Dec 2006

Banana Cornbread

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup apple sauce
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 banana, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Place the maple syrup, mashed bananas, apple sauce, milk and vanilla into a blender or food processor; puree until smooth OR mix by hand. Mix together cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture until blended. Fold in sliced bananas. Pour into prepared pan. Bake is preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until brown on top.

Adapted from recipe for Banana Walnut Cornbread. [For Printable Recipe Click Here]

Dec 2006

Skillet Noodle and Sausage Supper


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • Salt
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped fine
  • 8 ounces penne (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
  • Pepper

1. Heat the oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

3. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Sprinkle the tomatoes and penne evenly over the sausage. Pour the broth and milk over the pasta. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Substitutions: Sauteed the onions using water instead of olive oil. Used shallots instead of onions. Used Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage. Used non-oil packed sun dried tomatoes. Used a pound (1 bag) of whole wheat rotini pasta and doubled the broth and milk. Did not add Parmesean directly to the pasta, but had on hand for everyone to use to their own liking. Added carrots.

Nov 2006

Freddy’s Mexican Restaurant – San Antonio


November 29, 2006
Cuisine: Mexican

1201 S Flores St
San Antonio, TX 78204

Phone: 210-277-1515
Website: none

Entree I: Gordita lunch special – two gorditas served with beans and rice

For our final meal in San Antonio, some locals took us to a hole in the wall Mexican joint for some authentic native fare. The restaurant was definitely off the beaten path and was packed for lunch. While I’m not the biggest fan of Mexican food, I was curious to see how Freddy’s compared to San Diego’s Mexican fare.

Freddy’s looked a lot like a SoCal taco shop (plastic tables and booths, funky yellow walls), but was a lot bigger and did not have a drive through. The locals ordered the gordita special, so I did the same even though I was leaning toward the tamales. Let me tell you, I felt really funny saying, “I’d like a gordita, please.” It’s kind of like saying, “I’d like to be fat, please.” I ordered one chicken gordita and one beef.

I had heard of a gordita before thanks to Taco Bell, but really wasn’t sure what it was. According to Wikipedia, “A gordita is a food which is characterized by a small, thick tortilla made with corn flour. The gordita is typically baked on a comal, a small pan similar to a skillet. The gordita’s thick tortilla is typically split and filled with guisos (soups or stews) or casseroles, like chicken, cochinita pibil, nopales, carne al pastor, etc. These are made mostly for lunch and are accompanied with many different types of salsas.”

My gordita did not come with different types of salsas, although red and green salsa were already on the table. The gorditas came with small sides of rice and beans. The rice and beans were very similar to the ones I’ve had in San Diego. The gorditas were quite tasty. The beef gordita contained ground beef that was well seasoned, if not a little on the greasy side. However, I feel that grease is to be expected and welcomed when it comes to Mexican food. The chicken gordita was slightly less greasy and surprisingly flavorful; I tend to expect the worst when it come to chicken. The chicken was shredded and also seasoned nicely. Both gorditas were stuffed with iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. I discarded the iceberg.

The best part of the gordita is the thick corn tortilla. The texture is just so yummy—kind of like nacho chips that have lost their crispness due to a heavy dousing of cheese and meat.