banana puddings with vanilla bean wafers

banana pudding with vanilla bean wafers

A year ago, I made what I called Bananas Foster Puddings — individual puddings in which the bananas had been lightly caramelized in butter, brown sugar and rum before being layered with vanilla custard and kind of mediocre homemade vanilla wafers before being topped with a tuft of broiled meringue. The evening I made them, I managed to spill a pint glass of water (full, I mean, of course) right next to my laptop, which led to all sorts of drama including the loss of the photos and recipe, in case you’re wondering why nobody’s going to be mistaking me for a lifestyle guru anytime soon.

vanilla bean wafers

what you'll need for the custard

I was crushed and promised a redo but for the life of me, couldn’t get enthusiastic enough about it to make them again. I chalked it up to lingering morning sickness, to the fact that maybe banana pudding wasn’t my thing, but it wasn’t until last week, when curiosity about what everyone else likes in banana pudding took me on a field trip to my old neighborhood where the bakery downstairs from my old apartment is rather beloved for theirs when I realize that the problem was me: I had attempted to upend a classic that wasn’t necessarily improved by it. Or more succinctly: It wasn’t broken so I didn’t need to fix it. Rookie mistake!

for a rich pudding

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Broiled Miso Salmon

Broiled Miso Salmon – perfectly charred on the edges with crisp skin and the EASY 3-ingredient miso marinade is to die for! Smart Points: 4 Calories: 189

I’m a little obsessed with this salmon (my favorite fish!). It’s perfectly charred on the edges with crisp skin and the sweet miso marinade is to die for!

It also happens to be a super easy dinner – marinade it overnight with 3 ingredients, then broil it the next day, it’s ready in under 10 minutes! I served this with yesterday’s Asian chopped salad but this is also great with rice, quinoa or even cauliflower “fried rice”.

Broiled Miso Salmon – perfectly charred on the edges with crisp skin and the EASY 3-ingredient miso marinade is to die for! Smart Points: 4 Calories: 189

White miso (fermented soybean paste) will keep for several months in the refrigerator. It’s also great used in soups, salad dressings and marinades.  If you’re not a fan of salmon, this would also work great with black cod filets or Arctic Char.

Broiled Miso Salmon – perfectly charred on the edges with crisp skin and the EASY 3-ingredient miso marinade is to die for!

Click Here To See The Full Recipe…

Sriracha Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs

Sriracha Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs

Up next I have some spicy sriracha teriyaki chicken meatballs that are just perfect for both snacking on while watching the game and for dinner. Anything teriyaki starts out with a teriyaki sauce and I like to make my own, especially when it’s a simple combination of salty soy sauce with something sweet like mirin or in this case brown sugar. (Teriyaki sauce usually also contains sake but it’s ok to omit it here.) These meatballs begin as you would expect with some ground chicken along with an egg and breadcrumbs as binders and they are seasoned with green onions, garlic, ginger and a touch of the tasty homemade teriyaki sauce. When I think about things teriyaki I often think about adding pineapple since it’s such a fabulous combination so these meatballs also contains some crushed pineapple and the teriyaki sauce uses pineapple juice! Once the meatballs are assembled they just take a few minutes in the oven to bake, then you toss them in the teriyaki sauce and you are in teriyaki chicken meatball heaven! Serve with toothpicks and extra sriracha chili sauce if desired!

Read the recipe »

Ten Minutes by Ree

DSC_3382My boys had their friends Kevin and Treyvonne over after church on Sunday. It was chilly outside, but that didn’t keep the four boys from playing basketball and completely wiping out Marlboro Man’s ice chest in a way that only four boys between the ages of eleven and thirteen can do.

I went outside for a mere ten minutes to see what they were up to, and had to chuckle at the canine craziness all around me.

DSC_3363First of all, we have this fella on our homestead now. It’s a long story, but let’s just say German Shepherds are quite a different ball of wax than Basset Hounds and Labs.

DSC_3368What I wanted to do is take some action shots of the four boys shooting hoops.

DSC_3369The sun was shining for the first day in a long time, and I was happy to have the warm light bathing everything.

DSC_3376Unfortunately, I can’t sit down on the ground without all the dogs thinking it’s about them. Here comes Walter…

DSC_3378Here comes Presley…

DSC_3390(Yes, Presley. Todd got to name him and rejected all my suggestions, which included Thor, Flash, Rocco, Zeus, Astro, and Trooper. Todd simply got it in his head that he wanted to name his very first dog Presley, and there was no swaying him. I even suggested Elvis! No dice.)

DSC_3444Then Lucy showed up to start licking Walter and drive him crazy.

She likes to do this at least three times a day.

DSC_3445Right now, Walter is trying to decide whether to allow Lucy to continue her shenanigans or teach her a lesson.

DSC_3449Great restraint, Walter! Such a sweet boy.

DSC_3384The basketball continued in the background…

DSC_3387He shoots…he scores!

DSC_3442Then Charlie came into the picture.

DSC_3394And then Yo-Yo showed up and a brawl broke out.

DSC_3396It wasn’t really a serious brawl—just Charlie trying to act like an Alpha dog and show Yo-Yo who’s boss, with the labs assisting him. There was barking, snarling, howling, and nipping…

DSC_3408And Presley ran off because he didn’t like all the trouble.

DSC_3460Then he came back…

DSC_3461For Bryce’s Pepsi!

DSC_3463Ohhhhh, Presley. You are playing with fire, little one.

DSC_3464And I know this photo is blurry, but check this out! Duke heard Bryce scold the puppy for taking his pop, so he pawed the Pepsi right out of Presley’s mouth.

I’ve never heard of a loyal family dog protecting one of the family member’s soft drinks.

Anyway, Presley ran off again after that.

DSC_3480Then another brawl broke out.

DSC_3500Then I caught Treyvonne jumping out of the back of Marlboro Man’s truck with another pop.

DSC_3501Please be impressed by my shiny, pristine vehicle in the background.

Thank you.

DSC_3504If Marlboro Man had caught Treyvonne with one of his precious Dr Peppers, he probably would have pulled a Duke on him and patted it right out of his hands.

DSC_3506You don’t mess with a cowboy’s Dr Pepper stash.

DSC_3520So then the Lab brawl resumed.

Please keep in mind as you look at these photos that they are actually having fun.

Please keep in mind that these two roam the ranch and hunt together.

Please keep in mind also that these two sleep in a bed together and cuddle in their spare time.

Please keep in mind also that our homestead is a complete and utter nuthouse.











DSC_3579I love this ending shot. Duke is totally saying “You’re reeeeeeally starting to eeeeeeeeritate me.”


DSC_3582“It’s okay, Little One. Stay close to me and I will teach you the ways of the homestead.”

And that, my friends, was ten minutes of life around here.

The end.

Asian Chopped Salad with Sesame Soy Vinaigrette (In a Jar)

Asian Chopped Salad with Sesame Soy Vinaigrette (In a Jar) – perfect for lunch on the go! Weight Watchers Smart Points: 7 Calories: 231

This colorful Asian-inspired salad is layered with edamame, bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, cabbage and lettuce and a simple sesame-soy vinaigrette. One jar is a huge serving, perfect for lunch or it can serve two as a side dish.

I love the convenience of using mason jars to pack salads for lunch on the go. To do this, the dressing goes on the bottom of the jar, then you start with ingredients that won’t get soggy. You always put the lettuce at the very top, then right before you’re ready to eat give it a good shake to get everything mixed well and pour it out onto a plate.

These will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week.

Asian Chopped Salad with Sesame Soy Vinaigrette (In a Jar) – perfect for lunch on the go! Weight Watchers Smart Points: 7 Calories: 231
Asian Chopped Salad with Sesame Soy Vinaigrette (In a Jar) – perfect for lunch on the go! Weight Watchers Smart Points: 7 Calories: 231

Click Here To See The Full Recipe…

spaghetti pie with pecorino and black pepper

spaghetti pie with pecorino and black pepper

If you didn’t have a nonna to do so when you were a wee lucky thing, it’s more than likely that Marcella Hazan was the person who introduced you to the concept of a spaghetti frittata, a cozy mess of leftover spaghetti, scrambled egg, some butter, parsley and a fistful of parmesan, cooked in a skillet and cut into wedges. It’s unfancy food at its best, as should be no surprise from the woman was very distressed by complicated chefs’ recipes, wondering “Why not make it simple?”

what you'll need

spaghetti chitarra (guitar)

So when I first saw Food & Wine’s Cacio e Pepe Pasta Pie on Pinterest earlier this month, as one does, my first thought was “Oooh, so impossible-to-achieve outside a food styling studio pretty,” (because, I mean, look at it) followed by “Wait, that’s not cacio e pepe” (a Roman dish with exactly three ingredients — pecorino, black pepper and spaghetti, usually fresh tonnarelli, and if you can forgive me for being pedantic, definitely no cheddar), followed by “Wouldn’t all of that egg custard leak from my springform?” (answer: yes, and woe is my oven floor) and then “I wonder what Marcella Hazan would have thought of this.” Would she have been distraught by the springform, perturbed by the use of three types of cheese, shaking her head over the finish under the broiler?


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Creamy Parmesan Sundried Tomato and Spinach Tortellini Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Parmesan Sundried Tomato and Spinach Tortellini Cauliflower Soup

It’s time for another comforting soup recipe to stave off the chill weather and this time is a creamy parmesan sundried tomato and spinach tortellini cauliflower soup! When I hear the word creamy in a soup I immediately think of copious amounts of heavy/whipping cream but in this soup I get the creaminess by using pureed cauliflower which gets things nice and creamy while keeping it light and healthy! Up next is the sundried tomatoes and I use a jar of oil packed sundried tomatoes where I puree half of them to infuse the soup with their flavour and I slice the remaining tomatoes so that you gets hits of their intense flavour when chewing on them! Of course there is plenty of freshly grated parmesan melted into the soup along with wilted spinach and fresh basil to finish it off. Whether you are looking for a comforting of soup to shake off the chill of a cold day or a soul warming bowl to curl up in your favourite chair with at the end of a long day this creamy parmesan sundried tomato and spinach tortellini cauliflower soup is just what you are looking for!

Read the recipe »

Monday Morning Walter by Ree

DSC_3432Ol’ Walter hasn’t been featured on my website in awhile—mostly because he’s much more on the move than Charlie and it’s hard to pin him down. But I couldn’t resist showing you this photo I snapped of the ol’ guy yesterday. I’ll be posting a longer post tomorrow featuring my boys, their friends, the basketball court, and the dog brawls that broke out around me, but for today, I thought Walt would be the perfect tide-me-over.

I love you, Walter!

Beef, Tomato and Acini di Pepe Soup (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker + Stove Top)

Beef, Tomato and Acini di Pepe Soup (Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker + Stove Top Directions) – this soup is COMFORT in a bowl! Kid-friendly and freezer-friendly! Weight Watchers Smart Points: 5 • Calories: 249

My family DEVOURED this delicious bowl of soup made with ground beef, tomatoes, and tiny pasta. It’s warm and comforting, like a great big hug on a cold winter day.

Beef, Tomato and Acini di Pepe Soup (Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker + Stove Top Directions) – this soup is COMFORT in a bowl! Kid-friendly and freezer-friendly! Weight Watchers Smart Points: 5 • Calories: 249

I was snowed in yesterday, which meant soup day. It also gave me an opportunity to make this AMAZING soup that’s been on my mind since I tried something similar from a small deli who called it Grandma’s Soup. I loved how the bits of meat tasted almost like meatballs, without having to do the extra work.

Tommy and my oldest Karina topped theirs with shredded mozzarella and grated Pecorino Romano with a slice of crusty toasted bread (they called it pizza soup). I had mine topped with grated Pecorino Romano, which is completely optional but SO worth it! Madison who’s six complained about the chunks of tomatoes (kids!) so if you have picky kids using crushed tomatoes would work too.

I decided to do this in my  Instant Pot (a multi-cooker that does the job of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and warming pot all in one) because I love the saute feature and how quick it cooks, but you can also make this on the stove, conventional pressure cooker or slow cooker – I’ve included directions below for all!

Click Here To See The Full Recipe…

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 14)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 14)

Happy Saturday, week 14 of sharing my weekly dinner plans!

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 14)

Above is a sample week of The Skinnytaste Meal Planner, a 52-week meal plannerfood tracker and exercise tracker in oneI‘ve included the Smart Points next to the recipes since I am currently on Weight Watchers. By the way if you have The Skinnytaste Cookbook, and if you are on Weight Watchers, I have all the Smart Points listed here for your convenience.

If you’re new here you can see the older plans below. Meal planning is a great way to get organized before heading to the supermarket to get ready for the week! My breakfast is usually something quick like eggs with fruit, a smoothie or avocado toast. We‘re a family of four, so if a recipe serves more, it’s either packed up for everyone’s lunch or eaten the next day as leftovers. If you would like to see some of the previous week’s dinner plans, click here.

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 14)

Monday: Dad’s Creamy Cauliflower Soup (2 SP)

                 with Garlic Parmesan Fries (6 SP)

Tuesday: Beef Tacos (using this recipe with beef instead of turkey….)

Wednesday: Turkey Meatball and Spaghetti Soup (5 SP)

Thursday: Parmesan Crust Turkey Cutlets (4 SP)

                   Sauteed Baby Zucchini (2SP)

Friday:  Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce (6SP)

               House Salad with Love from The Skinnytaste Cookbook (3 SP)

Saturday: Dinner Out! 🙂

Sunday: Filipino Adobo Chicken (6SP) (MY FAVORITE!)

               with Brown Rice


Click Here To See The Full Recipe…