Homemade Banana Bread

I have a really yummy banana bread recipe I posted back in 2014 that I made up one night before bed by looking at 3 or 4 old 'grandma' recipes and doing what feel right with those as the basis for my brainstorm.  (  This post is really just a "oh yeah" post for anyone who has bananas to use up - just make banana bread!  If you don't want to eat it now, just wrap it in plastic wrap and then foil and toss it into your freeze until you want to defrost and serve it.

Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas
1 c sugar or equivalent sweetener
1/2 c applesauce of choice
2 eggs
1 t baking soda
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
*optional:  chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you mash the bananas in a bowl with a mixer.  Stir in the sugar and let it stand for 15 minutes.  Add the applesauce and eggs.  Beat. Add the rest of the ingredients and pour into a 9X5" greased loaf pan.  Bake 45-55 minutes until the toothpick or sharp knife test into the center comes out clean.  Let it stand for 10 minutes in the pan before you remove and let cool completely.

OPTIONAL:  Nuts.  I love adding chopped walnuts in my banana bread - I have family members who hate nuts in theirs.  I make both.  If you add 1/2 cup or so of chopped nuts, be sure to sprinkle extra on top so you can tell which loaves have nuts and which don't.

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Homemade Pudding Pops - Chocolate and Vanilla

I happen to be the very proud owner of vintage Tupperware popcicle molds - the exact ones my Mother owned back in the early 1970's.  But when I was shopping at my local Walmart a few weeks ago I came across these primary colored ice pop molds that were on clearance.  For a quarter (yes, a quarter!) I picked up 4 of them.

I wasn't in the mood for popcicles so I decided to make pudding pops!  

Pudding Pops

1 package cook and serve chocolate pudding
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (unflavored or vanilla)
1 cup evaporated milk, half and half or heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla (freezing the pops mellows the vanilla flavoring so I like to add a bit extra)
1 pkg. unflavored gelatin with a couple tablespoons of cold water to soften it

Sprinkle the dry unflavored gelatin over a couple tablespoons cold water.  Let it set to soften a couple minutes.  Mix the pudding mix according to directions but use a mixture of almond milk and heavy cream or half and half.  You can also use evaporated milk (this is the the kind without water in it; NOT the same as sweetened condensed milk). Whisk in the gelatin mixture and cook over medium heat according to directions on the pudding package.  Let it cool for 5-10 minutes while you get the molds ready.  Pour into the molds and freeze for 10-12 hours as the pudding mixture is so warm it will take longer to cool then freeze.  If you opt to use instant, it should freeze in 3-4 hours instead.

For the Vanilla versions I simply made homemade vanilla pudding, added the gelatin and repeated the instructions above by pouring and freezing.

1 c half and half or cream
1 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c natural granulated sweetener
2 t unflavored gelatin
3 egg yolks
3 T butter - real
4 t vanilla extract

Sprinkle the dry gelatin over a couple tablespoons of water or half and half.  Let it set. Combine the sweetener and milk(s) of choice in a pan on the stove.  Cook over medium heat until the sweetener is dissolved.  Beat the egg yolks in a bowl and slowly drizzle in about a cup of the hot milk(s) mixture in while whisking.  As soon as it's incorporated, pour this back into the pan with the milk/sweeteners.  Whisk in the gelatin and the vanilla.  After a couple minutes of cooking and whisking; Turn off the heat, add the butter.  Let this cool for 5-10 minutes while you get the molds ready.  When it's cooled a bit, pour and deep freeze for 10-12 hours.

Run hot water over the pop-ice molds for a minute to loosen the pudding pop from the mold so it slides out easily.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Oreo Cookies - Two Cookies in One

I decided to make Mr. Husband homemade chocolate chip cookies sandwiched between an Oreo using the similar version of a sugar free chocolate sandwich cookies and natural sweeteners instead of the full sugar versions.

Guess what?  The two companies that used to make sugar free versions of an Oreo (chocolate sandwich cookies), no longer make them!  

My plans of making these with natural non-sugar sweeteners and sugar free versions of the Oreos; all those plans went out the window so in the end, regular Oreos were used. 

I bought two packages; the lowest sugar count with a flavor I thought would go with chocolate chip cookies was the Oreo Peanut Butter flavor with 10 grams of sugar.  I went ahead and bought a package of regular as well (because it was a 2 for deal) had 13 grams of sugar.  Ouch!  But because I only buy Oreos about every 7 years, it was a splurge I don't have to feel too bad about.

I used my favorite homemade chocolate chip cookie dough, added a couple tablespoons peanut butter powder since I was going to use peanut butter Oreos.  In the end I used both flavors of Oreos.  If you don't want to use my chocolate chip cookie recipe, use whichever you wish but keep in mind it has to be a recipe that doesn't flatten out to a skinny, flat cookie.  You want one that has the correct amounts of brown sugar and flour or calls for a package of dry pudding mix in it (the starches help it stay thick and cake like).

Because I want to share any helpful hints I can I want to tell you that after I added peanut butter powder to my dough, I worried I needed just a touch more brown sugar to make up for the dry/unsweetened addition.  I added about 1/4 cup more brown sugar and that addition completely threw my tried-and-true chocolate chip cookie dough 'off' and the first batch flattened out like they never, ever do.  I added more flour to the rest of the dough in the bowl which helped.  Lesson learned; don't have too much sugar or the cookies will spread out and flatten too much and the Oreo sandwiching them is useless and looks silly. 

The peanut butter powder was NOT necessary or important; it's just an addition I made as I was planning to use Peanut Butter Oreos.

Chocolate Chip Stuffed Oreo Cookies

1/2 c butter
1 c packed brown sugar
3 T white sugar
1 large egg
2 t vanilla
1 3/4 c a/p flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
8 oz chocolate chips
1 package Oreos of your choice

In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugars until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, powder, and salt. Stir or beat into butter mixture until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Carefully twist the sandwich cookies apart.  Use a scoop or spoon to scoop a mound of dough out and place it between the 2 cookies.  Gently place the two cookies back together, sandwiching in the dough and press to hold it in place.  I found the Oreos made today are oddly fragile.  Just gently twisting them and pulling them apart was enough to crack or break almost half of them.  Try NOT to crack them because it will ruin your final cookie.  See the notes below on what your cookies will look like if you accidentally crack or break them while pulling them apart. Only use whole cookies if you need them to look 'pretty'.

Bake 3 inches apart at 375° until cookies are lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Bake them about 1-2 minutes longer if you think they may still be too soft in the center.  Let cook 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to finish cooling on racks.

Sandwich chocolate chip cookie dough between an Oreo.

Ready for the oven.  Note I baked some on parchment first, but the rest were baked on the cookie sheet without parchment - which I liked better as it made the bottoms just a little more crisp.  Both worked.  Use what you wish.

In hindsight, I wish I had not added the extra brown sugar as it changed the final cookie. The ones I added more flour to make up for my sugar addition to turned out thicker and held together nicer.



Just gently twisting the cookie apart often caused it to crack.  I assumed it should be 'fine' and used many of them anyway.  I want to add these two photos to show you what happens to the finished cookie!  They still taste perfect, but if you want them to be 'pretty', don't use the cookies that break or crack. 

A cracked cookie......                                                                                 Bakes 'apart' and looks a bit goofy.

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Comfort Foods for Fall: Chicken Enchiladas (quick and easy)

I know I've posted this at some point in the last 12 years - but it's a good reminder now that Fall is in the air.  This is a great Fall food.

This is a 'comfort food' - it's easy, and cheap to make, feeds a lot of people and tastes so good.  You can also add and delete things in it to make it your own.  It's a recipe I've been making since 2000.  At the time the 3 kids were little and we often had extra kids over for dinner; this was a meal I could whip up and make more or less of to feed as many as we needed.  Adjust pretty much everything to 'play with it' and you can also use more or less of the filling inside the flour tortillas to adjust for more people.  Make 2 pans (double the recipe) if you need to feed more people - and don't forget all the toppings!  You can add more or less of those as well.

Chicken Enchiladas

1 can cream of chicken soup (regular, fat free, etc.)
1/2 c sour cream
1 t dried minced onion
1/2 t dried minced garlic or 1 t fresh chopped or minced
1/2 c chopped green pepper
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
3 oz. cream cheese of your choice
2 c shredded cheese - mild cheddar or a mix of cheddar/colby/mozzarella etc.
1-2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 pkg. flour tortillas (low carb, whole wheat, regular... your choice)
*add anything else you like as well; a small can of green mild chilies, some jalapeno, salsa, diced tomato, a drained can of corn, some rinsed and drained cooked black beans, use beef or diced cooked leftover steak instead of chicken... the options are endless.

Be sure to taste test the mixture and add more or less garlic, cumin and chili powder according to your own tastes.  These amounts were from my original notes in 2000 but we normally use about a tablespoon of fresh garlic, and about 2 t each of cumin and chili powder, and we always add jalapenos etc.

Place the soup, sour cream, onion, garlic, green pepper, spices and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 or 2 minutes until the cream cheese is soft and you can stir and blend it all easily with a wood spoon or rubber spatula.  Add the cooked, diced or shredded chicken, half the shredded cheese and add anything else you wish; adjust seasonings as spicy as you like.  When you are happy with the filling, spoon it into the flour tortillas.

Divide the filling equally between the flour tortillas.  If you have extra filling left, just spoon it over the top of the enchiladas. Top with the last half of the shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until it's warmed through; uncover and let it bake another 5-8 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Serve as is or place random toppings out;  shredded lettuce, shredded cabbage, fresh diced tomatoes, avocados, onions, black olives, salsa, taco sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, diced jalapenos...

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No Pasta Lasagna - Low Carb

No Pasta Lasagna

I used my own homemade spaghetti sauce that I make, food vacuum seal and freeze.  Use whichever sauce you prefer just make sure you are reading labels to make sure of the carb and sugar content.

For the no-pasta noodles:
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 c mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 t Italian Seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder
Place items in a food processor and blend smooth.  Spread smooth into a 9X13" pan you've lined with parchment.  Bake about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool or chill while you make the rest.
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or mixture of beef/sausage if that's what you prefer.)
Brown in a pan on the stove with:
  • 1 t Italian seasoning, 1 t garlic powder, 1 t dried oregano, 1 t onion powder
Also use:
  • 1 1/2 - 2 c spaghetti sauce of you choice (I make mine homemade) Check carb and sugar counts on yours
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 t dried basil
  • 1/3 c mozzarella or Parmesan cheese

Turn the 9X13 pan of baked cheese "pasta" the long way in front of you and slice it into 3rds.  You now have 3 sheets that are the same size as a bread loaf pan. These are going to substitute the pasta.  Mix the basil into the ricotta cheese.  Sometimes if the ricotta is a brand that isn't very thick (brands differ) then I beat in 1 egg.  Up to you.  I use cottage cheese with an egg when I don't have ricotta on hand.  You can also use sour cream instead of cottage cheese or ricotta if that's all you have on hand.

In a loaf pan, layer your lasagna as you usually do.  A bit of sauce, a sheet of cheese-pasta, meat, the ricotta cheese mixture, sauce, cheese-pasta, meat, ricotta.  Layer at least 3 layers and you should be to the top of the loaf pan.  Sprinkle with parmesan or mozzarella (or even a mixture of cheddar jack if that's what you have in the house).  Bake about 25-35 minutes at 350 until golden brown, bubbly and hot all the way through (depends on the thickness of your pan, your oven's 'personality' for baking, etc)  Let set at least 10 minutes to set up - or if you dig into it right away (like we always do) expect it to look more like a casserole on your plate because you didn't allow it to set up.  We enjoyed with a green salad and blue cheese dressing on the side.

The pasta substitute

Spread into a pan and ready to bake

This is your finished 'pasta' which is really an egg/cheese mixture

Layer as you usually do with lasagna - only use a bread or loaf pan

Ready for the oven

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Homemade BLT's - Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches - an "oh yeah, I forgot about those" dinner!

Yeah, I know you don't actually need a recipe for these; but you might need a reminder they even exist.  And I only say that because in our family we will go 6 months without remembering they exist and then standing in the kitchen one night I'll suddenly realize I'm craving a BLT and I'll say to myself "Oh yeah.... I forgot all about those!"

So that is why I'm bothering to post this.  As a reminder that not only do BLT's exist... but they are so yummy!


2 pieces of toast

Sandwich together... and eat!

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From My September 1st Instagram: Easy and No Work Dry Rub BBQ Ribs

Although I've posted our favorite dry rub recipe more than a couple times on An American Housewife, I posted it to my Instagram account yesterday as I was making them (again) and I wanted to make it easy for any followers to find the recipe on my site.  

We have these fairly often because they are a family favorite here.  We use beef ribs, simply because it's a preference of ours over pork but you certainly can use pork if you wish.  Also:  I slow cook these in all different ways depending on the day, the weather, and how much time I have to get them ready.

Options that I've used are the oven, a slow cooker/crock pot, an Instant Pot and a solar oven (sun oven).  All of them work fabulously.  The solar ovens, crock pots and instant pots use moisture in the cooking process so wrapping in foil isn't 'needed' but it does help bring the tender ribs out in one piece so I recommend it.  When in the oven, yes, use heavy foil sealed tightly as it traps in the moisture to slow cook them without them going dry or burning.  You want them to be moist and tender.

This dry rub makes a huge amount; bag it in little ziplocks or store in a Mason jar for up to 3 meals.

 Dry Rub

1 T cumin
1 T paprika
1 T granulated garlic
1 T granulated onion
1 T chili powder
1 T brown sugar
2 T salt
1 t ground Coriander seed
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t black pepper
1 t white pepper

Mix in a bowl.  Sprinkle on damp beef ribs as heavy or light as you wish for your personal taste. 
Wrap the ribs in heavy aluminum foil - add a dash of apple cider vinegar and if you have it; a dash of orange juice to the ribs, wrap tightly in the foil or just add to the crockpot/slowcooker, or bake in a solar oven or in the oven at 350.

Slow cook them however you wish til tender enough to easily pull off the bone.  Remove ribs to finish off either on the grill or under the broiler for a few minutes to finish them up.  

*If you want to make a BBQ Sauce from the juices; Opening one side of the foil, pour off the juices into a pan on the stove and then unwrap the ribs completely. Make a sauce out of the juices you poured off the meat, by adding a heavy dose of (low sugar) ketchup, brown sugar sweetener, and a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.  I simply kept spoon tasting until I got the sweetness I liked.  (about 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar sweetener).   Medium high heat to boil gently until it's reduced to a thick sauce.  Broil the ribs under the broiler for a few minutes each side until golden brown.  Drizzle with the sauce and serve.

I like to use beef ribs - but you can use pork

It makes a LOT of spice mix.  Use it sparingly or heavy; up to you.

Tightly wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil to catch all the juice as it cooks

Cook them really, any way you wish.  The idea is to slow cook them until they are completely done and tender enough to pull off the bone.
Fix it and forget it!  Cooked all day on low, tightly wrapped, they don't dry out. Finish on the grill or under broiler.


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Lots of BASIL in your garden? Take 1 minute and DRY IT! EASY!

I know I've posted about this before but darn-it, I'm going to again.  Because it's just soooo easy and quick and homegrown basil just has so much more flavor than the store bought stuff!!!  Seriously, if you have 1 minute, you have enough time to dry some basil.

You can see in the photo above I have a little glass jar I've recycled (one of a billion because in our home I find a use for everything... everything!  And rarely throw things away).  Save old spice jars so you can refill them with either your own homegrown or if you buy in bulk to save money you can put them in smaller jars for using/serving etc.

OK now back to basil.
  • Pick it.
  • Rinse it.
  • Place it on a paper towel.
  • Put another paper towel over.
  • Put in the microwave and turn it on for about 1 minute.
  • Check it by lifting the paper towel (which is there to absorb moisture).
  • You can now leave the paper towel off - and move the basil around a little bit, checking which might already be dry and which might need a few more seconds.
  • Turn it back on for another 15 seconds or so... check again.
  • Let the basil sit out on the counter for a minute for it to cool so you can really see how dry it is.  If it's dry, and cool then it's time to either just put it all into a bottle or jar as it is or you can crumble it or chop it if you wish.  It crumbles easily, it stores perfectly and it's ready for use in food dishes immediately.

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Quick and Easy! Homemade Low Carb, Sugar Free, Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins

There is nothing particularly stunning about this muffin recipe.  It doesn't have a crumbly lemon topping like some of my blueberry muffin recipes. It doesn't combine  flavors (like lemon and blueberry) as some of my other versions do.  It is just a simple, basic almond flour blueberry muffin recipe if you need to whip up something very quickly at the last minute.

They taste good but be sure you allow time for them to cool before serving as the taste improves as they cool and the stay together better when cool, as they are prone to easy breakage (due to the only almond flour base) when hot.

My husband loves these even more than the 'fancier' muffins I usually make.  And I like these because I can whip them up fast using only a bowl, a wooden spoon and/or whisk, and the oven.

 Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins

2 c almond flour
1 T sweetener of choice in granular form (Ideal, etc.)
1/4 t sea salt
1/2 t baking soda
2 eggs
2 T sugar free honey
1 T apple cider vinegar

1 t vanilla and 1/4 t almond extract
1 cup blueberries; frozen or fresh

Whisk or beat the eggs, honey, vinegar, extracts.  Blend the dry and add it to the wet, along with the blueberries. Mix just until blended completely.  Scoop or spoon into 12 lined muffin tins.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the centers are done; about 20 minutes depending on how your oven runs, and the baking pan used.   Cool.

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