May 27, 2010

Banana Bread and Hashbrown Casserole

I know what your thinking, Banana bread and Hashbrown casserole? How do those even fall into the same category...The truth is they don't, not really, except for when you have 4 perfectly overripe bananas sitting on the counter, and a recipe for hashbrown casserole sitting in front of you, with a mouth that is begging you for some comfort food. Wow that was a mouthful, but seriously, both of these recipes are extreme comfort foods for me. Banana bread not only satisfies my craving for something sweet, but also my desire to bake. The hashbrown casserole recipe is my mother-in-law's, and we have it every time we visit Texas. It is a true southern comfort, and the only casserole (besides corn casserole) that I will make.

I have a banana bread recipe that I have adapted from a cookbook (all the recipes are from the Disneyland restaurants) that I have been using for years. Instead of using just white sugar, I add brown, and I also added some sour cream for moistness. I used pecans instead of walnuts, because I like the maple taste that they bring.

The key to good banana bread is the bananas (duh right), but the bananas must be RIPE, and I mean that brown mushy ripe, the ripe that makes you wonder if they are too far gone or not. I must tell you that this banana bread is out of this world. Everyone who has ever had it loves it. I like mine with a hot cup of coffee. As for the hashbrown casserole, it is simply delicious. It is creamy, bubbly, cheesy, and hashbrowny (yes I just said hashbrowny). It is a foolproof recipe that really can't be messed up, and anyone who loves potatoes is going to love this.

Hashbrown Casserole
This recipe is really easy, and perfect if your feeding a crowd. You just mix everything together and throw it in the oven. 
1 large package frozen shredded hashbrowns, thawed
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or any other cheese you prefer)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. (1 cup) sour cream
1 tablespoon minced onion (don't worry if you don't have this, it tastes fine without)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray (or use butter). In a large mixing bowl mix cheese, soups, sour cream, and onion. Once mixed, add the hashbrowns and stir until combined. Place mixture in your pan, and bake uncovered for 1 hour, or until bubbly and brown.

Banana Bread
You may be leery about banana bread, but give it a try, I promise you will be pleased with the results.

2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
4 large bananas mashed (make sure they are large, you want it to be at least 2 cups mashed)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add is the bananas, vanilla, and sour cream, mixing until well blended. Fold in the flour mixture and nuts in three batches, and mix until the flour is moist, and fully incorporated. Grease 2 loaf pans, and divide batter evenly between both pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the center is firm (toothpick comes out clean).

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