I have to say that I enjoyed my time in the kitchen in 2011. I love to try new recipes and I sure did accomplish that this year. My goal is to try at least one new recipe a week in 2012...so excited! Although I did not do anything spectacular this week, I do have a few things to share before we close the recipe book for this year.
You might remember that I said I have yet to find the best banana bread recipe. I have tried my mom’s, my mother-in-law’s, my friends, and numerous recipes on the web. None were incredibly worthy…they were good, but they weren’t great. After my last attempt at making banana bread, my friend Shelly sent me the link to one of her posts with a banana bread recipe from a Mrs. Field’s cookbook.
Oh. My. Goodness.
This bread was moist and delicious beyond words and has officially won the prize for the best banana bread ever. Hands down. No more trying recipes. This is the one! I loved it so much that I made little mini-loaves for the volunteers who served in the PK rooms at church on Christmas Eve. I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the bottom of the pan as well as on the top of the batter.
I also made Chocolate Chip Muffins for those who served on Christmas Day. This is our family's favorite recipe and it comes from Taste of Home.
For Christmas Day, we just enjoy a lazy day of playing games, watching movies, and snacking between naps. And, now that I think of it, we do the same for New Year's! Along with an assortment of chips and junk food, I made some Sausage Balls from the church cookbook (thank you Rosemary!).
This was the first time I tried this recipe and it was a hit with my family. It's simplicity was a hit with me too! Brown a pound of sausage, drain, and let cool. Add a bag of shredded cheese and 3 cups of Bisquick and mix it with enough water to make it all stick. Use your hands to mix it well and roll into balls. Place them on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350.
We enjoyed simple ham and cheese hoagies. I warmed ours by wrapping them in foil and tossing them in the oven for a few minutes so the cheese would melt. Yum!
And I made our favorite family nacho dip. Dump a bar of cream cheese, a can of Hormel Chili (no beans), and about a cup of shredded cheese into a crockpot and let it all melt. It's not the prettiest, but it is the yummiest!
As if we didn’t have enough cookies in the house, I also made these Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies. My pal Aurie posted this recipe back in August...yes August! I printed it out because you can never have too many recipes for chocolate chip cookies...and I had the best intentions of surprising my family one night. Sadly, I hate to make cookies so I never followed through - until Christmas afternoon. They were sort of a pain to make in my opinion, but totally worth it.
This past week, I made some creamy turkey veggie soup with oatmeal bread.
Here is what I did to make the soup: I took a turkey carcass and covered it with water in a roaster. I added bouillon cubes, turkey breasts, and onions as well. I let that simmer all day long and then took the bones out and shredded the turkey. About 30 minutes before we were ready to eat, I added a bag of frozen veggies, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and my homemade noodles (which I made ahead of time so they could dry).
The bread recipe is from The Cutting Back Kitchen and so worth making!
Last night I was planning on a quiet evening with my hubby and wound up entertaining 5 extra teenagers - yikes! I wouldn't have it any other way though! I whipped up some lasagna rolls rather easily and everyone was full and happy.
My brother introduced me to this quick recipe and I am so glad he did. I have not made "regular" lasagna ever since! Here is what you do: Boil your lasagna noodles. Remember to not cook them completely because they will continue to cook in the oven. They just need to be cooked enough to roll. While they are cooling, mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, a couple of eggs, and some minced garlic until well blended and creamy. I just mix things until it looks good...sorry, I don't have measurements for this one. Spread a little spaghetti sauce of the bottom of the pan. Then, take a lasagna noodle, spread some cheese mixture down the middle, roll it up, and place it in the pan. Fill up your pan with these cute little rolls and then top them with the rest of your sauce. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and mozzarella cheese and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for another 15-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. I usually serve mine with a salad.
It wasn't a fabulous ending to the year, but I am ready to close the kitchen. Not for good...just for a day or two so that I can get things prepared for 2012. I have lots of new recipes pulled and ready to go for the new year and I can't wait to roll up my sleeves and fire up the oven. Do you have a recipe you can share with me? I would love, love, love to try it! I am looking forward to some culinary awesomeness in 2012 and I hope you will join me!
Keepin' it Real...D