Banana Bread

Banana Bread

What better way is there to spend the first weekend after Christmas, then baking tasty treats {and using new Christmas presents}? I was inspired to bake anything after receiving a BEAUTIFUL cake stand in from a secret santa exchange between my childhood friends. After realizing I had a few overripe bananas waiting to be eaten, I knew my first baked good was going to have to be a delicious banana bread! I’m a banana fiend- I usually have at least one a day- hey, a girl has got to get her daily dose of potassium. So any way to combine bananas in bakes goods, I’m game.

Banana Bread

ingredients:
3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour

Banana Bread

directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.

Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the cinnamon. Add the baking soda and salt to the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix until just combined. Pour mixture into a buttered loaf pan.

Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Banana Bread

French Dip Sandwiches

French Dip Sandwiches

Wondering what to do with your leftover roast beef from the holidays?  Well look no further– this by far the easiest and most delicious way to repurpose your leftovers into a delicious lunch or dinner over the next few days.  You may even find yourself making extra next year just so you have enough leftovers for lots of french dip sandwiches.  At least that’s my plan for next year 😉

French Dip Sandwiches

ingredients:
Leftover roast beef, or deli sliced roast beef
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cans beef broth
coarse salt and pepper
4 torpedo sandwich rolls, split
mozzarella cheese, to top

French Dip Sandwiches

directions:
In a large, shallow skillet over moderate heat, melt butter. Add shallots to butter and saute for about 2 minutes. Add flour to butter and shallot and cook a minute longer. Whisk in beef stock in a slow stream. Bring sauce to a bubble and allow to simmer over low heat until ready to serve sandwiches.

Pile meat loosely across your cutting board or a large work surface. Season meat with grill seasoning or salt and black pepper.

Toast sandwich rolls in oven, using a pair of kitchen tongs, dip meat in au jus sauce and pile into rolls. Top with mozzarella cheese and toast sandwiches for another 2 minutes, until cheese is melted. Set ramekins or cups with extra dipping sauce along side the sandwiches.

French Dip Sandwiches

Week 52: Bacon Wrapped Top Sirloin Roast

Bacon Wrapped Roast

I haven’t had a homemade Christmas Eve dinner in a few years- so this year I decided to cook a formal holiday dinner for my boyfriend and my mom. When I think of Christmas, beef roasts, yorkshire pudding and green beans are the dishes that come to mind. I found this delicious recipe on Pinterest and augmented it because I could not find a beef tenderloin at the grocery store. The balsamic glaze adds a complex flavor profile that screams happy holidays! Not only does this recipe free up space in the oven for other dishes, but the low heat setting, let’s you set it and forget it, so you can wrap presents, prepare side dishes, or just put your feet up and relax!

Bacon Wrapped Roast

ingredients:
1 – 3-4 lb. beef top sirloin roast
10 strips thick pepper bacon
1 small onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
3/4 cup beef stock
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp flour
Salt and Pepper

Bacon Wrapped Roast

directions:
Salt the pepper the whole roast thoroughly. Lay the bacon strips out on a clean work surface, touching each other, so they create a rectangular sheet of bacon.

Lay the roast across the bacon and carefully wrap the bacon ends over the top. Secure the bacon strips by “sewing” toothpicks through the ends.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Place the whole roast toothpick-side-down, in the skillet. Brown the bacon on all sides, turning as needed, about 10 minutes.

Place the beef in a 5-6 quart Crock-Pot and pour the pan drippings over the top. Place the sliced onion, garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs around it. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the whole tenderloin, then cover and turn the Crock-Pot on low. A crock-pot beef roast will be perfectly medium-rare when the temperature reaches 130 degrees F–3-4 hrs, depending on weight and thickness.

Once the temperature reaches 100 degrees, mix the flour and sugar together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the balsamic vinegar and mustard into the sugar until there are no clumps. Then whisk in the beef stock. Pour the mixture around the beef, cover, and continue cooking until 130 degrees F is reached.

At 130 degrees F, remove the roast and cover with foil for at least 10 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise to 135 degrees as it rests. If needed, allow the balsamic glaze to continue simmering until thick.

To serve, remove the toothpicks and slice the roast into thin rounds. Top with rich balsamic glaze!

Merry Berry Trifle

Merry Berry Trifle
I’ve wanted a trifle dish for almost as long as I can remember. This year in my work Secret Santa gift exchange, I finally received the perfect trifle dish. How could I not test out my new gift with a festive trifle for Christmas Eve Dinner?  Trifles are quick to make and are the perfect dessert for a holiday dinner, because you can make it before you cook the main course and it will marinate and chill for several hours til it’s time for something sweet.

Merry Berry Trifle

ingredients:
1 lemon
2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 tablespoons orange liqueur
1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
12 ounces raspberries
6 tablespoons sugar
1 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 6 ounce packages sponge-cake dessert cups
3/4 cup shaved white chocolate

Merry Berry Trifle

directions:
Using a vegetable peeler, remove 2 strips of lemon zest from the lemon, then squeeze out 2 tbsp. juice. In a small saucepan, combine the lemon strips, jam and 1/4 cup water over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the jam melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the liqueur. Set the syrup aside.

In a large bowl, toss the berries, lemon juice and 2 tbsp. sugar. Let stand, tossing once.

Using an electric mixer, mix together the mascarpone and remaining 1/4 cup sugar at low speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and gradually beat in the cream and vanilla. Continue mixing, increasing the speed a little at a time until you reach high speed and beating until the mixture is just thick and billowy.

Using a serrated knife, cut the cake cups in half crosswise and arrange one-third of the cake pieces in the bottom of a 12-cup trifle dish, fitting them together in an even layer. Remove the lemon strips from the raspberry syrup and discard. Drizzle one-third of the syrup over the cake, then evenly cover with one-third of the berries. Top with one-third of the cream mixture, spreading with the back of a spoon until it reaches the edge of the dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup white chocolate.

Repeat the layering 2 more times. For the top layer, dollop the cream in a smaller mound on top of the berries, allowing some berries to show around the edge of the bowl. Cover the trifle dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 36 hours.

Merry Berry Trifle

Week 51: Pesto & Prosciutto Pizza

prosciutto and pesto pizza
Is there a more fun way to spend date night then coming up with your own winning pizza combinations and baking them in our own oven? I don’t think so, but then again, I’m easily pleased. Ever since I discovered the premade pizza dough at Trader Joe’s, I’ve been hooked. It makes it so easy to make your own pizza. Not only can you make it healthy, but you know exactly what you’re putting on the pie, no mystery toppings here. We opted for a Pesto & Prosciutto Pizza because it was quick and easy and we didn’t need to spend too much time prepping the ingredients. We artfully decorate our pie, tossed it in the oven, started watching a movie and before we got to the good part, dinner was ready. Easy, peasy, date night idea. What are some of your favorite stay in date nights?

prosciutto and pesto pizza
ingredients:
Premade Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough
Pesto
Olive Oil
Basil
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Prosciutto, thinly sliced
Arugula

prosciutto and pesto pizza
directions:
Follow the directions on the package of pizza dough. After rolling out dough, brush the crust with olive oil and liberally top with pesto. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and lay thin slices of prosciutto on the dough. Sprinkle with basil and bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is browned and crust is crispy.

Remove from the oven and top with fresh arugula.
prosciutto and pesto pizza