Friday, January 26, 2007

My Goodness Gracious--
I think I found the "perfect" bread recipe!!

Now how about that for a title and a teaser? But, I think it's true!!

Let me first set the stage, though...

I have really been trying lately to be better about preparing dinner at the house. I LOVE to cook and I especially love to bake, but all of you who are mothers know how hard it is sometimes to even find the time to eat--not to mention actually finding the time to prepare for and cook a meal. So, a lot of times we resort to frozen pizzas or take-out food. But I have consciously been trying to cook dinner at home for all of us lately; so that we can save money and we can eat together.

I did pretty well this week. Aside from Tuesday night when Gary and I went separate ways with assorted kids (Gary had Delaney and Sydney at D's pitching practice; McKenna and I went to my class at the scrapbook store) and Gary got Little Caesar's for the kids and McKenna and I did the McDonald's thing, I have cooked each night this week. Granted, one night was hot dogs and another night was Hamburger Helper, but I was making an attempt . . .

Well, last night I decided it was time to cook FOR REAL. And it all turned out so great that it reminded me of how much I actually love the cooking and baking process.

I love EASY recipes that are full of comfort and happiness. You know? Those foods that just make you moan a little bit when you bite into them because they're just full of flavor and goodness?

Well, last night I would definite label my food choices Moan-worthy! (LOL)

I made a VERY easy fettucini alfredo that I love to cook--shoot, anything with fresh parmesan cheese and cream in it has to be good! I served it alongside a Fried Italian Chicken that I pretty much made up on the spot. A salad went with it; it had feta cheese on top, so of course I was incredibly happy with it! And then the piece d' resistance was the YUMMIEST bread I have ever put into my mouth. (Well, it really was more of a cake, but it's officially called Chocolate Banana Bread so I'm calling it a bread.)

Here are the recipes in case you want to try any of them:

Easy Breezy Fettucini Alfredo

Boil package of fettucini noodles according to directions.
After you've drained the noodles and let cool off for several minutes, add a few tablespoons of butter, 1 small carton of heavy whipping cream, and two cups of fresh grated parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The easiest thing you can imagine, but the butter and cream and cheese make it very rich-tasting! Kids will love this too!

Italian Fried Chicken

In a bowl, combine two cups of packaged Italian Bread Crumbs and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Dip chicken breasts or chicken strips (or other pieces) into milk, then coat with the bread crumb mixture. Lay on a plate, and shake bottled Italian dressing on top. Let sit for a few minutes to allow dressing to soak in, then fry in oil as if you were frying "regular" fried chicken. As Rachael Ray would say, "Yum-o"!

And now . . . for that bread recipe . . .

This recipe actually came from one of my favorite food blogs--Something So Clever. I saw her recipe a week or so ago and, as soon as I saw it, I knew I'd have to try it out. And boy, it did not disappoint whatsoever!!

Honest to God, it is SO divine that you will just sit there and moan over it. It is THAT good!! (Trust me: Gary and McKenna and my niece Lori and I all pretty much felt the same way about it! In fact, I'm ready for morning to get here very quickly because I am SO having THAT for breakfast!)

(This picture doesn't even really do it justice. I'm not a food photographer! LOL Just trust me here. ..)

Chocolate Banana Bread

3 very ripe bananas
2 tbsp. soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips and/or coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (I actually don't like nuts in my banana nut bread--ha!!--so I decided to go just with the chocolate chips. And I actually combined about a fourth cup of semi-sweet chips and filled the rest of the cup up with the white chocolate chips)

Mash bananas in a bowl and add rest of ingredients. Stir just until blended. (It might seem like it's not liquidy enough, but the bananas will add all the moisture needed. Just mix well with a fork and it will be fine!)

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out dry--or you hit a chocolate chip! (I actually cooked mine about 10 minutes longer, but you can tell by testing it with the toothpick.) Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan and cutting into slices.

Like I said before . . . absolutely DIVINE!!

A Challenge

Now that I have posted these recipes, I have a question for you: Have you tried any new recipes lately? Or do you have any "tried and true" recipes that everyone in your family likes (or that just simply makes you moan?). I would LOVE for some of you to share those with us. I always love trying new dishes, and that would be so fun to learn some from you guys and gals!!

So post them in my comments section, or let us know that you're posting them on your blog!

Happy Birthday

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday, so . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLARA!!! Clara is a wonderful mother-in-law who absolutely raised a wonderful son; I think all of us with great husbands need to acknowledge that our mil are a big part of that!

Clara also had foot surgery just two days ago and is not feeling very well. So I hope she has a good birthday, even if she doesn't feel great. (We will absolutely get around to celebrating when you get better!!)

Coming Up . . .

I'm so looking forward to the weekend. Tonight I will be going to a Bunko tournament benefitting Delaney's travel softball team (the Birmingham Thunderbolts); and then Saturday the girls and I will be going out to lunch with my parents and my brother's family to celebrate Mom and Dad's anniversary

(and speaking of GREAT food... we are going to one of my favorite restaurants EVER. The Cypress Inn is right on the river and the food is to die for!! The best muffins and rolls, spinach salad with a hot bacon vinagrette, fried catfish that is SO good, peanut butter pie . . . boy, I gotta stop here before I make myself dream of this food! So, I can't wait for that!) Saturday night, several of my girlfriends wanted to go out but I will have to see how busy I am (and if Gary has had enough of the kids! LOL)

(And oh, totallly off topic but . . I seriously want to spruce up the look of my blog and I really want a banner up top. But I can't figure out for the life of me how to do it. If you have any insight into how to make a blog and then how to get it put into place, please email me with any suggestions! Thanks!!)

So, it should be an eventful and fun weekend!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful weekend as well. As always--fill it with family, friends, fun, and some GOOD FOOD!!!


Adrienne said...

Oh you JUST made me SUPER hungry!!!!

aimee said...

Ok, now I have to go buy bananas so I can make that! Way to go for cooking all week! That is hard. As for food recipes, I love trying new things and Rachal Ray's Everyday Magazine is a great place to get some new twists on old classics (like mac n cheese, hamburger goulash, burgers, pasta) and of course, the Food Network always has some great things.

Gin said...

Sounds SO SO SO good. Thanks for the recipes.
I also find it hard to find time to cook very much.

Alicat said...

I'm so glad you liked the banana bread!! I make it at least once a month and it always gets devoured. Don't be afraid to play around with mixing up the chocolate chips as well. Sometimes I do semisweet and white chocolate, sometimes just one or the other. :)

Alicat said...

LOL -- Nevermind! I just saw that you DID play around and mix them up! lol -- my bad. :D

Susie said...

Hi Cheryl,
Just stopping in to say Hi and thanks for visiting me and commenting! I love visitors...
Your site is full of wonderful recipes and that Cyndi Lauper song is one of my favorites!
I'll be back to visit you again. Please stop in anytime, my goal this year is to try a new recipe a week and I have a link on my sidebar to my recipes..

It's a FLIP-FLOP World said...

I have always wished that I LOVED to cook but I DO NOT!! I have been married for 43 years now YESTERDAY in fact!! I try and I try..the easier the better. I have a whole lot of recipes!! I just look up on the internet now on
Yours sound great but I cannot eat things like that with all of the fat content and still lose weight.
Thanks for stopping by my Friday Feast. Sandy

Lynilu said...

No fair! Now I'm hungry! That bowl of oatmeal is suddenly not enough. gotta go find something else to eat!! It all sounds sooooo good!

Jeff said...

CYPRESS INN!!!! I already told my mom we had to eat there while I was in town and now, as I sit here eating lunch and reading your blog and you mention the rolls, suddnely my lunch is a lot less interesting.
In terms of recipies, I'll share a couple (although Will is the one that makes these). Let's just start with desert... Paula Deen's "Is It Really Better Than Sex? Cake" is to die for! I leave it up to you reader to decide if the title is true or not. For an entree Will makes an amazing Mexican lasgna, which he basically made up on his own. I'll get him to give me the receipe so I can post.
Also, Cheryl, I can help with blog banners. I did an overhaul on my blog template late last year and learned how to insert all kinds of stuff. Let me know what you want to do, I'm pretty sure I can tell you how to insert it into your template.

Anonymous said...

Lovin all that food out here today! But how many calories are in all of that?

Brown English Muffin said...

ok so I was reading and reading and reading and just sighing (a good sigh) and moaning and graoning about the alfredo, the chicken (oh god yummy)...but when you got to "white chocolate chips"...I wanted to slap you! (in a good way). The white chocolate chips was the icing on the cake!!! LOL

Brown English Muffin said...

Oh yes. I can tell you in your template where to put a banner and if I had more than 24 hours in a day I would definetly make one for you...(why do you think I have a slide show at the top of mine!).

I work with PhotoShop ALL day and don't have time to create my own banner SHAME!!!

Cheryl Wray said...

Adrienne--Sorry about that! lol
Aimee--You will LOVE the banana bread. SO SO good!! I also love Rachael Ray; she does really easy, but yummy, stuff!
Gin--It IS good!!
Alicat--I do think that this will become a "regular" every month. It is scruptious! And, yes, I thought the mixture of chips would make it even better!
Susie--I love the idea of trying a new recipe every week. Great!! And yes--Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!!
Flip Flop--Not everyone has to like to cook!! That's why they have yummy restaurants!!

Cheryl Wray said...

Lynilu--Go find something GOOD to eat!!
Jeff--Went and checked out the cake! It looks GREAT!! I have made a cake called Better than Sex cake, but it was chocolate. And absolutely wonderful!! Yes, I can just eat a basket of those muffins at Cypress Inn and be TOTALLY happy!! When I have some time and settle down, I may email you about the banner stuff! Thanks!
Anon--Oh no! We're not worrying about calories!!
Muffin--You crack me up!! Slapping me for those white chocolate chips, huh? But in a good way--that's good! Trust me, those chips just hit the spot. It is SO good! I may email you about the banner stuff. My main problem is figuring out WHERE to insert it into my template. Thanks!!

Amanda said...

That friend Chicken has me hungry girl! HOLY COW! Some friend chicken and some martini's! WOOP there it soon as you figure out how to fix up your header all fancy...let me know, I've been dying to change mine too!

~Telah said...

Your post has made me soooo hungry...Thanks! Here are some links for you. First to what we had for dinner last night. I didn't moan but it is really good.

And here is a link to a blogger who has tutorial on how to add a banner. I followed this and was able to do mine. Hope it helps you too.

Just scroll down the sidebar to the "Need To Know" drop down menu.

cityfarmer said...

Stop it now, it's lunch time

Kentucky Gal said...

that bread looks and sounds "moan worthy"!!

NMOTB said...

Dont get a fright - It's me, NMOTB!!! (Sorry for neglecting you so).

Those recipes look so nice!!!!!!

I have not tried any new recipes but I have made one of my favourite dishes. Chicken breasts filled with bacon and mozzarella cheese and also topped with a slice of mozzarella! This is so quick and easy and also very yummy!

Take a chicken breast and cut it open (but not in half). Place a strip of bacon and a slice of cheese inside with some nice herbs and spices (according to your taste). Put a piece of mozzarella ontop and sprinkle with olive oil. Pop it in the oven and bake till ready - this is really yummy and oh so easy to make!!!

BTW - I have done a new post!!!!!

Say hi to the family and have a super weekend!

angel said...

wow cheryl- that recipe collection has my mouth absolutely watering!

Michelle said...

thanks so much for the recipes! Especially the bread one! I'm going to try all of these!

Linda said...

Thanks so much for visiting Cheryl. I enjoyed reading your post and getting to know you a bit better. I remember those hectic days when the kids were all at home. It was difficult to get meals done all the time. The irony is - now that the nest is empty, we eat out much more often!!
The year I read the Little House books for the first time I got very enthused about baking my own bread. I did it for a long time, and it was delicious.
Your recipe sounds great. We are forever throwing away over-ripe bananas. I think we'll like this a lot better than just plain old banana bread.
Have a good weekend - sounds like a busy one!

Rachel said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! I will have to try the fettucini alfredo and the bread. They both sound so heavenly! That Cypress Inn sounds like a wonderful place too!

Cheryl Wray said...

Amanda--Oh, we would have SO much fun with some good food and some martinis!
Your "Woop" made me smile!!
Telah--Your recipe sounds great!! And thanks SO much for the tips on the banner. I have bookmarked that site to go back and do something with mine!!
Cityfarmer--Well, go eat then!! LOL
Tammy--Oh yeah . . . moan!!!!!
New Mom--That chicken dish sounds SO good!! I think it will to have be on my list to make next week! I love anything with bacon on it!! Off to check out your post in a minute!!
Angel--Me too! I'm ready to eat again!! LOL
Michelle--I hope they turn out well for you. You'll have to let me know!
Linda--This is SO much better than regular ole banana bread. I promise!!!
Rachel--Thanks for stopping by here too! Hope you like the recipes when you try them. They really were great!!

maria said...

Wow, awesome recipes! I wish I could share some, but as you know I can't cook to save my life! LOL. Happy birthday to your mother in law! Have fun this weekend! :)

jessi said...

your love affair with food always has me drooling...very embarassing for a 29 yr old to be slobbering all over her know!!! my favourite site for food full of happiness and quickness is very kid friendly too!!! there is a recipe for a black forest dessert (looks like a trifle) that is soooooooooooooo yummy!!!

I can also help with your blog banner...I found a computer dummy friendly tutorial that made it so easy to insert. and I can give you some site names for free digital kits and elements if you wnat to try creating your own. I had all the links posted on my blog a bit I just learned too!!! but it was very satisfying to do it all by my BIG self!!! have a fab weekend and email me if you want those links or other help!!!

Susie Q said...

Oh Cheryl!! Thank you for the wonderful recipes! We will be trying them all! : ) Yum-O!
It is 12.20am and all I can think about is fried chicken and pasta! that why I am an old CHUBBY broad? : )
I LOVED the photos and stories about you parents. Great looking couple. Your mom surely does not look old enough to have been married 40 years!!! All parents should be so lucky as to have a child say such sweet things about them...they raised a wonderful daughter!
Have a great weekend and lots of fun. Eat lots of goodies at The Cypress Inn!

marg said...

I guess I'm just repeating what everyone else has alraedy said: Those recipes sound delicious! i will have to try some of them!

Missy's Blog said...

Yummmmmm! Sounds like a delicious meal!! I have a recipe for a great chicken casserole (with wild rice and green beans). It's super delicious. I will post it later today.

............Aimeslee said...

Cheryl, I sent Missy and Diego to the grocery store to get "very ripe" bananas, and they brought back green ones! ROFL, can you say dumb a's? Yup, that's my lovely daughter. Anyway, it will be a few more days, but I've printed out the recipe and will bake some up as soon as those bananas ripen...;-)

Steph C said...

Ok this is to die be forwarned lol...Chocolate Cream Pie...
I use a premade frozen deep dish shell (cuz I can't make crust to save my life!)..cook that according to directions on pkg.
To make the filling you will need 6 squares of unsweetened bakers chocolate, one can of sweetened condesed milk, and one can of water.
Mix these three things in a pan on medium heat. You MUST stir constantly to keep from sticking/burning. This usually takes at least a half hour to 45 mins to get to the right consistency. You want it thick, but not so thick you can't spoon it from the pan. Hard to explain, but once you make it a few times you will get it. Pour into pie shell and let sit in fridge overnight. You will want to try it with a small piece first, as it is SUPER rich. Oh and go buy some more whipped cream to put on top, since you ate it all hehehe.

Cheryl Wray said...

Maria-LOL!! If you were here, I'd feed you!
Jessi--I love also. And thank you SO much for the willingness to help me out. I sent you an email.
Susie--Chubby broad! Ha!!! That's what we get when we eat stuff like that every day--but I love food too much! My parents are great, and yes they do look very young!
Missy--Oh, yum! That sounds great! Can't wait to see the recipe!
Aimeslee--HA!! That is so funny!! In a few days you will have some good bread. I hope it will be worth the wait!
Steph--That sounds SO SO good!! I LOVE chocolate pie and that is so easy!! Can't wait to try that!

Amy Mowbray said...

I'm definitely printing out these recipes. They sound really yummy. Thanks for sharing.

Disney Scrapper said...

Ok...I have been looking for a fettuchini recipe ( that was like forever !

Silent One ~D~ said...

This has been a "resolution" of sorts for me too... to eat or cook more at home. We eat out/ or order out way too often. With always being on the go... it is so hard to make a good meal at home.

Thanks for the recipes! I just cut and pasted them into an email and emailed them to myself! LOL

NancyJones said...

I say we all just come eat at your house rofl! YUMMMMMM OOOOOH!