Friday, July 29, 2011

Chocolate Checkered Banana Bread

This has been the slowest. week. ever. 

Maybe it's because I had off for one job this week, meaning my Tuesday, Thursday and Friday were free to do nothing, I just had to get through a loooong Monday and an even looooonger Wednesday. And Tuesday I spent the majority of my being a taxi driver for my father and brother. Boo. Or maaaaybe it's the fact that today today today, the day I've been waiting for, finally has come. And why is today so special?? Because, today, I, Melissa Anne, finally become a car owner! After impatiently waiting a year, and driving around the car a I loved was less than fond of, we say bye bye brown car and hello Meli's own car!!!!

To pass the time yesterday, I slept in, ate breakfast and then went back to bed, went to the gym and then shopped. It's this terrible problem I have acquired this summer. And then I baked.

I saw that we had three verrrry ripe bananas and decided I would make banana bread. But I didn't want to make ordinary banana bread, and then I found a recipe that looked pretty darn cool.

Chocolate Checkered Banana Bread
source: Pinch of Yum

3 large overripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-5 tablespoons boiling water
9 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan. 
2. In a small bowl, combine the mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside.
3.Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Set aside.
4. Beat the butter and sugar on medium high until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. 
5. Turn the mixer on low and combine the ingredient mixtures in thirds (a third of the banana mixture with a third of the flour, and so on).
6. In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons boiling water. Add more water until the desired texture is reached. I used about 5 tablespoons.
7. Transfer half of the batter to another mixing bowl and mix in the cocoa paste.
8. Drop alternating spoonfuls of the light and dark batters into the pan.Do it quick because the blobs start to run!
**you can swirl the batters to make a more “marbleized” look
9. Bake for 1 hour.

don't mind the quality, it's from my camera, but here's the inside:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Waffles with Blueberry Sauce

It's time for count down galore!

7 days until Tesshead is back in America Ah Ah Ah!
12 days until licstick is home from VT aH aH aH!
30 days until move in!

I arrived home from a wonderful weekend in Syracuse with my wonderful roommates and I always end up blogging away after this happens. Maybe it's the subtle hints I receive..And starting in 1 week, bye bye to my life hello to spending 24/7 with Tess and Al YAY!

Lemon Poppyseed Waffles with Blueberry Sauce

For the Waffles:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp grated lemon peel

For the Blueberry sauce:
1 pint fresh blueberries
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar

Blueberry Sauce-
1. In a saucepan combine blueberries, lemon juice and sugar.
2. Cook on medium until blueberry sauce becomes thick.

1. Whisk flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl to blend. 
2. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. 
3. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture and whisk until just blended. 
4. Let mixture stand 15 minutes. Preheat waffle iron according to instructions and spoon batter into waffle iron. 
5.Cook through about 7 minutes. Top with warm blueberry sauce.

  excuse the poor camera quality..

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shrimp Quesadillas and Avocado Cream Sauce

I saw the title of this recipe and knew it needed to be made. In fact I think I found it on a Thursday and it was Saturday's lunch. Most Saturdays mom makes us all sandwiches on fresh rolls from Skips. So simple yet so delicious. Sandwiches are always better when she makes them. We decided to deviate from the norm and made these (a very odd thing since I refuse change of any kind, even something so simple as that).

Her and I hit the kitchen to concoct these bad boys, sadly I forgot pictures. But they were deeelish. Doesn't help that shrimp and avocados are some of my favorites. But then again so is every food I feel. But these are really tasty. They'd be good for an appetizer or a main meal.

Shrimp Quesadillas and Avocado Cream Sauce 
source:Heather's Dish  

For the shrimp:
1 lb peeled and deveined small shrimp
1/8-1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/8-1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. adobo sauce
1 tsp. salt

For the avocado cream:
1 large, ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
2 cloves chopped garlic
leftover cooked marinade from shrimp
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt (I used greek)

For the quesadilla part:
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese
Any vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, carrot, cabbage, etc) or
fruit (mangoes or pineapple would be good) you would want in a quesadilla- we sauteed up peppers, mushrooms and onions
3 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil

1. Combine the oil, juice, and spices listed under the shrimp category. Pour over shrimp (raw or cooked) and let sit for 20 minutes in the refrigerator to let the flavors combine. 
2. After shrimp has marinated, cook in a nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat until shrimp is pink and firm to the touch. Pull the shrimp out and keep warm. 
3. Boil the liquids for another 10 minutes, then take off the burner and let cool slightly.

4. In a food processor, combine the cubed avocado, chopped garlic, leftover shrimp marinade, and yogurt until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add more yogurt. Chill until ready to serve.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Brush two tortillas on one side with the oil. Put one oil-side-down in the skillet, and sprinkle some of the cheese on top, making sure to cover the tortilla to the edges. Add a quarter of the shrimp and whatever veggies/fruit, sprinkle with a little more cheese, and put the other tortilla on top, oil-side-up. You’ll want to cook the quesadilla on both sides about 2-3 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and just beginning to brown. 
6. When the quesadilla is done, put it on a plate and let cool for 2-3 minutes before cutting. Serve warm with the avocado cream.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Pie

Oh just switching it up from our usual cuisine to Mexican for a night. Mexican food= avocados. Yes please.

We stumbled across this recipe back in February and decided hey why not. It was quite the concoction, a little bit messy but a lot a bit good.

Chicken Tortilla Pie

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast 
1/4 cup+ extra Salsa 
1 cup spicy black bean dip
4- 8 inch tortillas
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 
Cooking spray
1 Avocado chopped
Sour Cream

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Combine chicken and salsa in a medium bowl.
3. Spread 1/4 cup black bean dip over each tortilla. Top each evenly with chicken mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese. Stack tortillas in bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. 4. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese melts. Top with chopped avocado. Cut pie into 4 wedges. 
4. Serve with sour cream and extra salsa if you please.
5. Dig in.

Not exactly the most pretty of meals, but hey, give it a try.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

a birthday! and cupcakes!

Today is a special day. Today we celebrate one of the, if not the most, specialist person in my life's birthday. That person is my momma.

I'm told we look a like. I kind-of see it, in that not-so-kind-of-way but hey, I will take it as the highest compliment because if I can be half as beautiful and half as wonderful, compassionate, caring as she is, I will be one happy camper. Thanks for always putting our needs ahead of yours, always giving us the best and loving us unconditionally. I love you, momma bear!

We celebrated on Sunday with cupcakes and presents because daddy is off gallivanting in the state of New Hampshire today. When I asked what kind of cake she wanted, she told me she didn't need a cake and instead asked if I would make her team muffins for Monday because they would appreciate that. She is always thinking of others and doesn't ask for anything in return. Of course we didn't take no for an answer and so I made cupcakes!

Chocolate Sheet Cake-Cupcakes
source: The Pioneer Woman

2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 sticks Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake trays with liners or spray with non stick spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

3. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
4. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

5. In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. 
6. Pour into cupcake pans and bake 15-20 minutes.

source: MissyDew on Tasty Kitchen

5 Tablespoons Flour 
1 cup Milk (any type, I used 2%)
1 teaspoon Vanilla 
1 cup Butter 
1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)

1.Pour 5 tablespoons of flour into 1 cup of milk. 
2. After adding the flour, whisk it together until combined, then place the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk it as it heats up and thickens, and stop when the mixture is very thick (thicker than cake mix- more like brownie mix) Cool the mixture completely. 
3. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the cooled flour/milk mixture. Stir to combine.
4. Pour one cup of sugar into a bowl with one cup of butter.
5. Whip it around until it’s light and fluffy, scraping the bowl once or twice to make sure it’s all mixed well.
6.  Add the cooled flour/milk/vanilla mixture. Make sure it’s not warm at all!
7. Whip it on medium-high until the mixture resembled whipped cream. About 45 seconds.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Balsamic Bruschetta Chicken

Chicken was always such a staple last year at the apartment, I'm assuming it will be again this year, it's just so versatile and delicious. 

So are tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and balsamic vinegar. 

You can never go wrong with cheese.

Or fresh basil. 

Or balsamic vinegar. Even though Mariah thinks it smells like feet. It surely doesn't taste like feet.

You should still make this. Even though I just referenced feet and food in the same sentence. Sorry.

We also had a visitor over when I made this. He became a regular for dinner. And by regular I mean asked what chef Mel was making for dinner almost every day. Trying to drop hints I see. I'm assuming that means it was tasty.

Balsamic Bruschetta Chicken
source: Picky-Palate

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
Pinch of salt
¼ Cup balsamic vinegar
¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil
8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
8 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and thinly sliced into chiffonade
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat on the stovetop. Spray with cooking spray.  
2. Combine balsamic and olive oil in a bowl.  
3. Season both sides of chicken with pinches of salt and place on grill. Brush top sides of chicken with balsamic mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes and flip chicken. Brush with additional balsamic and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. During the last 2 minutes of grilling place 2 slices of cheese over top each chicken to melt.

4. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, basil garlic, salt and balsamic. Toss gently to combine. Place chicken breasts on a serving plate and top with tomato mixture. Serve warm.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Muffin Monday

I have a list forever long of recipes I need to put up.Yet, I never get around to it. And I like to post the creations I just made as opposed to ones I made prior.

I also have not made muffins for my mother's office in quite some time. Opps.

She asked  me ever so nicely, and since it's her birthday week and she bought fresh blueberries I gave it a whirl after scowering my favorite blogs to find a suitable recipe.

Blueberry Muffins
adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

3 cups minus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Heavy pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 generous cup plain yogurt
2 cups fresh blueberries
Vanilla Extract
Turbinado sugar (optional) 

1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees. Line a muffin tin with liners or spray with non-stick spray.

2. In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In another large bowl whisk together sugar, oil, cap-ful of vanilla, egg, and yogurt. Add the dry ingredients and stir to a count of 10.

4. Add blueberries, reserving 1/2 cup, to mixture and stir 3 times.

5. Add mixture to well-buttered muffin pans. Sprinkle remaining berries on top and press down lightly. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top. (Brown sugar can be used instead.)

6.Bake 20 to 25 minutes and allow to cool completely.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce

I love blue cheese.

I love pasta.

Combined together? Count me in.

We had this one Saturday night at school. A nice hearty meal before a night of drinking playing board games. And then we proceeded to have frozen hot chocolate with butterscotch schnapps before we pranced on out for the night. And then ate the rest of this as a late night snack. Shoot.

Oh also. Our heavy cream went missing. Wish I was kidding. I think we made buttermilk instead or used all half-and half? We were too perplexed as to who stole our heavy cream. Needless to say, with whatever we used it still turned out pretty darn good.

Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce

1-1/2 pound Pasta (angel hair or thin spaghetti)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 whole 28-ounce can Diced Tomatoes, drained
Dash of Sugar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
3/4 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
4 cups Baby Spinach
Half-and-Half for thinning
Extra Blue Cheese crumbles, for garnish

1. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for a minute.
3. Pour in drained tomatoes. Add sugar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Reduce heat to low and stir in blue cheese crumbles. 
5. Add cream and stir, add a splash of half-and-half if sauce is too thick. Cook this for a minute or two, adding more seasonings if needed.
6. At the veeeeery last minute toss in spinach. Immediately toss in the cooked and drained pasta.
7. Serve immediately and of course, enjoy!

 and dessert:

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Last night I took a little trip to one of my favorite places to spend time with two of my favorite people and par take in some of our favorite activities. Lots of favorites. 

Being back at Syracuse for one night is too much of a tease. 4o days until the move in process begins! (Sorry, mom..)
A little birdie was quite angry with me that I have been a slacker. Since I'm so busy with no time on my hands really excuse-less as to why I haven't updated I figured I would make Maria happy.

And I choose pancakes because I woke up wanting pancakes today. Weird, I do not like breakfast.

Also, I have become a pro pancake maker and make them at least once a week for my kiddos. Gold star for me. 

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk, plus 2 Tablespoons
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries or strawberries, chocolate chips, whatever you please
Toppings of your choice- syrup, powdered sugar, etc

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla.
3. Pour liquids into the flour mixture and stir until combined (the batter will be lumpy, no worries!)
4.Grease a skillet or griddle and cook the pancakes on medium heat.
5. Right after pouring the batter onto the griddle plop the blueberries onto the pancakes.
6. Cook until the edges bubble and flip until the other side is cooked. 

Pancakes are really not pretty. But I promise they are tasty.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pan Seared Salmon with Spicy Avocado Puree

This one time I was featured in a magazine at school.

It was the first issue of the magazine. I got asked a lot of questions in my interview, like what's your favorite food? That is probably my least favorite question, ever. Don't ask me. I will not give you an answer. Simply because I do not have an answer.

They also phone interviewed both my parents. Fancy.

Then I got to cook for pictures. 

I made Pan Seared Salmon with Spicy Avocado Puree because heck it sounds pretty darn fancy, also I've made it before and it's pretty darn good. And I love salmon. And I love avocados. I usually get my fix of avocados when Alex is home. Because we eat mass quantities of guac. But I am never sick of avocados. And because I visited Alex this past weekend and I am finally blogging again, it's naturally about avocados.

Pan Seared Salmon with Spicy Avocado Puree

4-8oz pieces of Salmon (2 pounds)
Salt and Pepper
3 Avocados
1 Shallot
1 Clove Garlic
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1 Teaspoon Basil
1/2-1 Serrano Pepper (depending on how spicy you would like)
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
3. Pan sear over high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.
4. Transfer salmon to a sheet pan and bake for 5-8 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.
1. Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth.
2. Add a few tablespoons of water to thin out and help blend easily.
3. Add some salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble, put a layer of puree onto the plate and top with the salmon.