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Frozen Banana Bites

Frozen Banana Bites

This is an easy summer treat.  Cool and at least a little better for you than ice cream.  Plus two little banana bites would fix a sweet tooth.  I know I like bananas but believe most people who don’t would like this treat.  My daughter had a blast topping the bananas as I dipped them, so get the kids in the kitchen and have some fun!

Frozen Banana Bites:Frozen Banana Bites

  • 3 large bananas, peeled
  • 1 cup chocolate melts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1-3 Tbs shortening
  • Crushed peanuts,coconut,crushed cookies, or any other topping you can think of

Prepare a sheet pan with wax or parchment paper, and clear a space in the freezer large enough to fit the sheet pan.

Slice bananas in thick slices.  Prepare toppings by crushing or chopping, and set aside in bowls.

Melt chocolate and 1 Tbs of shortening, using a double boiler method or method of melting choice.

Dip bananas in chocolate (I think laying banana slices on a fork worked the best), set on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with toppings.  If chocolate becomes to thick or starts to seize because of the moisture of bananas add a Tablespoon of shortening at a time stirring until smooth.  Continue until all bananas are covered and on the cookie sheet.

Place cookie sheet in freezer for about two hours.  Then transfer banana bites to freezer bags and store in freezer, until you have eaten them all.

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Roasted Broccoli

Roasted BroccoliRoasting has become all the rage lately.  Roasted cauliflower is my favorite but why not broccoli?  Turned out tender crisp and lots of garlicky flavor.  Mr.Picky even ate some.  I know couldn’t believe it myself.

I will make this dish again.  Not sure it beats my Broccoli with Garlic Butter Sauce but that has an Asian flare that is not easily paired with dishes.  If you like garlic and parmesan then this might strike your fancy.

Roasted Broccoli:

  • 2 lb. of broccoli florets, the small the better
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-4 Tbs Parmesan Cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a ziplock bag place everything but cheese and shake until evenly coated.

Place on a foil lined sheet pan.  Spread broccoli out evenly.

Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese the last-minute or two of cooking.

Buffalo Oven Fries

I was watching a favorite cooking show of mine and attempted to recreate what I saw one of the guests make.  It combined french fries Mr.Picky’s favorite thing, buffalo sauce a flavor we both enjoy, and blue cheese a favorite of mine.  Buffalo Oven FriesWhat could go wrong?  Well actually something did but it was all fixed thanks to Mr.Picky who on this evening had a lot more patience than I did.

My patients were thin on this particular evening, and I wasn’t feeling very good.  After baking my oven fries longer than already specified in no way did they resemble the crunchy brown ones that came out of the studio oven.  I was ready to give up, Mr.Picky tried one and said the taste like fries they are fine.  All I have to say is I think this show cheated and deep-fried their fries to get them to look this way, I don’t believe you can bake fries to that perfection.  After I sucked up my poor attitude and tried the fries I was ready to move on to the buffalo version.  We pulled some plain fries off the baking sheet for the kids and continued to our buffalo flavor adventure.

Buffalo Oven Fries:

  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into french fry size pieces
  • 2 Tbs grape seed oil or olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Buffalo sauce (we prefer Frank’s)
  • 1/4 cup or less of blue cheese crumbles
  • Healthier Ranch to dip

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place peeled and sliced potatoes in a large bowl.  Toss with oil, salt, and pepper and spread in a single layer on a sheet pan.  Bake the potatoes for about 40-45 minutes, turning a few times until tender and beginning to crisp.

You can stop at this point if you just want oven baked fries, if you want to take your fries of a flavor vacation continue.

Scrap fries back into a large bowl and toss with as much buffalo sauce as you would like.  Pour them back on the sheet pan and sprinkle with blue cheese.

Place back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Serve with my healthier ranch to dip.

Seasoned Roasted Cauliflower

I found this wonderfully sounding recipe one day for a roasted cauliflower soup.  You roasted the heavily seasoned cauliflower and added it to your soup when it was almost done.  The recipe turned out to be a bust, out of it came the wonderfully seasoned roasted cauliflower though.

Before I added the finished cauliflower to the soup I tasted it, the kids tasted it and we couldn’t get enough.  It was like eating candy or potato chips.  None of us could stop.  Unfortunately I added it to the soup with was so bland and needed doctoring just to eat it for dinner.  I tossed the soup recipe but kept the first part and make this as a side dish often.

Seasoned Roasted Cauliflower

Seasoned Roasted Cauliflower:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2-3 Tbs of olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix until evenly coated.  Sometimes I even shake it all together in a gallon bag.

Spread on a foil lined baking sheet, and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender.  Stirring once or twice to evenly brown.

Parmesan-Mayo Crusted Salmon (Almost?)

I had a few salmon fillets that we were going to eat for dinner.  Wanting to step out of my usual recipe, this is the recipe I found Oven Roasted Salmon with Parmesan-Mayo Crust | she cooks…he cleans.  Maybe I didn’t follow instructions correctly but this was almost a complete fail.  I didn’t use as much salmon as called for but I reduced the amounts of mayo and parmesan.  Or did this fail because I didn’t make homemade mayonnaise?  Although I did use a high quality olive oil mayo.

Although it turned out not to be a favorite recipe it was good.  The quantities of the topping just didn’t come out right.  There was way too much sauce on top of our fish, we couldn’t even taste our fish and ended up scraping it off.  Adjustments of this recipe are needed for us to ever make again.

Not that my pictures are amazing on a normal day, these photos are just terrible.  The sauce topping the fish was overpowering.  This is what happens when I don’t trust my gut, lesson learned.

Parmesan and Mayo Crusted Salmon

You can try the original recipe as linked but this is my suggestion if I ever make it again.

Parmesan-Mayo Crusted Salmon:

  • 2 large (6 oz.) fillets of salmon
  • 1 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Rinse and pat dry your salmon.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.  Easy on the salt parmesan is very salty already.

Mix together mayo and parmesan, and spread an even thin layer over fish.

Placing salmon in a cast iron skillet or baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until flaky depending on thickness of salmon.

Do Girls Make the Best Sandwiches???

Sandwich

I was making preparing lunch for the family last week and was making some sandwiches.  Nothing out of the ordinary I make them all the time.  After we had finished our lunch Mr.Picky turned to me and said, “Girls make the best sandwiches”.  He explained that if he had made the sandwich himself, it just wouldn’t have been as good.  These were pretty good sandwiches, but I began to think do we?

I asked Mr.Picky, “is it the fact that someone else is preparing your food, or is it the fact that I am a girl?”  He was sure it was because I was a girl.  I thanked him, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since.  I worked in a restaurant as mostly a cook for over 7 years.  It was an old drive-in that served burgers, sandwiches, and shakes.  So I have had my fair share of sandwich making.  I want to know what others think.  Is it the fact of experience, someone else preparing your food, or that I am a girl?  What makes a good sandwich?

SandwichLayering and seasoning a sandwich is what make the difference to me.  I always season my sandwiches with salt and pepper, just like you would anything else you are serving.  Mr.Picky is also very fond of bacon, who isn’t?  So I try and bake a pound of bacon up to add to this and that or add to a sandwich when we have it.

Baking Bacon:

Baking BaconBaking bacon is a great way to cook your bacon evenly and without all that splatter.  I cover my sheet pan in foil and place my bacon on without it touching.  Bake it at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until desired crispness.  Flipping half way through.  Remove bacon to a plate covered with paper towels to drain grease.  Allow pans to cool slightly, crumple up the foil and clean up is done.

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