Friday, January 21, 2011

Banana Bread, Chili, and Homemade Tortilla Chips

Jeremy was off today, which meant that I was able to spend time in the kitchen without worrying if the boys would feel neglected and bored.  Daddy time with Cole and Braydon is long awaited and always enjoyed.  I find it so much easier to enjoy my quiet time of baking when I know that the rest of the family is also having fun!
So, onto baking.  I purposely buy an extra bundle of bananas when I go to the store so that there are bananas in the house to eat, but also a group to brown and use for banana bread.  This is the one food that Braydon LOVES!  Cole and Jeremy will eat and enjoy it, but if I leave a fork next to a loaf of banana bread, especially with chocolate chips in it, Braydon could eat the loaf in a few days by himself.  No need to cut it in slices, because everyone knows it is his to eat!  Today in particular, I had more bananas than usual so I ended up making 3 loaves and 12 muffins.  I like to make an extra loaf to share with friends- I enjoy sharing 'my hobby' but it also teaches the boys to share too.  I am always in search of the best recipe and over time I have come up with this one I enjoy ... at least for now!

Banana Bread
( I tripled this recipe)

2 bananas
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp orange zest ... its a nice addition, but I often go without, only bc I don't have it!
2 eggs
3/4 brown sugar ... using brown sugar instead of white sugar is a favorite 'upgrade' in taste!
6 tbsp melted butter ... if you are trying to make it healthier, you can always substitute the butter for oil
1/2 c whole milk ... again, nonfat milk is fine too

Preheat oven to 350.  Oil a bread loaf pan.
In a small bowl, mash bananas with fork.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  If you have orange zest add too and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, butter and milk.  Beat until blended.  Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternating with the bananas and mix on a low speed, don't overmix!
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for  60 minutes.

Before I bake the bread I top with either a streusel topping, a brown sugar glaze or sanding sugar.
A favorite mix-in for myself is the classic chocolate chip, and today I also tried blueberries!  If you use blueberries, be sure to fold them into the batter in the end, don't mix them, as the batter will bleed the coloring of the blueberries.  After making 3x this batch and using add-ins I had 2 loaves of chocolate chip banana bread, one loaf of banana-blueberry bread and 12 banana-blueberry muffins!  Yea for breakfast!!

After I cleaned the kitchen from breads, I decided to start dinner early and finish it in the crockpot .... I LOVE my crockpot!  Earlier in the day, my Mom shared a chili recipe with me, so I thought I would try it out.  I substituted a spicy BBQ sauce for the tomatoes, which gave it a sweeter taste-the family loved it!  I initially thought to make bread to accompany the chili and then I changed my mind and made my own tortilla chips.  It was a trial and error experience-each batch I tried a different seasoning, with my favorite being cayenne pepper.
It was a great combination of sweet (chili) and salty (chips).  I found myself breaking the chips into the chili and eating it that way!
Here are the recipes...

1 pound of ground turkey, cooked .... I cooked 2 pounds and later separated the meat to use for later recipes.  I hardly ever use beef.  To be honest, it is mainly a taste preference and turkey is a healthier option to 'red meat' ... to each their own, but this is what I opted for!
1 large chopped onion
1 red pepper ... I use the 3 pepper medley from TJs
4 cloves of garlic
6 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4t tsp cayenne pepper
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce ....  this is where I substituted the tomatoes and tomato sauce for the BBQ sauce of similar oz quantities
1 tbsp brown sugar ... I always add a little more because I love brown sugar :)
2 cans of kidney beans drained and rinsed.

Brown the turkey.  I like to brown the meat with chili seasoning and a little garlic for extra flavoring.  Once the turkey is cooked either transfer to a crockpot for 'day long' cooking or add to a stove top pan to continue for immediate eating.  Like I said, I opted for the crockpot since I knew making the tortilla chips might take some time.  Combine all the ingredients to the crockpot, mix well and begin to cook.  Depending on how long you have until dinner, adjust the heating temps from low to high.

Tortilla chips
Take a pack of tortillas, slicing them in half, in half again and then again ... you should have 1/8 pieces resembling a tortilla chip shape.  In a bowl, pour  about 1 1/2 c of olive oil.  Set your oven to broil and adjust the oven racks to the level above the middle rack.  If you put them too high, they will burn real fast.  Dip each tortilla wedge in the oil and lay on a baking sheet.  Repeat process until baking sheet is covered in a single layer of wedges.  Broil them 2 minutes and flip to ensure even baking.  Once the wedges are flipped, top with desired seasoning and then set to broil again for a few more moments.  Watch carefully because they can get toasty quick!!  In the batches I made, I tried multiple seasonings ... cayenne pepper, salt, lemon pepper and plain- I would have loved to have done lime but I didn't have any on hand.  I found that towards my last few batches I didn't even have to season the wedges anymore because of the remaining seasonings from earlier batches that were still on the baking sheets.
When we served dinner, I put a dollop of sour cream on the chili and added some chips for decor!

After a few hours of baking and cooking, I got my 'fix' and then came the clean up part, but it was so much FUN trying new recipes, adding my own spin to them and then enjoying the food with my family!


  1. I am going to try your chili recipe this week... or whenever we have "cold" weather again.

  2. I made the chili on Monday since I knew it would be ready for my family and I was going to be gone that evening. Steve loved it and has taken leftovers in his lunch this week. I finally got to have some, the last little bit that was left, and it was great! I love the sweet from the BBQ sauce with the normal kick of chili.

  3. Hooray!! Love that you and your family like it :) Thanks for sharing with me, I love hearing what you try and even more so when the families enjoy them too!

  4. What is in your Streusel topping for next time? I'm putting chocolate chip banana bread in the oven right now that will be our afternoon snack. Drew has been my great chef's helper this week with all 3 recipes I've used!

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  6. SO fun! I love that he is cooking with you :)
    My streusel topping is the same 'filling' I use for my cinnamon rolls ...
    Mix 1 1/3 c packed brown sugar, 2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, 3 tbsp flour together. When this is well mixed, take 7 tbsp butter and cut it into the sugared mix. If you use a fork and kind of mash it in, it seems to work well. I have used this on top of the bread, and also as a filling. If you use on top, use less batter in your pan to make sure it doesn't overflow and burn and spill onto your oven. If you use as a filling, pour half the batter in the pan, then spread streusel over the batter and then top again with remaining batter. I believe this recipe actually makes enough streusel for 2 loaves. Have fun with it!

  7. we made your banana bread this morning :) well we made mini muffins but they were yummy! Thanks for sharing you recipes!