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Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I don’t know what possessed me to bake this weekend but I suddenly got the itch to have oatmeal cookies. As I was raiding the pantry I realized that I do not have any raisins. I had cranberries but I wasn’t sure if the kids would like how tart they are so as I was about to become all sad panda I thought hey what about banana oatmeal cookies? And so banana oatmeal cookies were born.

Oatmeal Cookies2

Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Yields 3
Light & fluffy oatmeal cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe bananas smashed
  2. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  7. 3 cups old fashioned oats
  8. 1/2 cup butter
  9. 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  10. 1/2 cup sugar
  11. 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until creamy
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined
  4. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
  5. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredient bowl and mix until smooth
  6. Add in half of the oats and the mashed bananas and mix well, then add in the remaining oats
  7. Put rounded teaspoon sized cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for approximately 8-10 minutes.
Shanamama http://www.shanamama.com/wp/
 These cookies were delicious, light, fluffy, not too sweet with the perfect touch of banana.

Oatmeal Cookies 5

Some how I managed to have three dozen cookies last a week in a house with five people. How I did this I am still not sure but go me!

Oatmeal Cookies 6

If you were to feel so inclined as to add a dollop of cream cheese frosting on top of these cookies it will taste ahhhhh-mazing. I only had about a tablespoon worth of frosting left from my last baking expirement which was probably a good thing so I didn’t shovel these cookies into my mouth, but I did have nutella which I may have dropped a teensy bit on top of one of these morsels. Oh.my.yum!

Oatmeal Banana

 

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Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffin Recipe

This past weekend after we all went out to dinner as a family I grabbed the boys and ran across the parking lot away from our truck and over to Barnes & Noble. My husband thoroughly confused got in the truck and pulled up along side me asking what the heck I was doing. I am very random like this, you’d think he’s be used to it by now LOL and I had been stuck inside all day and wasn’t ready to go home so I wanted to browse some books. Hence running like a maniac over there. Makes perfect sense right? Why am I telling you all of this useless knowledge? Because it led to me buying two recipe books. They were on sale so I couldn’t pass them up. One of the books I picked up was Veggie Kids, a book specifically for vegetarian children. I love veggies and so do the kids so it’s as if the book was calling my name. One of the first recipes I came across was for Blueberry Muffins and I knew I had to make them. But trying to stear away from white flour and trying to go for overall healthier options I changed it up a wee bit to call it my own.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

 

Servings:
16 muffins

Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 sticks of country crock butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2/3 1% milk
Grated rind from one Lemon
1 1/2 cups FRESH blueberries (none of this canned stuff here people)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line your muffin tins with paper liners
In a large mixing bowl combine your flour, sugar and baking powder
Rub the butter into your dry ingredients (don’t laugh but you want to kind rub/roll it in as opposed to mixing/squishing it in so it looks still clumpy)
In a small bowl mix the egg, yolk, milk and lemon rind
Pour the egg mixture in to the large bowl of dry ingredients along with your fresh blueberries and GENTLY mix the ingredients together until everything is combined into a nice dough
Take a semi heaping tablespoonful of dough and fill each cup.

Bake the muffins for approximately 30 minutes. Mine cooked for exactly 30 minutes and were cooked to a perfection but different altitudes may require different cooking times.

*Note…If you are looking for those super sweet muffins like the one’s you would buy in the store prepackaged and full of crap these are not them. These are fresh homemade muffins where most of the sweetness you will get is from the blueberries since it’s not drowning in sugar. I personally enjoy these much more then store bought one’s. And seeing as my kids already devoured six of them I am going to say they agree with me.

*Tip for the lemon rind…we all know how annoying it is to go through all that work only to find a pea sized amount of rind on the grater. Take a fork or knife and slide it in between the grooves to get out some of the rind that is stuck. You can also lightly tap it on a cutting board or on a paper towel on the counter to get more of the rind loose.

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Tuna Steaks with Avocado Salsa Recipe

Every once in a while you come across a recipe or photo that just makes you drool and you think….I have to have that! Last weekend I had one of those moments when Stefan Pinto who started the C Diet shared a photo of Albacore Tuna with cilantro and sweet peppers. So what is one to do when they see something they must try? Put their own spin on it of course.

Tuna Steaks with Avocado Salsa

2 Tuna Steaks
Sea Salt
Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Olive Oil
1 whole ripe avocado
Red Onion (3 tbsp chopped)
Roma tomato (3 tbsp chopped)
Spanish Olives (1-2 tbsp chopped)
Garlic (finely chopped)
Lime

Prior to cooking your fish lets prepare the avocado salsa. Finely chop your onion, tomatoes, olives and garlic. Lastly cut your avocado into small bite sized pieces. The avocado is the showcase of this salsa so  you want them a bit bigger then the rest of the ingredients. Squeeze in some lime juice next. I love lime juice so I ended up using half a lime just for the salsa. If you want to add a bit of kick to your salsa sprinkle with a little dash of cayenne pepper. Now mix it all together and let sit in the fridge until your fish is ready to serve.

Season your tuna steaks with the Sea Salt, Pepper and Cayenne Pepper.  Pour two teaspoons of Olive Oil into a small pan. Depending on how you like you Tuna cooking times will vary. If you want it a bit rare cook 2-3 minutes on each side. If you want it cooked fully then cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Once the Tuna is cooked to your liking squeeze on a little bit of lime juice.

You really don’t need to have a side dish with this meal because it is filling just as is. But if you are one of those types of people that has to have a side I would pair this with a baby greens salad. Maybe make additional avocado salsa and top it with that instead of dressing. And now I am craving a taco salad. May have to share my recipe for that next!

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Weekly Meal Plan

I have never been an organized person, I am more of a on the whim let things flow gal but lately deciding what to make for dinner has become more of a chore then an enjoyable experience as it once was for me. I love cooking, always have so in attempts to get back to the enjoyable side I have decided to try my hand and making a weekly meal plan.

I have avoided doing this for quite some time now because my thinking was that it would take forever me forever to sit down and plan it all out but in reality it took me under ten minutes. I think I mentally overwhelmed myself by assuming I had to do it a month at a time. But doing it weekly I can handle. Here is what I came up with for next weeks menu.

Week of 09/17 Menu

Monday: Curry Chicken
I love Curry Chicken. It is such a simple meal to make and one that is never a disappointment. Even my kids love it. 

Tuesday: Spaghetti
Another simple dish. I let my sauce cook most of the day and by dinner time all the flavors have infused wonderfully.

Wednesday: Wild Rice Chicken Casserole
I haven’t made this dish in a while but as I sit here next to the open windows while it’s a beautiful 65 degrees out I just had to include a nice fall/winter dish.

Thursday: Chicken Tortilla Soup
Again inspired by the coolness outside I wanted a soup but nothing too heavy.

Friday: Leftovers
Waste not want not. I know not all people are leftover fans but I absolutely love them. It’s the perfect time to have a little bit of everything from the week and to make sure nothing gets wasted. 

Saturday: Chicken Tostadas
While my husband is at work I usually leave the weekends as my easy days in the kitchen. And this is one of the kids favorite meals. It’s a win win.

Sunday: BBQ chicken sandwiches
This will be a new one for us. My mom used to make BBQ Pork sandwiches while we were growing. While my kids aren’t a big fan I thought a new twist might work. Fingers crossed.

My fridge and pantry are a little bare right now but luckily I do have a lot of the basics for these recipes so my shopping list will (thankfully) be semi short.

Now the biggest obstacle for me….sticking to it! Fingers crossed people.

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It’s Grilled Cheese Month

Did you know that the month of April is Grilled Cheese month? I didn’t either until recently. Maybe that explains why my youngest has been requesting a grilled cheese almost everyday this week. My other two aren’t big fans of grilled cheese but my youngest, well he loves it. To be honest I haven’t had a grilled cheese in ages. Last time I think was before I had kids. Such a same considering I am a huge cheese lover.

My favorite thing to eat with grilled cheese is some tomato soup, I especially love dunking my sandwich into the soup. But alas I have no tomato soup. I made two versions of grilled cheese this week. The classic and then my own simple yet full of flavor version.

Each version starts the same way, with buttering your bread (for the classic I used the Millet Chia bread from Udi’s).

Next brown the bread with your cheese on so it can start melting into it’s ooey gooey goodness. Once it’s to your desired brownness put the other piece of buttered bread in and flip the already browned piece and place on top of the piece you just put in.

A lot people tend to cook it on a high flame with will get you browned results faster but you also risk burning your bread while waiting for the cheese to melt. Try next time cooking on a medium heat, it will take a little bit longer to brown but you won’t end up with burnt bread.

The ends result. Not too crispy, not too browned, just perfect.

Oh look at all that cheesy goodness.

Now for my version I used the Omega Flax & Fiber bread from Udi’s. Same basic instructions as the classic version but with this one I used a slightly bigger pan so I could cook up some a lot of sliced red onions and both pieces of bread all at the same time. When the onions were all  done I placed them on the piece of bread with the cheese on it, then I topped it with a handful of baby spring mix and then placed the remaining piece of bread on top.

The final result was mouth watering. The combo of sharp cheese, extra sharp cheese along with the onions and lettuce was amazing. I added this to my favorite recipe list.

I was provided samples from Udi’s and coupons from Horizon Organic to facilitate these recipes. No monetary exchange was made. All opinions expressed therein are my own.

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

I am not going to make any silly claims that this recipe is healthy for you because it’s not. It’s full of creamy goodness and nothing this good was ever intended to be healthy. It’s not like heart attack in a bowl though so don’t put it on the make once a year shelf. This soup is great for the fall months, winter and in between. I’ve made it….maybe I shouldn’t admit how many times I’ve made it in the last six months. I’ll keep that little tid bit to myself. Just know that it is by far my favorite soup.

I look forward to it so much each time I’ve made it that I have completely forgotten to take pictures of each step. It’s like my mind goes on a one way track and all I think about is broccoli soup. When will it be done? Is it done yet? Can I have some of that creamy goodness now!

And one of the best parts about this recipe is it’s relatively simple.

Here is what you’ll need.

4 cups broccoli-chopped into small pieces
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk (I use 1%)
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Garlic salt
2 tablespoon Butter
Half of a red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

* Rinse the broccoli, finely chop and let dry on a paper towel.

* Melt butter and add in your onions. Cook onions approximately 3-4 minutes or until opaque.

* Now it’s time to make your roux. Grab your whisk and stir while slowly adding in a little bit of flour at a time.

* DO NOT add it all in at once or you will end up with clumps. Add in a little bit, stir, and when it’s completely smooth and start to ruse add in a little bit more.

* Once you have mixed in all the flour it’s time to add in the cream. Again only do a little bit at a time. But you have to be fast because as soon as the liquid touches the roux it will want to turn to putty. So start mixing before you’ve even added the cream and keep mixing until you’ve added all of the cream.

* Add in your milk.

* Dump all your broccoli in and give it a good stir

* And lastly add in all of your seasonings. Nutmeg, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, onion powder.. It may seem like you are using a lot of seasoning but don’t worry. It won’t be over powering at all. Since you’re using small amount of each nothing will strike out at you and take you over in flavor. It will all blend perfectly together.

* Bring the soup to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

* Prior to adding in the cheese give it a good stir and a taste test. If needed add some salt and pepper to taste.

* Add cheese right before serving.

And there you have it, delicious broccoli cheese soup that is as addicting as it is melt in your mouth good.

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Chicken a la Shana-Serrano Chicken Recipe

Get it??? Like Chicken a la King but since this is my recipe it’s Chicken a la Shana. Actually I don’t even know what Chicken a la King is but I like saying it, so it helped me name my recipe that has been nameless for seven years.
:::::WARNING::::: 
If you do not like spicy dishes turn away, do not, whatever you do, do not look at this recipe and see it’s deliciousness scream at you and invite you to try a bite of it’s spicy goodness. 
When I made this prior to having kids I would occasionally double the amount of peppers. What can I say I love me some spiciness. 
Chicken a la Shana
5 chicken breasts
1 whole red onion (chopped)
2 Serrano chili peppers (sliced long way & seeds removed)
1 red Jalapeno (sliced long way & seeds removed)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
Pepper
Sea Salt
Garlic Salt
Onion Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Oregano (I use a ground up powdered version so measurements may vary)
Tomato Sauce (2/15oz cans or 1/28 oz can)
Olive oil

De-seed and slice up your peppers. Make sure not to rub your eyes after handling these babies

Season your chicken with the salt and pepper. Cook approximately six-seven minutes on each side in one tablespoon of olive oil

Chop your onion. I left the pieces a little chunky because my oldest is not a fan of onions so I usually pick them out for him and then put them on my plate. Waste not right

 Put another tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and cook up the onions, garlic and peppers for two-four minutes. I like my onions slightly crunchy so I typically only cook them for two minutes

 Next add in the tomato sauce

Put the chicken back in

Add in remaining seasonings (oregano, garlic salt, onion powder and cayenne pepper)

 Simmer on low for 15 minutes

Whala….Chicken a la Shana

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Matzo and Eggs


I was beyond excited to find Eggs & Onion Matzo, let alone Matzo at all at the store last week. I don’t know what happened but about a year ago the stores where I used to live in Cali stopped carrying it and it’s the only kind I eat. Well I should say the one I prefer, plain matzo is just that, plain. What do you do with matzo besides eat it like crackers? Why make matzo & eggs of course! Everyone has their own way of making them. I’ve even heard of people eating them with jelly on top. Slightly weird in my opinion, but hey, to each their own. My Grandpa used to make the absolute mest matzo & eggs. Not dry yet not runny, they were perfect. I haven’t had matzos & eggs for well over a year now so naturally the first thing I did the next morning after buying the matzo & got everything needed to make some for the kids & I. Today I am sharing my version of matzos and eggs. 
Matzo & Eggs

Milk
3 eggs
2 pieces of matzo
Salt & pepper to taste
Butter

 Break up the matzo in a bowl
 Pour water into the bowl & let soak for a few minutes
 You don’t want it totally soggy but not crunchy either
 Then drain
 Then put in your eggs & milk & mix
 Add salt & pepper to taste
 Cook on medium heat
Devour Enjoy & savor the flavors
There you have it, a simple recipe for matzo & eggs. I know this recipe isn’t for everyone, my husband still can’t get used to having “crackers” in his eggs but the kids love it as do I.
Have you had matzos & eggs before? Do you prepare them differently or have something special you eat them with? I’d love to hear about the different ways you’ve had matzo & eggs.
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Mediterranean Wrap Recipe

When we first moved here my father in law introduced us to Jasons Deli. Me being the lover of all things food, was instantly in love. If you’ve never eaten there they are not like a traditional deli. They are mainly a sandwich and wrap restaurant but they also have soup, pasta dishes and a great salad bar. One thing the kids enjoy about eating there is they do have a deli counter where they make your food,  so they enjoy watching that aspect of the restaurant. FYI they have the absolute best broccoli cheese soup I have ever had. 

When we eat there I usually get the Mediterranean Wrap. I loved the idea that instead of mayo or mustard or dressings being used in it’s place was hummus. And the combination of the vegetables, meat & hummus was delish. So what does one do when they find a dish they love? Recreate it of course. 

Shanamama’s Mediterranean Wrap

Wrap (you can use flavor you’d like, I just chose the original light)
Turkey or chicken lunch meat
Onion
Tomato
Bell Pepper
Green olives
Kalamata olives
Lettuce blend (I like to mix it up between sweet baby green & bold baby greens)
Roasted red pepper hummus

Chop all your veggies except the lettuce. I like mine pretty thin so I can layer them and still be able to close the wrap.


Spread on a thin (or thick if you want more flavor or just love hummus) layer of hummus onto the wrap
Next layer on your vegetable. I do the olives on the bottom so they don’t roll out while eating the wrap














Now it’s time to put your lunch meat on. If it’s cut rather thin I would use about 6-8 pieces. For thicker cuts use about half that. My favorite part, the lettuce. Pile that on thick. You can never have to much lettuce.
 

And that’s it. Roll it up and chow down. I made the one pictured below for my husband so it’s a bit thicker so I had to stick it with a few tooth picks to keep it shut. 
Also, they store well in the fridge for a few hours if you make your lunches in the morning.



*I was not asked to write this post, I was simply inspired by a dish I loved & felt compelled to try my hand at recreating it. Additionally I was not compensated in any way for writing this post, although if Jasons Deli were to offer me a years supply of Broccoli Cheese soup I do not think I could turn them down.*
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Spiced chicken over a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette

You ever have one of those nights where you haven’t planned anything for dinner and by five o’clock you’re running around the kitchen desperately trying to find something to make? Last week I had one of those nights. I knew I had chicken but other then that I didn’t know how I was going to prepare it, what side dish I would make, heck I didn’t even know if I had anything for a side dish.
What was I to do in a pinch? I had no choice but to bust out the cooking books. The one’s I have bought over the years that I rarely ever look at. Tonight I grabbed a Rachel Ray 30 minute meals cookbook and began to scour the pages for anything chicken related. After countless recipes being denied do to lack of ingredients I finally found one for an Israeli Rub. Aha, this could work. I don’t have some of the seasonings in the form she calls for because I am not a big dried leafy person so I use ground spices but it could work. So here’s what I did.
Chicken Rub
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons corriander 
1.5 oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix all seasonings together in a small bowl
Phew that was rough, need a break after all that hard work 😉
Too bad, moving right along now.
4-5 Chicken breasts, trimmed of fat. If they are very thick slice them in half. Put the chicken in a bowl, pour a little bit of olive oil over the chicken and mix. Then generously pour on the rub. Don’t go overboard and use it all. Save some for the next time you make this dish. I still have about 1.5 tablespoons left and trust me, the chicken was not lacking in the flavor department.
Mix the chicken to make sure it’s completely coated. I say mix because I just tossed it around with my spatula instead of sticking my hands in. Let sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
While your chicken in marinating prepare your salad. 
Salad
Approximately 3-4 cups of greens, any kind you like. I used a pre-mixed bag from the store with spinach & spring leaves. 
1-2 Hearts of palm (not the jars just 1-2 of the vegetable)
Red onion-thinly sliced 
Tomato-thinly sliced 
Totally up to you but I don’t like having big pieces of lettuce in my salads so I chop everything. After you chop (or not) your lettuce mix with the hearts of palm, onions and tomato. 
Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 cups of olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (if you have a garlic press now’s the time to pull it out)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar (this is optional, if you are using a good quality balsamic it’s not necessary but wont really hurt if you add it anyways, it will just thicken it up a bit)
Unless you like wilted lettuce I would not put the salad dressing on your salad until you are ready to serve it. Just place the dressing to the side and your salad in the fridge.

Back to the chicken. Pour about 1.5 teaspoons into a large pan and turn on to medium/medium high heat. Once warm cook chicken breasts for seven minutes on each side. Remember if your chicken is on the thicker side it may take a little bit longer to fully cook. If you have sliced them in half seven minutes should cook them perfectly. Always cut open a breast just to double check that it is in fact fully cooked.

Once your chicken is fully cook let it rest for a few minutes so the juices do not flow out which will dry your chicken out. Then you can either leave the chicken whole or thinly slice your chicken. Now you can mix your salad and the dressing together. To plate your meal I topped the salad with the chicken.

Since this is a light meal I wouldn’t suggest serving with a heavy side such as potatoes or noodles, think more along the lines of healthy. I quickly cooked up some zucchini in butter and a dash of salt and served it along side the salad. To my surprise my kids actually mixed the zucchini in with the salad and ate it that way. Who knew kids loved vegetables!

The final result: 

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