Do you always have overripe bananas, too mushy to enjoy? I am often guilty of this food crime. I love to hide overdue bananas in a cake or loaf, with carrots! Yes a cake with both a fruit and a vegetable can be delicious. Check out the recipe below to easily create a moist & flavorful cake with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, but never thought could create a cake! My pantry is always stocked with these versatile items, from my local Pittsburgh Giant Eagle.
Overripe Banana & Carrot Loaf Cake Ingredients
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup mashed overripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
- 3/4 cup mix of light & dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup coconut
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely shredded carrot
- vest of one large navel orange
Cream Cheese Icing
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar (more or less depending on sweetness you want)
- 3 tablespoons whipping cream (more or less depending on consistency you want)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- vest of 1/2 of a large navel orange
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×5-inch loaf pan or sheet cake pan by spraying with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and stir.
- In a separate bowl combine mashed banana, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to whisk together.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl. Add the shredded carrots, coconut, pecans, & orange vest gently mixing together until combined with no flour pockets.
- Pour into prepared pans.
- Bake the thinner cake pan for 25-30 minutes. Bake the larger loaf pan for 50-60 minutes. Or when a toothpick or fork comes out clean.
- Let cool completely.
- To make cream cheese icing: Use a hand mixer to blend the butter and cream cheese together. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and the cream and blend until creamy. You may want more or less cream depending on the consistency you desire.
My favorite holiday appetizer is a delicious warm, sweet and decadent dish of melted pears, butter, brown sugar, Gorgonzola cheese, and pecans. Served with toasted french bread this sure is a treat to look forward to each year.
Baked Pears with Pecans and Gorgonzola Cheese Ingredients
- 2-3 large ripe pears
- 3 tablespoons butter: 2 softened, 1 melted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, white pepper & dash of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup of toasted and chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 tablespoons of crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
- Preheat oven to 450º
- Prepare the pears by peeling, then slicing into slices about 1 inch thick
- Brush pears with softened butter and place in a buttered 9-inch + baking dish
- Bake at 450º for 15 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, white pepper & dash of nutmeg. Bake for another 15 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile combine pecans, brown sugar and melted butter in a small bowl, stirring to coat nuts. Top pear dish contents with mix and cheese. Broil pears at the furthest distance from the heat for about 5 minutes until the cheese melts.
Serve an ample amount of juice and pear mixture on top of toasted bread or cracker to enjoy the deliciousness.
Sunday night dinners at my parents’ house growing up was usually steak with my Dad’s special, decadent bacon mushroom brandy cream sauce. Seriously something to look forward to and or make a trip home for. It has taken me awhile, but I think I’ve finally mastered by Dad’s recipe.
Filet with Bacon Mushroom Brandy Cream Sauce
- Filet or steak of choice
- 3 large portobello mushrooms, or another meaty variety, chopped into inch & plus sized pieces
- 8 slices of thick cut bacon (with fat), sliced into centimeter wide slices
- 1/2 of a large yellow or white onion, chopped finely
- 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream, shake before pouring
- 3-4 tablespoons of Brandy
Sauce Recipe Execution
- Prepare and season filet or steak as desired and set aside to rest.
- Add the bacon slices to a low heat medium/large non stick pan cook slowly (no spray, oil, or butter needed)
- As the bacon is nearly cooked through, add the onion. This will sweat and cook with the bacon fat. Keep on low heat cooking until onions are translucent and cooked down.
- Make sure mushrooms are patted dry post-wash and add to the pan. Cook slow and steady, moving contents around. Cook down for about 10 minutes. Mushrooms should be cooked down with stock/ juices present in the pan.
- Cook steak as desired while sauce cooks down.
- Add cream slowly and gradually mixing into pan contents a bit at a time.
- Cook slow and steady still at low temp, for 5-10 minutes, slowly moving contents as film gathers on cream. It should cook at a low simmer, bubbling is too rough for the cream to thicken.
- Pour brandy into ladle or large spoon. Light brandy with flame. Dump into sauce and cook off liquor to your desired taste. Like below.
Serve an ample amount of sauce on top of steak and enjoy the deliciousness. By the way if you’ve never bought brandy before the kind we use is E&J VSOP very affordable.
I’ve been skimping on grocery shopping lately, trying to force myself to get creative with what I already have at hand. Last night I looked around my kitchen and found a butternut squash (yes pulled from my festive fall table decorations), Brussels sprouts, bacon and pecans and was inspired by the fall season to create something savory for dinner. Thus creating what I am dubbing the “Autumn Harvest Roasted Brussels & Squash” dish, which also could be a festive and seasonal Thanksgiving side dish. Looks & tastes very festively fall.
Autumn Harvest Roasted Brussels & Squash Ingredients
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed & cut in half
1 Butternut squash, peeled and cut into small chunks (cubes if you are fancy & patient when it comes to cutting)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare two foil-lined baking sheets lightly grease one of the two.
- Wash brussels, trim ends and remove yellow leaves. Slice all Brussels sprouts in half. Place onto the un-greased foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down.
- Lay out slices of bacon and chop into one centimeter thick pieces. Sprinkle over the pan of Brussels sprouts, add salt and pepper. While roasting the bacon will release fat, acting as oil, so there is no need to add oil or butter.
- Combine the chopped pieces of butternut squash with the oil and sprinkle with your desired amount of salt, thinly chopped thyme and rosemary plus cinnamon. Place the chopped pieces of butternut squash on the other greased baking sheet.
- Roast both pans in the oven at 375 F for about 20-25 minutes total. Throughout roasting consistently turn contents of both pans over for even browning. The goal is for the cut sides to be nicely and partially charred, but not overly blackened (see my photos).
- Once the squash has roasted add chopped pecans to the pan, toss to mix into the oil and seasoning and return to the oven for another 3-5 mins.
Assembly: In a large bowl, combine roasted sprouts and bacon, squash, pecans, and mix to combine.
(OPTIONAL): For more sweetness, gradually add 2 or 4 tablespoons of maple syrup while ingredients are hot. (I didn’t do this with my dish)