Nutella Banana Bread

Source: Nutella Every Day

Everyone loves Nutella, right? Right!
This banana bread has an ooey gooey ribbon of Nutella marbled through it, and  is the perfect mid-day coffee break snack.

Ingredients:

2 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 1/4 cups mashed Ripe Banana
1/3 cup skim Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 heaping cup Nutella

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 8×4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda & salt.
3. In a separate large bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, milk and vanilla. Beat until blended.
4. Add flour mixture, beat at low speed just until flour is incorporated (don’t over mix).
5. Spoon Nutella into a small dish and soften in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Add 1 cup of the banana bread batter to the Nutella and stir until blended well.
6. Spoon Nutella batter alternately with plain banana bread batter into the prepared pan. Swirl batters together with a knife.
7. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, it will seem a tiny bit undercooked but that’s what makes it good.
8. Cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

S’mores Cookies

Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything, Christy

This campfire classic turned crowd-pleasing cookie is a must try recipe!
I originally made these for a friend who has never had s’mores… can you believe that!? Going 20+ years never having had a s’more! Crazy!
Anyways, these cookies are the perfect hello to summer, and a great way to have s’mores year round! Featuring a graham cracker base and the s’mores signature Hershey’s chocolate square.

Ingredients:

11 tbsps unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
½ cup granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 ½ cups Flour
1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Mini Marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s Bars, broken into pieces
1-2 packages Graham Crackers, broken into squares

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows.
6. Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching). If you want your cookies thicker you will use more dough and less graham crackers.
7. Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart.
8. Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top.
9. Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges.
10. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.

Lemon Bars

Source: Baking Bites, Nicole

These zesty lemon bars are truly for the lemon lover.
They have a nice thick shortbread crust, topped with a simple silky lemon custard.

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Lemon Zest
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature

Filling:
4 large Eggs
1 1/3 cups Sugar
1 cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed and strained

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest.
3. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Blend in with an electric mixer at low speed until mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs.
4. Pour into pan and press mixture down into an even layer.
5. Bake for 16-19 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges.
6. While crust is baking, make filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients in a large bowl.
7. When the crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour in filling mixture.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until filling is set and does not jiggle when the pan is gently shaken.
9. Cool completely before slicing. Top slices with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

Baked Garlic Cilantro Fries

Source: The Talking Kitchen, Lauren

A different (healthy) spin on your usual french fry.

Ingredients:
*2-3 servings

5-6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into thin fries
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 – 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 – 3/4 tsp Sea Salt
Pepper, to taste
1/4 c. loosely packed Cilantro Leaves, finely chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F, and get a baking sheet with rack ready (If no rack, just line with foil/parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil).
2. Cut the potatoes into fries and place in a bowl of cold water to soak for a few minutes.
3. Drain the water and dry the fries with paper towel. Once dry, toss the fries with the olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
4. Lay on a baking sheet in a single layer, preferably one that has a cooking rack so the fries can have the air circulating all around them (and no need to flip.)
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven and how crispy you like your fries. If using a baking sheet without a rack, halfway through the cooking time, flip the fries.
6. Once done, toss fries with cilantro in a bowl.

Enjoy by the handful!

 

Chicken Parmesan Skillet Pot Pie

Source: The Picky Palate, Jenny


Another wonderful recipe made in my wonderful cast iron pan! All the Chicken Parmesan-y goodness, but topped with pie crust! Amazing! If there is one food I love more than almost any other, its pie. Both Corey and I went back for seconds, and I very rarely have seconds.
And, it’s so easy!

Ingredients:

Pie Crust:
1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Shortening (chilled)
4 tbsp Butter or Margarine (chilled)
5 tbsp Ice Water

Filling:
28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
3 cups cooked, shredded Chicken (you could use rotisserie)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Topping:
1 Egg White
1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tbsp shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Crust:
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together.
2. Cut butter into 1/4 inch slices. Using a pastry blender, cut the chilled shortening and butter into the flour and salt mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. The crumbs should resemble tiny split peas.
3. Sprinkle the flour and fat mixture with 3 tbsp of ice water. Gently mix, using a fork. If the crust seems dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time. Only add enough water to make the dough hold together when a small piece is pinched between the fingers. Mix dough gently and quickly. Gather dough to form a ball, but do not overwork it.
4. Flatten the dough into a 4 to 6 inch disk and place on a cool, floured surface. Starting in the center, roll the crust outward. After every couple of rolls, rotate the rolling angle about 45° until you have rolled all around the crust. Always start rolling from the middle.
5. Check crust frequently to see if it is sticking to the surface. If it begins to stick, dust lightly with flour. Do not use any more flour than necessary. Roll crust until it is approximately 1/8 inch thick and 2 inches larger in diameter than an inverted pie pan.
6. Transfer the crust by partially rolling the crust around the rolling pin and gently lifting the crust onto a large plate or baking sheet. Be careful to center it over the plate without stretching the dough. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pot Pie:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Pour tomatoes into 9 inch cast iron skillet. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
3. Add chicken and gently stir to incorporate into sauce.
4. Top with Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
5. Carefully lift pie crust off of plate and lay over chicken and cheese, pressing the edges around the skillet, or tuck it inside the skillet if you desire.
6. Whisk egg white with 1 tsp water and brush a light coat over crust. Top evenly with Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese.
7. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 – 8 servings.

Grilled Halibut Tacos With Spicy Corn Salsa

Source: The Kitchy Kitchen, Claire Thomas

This recipe is fresh, light and absolutely delicious! Although peak Halibut season is late spring/early summer (May-June), I am spoiled to live so close to Granville Island Market and have access to amazing fresh fish year-round. This meal is great to make in the winter when you are missing the sunshine,  and is also a great quick summer meal to make on the grill.

Ingredients:
*for 4 tacos
1 Halibut Filet (about 1/2 a pound)
2 Ears of Corn
1 Jalapeno, finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped Red Onion
1/2 Lime, juiced
2 tbsp chopped Cilantro
Crema (runny sour cream or cream fraiche)
Cotija Cheese (any crumbly cheese, I used Feta)
4 corn tortillas
chopped Lettuce to taste

Directions:
1. Drizzle both sides of the halibut with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill on medium high heat for 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, grill the corn unti lthe kernals blacken a bit (about 1-2 minutes a side).
2. In a small bowl, combine the jalapeno (I only use a pinch, but more if you like a lot of heat), red onion, and lime juice.
3. Slice the kernals off of the corn cob, add them to the bowl with a big pinch of salt and pepper.
4. Add the cilantro and stir to combine.  Taste to see if it need more seasoning or spice.
5. Heat the tortillas on the grill so they’re warm and pliable.
6. Flake the halibut using a fork (or your hands) and build the tacos: Add a heap of fish in the middle of the tortilla, drizzle with crema, top with the corn salsa and a little lettuce, finish with a sprinkle of cheese.

Microwave Gourmet Popcorn

Source: Squawkfox, Kerry

Okay, first of all, I love popcorn! And I love how quick microwave popcorn is, but I’m not a fan of the artificial ingredients and the cost. Popcorn should be simple and inexpensive. This recipe is much healthier and cost effective, $3.50 for about 25 servings (bowls). Plus you can top it any way you like!

Directions:
1. Get a brown paper bag, your classic paper lunch bag.
2. Add a 1/2 cup scoop of bulk popcorn kernels to your brown paper bag.
*I found when using a 1/2 cup of kernels the popcorn ends up bursting through the bottom of the bag before the popcorn finished popping. Try 1/3 or 1/4 cup.
3. Fold the bag over twice. Don’t use staples to secure the bag — this might spark in your microwave.
4. Stick the popcorn bag into your microwave. I just used the popcorn setting on my microwave.  The original recipe suggests 3 minutes on high. Stop the microwave when the popping slows to one to two pops per second, or it may burn.
5. Pour the popcorn into a bowl and add your favourite toppings!

Topping Ideas:
-Classic: Butter and Salt
-Mexican: Chili Powder, dash of Hot Sauce and Salt
-Hold The Kiss: Onion Powder and Garlic Powder
-Cheesey: Parmesan Cheese and a dash of salt
-Sweet: dash of Cinnamon, sprinkle of Sugar and drizzle of Honey

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

Source: Macheesmo, Nick

Growing up my Mum used nothing but cast iron pans, but never like this! Not long ago my parents picked me up a great cast iron pan at a garage sale for like $3! Amazing! My dad cleaned it up and seasoned it for me and now its like new. Cast iron pans are so great because there is truly no way to ruin them, as rusty as you let it get you can always give it a good scrubbing and re-season it and it’s like a brand new non-stick pan!
Anyways, I stumbled across this recipe for Cast Iron Skillet Pizza and had to give it a try. It turned out great! I will definitely be making this again, soon.

Ingredients:
Crust:
2 1/2 cups Bread Flour
1 scant tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Kosher Salt
3/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 scant cup Warm Water

Toppings of your choice

Directions:
1. Mix together water, sugar, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes until yeast is dissolved and foaming a bit.
2. Add in your flour and stir it together.
3. Use a hand dipped in water to work the dough into a ball. As you work the dough, you might notice that it’s too wet or too dry. If it is too dry add a few extra tablespoons of water. The dough should be pretty moist and flexible. If it seems firm let it rest for five minutes, then continue to work it. After about 8 minutes of kneading it, you should have a very soft ball of dough.
4. Coat the dough well in olive oil and place it in a plastic bag. If you’re using the dough the same day, let it rise for an hour at room temperature, then take it out and de-gas it. Reshape it and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Take it out of the fridge at least an hour before you need it.
5. Roll the dough into a large circle and place it in the center of your skillet. You don’t need to oil the skillet. The dough shouldn’t stick to it at all assuming you have a well-seasoned skillet.
6. Once the dough is in your skillet, use a knife to cut off any extra dough, leaving about an inch of dough up the side of the skillet. Then use your fingers to kind of just fold the dough over itself, forming a crust.
7. Top with your favourite sauce and toppings.
8. Cook the pizza over high heat on stove element for about 3 minutes. You won’t notice any change in the pizza, but the pan should be really hot.
9. Move it to a 450°F oven and continue to cook it until the crust is browned and the cheese melted. This took my pizza about 18 minutes.

Bacon, Rosemary and Tomato Pasta

Source: Design*Sponge, Melissa Clark

Now that the rush of the holidays are over, we are starting to settle back into our daily routine, still quite busy, just not holidays busy. I’m forever in search of recipes that are quick and flavourful for an easy meal. This recipe is great for a busy weeknight, or just a day you don’t feel up to slaving over a big meal. The first time I made it I was surprised just how quickly it came together, all done in the time it took to boil the pasta.

Ingredients:
8 ounces Pasta, shape of your choice
3 ounces Bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large, bushy sprig of Fresh Rosemary
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
pinch of crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Kosher Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper
about 1 1/2 cups Grape Tomatoes, cut in half
*or 3 medium Tomatoes, cored and chopped
Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of heavily salted water.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the grease in the pan (if it looks really greasy, spoon some out; you just need a thin layer, enough to sauté the garlic without burning).
3. Add the rosemary, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook until garlic is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and let the sauce simmer until the pasta is cooked. Season aggressively with more salt and black pepper. If it tastes flat, add a few drops of vinegar.
* I am quite fond of balsamic vinegar, and added about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons. Season to your personal taste.
4. Drain the pasta and top with the sauce. Sprinkle with bacon, and herbs if you wish.

Banana Bread

Source: My Mum, Andrea

This is one of my most used recipes. My Mum used to make it a lot when I was growing up. I guess there isn’t anything particular unique about this banana bread, but it is simple and delicious.

This loaf is best hot from the oven while the top is still crispy, with a little butter. Just let cool for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Margarine
3/4 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1-1 1/4 cups Mashed Banana
1 3/4 cups Flour
2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
* 1/2-1 cup chocolate chips or walnuts, optional

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Blend together Margarine and Sugar
3. Beat Eggs, add to sugar mixture
4. Add Mashed Bananas, beat ingredients together
5. Sift together dry ingredients (Flour, Baking Powder and Salt), add in parts to sugar mixture, beating after each addition
6. Add in Chocolate Chips or Walnuts, if you wish
7. Pour batter into greased loaf pan
8. Bake for 1 hour, or until the loaf pulls away from the sides of the pan

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