Chocolate Swirl Banana Cream Pie

     If you’ve been following Chew Wanna Eat? for any length of time and actually read my ramblings, you know that some of my best creations just pop into my head.  I’ll get a craving for something (today it was Banana Cream Pie), and then I’ll think to myself, Oooooh, what if I made a Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust instead of a Regular Pie Crust?  Ooooooh, what if I add some sort of Chocolate to the Filling?  And there you have it.

     This Pie is SOOOOO good.  I always make my Cream-Style Pies with Homemade Filling.  It’s simple, takes less than ten minutes, and once you try it, you’ll never use Pudding again.  This is the first time I made this Pie.  The Crust and Filling are tried and true, but I’ve never added a Chocolate Crust to a Banana Cream Pie before, nor have I ever added a Chocolate Swirl.  Not gonna be the last time I make it; I’ll tell you what! 

Chocolate Graham Cracker Pie Crust Ingredients

1 sleeve (approx. 9 whole) Chocolate Graham Crackers

¼ cup Sugar

¼ cup Butter, melted

PREPARATION: 

     Place whole Graham Crackers in a ½ gallon plastic bag.  Close the bag with its zipper or use a twist tie.  You can either roll the crackers into crumbs with a rolling pin, or do what I do.  Take a nice heavy meat mallet and pretend you’re playing whack-a-mole.  That’s right.  Whack those suckers into crumbs.  It only takes about 30 seconds.  Flip the bag over here and there to make sure there are no large pieces left.  Open the bag and pour the crumbs into a small bowl.

     Add your Sugar and stir with a whisk.  Slowly drizzle in the melted Butter. 

     Using your fingers, the bottom of a glass, the bottom of a smooth measuring cup or something similar, press the mixture into a 9” pie plate.

     Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside until cooled.

PIE FILLING INGREDIENTS:  Yields one 9” Pie

1 cup Sugar

½ cup + 1 TBSP AP Flour

A couple dashes Salt

3 TBSP Butter

3 cups Milk

4 egg yolks (Use whites for Meringue, Omelets, or cook for the dogs)

1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

3 medium Bananas

¾ cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

PREPARATION:

     Place the yolks in a small bowl and lightly whisk or beat with a fork.   Set aside.

     In a medium saucepan over medium heat add Sugar, Flour, and Salt.  Whisk to incorporate.  Add Butter and Milk.  Continue cooking and whisking constantly until mixture begins to boil.  Turn heat down a little and continue cooking and whisking for 2 more minutes.  DO NOT WALK AWAY!  You’ll end up with a scorched bottom if you do. 

     Remove from heat.  Bring the Yolk bowl close to your saucepan and begin adding a TBSP or so of the hot mixture into the Yolks, stirring after each addition.  Continue doing this until you have added about 1 cup of the mixture.  (You have just tempered your eggs!  Simple, right?)

     Return the saucepan to the stove and pour the Yolk mixture into the filling mixture.  Continue whisking.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the Vanilla and whisk in.

     Let your Filling cool for 15-20 minutes.  I like to Whisk it here and there to help it cool faster.  Now, the next fun part is to drop your Chocolate Chips into the cooling Filling.  I don’t throw them all in at once, I add a small handful at a time, and then stir a bit to create the swirl.  Keep adding and stirring lightly until you have a nice swirl.

     Place sliced Banana on top of the crust until it’s covered pretty well.  I usually use about 1 ½ of the Bananas in this step.  Pour about half of the Filling on top.  Do another layer of sliced Bananas, add the remainder of the Filling.  If you want to do the Meringue, make it now.  Personally, I like Whipped Cream on Banana Cream Pie, so I never make Meringue, but if you love it, make it.  I know where you’ll find 4 Egg Whites!  Lol

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

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Gruyère Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

     If you’re new to Gruyère Cheese, you may not know that it comes from the alpine region of Switzerland where it has been made in copper vats for over 900 years.  It’s a great Cheese to feature on a cheese platter, fondue, or even slice it on a sandwich.  It is a flavorful long-aged cheese included in recipes such as potato dishes, breads, souffles, egg dishes, and French Onion soup!

INGREDIENTS: Yields 8 servings

8 cups sliced Yukon gold potatoes, skins in tact

2 large Onions, sliced

4 cloves Garlic, chopped

2 drizzles Olive Oil, divided

1 TBSP Butter, divided

6 oz block Gruyère Cheese, grated

1 pint Whipping Cream

Salt and Pepper

OPTIONAL VEGGIES: Cabbage, Mushrooms, Mini Sweet Peppers

PREPARATION:

     In large saucepan, drizzle Olive Oil and heat on low/medium heat.  Sauté Onions until browned and caramelized.  Add the Garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.

     While the Onions are cooking, wash and slice potatoes thinly.  I always leave the skin on because I like it, but you can peel them if you’d like.

     When the Onions are cooked to your liking, remove from pan.  If you are using any of the Optional Veggies, cook them in another drizzle of Olive Oil until beginning to tenderize.  They will finish cooking in the oven.  Salt and Pepper.

     In Buttered casserole dish, place a layer of Potatoes.  Add a few handfuls of grated Cheese.  Add another layer of Potatoes. You can add the Caramelized Onions in any of the layers.  Add a few handfuls of Cheese.  Add Optional Vegetables next (I add them all in the center layer.  Add another thin layer of Potatoes, more cheese, and then Potatoes for the top layer.  Pour a pint of Whipping Cream over all. 

    Cover with foil and bake at 375° F for about 40 minutes.  Remove foil and add the remaining grated Cheese on top.  I normally sprinkle Parsley on top for extra color.  Return to oven and bake for 35 – 45 minutes until potatoes are tender and Cheese is golden brown.  Serve.

NOTE:  These potatoes can be cooked anywhere from 350°  F to 400°  F.  You’ll have to adjust your baking time.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

Skillet Chorizo with Gnocchi

Skillet Chorizo and Gnocchi (or Tortellini)

     Nice and spicy, this simple dish is prepared on the stove top and is on the table in no time.  There are so many variations to try!  Add Mini Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Browned Ground Meat, leftover Cooked Chicken, Bell Peppers or Mini Sweet Peppers. Use Tortellini, Shells, Noodles or Ravioli instead of Gnocchi.  If cooking for a crowd, double up the Butter, Shrooms, Onion, Garlic, Tomatoes, and Seasoning.  When it’s ready, ladle half of it into a different pan.  Add a different Meat to each pan AND a different Pasta.  Ta da!  Two dishes with the work of only one!  Your kitchen will smell like Grandma’s Italian Kitchen!

INGREDIENTS:  Yields 3-4 servings

1 tbsp Butter

8 oz Mushrooms, sliced

1 lb Meat (Ground Meat, Andouille, Chorizo, Meatballs, Italian Sausage or cooked Chicken)

1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped

2-3 TBSP Garlic, chopped or minced

2 cups Fresh tomatoes, diced or 1 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1 TBSP spicy Seasoning (Creole or Cajun)

Black Pepper to taste

1 tsp each Parsley and Basil

16 oz Tortellini, Gnocchi, Ravioli, or Noodles or Shells, cooked Al Dente

Grated Romano, Asiago, or Parmesan for serving

PREPARATION:

     Cook the pasta in a large pot of water.

     Preheat a 12” skillet, and add Butter.  Cook Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, (and Peppers if using) until tender. Add your Meat and cook until done.  (Chicken should be precooked.  Leftover chicken is perfect). 

     Add Tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the juice has cooked down a bit.  If it seems to runny, add 1 TBSP Tomato Paste.  Add Seasonings and cooked Pasta.  Simmer 5 more minutes.  Sprinkle Grated Cheese to the pan or on top of each individual bowl when serving.  Serve with crusty Bread and a Salad.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

Vegan or Not, Spicy Noodle Soup

This noodle soup was outstanding.  It’s been changed more times than my socks. 

Replacing half of the water with chicken broth adds another layer of flavor.  We ate it as it’s written below the first day.  Leftovers were reheated with leftover chicken.  Excellent!!  We’ll try pork another time.  I’m sure that will be awesome also!

Featured in: Inspired By Stone Soup, But More Delicious. Altered by  Alison Roman, and finally by Gail Westover for Chew Wanna Eat?

INGREDIENTS

8 oz Thai Kitchen Brown Rice Noodles or Spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

8- 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

 Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds mixed mushrooms, such as maitake, oyster, cremini or shiitake, torn into bite-size pieces

½ Serrano hot pepper, thinly sliced (or 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes)

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste

¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar, plus more to taste

2 cups total of Greens, Cabbage, and/or Snow Peas (just a bit for color and extra nutrition),

4 cups Water and 4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth (or 8 cups water for Vegans)

Optional 4 Scallions, sliced

1 – 1 ½ cups leftover shredded chicken or pork (omit if cooking Vegan)

Optional 1-2 total cups herbs such as Cilantro, Mint, Chives, Parsley or a mixture of all

 Sesame seeds for serving (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots start to turn a nice golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and half the Serrano, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, released much of their water and turned a deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (A browned mushroom will have infinitely more flavor than an unbrowned mushroom, because the water inside it evaporates and the flavor concentrates. So do not skip this step.)
  3. Add 1/2 cup Low Sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup Rice Wine vinegar and 8 cups of water (I like 4 cups Water, 4 cups chicken broth). Bring to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper. Add Scallions and Chicken.  Continue to simmer until the flavors have melded, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  4. Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. (The timing will depend on the type and brand of noodles, so consult the package.) Add the noodles to the pot with the broth, and let them finish cooking and soak up all the flavors.
  5. To serve, use tongs to divide the noodles and mushrooms among bowls, then ladle the hot broth over the top. Top each bowl with herbs, sesame seeds, extra sliced scallions or extra sliced hot peppers.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

15 Minute Pan Fried Cod

    Dinner on the table in 15 minutes?  Absolutely!  I am very fussy about my fish.  There are only a few that I like.  Cod is one of them.  I decided to do something totally new tonight and it was one of the best fish fillets I’ve ever had.  This is a no-measure recipe, and so quick!

INGREDIENTS:  YIELDS 2 – 3 Servings

1 lb. Cod Fillets

Olive Oil/Mayo

Fresh Garlic, chopped

Bread Crumbs, Seasoned

2 tsp Butter

PREPARATION:

    Sprinkle about ½ cup Bread Crumbs on a paper plate.  On another paper plate, lay the Fish Fillets.  Spread enough Olive Oil/Mayo on one side of the Fish.  Put as much Garlic on as you wish.  Sprinkle with Pepper.  Press the Filet in Bread Crumbs.  Flip over and do the other side. 

    Melt Butter over medium heat.  Cook the Fillets until golden brown, flip and cook the other side.  Depending on the thickness it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes per side. Fish will flake with a fork when done.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019