Classic Banana Bread (Cooking Light)
*Link to original post: here*

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf, 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Nutritional Information: CALORIES 187(21% from fat); FAT 4.3g (sat 2.4g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 3.3g; CHOLESTEROL 40mg; CALCIUM 20mg; SODIUM 198mg; FIBER 1.1g; IRON 1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.4g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2003

I found this in a Cooking Light magazine, July 2003. However, I think it was from an add for peanuts (or something, I cut that part off, darnit!). However, I made it once and we are now addicted to it. I used to use it quite often when we grilled steaks, chicken, pork ... basically anything! But, we got out of the habit of grilling when we dropped red meat from our diet there for awhile. Now that we are, carefully and in small doses, adding it back I wanted to pull out this terrific marinade. Enjoy!

2 cloves of garlic, sliced (or equiv jar, chopped)
3 fresh cilantro springs, chopped (Kiy note: I tend to use dried and eyeball it. This recipe is what introduced me to how amazing cilantro is!)
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brandy (Kiy note: I skip this as I never have brandy around and can't see buying it for one recipe.)

1. Place the garlic and cilantro in a mortar and pound into a paste. (Or you can finely chop by hand.) (Kiy note: Or, if you do what I do and use jarred garlic and dried cilantro, you can just mix in a bowl!)
2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the oyster sauce, soy sauce and brandy. Add the steaks (chicken, pork, whatever you are having) and marinate for about an hour.
3. Grill, broil or pan-sear to your preferred doneness.
4. Enjoy!

Oriental Salad
Received this from my mom ages and ages ago, no idea who she got it from!

1 16 oz bag shredded cabbage, (or I guess if you really, really wanted to you could use 1 head cabbage, shredded fine)
2 pkg. Ramen soup noodles, your fav flavor
½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
5 stalks green onions, chopped

Combine all ingredients except noodles.

1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup sugar
Seasoning packet from noodle package (Kiy Note: Recipe calls for both, I only use one)

Mix all ingredients together and shake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Just before serving pour dressing on salad and toss. Do not add dressing until salad is to be served; it will wilt. Add crunched up noodles and toss again.

Tuna Melt on English Muffins
Cooking Light, Superfast Suppers, December 2001

½ cup drained canned artichoke hearts, finely chopped
¼ cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (6-ounce) can albacore tuna in water, lightly drained and flaked
2 English muffins, split and toasted
6 tablespoons (1½oz) grated provolone or sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine first seven ingredients and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Divide evenly among muffin halves; sprinkle with cheese. Place on a baking sheet; broil 4 minutes or until golden. Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 2 muffin halves).

Calories 374 (26% from fat); Fat 10.8g (sat 4.7g, mono 4.3g, poly 1.3g); Protein 27.6g; Carb 41.8g; Fiber 0.5g; Chol 38mg; Iron 3.3mg; Sodium 845mg; Calc 303mg.

Kiy Notes: This recipe is so old I was not able to find it on-line, but here is one link I found. I had to scan the magazine page I had ripped out for the photo! This is really good, with a surprising twist ... we love the artichokes in these!
Last week I didn't get to two of my planned meals. I have yet to make those darned crab cakes so I am giving them the week off. It's my plan to put them on next weeks menu, but who knows. The nice thing about these is if you are using canned crab meat (which I am) this is a handy 'pantry' meal. I also didn't get to the Chicken Tortilla Bake, it just got too hot to start that oven. I think I am going to break down and start pricing toaster ovens. I don't really have the counter space available in my kitchen but something else will just have to be moved to a cupboard, at least for the summer.

Speaking of hot ... yeach. I have NO (as in not even ONE) meals planned this week that requires turning on the oven. If it can't be made on the stove, in the microwave or on the grill ... we won't eat it! :)

So, with all that said, here's our menu for the week. Also, if you are looking for more MPM's, head on over to Laura's at Organizing Junkie!

  • Sunday: Teriyaki burgers and pineapple on the grill, baked French fries, stir-fried veges
    • Nothing fancy here. Teriyaki sauce out of the bottle, just brush on both sides of both the burgers and the pineapple and grill to your preferred doneness. The (frozen) French fries I tossed into one of those tin (tossable) baking pans. Sprayed it with Pam, sprayed them with Pam, shook some Lawry's Season Salt on them. Covered with foil, shake to coat, toss on the top rack of the grill for about 15-20 minutes. Basically while it's heating up for the burgers and pineapple, and they are the last thing to come off the grill. Remember to shake them now and again so they don't stick and burn. The stir-fry vege's were frozen ... I love my freezer!

  • Monday: Thai Cowboy Steaks on the grill, baked potatoes (in the microwave), fresh asparagus

  • Tuesday: Breakfast! Eggs, sausage patties, home fries, melon slices

  • Thursday: Leftover Buffet

  • Friday: Asian-Style Grilled Tilapia, snow peas, wild rice
    • (Our usual Friday night fresh fish, except this week I have a plan instead of winging it!)

  • Saturday: Free Nite
    • We tend to go out one nite a week, or need a night of not making dinner for various reasons. I am factoring this in my menu plan each week, but it won’t necessarily always (or often) be on a Saturday.
Last, but certainly not least, I hope everyone enjoys Memorial Day. We were quite bummed out that we don't have a parade to go to, heck I thought every city, town, village, had parades. Especially for this kind of holiday. We had Miss Emi all ready to go, she's been practicing all week! Hope she's still into this stuff when July 4th rolls around. Have a safe and happy weekend, give your loved ones an extra hug.

Original Post:
Menu Plan (May 25 - 31)
Last week I did well with making meals, except the Eggplant dish made SO much, I skipped both of the fish meals. That's a big deal with us. I am going to carry over the Crab Cakes, because I am just itching to make them (okay, and EAT them!).

What worked and what didn't last week: Baked Angel Hair with Eggplant. It was good, but make a lot (lot lot lot). We felt we ate it all week, and in fact just finished it off tonight. In the future I will halve this recipe, that and the puff pastry loses a lot in the reheating process. But, it was tasty and not terribly hard. I am happy I made it, as I have always shied away from puff pastry but, pfffft, it's super easy. Try using it, seriously, it only looks hard.

The Chicken Tortilla Bake. Oh my gosh! It was so good and SO darned easy. It only fed us one dinner meal and two lunches (one for each of us), so I will be doubling this recipe from now on. Also, now that I know the basics I can see how easy it would be to substitute all kinds of meats (or no meat!) and it would still be good. We loved this and it will become a regular to the menu. (Oh, and Emi ate a bunch of it and couldn't get enough!)

Ricotta Pancakes. Another huge hit, another new regular to the menu. We all loved it and it was so easy. I think from now on I will just add a cup of ricotta to my regular pancake recipe (okay, so it's boxed but it IS Krusteaz!). The ricotta just made these super moist and 'dressed up'. Good eats!

The Buttermilk Coleslaw. It was okay, but to us seemed to be missing something. I think, when it comes down to it, I am still missing my Grandma Cayo's cole slaw. Sad thing is, I never got the recipe from her and there is no one left to get it from. I have an entire box of her recipe cards, but I could not find it in there (I get my love of collecting recipes from her!). Basically it's just a head of cabbage, shredded and then white vinegar, oil, sugar ... and I think that's it. It's equal amounts of two of the three, I just can't remember which, or was it equal amounts of all three? If anyone has a recipe that sounds like this, drop me an email? I would so dearly love to have this. (Oh, and it's not missed, there is no mayo or anything in this recipe.)

Now, on to this week's menu. Remember, for more fun recipe hunting, skip on over to Laura's at Organizing Junkie.

  • Sunday: Leftovers – we still had the eggplant dish so I tossed together a salad and made some garlic bread and we had leftovers, again!

  • Wednesday: Chicken Tortilla Bake, green salad
    • Yes, this is on the menu again. No, it’s not a hold-over. It was SO darned good, Jeff requested it for this week … and wants me to double the recipe! Now that’s a glowing recommendation.

  • Thursday: Leftover Buffet
    • Seems we need a specific night for leftovers as some are going to waste and I am not making planned meals because of the leftovers. Going to take a page out of Laura’s book and set up a night like this.
  • Friday: Crab Cakes, deli coleslaw, linguine with butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (and probably frozen peas or carrots for Miss Emi)

  • Saturday: Free Nite

Original Post: Menu Plan (May 18 - 24)
Tomato-and-White Bean Soup – Cooking Light, October 1997
Canned tomatoes and beans make this soup a snap to put together!

Kiy Note: During the winter months I make this all the time. I got seriously sick of it (we had it that often!) so didn't make much (at all) this past winter. Jeff requested it, so here it is. This has GOT to be the easiest soup recipe ever. We call it Dump Soup, as you just open cans and dump them in. Stir, simmer, dinner. Can't beat that!

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, crushed (Kiy Note: Or, if you are like me, the jarred stuff, chopped.)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
(Kiy Note: I use the balsamic vinegar ones, when I can find, or the basil/oreg ones)
2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, drained
(Kiy Note: Great Northern Beans – I use only 1 can usually)
1 (14½ oz) can fat-free chicken broth (Kiy Note: I usually end up using 2 cans)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (Kiy Note: how about some handy dried stuff!)
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Estimated Total Time: 30 minutes

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients (tomatoes through pepper), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with cheese.

**Kiy Note: I also add a large can of mushrooms at the beginning, I buy frozen chopped onions when I can find them (time saver).

**Kiy Note: I also add a can or two of zucchini, a small can of corn, a regular can of petite peas. Basically any canned vegetable that sounds good, but don’t add canned asparagus. When I tried them, they turned mushy very quickly and made the leftovers nasty!

As stated in the recipe:
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 cups soup and 1 tablespoon cheese)

NUTRITION PER SERVING: CALORIES 297(22% from fat); FAT 7.2g (sat 1.7g,mono 2.9g,poly 1.8g); PROTEIN 18.2g; CHOLESTEROL 4mg; CALCIUM 154mg; SODIUM 451mg; FIBER 5.7g; IRON 4.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 42g

Potato Pancakes
Emeril Lagasse, 1996

1 large, baking potatoes, like russets, about (8 ounces)
½ medium onion, (about 4 ounces)
1 egg
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon dry thyme
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Oil for pan frying
1/3 cup applesauce, for garnish

Using a food processor or a box grater, grate the potato and onion on the large hole into a bowl. Using your hands, squeeze out the excess liquid and place the dry potato onion mixture in a bowl. Add the egg, parsley, flour, breadcrumbs, thyme, lemon juice and seasonings. Mix well. Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a heavy skillet. Add ½ cup mounds of potato mixture to the hot oil, and flatten down to a 3/4-inch thick pancake. Turn heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until crispy and golden. Serve with the applesauce.

Kiy Note: After reading the comments I am going to halve the amount of lemon and maybe the same with the onion (I am not a huge fan of onion). I am going to try this with frozen shredded potatoes to save time. Hopefully it will still work!

Crab Cakes
Special thanks to:Full Bellies, Happy Kids!

1 lb. lump crabmeat (canned is OK)
1/3 cup low-sodium saltines (about 7)
½ tsp. Tabasco or other hot sauce
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 large egg white
1 rib celery, diced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. salt pepper, to taste
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Pick over crabmeat and take out any pieces of shell. Break saltines into roughly 1-4-inch pieces and fold with crabmeat in a large bowl. Add Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, shallot, mustard, egg white, celery, lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Fold together gently until well blended. Be careful not to break up crabmeat too much.

Form into 8 cakes and chill. (This part can be done up to 12 hours in advance. Cover crab cakes and chill.)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Warm oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until it's almost smoking. Lower heat to medium-high and fry crab cakes for about 3 minutes, until brown. Transfer cakes to a baking sheet lined with foil and cook in the oven for another 9 to 10 minutes, until warmed through.

Ricotta Pancakes
Giada De Laurentiis

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (16 pancakes)

2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups pancake and waffle mix (recommended: Krusteaz)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2/3 cup frozen blueberries (Kiy Note: I don't add these into the batter, I just serve them on the side now ... less mess!)
Melted butter

Stir 1/3 cup of water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in the honey. Set aside and keep the honey syrup warm.

Using a rubber spatula, stir the remaining 1 2/3 cups of water and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the pancake mix and stir just until moistened but still lumpy. Stir in the ricotta into the pancake mixture, then stir gently to incorporate the ricotta but maintain a lumpy batter. Fold in the blueberries.

Heat a griddle over medium heat. Brush with the melted butter. Working in batches, spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with the honey syrup.

Last week was a good week, cooking-wise. I made all the meals I had planned, although some were smashing successes and some, well, were not. The Pan Seared Scallops, whoa ... awesome. Probably the only change I would make is to use another pasta (linguini, most likely) as the cellophane noodles, while good, were hard for Emi to deal with. It was a pricey meal ($22 for 12) but had we gone out for this meal we would have more than doubled that so for a once-in-awhile splurge, well worth it.

The Spicy Chicken Lo Mein, don't bother. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a bah. I don't know if the recipe was posted wrong, but there was no way that chicken was going to stir-fry, too much marinade (or rather, it was too thick). I think he meant it to actually fry ... but I don't fry anything, much less chicken going into a 'healthy' meal. If I were to try this again (and the sauce was quite tasty, so I may play around with this recipe a bit) I'd probably change the marinade to delete the cornstarch and maybe add a bit of water depending on how thick it got. YMMV

For this week I have planned two new recipes and two tried-and-trues. Have a great week everyone!

For more MPM head on over to Laura's at Organizing Junkie.

Menu Plan for Week of: May 4 - 10

  • Thursday: Leftover Buffet
    • Seems we need a specific night for leftovers as some are going to waste and I am not making planned meals because of the leftovers. Going to take a page out of Laura’s book and set up a night like this.

  • Friday: Fresh fish (whatever looks good at Yokes), usually grilled with some olive oil, a bit of ginger and soy sauce, served with udon or soba noodles, sugar snap peas or other vege. (BTW, this is now on my menu every week. We love fish, as does Emi!, and nice times out of ten I make it as above. Simple and delicious.)
  • Saturday: Free Nite

Original Post: Menu Plan (May 4 - 10)
Chicken Tortilla Bake
Found @ Full Bellies, Happy Kids!

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1 can (14½ ounces) diced tomatoes and mild green chilies, drained
8 flour tortillas (8 inches) cut into 1-inch strips
1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, sauté the chicken, cumin and salt in 1 tablespoon oil until chicken is no longer pink.

Combine the refried beans and tomatoes; spread 1 cup into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top with 24 tortilla strips; layer with half of the corn, bean mixture, chicken and cheese. Repeat layers.

Using remaining tortilla strips, make a lattice crust over filling; brush with remaining oil (or spray with cooking spray).

Bake, uncovered, at 350º for 25-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Yield: 6 servings

I am finding more and more of these, so I have decided to add them to my side bar. Mainly so that I don't lose them, but also to share them with anyone looking for good (great) places to search for recipes.