It is definitely fall. There is a chill in the air that actually made me turn on the heat...and it takes quite a lot for me to do that (just ask my dear husband!). Soccer has no longer "just started" but rather we are mid-season. Notre Dame is undefeated (Go Irish!). I have a paper and a project due for my class soon. So yes, the autumn is upon us.
In my quest for new keepers for the dinner menu, there was but a single success this week. However, depending on your family, you can cook once and eat twice. A take on Chicken Pot Pie from one of my favorite resources, America's Test Kitchen, went over fabulously well here at our home, and I hope it will be a hit on your dinner table as well. I didn't realize ahead of time that it was going to be a good idea to split this into 2 meals, so instead I ate leftovers for lunch all week. Thankfully it made for a few tasty lunches! When I was working full time outside the home I planned leftovers into the dinner so that I could take it to work for lunch. This week reminded me of those days. There were a few other new dinners tested but none I would make again, let alone give out the recipe!
Fall is the season for quick breads - and I have a great one for you! Do you find yourself tossing bananas in the freezer when they've started to speckle? No one likes the look of them, no one is slicing them into cereal bowls or putting them into lunch boxes. When the bananas are getting judged by their looks, you toss them in the freezer to use in smoothies or banana bread at some later date, right? I do that, but man - does one of my best friends do that!!! She had so many frozen bananas she called me to take some off her hands. I kid you not when I say that I took 10 off her hands one afternoon, and then an additional 6 about 2 days later! And I don't think she was free of frozen bananas after I pulled out of her driveway! I had found a banana bread recipe that called for 6 bananas, so we made it, we loved it, and we made it again! The first time we made it the bread was instantly voted a keeper. The second time we added walnuts and it was even better. So, if your freezer is overflowing with frozen bananas who have lost their beauty, this is the recipe for you.
Finally - I tried a new cooking technique this week: canning. It is the fall, so farm stands are full of pumpkins, apples, mum and freshly canned produce. While I don't want to jar jam or chutney, I did really want to pickle some green beans!!! You read that right - pickled green beans. See if you can follow this one: my sister's husband's mother's boyfriend makes the most fantastic pickled green beans ever. Of course, I have only ever tried his dilly beans, but Ryan, Owen and I were hooked. When the market had beautiful green beans at a ridiculous price I reached out and got the recipe, and this week I have for you Part I of the Dilly Beans Experience. I could have called it the Dilly Bean Experiment, but I am really hoping to not change any of the variables, so in my opinion experience was more appropriate. Today I have for you the recipe and pictures fresh from the canning bath. In 2-4 weeks I will be back with the taste results, and then perhaps another month or 2 down the line revisit it again to talk about how the flavor deepened. The Dilly Beans I had probably had been pickling for months, so I don't know how mine will compare, but I have high hopes. Canning - definitely new and uncharted territory for me, so we'll see how this works! I am keeping my fingers crossed and will keep you posted.
One of my sisters did ask me to try some new slow cooker recipes so I'll be working on that for the next few weeks. If you have one you love or want me to test out for you (so you don't have to), let me know by dropping me a line at email@example.com
Chicken "Pot Pie" with Biscuit Crumble
Six Banana Banana Bread