Kelley's Banana Bread

This is my mom's is delicious :-)!!!

2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 tsp. allspice
3 bananas, mashed (I double the bananas)
4 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 t0 50 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Liz's Red Beans and Rice

This recipe is passed on from one of my old college roommates, Liz. It was delicious!!!

1 – 16 oz. package of Kielbasa cut into ¼ inch slices (any sausage would do)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 – 15 oz. cans red beans, drained (we used light red Kidney beans)
1 – 16 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained (per her suggestion we used Rotel for some spice)
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. pepper and salt
cooked rice

While rice is cooking, in large skillet cook sausage over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes.
Stir in onion, green pepper, and garlic. Sauté until tender.
Pour in beans and tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper.
Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes serve over rice.

Optional garnish from Liz: "We always have limes in our fridge, so once when we made this we squeezed a lime wedge on it and it was really good. Now we do it all the time!"

Mom's Green Beans

My mom has always been a green bean lover...I, on the other hand, have grown to appreciate them :-). Recently though I have really been loving them, so I finally asked her how she does it! Whenever my mom makes them when we are over for dinner, the girls can't get enough of them, so I figured I may as well start making myself every once in awhile. Tonight was our first attempt and they were DELICIOUS!

- canned green beans
- butter
- Goya All Purpose Seasoning (with the RED cap)
- Dump beans into sauce pan with a generous amount of butter (I put 1 1/2 T. for 1 can of beans tonight).
- Season with Goya salt and pepper...lots of both, to taste.
- Let the flavors mix together and enjoy!

Favorite Potato Soup

When I graduated high school my church Young Women leader gave us each a little cookbook she had compiled. Some of our favorite family recipes are from her (ie.Creamy Lemon Chicken), including the base recipe for this soup. I change this one up depending on my mood and who is going to eat it. When I make it for just us girls, I put in lots of frozen broccoli and no meat, but for Mike we add some meat to make it a little more hearty :-). Tonight I had bacon and half and half in the fridge for other recipes this week so we threw those in. It was delicious as always!

- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 c. onion, diced
- 2-4 T. butter
- 1 t. garlic, minced
- 3-4 potatoes, diced
- 2 c. water (or enough to cover potatoes)
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 1/2 t. seasoned salt
- 4 T. flour/cornstarch
- 2 c. milk
Optional: diced ham/bacon, corn, broccoli, shredded cheese

- Melt butter in large pot; Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, saute until tender.
- Add potatoes, water and spices (and any frozen veggies). Cook until potatoes are tender.
- Combine flour/cornstarch and a small amount of water to make a paste; add to pot.
- Add milk; cook on low heat until thickened.
- Add ham and/or cheese; stir through till heated.

Thai Chicken Curry

This recipe comes from Jamie's Cookbook and it is DELICIOUS! I seriously had to come upstairs to get away from it and stop eating :-)! Thai inspired dishes are definitely her speciality, so check it out (most are gluten free too). Yum, Yum, YUM!!!

- 1 large chicken breast
- 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (I used 1/3 and was pleasantly surprised, we are not raisin lovers over here!)
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into wide slices
- 1 medium tomato, cut into thick 1 inch pieces
- 1 bunch asparagus or green beans, ends cut off and then cut into thirds (I used green beans)
- 1 1/2 T. Thai red curry paste
- 1-2 t. curry powder
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t.pepper
Optional Ingredients:
- pineapple
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup water (I added the water and a little more curry powder to provide some extra sauce and was glad I did!)
INSTEAD OF CURRY PASTE: 1 tbsp fresh ginger, 1 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne

- Cut chicken into thin strips. Season with curry and broil on low, DO NOT overcook as it will simmer later.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pan. Saute onions first, add asparagus/beans, then add tomatoes.
- Add the following ingredients one at a time and taste it as you go: raisins, curry paste, coconut milk, curry powder, salt, pepper, chicken.
- Simmer and taste and re-season until you can't wait anymore. (I thought it was great as is)
- Serve with steamed rice.

EASY Peanut Butter Cookies

I found this great, AND gluten-free, cookie recipe in this month's Parents magazine! I figured with only 3 ingredients (4 ingredients if you add chocolate chips like us), even I could probably manage these without messing them up :-)! They were easy and delicious...even Mike liked them and he is quite the cookie expert.

- 1 c. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
- 1 c. sugar, plus more for rolling
- 1 egg
(we doubled it and had about 24 cookies)
- chocolate chips, if desired

- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together peanut butter, sugar, and egg in large mixing bowl.
- Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Put some sugar on a plate and roll balls in it to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Press each ball down with a fork to make a crisscross design. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies just start to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.

Southwest Brown Rice & Black Bean Burgers

I'm stealing yet another recipe from Taste Buds :-)...AnneMarie keeps posting yummy gluten-free food that I just have to try (not to mention this is meatless and I needed one for the week)! These were SO good! While I was just mixing all the ingredients together I knew we had a winner because it already smelled delicious. Addie devoured hers! We served them with sour cream and salsa on top, tortilla chips, and a green salad.

- 2 cups brown rice, cooked
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1-3 tablespoons minced jalapeno or green chilies, (canned is fine)
- 1/4 cup salsa
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup flour/rice flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- cheese to top

- Mix rice, beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic, onion, cilantro, chilies, salsa, and egg white in large bowl. Mixture will be very moist.
- Add flour, using only enough so that you can shape the mixture into patties. Dust the outside of the patties lightly with flour.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and warm. Add patties and cook until nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Sprinkle with cheese, reduce heat to low and cover with lid to melt cheese.

Chicken and Rice Bake

As soon as I saw this recipe on Taste Buds, I knew I would love it! What I didn't realize until I actually began making it tonight is that it has many of the same ingredients as one of our all time favorites, Creamy Lemon Chicken on Rice! It was sure to be hit and it definitely was! A great new take on one of our usuals! AnneMarie's pictures are WAY better by the way!

- 1 1/2 c. rice
- 3 c. water
- 4 chicken breasts, cubed and cooked with salt,pepper,onion powder and garlic powder (I used a can and simmered it with the seasonings for a little while)
- 1/2 c. plain yogurt (or FF sour cream)
- 1/2 c. light mayonnaise
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (fat free)
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
-salt and pepper to taste
-3/4 cup corn flakes, crushed
-1 T. melted butter

- Add water and rice to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Put a lid on it and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes. Set aside.
- Mix yogurt, mayo, chicken soup, lemon juice, and salt and pepper until creamy and smooth. Add chicken and rice and mix well.
- Scoop into individual ramekins or a baking pan and top with crushed corn flakes and drizzle with butter.
-Put into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Thank you Grandma for thinking of me when you saw this recipe in the Houston Chronicle! Although I enjoy cooking, I am not the greatest "baker" and I like to blame it on the fact that most baked goods include flour as an ingredient. I'll type the directions as printed in the paper, but I had to make do with what I had (a normal mixing attachment, aluminum foil and 1 baking sheet). This is the only cookie that turned out "pretty" but they all tasted great and that's what counts, right?!

-1/2 c. plus 3 T. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 3 c. confectioners' sugar (I had to call my mom and see if that meant powdered or regular sugar :-)'s powdered)
- pinch salt
- 2 3/4 c. walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 T. vanilla extract

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Combine the cocoa, sugar, salt and walnuts in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Do not overmix.
- With a 2-ounce cookie or ice cream scoop, or a generous tablespoon, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, to make cookies that are 4 in. in diameter. Space the cookies widely.
- Put the cookies in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 320 degrees. Bake about 15 minutes, or until small, thin cracks appear on the surface. Switch the pan halfway through baking. Pull the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before removing cookies from the paper.

Cafe Rio Pork Salad...Freefam Recipe

We just arrived home from visiting Mike's fam in San Antonio. One thing I always look forward to while there is their nearly perfect replica of the Cafe Rio Pork Salad. Through much trial and error they have altered the recipe many times trying to get it just right. I wasn't sure I should post it after all their hard work, but Chrissy posted it awhile back, so I'm assuming I'm safe :-). If you have never enjoyed the real thing you will still find the salad delicious and if you have, and miss it like I do, you will be in heaven!

Without further adieu...
For the Pork:
Buy the cheapest 4 lb pork roast you can find, cut in half and sprinkle with garlic salt, salt and pepper and fry it to brown it. Put it in a crock-pot (or regular baking pan) with 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 cup of Coca Cola (regular), and 1 cup of Salsa. Roast until the pork pulls apart easily and is tender.
(last successful ratios tired: 5 lb roast, 3 c Coke, 1 1/2 c brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups Salsa)

For the Dressing:(this stuff is SOOO good, I could drink it :-), well maybe not, but it is great to dip chips in too)
2 cups Mayo
2 cups of Sour Cream
10 sprigs of cilantro
3 tomatillos
2 green onions
2 clove garlic
2 jalapeno peppers
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 t salt
Blend all ingredients to let them sit over night!

I used this Cilantro Lime Rice recipe and this Garlic Black Beans recipe the last time and thought it was even better!

To Assemble:
Flour Tortilla (using uncooked ones that you heat yourself is best)
Black Beans
Dallop of Guac and some chips on the side