter place the individual lettuce leaves.  Spoon on the turkey into the center of each leaf.  Top with a sprinkling of carrots, cabbage, cilantro, and cashews.  Serve.










LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...