Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

I started buying fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk.  I have found that when I keep plenty in the house, we are better about eating more.  At the same time, I don't want fresh produce to go bad before we can eat it.  The solution to my problem?  Smoothies!  I tried this recipe for banana peanut butter smoothie over the weekend and it was a hit with the family.  Since I didn't come up with the recipe, I am going to just link to it.  I plan to come up with my own creative combinations soon!

If you like this recipe, you may also like Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream (EF, DF, GF).

 Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie - Click to link to the recipe.  This recipe is for 2 servings.  Here are my approximate adjusted ingredients to make a single serving.

1 medium banana peeled and sliced then frozen
1/3 c non-fat vanilla yogurt
2 T creamy peanut butter
1/4 c non-fat milk

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Dairy-free Suggestion:  Replace the non-fat milk with soy milk (or other non-dairy substitute) and the yogurt for of crushed ice (1 c ice per serving).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Betty Crocker Muffins {made Egg-free}

So many of the allergy free mixes, omit several allergens.  I understand that is in the best interest of the company to attract a larger consumer base.  But these mixes can be a tad expensive and often test like something is missing.  So, I was determined to make adjustments to some 'normal' mixes to only omit egg.  My post for Pillsbury Cupcakes {made Egg-free} was so popular, I wanted to share the most requested muffins at my house.  My oldest child likes these better than my homemade banana muffins.

I am not trying to promote any particular brand of mix.  From trial and error, I have found some brands work better than others, depending on what I am making.

Betty Crocker Muffins {made Egg-free}     
1 box Betty Crocker muffin mix1
3/4 c milk
1/3 c oil
2 t baking powder

Preheat the oven to 390o.  Grease muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.  Stir all ingredients until well combined.  Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 16 minutes.  Cool muffins slightly in pan.  Makes 12 muffins.

1 I used the Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry muffin mix.  Betty Crocker also has the following flavors:  Banana Nut, Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Streusel and Lemon Poppy Seed.  The Cinnamon Streusel mix will use the same additional ingredients.  For the chocolate chip mix use 3/4 c water in place of the 3/4 c milk.  My grocery store does not carry the banana nut or lemon poppy seed.  I will keep an eye out for those two and update accordingly.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


A few years ago, I worked under a boss with Creole ancestry.  I have always enjoyed Creole and Cajun cuisine and I asked him if he had any great recipes to share.  He directed me to a couple of excellent cookbooks and gave me his family recipe for jambalaya.  I have made a few adaptations in the version you see here, but the flavor is very much the same as the original recipe he gave to me.  I can't take credit for this recipe but I won't mention his name on my blog, as I don't know how he may feel about that.  I hope you enjoy it as much as me and my family do.

[Updated:  June 17, 2018]


1 – 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 t paprika
1-2 T olive oil
1 c onion, chopped 1
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound andouille sausage, sliced 2
2 14.5 oz cans stewed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth 2
1 cup long-grain rice 2
2 t dried celery flakes1
2 t thyme
1 t seasoned salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
¼ t hot pepper sauce
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

It is easier if you do all chopping and cutting up prior to cooking.  Sprinkle cut up chicken with paprika, salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Sear chicken until no longer pink.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  Add sausage and sear until browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add onion and garlic.  Sauté onion and garlic in meat drippings until tender.  If not enough drippings, add a little bit of olive oil.  Return to meat to skillet add tomatoes, broth, rice, celery flakes, thyme and hot pepper sauce.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.  Stir in shrimp, cover and continue cooking about 5 minutes longer, or just until shrimp curls and turns pink.  Take off heat, removed lid and let cool slightly before serving, about 5 minutes.    
Serves 6 

1You can use 2 chopped celery ribs in place of the celery flakes.  I use celery flakes because I don’t care for celery . . . it is a texture issue.  You can also add 1 cup of chopped green bell pepper to the recipe.  If you use the fresh celery and/or bell pepper, sauté with the onion.

2 To make this recipe a little healthier, you can use low fat smoked turkey sausage, low sodium chicken broth and brown rice.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Meat, Potatoes & Green Beans

My mom made this for us a lot when I was growing up.  Now it is such a comfort food for me.  I hesitated to share this, thinking this recipe isn't fancy enough for a food blog.  But let's be real, with kids, jobs or both, weeknight meals are just not fancy.  Most nights the goal is simply to get everyone fed and into bed at a decent hour!  Anyway, this recipe is much better than it looks in the picture and our kids love it.  With a little extra chopping, it is a great first table food for older babies.  Oh . . . and did I mention it is CHEAP to make!

Meat, Potatoes & Green Beans

1 pound ground beef
2  14.5 oz cans green beans (or 1 large can) UNDRAINED
4 large baking potatoes
½ t seasoned salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder

Cook ground beef in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Peel and chop potatoes into about one inch cubes.  Add potatoes, green beans and spices to meat.  Stir and cover with a tight fitting lid.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
Serves 4-6

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

We (my husband) got a new grill last week and he was eager to try it out.  For Mother's Day, he grilled a fabulous dinner of shrimp and steak.  I especially loved the shrimp.  We can't take credit for the recipe so I will just link to it (below).  I hope to share many more yummy grilled recipes this summer.  And hopefully, my husband will be doing a lot of the cooking!

Spicy Grilled Shrimp - The shrimp pictured above, were made exactly as described in this recipe.  Click to link to the recipe.

Note:  Rather than take out some of the cayenne for our kids, we just rinsed the cooked shrimp off for them.  The rinsed shrimp kept some flavor but were not as spicy.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Avocado Salsa

Our family loves avocado.  The ingredients in this salsa are similar to most guacamole recipes.  But chopping it up as a salsa makes it easier for the kids to pick out the parts they like best.  I actually like to eat this as a small side salad, while my husband likes to spoon it on top of his favorite Mexican dishes.  It would also make a delicious appetizer served with tortilla chips.


Avocado Salsa

2 medium avocados, chopped
¼ - ½ red onion*, chopped
8-9 oz strawberry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, chopped
2 T cilantro, chopped
½ t garlic powder
½ t seasoned salt
¼ t freshly ground black pepper
1 T lime juice (optional)

Mix all ingredients.  Stir and serve immediately.  If you will not be serving immediately, mix in 1 T of lime juice.  This will keep the avocado from browning as quickly.  Serves 6-8

* My husband and I really enjoy onion.  The salsa in this picture was made with half of a red onion.  If you do not like a lot of onion, start with one-forth of an onion. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies {Egg-free}

These cookies are an all time favorite at my house.  I think the blended oats is what makes them so good!  Blending the oats into a powder gives it the texture of a regular chocolate chip cookie and the taste of an oatmeal cookie.  They are best with the chocolate chips and nuts.  In this picture, I have omitted the nuts to accommodate some of the little discriminating mouths at my house.  If you like these, also try this recipe for chocolate chip cookies.


Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature*
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1/3 c milk
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
2 ½ c flour
2 ½ c oats, blended (old fashion oats)
2 c or 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Measure 2 1/2 c oats and blend in a blender or food processor until a course powder and set aside.  Be sure to measure the oats before blending them.  Cream together the butter and both sugars.  Mix in the vanilla and milk.  Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt, mixing constantly.  Slowly mix in the flour and blended oats.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  Batter will be thick.  Roll into balls and place three inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 9 minutes at 375o.  Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing.  Makes about 4½ - 5 dozen cookies.

*Leave the butter out on the counter for a few hours prior to making to soften. 

Dairy-free notes:  I haven’t tried to make these dairy-free.  If any of you try this recipe with a dairy-free margarine and dairy-free milk substitute (soy, coconut, almond, etc), let me know how they turn out.  Thanks!

 This is what the blended oats looks like.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Brown Sugar-Glazed Salmon

We really love salmon.  It is good for you, the kids seem to like it and it goes on special often at the grocery store.  So, what isn't to like?  This is a pretty quick easy salmon recipe that tastes great and appears to take much more time than it actually does.  I like to serve this recipe with rice or couscous and a vegetable.  In this picture, I have it pared with Near East Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Couscous and Roasted Asparagus

Brown Sugar-Glazed Salmon
Recipe adapted from Light and Tasty Feb/March 2006.

1 pound salmon filet
1 t cornstarch, divided
¼ t seasoned salt
¼ t freshly ground black pepper
3 T brown sugar
1 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 T Dijon mustard
1 t rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 425o.  Cut salmon widthwise into four pieces.  Place on a foil-lined 15”x10”x1” baking pan.  Rub each filet with ¼ t cornstarch*, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake, uncovered in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard and vinegar.  Bring just to a boil.  Brush evenly over salmon.  Broil in oven for about 1-2 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Serves 4

*The cornstarch helps the glaze coat and stick to the salmon for better flavor.