bookmark_borderSANDRA’S BANANA-RAISIN BREAD (2 loaves)

A recipe I created years ago and has been proven
as a favorite for many over time…

Prep: 15 Mins.

Bake: 1-1/4 Hours
Yields: 2 Loaves
INGREDIENTS
Wet:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 (5.3-oz. containers) Chobani yogurt (I used peach purchased at Costco)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dry (Sifted through a sieve atop wet ingredients):
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fold-in:
3 medium, ripe bananas, smashed (if small use 4, if large use 2)
1 cup raisins
METHOD
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (not 350 degrees or else the loaves will become too dry). Prepare loaf pans (2 regular) by spraying with baking spray; set aside.
In a stand mixer bowl attached with the paddle, add eggs and beat on medium speed until light and foamy. Add oil, yogurt and vanilla extract; mix on medium speed until incorporated.
Place a sieve over wet ingredients in bowl, add all dry ingredients and shake to sift over the wet. Mix on low speed initially to begin incorporating, then on medium only to moisten. (Try not to over-mix).
Use a large spoon to fold in mashed bananas and raisins to combine, while scraping edges of bowl.
Spoon even amounts of batter into loaf pans, then tap loaf pans on a hard surface to release air bubbles.
Bake in preheated oven for 1-1/4 hours, just until a toothpick inserted in center of a loaves comes out clean.
Remove from baking sheet to baking rack (in loaf pans) and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from loaf pans and place back on rack on their long side, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for 30 minutes, turn loaves on other side for 30 minutes, then upright for the remainder of the cooling time. ~ Enjoy!

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S ALASKA HEARTY FALL VEGETABLE LASAGNA (Downsized)

You’ll never miss the meat with this hearty veggie lasagna,
it’s full-flavored and scrumptious,
especially when served with sides of
warm and crispy garlic bread
and a garden salad tossed with a freshly made vinaigrette…

Servings: (4-6)
Prep: 20 Mins.
Bale: 1 hour
INGREDIENTS
White Sauce
1-1/2 cup 2% low-fat small curd cottage cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan, plus more for topping
1 large egg, beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry onion granules
2 tablespoons freshly julienned basil (from my garden)
1 teaspoon dry Italian herb blend
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pasta
10 Curly Edged dry pasta noodles, broke in half and cooked according to pkg directions (only for 12 minutes)
–drain, then pull apart using tongs to cool slightly
Sautéed Vegetable mixture
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 mini bell peppers: 2 orange, 2 red, diced (from my garden)
1/4 yellow onion, diced
2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4″ half moons
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Shredded Cheese Mixture
2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
Marinara
4 cups marinara sauce (either your favorite store bought, or my homemade recipe; CLICK LINK)
METHOD
Preheat oven to 350F. Set aside an 8×8″ square glass baking dish, including a baking sheet to set it on top of while baking (to prevent potential spillage).
In a medium bowl, combine all of the white sauce ingredients; set aside.
Prepare the pasta, as directed above.
In a large non-stick skillet, add the olive oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add all the ingredients and sauté for 7 to 9 minutes, just until the onions are translucent but not browned. Remove from heat to slightly cool.
To arrange the lasagna, add enough marinara to cover bottom of baking dish.  Lay a layer of lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly to cover marinara.  Add enough marinara to cover noodle layer.  Add 1/3 of the sauce mixture, 1/3 of the cheeses, and 1/3 of the vegetable mixture. Repeat laying from the noodles in the opposite direction 1 more time.
To finish, topping off, add the final layer of the vegetable mixture, the remaining cheeses, then top by drizzling 4 strips of marinara across the top (as in photo), then sprinkle the marinara strips with parmesan.
Bake for 40 minutes covered, topped with parchment then foil, for 40 minutes. Uncover (save the parchment and foil to store in frig later if you have leftovers), then continue baking for 20 minutes until top cheesy portions turn golden brown and delicious. Let stand, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes to set prior portioning out and serving.~ Enjoy!

bookmark_borderSANDRA’S EASY ONE-PAN CHICKEN THIGH and RICE CREOLE BAKE

First, I sear the chicken thighs, then add all the other ingredients,
cover and bake for 50 minutes = absolute perfection with crispy, moist chicken
and heavenly seasoned rice!
Servings: 3-4
Prep: 5 Mins.
Cook  10 Mins.
Bake: 50 Mins.
Rest: 10 Mins.
INGREDIENTS
Spice blend (divided):
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s in the green container)
1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Chicken:
3-4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, (mine are from Costco the 3-pack tends to come with 3/4 thighs)
1/2 of above spice blend mixture (reserve other 1/2 for rice, below)
1 teaspoon Mazola oil
Plus, 1 tablespoon Mazola oil for searing
Rice:
1 cup raw Calrose rice (short-grain)
Remaining 1/2 of spice mixture
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon juice
METHOD
Preheat oven to 400F. Place an ovenproof medium-size stainless steel skillet, with lid, aside.
Add all the spice blend ingredients onto a paper plate, then whisk to combine; set aside.
Place the skillet (see photo) over high heat on stovetop with 2 tablespoons of Mazola oil.
Meanwhile, pat chicken thighs dry with paper towel, including using kitchen shears to cut any excess fat without disturbing skin on under-side.  Place prepared thighs in a medium bowl.  Add half the spice mixture and drizzle with 1 teaspoon Mazola oil, then gently rub spices into both sides to coat evenly.
Place chicken skin-side down using tongs into hot skillet, while sliding back and forth initially when doing so to prevent sticking. Sear for 4 minutes on skin-side down, turn over then do the same on the under-side for 4 more minutes. Remove seared chicken thighs to a paper plate and set aside; drain grease from pan while reserving drippings.
Reduce heat under pan to medium-high and add the raw rice and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the other 1/2 of the reserved spice mixture, ketchup, Worcestershire, and lemon juice; sauté for 30 seconds.
Deglaze pan with chicken stock while scraping bottom with a wooden spoon.  Using tongs, place the seared chicken thighs back into pan atop the rice, skin-side up.  Cover, then bake, undisturbed, for 50 minutes.
Remove pan from oven, leaving covered, and let rest for 10 minutes for chicken juices to redistribute. ~ Enjoy!