Monday, March 30, 2009

It's So Easy BBQ Ribs

It's So Easy BBQ Ribs

3-4 lbs Riblets (our local meat shoppe usually has these on sale BOGO package free-makes them around $1.25/lb!)
Water (about 3 or 4 cups)
Salt and pepper
Your favorite BBQ sauce

Place the riblets (or regular ribs) in the crock pot. Add enough water to make it about 1"-2" deep. Salt and pepper them. Cook on low all day or all night (8-10 hours). About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove riblets/ribs from crock pot, cover in your favorite BBQ sauce, and place in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (longer if you like the sauce really baked on). For an added, highly fattening treat, add some noodles to the water still in the crock and cook until tender (maybe 30-45 minutes on high?)....what a treat! I don't do this often, though, since it is so unhealthy. But, dang, it's good!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Easy Whole Wheat Banana Bread

If one more frozen black banana falls out of my freezer and onto my husband's foot, it might be grounds for major marital discord. It's homemade banana bread to the rescue.

Not only have I been trying to use up some ripe bananas, I've also been experimenting with whole wheat. I have this new favorite cookbook, King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains. I have rechecked it out twice from our local library and, quite frankly, I don't want to return it. Anyway, it inspired me to try my hand at more whole grain baking, so I've adapted a friend's banana bread recipe using fresh ground whole wheat flour in place of the white flour and gelatin as a substitute for the eggs. Now, my friend sent the following directions with a list of the recipe ingredients:

"Bake 350 for an hour (until it is pretty brown on top). I bake it in a glass loaf pan and if it's not pretty brown on top, the inside is gooey which with banana bread isn't a good thing. I add (dark) chocolate chips and nuts for extra numminess!"

Since there were no directions about how to mix the ingredients, I just dumped everything into my mixing bowl and let 'er rip. That's how I came up with the name....

Easy Whole Wheat Banana Bread
(yield two loaves)

6 very ripe bananas
1 cup butter
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 "eggs"** (or 4 eggs)
2 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1-2 cups of mix-ins (such as nuts or chocolate chips)

**NOTE: I dissolved 4 tsp of gelatin into 12 TB of water--I did not add additional boiling water to the "egg" recipe substitution because I thought it would make the batter too runny.

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed until blended. Divide the batter evenly among two greased loaf pans and bake at 350 for about an hour (give or take). You may wish to tent the bread with a piece of foil if the loaves begin to brown too fast.

These loaves were rising nicely in the oven but fell after sitting on the counter for several minutes. However, they were tasty and made from whole grains! A perfect after-school or between meals snack.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Egg Substitute

I heard about this egg substitute and have been experimenting with it in various recipes. It's as follows:

Egg Substitute

5 TB plus 1 tsp water, divided
1 tsp unflavored gelatin

To make one "egg" (for substitution in baked goods), add 1 tsp of gelatin to 3 TB water and stir. Then, add 2 TB plus one teaspoon of boiling water to the mixture and stir.

NOTE: You may need to decrease the liquid in your recipe to make up for the additional liquid in the egg substitute. As a general rule, the reduction would be around 1/4 cup. In what little experimentation I have done, I found this to be somewhat accurate, but it really varies. I usually mix everything up then adjust. For example, in the case of brownies, I added additional flour to thicken the batter. Another time I didn't adjust at all and simply increased the baking time. This method produces very moist baked goods (especially compared to ground flax seed as an egg substitute), but you will need to experiment and adjust as best you can until you get it right.

Whole Wheat Brownies

This recipe is still in the experimental stage. We liked this version, but I think I can improve it further. These brownies were sort of fudgy and dense. If you like to live dangerously, give it a try:

Whole Wheat Brownies

2 1/4 cups whole wheat (I used hard white wheat and ground it myself)
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1/2 cup cocoa
5 "eggs" or eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the first seven ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until combined. Pour into a 10X13 greased baking dish, sprinkle with chocolate chips and walnuts, and cook for 35 minutes. Cool for several minutes before cutting and serving.

Tip: My oldest DD highly recommends reheating these in the microwave for a few seconds to fully enjoy them.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Easy Fruit Smoothie

A variation of my favorite drink, the Orange Julius.

Easy Fruit Smoothie

2 cups of OJ
1 frozen banana (because I usually throw them in the freezer when they start to go bad)
1/2 c frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.)
1/2 c powdered milk
1/4 powdered sugar (less if you want)
1 tsp vanilla
4-5 cubes of ice

Add the first six ingredients to the blender and mix. Add ice cubes one or two at a time until totally crushed. Serve immediately. Makes 3-4 servings in our house.

Easy Tuscan Romano Basil Chicken

I am usually a from-scratch kind of girl, so this is out of the norm, but it was a great last minute save for dinner. And, it is Easy with a capital E.

Easy Tuscan Romano Basil Chicken

1 bottle of Wish-Bone Bountifuls Tuscan Romano Basil dressing
2-3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or any other type of chicken pieces)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a pan with nonstick spray. Place the chicken pieces in the pan in a single layer and pour the contents of the dressing bottle over the chicken. Bake until done, probably around 30 minutes. I didn't time it, so this is a guess. :)

I served this dish with rice on the side and a spring mix salad.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bachelor's Roast

Bachelor's Roast

3-4 lb roast (cheaper cuts are okay)
1 can of Coke (we use caffeine-free Coke Classic)
1 c ketchup

Place all of the ingredients in the crock and cook on low or medium all day (depending on how long you have before dinner). We usually add potatoes and carrots during the last couple of hours of cooking.