Extreme Banana Cream Pie…….

This is a WOW pie. A close your eyes, savor and say M-mmm-m-mmm, pie. Seriously, this is some kinda pie. The funny thing is, I am not a huge fan of bananas……..or vanilla pudding, for that matter. But……this pie…can you tell I am a little crazy about this pie? Ok, so I saw a version of this pie on the Food Network. It’s one that Wolfgang Puck makes. I was impressed by how pretty it was and knew I had to make one similar. My version has a chocolate brownie crust. I also just used a Jello instant pudding mix, instead of making pastry cream from scratch. I do have a great recipe for pastry cream, though. So, we have a brownie crust and layers of banana slices and pudding, topped with whip cream, shaved chocolate and drizzled with creamy caramel. You will love this pie.

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Extreme Banana Cream Pie

Crust:  approx. 4 or 5 brownies, pressed into a 9″ pie plate (a square pan will work too)
If you don’t have any brownies, you could use your favorite cookie crust

Filling: 1 large box (5.1 oz) Jello instant vanilla pudding mix.
prepare as directed on box, except use 2 1/2 cups of milk instead of the 3 cups called for. (you don’t want your pudding too soft)

– 4 bananas, sliced in 1/2″ chunks
– Caramel sauce (store bought is ok) or you can make my recipe, found in my Recipes index
– Shaved bittersweet chocolate, as much as you like
– whipped cream, as much as you like

Make the pudding according to package directions, using only 2 1/2 cups of milk, rather than the 3 cups called for. Chill. In the meantime, just break apart some brownies and press your brownies into a pie plate or square casserole dish, so the plate is covered.

Cover the crust with banana slices. Spread bananas with pudding. Add another layer of bananas. Spread with pudding, covering bananas completely. Top with a mound of whipped cream. Chop or shave some good chocolate and sprinkle on top of the whipped cream. Drizzle with a bit of caramel sauce. You can add more caramel to individual slices.




Asian Noodle Salad……….

One of my favorite things to eat is Asian Chicken salad. I love the stuff. I like this version of it with noodles, also. It’s really good, either way. This is one salad, that you can be very creative with. Just go crazy……I make it a bit different each time. You don’t have to add chicken. Just go veggie…..or add salmon, or some left over steak. Sometimes, I even throw in some rice. YUM. But, this is my favorite way to make it. It’s the dressing that makes this so darned good. Oh….and about my dressing….it makes a great marinade.

This noodle salad is a light refreshing salad…..and it will be a new favorite to you and your family. I hope!

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Asian Noodle Salad

1/2 head of a medium size Napa Cabbage (or also known as Chinese cabbage)
2 pickling cucumbers
1 package slaw mix (that contains carrots, purple cabbage and cabbage)
2 green onions, sliced
1 bunch of romaine lettuce
4 stalks (or more) of raw asparagus, peeled and minced
cooked angel hair pasta or spaghetti noodles
cooked and shredded chicken or salmon (optional) This is just as good as a veggie only salad. Trust me…seriously.

Toss everything together, add as much dressing as you like. The recipe below may be too much or too little dressing, but trust me, you should make plenty of dressing to have on hand.

Asian Dressing

1/2 cup orange juice
juice of 2 lemons or limes
2 tablespoons of FRESH grated ginger (NOT THE GINGER POWDER USED FOR BAKING)
2 cloves of minced garlic
3/4  cup of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of peanut butter (optional) but delicious
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tsp of Asian chili paste or wasabi (if you like spicy) I do!!!
2 tblsp honey (optional)

Put everything in a food processor or blender.. add salt to taste. ready to go. It’s better the second day.

French Bread………….

This is a very quick, simple French bread recipe. I found it on YouTube, but I changed a couple of things.  It’s delicious. Everyone who I give this too, asks for their own loaf. A lot of folks are so intimidated by working with yeast. They get that scared look on their face, like YIKES. But really, do not be a-scared. Seriously, what is the worst that could happen? You dump it and start over? Its just flour and water and some yeast. I’m telling ya, once you make this and see how easy and yummy it is, you will make it again and again. It’s delicious toasted, with butter…….or slathered in garlic butter and broiled…..or pizza bread…..or sandwiches. You’re gonna love it!!

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French Bread

makes 1 loaf

1  1/4 c warm water (not hot)
1  1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast
2  tblsp. sugar
1  1/4 tsp. salt
about 3 cups of flour

In a bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, add warm water, yeast and sugar together. Yeast should be almost dissolved. Add the salt and 2 cups of the flour. If your dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. Mix until the dough  forms a ball. (you may not have to use all the flour). Remove the ball off the paddle and place dough ball in a large bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap. Let it sit and double in size. About an hour.

Place the dough onto a floured cutting board and roll out into a large rectangle…about 11″ x 15″. On the long edge, roll the dough up like if you were making cinnamon rolls. Gently lift it onto a baking sheet. I used a french bread pan, but a flat baking sheet works. Cover with dish towel again for about 30 minutes or so, until it rises to your preference. Bake in preheated oven….350 deg. for about 20 minutes or light brown. Ohhhhhhh, it’s gonna smell so good in your house. Get the butter ready. And maybe some jam…or honey…or olive oil. You better make 2 loaves!


Simple Flaky Sticky Buns………………….

This is a very easy, flaky cinnamony (is that a word?) sticky bun. It’s kinda like a cinnamon roll, but it’s flaky and made with frozen puff pastry that you can buy at any grocery store. Experiment and make them your way. There is so much you can do….but I wanted something light and not too heavy and overly sweet. These were perfect. My favorite Food Network Chef, Ina Garten, made these awhile back and I did try her recipe but whooaa…dripping with butter and way too sweet. But I still love you Ina….and think you are fabulous, but  I will stick with  my recipe.


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Simple Flaky Sticky Buns

1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed and flattened out (it comes frozen, rolled, 2 to a box)
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 deg. Very lightly butter a muffin pan (only 6 of the muffin cups). Flour a wood cutting board and unfold your puff pastry sheet carefully. Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle all over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle on the orange zest. Roll up the dough (the long side) snuggly. Make sure the seam side is down. Carefully slice the dough into 6 equal pieces. Don’t smoosh it! Place each piece into a muffin cup.  Bake until they are golden brown, usually about 25 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove from oven and wait a few minutes, but not too long.  Be very careful, as hot sugar will BURN you badly. Trust me, I know! Turn your muffin over onto a plate. Be sure to scoop out any goo from the pan, onto your buns. Allow to cool. HEAVEN.


Bacon Tomato Pasta Sauce…..

I think I have told you all before how much I love pasta. I never get tired of it. There are those long cooking sauces and then there are the quick and easy sauces. This one is one of the easy ones. Easy, but so good. So rich. So decadent. The star of this show is the bacon…..applewood smoked bacon. The smokiness of the bacon is key to this dish. Don’t use a regular bacon. Not much more I can say about this sauce, other than you must make this. Bacon is so popular right now……and if you are a bacon lover, you just gotta make this I tell ya. Good stuff.

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Bacon Tomato Pasta Sauce

1/2 lb ground beef
2 slices of applewood or hickory smoked bacon, diced
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves, minced ) or 1/2 tsp dried
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium size (14 oz) can of whole or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and the bacon on a medium heat. Add garlic and oregano. Give it a couple of stirs and add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and butter. Toss with your favorite cooked pasta. Incredible.