Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve Caramel Banana Dessert

I created this Banana Caramel Cream Pie with Ginger Walnut Crust and Caramel Toasted Walnut Whipped Cream Topping for a Chiquita Banana contest.

Everyone that tasted it thought the pie absolutely AMAZING!  No it did not win but that's OK.  I have a new winner dessert that I can make anytime 'cause it's so easy.  In fact I'm going to whip one up for tonight to bring to a New Year's Eve celebration in my neighborhood!

Anyway here it is in all it's winning glory......

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups crumbled ginger snaps
1/3 cup butter
Pie Filling:
1 box Vanilla instant pudding/pie filling
1 cup Caramel/Dulche de Leche
1 ½ cups cold whole milk
4 bananas
½ cup chopped Walnuts
½ cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup powdered sugar

Pulse blend 1 cup chopped walnuts and 1 ½ cups ginger snaps until fine crumbs.
Melt butter in microwave for 20 seconds or until melted. Drizzle into walnut/crumb mixture and blend until thoroughly mixed; about 30 seconds.
Press crust mixture into bottom and sides of 8 inch pie plate.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Beat together vanilla pie filling, caramel and cold milk until smooth.
Slice bananas and line pie shell with ½ of the bananas, pour ½ of the filling over bananas, layer on remaining bananas and finish with pouring on remaining pie filling. Smooth with a spatula and refrigerate for 2 hours.
In small sauce pan over medium heat melt the sugar and continue on medium heat until lightly browned.  Do not stir, just slightly swirl pan.
Spread ½ cup walnuts on parchment paper and pour the melted sugar evenly over nuts.  Let cool. (Fill pan with water and return to burner; let sit on cooling burner to melt and any residual sugar for easy clean up)
When walnuts/sugar mixture is hardened and cool, break into chunks and place between two sheets of parchment paper.  Smash with rolling pin or back of frying pan.
In a chilled bowl begin beating cold whipping cream with electric mixer on medium.  When frothy add the vanilla and powdered sugar.  Whip on high until stiff peaks form.
Using a spatula, fold in ½ half of the nut mixture.  Spread whipped cream on top of cooled pie and sprinkle with remaining nut mixture.
Slice with a wet knife; serve and enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Breakfast Made Easy

This is so unbelievably easy it's almost hard to believe just how good it tastes and how healthy! Oh and did I mention great on the budget too?  Seriously you will only need a couple of minutes to put it all together and get it to the table.
You will need:
1 Banana
1/2 Cup Quick Cooking Oatmeal
14 t. salt
1 Cup Water
1 T. Honey ( I buy local honey; but you use whatever honey is your favorite)
Pinch/Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Combine oatmeal salt and water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile slice your banana.
When done stir and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Top with banana and honey then enjoy!

Yes that's all there is to it! This is a large breakfast for me but perfect for my husband.  For small children this would probably serve two but to make more just double the ingredients!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Leftover Tart

VERY seldom do we have leftover mashed potatoes!  It seems no matter how many I mash they disappear BUT just in case I thought I'd share this SUPER EASY and delicious Italian Potato Tart that is absolutely the perfect way to use up leftovers.
This tart is so flexible; you can add leftover veggies... use ham instead of bacon.... sweet potatoes work also (never tried it with a very sweet potato dish so let me know if YOU do).  Anyway this tart and a nice big mixed green salad are just the ticket if you have been eating as much as I have these days!
Easy Cheesy Bacon Potato Tart

Ingredients for 4 servings:
4 Cups mashed potatoes (or more)
8 ounces Shredded Mozzarella
8 ounces Shredded 4 Cheese Italian
8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled (use ham if you have it leftover also)
2 eggs beaten
1 T. Parsley copped
1 t. salt
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil divided
1/2 cup bread crumbs divided


Coat an 8 X 8 inch pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and dust with ½ of the bread crumbs
Beat the two eggs and add to the bacon and potatoes along with the cheeses, parsley and salt.
Mix together and spread into the tart pan.
Top with remaining bread crumbs and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cookes

OK so it's the day after Christmas....Boxing Day for all of my British friends and I'm making cookies!  I really don't need any more sweets but my son is off with his friends to a cabin in the woods so I .....being the crazy mother I am......simply MUST make a little something to send with them.  After all they could get caught in a snow storm and these cookies might be their only food for days!

Super simple and I count them as healthy because of the wheat germ...big smile!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
2 sticks Margarine  or Crisco ( I use Crisco butter flavor Crisco in these instead)
1 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup bran ( or wheat germ)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips or raisins

Beat sugars and margarine until creamy
Add eggs and vanilla
Add flour, bran, cinnamon and salt; mix well
Add oats, and chocolate chips (or raisins); mix well

I chill the dough for about 30 minutes at this point......

Drop rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper lined 
cookie sheet
Bake about 14 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven 
Cool slightly before transferring to racks

I usually use a small ice cream type scoop to make sure all the cookies are the same size and I make them quite large so I bake them about 18 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Season French Pate'

Wow your family and friends this holiday season with this French classic adapted for the American kitchen.  It is the most extraordinary and festive appetizer you will ever serve!

Considered to be one of France’s best dishes, Pate’ de Campagne from Brittany is made with ground pork, cognac and spices; without a hint of liver ever!  Always served cold, don’t forget the traditional condiments; Dijon mustard, cornichons and baguette slices!
Video Recipe; watch and learn just how easy it is to make your own Country French Pate'!

·         3/4 cup Cognac
·         3 tablespoons butter
·         1 onion minced
·         2 1/2 pounds ground pork
·         24 slices bacon divided 8 for the pate & 16 to line the pan
·         3 cloves garlic minced or put through press
·         2 1/2 teaspoons salt
·         2 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
·         1 /12 teaspoons allspice
·         1 teaspoon pepper
·         2 beaten eggs
·         1/3 cup whipping cream
·         6-8 ounces high quality ham steak
1.      Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.      Bring cognac to a simmer and reduce to 1/2 cup then set aside to cool.
3.      Sauté onions in butter until soft then set aside to cool.
4.      Place pork in mixing bowl.
5.      Chop 8 slices of bacon and add to pork along with onion, salt, thyme, allspice and pepper.
6.      Mix in eggs, cream & cognac.
7.      Line loaf pan with bacon slices and spread 1/2 pate mixture in bottom.
8.      Cut ham into 1/4-inch slices and place in one layer in loaf pan.
9.      Top with remaining pate’.
10.  Fold bacon slices over pate’ starting with long sides of pan and end with pate’ being encased in bacon.
11.  Cover tightly with non stick foil and place in roasting pan on lowest rack.
12.  Pour boiling water into roasting pan and bake for 2-2 ½ hours until internal temperature reaches 155F.
13.  Remove from oven and top with heavy cans.
14.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.
15.  To unmold pate’, place in roasting pan and fill with hot water. Let stand for 2-3 minutes.