Monday, September 28, 2009

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

We don't like regular banana bread with chocolate chips. But we DO like (love actually) chocolate banana bread with chocolate chips. It tastes like a decadent cake! Kind of embarrassed to show the picture. I should have taken the picture BEFORE I turned it over and it fell apart as it came out of the pan. I probably should have let it cool longer. But here's the picture anyway.
Haha. This picture makes me laugh. But we seriously ate it just like this because it was so tasty. Here's the recipe:


1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk, Guittard)

Heat oven to 350°. Spray bottom of loaf pan with cooking spray (apparently use a lot—haha). Beat sugar, eggs, and oil in a large bowl at medium speed until combined. Beat in banana (I blended mine separately) and vanilla on low speed. Beat flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into mixture on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into pan. Bake 60–70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool ten minutes (maybe this is what went wrong with mine!). Remove from pan and cool on wire rack (but how can you resist warm chocolate bread?!).
*You could leave out the chocolate chips to make it a little healthier. But why?!

**UPDATED April 1, 2010**

I made this again using DARK chocolate cocoa, and in mini loaf pans. It was SO good! I put bittersweet chocolate chips in one loaf, and it took it over the top!
Wrapped in colored cellophane, these mini loaves were the perfect little treat for our cute nieces! Just their size!

Chicken Roll-Ups (aka Chicken Pillows)

Another recipe from Lindsey's mom. These little pockets of creamy chicken goodness are too easy to pass up! Ingredients:
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
(I've used canned chicken before and it makes it even easier! CostCo's is the best I've found)
6–8 ounces cream cheese (can use low-fat)

1/8 tsp pepper (I usually don't measure this, but we like pepper)

2 packages crescent rolls (can also use low-fat)

Butter for dipping (melted)

Cornflake crumbs
(I didn't have any this time and used Panko bread crumbs, but I think the Cornflake crumbs hold up better to the sauce)

Sauce Ingredients:

1 can of cream of chicken soup (I used low-fat)

1/4 cup sour cream (I used low-fat)

1/2 can of milk (measure it in the soup can)

Mix together the chicken, cream cheese, and pepper. Open the two packages of crescent rolls. Roll spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in the rolls, starting at the pointed end. Dip in melted butter, then roll in crushed corn flakes. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 20–25 minutes. While they are cooking, prepare the sauce by combining the sauce ingredients together in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Spoon sauce over the roll-ups to serve.

*You could also modify this recipe to make it more like chicken cordon bleu by using a chopped ham and swiss mixture instead of chicken.

Creamy Chicken Soup

One day when we both were feeling a little “blah,” I (Lindsey) decided to make Liz Edmunds' Creamy Chicken Soup (page 51 if you have her cookbook) for dinner. I am not a huge fan of chicken soup...-gasp- I know, terrible, right? Growing up, when I was sick I liked tomato soup...but that's beside the point. This chicken soup, however, is phenomenal! If you have her book you should give it a try!

And how cute is this in the bread bowl?? If you don't have bread bowls, you can serve the soup in big rolls, which is a smaller portion (but just enough for Lindsey).


Hot Fudge Cake

Sorry for the absence! With school starting up again we've been really busy! This recipe is quick and easy chocolate-y goodness! You don't even need a bowl to mix it in. Thanks to Lindsey's mom for the recipe.
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts—if desired (I've never put nuts in)

You will also need:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cup very hot tap water

Heat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients in ungreased 9x9 square pan with fork. Spread in pan.

Sprinkle with 1 cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa. Pour the hot water over the top (it will look like it's not going to work out, but it will).

Bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm topped with ice cream (this is a must!). Spoon sauce from pan over the top.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Pineapple Coconut Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sorry there's no picture for this post! The cake was gobbled up too fast!

If you've got a lot of garden zucchini around, you've definitely got to make this cake! I'd make it even if I had to buy the zucchini! It's delicious! I found the recipe on Taste and Tell (there's a picture of it on that blog).

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 pinch ginger, optional
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 whole large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini* (see note)
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained (reserve juice in case you need it for the cake batter or frosting)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.
Combine oil, eggs, and vanilla; stir well. Stir egg mixture, grated zucchini, and pineapple into flour mixture. Batter will be stiff and dry but keep folding it and it will all come together (I had no problem with it being too dry, it was very wet—I wasn't sure it would work out but it did). If it still seems too dry, just add a little splash of the pineapple juice.
Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray (I used a jelly-roll pan, so they were thinner, more like brownies). Bake at 350° for about 33-35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs and cake is pulling away from sides of pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar (approx)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
splash of milk or pineapple juice, if necessary
chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Add a splash of milk or pineapple juice if necessary. Spread frosting over top of cake. You can garnish with chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired.

*NOTES : I had a large zucchini, so I scraped out the seeds before shredding it. Try to squeeze or drain out most of the liquid.
This recipe can be turned into a Carrot Cake just by substituting carrots for the zucchini.

Give it a try—it's delicious!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rating: Pho + Noodle House

We went to Pho Plus on their fourth day of business. We had seen the banner out front and thought it looked good and somewhat stalked them. Lindsey was happy when she saw the open sign driving home from work. After a little research, we learned “Pho” is pronounced “fuh,” and is a Vietnamese beef broth based soup (with various additives).It's hard to spot from State Street and doesn't look like much on the outside, but we were impressed when we walked in. It is small, but feels upscale.
Highest rating to-date!

You could tell the servers were a little inexperienced, as they needed to look at the menu to see what we wanted to order, but they made up for it with friendliness.

Stew ordered the Spicy Orange Chicken Combination Platter. It was $10 and there was so much food!
He loved the soup that came with it (Pho soup, top of the picture), they were really nice and even brought him another bowl (free food=bonus points!). Next time we want to order a bowl of pho for dinner (we saw people around us eating it—huge bowls of deliciousness!). The one thing he thought could have improved the dish was less breading on the chicken.

Lindsey ordered the BBQ Chicken Vermicelli (extra fine noodles) bowl.So good. The spring rolls that came with it were phenomenal! The texture and flavor was incredible and fresh. Next time we go we are getting the spring roll appetizer.

We ordered the Tempura (fried) Ice Cream for dessert.
It was the best fried ice cream we can remember eating. Way better than Blue Iguana's or Los Hermanos' fried ice cream. It tasted fresh, and there was a carmel-y coating on the outside.

Pho Plus was a great dining experience, food-wise and culturally (we ate our meals with chopsticks, go us!). If you are in Northern Utah, you have to try Pho Plus!

Rating: Pirate Island Pizza

On Monday, Nate (Stew's brother) and Brooke (his wife) and their family invited us to get dessert with them at Pirate Island Pizza. Of course we said yes! It was nice of them to think of us! Thanks guys!

Here's our rating:

When we first walked in to Pirate Island Pizza, we felt like we were in Disneyland.
The atmosphere was great; the boys were in pirate heaven!
They even give you pirate hats, which the boys also loved!

Nate and Brooke loved them too :)
Brooke, Lochlan, and Rowan ordered a bowl of ice cream. Nate and Ethan ordered the Cookie Ice Cream Medallions.

We ordered the Mariner's Molten Cake (hoping it would be as good as the one we had at Rooster, which it wasn't).Although we didn't order any “food,” we got a feel for the restaurant by seeing what people around us were eating and looking at the menu. We think you'd go to Pirate Island Pizza for the atmosphere, not the food. It would be great for a kid's birthday party. They even have a 24-inch pizza called the Kraken that could serve a crowd (only $34.99). We probably won't go back on by ourselves, but it was fun with kids!