We are having ANOTHER winter storm here, SIGH, which is supposed to continue through tomorrow. It is a day for hunkering down and staying in. On days like these I like to have something in the oven going to boost up the heat and to make our home smell more warm and cozy. Last night, I baked banana bread from a box of cake mix I had on hand. I had wanted to use up some bananas and didn't want to put in much effort. One review of the recipe, which I found online, said that the first loaf of the bread was eaten by the family in one day. Well, I will top that. My boys ate one of the loaves within an hour! I didn't believe the reviews which raved about the recipe but it is very moist and good. Almost as good as my real banana bread made from scratch!
Cheap, Easy, Fun Banana Bread
1 box yellow cake mix
3 - 5 ripe bananas (I used 4)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (you can also use 1 cup of apple sauce if that is what is on hand)
optional - 1 cup chocolate chips, which we add to everything I bake
Mix all ingredients well, pour into two loaf pans coated with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes (start checking on bread at 35 minutes).
I also made a new recipe for chili last night, which was a nice change of pace since I make a lot of chili over the winter - once a week.
Sloppy Joe Chili
1 cup chopped onion
2 T. Chili powder (at least - I always use more)
1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1 can Sloppy Joe sauce
1 can drained kidney beans
3 cups hot cooked white rice
Brown onions and chili powder with cooking spray. Cook meat and drain. Stir in Sloppy Joe sauce and beans, heating for about 5 minutes. Serve chili over rice and top with cheese, sour cream and more chili powder. I always serve corn with chili. We don't usually eat chili with rice and it was surprisingly tasty.
I am taking advantage of being able to stay in and putter. We're supposed to get at least 7 inches of snow. This is kind of my last fling, since I'll be seriously searching for work as soon as I take the Nursing Asst. state exam next Sat. I am trying to be as cheap as possible in terms of feeding us but want to be preparing some more creative entrees focusing on what is in the pantry.
I have a large can of Bartlet pears and some applesauce so today's mission will be to see what I can come up with to use those. I still have some bananas left and might try the above recipe using a box of chocolate cake mix. I love to cook and bake and really have not done it since having to pack up and move from the house. Things seem to be settling in a bit or maybe I am just ready to try and make life more settled. For me that has always involved cooking and baking and I am finding it a creative challenge to come up with cheap and flavorful dishes.
Our place still smells so good from last night's meal and banana bread. I want to try and keep up this effort and momentum. It makes a difference. My oldest came in last night from studying with his girlfriend and the first words out of his mouth were how good it smelled when he opened the door. We all need more of those simple moments.