Peanut-Butter Banana Bread

Is February, and winter for that matter, over yet? Since it snowed all day on Saturday, I had no motivation to do anything but watch a Parks and Recreation marathon and bake. I’ve been on a random peanut butter kick lately and realized that I have four – yes, four – different kinds of nut butters in my cabinet. And that isn’t even counting the powdered peanut butter I put in my protein smoothies everyday. Since there were a couple of bananas hanging out on my counter and today is National Banana Bread Day, I pulled out one of those jars of peanut butter and decided since it was cold and snowy outside that I needed to bake this Peanut-Butter Banana Bread.

Peanut butter is not just mixed into the batter but it is also mixed into the sweet drizzle that coats the soft, warm banana bread. I mean, bananas and peanut butter isn’t just for Elvis. This banana bread was insane. And I say was because I may or may not have eaten the entire loaf over the coarse of the weekend. Good thing I’m hitting the gym today. But seriously, since most people have peanut butter hanging around, next time you make banana bread, give this a try. And just try to eat only one piece. Elvis knew what he was doing.

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Preheat oven to 350°F.To prepare bread, combine peanut butter, yogurt, bananas, butter and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.

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Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts.

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Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

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To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Flaxseed

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Chunky Turkey and Veggie Chili

I think I’m a little bit obsessed with this chili. I’ve been eating a bowl of it every single day. And when it ran out? I made another batch. And another. All of this started because I had one lonely zucchini sitting in my produce drawer that I wanted to do something with. After taking a look around, I realized all the other vegetables I had on hand and decided right then and there to throw them all in a chili. I happened to have canned tomatoes and ground turkey on hand anyway so it was a no brainer. The result is this Chunky Turkey and Veggie Chili.

Onion, green pepper, red pepper, zucchini, and carrot are all sautéed with ground turkey until the veggies are soft and the turkey is cooked through. A few spices are added along with canned tomatoes and chipotle in adobo sauce and then the whole pot simmers until the flavors meld and the chili is hot and bubbly. I’ve made this chili with both ground turkey and ground chicken and have no preference. Want to use ground beef? Go right ahead! Chili is so easy to make and easily adaptable to accommodate picky eaters. Make it with beans, or don’t. Make it with meat, or don’t. Make it spicy, or don’t. I’ve been making a batch every single week for the last month. I portion it out immediately into containers to keep in the refrigerator so that I can grab one at lunch and heat it up quickly. What I love about chili (especially in the winter) is that it’s satisfying. I’m never let down and always feel warm and comforted when I’m done. Chili, you have my heart.

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Chunky Turkey and Veggie Chili (makes 5 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium, red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (or ground chicken)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (or regular chile powder)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 28-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

Melt coconut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, green pepper, red pepper, zucchini, and carrot. Cook until vegetables soften, approximately 6 minutes.

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Add ground turkey, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink.

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Stir in chile powder and dried oregano.

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Add tomatoes and chipotle pepper in adobo sauce; stir. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Top with sour cream, cilantro, cheese, green onions or any of your favorite chili toppings.

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Pita Pizzas with Kale Pesto, Tomatoes, and Bacon

Pita pizzas…you are my savior. I’ve been trying so hard lately to track my food which means watching my calories and everything I eat. This can be tough when you have a food blog but the real key (as they always say) is portion control. I don’t know about you but it’s hard for my to control myself around pizza. There is a thin crust frozen pizza at my grocery store that I have eaten all by myself in one sitting before…more than once. Not good. My new obsession: pita pizzas. Specifically, these Pita Pizzas with Kale Pesto, Tomatoes, and Bacon.

Whole-wheat pitas are the base of these personal-sized pizzas which are topped with a bright kale and basil pesto, tomatoes, and bacon. With both Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and a light dusting of nuts, this pizza is packed with flavor and perfectly portion controlled. The pesto is the real star. Making pesto out of kale is a perfect way to get a ton of flavor into this nutrient-rich vegetable. I’ll admit, I made this pizza nearly everyday for lunch last week until I ran out of pitas. Any leftover pesto was eaten with eggs at breakfast and on top of roasted chicken at dinner. I couldn’t get enough of it. The pesto – and the pizza – is a real winner.

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Place a baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. (Keep baking sheet in oven as it preheats.) Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add kale; cook 1 minute. Drain and plunge kale into ice water. Drain; squeeze excess liquid from kale.

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Place kale, basil leaves, 2 tablespoons nuts, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor. Process until chopped. Add 1 tablespoon water, juice, and salt; pulse 5 times. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended.

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Spread about 2 tablespoons pesto over each pita. Top evenly with tomatoes and bacon. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses; top evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon nuts. Remove pan from oven; place pitas on pan.

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Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until crust is browned and crisp.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Slivered almonds
  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Chicken Curry

How do you feel about take-out? When someone says “take-out” to me, my mouth waters. Take-out for me is typically Chinese food but in my head, it’s anything satisfying, flavorful, and non-American. When I was in London a few weeks ago, I had dinner at an Indian restaurant and we ordered a bunch of dishes for the table. Every single dish was so insanely good, I was in heaven. Since I wasn’t aware of any really good Indian restaurants nearby, I decided to make this Chicken Curry at home.

Chicken and bell peppers are sautéed before being mixed with a mixture of coconut milk, red curry paste, lime juice and soy sauce which is cooked until thick and bubbly. The result is a lively yet mellow chicken curry that really hit the spot. Red curry paste has a mellower flavor (in my opinion) than curry powder and isn’t as overwhelming on the senses. The coconut milk is creamy and subtle and makes for a perfect base for this sauce. This dish is an ideal example of something I would want for take-out. Luckily, a new Indian restaurant opened up right next door to my Chinese go-to. I stopped to look at the menu last time I was there and I’m pretty sure I know where my next take-out order is coming from.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned, turning once.

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Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Remove chicken mixture from pan. Combine juice, soy sauce, curry paste, and sugar in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add juice mixture and coconut milk to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 12 minutes or until slightly thick. Return chicken mixture to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

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Serve over rice.

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Additions:

  • Red bell pepper

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

I’m really into going to the produce stand lately because the produce at my grocery store isn’t so great. I don’t like how the peppers, apples, and zucchini at the store are twice as big as the produce at the stand. What in the world are they putting in those fruits and veggies anyway? Well, the good part about getting produce at the stand is that it’s inexpensive, quality, and abundant. The problem? It’s abundant. What do I do with so much broccoli? It’s cold out who might as well make soup! This Broccoli-Cheese Soup is a perfect way for me to use up some leftover veggies while still eating healthy.

Broccoli, carrot, and onion are simmered in broth (substitute veggie broth for a vegetarian option) before being blended together and mixed with a little half-and-half and cheese. The result is a creamy, warm, and healthy soup that is cheesy enough to be satisfying but not enough to be unhealthy. I have to admit that at the end of blending this, I decided to throw in a handful of baby spinach just because. I mean, why not? The soup is already green and plenty healthy but because I throw spinach in my smoothies, it doesn’t seem natural for me to not add spinach to whatever is in the blender. You don’t have to add spinach, obvi. This soup is perfectly satisfying just the way it is.

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Combine stock, broccoli, onion, carrot, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

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Pour soup into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).

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Blend until smooth.

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Return soup to pan. Stir in half-and-half and 2 ounces cheese. Top evenly with remaining cheese and parsley.

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Additions:

  • Handful of baby spinach

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Corn-and-Black Bean Salsa

Got a last minute invite to watch the Superbowl somewhere and don’t want to show up empty handed? Well, I’ve got a really quick, hearty and tasty salsa that can be made in a few minutes with only a few ingredients. If you are someone like me who generally has canned food stocked away, this Corn-and-Black Bean Salsa will be a lifesaver when you need a quick dish or have a last minute guest to feed.

Canned corn and black beans are mixed with canned tomatoes (flavored with lime and cilantro), scallions, cumin, olive oil, and lime juice. This chunky salsa is fantastic with chips as a snack or as an addition to some chicken or in a healthy salad. And because everything goes in one bowl and can be made quickly, there is little time needed to throw this together and very little clean up. Sure, everyone can go to the store and buy some tomato-based salsa (“from New York City?!”) but you know this salsa is so much better.

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Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

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Cover and chill.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Coastal Living magazine

Cajun Turkey Sliders with Spicy Remoulade

So the big game is this weekend. May you care. Maybe you don’t. I care only because I love football and hate to see the season end but don’t care because I could care less who wins. I won’t be attending any parties this weekend but if you are (or are hosting, you crazy person!), these Cajun Turkey Sliders with Spicy Remoulade are mighty tasty and who doesn’t love a slider for the big game?

Ground turkey is mixed with scallions and hot sauce and also spiced up with a little Cajun seasoning. After being sprinkled with even more seasoning before cooking, these sliders are cooked and topped with sautéed peppers and onion adding yet even more flavor. The remoulade, which is slathered onto the bun, packs its own punch with flavors from pickle relish, spicy mustard, parsley, hot sauce, and lemon. I used leftover remoulade on anything I could, that was how much I loved it. These sliders are packed with flavor and whether you make them for the game or not, they are sure to be a hit.

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In a very large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-low heat. Add sweet peppers and onion; cook about 10 minutes or until very soft and tender. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

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In a large bowl, combine turkey, green onions, Cajun seasoning, bottled hot pepper sauce, salt, and black pepper; mix well. Form into 12 patties slightly larger than the buns. Sprinkle both sides of each patty generously with Old Bay® seasoning. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add patties; cook about 8 minutes or until done (165 degrees F), turning once halfway through cooking time.

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For the remoulade, combine mayonnaise, pickle relish, capers, mustard, parsley, bottled hot pepper sauce, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

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Serve in buns with sweet pepper mixture and Spicy Remoulade. Makes 12 sliders.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Onion
  • Capers

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Better Homes & Garden magazine

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