I LOVE chocolate - let me just get that out there right off the bat. And in the world of me - there is no such thing as TOO MUCH chocolate. (I can't even imagine what too much chocolate would even look like.) Apparently though - not everyone in my household shares my chocolate addiction. I was recently told (by my very own child!) that my Chocolate Banana Bread was TOO chocolaty. Ummmm no. (Now I'm starting to question whether she's learned anything that I've taught her.)
This delectable bread is made with dutch process cocoa powder, has dark chocolate chips swirled into the batter and is topped with a spattering of semi sweet chocolate chips. Too much chocolate? I think not. Just the right amount of rich, dark chocolate in my humble opinion.
Chocolate Banana Bread
Bake 1 hour at 350.
Let cool in pan 15 minutes before removing.
Slice when cool.
A whole lot of chocolate goodness packed into one compact little loaf. One thin slice was all it took to give me my afternoon chocolate pick me up. Oh, and a slice of this chocolate banana bread with a cup of decaf coffee is just about the most perfect after dinner treat. I'm thinking this qualifies as a healthy dessert since it is made with bananas. LOL
I've lived in the South long enough to have developed an appreciation for shrimp and grits. I've actually ordered them on several occasions and enjoyed them quite a bit - words that I'd never thought I'd say.
Let's just say that this Italian girl who spent the first 22 years of her life in Northeast Ohio - had never even considered eating grits until she left Ohio and moved to Texas. I must say that it wasn't a love at first bite kind of reaction either. It took a few trys (and a whole lot of cheese) before I really started to enjoy the savory texture of this ground corn treat.
So by now you're probably wondering why I'm not posting a shrimp and grits recipe. I would call this Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn recipe my Shrimp and Grits alternative for those of you who haven't yet developed your love of grits. The spicy shrimp pairs beautifully with the cool and creamy corn to create this really unique dish.
Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn
7 ears shucked corn
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled
1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 Tablespoons fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup white wine
Add onions and reserved corn. Cook until shrimp are done. Add wine and cook 30 seconds.
Serve shrimp mixture over creamed corn.
I served my Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn as a main course but it would also make a really nice appetizer. I think that a great Cuban Sandwich or a Spinach Salad would also compliment this dish really well. And for those of you who are die hard Shrimp and Grits fans - check out my Shrimp and Grits Tartlets.
For years, part of my nighttime routine has been to plan out my breakfast for the next day, before I crawl into bed each night. Why in the world do I need to know EXACTLY what I will be making for breakfast in the morning, in order to get a good nights sleep?
The reality is that even though I have the best of intentions of making the fantastic breakfast that I go to bed dreaming about - I RARELY wake up and make that breakfast. Most of the time, I grab the tea that Ben makes for me every morning and I reach for something super quick and easy to eat. It's not that I don't WANT to eat the breakfast that I planned for - I'm just too tired and the struggle of having to wait more than 5 minutes on my breakfast is more than I can bear.
Planning ahead for breakfast may be a great strategy for a good nights sleep but I 've learned that if I want to actually follow through on my breakfast plan - I have to prepare for it the night before. Breakfast casseroles, overnight oats, french toast - these are my favorite recipes when it comes to make ahead recipes. Today I'm adding a new make ahead breakfast recipe to my repertoire - granola cups. I can make these granola cups a day or two ahead of time and rest easy for days. :)
Granola Cups with Yogurt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons creamy almond butter
1 egg white
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups fresh berries
Fill with yogurt and top with berries.
Yogurt and granola never seem to appeal to me as a legitimate breakfast option but for some reason, when I transform it into a granola cup filled with yogurt - I'm much more interested. Go figure. I love that I can make these in advance to so that I can actually wake up and eat the yummy breakfast that I go to bed thinking about.
I'm pretty sure that I would be perfectly happy eating fruits, vegetables and grains for every meal of the day. The problem is that my family doesn't share my love of vegetables. They crave meat. Red meat, chicken, pork, venison - all kinds of meat. They love it. Don't get me wrong - they're super polite and they never complain when I load up the table with vegetables but I know that they secretly pray for a thick, juicy steak.
These Grilled Steak Fajitas are a perfect combination for the meat lovers in my house and for me - the veggie lover. I let everyone create their own fajita at the table. The carnivores load up their fajitas with steak and I usually opt for a tortilla with pepper and onions and the occasional avocado. No matter what your preference, I'm certain you will love these fajitas.
Grilled Steak Fajitas
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves
2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 6 equal pieces
3 bell peppers
1 large red onion, sliced into 1/2" slices
12 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
Slice steak thinly.
Serve with tortillas, peppers and onions.
I'm just guessing, but I can't help but wonder how this would work with chicken breasts? I can only imagine that the pineapple juice and soy sauce would make an excellent marinade for chicken or even shrimp. Anyone willing to give it a try? Make sure you let me know how it turns out.
VEGETABALLS - that is what my daughter has named these meatballs with ground turkey and shredded zucchini. I was thrilled about these healthy little meatballs but as you may have guessed - Courtney did not share my enthusiasm. I think her exact words were "I really just like balls of meat. Without vegetables."
Even though she didn't love these vegetaballs, I thought they were delicious and I loved that they could be served on small baguettes like an appetizer or in a cast iron skillet in the middle of the table.
Skillet Turkey Meatballs
1 shredded zucchini
12 ounces ground turkey
1 onion, shredded
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon oil
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup water
1 cup mozzarella cheese
24 slices thin baguette
Add meatballs and coat with sauce.
Sprinkle with cheese and place under broiler until melted and bubbly.
Serve with thinly sliced baguettes.
Place the skillet in the middle of the table alongside a basket of baguette thins and let everyone serve themselves or serve them on a platter, ready to eat. Either way - you don't have to feel guilty about devouring these meatballs. They're made with nutrient rich zucchini and low fat ground turkey instead of bread crumbs and beef.
I loved these little meatballs - oops - I loved these VEGETABALLS!! I think Courtney's on to something with that name.
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