Sunday, May 17, 2009

Banana Bread

Nate has a really bad habit of buying a large bag of bananas during our weekly grocery shop, and then never actually eating any of them. Instead, they sit on our counter throughout the week getting progressively blacker and squishier. Normally I just toss them out (after berating him once again for having purchased them in the first place), but this week I decided to make some banana bread. I find the darker and squishier the bananas, the more moist and delicious the bread.

Banana Bread

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 4)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven 325 degrees. Evenly grease loaf pan.

2. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

3. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Reduce speed to low; alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, occasionally scraping side of bowl with spatula. Beat just until blended.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool loaf in pain on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Shrimp Lasagna Rolls

These beauties are courtesy of a great food blog that all of you should be checking out, Annie's Eats. While I made a few adjustments to her original recipe, I am very grateful to have stumbled across this fantastic dish.

Basically, this is kind of a fancy upgrade of the vodka shrimp penne I posted a few weeks ago. Stuffing the lasagna rolls with a shrimp-ricotta mixture takes these to a whole new level; one I would totally recommend!

Shrimp Lasagna Rolls

8 lasagna noodles
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
pinch of nutmeg
1 3/4 c. vodka sauce, divided
shredded mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add lasagna and cook until partially tender, about 8 mins. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat oil in large skillet over med. heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add garlic and shrimp to skillet and saute until shrimp are cooked, about 4 mins. Set shrimp aside to cool, then chop coarsely.

4. Mix chopped shrimp, 1 c. ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, basil, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

5. In another bowl (bigger than the one I used!), combine 1 1/2 c. vodka sauce with remaining ricotta. Stir until smooth.

6. Spread remaining vodka sauce over bottom of 8x8" baking dish. Using clean work surface, lay out lasagna noodles. Spread shrimp over full length of noodle (I found it best to leave about 1/2" at each end).

7. Roll up and place seam-side down in dish.

8. Spoon creamy vodka sauce over top. Top with mozzarella.

9. Bake for 25 minutes.

Emily's rating: 9 out of 10
Nate's rating: 9 out of 10

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