Archive | July, 2011

Tropical Banana Bread

29 Jul

The produce that comes into the food bank on Saturdays is a great time to snag some really ripe bananas.  Great for smoothies or banana bread.  This is a combination of several recipes that I tweaked until one worked for us.  It is only slightly sweet.  Some people might like to use a little cinnamon or some vanilla.  I prefer to leave those stronger flavors out to let more of the banana and pineapple flavor shine through.

Tropical Banana Bread

3 cups flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup applesauce

1 8oz can crushed pineapple

5 mashed bananas

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two bread pans with non-stick spray.  Stir together flour, salt and soda in a medium bowl and set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix very well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake for 45-60 minutes.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely.


Pantry Pumpkin Muffins

21 Jul

I needed a simple lunch.  Something that did not require butter, because I’m out.  I turned to the old stand-by of breakfast for dinner (or lunch in this case) using my pantry friend—baking mix.  These were yummy and not too sweet, which is what we prefer.  Great with scrambled eggs and a tall glass of milk.

Pantry Pumpkin Muffins

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup oil

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 cups baking mix

6oz white baking chips (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin in a bowl and cream all together thoroughly. Add baking mix and mix just until moistened.  Gently fold in baking chips.  Bake in greased or paper lined muffin tins for 16-20 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.


Edited to Add:  Please check out the comments for some more yummy muffin recipes!

Black Bean Soup

21 Jul

This was a yummy, filling soup.  A great recipe from Darci, another of her family’s favorites.  Perfect pantry fare!

Black Bean Soup

1 lb. Polish Sausage, cut in pieces and browned

1 can bean with bacon soup

1 can water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 c. medium salsa

Mix all ingredients and heat through.

Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, avacado, or Fritos (Darci’s husband’s personal favorite)

Brownie Cookie Macaroons

20 Jul

Our dessert today was recommended by my friend Darci.  It is her husband’s favorite and, I must say, we quite enjoyed them as well.  They are Brownie Cookie Macaroons.  The recipe comes from Duncan Hines.  Super easy, gooey and delish.  Enjoy!


1 box brownie mix (Duncan Hines recommends Double Fudge Decadent Brownie Mix)

2 cups coconut

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (next time I’m going to try using coconut oil for more coconut flavor)

2 tablespoons water

1 large egg

1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional) (I used coconut syrup from Starbucks)

cocoa powder for optional garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or use parchment paper.

2.  In a large mixing bowl combine brownie mix and coconut; mix well.

3.  Mix in the oil, water, egg, contents of fudge packet (if using a brownie mix that contains one, it is not essential) and extract with a wooden spoon until all dry ingreidents are moistened (dough will be stiff) (Darci also adds 1 cup of chocolate chips for extra gooey goodness)

4. Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are set (centers will be slightly soft).  Do not overbake.  Trust me.  Leave ’em gooey.  Transfer cookies to wire rack with metal spatula and cool completely.

6. Garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder.

My Fridge Food

20 Jul

My friend Danavee recommended a website when she heard of my “no spend pantry challenge” month.  It is called My Fridge Food.  It is what the name implies.  Just input what is in your fridge and pantry and it gives you a list of recipes based on what ingredients you have.  It also gives you all the nutrition information, which is super helpful.  My recipe tonight comes from that site.  It was super simple which is what I needed tonight.  I cooked it in the oven, but I’m guessing it would turn out delightful in the crockpot if you are not like me and decided what to make for dinner at 5:30 p.m.  So go check out My Fridge Food and tell me what you think!


Cola Chicken

1  cup cola (I used a throwback Pepsi)

1 cup catsup

salt and pepper to taste

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Wisk together cola, castup, salt and pepper.  Pour a small amount in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Place chicken in pan and pour remaining sauce over it.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, baste with the sauce and bake for another 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Mark and I thought it was tasty and the kids scarfed it down like wild beasts.

Three Cheese Pasta

19 Jul

So tonight was the night that I struggled with wanting to rush out the door to Steak and Shake for a yummy steakburger.  However, unlike the pizza, what I made was nothing like a steakburger.  Oh well.  You can’t win them all, but I am still sticking to our goals!  This recipe didn’t come from anywhere.  It was a random concoction and it was rich and delicious.  Enjoy.

Three Cheese Pasta

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 lb. box of pasta shape of your choice

While your pasta is cooking according to the box directions, put the cheeses and spaghetti sauce in a saucepan and start heating on med-low heat.  Cover and stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.  I whisked it several times at the end, just to get any remaining big cheese chunks to smooth out.  Then, drain your pasta, stick it in a serving bowl and pour the sauce on:

Stir it all up and serve with super yummy take and bake bread you got on Saturday at the food bank. 🙂


18 Jul

Saturday night I really wanted to have pizza.  REALLY wanted it.  Didn’t want to cook, wanted to call up my favorite local pizza place and have a friendly driver arrive at my door with my steaming hot pizza.  However, we had made it our goal not to buy anything other than milk or eggs during July.  Messing with our family’s goals would, in the end, make me crankier than sucking it up and figuring out what to do with my pizza craving.  I didn’t have any yeast, so making a crust was out of the question.  What I did have was an unsliced loaf of white bread from the free bread on Friday.  It was time to improvise.  I sliced the bread lengthwise and made long strips of “crust” for our pizza.  I had exactly six slices of pepperoni, so that pizza went to dad.  I made cheese pizza for the kids and made one for myself using a yellow pepper that needed to be used and the mushrooms I had picked up Saturday morning at the food bank.  Here is my pizza before cooking:

This is what they looked like in the oven (so you can get an idea of size).  One loaf of bread fed our family of five, with leftovers.  400 degrees for about 12 minutes.  Sometimes it is hard to stick to a financial goal, but you can do it and you will be glad you did!