Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tin-Can Banana Bread in my Crock Pot


Our Missouri weather has been really CRAZY lately!  This past week we have gone from highs of low 50's - and using our furnace to mid 90's and using the AC!  No complaints yet on the heat, though.  It feels wonderful to be hot and feel that warm concrete and some dry grass beneath my toes!  I'm sure beach sand and salt water has a certain allure for the sticking of one's toes in, but after a winter of blizzards, drizzle, cold and ice, and a spring of more cold, hail, and tornadoes, this girl's toes felt pretty good just feeling some hot grass and concrete!


Since it was nice and HOT on Monday, and I was spending precious time working in my garden, I chose to bake some banana bread in my crockpot instead of the oven where I had to hover inside watching it and so as not to heat up my south facing kitchen during the heat of the day.  I once baked banana bread in a stonewear bowl in my crockpot, but I have since broken that bowl and had to find another "vessel" for baking in the crockpot. 


I have a good friend who bakes delicious pumpkin bread in coffee cans for snacks and gifts.  Its pretty hard to find actual metal coffee cans these days so I have been saving those 29 ounce cans that sliced peaches come in.  They are the same diameter as coffee cans, but are just a little shorter which works best in my crockpot anyway!


My older daughter (the sceptic) and my husband came in as I was putting it all together.  My husband's comment was, "I'm not even going to ask...."  (laughing) and my daughter, said "Mother, what are you doing now?"  I told her the "what" (banana bread in the crockpot) and the "why" (because its too hot in this kitchen to turn on the oven) and she said "well... aren't you resourceful?"  (of course she should know this already!)


It turned out terrific and my daughter,the sceptic, ate the entire first loaf before the day was over!


Definitely this recipe is AWESOME, the method works wonderfully, and some part of me really loved that I used recycled cans to bake my bread in!  It was a win-win as far as I was concerned.  Definitely would be a fun classroom project because you could bake in a crockpot in the classroom over the span of a couple of hours, and the use of vege cans, would make nice little round loaves that any brownie troop or classroom would love!


Here is the recipe for my TIN CAN BANANA BREAD IN THE CROCKPOT

(Also, I am dedicating this recipe to my good friend, who is in the Peace Corp in Guatemala, and who first inspired this recipe!  It works, Whitney!  I love baking in cans!)


Tin Can Banana Bread in the Crock Pot


(I used two 29-ounce clean fruit cans, sprayed with cooking spray on all sides.  If you do not like the idea of using cans, two pint WIDE MOUTH canning jars would work just fine - just remember to spray good with cooking spray or grease/flour..)


Ingredients:


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 well-beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional, I did not use)
Instructions:  Make sure that the cans nestle in your crockpot (I sat the cans in the insert) and covered with the lid to make sure it fit tightly over the cans.  In a mixing bowl, mash banana; stir in eggs, sugar, oil, and all remaining ingredients.  Stir well.  Pour into the two sprayed cans (each only half-full because the bread will rise in the can to the top).  Place in the crockpot (on high) and cook (with the lid on the crockpot) (approximately because all crockpots cook differently) 3 hours; checking here and there to see if the bread is browning and starting to bounce back.  I did stick a thin sharp knife down in the middle of the bread to see if it came out clean - to show that it was done.


Remove from the crockpot.  Loosen around the sides with a knife and they will plot right out!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Peggy Jean-Ish Pasta Salad



I am back among the living - blogging!  Hurray! 

We have had a very, very BUSY (did I say busy?) couple of weeks at our house.  My older daughter graduated from college a couple of weeks ago and this past weekend my younger daughter and one of my nieces graduated from high school.  To celebrate, we had two separate graduation parties and even though it was a TREMENDOUS amount of work getting our Central Missouri yard presentable for guests, we had a great time!  Each party had different foods and we did a pretty good job representing each graduate's favorite dishes. 

At my older daugher's graduation celebration we served, this pulled BBQ pork (I baked it in the oven and made six times the recipe of BBQ sauce), and this Super Easy Slaw recipe, and, of course, her favorite deep fried crinkle-cut french fries, some of these Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars (which were a HUGE HIT) and lots of other stuff. 

At the most recent graduation celebration for my younger daughter and niece, my husband smoked a briskit, a long pork loin, and a turkey.  We had LOTS AND LOTS OF SIDES and I also made this pasta salad recipe which I'm going to share with you today.  I ALWAYS get the most compliments on this dish!  Everyone begs for the recipe.  I even took it to my husband's work picnic and an older lady whom I didn't even know walked up to me and pleaded that I share this recipe with her.  Its so EASY that I was able to jot it down from memory for her on a napkin!  You cannot go wrong with this recipe!

Some background on this recipe:  We used to have a local restaurant owned by two ladies and their specialty was pie of all kinds  They also served soup, salads, sandwiches and a pasta salad that I could not get enough of.  I searched high and low, scouring all kinds of sources, looking for a recipe that I thought sounded right because the restaurant CLOSED and the ladies retired!  I found a recipe in an old QUICK COOKING magazine and I have altered it to create my version of this fantastic pasta salad.  It uses no oil and since it has no mayo or anything like that, it will last without you having to worry about how long it has been un-refridgerated. 

You will love this!  And with garden season fast approaching, this will be a nice recipe to have around because you can include lots of your fresh garden veges in this pasta salad!

PEGGY JEAN-ISH PASTA SALAD


  • 1 package (16 ounces) tricolor spiral pasta (or regular spiral pasta will work JUST FINE)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (I peel the cucumber, slice lenghwise into fourths, and then slice each 1/4 piece)
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (or use red or yellow for pretty color).
  • 1/2 red or white (sweet onion) finely sliced & cut the rings into 1/4ths.
DRESSING:
  • 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (or cider vinegar is also fine)
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard (do not omit this ingredient - key player!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large serving bowl. Stir in the onion, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, and onion set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the dressing ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved (watch out because it swells when it boils.  Keep an eye on it.). Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 16 servings.


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