Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Banana Muffins

It seems like my kids go in phases with their banana eating. I've got 1 that never likes them, 1 that always loves them and 2 that are wishy washy. We're kind of in the lull part of their swinging banana preferences, I guess, because the last few times I've brought bananas home from the grocery store they've turned up with brown spots before anyone got around to finishing them off. That's OK, though - it means Mama gets banana bread! This time I decided to go with muffins, instead of just straight bread. And this recipe is a smidge different than my standard one because it's got the addition of some cinnamon & nutmeg in the batter for a little extra YUM!

Your ingredients for this one:
(sorry, no photo today)

1.) Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg.
2.) Bananas, sugar, vanilla, egg, canola (or veg) oil.

First you mix your dry (except for the sugar) in one bowl...

Mix your wet (plus the sugar) in another bowl...

Then combine the two.

Pout the batter into baking cups & cook at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

Tada!! That's it! If you'd like to dress them a little more than that you can mix up the crumb topping on this banana bread recipe & add it to the tops of each muffin before baking. YUM!!!

The addition of the cinnamon & nutmeg add another layer of warmth & cozy to these muffins. Give it a try!!


Banana Muffins:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup canola or veg oil

Preheat oven to 375.

In one bowl, mix flour, soda, powder, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg. In another bowl combine sugar, bananas, vanilla, egg & oil. Add dry ingredients into wet mixture; stir until combined.

Pour batter into muffin tins lined with baking cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Crisco Simple Measures

So - I'm not getting paid to write this or anything. I stumbled upon this bottle recently & just wanted to sing its praises to those of you who may not realize it's out there!

I. Love. It. Do you see that lid? It should look familiar - it's just like the one on top of most laundry detergent bottle. And it has measure lines! You can measure your oil right into the cap, pour it into your pan or recipe & then just put the cap back on the bottle for the oil to drip back into the pool below. Not only is this great for the no-drips-down-the-bottle mess, but I hate when I’m measuring out oil for a recipe & the measuring cup is left all slimy – even after it’s been rinsed. And half the time after the oil cup has been run through the dishwasher it still feels kinda slimy. How wonderful to never have to dirty another measuring cup for oil!

Are you feeling the love?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Orange Chicken (similar to Panda Express)

I'm not really a very adventurous eater. I like to stick with what looks safe & has ingredients that I know. This strategy doesn't always work well when you're out for Chinese food!! LOL Thankfully when I'm craving it I know I can head over to Panda Express & get my happy little serving of sweet/heat with their orange chicken (and yes, I know - calling Panda Chinese food is like calling Taco Bell authentic Mexican food! I realize that - but I like it & it makes me happy so for my purposes, it's Chinese food!!! LOL) I was so delighted to find a recipe to try it out at home! I will say that this recipe came out with a stronger orange flavor than I get at PE but I think that was mostly my fault - I didn't measure the orange zest & I think I just put too much. It was still delicious. And even if you think you don't like heat, you *must* add just a pinch of the red pepper flakes to get any sort of heat out of this dish. Just do it - you'll love it!

The ingredient list is a little long - but don't get overwhelmed! It goes quick & easily.

Diced raw chicken breast, flour, salt, pepper, an egg, water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, green onion, corn starch & red pepper flakes - and enough oil to fry up the chicken pieces. Whew!

First get your oil heated in a large pan or wok (375 if you have a temp dial) - I did medium/high heat. Closer to medium, though.

Mix your flour, salt & pepper in a dish. Crack your egg & scramble it with a fork.

Dip the raw chicken in the egg then into the flour mixture & then plop it right into the hot oil.

Now that we've made this once, I think next time we'll put the flour mixture in a gallon zip lock bag. Then dip all the chicken in the egg at once, stirring to coat & then toss it all into the bag & give it a good shake.

Cook it 'til it's done (I did it in 3 batches). I can't really say "10 minutes" because it really depends on how big your cut your chunks & how hot your oil is. Just get it cooked through. Pull a test piece & cut into it if you need to.

While that is going we're gonna simmer up our sauce. Get your garlic & ginger diced up & zest your orange.

In a sauce pan mix water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar & soy sauce. Allow it to heat through for a few minutes then add the ginger, garlic, zest, green onions & brown sugar.

Bring it to a boil over medium heat. In the meantime, blend your cornstarch & water in a separate dish & then add it to the sauce mixture.

Chicken's done... Sauce is done.... Now mix them together!!!

Serve it up on a bed of rice (on not, I suppose!) and drizzle a little extra sauce over the top. Garnish it with some more fresh green onions and the red pepper flakes. Remember - don't go super heavy on the pepper flakes but definitely don't go without!

Mmmm...... This was seriously so yummy. I want it again right now!

We had it with brown rice & steamed broccoli & it was just perfect!!


Orange Chicken:

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized cubes)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Canola or Veg oil (for frying)

1 1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp orange zest (grated)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger root (minced)
1/2 tsp garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp green onion (chopped)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp water

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a gallon zip lock bag. Place beaten egg into a medium-sized bowl. Dip chicken in beaten egg, stirring to coat. Put the chicken into the bag with flour mixture & shake to thoroughly coat. Deep fry chicken in batches at 375 degrees in a deep fryer (or use a wok) until completely cooked.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 1/2 cups water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil.

Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken. Garnish with red pepper flakes and green onion.

Source: Tasty Kitchen by way of Portland Mama.