Saturday, April 26, 2008

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

My Dad loves all things banana, so I always have my eye open for new banana things to try. One look at the picture of Paula Dean's Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding online & I was sold. Then I just had to wait for a good reason to make a big pan of this not so diet friendly stuff. We went to a BBQ tonight to hang out with my friend Janet who's in town, so it was the perfect opportunity. This recipe was all I dreamed it would be. So creamy & rich & the cookies make it so delicious. I took a picture of the top and the bottom of the pan. I put the cookies in so you could see the pictures on them from either side.

Mom, if you're reading this this is definitely something Dad would love!

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies

6 to 8 bananas, sliced (I used 3 bananas sliced thin & I think it was plenty)

2 cups milk 1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding (I couldn't find a 5-oz box, so I used 1 & 2/3 boxes of the 3-oz size. I think it would be really good with banana pudding to give it that extra banana punch.)

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream
Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top. In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Last Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe You Will EVER Need!

Until recently I didn't have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I used every time. None of the recipes I'd tried were amazing, or I would make them one time & they would be great & then I would make them again & they would just be so so. So about a year ago I was watching the Food Network & Alton Brown did a show about chocolate chip cookies where he made 3 different recipes & by varying the amount of brown sugar to white sugar he used, melted butter vs. soft & a few other things the cookies all came out completely different. One cake like, one chewy & one thin. I don't really like cakey cookies, so I decided to try the chewy & thin. I like my cookies to be chewy in the middle & have a crispy outside. I tried the chewy & they were a little to cakey for my liking. Then I tried the thin & I have never made another recipe of chocolate chip cookies again! They are my perfect chocolate chip cookie. A couple of keys I think while making them is to leave the mixer on throughout the entire mixing process (except to scrape down the bowl). I think it gives them a lighter finish. These cookies are heaven. I usually just use chocolate chips in them, but the cookies in this pictures are of the last time I made them & I put white chocolate chunks & macadamia nuts in them. So so so good!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (The Thin)
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

Recipe Summary Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies User Rating:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 ounces milk (1/4 c)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Combine the egg, milk, and vanilla and bring to room temperature in another bowl. Cream the butter in the mixer's work bowl, starting on low speed to soften the butter. Add the sugars. Increase the speed, and cream the mixture until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and add the egg mixture slowly. Increase the speed and mix until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for more even browning. Remove the cookies from the pans immediately. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I called this post lasagna...finally because I finally got a recipe for lasagna that worked for me. I love lasagna. It's one of the few things I will eat leftovers off. Everytime I've tried to make it though it turns out too runny or too dry. It's something that's been driving me crazy for years! How hard can it be! In our family growing up we usually had Stoffer's lasagna & I love it. In Matt's family his mom always made great lasagna though. So I decided to tackle it one more time. I looked up a ton of different recipes & read a bunch of reviews & then came up with a recipe by taking small parts of many different recipes & it turned out delicious! Yeah, finally! It was really hearty, plenty of cheese & not dry, but not runny. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! So here's the recipe:


1/2 large onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 T olive oil

1 lb ground chuck

1 lb ground pork

1 small can crushed tomatoes

1 small can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

1 T dried basil

1/2 T dried parsley

1/2 T dried oregano

salt to taste

15 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg

3/4 c chopped spinach (thawed & drained)

1/2 c parmesan cheese, shredded

1/2 c mozarella, shredded

1 lb mozarella in thin slices

1 package, no boil, oven ready lasagna sheets

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add chuck and pork and cook until done. Add 3 cans of tomatoes, dried herbs & salt. Let it simmer on the stove for about 10 mins. Taste the sauce & adjust seasonings. In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, egg, spinach, parmesan & mozarella.

Take a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of the red sauce. Put a layer of noodles down next. Cover with half the ricotta mixture. Then put a layer of the sliced cheese. Then another sauce layer, noodle layer, ricotta layer, cheese layer & then pour the rest of the sauce on top & top with the remaining mozarella.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 with foil tented over the top (so it doesn't touch the cheese). Then bake for another 30 minutes uncovered. I put my casserole pan on top of a cookie sheet because the casserole pan was filled to the brim. I didn't have any spill over, but better to be safe than sorry.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Nothing like homemade bread & a bowl full of soup

Yesterday Maddie & I went and picked strawberries at a local orchard with our friends. We came home & made freezer jam & I thought we need some of my moms homemade wheat bread to go along with this & then in the middle of making the bread I thought we also need some homemade soup to go along with the bread! So that's what we had for dinner & it was so so yummy. This soup is one of Matt's favorite dinners & the wheat bread is a recipe my mom & dad have cooked for years. It's a family favorite.

I'm at that point in my pregnancy where I'm burning up hot all the time, so halfway through dinner as I wiped the sweat from my brow I told Matt I can't do hot soup anymore until this little guy is born. The soup, bread & jam were definitely worth the heat though.

Whole Wheat Bread

8 cups warm water

1 1/2 c honey

2 T yeast

10 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 t salt

Put all ingredients in mixer. Let them knead together for 3-4 mins. Then add more flour until the dough leaves the side of the bowl (about 8-10 cups more). Place dough in Pam sprayed pans. Let double. Bake at 325 until bread sounds hollow when tapped on top. About 25 mins.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

1 Whole Chicken

Boil with a few vegetables to flavor the soup. I usually use celery, onions & carrots + 2 t salt. Bring the chicken to a boil & then let simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours. Remove chicken and debone, chop & set aside in fridge while you make the noodles. Keep the broth simmering. My mom use to blend the veggies in the broth so we wouldn't pick out the veggies. I haven't had to do that yet. You can add bouillon if you want more flavor.


2 c flour 2 eggs

1/2 t salt 4 egg shells of water

Put flour and salt in a bowl, add eggs and water and stir until well mixed. Dump out on floured surface and roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut strips of the dough and put them in the simmering broth. Continue until all the noodles are in & add the chicken & let simmer for about 5 mins.

Uniquely Creamy Mac 'n Cheese

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my mom and she said she had found this really unique and delicious macaroni and cheese. My family that lives in AZ has an extended family dinner every Sunday. They rotate having it at different peoples houses in the family. When it was at my cousin Stefani's house a little while ago she asked my mom to bring macaroni and cheese. My mom is an excellent cook, but she hadn't made mac & cheese before, so she googled best macaroni and cheese recipe. She found a link to a project that a New York Times reporter did to try to find the best mac & cheese recipe ever & this is the recipe he settled on. My mom decided to try it and not long after she brought it to Stefani's house she was asked to bring it again & everyone wanted to know who made the mac & cheese.

Matt LOVES homemade macaroni & cheese so I knew I had to try this recipe & it did not disappoint. It was creamy, delicious and not low cal or low fat (exactly as a good mac & cheese should be!). The recipe is very unique, hence the reason I gave it the name I did. You blend all the ingredients except the noodles & cheese & the noodles are baked raw. Definitely a keeper!

(Sorry about the pic, it's not too appetizing looking, but I promise you will love it.)
Macaroni & Cheese
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ pound elbow pasta, uncooked.
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes. 3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

The BEST Snickerdoodles

Our friends Jill & Hannah came into town this weekend & we got to make Jill's famous snickerdoodles! This is probably my favorite cookie recipe. They're the perfect amount of sweet & they just melt in your mouth (must be the crisco! ;)). One of the tricks is to under cook them a little bit.

Jill's Snickerdoodles

1 c Crisco

1 1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

2 3/4 c flour

2 t cream of tartar

1/2 t salt

1 t baking soda



Cream the Crisco, sugar and egg together. Mix the dry ingredients together & then add them to the wet ingredients & mix well. Roll the dough into balls & coat them in a mixture of cinnamon & sugar. Bake them at 375 for 6-8 mins.