Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Trio of Tasty Recipes

Yesterday, I posted some photos of stuff I cooked yesterday but I didn't include recipes. Sorry, people; it was a busy day!

So, without further ado, here are three easy, very tasty recipes sure to please. The first is based on my mother's recipe for Banana-Nut Bread. Instead of making a loaf like she did, I prefer mini-muffins. This recipe also makes great regular-size muffins.

Banana-Nut Mini Muffins
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
scant 1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C. chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, but almost any nut will do)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, blend together the sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Add eggs, bananas, and lemon juice; blend again.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda; add to batter. Stir together thoroughly, then stir in nuts.

Lightly cover muffin tins (mini or regular) with cooking spray, then fill cups 2/3 full. Bake until tops are golden brown--about 15-20 minutes for regular muffins, or 12-15 minutes for mini muffins. Yields 18 regular muffins or 3 dozen mini muffins.


Sour-Cream Enchiladas is a recipe I learned from my college roommate Kitty. Over the years, I've tweaked it a bit, decreasing the fat from the dairy and adding more fiber--and taste!--in the form of corn and black beans.

It's a fabulous-tasting recipe, but maybe not for your fancy dinner parties. Why? Because when you serve this, the enchiladas fall apart in a messy heap. A delicious, I'll-have-seconds-please heap, but it ain't pretty food. It is, as a friend of mine calls it, "eatin' food."

Sour-Cream Enchiladas
1 28-oz. can enchilada sauce (mild, medium, or spicy; take your pick)
2 C. sour cream (regular or low fat or a combo of the 2) (reserve some for garnishing the top)
1 C. chopped green onions (reserve some for garnish)
1 15-oz. can corn, drained
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained
16 oz. (or less) Cheddar cheese, grated (reserve some for garnish)
1/2 tsp. (or a little more) cumin, depending on how hot you like things
10 large corn tortillas
sliced black olives (for garnish, if desired)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium skillet, warm up the enchilada sauce over low heat.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sour cream, onions, corn, beans, cheddar, and cumin; set aside.

Submerge a tortilla in warmed sauce; heat a few seconds until it gets limp. Fish it out (I use a fork and fingers), place it at one end of an ungreased 9x13 casserole dish. Fill it with 1/10th of the sour cream filling (An easy way to do this: with a spatula or spoon, draw a line down the middle of the filling in the bowl to mark off half, then scoop up approximately a fifth of what's on one side, then the other. It's a lot easier to eyeball a fifth than a tenth!) Roll the tortilla up with the filling inside, then tuck it, seam side down, at one end of the pan.

Repeat with the other tortillas until you have 8 filled enchiladas across the length of the pan, and two running along the sides. I drew a little diagram so you could know what I mean:

(Artistic skeelz, I gots dem!)

Pour remaining sauce over all and sprinkle with reserved cheddar cheese. (Casserole can be refrigerated at this point for later baking.) Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes (longer if you're taking it out of the fridge). Garnish with reserved sour cream, green onions, and black olives. Serves 5.


This last recipe, originally labeled "Pati Mitchell's Garlic Chicken," I found in a magazine advertisement for Crisco vegetable oil. I have increased the herbs-to-chicken ratio and now make it with olive oil (sorry, Crisco!). It's good either way, really.

I don't know who Pati Mitchell is, and although she spells her name funny, who am I to throw stones? But since, to me, Pati is just some chick in a corporate-sponsored ad, I feel okay renaming this recipe to something I think is more indicative of its flavors:

Marinated Italian-Herb Grilled Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 C. olive oil (Or Crisco, if you know Pati. Or if somebody in your family works for Crisco.)
zest of one lemon
juice of 2 lemons
salt and pepper to taste
8 finely minced garlic cloves
a fat handful of each of these whole, fresh herbs (you don't need to chop them up unless you really want to):
Italian parsley

Place chicken breasts in a large glass baking dish. Sprinkle over the olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Flip breasts so both sides get some. Sprinkle a little kosher salt and freshly-grated black pepper on both sides of the breasts. Ditto with the garlic. Tuck half the herbs underneath the chicken breasts and toss the other half on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at least 4 hours, or overnight if at all possible. (If you think about it, flip the breasts over once during their marination; if you forget, no harm done.)

When the grill is hot and ready, pick up the chicken breasts and as much of the herbs as you can and plop the chicken on the grill. Throw any herbs left in the pan on top of the chicken breasts and cook until the chicken has lost any pinkness in its center (about 5 minutes per side). (Check if it's done by poking the tip of a sharp knife into the thickest part of the breast--if you see any pink, give it a minute or so more.)

A lot of herbs will stick to the breasts and pretty much blacken up by the time the breasts are done. The finished breasts look kind of awful but taste amazing.
If you have picky eaters, gently scrape the blackened herbs off the chicken before serving. Otherwise, just plop them on a platter, weedy-looking herbs and all, and serve. Stand back and ready yourself for compliments! Serves 4.

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