Olive and Pineapple Nachos

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Summertime means lots of snack foods.  Preferably with a nice, cold, fruity adult beverage.

When I was younger, my nachos always were cheese- just cheese.  Usually just cheddar.  Maybe a Cheddar and Monterrey Jack combo if I was feeling daring.  And every single nacho needed a decent amount of cheese on it. Eventually, I progressed into more daring topings starting with sour cream and progressing up to refried beans and pico de gallo.

Now, plain cheese nachos are boring. I will now bravely go where no other nacho has gone before (look out for my version of Thanksgiving on nachos this November).  Here we have one of my ideas of “that might be good on nachos”.  A bit of strange bedfellows but it works out well: you get savory cheesy taste, salty olives, and tangy pineapple.

OLIVE AND PINEAPPLE NACHOS
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

Tortilla chips
Shredded pepper jack cheese
Spanish olives with pimentos, sliced
Pineapple, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place tortilla chips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese on top. Top with olives and pineapple. Bake for 7-12 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Banana Split Pie: Improv Challenge

A little over a year ago, I went on a banana craze.  It all began innocently one night with a banana cream pie blizzard.  Normally I always stuck to my traditional choice of Reese’s blizzard when we visited DQ, but I was feeling adventurous and was enticed by the idea of soft serve ice cream mixed with pie crust and topped with whipped cream.  (Who else wants a blizzard now?)

With one bite, it was all over.  I wanted all food to have some kind of banana flavor: I ate banana tootsie pops, banana pancakes, banana cookies, banana bread, peanut butter on bananas, banana cream pie, banana pudding, and of course more banana cream blizzards.  Basically, I was banana crazy, a dark but delicious time.  Eventually, my dire need to eat bananas fizzled out, but my love for banana desserts has remained.

When I moved to Lubbock and began looking for apartments, I happened to stop by a little lunch place because I wanted a slice of pie before heading out of town.  I saw an amazing pie in the display: a banana split pie.  After almost passing it by, I ordered it in addition to my traditional favorite key lime pie after enlisting some help to eat both slices.  One of my top decisions.

This pie was a life changer: sweet, salty, and full of banana flavor.  The combination in this pie is better than the traditional form of banana splits.  I had to try making this myself, and after looking and not finding any recipes like the one I ate, I went to the drawing board to see what I could come up with myself.  This recipe is a little time intensive, but so worth it.  The flavors are dead on and perfect way for everyone, even those who don’t live in Lubbock, to have a little slice of Banana Split Pie.

I wonder if there is a record for the number of times having the word banana in a blog post.  I may be a contender for the title.

BANANA SPLIT PIE
From Cinnamon Freud
Banana Pastry Cream Slightly Adapted from Cooks Country
INGREDIENTS

For the Banana Pastry Cream:
2 bananas, 1/2 inch slices
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 1/2 cups half and half
6 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (about 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the Crust:
1 cup crushed pretzels
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

For the Pie Fillings:
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped pineapple
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

For Topping:
Chocolate shavings
Toasted walnuts, chopped
Maraschino cherries

DIRECTIONS

For the Banana Pastry Cream:

In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.  Add bananas and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.  Add half and half and bring to a boil.  Boil for 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let sit for 40 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, salt, and sugar together until smooth.  Whisk in cornstarch and nutmeg.  Pour banana liquid through a strainer into the bowl. Do not press on the bananas; discard bananas.

Whisk together and transfer to a clean medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until thickened like pudding, about 6-8 minutes, until mixture reaches 180°F while whisking constantly.  As the mixture thickens, clumps may form; whisk vigorously to prevent.  Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and 3 tablespoons butter.  Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for at least one hour or overnight.

For the Crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9 inch pie pan.

In a bowl mix together crushed pretzels, sugar, and butter.  Press into the bottom of the pie pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes, until fragrant.  Cool completely.

For the Pie Fillings:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat  Melt 1-2 tablespoons butter.  Add strawberries and pineapple, cooking for 4-5 minutes.  Add light brown sugar and cook for 4-5 minutes, until fruit has softened. Let cool.  Strain off any excess liquid.

In a large bowl beat heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until peaks stiffen slightly and mixture resembles whipped cream.  Set aside.

Whisk banana pastry cream slightly.  Spread onto pretzel crust.  Spoon fruit topping on top of pasty cream.  Pipe whipped cream on top.  Chill in fridge to set, at least 60 minutes. Garnish with chocolate shavings, toasted walnuts, and maraschino cherries.

Check out the other submissions for this month’s Improv Challenge for Bananas & Nutmeg at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker!

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Breakfast Pineapple Tortilla

First things first:  Thank the sweet lord it is finally the weekend.  The full schedule of the semester has officially begun, and as a result, cooking is becoming more a chore to try and fit into my schedule.  I was just scraping by making “just okay” meals and was loosing my culinary motivation- until out of sheer random choice, I made this recipe.  I am reinvigorated- loved cooking this and got a lot of work done after eating it.
I am always looking for new recipes to try, and as a result, I don’t remake recipes a lot, even if I really love them.  I ate this pineapple tortilla three nights in a row- I think it’s safe to say I really liked it.
It’s a very simple recipe with only a few ingredients, but the combination is so good.  Salty, sweet, and crunchy.  It’s a good way to start your day at breakfast, take a break at lunch, or satisfy your grumbling stomach as a midday snack.  Putting cheese on fruit may just become my new thing.
I still have some Fontina cheese left, and I’m contemplating buying another pineapple just so I can make this again.
BREAKFAST PINEAPPLE TORTILLA
INGREDIENTS

8 corn tortillas
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1 pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 ounces Fontina, grated
1/2 cup panko

DIRECTIONS

Preheat broiler.

Brush corn tortillas with 3 tablespoons butter and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Broil until crisped, 8-10 minutes.*  Let cool slightly.

Lower the temperature in the oven to 400°F.

Stir light brown sugar and pineapple together.  Top tortillas with pineapple.  Top with Fontina.  Stir together panko and remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter.  Top tortillas with panko.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Makes 8 tortillas.

*You can also just warm the tortillas in the microwave if you want to eat like a soft taco- just skip the broiler step.

Strawberry and Chicken Poppy Seed Salad

It is official: I am no longer a working girl.  Well, at least for the next few weeks anyway. This past Friday was my last day working as a front desk worker at urology practice.  I got to work with some fun people who I’m going to miss, and I’ve learned also learned a little bit about urology, medical insurance, and the working world.
One thing I learned about being a working girl is that some days you just come home plum tired and burnt out.  And on those nights you are just not into making dinner for yourself.   Those nights are the nights when you constantly ask yourself “How many more days until the weekend?”.  Those are the nights when you should make this salad.  While some chopping is involved, this salad is simple, fresh, and filling. The faster you eat dinner, the fast you get to go to bed and get some sleep, right?
Before we get to the recipe, I have an announcement: Cinnamon Freud is now on FacebookPintrest, and Instagram!  For those of you who are so inclined to learn more about my food centric life musings, hit me up there!
STRAWBERRY AND CHICKEN POPPY SEED SALAD
Inspired by Panera Bread
Vinaigrette adapted from How Sweet It Is
INGREDIENTS

For the Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette:
4 strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Pinch of salt

For the Salad:
4 cups spinach
8 ounces cooked chicken, sliced
1 cup chopped pineapple
8 strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup toasted pecans

DIRECTIONS

For the Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette:
In a large measuring glass, combine strawberries, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey.  Using an immersion blender or a food processor, process until is reaches the desired consistency, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in a pinch of salt and poppy seeds.  Chill in fridge for at least 20 minutes until ready to use.
For the Salad:
In a large bowl combine spinach, chicken, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and pecans.  Pour strawberry poppy seed vinaigrette over top.  Toss.
Serves 2 as a main dish.

Hawaiian Shrimp Skewers

Summer is coming. Our family motto is the opposite of the Starks, it always feels like it gets hotter and hotter here in Texas.  With the sweltering heat comes grilling season!  Nothing is easier than slapping some meat with some sauce on a grill and calling it dinner.
Skewers are an especially fun way to grill for dinner.  Slide on some meat and vegetables/fruit, baste with some yummy sauce and then each person gets to eat their own skewer for dinner.  This combination uses shrimp, pineapple, and red onion with a teriyaki-like sauce for a little Hawaiian twist.  Delicious with the sweet sauce and the crunchy charcoal grilled outside.  Yum.
(PS- If you aren’t watching Game of Thrones, fix that now!  These skewers are a perfect dinner to eat while watching…)
HAWAIIAN SHRIMP SKEWERS
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Skewers:
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pineapple, chopped
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
DIRECTIONS
For the Sauce:
In a small saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and honey.  Bring to a boil then simmer.  Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water.  Whisk in cornstarch mixture.  Continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes, until sauce is thickened.  Set aside.
For the Skewers:
Prepare and preheat your grill.  Alternatively, thread shrimp, pineapple, and red onion onto your skewers.  Spoon our some of your sauce and brush onto raw skewers.  Grill skewers, about  6 minutes for each side.  Continue to brush with sauce as the skewers cook.
Serves 4, makes about 8 skewers