Easy Banana Bread

Did I ever tell you about the time I bought a 40 lb. box of bananas? They were only $4.99 so it was a really good deal! My husband thought it was completely ridiculous. It was. And I think I have learned my lesson.

I gave some away, but mostly I just made a crazy amount of banana bread and banana muffins. This recipe is great for banana bread, but I also bake it in muffin form sometimes. They freeze well if you happen to have 40lbs. of bananas or so to use up! I also like freezing muffins so that the kids can get their own breakfast when I am not much of a morning person.

Banana bread recipe- so easy to make!

Another nice feature of this recipe is that everything just gets put in the bowl and then mixed really well. Easy!!!

Banana bread recipe... This is so good!

Since I have scaled back my banana bread baking, I keep an eye out for the little bags of discount bananas that are starting to brown at the grocery store. Yellow bananas never have a chance to turn brown in this house- they don't last long enough!

Easy Banana Bread

3 extra-ripe medium bananas 2 eggs 1/3 cup softened butter 3/4 cup sugar 1 1/3 cup flour 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. baking powder

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl in the order given. Mix really well. Pour into greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes back out clean. For muffins, pour into muffin pans either greased or with paper liners and decrease baking time.

 

Easy banana bread recipe that mixes in one bowl!

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Pumpkin Muffins

Zucchini Carrot Casserole

Our summer vegetable garden is pretty much an overgrown weed patch. Seriously. It is the weediest it has ever been and the little that was planted got out late. It is so bad that we just got our first zucchini of the year last night. Most people I know have been drowning in zucchini for weeks, so this is embarrassing. Usually by this time of year, the kids are all sick of the many zucchini recipes I try, but now they are really excited! They are requesting zucchini alfredo, zucchini gratin, and zucchini chocolate cake. I am hoping for a good zucchini crop so that we can make all of those, but last night I decided to make zucchini carrot casserole. Easy summer side dish- zucchini carrot casserole

I haven't shared this recipe on the blog before and it isn't something I make an awful lot because I don't usually buy the key ingredient- stove top stuffing mix. Yes, we try to make food from real ingredients most of the time, but sometimes, like when the summer has been a long and challenging one, I just don't care anymore. This casserole is so easy and that is pretty much my game plan these days.

In a baking dish (mine is 9" x 13") mix cooked zucchini and carrots, sour cream, and a can of cream of chicken. I peeled the zucchini before I cooked it 'cause some of us are picky.

I love this easy zucchini carrot casserole recipe!

Sometimes I make the cream of chicken myself, but I just lack the ambition right now. I am dragging myself to the finish line of summer vacation here, people.

Mix it all up. Don't bother dirtying another bowl. It was bad enough I used two pots to cook the vegetables.

This is so rich and creamy! Zucchini Carrot Casserole

Finally, prepare stove top stuffing according to the package directions and spread it on top of the zucchini mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until everything is heated through and the stuffing starts to get a tiny bit crispy on the edges.

Stove top stuffing over a zucchini carrot casserole

Yummm....

If you have lots of zucchini, this is a good recipe to use some up. It would also work well to take along to a potluck or picnic.

Zucchini Carrot Casserole Recipe
 

Zucchini Carrot Casserole

6 c. cooked zucchini 4 c. cooked carrots 1 pint sour cream 1 can cream of chicken 1 box of chicken stove top stuffing, prepared

Mix zucchini, carrots, sour cream, and cream of chicken in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Top with stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until casserole is heated and stuffing is lightly browned.

Here are some more zucchini recipes you may like:

Zucchini Gratin

 

Zucchini Mock Crab Cakes

 

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

 

 

Pizza Sauce Recipe & Summer Pizza Alternatives

pizza-sauce-canning-recipe.jpg

I love having my homemade pizza sauce on hand. homemade pizza sauce canning recipe

The weather lately has been HOT! I really don't feel like cooking. Making "pizza" doesn't always mean I have to heat up the oven. Here are some options to keep your kitchen cool:

~toasted cheese sandwiches with mozzarella and a little garlic salt- dip it in the sauce ~pizza quesadillas ~pizza mountain pies over a campfire ~english muffin pizzas ~pizza lunchables ~grilled pizza

Grilled pizza- don't heat up the kitchen in the summer!

Keeping sauce and cheese on hand makes these some of my quicker meal options, too.

Eating the sauce from fresh tomatoes with fresh herbs in the summer is so much better, but I also can it for later use. For our household, I like to can about 20 pints of pizza sauce. I usually make it when the tomato harvest is fading at the end of the season and my batches of sauce are smaller. I do a mixture of pints and half-pints.

Fresh or canned pizza sauce

If you want step by step pics of how I make my pizza sauce (for a small batch) click HERE. Since my photography skills and equipment are a little better I thought I would repost the recipe.

Pizza Sauce

8 oz. tomato sauce 1 tsp .oregano ½ tsp. marjoram ½ tsp. basil ½ tsp. garlic salt 1 Tbsp. sugar (I usually add this when I open the jar to use it instead of before canning)

Combine all ingredients and let sit for a half hour to marry the flavors. Alternatively, make a larger batch of pizza sauce using this ratio, place in clean, hot jars topped with lids and bands, and process in a water bath for 30 minutes.

If you would like to pin it for later...

Homemade pizza sauce recipe for canning

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Cheeseburger Soup

A few years ago a friend and I traveled to Lancaster for a quilt show. It was such a blessing for me to be able to get away for a few days! It is the only time I have been able to do something like that and, as much as I missed my kids, I really enjoyed the break from being needed all the time. We stopped at a little Amish diner for lunch when we arrived. I was so excited to be able to sit down and eat a still-warm meal without feeding anyone else, playing referee, or having to go wipe that kid who ALWAYS has to go in the middle of supper. Feeling wild and adventurous by this newfound freedom, I tried something new and ordered cheeseburger soup with my sandwich. It was awesome!!! So, cheeseburger soup always brings fond memories of a good friend and a relaxing time. When I came home, I wanted to try to make my own cheeseburger soup, so I found a recipe in my Amish cookbook that we liked.

Flash forward a few years to a local Christian school's 5K and soup/chili cook-off. I sampled the winning soup- cheeseburger soup! - and she confessed to using frozen hash brown cubes to cut down on the prep time. Now, when we are out of our home grown potatoes and I need to buy them at the store anyway, that is what I get.

And, to cancel out that time saving step, I love to make homemade bread bowls to serve it in! YUM!!!

So good! Cheeseburger soup in a bread bowl

Amish Cheeseburger Soup Recipe

I have made a few changes to the soup over the years, and it can be a little different each time I make it because that is how I cook. Last time, I measured and took pictures so that I could share the recipe here on the blog.

Easy and delicious- cheeseburger soup!

I took some process photos, but my kitchen lighting is pretty awful. If anyone wants to give me the money to completely renovate it and add more windows that would be great! I will even make you some soup! ;)

Also, the pictures show a double batch because I wanted to share some and have leftovers. The measurements I am giving are for a regular batch that will make about 4 quarts of soup.

First, brown 1lb of ground beef in a pot. Drain the grease and put the beef on a plate or in a bowl or something to save it for later. No picture here, because I forgot.

Second, saute one chopped onion, 4 large shredded carrots, 3 stalks finely diced celery, and a Tablespoon of dried parsley in 2 Tablespoons of butter. (The food processor is a big time saver for this step!)

Saute vegetables for cheeseburger soup.

When the vegetables are tender- it usually takes about 10 minutes, add the ground beef and stir.

ground beef and vegetables

Add 6 cups of chicken broth, a teaspoon of salt, and a dash of ground black pepper. Bring to a boil. Then, mix in a 32oz. bag of cubed, frozen hash brown potatoes. (Shredded would work as well, but I like the variety of texture since the carrots are shredded.)

how to make cheeseburger soup

Simmer until the potatoes are tender- about 10-15 minutes.

In a separate, 2 quart pot, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter and whisk in 1/2 cup of flour. When combined, slowly add 3 cups of milk and heat until it begins to thicken. Add it to the soup and stir everything up really well.

how to make easy cheeseburger soup

Finally, add your cheese! Sometimes I use 4 cups of shredded cheddar, and sometimes I live dangerously and add half Velveeta. It is up to you, since I know that Velveeta is offensive to some, even if it is really creamy. If you like, you can also add some sour cream, but I almost always forget.

Cheeseburger soup served in a warm bread bowl- a perfect winter comfort food!

Cheeseburger Soup

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 stick of butter, divided
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • dash of ground black pepper
  • 1 32oz. bag diced, frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese/Velveeta
  • sour cream, optional

Brown ground beef over medium heat. Drain and remove from pot. Saute onion, carrots, and celery in 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-low heat until softened- about 10 minutes. Return ground beef to the pot and add 6 cups of chicken broth, 1 tsp salt, and a dash of ground pepper. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in frozen hash browns. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. In a separate saucepan, melt remaining butter. Mix in flour and gradually add milk. Heat over medium heat until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Stir into the soup. Add cheese and heat on low to melt. May also add sour cream just before serving.

Cheeseburger soup in homemade bread bowls

Feel free to pin it for later!

Easy and delicious- cheeseburger soup!

Here are some more recipes you might like...

Chicken and Waffles

Pirogi Casserole

Sweet & Hot Mustard Recipe- Everyone loves this stuff and it is so easy to make!

Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast Roll-Ups

Since we had a snow day, I decided to make a nice breakfast for the kids. I am not so great at early mornings (see my freezer breakfast solution HERE) but I can handle a nice, late breakfast on a relaxing day at home once in awhile. These are one of my kids' favorites. I always have an assortment of jelly (see HERE) so I can make a variety of them with very little effort.

Quick and easy breakfast idea- peanut butter and french toast roll-ups!

peanut butter and french toast french toast roll-ups

I have horrible lighting in my kitchen, especially on a snowy day, so please excuse my lousy pictures.

Spread peanut butter and jelly on bread. (Seeded Italian bread is not ideal, but it is what we had on hand.) On these I used strawberry, grape, and peach jams.

peanut butter and jelly french toast

Roll them up from the jelly side to the peanut butter side. The jelly oozes and the peanut butter is sticky and helps seal it up. The bread might break apart a bit, so just smoosh it together as needed. If you want to cut the crust off, you can do that, but I don't like to waste/encourage picky eating.

how to make peanut butter and jelly french toast

Mix one egg and a cup of milk in a dish- I use a soup bowl. Roll the bread around in the milk-egg mixture to coat.

french-toast-roll
 

Fry in a lightly greased pan on medium-low heat, rolling around to brown all of the outer edges.

how to make peanut butter and jelly french toast roll-ups

how to cook pbj french toast rolls

Remove from heat and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

You can make these in any flavor just by switching out the jelly! Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast Roll-Ups

I love that these are so easy and add a little extra protein with breakfast. They really aren't that hard to make and it is something different to mix things up.

If you want to pin this for later...

A fun breakfast idea for the kids- peanut butter and jelly french toast roll-ups!

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Baked Omelet Roll

Make Your Own Uncrustables to Freeze

Bread Pudding

Summertime Pinterest Recipes ~ Tested and Approved

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I have been really enjoying trying out new recipes with the bountiful summer harvest! The past few weeks, I have discovered some REALLY good ones!
Zucchini ricotta galette- oh, that just sounds fancy! It looks as pretty as its name, doesn't it? The crust is flaky and wonderful, with just a hint of tartness. The filling and zucchini/summer squash are OK, but the crust is what really makes this dish.
I pinned this roasted veggie mix idea a few years ago. Well, there weren't really any specific directions for it, so I just put it what we had- summer squash, zucchini, carrots, red potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, onion, and a sweet potato. I tossed everything with olive oil and sprinkled with both fresh and dried oregano, garlic salt, and pepper. I roasted it at 350 until the potatoes were done. This picture was the before. The after was just as beautiful and colorful. It was sooooo good!!! The sweet potato was literally fought over. Next time I will add more. The cherry tomatoes and green beans were not as good because their cooking time is shorter.
I am a HUGE fan of crock pot recipes! They are just as awesome in the summertime because I don't have to heat up my kitchen with the oven. I made THESE smashed red potatoes twice now and they are AWESOME!!! I also tried crock pot green beans with bacon, but I skipped the soy sauce and garlic so it was pretty bland. I am not a big soy sauce fan, but I think garlic salt would have been good. 
I also have been trying some grilled recipes. That is another way to keep the heat out of the kitchen. I made grilled pizza the other night (dough recipe HERE). Well, I had a hard time working the dough out into circles with no counter available, so they shapes were awful. My son thought one looked like the shape of America. Also, the grill ran out of gas about halfway through, so I had to take them inside to broil and melt the cheese. They tasted great, though! My son and I made my homemade pizza sauce fresh from his tomatoes. We used fresh herbs, too. Really, there is nothing like it!
Salads are my new "thing" as well! I used to be a very picky eater (no green veggies) but now I am all grown up and stuff so I like them. ;) It does help to have things like bacon to coerce me a bit. Plus, they are also good for light summer meals on hot days. THIS spinach salad with warm bacon dressing was super yummy!
My absolute FAVORITE new recipe is The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Taco Salad. Now, I didn't use the avacado or cilantro, but my family has proclaimed it to be the best salad ever. No picture, though. :( Just imagine it looking exactly like hers. Haha! Not really.
Anyway, I have a Pinterest Check-Offs board if you want to join in- just send me your e-mail so I can add you- and we can collaborate on which Pinterest recipes we have tried and liked!