Monday, October 8, 2012

Yummy Fall Food

Some friends of mine were kind enough to allow me to use their washer and dryer to do my laundry, so to repay them for their kindness I brought over some yummy Fall food while the laundry was going. Both recipes are super quick and easy and that's my kind of cooking! For dinner we had Taco Soup, a recipe that I've adapted from an old Kraft Foods magazine, and it's been a favorite for years. And for dessert I made another adaptation on an old favorite, Banana Bread (except my new version is named Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread!).
Since I put the Banana Bread in the oven first, I'll start with that recipe.
My sister Susie gave me this recipe a long time ago and it is yummyummyummalicious!

 But I have been trying to find ways to make old favorite recipes a little bit healthier so I made a few tweaks to her recipe. And then I fattened it up again with the chocolate chips! Ah well!
I substituted regular flour for whole wheat flour and applesauce for the oil. I used 3 full smashed, very ripe bananas, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and then at the end added about 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. I don't like nuts in sweet foods so I left those out. But I followed all of the steps of the above recipe exactly and it came out very nicely!
This pic was taken before I decided to use the whole wheat flour and the bananas shown are not the actual bananas that were used as those were completely brown and unsightly!

All coming together!

Mmm, chocolate chips make everything better!

And then THIS happened, DOH! That fork jumped out of the bowl and FLEW to the ground! I definitely didn't drop it...

All ready to go!
I am not a very neat baker...

Let me pause this story to mention that most of the time, when I am baking/cooking, I like to have a little jazz on in the background. Somehow it makes me feel more productive in the kitchen, and I can also imagine that I speak fluent French and Italian. I don't know how jazz gives me those magical powers, but it DOES!
As I was putting the bread into the oven this song came on! Perfecto!
 After a quick tidy up of the counter, I assembled everything needed for the Taco Soup. I don't really have a printed recipe for this so here is the doubled recipe:
2 lbs. ground beef (i used lean beef)
1 can Mexicorn
2 small cans sliced black olives (i only ended up using one due can opener issues...)
2 cans diced tomatoes (i used organic)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can black beans
1 tsp minced garlic
one large handfull chopped cilantro
You can really adapt this however you like using whatever you enjoy or whatever you have on hand.
All you do is brown the meat, pour in the taco seasoning with a little water, add the garlic, and then dump all the cans in together. Stir and simmer!

I began to question my choice of a recipe that included so many canned items when I realized that I was in possession of the WORST CAN OPENER EVER! GRRR! I may as well have cut the cans open with a knife...Anyways...

Makes me hungry!

The soup tastes great by itself but these are the toppings I like to add to each individual bowl.

Right about that time, I had a little peek at the bread, it was almost ready!

There is nothing like the smell of a sweet baked bread in the Fall!

And just as everything was ready, this song came on and put the icing on the cake!

 It's always nice to share a meal with friends, and even better when you have leftovers! After several days in the fridge, the soup turns more into a chili as all the liquid gets absorbed into the ingredients and it makes a great base for a hearty salad. I warmed up a big scoop of the soup/chili and then added it to a big bowl of lettuce, threw a couple cherry tomatoes on top, drizzled a little bit of Light Ranch dressing and chowed down. It was sooo good!
From my kitchen to yours, Happy Fall!

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