Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Banana Blondies

banana-blondies-titleIf you love bananas and all banana related food, these bars are for you!  There is no mistaking the main ingredient in this deliciously moist baked treat.


Happy Secret Recipe reveal day!

This month, I was assigned the Sara’s delectable blog Cook with Sara.  She is definitely more of a baker than I am but she also had so many delicious recipes that would have been great for dinner time as well.  She even had a huge pork section which just made my bacon-weaved heart happy.

I seriously considered making her Honey-Garlic Pork Chops, Sesame Pork Tenderloin, or a version of her Sweet ‘n’ Sour Polish Sausage but I’ve been in the mood to bake so I had to go through her many, many delicious baked good recipes.

The winner?  Banana Blondies!


I really, really had a hard time deciding so I gave myself the extra challenge of choosing something that used ingredients that I already had on hand.  I ultimately whittled it down to this one and Strawberry Banana Bread.  I literally flipped a coin to narrow it down from there.

I definite won!

Now, I will fully admit that I added extra banana to mine.  After thawing and mashing my bananas, I had a scant full cup.  I decided to just add them all in which, of course, added a lot of time to the baking time but it was worth it.

SO worth it.


Mr. O is not a fan of things overly banana so I got to enjoy most of these all by myself.  I was nice, though, and brought one to work for Ms. B who sits in the cube directly across from me because her love of banana surpasses even mine.

But I only brought her one. 😉

5.0 from 1 reviews
Banana Blondies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 9 - 12 bars
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ - 1 c mashed bananas, about 2-3
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ c all-purpose flour
  • ½ c white-wheat flour
  • Optional: ½ c chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray an 8" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar and melted butter until well combined. Stir in the egg and vanilla and stir until smooth the stir in the mashed bananas. Fold in the salt and flours until just combined. If using the nuts, fold them in now as well. Batter should still be lumpy.
  3. Pour the batter in the baking pan and spread to the corners until it is even. Bake for 20-25 minutes (30-35 minutes if using more banana) or until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Adapted slightly from Cook with Sara


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Chicken Ranch Lasagna

chicken-ranch-lasagna-titleShredded chicken, a white cheese sauce with ranch seasonings, and lots of veggies?  Oh, yes, please!


Mr. O was nice and is helping me out a bit again this week.  I got the idea for this while trying to put together a meal using as much as possible from the pantry and freezer.  All I had to buy was milk and mushrooms.  Yay for creative-thinking! 🙂



Hey, all!  Mr. Onion-Hater here!

Everyone has a favorite meal from their childhood. I mean I don’t care if we’re talking about Grilled Cheese, or maybe Mom’s Pot Roast (even if it’s as tough as an old leather boot), or even Mac and Cheese from the box! We all have meals that just make us kids again when we think about them and especially when we eat them!

Mine is lasagna. No question. My mom made a killer lasagna. It was a family staple. Hell, it was such a huge part of growing up that the first thing my sister ever learned to cook on her own was lasagna since she considered herself to be part Garfield!

This lasagna that Sashi came up with. . . isn’t your mother’s lasagna.


The basic concept is the same, sure. We have pasta, cheese, a sauce, and it’s baked. But that’s about where the similarities end.

This lasagna has layers of shredded chicken with mushrooms and broccoli. Not something that my Midwestern household would have ever considered even on our most adventurous days! But then the traditional red sauce, marinara if you like, is completely turned on it’s ear and replaced with a white cheese and cream sauce with ranch seasonings.

But never fear the cheese is still here! In this lasagna we have some homemade ricotta and a generous portion of mozzarella. I mean you HAVE to have the brown bits of cheese to fight over and with right? Otherwise what’s the point of having lasagna?!


Truth be told though the plan was to have bacon in this as well. Big surprise huh? It would be best browned to a crisp and crumbled on the top prior to baking. But the bacon gods decided that this was more than good enough without. . . because we didn’t have any in the house. And, if I’m being honest here, this was a fabulous dish that was both reminiscent of my childhood favorite while, at the same time, still pleasing my more grown up palate.


Chicken Ranch Lasagna
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 8-12 servings
  • 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 3 c milk (I used whole)
  • 2 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 16 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • ½ c fresh grated Parmesan
  • 2 lb cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 12 - 16 oz bag of frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 8 oz sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 c ricotta cheese (I made my own)
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat a deep 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the noodles. When boiling, add the noodles and cook for the minimum time on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Meanwhile, place large 12" nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and keep whisking until smooth and golden. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Let cook until it starts to bubble. Stir in the garlic, parsley, garlic powder, salt, dill and chives. Continue heating until bubbly and starting to thicken, 5 min or so. Turn off the heat and . Stir in ¾ of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the chicken.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the broccoli, tomatoes and mushroom with a large pinch of salt.
  5. Add about 1 cup of just the sauce (a few chicken pieces are okay) into the bottom of the baking dish. Lay 4 of the noodles over the sauce in the pan, overlapping as needed to fit.Top with ½ of the remaining sauce, ½ of the vegetable mixture and ½ of the ricotta. Repeat with 4 more noodles, the rest of the sauce, the rest of the vegetables and the rest of the ricotta. Top with the remaining 4 noodles and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ of the mozzarella.
  6. Bake at 350º for 30-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.


20 Easy Holiday Sides

Just 3 weeks until Thanksgiving!  Are you excited?  I’m excited.  I’m so excited that my menu has been finalized for well over a week, my shopping lists are done, and a few things have even been purchased already.  I’ve even made my chicken stock/broth and it’s in the freezer, ready to go.

I’ve been told that I don’t approach my holiday meal the same other people do and have even been called “anal” in how I organize my meal planning.  I’m okay with that, though.  I’d rather plan things out ahead of time and be less stressed the day of.  I’m a frazzled cook so the easier I can make it on myself, the better!

This year, it’s a little harder, though.  I’ve been in a funk lately which is why there hasn’t been that much activity.  Some days, the thought of cooking after work just makes me want to cry which is especially sad because I *love* cooking.  Mr. O has been a HUGE help, though, and is happy to be allowed in the kitchen more often.

With Thanksgiving approaching, though, it’s forcing me to think more about the things I am thankful for rather than the stresses that are eating away at me.  And planning my T-Day meal is helping with that!

Below are some of my favorite recipes that I think would good additions to a holiday feast, whether it be this one or the ones that will follow over the next couple of months.  I’m going to put a star (*) next to the ones that I am actually making for Thanksgiving myself.

In the Atlanta area and wanna come over for dinner?  Just let me know. 🙂  I’m serious!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese *


Jalapeño Cheddar Mashed Potatoes


Simple Mashed Potatoes * (just the potatoes from this post)


Smashed Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese


Vegetable Rice Pilaf


Apple Cider Braised Cabbage


Cheesy Baked Broccoli and Cauliflower


Cheesy Corn & Red Peppers


Crispy Baked Mushrooms


Crunchy Baked Green Beans


Crunchy Roasted Sugar Snap Peas


Gingered Peas & Carrots


Ginger-glazed Carrots


Italian Zucchini & Tomatoes


Pan-seared Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms *


Roasted Broccoli *


Rustic Mushroom Tart


Broccoli Salad


Sweet Pea Salad


Vegetable & Couscous Salad with Lemon-Lime Dressing



Bonus #1

Here are the desserts I am making for Turkey Day 🙂

Apple Cake


and, of course,

Bacon Pineapple Upside Down Cake



Bonus #2

We had a costume contest at work for Halloween and I got 2nd place as

The Evil-Fairy-Step-Queen 🙂


I look dorky (dorkier?) when I try to look evil and mean 🙂


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