Carrot Banana Bread, the best of both worlds!

Carrot banana bread is incredibly easy and, you won’t have to decide whether to make banana bread or carrot cake. It is the best of both worlds, banana bread with a filling of carrots, walnuts, and coconut in a moist, deluxe batter.

Carrots from the garden add that simple home-cooked taste to so many classic recipes like carrot cake cupcakes or creamy carrot salad. With this recipe, you can also use up those bananas that stayed on the counter a little too long.

Two slices of banana carrot bread with a pat of butter on top.

Ingredients in Carrot Banana Bread

  • Bananas and Carrots make for a taste-of-home blend of sweetness and garden-fresh goodness and heaps of moisture.
  • Chopped Walnuts add a savory crunch and turn this into a hearty bread that will keep you going for hours! Walnuts are excellent brain food, so this is a good dessert to pack in your kid’s lunches.
  • Flaked Coconut adds an extra layer of flavor. You can use shredded coconut, but flaked coconut is a nice texture alongside the shredded carrots.
  • Mayonnaise?! It might seem strange, but mayonnaise is the secret ingredient and adds so much moisture to this cake! It is really just eggs and oil, which is put into cakes all the time.

Carrot Banana bread ingredients in a bowl.

How To Make Banana Carrot Bread

This simple banana carrot bread recipe is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Mash bananas with mayo and egg. If using frozen bananas, allow them to defrost before starting the cake.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and stir in the banana mixture just until incorporated. Over-mixing can cause  quick bread to become too dense and heavy, so don’t worry about mixing “perfectly.”
  3. Fold in the nuts and pour into the prepared pan.

That’s all there is to it!

A loaf of banana carrot bread in a loaf pan with parchment paper.

The Best Way to Store It

Carrot Banana bread will keep on the counter wrapped in foil, saran wrap, or in an airtight container for a few days. You can extend the expiry date by keeping it in the fridge for up to a week.

Personally, I like to keep it wrapped in foil on the counter. And to be honest, it’s not going to last a week in my house anyway! It will disappear into hungry tummies long before unless I hide it in the freezer!

To Freeze

Carrot Banana bread is one of those wonderful foods that freeze beautifully. I like to cut it into slices and wrap them individually in wax paper with a layer of foil on top. Then all I have to do is pull it out and pop it in the kid’s lunch for a healthy and delicious treat!

Or, freeze it whole and take it out when you have guests you were too busy to bake for. Top it with cream cheese frosting, and it will taste just as good or better than it did on the day you made it!

More Delicious Quick Breads

Banana Carrot Bread

This is the best of both worlds, banana bread with a filling of carrots, walnuts, and coconut in a moist, deluxe batter.

  • 3 medium bananas (mashed)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or dressing)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup carrots (shredded)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×4 pan with parchment paper.

  2. Combine mashed bananas, mayonnaise and egg in a small bowl.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in banana mixture just until moistened.
  4. Fold in walnut, coconut and carrots.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Two slices of banana bread with a pat of butter on top.
Two slices of banana bread with a pat of butter on top.
Top image - two slices of carrot banana bread stacked with a pat of butter on top. Bottom image - a carrot banana bread baked in a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Lasagna Roll Ups (Freezer Meal)

Lasagna Roll Ups are a simple twist on a traditional lasagna recipe! Rolled lasagna noodles are filled with a flavorful spinach and ricotta mixture and baked with a quick homemade meat sauce.

Turn a traditional lasagna or a chicken lasagna into a easy roll up following this recipe. Already individually portioned these rolls ups are perfect for a potluck or a family gathering!

A lasagna roll up on a plate with meat sauce and garnished with parsley.

What’s in a Lasagna Roll Up?

Lasagna is a classic dish that most of us grew up on and a meal that my whole family loves! Layers of pasta, hearty meat sauce, fresh or frozen spinach, and cheese baked until warm and gooey.

A lasagna roll up is reminiscent of one of our favorite stuffed shells recipes with the spinach and cheese stuffed filling.

This roll ups recipe adds in an amazing homemade meat sauce and of course cheese for a great ooey-gooey dinner that everyone loves!

Ingredients for the cheese mixture in a bowl before being mixed.

How to Make Lasagna Roll Ups

This easy lasagna roll up recipe comes together in a few simple steps.

  1. Beef Mixture: Brown beef mixture, drain, and stir in pasta sauce. Prepare lasagna noodles per package directions.
  2. Cheese Mixture: Combine remaining ingredients, reserving a portion of cheese for topping.

Lasagna noodles topped with spinach and ricotta mixture, and rolled up.

  1. Assemble: Top prepared lasagna noodles with cheese mixture and roll jelly style. Layer meat sauce, lasagna rolls, and remaining meat sauce in casserole dish.
  2. Bake: Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining cheeses. Bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Two images showing lasagna roll ups layered with meat sauce and cheese before and after being baked.

Serve with a slice of homemade garlic bread and a caesar salad for any easy supper.

Tips for Lasagna Roll Ups

  • Cook noodles al dente so they don’t get mushy
  • Ricotta can be swapped for cottage cheese
  • Make into a freezer meal, prepare as directed and freeze before baking
  • For a vegetarian option, replace ground beef with 2 cups of vegetables finely chopped

Got Leftovers?!

Lasagna roll ups are perfect as leftovers! Just serve them with some garlic bread and a green salad and they are like new again!

  • Freezing: Line dish with foil before freezing, once frozen, remove it from the dish. Wrap it well and use freezer labels to label (freezer labels don’t fall off when they’re frozen).  These will last in the freezer for a few months.
  • Reheating:
    • In the Oven, defrost overnight in the fridge and bake as directed below.
    • In the Microwave, put in a microwave safe dish and top with a little extra parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese. Microwave about one or two minutes and serve away!

Favorite Lasagna Inspired Dishes

Lasagna Roll Ups

Lasagna Roll Ups are a quick and easy twist on a traditional lasagna. Tender lasagna noodles filled with a creamy cheese and topped with a shortcut meat sauce and mozzarella.

  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded, divided)
  • 1 egg
  • 9 lasagna noodles (cooked and drained)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Brown ground beef, onion and garlic until no pink remains. Drain and stir in pasta sauce. Cook and drain lasagna noodles according to package directions.

  3. In a small bowl, combine egg, spinach, cottage cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  4. Lay out cooked lasagna noodles and divide ricotta cheese mixture over noodles. Roll jelly roll style.

  5. Half of the meat sauce in a 9×13 dish. Place roll ups in dish and top with remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.

  6. Remove foil and top with remaining cheeses. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

A lasagna roll up on a plate topped with meat sauce and parsley.
Lasagna Roll Up on a plate with meat sauce and parsley.
Top image - lasagna roll up topped with meat sauce and parsley. Bottom image - lasagna rolls ups in a casserole dish topped with meat sauce and cheese.

Perfectly Flaky Cranberry Orange Scones!

Cranberry Orange Scones fresh-from-the-oven are the perfect way to start the day. Tender with the perfect crumb, these cranberry scones are infused with fresh orange zest for amazing flavor. 

Serve these at room temperature or in the afternoon with tea for the perfect bite.

cranberry orange scones on parchment paper drizzled with icing

For Breakfast or Tea Time

So, what is a scone? It’s a tender and slightly crumbly pastry somewhat resembling the texture of a biscuit. The difference between scones and biscuits is in the eggs (found in scones but not in biscuits).

This british pastry is often served with jam and clotted cream however I do love butter (and tea) with my scones.

To Make Scones

Scones are very easy to make and take about 15 minutes prep. This recipe is completely versatile… you can adapt it to your own tastes!  Swap out the orange cranberry for your own combination…  blueberries, chocolate chips or flaxseed!

To Make Scones:

  1. Mix dry ingredients with a whisk until combined.
  2. Add butter and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until it is pea sized.

Sliced butter being cut into the flour.

  1. Add liquid ingredients and stir with a fork until soft dough forms.
  2.  Form into a circle and cut into triangles. Bake until slightly browned.

Two images. The first the wet ingredients being added to a well in the dry ingredients. The second showing the consistency of the dough once mixed.

To Make Icing:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a zippered bag and slowly add warm water. Squeeze the bag in your hands until it is fully mixed.
  2. Snip off a small corner of the bag and drizzle over the slightly cooled scones.

Tips for Making Flaky Scones

  • Use very cold butter (per recipe below).
  • Make sure your baking soda and baking powder are not expired. This is a common oversight as these ingredients tend to sit in the cupboard for a long time.
  • Once the dough is made, handle it as little as possible. The heat from your hands will melt the butter and the scones won’t rise as well.
  • Be sure all the scones are equal size and shape so they bake evenly.

baked cranberry orange scones on parchment paper with orange slices

How Long Do Scones Last?

Scones will last up to 5 days if they are kept tightly sealed. Keep them in a container with a tight-fitting lid or a gallon-sized zippered bag in a cool place.

Scones, Biscuits, and More!

Cranberry Orange Scones

Cranberry Orange Scones are a delicious start to your day! Moist but crumbly, you'll love these!

Scones

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter (cut into pieces)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • milk (to brush top of scone)
  • sugar (to sprinkle top of scone)

Icing

  • 3 Tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest ((or to taste))

Scones

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cranberries and make a well in center. Set aside.

  3. Combine eggs, whipping cream, and orange zest. Add egg mixture into well in flour mixture.

  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for 10 to 12 strokes until nearly smooth. Pat or lightly roll dough into an 8-inch circle and cut into 8 wedges.

  5. Place wedges 1-inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar.

  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove scones from baking sheet. Let slightly cool and top with icing.

Icing

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

  2. After scones are slightly cooled, place scones on a large plate and drizzle with icing.

Close up of a cranberry orange scones drizzled with orange glaze.
Close up of a cranberry orange scones drizzled with orange glaze.
Top photo - Close up of a scone drizzled with orange glaze. Bottom photo - scones cut into 8 triangles on a wood cutting board.

Easy Homemade Whipped Cream

Learn how to make Whipped Cream perfectly every time with these easy tips! It’s a fresh and fluffy concoction of just 3 ingredients: heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla! 

Enjoy this easy whipped cream on top of a slice of pumpkin pie or a hot cup of Irish Coffee. Customize it with vanilla, almond, or mocha extracts and alter the sweetness to fit your taste or recipe.

Whipped cream in a bowl, topped with a strawberry.

What Cream to Use

Heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream, has more than 30% fat and is the best choice for making whipped cream. It will stand up in peaks and hold up for several hours without melting or losing its shape when piped on top of pies or cakes.

I have found that containers labeled simply “whipping cream” sometimes have lower milk fat and will make a runnier whipped cream, so look for the word “heavy” on the carton if you’re wanting a stiffer result.

Cream in a measuring cup.

How to Make Whipped Cream

Make with a Mixer: 

Always start with very cold cream and a chilled bowl.  The colder the cream is the quicker it will whip. With just 2 simple steps you’ll have it whipped up in a jiffy when using an electric mixer.

  1. Place all ingredients in a cold mixing bowl (see recipe below).
  2. Mix on medium for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

If using a stand mixer, be attentive! Over beating will turn the cream from fluffy peaks to lumpy butter in a matter of seconds if you’re not careful.

Two images showing whipped cream ingredients in a bowl before and after being whipped.

No Mixer? No Problem!

You can make whipped cream without a mixer by whisking or even by shaking in a jar!

To make whipped cream by whisking can take up to 10 mins or more, so stretch those arms and get a good workout in making whipped cream by hand!

  1. Place all ingredients in a chilled mixing bowl (see recipe below).
  2. Whip using a wire whisk until it reaches desired consistency.

Making whipped cream in a jar is a simple activity that can involve the kids too. Pass it around, giving everyone a turn while you introduce them to the magic of food chemistry.

  1. Place all ingredients in a tightly covered jar.
  2. Shake until thick and fluffy.

Be sure to loosen the lid every so often to release the vacuum pressure that will build as bubbles form!

Try on Top These Desserts

How to Make Whipped Cream

A fresh and fluffy combination of just 3 ingredients!

  • 1 cup heavy cream (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (or powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  1. Place a bowl and beaters into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Add ingredients to the bowl and beat on medium for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium high and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  3. Refrigerate unused portion for up to 24 hours.

Whipped cream in a bowl, topped with a strawberry.
Whipped Cream in a bowl, topped with a strawberry.
Top image - whipped cream in a bowl topped with a strawberry. Bottom image - whipped cream ingredients in a measuring cup.

Easy Beef Rouladen (so tender and delicious)

The smell of Beef Rouladen wafting from my grandmother’s kitchen is one of my fondest childhood memories.  These delicious beef roll ups are made with thinly sliced beef bacon, onions, and a dill pickle! 

The result? This easy recipe delivers old-fashioned, hearty flavors with melt in your mouth tender beef. Serve with mashed potatoes and a creamy cucumber salad for a delicious supper!

Rouladen served in top of mashed potatoes, covered in a mushroom gravy with a side of green beans.

What is Rouladen?

Just the one of the finest comfort foods of all time!

If you hail from the Northeastern part of the USA, especially in states like Pennsylvania, or if you come from a German heritage, you probably grew up with beef Rouladen. These tender beef rolls were the one dish my grandmother and mother made that I crave! Rouladen is a truly classic German meal with mustard and pickles and it is rolled up, baked in the oven and served with a savory gravy.

Roulade means ‘to roll’ in French and rolling up the roulade meat with the other ingredients is the hardest thing you’ll have to do…and it’s still easy!

Rouladen ingredients laid out.

Beef for Rouladen

Some grocery stores in my area actually sell beef labelled as “Rouladen”.

You will want pieces of beef that are about  8″ to 10″ long x 4.5″ wide and 1/4″ thick. You can ask your local butcher or use thinly sliced flank steak as well. In a pinch, thin round steaks will work but you will likely need to layer two to get a 10″ length.

Thin flank steak topped with mustard, bacon, and onions rolled around a pickle.

How to Make Rouladen

While it may sound slightly intimidating this recipe is truly as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Layout the beef slices and gently pound them with a meat tenderizer until they are all uniformly thin.
  2. Top with mustard, bacon, onions, and roll around a whole dill pickle, secure with a toothpick.
  3. Brown the outside and then roast in a casserole dish with remaining ingredients until done.

Don’t have time to wait at home for this recipe to cook, trying making it in the slow cooker all day for a delicious recipe to come home too! Follow the same recipe instructions but place in the slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.

Two images of cooked Rouladen, before and after being topped with mushroom gravy.

To Make the Gravy

  • When done, remove from the pan and pour the juices into a stockpot on medium heat.
  • Make a Slurry by whisking cornstarch with an equal amount of water or beef broth until it is fully dissolved.  When the pan juices are boiling, whisk in the slurry a bit at a time and cook until the desired gravy thickness is reached.
  • Tip: I always add a can of mushrooms with juices to my rouladen gravy just the way my mom made it.

My absolute favorite way to enjoy rouladen is on top of elbow macaroni with lots of gravy spooned over top.  Of course it’s great over mashed potatoes or rice too.

Rouladen sliced in half served in top of mashed potatoes, covered in a mushroom gravy with a side of green beans.

To Freeze Rouladen

This easy dish can be prepared and the rolls can be frozen either before or after cooking. Simply prepare ad directed, place on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen transfer to a freezer bag or air tight container.

To enjoy from frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and cook as directed in the recipe.

What to Do with Leftovers

Rouladen tastes great the next day! It makes a perfect work-day lunch over mashed potatoes or even cauliflower rice! You can also chop up the roulade and add the gravy to a soup!

Tasty Side Dishes

Rouladen

This classic German dish is made with thinly sliced beef covered with mustard, bacon, onions, and rolled around a dill pickle! 

  • 6 slices beef round ( or thinly sliced flank steak*)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 6 dill pickles
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups beef broth (low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 1 can mushrooms (with juice (optional))
  • salt & pepper to taste

Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • mashed potatoes or elbow macaroni for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Layout beef slices and gently pound using a meat tenderizer.

  3. Spread a thin layer of mustard over each slice and season with pepper.
  4. Lay bacon over each slice. Top with onions and a dill pickle.
  5. Roll each Rouladen jelly-roll style and secure with toothpicks.

  6. Heat butter in a pan and brown each roll. Place in a roasting dish, add broth, canned mushrooms and 1/4 cup pickle juice (and extra onions if desired). Roast 90-120 minutes or until fork-tender.

To Make Gravy

  1. Remove Rouladen from the juices, set on a plate and cover.

  2. Heat juices over medium-high heat until boiling, making sure to scrape up any brown bit. Combine cornstarch with an equal amount of water. Add cornstarch mixture to the boiling broth while whisking until it reaches the desired thickness.

  3. Serve Rouladen over mashed potatoes or elbow macaroni with gravy.

*Beef should be about 8″-10″ long x 4.5″ wide and 1/4″ thick.

Rouladen sliced in half, served with potatoes, mushroom gravy, and green beans.
Rouladen sliced in half, served with mashed potatoes, green beans and a mushroom gravy.
Top image - Rouladen sliced in half served with mashed potatoes, green beans and mushroom gravy. Bottom image - Rouladen being rolled up.

Easy Ramen Stir Fry

This Ramen Stir Fry is an easy, inexpensive, and flavorful dish that’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal. Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic combine in a sauce that will elevate your humble ramen noodle stir fry to new heights of deliciousness! 

A couple packs of ramen noodles can usually be found for 50 cents or less, and will be enough for a tasty side dish to feed a family or a simple lunch for two. Add in leftover baked chicken breasts, grilled shrimp, or veggies to this easy and delicious noodle stir fry.

Ramen Stir Fry with veggies in a frying pan ready to serve

To Make Ramen Stir Fry

Here’s all you have to do for this quick and delicious meal:

  1. Discard the flavor packet and boil the noodles until slightly al dente and drain.
  2. Stir fry cabbage and other vegetables until tender crisp.
  3. Toss noodles with the cooked vegetables and sauce to coat, and serve.

adding sauce to an easy ramen stir fry

My Favorite Add Ins

Stir fry with ramen will accommodate just about any vegetable that is easy to sauté. I especially love it with sliced mushrooms, onions, julienned carrots, bean sprouts, broccoli florets and shredded bok choy or Napa cabbage.

Chopped peanuts will add some welcome texture, flavor and protein, without preventing vegetarians from enjoying this dish. Add in any leftover meats such as teriyaki chicken thighs. Sprinkle the finished dish with chopped fresh cilantro or green onion for extra taste and eye appeal.

Reheating Ramen Stir Fry

Ramen stir fry will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to four months. Thaw first before reheating, covered, in the microwave. You can also reheat in the oven in a foil-covered oven safe dish or pan at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until steaming hot throughout.

More Easy Stir Frys

Easy Ramen Stir Fry

This ramen stir fry is an easy, cheap, and flavorful dish that's perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt & black pepper to taste

Stir Fry

  • 6 ounces ramen noodles (2 packages (discard flavor packet))
  • 1 cup cabbage (sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 4 cups vegetables (sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger (grated)
  1. Whisk sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil and stir in ramen. Cook 3 minutes and drain reserving 1 cup pasta water.
  3. Cook vegetables in a skillet until tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add sauce and simmer until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Stir in noodles. Add pasta water a little at a time to reach desired consistency.

For vegetables I used bell peppers, carrots, snap peas and bean sprouts.

Ramen stir fry in a frying pan.
Ramen Stir Fry in a white bowl.
Top image - Ramen stir fry in a white bowl. Bottom image - ramen stir fry ingredients on a cutting board.

Homemade Strawberry Crisp (so easy)

Strawberry crisp is one of the best recipes for happiness. Juicy ripe strawberries topped with a buttery crisp topping deliver a delicious dessert that is nothing short of heaven.

We love making homemade peach crisp, but this easy strawberry crisp recipe is such a refreshing treat!

A bowl of strawberry crisp with a spoon and some ice cream.

Topping for Fruit Crisp

It’s hard to know what to like best about this dessert, the luscious fruit layer or the crunchy topping. Call it taste synergy, because when it comes to strawberry crisp, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts!

The secret to making the perfect crisp is using the correct proportions (and real butter). With a spoon or spatula, combine butter with sugar, cinnamon, flour. oats and nuts. For a nut free version, substitute nuts for coconut.

Strawberry crisp topping in a mixing bowl.

How to Make Strawberry Crisp

  1. TOSS: Mix flour and sugar together, and then combine with strawberries (per recipe below).
  2. POUR: Place in a baking dish or pie dish, and sprinkle with crisp topping.
  3. BAKE: Bake until bubbling hot.

Serve homemade strawberry crisp pie with scoops of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. A dollop or crème fraiche is also an excellent addition. Dairy will cut through some of sweetness, while adding a creamy richness.

Fresh strawberries in a baking dish with flour.

How Long Will it Last?

Strawberry crisp is best served oven fresh, but if you do need to make it ahead of time it will keep at room temperature for a day, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

You can also freeze it for up to four months. Be aware that when you make it ahead and store it, the topping will lose its crispness, but it will still retain all its yummy flavors.

Ensuring Strawberry Crisp Doesn’t Get Soggy

The use of oats and nuts like I have done here helps offset the issue of a soggy topping. It seems fruit crisps and crumbles are rarely as perfectly crunchy as we would like, especially when we need to make them ahead. But don’t let that issue stop you from trying to achieve the crisp of your dreams.

A bowl of strawberry crisp next to the serving dish with a spoon and some ice cream.

To make ahead, make the crisp topping and store in a separate bowl. Sprinkle over the fruit just before baking.

More Delicious Crisps and Cobblers

Strawberry Crisp

Strawberry crisp features fresh strawberries melded with a buttery crisp topping deliver a sublime taste sensation that is nothing short of heaven.

  • 4 cups strawberries (cut into chunks)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Topping

  • 1/3 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup oats regular or quick
  • 1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Toss berries with sugar and 3 tablespoons flour. Place in a 2.5qt baking dish.
  3. With a fork, combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over berries.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Cool slightly and serve warm.

A bowl of strawberry crisp with a spoon and some ice cream.
A bowl of strawberry crisp with a spoon and some ice cream.
Top photo - A bowl of strawberry crisp with a spoon and some ice cream. Bottom photo - cut strawberries in a white baking dish.

Green Bean Salad

Green bean salad is a fresh, crunchy, bright, and delicious salad full of tomatoes, almonds, and green beans tossed in a quick lemon vinaigrette. 

Also called a French Green Bean Salad, it can be as fancy or as basic as you like, it’s a perfect complement to any summer dish, from barbecue ribs, to pork chops! It’s colorful, tasty and goes with anything.

Green bean salad ready to be served topped with almonds in a bowl.

What’s in a Green Bean Salad?

Only the best of everything marinated, that’s all! Garlic, cherry tomatoes, a little lemon juice, vinegar and oil, and this cold, crunchy salad is a perfect side dish to nearly any entrée you’re serving. Don’t forget the almonds!

Adjust the vinaigrette or the seasonings and make it as tangy as you like! Even on top of a bed of greens, it can be a meal all on it’s own!

Extra additions

This salad is simple and delicious but feel free to change it up with your own additions or alternatives:

  • goat cheese or feta cheese
  • slivered red onion
  • quinoa or grains
  • pine nuts, pecans or walnuts
  • toasted bread crumbs

Ingredients for green bean salad like tomatoes, almonds, and dressing.

How to Blanch Green Beans

Blanching veggies means to boil them for a short period and then to plunge them into cold water to stop cooking.

  1. Wash: Rinse them and then cut or snap off each end.
  2. Boil: Add prepared green beans into boiling water for a couple of minutes, just until tender crisp.
  3. Ice Bath: Let their bright green color emerge and then remove them from the boiling water and plunge them into a bowl of ice water.

The ice bath is the part that radically stops the cooking process, first they are plunged into hot water to cook them, then into cold water to suddenly stop the cooking process. This makes them cooked, but bright green and crunchy and perfectly ready to eat in a salad!

To Keep Green Beans Bright Green

A quick tip I learned at our local culinary school… when boiling green beans (or any other green veggie like asparagus) add a pinch of baking soda to the water. This won’t change the flavor but will keep the beans a vibrant green (rather than a dull color) for a beautiful dish!

How to Store It

Green bean salad will last at least a week as long as it stays cold. Keep it covered tightly and refresh the flavors with salt and pepper as needed.

The Best Main Dishes for Green Bean Salad

Green Bean Salad goes with everything! Any kind of protein; chicken, beef, or pork lend themselves perfectly to the crispy, crunchy flavors this salad brings to the table! It even works by itself! It’s also a great work-day salad for when you are dining at the desk!

More Delicious Side Salads

Green Bean Salad

This easy green bean salad with tomatoes is colorful, tasty and goes with anything, so it is a perfect addition to a barbecue or a potluck!

  • 1 lb green beans (trimmed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil (chopped)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  1. Bring water and baking soda to a rolling boil. Cook green beans 4- 5 minutes or until tender crisp. Drain beans and place in an ice bath.
  2. Combine lemon juice, sugar, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl. Add green beans and tomatoes and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes.
  3. Top with basil and almonds just before serving.

Recipe inspired by Jamie Dean.

A serving bowl of green bean salad with tomatoes and toasted almonds.
A serving bowl of green bean salad with tomatoes and toasted almonds.
Top photo - A serving bowl of green bean salad with tomatoes and toasted almonds. Bottom photo - ingredients assembled to make green bean salad.

Creamy & Delicious Chocolate Milkshake

Making a milkshake is the perfect treat any time of year! Made with ice cream, chocolate sauce or your favorite add ins (like strawberries) and milk, this dessert couldn’t be easier!

September 12th is National Chocolate Milkshake Day so let’s celebrate with a simple 3 ingredient milkshake.

Two glasses of chocolate milkshakes with whip cream, sprinkled, and a cherry on top.

How to Make a Milkshake

Making a milkshake is honestly as simple as blending 3 ingredients! A generous portion of ice cream, a splash of milk and some flavoring.

The best ice cream is to use is full cream, full-fat ice cream because that’s where the flavor is! It is thicker, richer, and holds up better in the blender and when mixed with other ingredients because it has more air whipped into it.

To make a milkshake without a blender, you can simply add the ingredients to a bowl and mix until smooth. This takes a bit longer but still tastes great!

Chocolate milkshake ingredients in a blender.

How to Make Thick Milkshakes

There is nothing better than a good thick milkshake…otherwise, it’s really just chocolate milk, isn’t it? To make a thick and creamy milkshake every time follow these simple tips.

  • Start by using real ice cream (and choose full-fat.)
  • Add just enough milk to blend until smooth.
  • For an even thicker shake, substitute real heavy whipping cream for milk.

Make sure you’re ready to serve before getting started or assembling the ingredients. Once blended milkshakes start to melt quickly. You can also put your milkshake glasses in the freezer to get chilled which will help to keep the ice cream frozen a bit longer!

Top view of all ingredients being blended into a thick chocolate milkshake.

The Best Milkshake Toppings

This is the fun part! If you are making chocolate milkshakes for a crowd, put out a selection of toppings so your guests can build their own! These are my favorite ideas:

  • Cookies: Crushed cookie crumbs (Oreos, nutter butters, chocolate chip)
  • Sauces: Caramel, strawberry, blueberry, hot fudge, pineapple, peanut butter
  • Nuts: toasted peanuts, slivered almonds, crushed pecans
  • Fruit: strawberries, blueberries, cherries, bananas
  • Candies: gummies, sprinkles, licorice whips, nonpareils, skittles, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, crushed peppermint candies.

More Fun Ice Cream Desserts

How to Make a Milkshake

This thick and creamy milkshake is made with only 3 ingredients.

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups ice cream (use chocolate ice cream for a chocolate shake)
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup (or mix ins of your choice)
  • whipped cream for topping (optional)
  1. Combine milk, chocolate syrup and chocolate ice cream in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into cups and garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles if desired.
  3. Serve immediately.

You can use any flavor of ice cream or any add ins. For fruit, you will need about 1 cup of fruit for the recipe above in place of chocolate syrup.

Two chocolate milkshakes with whip cream, sprinkles, and a cherry on top.
Two chocolate milkshakes with whip cream, sprinkles, and a cherry on top.
Top image - two chocolate milkshakes with whip cream, sprinkles and a cherry on top. Bottom image - milkshake ingredients in a blender.

Easy Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff is a comforting family favorite meal. Tender stewing beef, onions and mushrooms simmer a perfectly seasoned broth until melt in your  mouth tender! Just before serving, a scoop of sour cream is added in for the perfect creamy sauce.

Serve this dish over a bed of egg noodles with a side salad for a great meal!

A slow cooker filled with mushroom beef stroganoff ready to serve

How great is a recipe that you can ‘set it and forget it’ before going off to work? This crock pot beef stroganoff recipe is not only a winner for dinner but makes for great leftovers the next day at work…if there are any!

How to Make Beef Stroganoff in a Crock Pot

This savory slow cooker meal may take hours to simmer, but it can be made in just 3 simple steps!

  1. Heat oil in a skillet and brown stewing beef with salt and pepper (this adds flavor).
  2. Deglaze the pan with red wine and add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot to simmer.
  3. Cook until the beef is melt in your mouth tender.

Just before serving, stir in the sour cream and egg noodles and top with a sprinkle of parsley.

Beef for Stroganoff

When making classic beef stroganoff, I use a tender cut of beef and cook it quickly so it doesn’t overcook.

For slow cooker beef stroganoff use stewing meat (or chuck roast if you have it), the meat will become very tender as it cooks low and slow. If you use a lean cut of beef, it will dry out and become tough.

You can use ground beef in this recipe to create a ground beef stroganoff. Replace the stewing beef with 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef. Brown the ground beef and drain any fat, add to the slow cooker and proceed as written.

Browned beef and mushrooms in a crock pot and mixing the sauce for beef stroganoff with sour cream in a slow cooker

How Long to Cook Beef Stroganoff in a Crock Pot

Depending on your time frame, you can cook this dish on low all day in the crock pot while you’re at work. Or you can speed things by setting your crock pot to high, depends on you! Cooking either way develops so much flavor with tender meat!

  • Cook on Low: 7 to 8 hours before the meat is tender.
  • Cook on High:  4 to 5 hours to get the same tender meat effect.

I make this recipe with sour cream which is traditional however, you can also make crock pot beef stroganoff with cream cheese. It is a little creamier than regular sour cream and only requires just a tad more stirring!

A plate of beef stroganoff made in the slow cooker

What to Serve with Beef Stroganoff

Since beef stroganoff is so rich and filling, it stands alone as a complete meal. But a tossed salad dressed with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and a side of garlic bread definitely can feed a crowd! Perfect for a potluck at work or the holidays!

More Easy Beef Favorites:

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

Serve this tender beef stroganoff over a bed of egg noodle for a delicious meal!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (more if needed)
  • 2 lbs stewing beef (trimmed)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 cups beef broth (divided)
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 12 oz egg noodles (cooked)
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Season beef with salt and pepper and brown in olive oil in small batches. Deglaze pan with red wine and add to slow cooker.
  2. Place beef, garlic powder, onions, dijon, Worcestershire, mushrooms and 1 1/2 cups broth in a 6qt slow cooker.

  3. Cook on high 4-5 hours or on low 7-8 hours or until beef is tender.

  4. Combine remaining broth with cornstarch and stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook and additional 15 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Stir in sour cream. Serve over egg noodles.

This crock pot beef stroganoff recipe is the perfect combination of tender beef and delicious egg noodles. With the ability to set it and forget, it is the perfect weeknight meal! #spendwithpennies #beefstroganoff #slowcooker #crockpot #maindish