Banana Bread Muffins

Recipe Courtesy Of: 
Adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 16 muffins

1 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup canola oil
½ cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Coat a large muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the egg, oil, banana, yogurt and vanilla.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the banana batter.  Stop beating as soon as the batter is moist.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 2/3 full.
  8. Spread into the loaf pan and bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Recipe Courtesy Of:

Serves 4
4 teaspoons oil, divided
½ cup shallots, minced
½ cup bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons garlic, minced
1lb ground chicken
2 Thai or Serrano chiles, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup thai basil leaves, chiffonade
1 tablespoon lime juice


1.Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 teaspoons of oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shallots and sauté about 2 minutes.  Add bell pepper; sauté 1 minute.  Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds.  Remove shallot mixture from the pan, place in bowl.
2.Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.  Add chiles; cook 1 minute.
3.Add shallot mixture back to pan. 
4.Stir in fish sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, and pepper.  Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. 
5.Remove pan from heat; stir in basil and lime juice.
6.Serve on top of leaf of iceberg lettuce.  


Recipe from Roopal Saran

Makes 10 samosas

2 large potatoes

1 medium onion, diced

1 serrano or jalapeno chili, seeded and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups frozen peas

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoon cumin powder

2 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 medium size flour tortillas

2 tablespoon oil for sautéing

Oil for frying

2 tablespoons All Purpose flour (for paste)                                                     

water (to make paste)


Prep Vegetables:

  1. Boil potatoes.  Peel and cube.
  2. Mince garlic and chili.
  3. Dice onions.
  4. Empty peas into a bowl.  Add water and 1 teaspoon salt and microwave for 4 minutes.


Toast spices and sauté vegetables:

  1. Heat oil in pan.  Add cumin seeds, garlic, and chili.
  2. When cumin seeds start to pop, add onions. 
  3. When onions start to brown, add potatoes and peas. 
  4. Add cumin powder, coriander, red chili powder, turmeric, and salt.
  5. Let cook for 20 minutes stirring regularly. Add lemon juice.


Prepare frying set up and samosa paste:

  1. Make a paste with 2 tablespoons of flour and water.  Consistency should be very sticky.


Assemble samosas

  1. Cut tortilla in half and lay in front of you with the flat edge face down. 
  2. Keeping the bottom center of the flat edge still, fold both sides up to make a cone. 
  3. Use paste to seal tortilla in place in the cone shape.
  4. Fill with potato-pea stuffing, and seal shut with more paste.


Fry and serve samosas

  1. Fry the samosas 2-3 at a time, about 2-3 minutes until tortilla are golden, but not too dark.
  2. Let sit for a few minutes before eating – they will be hot.
  3. Can be dipped into mint-coriander chutney or sweeter tamarind chutney.

Lamb Sliders with Tzatziki Sauce

Recipe Courtesy Of: 
Adapted from: Steven Raichlen via Food and Wine and Martha Stuart


Makes 10-12 sliders


For Sauce:

½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated (3/4 cup)

½ cup plain yogurt

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped

1 small garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

Mini burger buns


For Sliders:

1 ½ pounds ground lamb

1 small onion, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons mint, finely chopped

3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil, for brushing




romaine lettuce leaves

thin tomato slices

paper-thin red onion slices




Make tzatziki: 

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, mint and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make Sliders:

  1. In a medium bowl, lightly knead the ground lamb with the onion, garlic, mint, parsley and 1 scant teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  2. Shape the meat into 10-12 small patties about ½ inch thick, and transfer them to a plate lined with plastic wrap. Lightly brush the burgers with olive oil.
  3. Preheat grill. Brush the grate with olive oil.
  4. Grill the lamb burgers for about 6 minutes, turning once, for medium meat.
  5. Set the burgers on buns and top them with the lettuce, tomato, onion and a spoonful of tzatziki sauce. 

Fake Flake Fried Chicken


1/2 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper or blended spices

2 eggs

1/4 cup skim milk

4 chicken pieces

2-3 cups corn flakes, crushed to the consistency of bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 375

1. Mix flour and spices in a plate or bowl.

2. Mix milk and eggs in another bowl.

3. Place corn flakes in a third plate or bowl.

4. Skin chicken pieces.

5. Dip chicken into flour, then egg wash, then corn flakes. Make sure that

chicken is completely coated with the corn flakes. That is what holds the

moisture in. Place chicken on a sheet pan.

6. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until done.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Recipe Courtesy Of: 
Adapted from:

Makes 24 mini cupcakes 

2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup whole milk, room temperature        
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup (1stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cups sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature 


Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon red food coloring


1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cupcake tins 
2.    Place strawberries in a small food processor, blend until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree. Add a few more strawberries if necessary
3.    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
4.    In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree. Set aside
5.    With an electric mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. 
6.    Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. 
7.    Slowly add eggs, and egg whites and blend until combined
8.    With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture. Mix until blended.
9.    Add the milk mixture and mix. Then add the remaining flour mixture and blend.
10.    Divide batter evenly in tins, filling them up 2/3.
11.    Bake for 22-25 minutes 
12.    When done, transfer to wire rack to cool before frosting

For the Frosting: 

1.    Beat the powdered sugar and butter together in an electric mixer on medium low speed until the mixture is well mixed. 
2.    Add the milk and vanilla into the butter and sugar mixture
3.    Add food coloring and beat on high until the frosting is light and fluffy
4.    Frost when cupcakes have cooled  

Chicken Shawarma

Recipe Courtesy Of: 
Adapted from: Cooking Light July 2008

Makes 4 servings

For the Chicken: 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 16 (3-inch) strips 

For the Sauce:
½ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt 
2 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

For the Pita:

4 (6-inch) pitas
1 cup romaine lettuce, cut into chiffonade
8 (¼ inch-thick) tomato slices


1.    Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2.    Prepare chicken: combine lemon juice, curry powder, olive oil, salt, cumin and garlic in a medium bowl. 
3.    Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. 
4.    Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
5.    In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic, stirring together with a whisk.
6.    Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until done.
7.    Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. 
8.    Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; 
9.    Top each serving with lettuce, tomato, chicken and drizzle with sauce.

Chicken Strawberry Salad

Recipe Courtesy Of: 
Salad from Southern Living, Mayonnaise from Paula Deen

Salad makes 6 servings Mayonnaise makes 1.5 cups Mayonnaise: 2 egg yolks 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard Dash of salt and pepper Squirt of lemon juice 1 to 1.5 cups oil (canola or vegetable) Salad: 1.5 pounds chicken breast (2-3 breasts) 1/2 cup poppy seed dressing 1/4 cup mayonnaise (from recipe above) 2 celery ribs, small dice 1 pint fresh strawberries, small dice 1 avocado, small dice 1/2 small red onion, small dice 1/2 cup silvered almonds, toasted 1/2 package of crackers


Make the mayonnaise: 1. Put egg yolks, mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a large bowl. 2. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the oil until you have the desired consistency. 3. Whisk together poppy seed dressing and 1/4 cup of mayonnaise in a large bowl; cover and chill 30 minutes. Poach the chicken: 4. Place chicken breasts in a large sauce pan. Add cold water so it completely covers the chicken by at least an inch. 5. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce heat to a bare simmer so that only an occasional bubble breaks the surface. At this point, partly cover the pot, cook for about 10 minutes. 6. Then turn off the heat, leaving the chicken to finish cooking in the hot water for 10-15 more minutes. 7. Remove chicken from pan. Slice or shred your poached chicken on a cutting board. Assemble the salad: 8. Remove the dressing mixture from the refrigerator. 9. Add chicken, celery, strawberries, avocado, red onion, slivered almonds to dressing mixture, gently tossing to coat. 10. Spoon salad on to crackers to serve.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Recipe Courtesy Of: 
Herbs and Spices

Makes about 24 cookies 1/4 cup honey 1 tablespoon (unsprayed) dried lavender flowers, plus 1 teaspoon uncrushed flowers 1/2 pound unsalted butter; slightly softened (2 sticks) 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour


1. Combine the honey and crushed lavender in the top of a double boiler. 2. Heat over low heat for 15 minutes. 3. Strain the honey, and discard the lavender. 4. Combine the butter, salt, and the whole lavender flowers in a large bowl. 5. Add honey and beat until completely blended. 6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 8. Bring the lavender butter to room temperature. 9. Add the sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. 10. Beat in the vanilla. 11. Slowly add the flour, beating just until blended. 12. Mix the dough, cover and refrigerate until chilled. 13. Roll out 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface. 14. Cut into desired shapes. 15. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets. 16. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown at the edges.

Shepard's Pie


Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart,

For Pie Filling:
1 pound ground beef
¼ cup water
½ large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup frozen peas, thawed
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup water

For Potato Topping:
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (4-5 potatoes)
Salt (for water)
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large saucepot, cover potatoes with salted water by 1 inch; bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat; simmer until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
4. Heat a large skillet over high heat. In two batches, cook ground beef until no longer pink, about 5 minutes per batch.
5. Transfer beef to a colander set in a bowl; let fat drain off and discard fat.
6. Add ¼ cup water to the skillet, scraping up browned bits (deglazing the fond) with a wooden spoon.
7. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
8. Stir in tomato paste. Add flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
9. Add Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup water, and beef. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
10. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute.
11. Add filling to a 9-inch pie dish.
12. In large saucepot, bring milk and butter to a simmer; remove from heat.
13. Return potatoes to the saucepot and mash. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
14. Spread potato mixture over the pie; use a fork to make peaks.
15. Bake on a baking sheet until top is browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly; serve.

Deglaze- to swirl or stir a liquid (usually wine or stock) in a pan to dissolve cooked food particles remaining on the bottom. The resulting mixture often becomes the base for a stock

Fond- French for “bottom”. Fond refers to the concentrated juices, drippings, and bits of food left in pans after foods are roasted or sautéed.