October 2017

Banana bread

Banana bread

This >You can enjoy this bread plain, with chopped walnuts, or even chocolate chips . Perfect for breakfast or dessert!

Do you ever end up with a bunch of overripe bananas sitting on your counter at the end of the week? Just me?

Truth be told, I love bananas but we usually buy too many at the store and then end up with a bunch left over. My favorite way to use up all of those overripe bananas? This homemade banana bread recipe!

Not only is this bread perfectly sweet, but it stays moist for days. No dry banana bread anywhere in sight. You can enjoy this bread plain or mix in some chopped walnuts or even chocolate chips. You make it, this is one recipe that you’ll want to keep on hand, however!

To make this banana bread you’ll start with some all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and salt. When it comes to the flour, make sure to spoon and level it into your measuring cup instead of scooping it out of the container. If you scoop your flour out of the container, you can end up with way too much flour in your recipe and a super dense loaf of banana bread.

For the wet ingredients, you’ll cream together some butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until it’s light in color and fluffy. Then, you’ll mix in some eggs and vanilla extract.

You’ll also be using two cups of mashed banana in this recipe. It’s what keeps this banana bread super moist, even though it may seem like a lot of banana. Always remember that the riper the bananas, the better when it comes to banana bread!

As I mentioned earlier, you can enjoy this banana bread plain or stir in some of your favorite mix-ins. I love adding either chopped walnuts or even mini chocolate chips to this bread!

Baked ziti recipe

Baked ziti

Do you like lasagna, but not the fuss? Make baked ziti instead! Easier to make and without lots of layers or broken noodles, though

It’s a lot like a classic lasagna casserole.

It makes for a perfect midweek or weekend meal, or a hot dish to bring to a potluck. Make extra and freeze for later.

This recipe is a pretty basic version, but everyone who makes baked ziti has their own unique tricks and twists to it. Some vary the cheeses, some the meat, some make meatless versions, and some people leave out the tomato sauce for a truly cheese-tastic casserole.

This version uses bulk Italian sausage, as well as a key fresh herb. In summer, that would be basil. In winter, rosemary. You could also easily use savory, sage, thyme or parsley. You can substitute penne pasta if you can’t find it, though

Ziti is a pretty common pasta shape in most areas. You want a substantial short pasta shape with places to hold the meat and sauce. You can assemble this ahead, and either refrigerate or freeze before you do the final baking.

How to make Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti Recipe

If you don’t have Italian seasoning in the pantry, use 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.

1 Boil the pasta: Heat a large pot of water (2 quarts of water) to a strong boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Add the cook and pasta at a rollingboil and uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—edible but still a little firm to the bite.

Drain the pasta through a colander. Toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce.

2 Brown the meat: While the water is heating in the previous step, start on the sauce. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saut pan on medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the bulk sausage or ground meat. Break up any large chunks of sausage as it cooks. Brown well.

Don’t stir that often or it will be more difficult for the meat to brown. Sprinkle with a little salt if you are using ground beef or pork instead of sausage.

3 Add onions and saut, then add garlic, spices, then tomato sauce: When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and stir well to combine. Saut everything until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the garlic, rosemary or basil, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a simmer.

4 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

5 Layersauce and cheese, pasta in casserole dish: Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch casserole pan, then dot the surface with half the ricotta cheese. Ladle a spoonful of sauce into the pasta, stir it well and then add the pasta into the casserole.

Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta, dot the remaining ricotta cheese over the pasta, and sprinkle on top both the mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese.

6 Bake 20 min: Bake in oven at 350°F until the top is lightly browned and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes.

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Baked spaghetti

Baked spaghetti

Easy baked spaghetti made with ground beef, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a hidden layer of creamy pesto sauce in the middle. Pure comfort! Jump to the Easy Baked Spaghetti Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

How to Make the Best Baked Spaghetti

This baked spaghetti has everything we love about baked pasta. There’s noodles, a hearty meat sauce, lots of cheese, and we even add a layer of sour cream mixed with basil pesto to the middle.

My favor ite thing about baked spaghetti is that it comes together quickly. We love it even more after adding sweet cooked onions and ground beef, even though we love pasta and red sauce. You can use homemade marinara sauce — here’s our version — or use jarred spaghetti sauce.

To make the meat sauce, cook onions and ground beef until the beef is browned. Both are excellent), (We’ve made this recipe with ground chicken and ground turkey before. Add the marinara sauce, bring it to a simmer, and then toss with cooked spaghetti.

Here’s a tip: Undercook the spaghetti by 1 to 2 minutes. This way, when we toss it with the marinara sauce and bake, the pasta won’t become mushy. to make this the best baked spaghetti, add a creamy pesto layer to the middle, even though

You can add the meat and spaghetti sauce to a baking dish and top with cheese.

To make it, mix sour cream with basil pesto. Add half of the spaghetti and sauce to a baking dish then spread the creamy pesto on top. Finish by adding the remaining pasta on top.

To finish, add lots of mozzarella cheese to the top and bake until bubbly.

Recipe updated, originally posted November 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Joanne and Adam

Ultimate Easy Baked Spaghetti

This easy baked spaghetti has ground beef, marinara sauce, and a middle layer of creamy pesto. If you are like us, this will become your new favorite meal! Consider swapping the ground beef for sausage, ground chicken or ground turkey. To make this meatless, remove the beef – the spaghetti will still be delicious. You could also add some cooked vegetables like mushrooms and zucchini.

You Will Need

1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or linguini

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pound lean ground beef

6 cups marinara sauce, see our homemade marinara sauce recipe (or substitute with two 26-ounce jars store-bought sauce)

3/4 cup sour cream

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook 1 to 2 minutes less than the package calls for, though

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta then follow package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet with sides. Add cook and onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground cook and beef until browned, about 10 minutes. As the beef cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the beef up into small pieces in the pan. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Drain excess fat from the beef.

Pour in the marinara cook and sauce until heated through. Take the pan off of the heat and add the drained and cooked pasta. Toss well then taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, stir sour cream and basil pesto together until well blended.

Spoon half of the pasta into the baking dish. Spread the sour cream and pesto mixture over the scatter and pasta with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining pasta, lightly press everything down into the baking dish and then scatter spread remaining mozzarella cheese on top.

Place the baking dish onto an aluminum-lined baking dish (just in case any sauce drips over the sides of the baking dish). Bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling about 30 minutes. Before serving, let stand about 10 minutes. If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook ,

Adam and Joanne’s Tips

! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Baked chicken wings

Baked chicken wings

Baked chicken wings are the perfect game-time appetizer. Thoroughly drying the chicken and adding a light baking powder coating ensures that each bite is crispy. These wings are delicious eaten straight from the pan or served with your favorite dipping sauce like buffalo, teriyaki, or ranch.

Crispy baked chicken wings are a tasty option to serve at your next party or gathering. For those health-conscious eaters, no problem, we’re going to bypass the deep fryer and use the oven instead. For this healthier version there’s not a drop of oil involved, well okay, maybe just a tiny bit but only to grease the rack to prevent sticking. That’s it!

Just because we’re not deep frying the chicken wings doesn’t mean we can’t recreate a similar texture. Using a simple drying method and just four ingredients will send you on a culinary path to crunchiness. There’s also no flour used which makes this meal gluten-free as well. So, turn up the dial on your oven and let’s get cooking!

How to make baked chicken wings

How long does it take to bake chicken wings?

It takes about 50 minutes to oven bake chicken wings at 450°F (232°C). The wings and drumettes contain white meat, covered by skin and some fat, so it can handle the hot oven temperatures. In just under an hour, the skin will be super crunchy and the meat will be fully cooked.

How do you make chicken wings crispy in the oven?

The key to making baked chicken wings crispy is drying as much moisture as possible from the skin, then coating it with baking powder, and cooking at high heat. Moisture on the surface of the chicken will create steam, which makes the skin soggy instead of crisp.

By drying the skin thoroughly with paper towels eliminates the time it would require for the oven to dry off the moisture. A small amount of baking soda in the baking powder accelerates creates and browning bubbles that harden on the skin to enhance the crispy sensation.

Cook at high temperatures

The goal is to create deep-fried results using consistent high oven temperatures. Baking above 400 degrees kick starts browning and cooking immediately. Placement on top of a greased wire rack ensures that the heat surrounds all sides of the chicken and that excess fat can drip to the pan and not make the chicken feel greasy. Make sure to flip the wings two times to ensure even cooking and heat exposure.

Looking for a dipping sauce to serve?

Sometimes these baked chicken wings disappear so fast from the tray that I don’t have time to make a sauce. But when I do, some of my favorite pairings are:

Each chicken wing is well seasoned with just the right amount of pepper and salt, so the sauce is completely optional. Once you’ve mastered the technique you can venture out and make baked buffalo wings served with a side of ranch. Just make sure to keep this recipe on hand for a game day, the Super Bowl, or other family celebrations. Once you make your first batch I hope you enjoy the results without all the excess frying oil.

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

What is the functional purpose of baking powder?

Tossing the wings in a little baking powder does two things. First, it helps the chicken brown quicker, just like it does in cookies. Second, the sodium bicarbonate reacts with any moisture left on the chicken and creates tiny carbon dioxide bubbles on the surface that hardens with heat. The result is crackly chicken skin with extra crunch appeal.

Baked apples

Baked apples

Apple season is officially here (! !) and I’ve been dreaming about this baked apple recipe for a while now. Dreams came true in my kitchen when I opened up the oven to see these tender, cinnamon-coated, perfectly caramelized apples! Let me show you how.

This recipe is simple, requiring 9 (basic) ingredients and 1 bowl.

A mix of sweet and tart apples are peeled, cored, thinly sliced, and added right to the baking dish before being topped with delicious spices like cinnamon, fresh ginger, and nutmeg. Total swoon.

To keep this dish naturally sweetened, I went with coconut sugar (you could also sub stevia or maple syrup)!

Coconut sugar provides a slightly caramelized flavor I adore. All that’s left is lemon juice and sea salt to balance out the sweetness and a touch of cornstarch or arrowroot to ensure the sauce thickens up nicely. Forty-five minutes in the oven covered then another 10 uncovered and you’re in cinnamon-apple paradise.

I hope you all LOVE these baked apples! They’re:

Naturally sweetened
Super satisfying
& Delicious!

These apples are perfect on their own, but they are extra dreamy with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream or Coconut Whipped Cream.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Apple pie recipe

Apple pie

This classic homemade apple pie features a sweet apple filling packed inside a delicious flaky pie crust. The perfect pie for fall or Thanksgiving!

Do you have a favorite pie at Thanksgiving? If I had to choose, my top three pies would have to be pumpkin, pecan, and apple.

I shared my favorite pumpkin pie recipe a couple years ago, it also happens to be one of the most popular recipes on my site! Earlier this week, I shared this pecan pie recipe and today I’m sharing a classic apple pie recipe with you.

This apple pie is filled with a simple sweet apple filling and it’s pretty easy to throw together too. You could cut out some pie crust to decorate the top your own way or just cover it with a full piece of pie crust, although i love to top this apple pie with a lattice design. You can also prep this pie the day before so dessert is ready to go the next day!

To make this apple pie, you’ll start out with the filling. The filling is just a simple mixture of sliced apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and nutmeg. I used a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples for my pie, but any kind of baking apples that you prefer will work fine.

One important thing, make sure to slice your apples about 1/4-inch thick. I’ve made the mistake of slicing them way too thin and they basically just turn to mush after they’re baked. I like to measure out the first few slices to make sure they’re the right thickness, then just eyeball it from there.

I also recommend making the filling first so that it has time to sit for about 15-20 minutes while you prep the pie crusts. This will allow the apples to release some of their juices so that it doesn’t all end up in your pie.

While the filling is sitting for a few minutes you can prep your pie crusts. I used my homemade pie crust recipe for this pie, it makes two pie crusts so it works perfectly. If you want to save a little time, feel free to use store-bought pie crusts.

Once you’ve rolled out your pie dough, you’ll place one in a pie dish and spoon the apple pie filling into it. I suggest using a slotted spoon for this step so that you can leave as much juice from the apples in the bowl. Each time I make this pie I usually end up with about 1/3 cup of juice left in my bowl. That’s 1/3 cup of juice that isn’t ending up in your pie and keeps your pie from having a soggy bottom. Trust me on this step!

Then, just dot the filling with some butter and decorate the top however you like. I topped this pie with a lattice topping, here is my tutorial for how to make one. You’ll need to let it cool completely before slicing into it,

Once the pie is fully baked. This step is not necessary, even though i like to put mine in the refrigerator for just a little bit to make it easier to slice into.

You can also serve this pie with some salted caramel sauce or a big scoop of a ice cream!