Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

It feels so, so good to be back in the kitchen and having fun baking & cooking again! I mentioned a couple months ago that one of the things I just had to give up while working to take Stephanie Scholl Events full-time was cooking and baking. I am grateful to be able to work from home now, which means I have (slightly) more time to cook healthier meals – and from scratch – and bake desserts and treats. I love having people over, and hospitality is a passion of mine. And I never like to show up to a dinner party, wine night, or book club empty handed! This recipe for chocolate chip banana bread is one that I’ve used for a few years now, and it’s really simple and really delicious. If you didn’t know already, I like baking that is both simple and tasty! And this recipe doubles really, really easily, so you can share a loaf or two with your friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers!

bananabread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

adapted from Rachael Ray

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 bananas, mashed

1 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F  & spray a large loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix in the oil, bananas and eggs. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about one hour. Cool the loaf in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely, right side up.

This recipe makes one large loaf, but this recipe can easily be doubled, like I mentioned! It”s a good way to use up mushy bananas, and you can also sub out the chocolate chips, if you really wanted to.

Recipe | Apple, Sausage, & Onion Pizza

pizza

 

The other evening, I had the overwhelming urge to cook. That might sound like a silly urge to have, but it’s true! With so many back to back to back weekends of traveling and then endless weeknight plans and activities (all of them fun!), I realized that I hadn’t actually cooked a full meal in about a month. And that’s sad! I love to cook and be in the kitchen, but, as trite as it may sound, I just hadn’t had the time lately. I can’t complain about all of the exciting weekend travels and the fun weeknights after work, but I was missing time in the kitchen and time to just be. After a little thought, as I rarely ever cancel plans, I kindly asked my friend if I could take a rain check on Monday night’s happy hour plans. Then I headed home – straight after work! what a novel idea! – to run to the grocery store (since I hadn’t been in way too long), go for a beautiful evening run, and settle into the kitchen for a Fall-inspired meal, made from (mostly) scratch. My September issue of Southern Living had a few dog-eared recipes, and that was just the inspiration I needed to settle on a little dinner menu.

Southern Living’s apple flatbread served as my main inspiration for a pizza/flatbread main dish, but I tweaked it to make it perfect for me – and for leftovers for lunches at work throughout the week. Trader Joe’s frozen naan is often an ideal solution (with four frozen naan), as it serves as the perfect base and is already portioned out. A ricotta base and topping of caramelized onions, sliced apples, and chicken and apple sausage were the perfect accompaniments, and the flavors melded together seamlessly. I also had been craving arugula lately, which is typically one of my least favorite salad greens. I think my mind has been changed, though, after enjoying a simple arugula & shaved parmesan cheese side salad with a delicious homemade vinaigrette I improvised (which is not hard to do, promise!). I topped off my chicken-apple-sausage and apple and caramelized onion pizza and arugula salad with a crisp white wine from Greece that my sweet sister gave me. It was the perfect evening to be in the kitchen, prepare my ingredients, let time pass by slowly, and savor a fantastic meal on a beautiful early Fall evening.

I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, as it was simply marvelous, quite inexpensive, and seriously easy to make. Enjoy!

Apple, Chicken Sausage, & Caramelized Onion Pizza

Ingredients:

four pieces of naan

1 package of chicken and apple sausage, sliced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 apples, thinly sliced

1 lemon

1 container of ricotta

salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, to taste

Directions:

Thinly slice up the red onion, and caramelize it on the stove. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Juice one lemon, and add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to ricotta cheese, stir. Lightly brown sliced chicken and apple sausage in a separate pan from onions. Thinly slice up apples. Bake naan (plain with no toppings yet) in 400 degree oven for two minutes. Once onions and sausage are cooked, begin assembling your pizza. Top each naan with about two dollops of the ricotta mixture, and spread evenly. Then add your caramelized onion, chicken and apple sausage, and apple slices evenly to each pizza. Once assembled, bake for two minutes and then broil for one minute. Yum!