Banana Nut Bread

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  • "Waste not want not" remains a good old reminder when it comes to ripened bananas - turn them into banana nut bread!

    I use a mini-loaf baking pan to make 4 loaves.  Loaves are handy for a quick dessert with coffee or tea, sliced to pack with lunches, and make a nice hostess gift.  They freeze well.
  • I buy walnuts in bulk and keep them fresh in the freezer, so they're always on hand for baking or salads.
  • Banana Nut Bread
  • Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
    2/3 cup milk
    2 eggs
    2-1/2 cups flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    2-1/2 tsps. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1 cup mashed bananas, about 2 small or 1 large
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    Preheat oven to 350
In a mixer, cream butter and sugar.  Blend in eggs and milk. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Mix until well blended. Add mashed bananas and chopped walnuts, mixing until batter is smooth.

Pour into prepared pan/s (1 large 9x5 loaf pan, 4 mini loaves). A large loaf will bake an hour, mini-loaves take less time, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Insert toothpick in middle to test for doneness.
Serves 12.

Estimated cost $2.40 or less; .60 cents or less per mini-loaf; .20 cents or less per serving.

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Balsamic Caramelized Onions for Burgers

Burger with Caramelized Onions, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppFood shows often feature restaurants or diners serving up special burgers, sometimes with caramelized onions.  I'd never tasted one until a local restaurant recently served a gourmet-delicious onion mixture on my burger with blue cheese.

My daughter and I tried to figure out what ingredients the chef must have used and decided on the ingredients for this recipe.

I'd caramelized onions for French onion soup before, so experimented by adding tastes experienced, and it turned out as delightful or better than the restaurant!
Balsamic Caramelized Onions for Burgers
1 medium onion cut in half, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 Tabs. of butter
2 Tabs. olive oil
1/2 tsp.salt
1 tsp. sugar
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App1/3 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh, sun-dried or salsa)
1/3 cup chopped bacon, (2 or 3 strips)
4 Tabs. balsamic vinegar
Blue cheese and lettuce for toppings
Caramelized Onions, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

In a 10-inch skillet melt butter with oil on medium heat and let onions cook slowly until translucent, and light golden brown, about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally.

Add salt, sugar, tomatoes and bacon, and continue cooking until all looks nicely browned and caramelized, about 10 more minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar, cooking and stirring ingredients until vinegar and any juices reduce.

Keep warm until ready to use.  As a time saver, double or triple the batch and keep refrigerated in a jar, or freeze to have on hand anytime for burgers.  I used leftovers the next night to stuff chicken breasts with blue cheese.
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Our burgers came on a fresh-toasted bun with melted blue cheese on the burger, then topped with a layer of the caramelized onions and butter lettuce.  I added a seasoned mayo mixture on my homemade buns.

Caramelized Onion Burger, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppSeason and shape 4-5 oz. of ground beef:  round, flat, and about 1/2 inch thick. Make an indentation in the middle with back of spoon, and fry on medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side, turning just once.

The indentation helps keep burgers flat, preventing them from swelling in the middle while cooking.  During last few minutes, put cheese on top to soften and melt.  Assemble burgers and enjoy!
Recipe is ample for 4-6 burgers.

Estimated cost: for extra-lean ground beef (85%)  burger, bun, and toppings $1.50 each or less.

Skillet English Muffins

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI added English muffin rings to my kitchen gadgets and also find them useful for making eggs and small pancakes. The directions on the box produced some great muffins.

They're handy for "McMuffin" breakfasts, Eggs Benedict, small ham and cheese heated sandwiches or mini-pizzas.

Compared to the cost of grocery store muffins, these are money savers!

Skillet English Muffins 
2 Tabs. warm water
2 tsp. yeast
1 cup water
1/2 cup scalded milk
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tabs. softened butter
corn meal for dusting

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppDissolve yeast in 2 Tbls. water for 3 minutes. Combine water, milk, salt, and yeast mixture.  Gradually beat in 2 cups of flour, then cover and set in warm place until it rises, about 1- 1/2 hours.

Beat in butter and knead in remaining 2 cups of flour.  Press dough to 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness and cut with 3-inch muffin rings. A tuna can with both ends cuts out works well or large glass.  Sprinkle lightly greased baking sheet with corn meal and let cut muffins stand covered until double in size.

Transfer to hot buttered skillet or griddle  (300 degrees, or medium-high) corn meal side down. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Cool on a rack.  Makes about 12-15. They freeze well.

Note: A bread machine can be used for the dough cycle.  Put ingredients in according to machine directions.  Remove dough and shape as directed below. I discovered the texture won't be as "airy," but they'll be very satisfactory.

Estimated cost: .10 cents or less per muffin.

Crepes, "Gram's Roll-Up Pancakes

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppEating "roll-up" pancakes at gram's house was a special treat.  Didn't know they were called crepes until married, but since learned they can be filled and used for terrific desserts, like blintzes or crepes suzette.

I've seen them made with cocoa with a little sugar added for chocolate crepes; and used as lasagna noodles.  One time I used them use for lasagna roll-ups!  Another time as stuffed manacotti.

Whenever grand kids stayed with gram, she made her "special breakfast" with bacon and eggs on the side.  It was one of the first recipes I ask for to impress my husband with culinary skills after marrying.

Of course they became a family favorite for our kids, and now for our grand kids. They're worth the time, but really don't take much more time than making regular pancakes.  

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppThey freeze well by folding in half and layering flat between squares of waxed paper.  I make a batch to freeze, then reheat  in the microwave for a quick breakfast.  

They're tasty enough with butter, syrup, jam, and/or powdered sugar, but with sides of juice, fruits, bacon, sausage and eggs they make a terrific brunch presentation.

Similar in taste, but much thicker, I also make a German pancake (Dutch Baby) cooked in the oven in a large fry pan for feeding several people at once. My Dutch Baby Pancake was featured at in March 2012.
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Crepes, Gram's Roll-Up Pancakes
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup flour
oil or butter to lightly brush skillet

Beat eggs.  Add and mix remaining ingredients until well blended.  Fry one at a time on medium high, pouring a thin layer of  batter to cover the bottom of  6-8 inch skillet brushed with butter — about 1/4 cup of batter.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppTilt and rotate pan to spread batter thinly around pan. Fry until set with small bubbles and lightly brown on one side, (about a minute) flip and brown other side, about 30 seconds.  Roll up with spatula and place on a platter. Keep platter warm until ready to serve.

Let each person unroll and fix their own with butter, jams, powered sugar and syrup. Makes 12-16 crepes. Approximately 2 to 3 per serving. Serves 4-6.

Estimated cost: $1.60 or less;  .40 cents a serving or less.