Tag Archives: easy

Easy as banana cream pie

All time favorite dessert? Key lime pie. Close second? That would have to be homemade banana cream pie. It’s so creamy and comforting, my grandmother always made it for us growing up. It’s still my request at holidays and whenever I see her. It’s actually less of a pie than a banana custard dessert but tastes amazing all the same.

For the crust, you will need

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

For the filling you will need:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3-4 bananas

Mix together the ingredients for the crust. An easy tip is to mix them together in the baking dish, so that you can just smooth it out in the pan you will bake in. poke the crust with a fork all over prior to baking to make small holes. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until browned.

To make the filling mix together the sugar, flour and salt in a saucepan. Add the milk and cook over medium heat until bubbly. Cook for two minutes and remove from heat.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolks. Stir in a small amount of the warm mixture and blend. Add the yolk mixture to the pan and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, it will start to thicken. Add in the butter and spices to taste (nutmeg or cinnamon – optional).

Place a layer of bananas on the crust

Add the custard on top of the base, then top with more bananas

And there you have it – homemade banana cream pie ready in next to no time. I used whole wheat flour and raw sugar in mine (health food sneak) but play around with this basic recipe and make it your own. Hope you enjoy it!


Easy salads for lunch or dinner

Work lunches don’t have to be sandwiches over and over again. Try making a few cold salads and keep them in your fridge to enjoy when you’re in a rush. Two of my favorites are pasta salad and coleslaw.

Pasta salad can be made so many different ways. For dressing use olive oil and vinegar (or lemon), mayonnaise and spices or a prepared salad dressing that you enjoy. Add veggies (peppers, green onion, broccoli, carrots etc.) and mix thoroughly. Leave in the fridge overnight for the flavors to mix and enjoy the next day.

Coleslaw is another great salad to serve with fish for a healthy dinner or bring to work the next day. I really like using red cabbage and shred it with carrots, onion, a bit of celery and fresh dill with lemon juice and mayonnaise. For an extra kick, add a dash of chili powder. Again, leave in the fridge for a few hours to overnight.

There are a lot of great cold salads you can make ahead of time for lunches, leaving you a bit of extra time to enjoy your morning coffee or sleep in.


What to make your Dad on Father’s Day? Manly crepes, obviously.

That’s right, crepes. But not just any old crepes, manly crepes. Crepes that have lots of cheese, big pieces of mushroom and maybe a chunk of bacon or prosciutto in there. That’s the kind of thing any dad would love to have made for him on Father’s Day.

Crepes are actually incredibly easy to make, and can be filled with just about anything. They can be topped with fruit cooked in wine, slices of steak and blue cheese or even grilled veggies. My Dad is the one who taught me how to make crepes growing up, and so I thought I would share this meal idea just before Father’s Day.

There are a lot of crepe recipes out there, they use very  few ingredients mixed until smooth. I used this basic crepe recipe from Allrecipes.com

What you need

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

To make the batter mix the flour and eggs, then slowly add the milk and water. Once smooth add the salt and melted butter and combine.

Heat a nonstick pan and add about ½ a cup of batter, then tilt the pan  in circles so that the batter spreads out thinly. Keep turning the pan until the batter isn’t thinning anymore and has spread as evenly as it will go. Once browned, flip and cook the other side. Crepes cook very quickly, so keep an eye on them. (Sneaky crepes...)

In another skillet cook your filling. I used a combination of spinach and portabella mushrooms that I cooked with two cloves of garlic then added salt and pepper.

Arrange the crepe on a plate, add cheese and a line of filling. Roll the crepe. Repeat and arrange them beside each other, garnish with parsley or spice of your choice.

I also made a simple arugula salad, very popular in Italian cooking. (Yes, I made French crepes and an Italian salad. Very multicultural of me, right?) This salad is simple but tastes great, just toss baby arugula leaves with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until evenly coated.

Feel free to try out a lot of combinations and come out with your own signature style of crepes, here are a few that I really like:

  • Blue cheese, fresh fig and prosciutto
  • Brie red pepper and chorizo
  • Asparagus with hollandaise sauce
  • Berries simmered in red wine
  • Banana, coconut and nutella

Quick and easy wonton appetizers

I’m a big fan of appetizers, they give people something to nibble on while you finish making dinner. Our kitchen is a bit on the small side, and having anyone hovering around me while I cook drives me crazy. My solution is to open a bottle of wine and have a bunch of appetizers in the other room to distract people from “that woman who keeps shouting at us to get out of the kitchen”.

My mom taught me how to make appetizers by using wonton wrappers to create a shell for the ingredients. So far, everyone who has tried them loves them. This includes the pug, who is basically a vacum cleaner substitute.

 

What you need:

  • 500g sausage meat
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 large green peppers
  • 1 bottle of ranch dressing
  • 1 package of shredded cheese
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To create the “basket” you place two wonton wrappers so that they cover the sides of a muffin tin. If you use a mini-muffin tin you might only need one.

 

Bake the shell in the oven for 10 minutes or until browned at the edges.

 

While the shells are baking, sauté the sausage, green onion and peppers until cooked through.

 

Slowly add cheese and dressing until blended, but not to the point of being overly liquid. For me that was approximately half a package of shredded cheese and 1/3 bottle of ranch dressing.

 

Fill the shells with the mixture, and put back in the oven to bake for 5 minutes.

 

Ta-daaaa!

A lot of different combinations will work for the filling, but here are a few that I like;

  • Blue cheese, spinach and bacon
  • Mushrooms, red peppers and goat cheese
  • Cranberry, turkey and a slice of brie

I haven’t tried to fill them with a type of dessert yet, but I think they would work pretty well to serve up a scoop if ice cream or a bit of mixed fruit topped with whipped cream. You really can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!


Only Three Ingredients = Delicious Dessert Bars

I’m not sure who invented this recipe, but my mom made it quite a few times when I was younger. Bake sales, bringing treats to school, these were always very popular and everyone loved them. When my mom taught me how to make them I could not believe three ingredients were all you needed to make one of the best dessert bars I’ve ever had.

What’s in them:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 bag of Skor bits/chips (or 6-7 Skor bars, broken into tiny bits)
  • 1 bag of regular Ritz crackers

What you do: 

If you have any pent-up aggression, this is the dessert for you. You take the bag of Ritz out of the box, keeping them in the sealed bag, and crunch them up into small pieces. Not large pieces but not a fine dust either, manageable little chunks.

I personally like using the packaged Skor bits/English Toffee better, but after going to 4 stores and not finding any we used regular Skor bars. The added chocolate was also nice so it worked out. Take about 6 Skor bars and break them into tiny “chip-sized” pieces. A meat tenderizer works pretty well.

 

In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until well blended.

 

Press into a greased pan (seriously, grease the pan. I can’t stress this enough)and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees

 

While still warm cut the bars. I found it easier to cut them in the pan while warm, cool them in the fridge and then remove them from the pan as they can be a bit crumbly while still hot.

 

These really are incredibly tasty, despite having so few ingredients. Give them a try and let me know what you think!


Very quick, very easy, very delicious lemon pasta

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks now, and I have a very good reason. I didn’t think the Chinese takeout containers or pizza delivery really counted as me preparing a quick and easy meal worth blogging about.

It really seems like it’s baby season right now, I have three people in my life currently expecting little wee ones. I could not be happier for them but it makes me wonder how working moms, new moms and all parents in general – how do they do it? I always feel so busy and the only dependants I have are a pug and a boyfriend. And the pug practically raises himself these days.

I came across a great blog, The Sweet Potato Chronicles, where a mom posts quick, easy and healthy recipes. I figured if she can manage, we can all manage. Last night I made a lemon pasta recipe she posted and was not disappointed – it was very refreshing with the citrus and fresh basil, perfect to welcome summer. Very few ingredients and so easy to make, I suggest you give it a try.

You will need:

  • 1 package of linguine or spaghetti pasta
  • 3  lemons juiced (1 zested)
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • handful of basil, washed and sliced into strips
  • salt and pepper to taste

 What you do:

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Save 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

 

While pasta is cooking: mix lemon juice, zest, oil, parmesan in a bowl. Set aside. (Yes, I added the basil right away. I break all the rules.)

Place drained pasta back into serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well until well coated. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the cooking water. Add basil and toss again (unless you already added it like me). Serve immediately.

 

There you have it! And after a long hard day, feel free to have a glass of wine while you enjoy your dinner.

 

Before anyone even asks, no, I do not give my dog wine. He actually prefers scotch on the rocks.


How to stuff a Chicken Breast

 Stuffed chicken breast is, in my opinion, one of those versatile recipes that you can tweak so many ways. It’s honestly not that difficult to prepare and you can make a few in advance to bake later on when you’re pressed for time. Situations like, oh, say your boyfriend’s mother is coming by for Easter dinner? Times like that, you need to have something up your sleeve.

What’s in it:

The filling you put in the chicken can vary depending on what you like. This version has herb goat cheese and diced spicy chorizo in it. You could also do; goat cheese and sundried tomatoes, spinach and blue cheese, mozzarella and portabella mushroom etc. (I generally use a cheese and add either a diced meat or vegetable.)

The same goes for either wrapping or topping the chicken. This time I wrapped loosely with prosciutto but you could use breadcrumbs or even a spice rub.

What you do:

  1. Mix the filling in a bowl and set aside
  2. Find the thickest part of the chicken breast and cut into it to make a “pocket”. (Be careful not to cut through the back, top or bottom or filling will leak out during cooking.)
  3. Fill the chicken breast with some of the mixture
  4. Wrap with chicken with prosciutto (or alternatively rub with spices/breadcrumbs.)  
  5. Close the opening with a few toothpicks
  6. Arrange in a baking dish, cover with foil so it does not dry out while cooking
  7. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 for 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through

If you have any modifications or come up with an interesting filling, let me know.