Sunday, June 26, 2011

Frozen Chocolate Banana Pops

This is a fun summer treat to make with your kids. You can top them with all kinds of things: sprinkles, nuts, coconut, granola. I've also seen recipes where you add 1/2 cup peanut butter to the chocolate. I haven't tried that yet, but I bet it's good. You don't have to add the oil, it just makes the chocolate a little easier to work with.

Frozen Chocolate Banana Pops
adapted from
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 TBSP light olive oil or vegetable oil
3 ripe bananas

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil. (It needs to be able to fit in your freezer).
2. Cut the bananas in half. Insert a popsicle stick, bamboo skewer, or a chopstick into the pieces of banana. Place on the prepared baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. (I melted mine in the microwave). Remove the bananas from the freezer and, taking one banana at a time, dip in the melted chocolate, making sure the banana is completely covered with chocolate. If desired, roll (or sprinkle) the chocolate coated banana in topping of your choice. Place bananas back on the baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

Once completely frozen, the bananas can be stored in a covered container, for about one week. To soften the bananas, place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meal Idea - Frito Pie

I love Frito pie! I hadn't had it in such a long time. It really only takes 3 ingredients: Fritos, chili, and cheese. I added a few extra toppings to make it more tempting. Homemade chili would be awesome, but I used canned.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cinnamon Caramel Corn with Pecans and White Chocolate

Tonight was a movie night and I wanted to make some special popcorn. My Grandma had suggested I try this popcorn from It's basically like my caramel popcorn here, but with a few changes (see my note below). The original recipe calls for pecans, but I used dry roasted peanuts, because my kids like them better, but you could really use any kind of nuts. It turned out really good and was a special treat! 

Cinnamon Caramel Corn with Nuts and White Chocolate
12 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels)
1 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped (I used dry roasted peanuts)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 cup karo syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

3 squares almond bark (about 4 oz)

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave safe bowl. Mix well. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 minutes more.
4. Remove from microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam and rise. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pecans and stir very well so everything is well coated.
5. Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and spread out on a large piece of parchment, waxed paper, or foil. Melt almond bark according to package instructions. Drizzle over popcorn mixture.

Note: I doubled this recipe and used 3-3.3oz bags natural microwave popcorn, no air popper here ;). I cooked the sugar mixture in the microwave, adding 3 extra minutes because I had doubled the recipe. The caramel didn't turn out quite smooth as I had expected. Next time I make this I will follow my caramel popcorn recipe, cooking the sugar mixture over the stovetop, and baking the popcorn longer, and just add the cinnamon, nuts, and chocolate.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meal Idea - BLT

I wasn't able to post anything last week because I was visiting my parents, so it's 2 for 1 day. Sometimes I have a couple slices of bacon leftover in the package, and instead of throwing them out I make a BLT. I use lightly toasted bread, mayo, and of course bacon, lettuce, and tomato. I had a special tomato from my parent's garden for this particular sandwich. These are yummy for lunch or dinner.

Creamed Peas

Everything's better with cream...especially vegetables! I served this tonight, and my 5 year old said they were pea-riffic. :)

Creamed Peas
1 pkg (10oz) frozen peas
2 TBSPs butter
2 TBSPs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup milk
2 tsps sugar

1. Cook peas according to package directions; drain.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir until bubbly; gradually add milk and sugar.
3. Bring to a boil; cook and stir (I whisk) for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
4. Add peas to sauce and heat through.
Serves 8-10

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars

These are my new favorite treat! You don't even need a mixer for this recipe; they are that easy! You can substitute chocolate chips to make chocolate chip cookie bars too. 

Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars
adapted from and
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 TBSPs butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 12oz bag M&M's, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1 cup of M&M's and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top and press in slightly.

3. Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.

Here is the recipe doubled and baked on a cookie sheet for 28-30min.