Archive for January, 2011

Better late than never…

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Better late than never…

Here’s Make A Whisk’s top 10 posts of 2010.

1)      Coconut Cake (

If you like coconut, this cake is not to be missed. A lot of trouble, but worth every second. You have no idea how good real coconut can be until you try this cake.

2)      Easy Cheese Danish (

A quick and dirty recipe for cheese Danish at home. A lot of the ingredients are things we have on hand anyway, so easy to throw together for a crowd in the morning.

3)      Wizarding World of Harry Potter Food Preview (

No recipes, and I’d almost forgotten I’d written this one. But back in September, I got the chance to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and am happy to report that the initial reviews got it right, everything was fantastic. The Pumpkin Juice was yummy, the Butterbeer (better frozen than not) was good, though too sweet for my personal tastes. We got cauldron cakes at Honeyduke’s, in addition to acid pops and sugar quills. For lunch, we ate at the Three Broomsticks and feasted on Roast Chicken, Turkey Legs, Fish and Chips, and more. Universal did a great job with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, right down to the food and drinks.

4)      Caramelized Corn with Fresh Thyme (

Such a great, simple side dish, with so few ingredients. Fantastic.

5)      Lost Finale Party. ( So sad it’s over. But the food was good.

6)      It’s so hard to pick just one post from June. I got a grill for my birthday, and all we did was grill all month long, maybe all summer long. I guess I’ll go with the grilled pizza ( ), but really, I was just so excited to be grilling!

7)      Not something I cooked, but someplace we went—Girl and the Goat finally opened their doors, and we were there for the opening week! I’ve really been wanting to go back lately, too. (

8)      For August, though there were lots of grilled recipes, and plenty of things to celebrate (like Kat and Jeff’s wedding shower), I’m going to have to go with the Two-Corn Polenta with Tomatoes & Basil, since it successfully brought polenta back into our lives. And our lives might be better for it. 😉 (

9)      To highlight the grill, which was really the focus of our summer cuisine, I want to mention these Flank Steak Skewers from Everyday with Rachael Ray. I know we made them twice, but we might have actually had them three times. They were that good. And because they’re skewers, would be perfect for a crowd, as they cook  up quickly and can be prepped in advance. I’d almost go stand in the snow to make some more. Almost. ( )

10)   This copycat recipe for PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef was definitely one of my favorite new recipes this year. Just the right amount of spicy, rich and meaty, crisp around the edges. And the kind of sauce that demands to be served over rice, just so you don’t miss a drop.

Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Ah, that Pioneer Woman. Everything over there is delicious. I don’t usually consider her food to be terribly original or inventive, just a really great solid version of whatever she’s trying to make. That’s what you get with these sloppy joes. If you’ve never made sloppy joes “from scratch” and have been relying on a mix or a can, you’re definitely in for a treat. The flavors are brighter, there’s just the right amount of spice, and browning the buns with butter is a great, simple touch that really makes a difference.

(If you have made sloppy joes from scratch, there’s probably not anything earth shattering about this recipe. My family used ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar to make their sauce, and this is certainly in that family. But the onion & bell pepper adds something to the mix, as does the fresh garlic.) This recipe is extremely flexible though, so you can leave out pretty much any of the ingredients that you don’t care for.

photo courtesy of

Sloppy Joes a la Pioneer Woman
Serves 8; Adapted from

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2-½ pounds Ground Beef
  • ½ Large White or Yellow Onion, Diced
  • ½ Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-½ cups Ketchup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder (or use more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (or use more or less to taste)
  • Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
  • Tabasco Sauce (optional; to taste)
  • Salt To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Kaiser Rolls, Hamburger Buns, or other soft sandwich rolls
  • Butter

Preparation Instructions

Add two tablespoons of butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.

Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

To prepare the buns:

Spread both halves of each bun with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls. Serve hot.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Cooking Light magazine recently had a feature on Banana Bread recipes.

I frequently have a freezer full of too-ripe bananas, just waiting to be turned into Banana Bread. (This has never been more true than lately; I think we’ve got about 12 frozen bananas in there!) I have an old standby recipe for banana bread from David’s family, and I’ve made other types of banana bread before, but I was excited to try some of the Cooking Light varieties, especially after seeing their outstanding reviews. The first one to catch my eye was this Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

I’ll admit, I made some tweaks. For one, I didn’t have chopped peanuts, or creamy peanut butter, so I cut out the middle man and used chunky peanut butter. Worked great. I’m not a fan of super-sweet desserts, usually, and Banana Bread is more of a breakfast treat to me than it is a dessert anyway, so I skipped the extra sweetness from the peanut butter glaze, though I’m sure it would’ve been tasty. I liked the way it turned out. Moist, rich-but-not-too-rich, with just a hint of peanuty goodness. The peanut butter added flavor without overpowering the bananas. The most successful Cooking Light recipes are ones that don’t seem “light,” and this definitely falls into that category. I’ll probably make this one again–if I was making it to give to someone else or to bring to a party or something, I’d probably try the glaze, too.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light, October 2010

For the Bread:

  • 1 1/2  cups  mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3  cup  vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 1/3  cup  crunchy peanut butter
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • Cooking spray

For the Glaze (optional):

  • 1/3  cup  powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  tablespoon  creamy peanut butter


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare bread, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Pour batter into a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

4. If you want to make the glaze: combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread when cooled.

Nutritional Info: Calories: 198; Fat: 7.4g; Protein: 4.7g; Carbohydrate: 29.7g; Fiber: 1.9g