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It's Not Just Popcorn!

Banana Pumpkin Pancakes

I originally found this recipe in Cooking Light Magazine but it was just for banana pancakes. I kicked it up a few notches and made it mine! They are not your normal run of the mill pancakes, they’re a bit more on the rich and custard side but so good, and filling! Loaded with protein also, and when you add the pumpkin more fiber! Easy to make and super easy to eat! I’m not normally a breakfast person but these pancakes are a hit. You can add other items or topper to them but we just added butter and syrup. I also of course forgot to take pics so these are generic pancakes. Similar to the size of what I made. This recipe made about 10 pancakes.

pancakes

Ingredients:

3 medium ripe bananas (we had so many bananas in the freezer that had just gotten too ripe and they worked perfect in this recipe. Just make sure they’re thawed out before using)

6 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½-¾ cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1.  Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Add the pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice and eggs, whisk well.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, or an electric skillet. I used a rectangular electric skillet so I could make more at once.
  3. Spoon/pour batter onto hot skillet into medium size pancakes. Cook 2 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges are cooked.
  4. Carefully flip the pancakes and cook another 1-2 minutes until done. They will be a little thicker than normal pancakes and this is fine. They’re kinda like french toast pancakes.
  5. Serve hot with your favorite topping!
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Fun With Couscous!

Yes I said “fun with couscous”. Recently I discovered Israeli Couscous or Pearl Couscous. I had seen it in a recipe some time ago and had a hard time locating it so I gave up. Then I was in my favorite Italian grocery and came across it. It was also a BOGO so I bought it! Of course by now I couldn’t remember or find the recipe I originally wanted it for! But it didn’t matter, I was all about finding a new recipe or recipes. For those of you who say you don’t like couscous, this is a great variety to try. It’s much larger than normal couscous and had a wonderful silky texture. It’s not grainy like the regular variety.

First time I made it I served it cold! I had some leftover tomatoes and cucumbers and made a Mediterranean style cold salad with it. It was a huge hit! I served it at a barbecue at my house and people were asking for 2nd and 3rd helpings! So of course I’ve made it several times since!

Not to get into a rut with my new-found side dish I decided to make a hot side dish last week. This time it came out like a creamy cheesy risotto! OMG it was incredible! And it only took about 10 minutes to make! Did I mention this couscous only takes 8-10 minutes! No constant stirring, no long drawn out process, just a quick and easy side dish that you can add ANYTHING to. I’ve even added it to a soup instead of noodles! I am all about the couscous these days!!

It’s possibilities are endless! So today I am going to include both my cold recipe and my hot risotto style recipe. Enjoy and go buy some couscous!

Recipe #1:

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

1 cup uncooked Israeli/Pearl couscous

1 ¼ cup liquid (water, chicken broth, veggie broth, etc)

Chopped tomato, about ¼ cup(remove seeds and insides, gets too watery)

Chopped cucumber, about ½ cup

1 cloves garlic, minced (or you can use garlic powder)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

t teaspoon dill (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

1: Boil liquid and add couscous. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t overflow. Stir occasionally.

2. When the liquid is all gone, drain and rinse well under cold water.

3. Add rest of ingredients, mix well and add a little olive oil (1-2 tablespoons). Mix again and chill.

4. When ready to serve place in serving bowl and drizzle a little more EVOO over the top and mix.

Makes 2-4 servings

Recipe #2

Couscous Risotto

*This recipe I used what I had leftover in the fridge to add to the couscous. I had made broccoli rabe the night before so I chopped it up and used that. You can also add chopped mushrooms or anything else you wish. Even change the cooking crème variety. Make it yours!

1 cup uncooked Israeli/Pearl couscous

1¼ cup liquid (water, broth, etc.)

leftover veggies, chopped well

Few tablespoons Savory Lemon & Herbs Cooking Creme (Philadelphia brand)

¼-½ grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Boil liquid and add couscous. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2. When liquid is gone, keep heat on low and add the veggies, cooking crème and parmesan cheese. Stir well till heated through.

3. Serve immediately.

Makes 2-4 servings

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Italian Chicken Chili Alfredo

Boy that’s a mouthful! I was trying to come up with a simple title but couldn’t. Originally when I made this I was going for a regular chili with chicken instead of ground beef. As I went along I kept changing my mind. I had also  just bought a jar of Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce and thought it would make a tasty addition. The sauce is a new product for the Classico line of sauces. It only has 60 calories and 5 grams of fat in ¼ cup. Compared to over 110 calories and 10 grams of fat for the same amount. It was really good and I didn’t feel bad about eating it!

I also added two kinds of beans to this recipe, white canellini beans and black beans. Another item I always have on hand in my freezer are those pre-cooked chicken sausages. They are really very good and lower in calories and fat. I usually have the Italian style which is what I used in this recipe. The chicken breast I used was the Perdue portion sized boneless breasts. They come in those individually wrapped packages. They were on sale and I had a coupon! I used the white wine and garlic seasoned ones but you can use any kind you want.

This was a great protein, fiber-filled meal. My husband really liked it and I can make it again so it’s a winner! Great for the fall or when you want an easy dinner. Leftovers are even better! If you want you can even add rice or pasta to the dish to stretch it even more. It’s up to you!

INGREDIENTS:

2 small onions (or 1 large), chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped (use less if you don’t like a lot of garlic)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound or so), cut into bite size pieces

2 Italian Style Chicken Sausages (precooked kind)

1 can (15-16 oz.) white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15-16 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 small-medium tomato, chopped small

½ cup mushrooms, chopped

1 jar (15 oz.) Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce

2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Parmesan Cheese for topping (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large pan heat olive oil on medium heat and sauté the chicken pieces. Remove from pan and set aside when browned and mostly cooked, about 5 minutes.

2. In the same pan add the onion and garlic and sauté, on medium heat, till soft, about 5 minutes. Careful not to burn the garlic.

3. Add the mushrooms, sausage, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for another 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

4. Add the tomatoes and stir in. Add the beans and continue to stir and cook for another 3 minutes or so until beans are heated through.

5. Add the alfredo sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add fresh parsley and serve.

Makes 6 servings

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