Chocolate Banana Bread

Nicole’s Chocolate Banana Bread Tutorial

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 T. Blue Agave Nectar
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Several shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 small packet of chocolate pudding mix
2 cups water
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 t. baking soda

1. Mix bananas, agave nectar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl

2. Add in eggs and vegetable oil. Mix well, but do not overstir.

3. Stir in chocolate pudding mix and water.

4. Add brown sugar, flour and baking soda

5. Pour into greased glass baking dishes. Bake at 375 degrees until toothpick comes out clean (could be anywhere from 15-40 minutes, depending on the pans you cook with and altitude)

6. Lick the bowl at your own risk.

Variations I also make:
Butterscotch pudding with butterscotch chips
Vanilla pudding with white chocolate chips
Banana pudding with brown sugar cream cheese drizzle

Trader Joe’s Bread Pudding

Trader Joe’s Bread Pudding

1 loaf sliced White Bread
1 c TJ’s semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c Coarsely chopped dried apricots (optional)
—OR coarsely chopped Uncrystallized Ginger OR dried cranberries OR cherries OR. . .
1 pint TJ’s heavy cream
½ c milk
½ c sugar
3 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly butter an 8” sq pan.
Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, eggs & yolk and van lla. Set aside.
Trim crusts from 12 slices of bread, and cut slices diagonally into 4 triangles.
Place bread triangles haphazardly in pan with points sticking up; doesn’ t need to be neat.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips (and fruit) – work chips between the slices with your fingers.
Stir the cream mixture & pour over the bread;
use fingers or a fork to work the liquid down between the bread.
Bake for about 45 min. or until the bread pudding is dark golden brown and the center no longer jiggles but is not quite hard.
Allow to cool forabout 30 min. before “breaking through.”


Nicole’s White Bean Chicken Chili

This week I had a few friends over for dinner when my husband was in town. I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods…homemade soup in bread bowls. This is one of my “throw together” soup recipes, which always ends up better than if I follow a recipe exactly as written. Here’s my best approximation of what went in…feel free to spice it up to your liking.

1 pound of boneless/skinless chicken, cut into cubes
32 oz box of chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes*
1/2 packet of taco seasoning mix
2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained
1 10 oz can RoTel diced tomatoes and green chilies (with liquid)
1 small can diced green chilies
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 T. cornstarch
Cumin, to taste
Chili Powder, to taste

Brown chicken cubes in frying pan, seasoned with cumin, chili powder, and a splash of chicken broth. In a large (8 quart) stockpot, combine chicken broth, taco seasoning mix, chicken cubes, diced tomatoes, green chilies and Great Northern Beans. Simmer until 10 minutes before serving, then add frozen corn, whipping cream, cumin and chili powder. Thicken with cornstarch till liquid is desirable consistency. Serve in bread bowls.

Garnish with sour cream, tortilla chips, and shredded pepper jack cheese

Preparation time: less than 30 minutes. Makes approximately 8 servings.

*Depending on what brand of chicken broth you use, the soup may have a weak chicken flavor once all ingredients are in. I dissolve 2 chicken bouillon cubes in a small cup of hot water to make a runny paste, and mix splashes of the thick bouillon into the pot until it’s got the right chicken taste.

I have won two chili cook-off awards with this recipe: one for most original, and one for best non-beef chili. If you like it with more beans, throw in more beans (it’s really good with black beans). You can spice it up as much as you want, such as a splash of Chipotle Tabasco, pico de gallo or diced jalapenos. For those faint of tastebuds, omit the small can of green chilies and garnish with cheddar cheese.

This bread is bananas…B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Tonight I made my favorite banana bread. The center gets nice and gooey from the vanilla pudding. I had to lick off my fingers to post this 😀

Vanilla Pudding Banana Bread

2/3 C. Oil
4 Large Eggs
3 Ripe Bananas, mashed
1 t. vanilla extract
2 C. Flour
2 C. Sugar
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Mix oil, eggs, vanilla, and bananas in a bowl
3. Combine remaining ingredients (in separate bowl) and add to banana mixture
4. Grease and flour glass loaf pans, either one large, two medium, or four mini-loaf pans
5. Bake 50-65 minutes. Edges will be golden brown and top center will be slightly mushy.