Sunday, August 29, 2010

Spiced Almonds

At a recent Braves game, I stood in front of The Nutty Bavarian cart watching the action on the field all the while inhaling the delicious aroma of the cinnamon sugary nuts being dolled out to the customers at, I must say, outlandish prices. I say that because I have a fabulous recipe for such and can make them at a fraction of the cost that these vendors normally charge.

So, I couldn't get those wonderful cinnamon sugary nuts off my mind all day today so after a quick trip to Kroger this afternoon to pick up some almonds, I commenced to making my own batch.

During the holidays I would normally use pecans but they are so very fattening so I decided to use almonds this time around. And we all know almonds are "brain" food!! And goodness knows, that certainly can't hurt and they are very good for you, too!!

So, without further adieu, here is this fabulous recipe I've been making for years and years. It's such a fast (and delicious) recipe that will never let you down! Enjoy!

Spiced Pecans (or Almonds)

1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water
2 cups pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and water. Cook to soft ball stage. Add vanilla and nuts. Stir until pecans are sugary. Pour onto waxed paper and separate. Pin It

Banana Nut Bread

I recently had some bananas that were too ripe to eat plain so I decided to make some banana nut bread for the office. Once, again a great hit!

If you have ripening bananas lying around and don't know quite what to do with them, I highly suggest making banana nut bread.

I think everyone loves this special treat and if you don't, you have no idea what you're missing!

Banana Nut Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Heat oven to 350ยบ. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2 × 4 1/2 × 2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9 × 5 × 3 inches. Mix sugar and margarine in large bowl. Stir in eggs. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth; beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda just until flour is moistened. Stir in walnuts. Pour into pans.

Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing. Store tightly wrapped in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Makes 2 loaves (12 slices each) or 1 loaf (24 slices) Pin It

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shrimp and Grits

I had a craving for Shrimp and Grits and found this recipe so I decided to try it. It is very tasty but didn't do well as leftovers. To solve that, I'd suggest making for a crowd so there aren't any leftovers!! Add a tossed salad and some crusty hard rolls and you'll have quite a meal!

Shrimp and Grits Casserole

A few spoonfuls of cream cheese give the casserole a velvety texture. Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley, if you like.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 (3-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 large egg whites
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp, coarsely chopped (I used salad shrimp, left whole)
Cooking spray
Hot pepper sauce (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine milk and broth in a medium heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Gradually add grits and salt to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan, butter, and cream cheese. Stir in parsley and next 4 ingredients (through shrimp). Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until set. Serve with hot pepper sauce, if desired. Pin It