Tag Archives: easy

Salad of the gods: Romaine, Orange, Feta, Almonds in a Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

In an effort to avoid the grocery store and use up my CSA from last week, I quickly threw together this salad for lunch. Upon the first bite I realized:

This salad is amazeballs!!!!

If you find that term annoying then substitute any non-cloying superlative in its place that means “rocktastic” rather than “sucktastic.”

It’s super stellar qualities were further elevated by the ease with which I threw it all together.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 orange
  • 1/4 Cup almonds
  • Feta Cheese
  • Honey
  • Balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Wash and chop up the romaine. Stick it in a bowl.
  2. Roughly chop the almonds. Throw them on top of the lettuce.
  3. Peel the orange. Cut each section into bite size pieces (I cut it into three pieces each). Throw the orange bits on top of the almond bits.
  4. Squeeze a zig zag of honey across the top of the salad.
  5. Sprinkle some feta on top.
  6. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on the salad.
  7. Stick a fork in it and shovel into mouth. Feel the “OMG amazeballs” love.
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Filed under Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish

Banana Bread

Banana bread is wonderfully delicious and easy to whip up, especially if you keep extra ripe bananas frozen in your freezer. This last time, I forgot to take my bananas out early, so I “speed defrosted” them by sticking the frozen bananas on top of the preheating stove. By the time I got everything else together, they were good and soft.

My grandmum always seems to have a loaf around her house. Whenever we’d visit there would be bread sitting on the table, or if we were really lucky, a loaf for each of us to take home. Her bread was always wonderfully moist. She swears her secret is adding a tablespoon of water to the recipe. So, every time I make a loaf, I think of her. I used to make her recipe, but I began to tweak it as it calls for vegetable shortening and three sources of sodium (baking soda, baking powder, salt).

I made one loaf of banana bread about a week ago, with only a few tweaks to my grandmother’s recipe (butter instead of crisco, no water added, less sugar) and it didn’t turn out so hot. It was slightly burnt (even though the recipe said 50-60 minutes) at 50 minutes of cooking and tasted “meh.”  Plus, it was better on the “health” factor but still rather low with all that sodium. Banana bread’s hard to mess up so long as it isn’t brick-quality over burnt so I still ate it, but I figured I could do better. After consulting Simply Recipes banana bread recipe, I came to a happy (and delicious) medium between her recipe and my grandmother’s, which is detailed below.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted or softened to room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt (less than 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 cups walnuts (optional, but very yummy)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash the bananas with the butter and sugar.
  3. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together separately.
  5. Add the flour mixture into the sugary eggy banana butter mush and stir with a spoon until just combined.
  6. Fold in nuts if you’re including them.
  7. Pour into a loaf pan that you’ve sprayed with vegetable oil. These can also easily be muffins, but baking time will be severely reduced.
  8. Bake the banana bread for 45 to 60 minutes. Test with a toothpick at 45 minutes to see if its done (mine was and looked beautiful!).

Enjoy.

 

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Filed under Bakery, Breakfast, Snacks, Sweets

Roast Chicken with Bananas and Potatoes

My husband said the last roast chicken I made, with apples, was the best chicken of his life. Tonight I roasted a chicken with little more than a few cloves of garlic, two semi-green bananas, and some potatoes. This dish just may make him revise his opinion yet again.

I found it to be quite good, something I’ll certainly do again, but perhaps with some tweaks (like smearing the chicken with some honey….).

If you’ve got a defrosted bird, this meal can be tossed together in mere minutes before being roasted and primed for your belly in about 60.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 unripe bananas
  • 5 potatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, rosemary, dash cloves, Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute
  • Large cast iron skillet

Directions:

  1. Take the bird out of the fridge (you want it close to room temperature before being put in the oven). Rinse him out and set him on a plate.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  3. Pour the olive oil into a bowl.
  4. Chop (and peel if you like) the potatoes into large hunks.
  5. Peel and crush the cloves of garlic.
  6. Toss the potatoes and garlic in the olive oil before arranging them on the bottom of the cast iron skillet (be sure to reserve most of the oil for rubbing down the bird).
  7. Chop one banana in half and stick that half in the cavity of the bird. Chop the remaining one and a half bananas into large hunks and arrange in the skillet.
  8. Rub in part of the olive oil into the breast side of the bird. Generously salt and pepper the breast side. Then place the chicken breast side down over the potatoes and banana.
  9. Rub the remaining oil over the other side of the bird. Sprinkle liberally with rosemary, then sprinkle with the dash of cloves and another seasoning blend (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute).
  10. Place the skillet in the 450 degree oven. Check if done in 50 minutes. I peeked twice. At 40 minutes I noticed the skin was getting very dark, near burnt, and so I put a little piece of foil over it. Cook until the juices run clear and the potatoes are done (it should be 50 to 60 minutes or so).
  11. Pull the skillet from the oven, cover the chicken with foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Enjoy! We planned on serving the chicken with some mole sauce.

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Filed under Main Dish

Microwave Popcorn

Presto! Blammo! Alakazam!

Why did no one ever tell me microwaving your own popcorn was so simple a toddler could do it? I always imagined that good money was made selling microwave popcorn bags because there was some fancy high science going on inside them. I mean, they say “this side up” on them, which implies there’s something darn tooting special happening up in that bag.

Making your own microwave popcorn has to be one of the easiest things in the world of easy. I’m not talking about taking one of those little individually wrapped bags out of its plastic, unfolding it, and hitting the popcorn button. I’m talking about pouring your own popcorn into a bag and setting it in the microwave and hitting “nuke it.”

My curiosity and poverty got the better of me one day ($1.99 for six single serving bags these days at Trader Joes’ WHAT) and I hit the trusty google to investigate the matter. I discovered a plethora of sites advising me that it was possible and offering all kinds of suggestions. Some of which seemed to still involve too much work and alchemy (Alton Brown and others get way too complicated and oil it up in the bag and then stick staples or tape on it).

Here’s the low down:

  1. You stick 1/4 cup (or less) of pop corn kernels in a paper lunch bag (you know the kind- cheap, sold in bundles of like 50-also good for making puppets out of).
  2. Fold it over (little pleats) like 4 times. Sit it on there wide bottom down or on its side (doesn’t matter, may fall over on its own).
  3. Cook for like 1 minute 30 seconds (stand nearby to learn your microwave’s time-could be a little more or a little less).
  4. Pour out your amazing popcorn.
  5. Jazz it up as you feel. I like to melt a little real butter into mine and a teensy tiny dash of salt and garlic powder. Savingslifestyle.com recommends olive oil and sea salt.

That’s it! For $1.99 for my bag of popping corn I’m going to get about 20 bags of microwave popcorn out of the deal. Plus my stuff will be healthier by boodles. Feel free to unhealthy your own batch as ye will. Any other good suggestions on flavor combos would be appreciated in comments.

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Filed under Snacks

Energy bars

I recently went on a hike and whipped up this batch of energy bars to eat for breakfast while on the trail. This recipe is a riff off of another recipe I found online. They were quite tasty and filling, which is perfect for a hike or go-to snack/pick me up. I took the Whole Grain Gourmet’s specific recipe and pared it down to its essence.

Once you make these, you’ll instantly see modifications you can make to it to suit your taste. Feel free to experiment- more peanut butter, or more honey. I would’ve added chocolate in it or melted on top if I had any on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup nuts (your choice- walnuts, peanuts, almonds, a mix or one kind)
  • 1 cup dried fruits (I used dried cranberries, strawberries, blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s 12 grain cereal (or another variety, or just grind up oats)
  • 2 cup rolled oats (mine was a rye, oats, barley, wheat 4 grain medley)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Toast the oats under the broiler. Be very mindful you don’t end up with burnt oats. Stay close to the stove and begin peeking the second you smell them.
  2. The recipe I based my energy bars off of said to “pulse dried fruits to mine.” I found that trying to pulse my dried fruit lead to my food processor emitting an ear shattering noise with little mincing happening. So, I instead took out my handy chef’s knife and got to hand chopping.
  3. I also chopped my nuts up by hand.
  4. Combine the dried fruits, nuts, and rolled oats together in a bowl (leave out the cereal).
  5. Boil 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Add the 12-grain cereal. Let it rest two minutes (I turned off the heat but left the pan on the burner).
  6. Add the peanut butter, honey, salt, and vanilla to the pan with the cereal. Turn on heat to low and stir for a few minutes until thoroughly combined.
  7. Combine the wet mix with the dry mix. I got right in there with my hands as a fork and/or spoon were not doing the job after a while.
  8. Press into an 8×8 pan (no need to grease it first). I first used my hands to press the mix into the pan. Then I used the back of a spoon to press and level it some more. You want to ensure it’s a compacted, solid bar.
  9. Take a sheet of wax paper and use that to press down on the top and even out the energy bar mixture.
  10. Let it firm up for a few hours at room temperature before cutting.
  11. Cut into whatever size bars you’d like. It makes at least 8 really large bars.

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Filed under Sweets