We've had a good week, although I did manage to snag a very bad sore throat but after antibiotics, I am also back to near-normal. I had a couple of days I did not cook, a real change for this gal, but how do you rest and take care of yourself and spend time in the kitchen? So, we had more simple meals and even canned soup tasted pretty good.We just tried out the Black Bean Casserole and it's perfect for dinners this time of year, especially with all the changing weather we have been "enjoying." We wanted to take a light breakfast to some neighbors and I tried out a very good Banana Bread which turned out so moist; we liked it so well we doubled the recipe and gave another one away a week later. When unexpected company shows up again at our house, I'll be ready. We always go back to one of our quick and easy casseroles everyone seems to like - and it only takes about 25 minutes to make. I always keep greens for a salad and some good bottled dressing on hand for a quick salad to go with this dish.Black Bean Casserole• 2 cups onion, chopped• 1 1/2 cups bell green pepper, chopped• 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomatoes, chopped• 3/4 cup-your favorite picante sauce• 2 cloves garlic-chopped• 2 teaspoons ground cumin• 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans• 12 (6 inch) corn tortillas• 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese-shredded 1. Mix first 6 items and bring to a boil, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in black beans. 2. In a 13x9 inch pan, put 1/3 of bean mixture on bottom. 3. Top with 1/2 tortillas and 1/2 shredded cheese; repeat using 1/3 bean mixture and six tortillas, then rest of bean mixture. 4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes; remove from oven and cover with remaining cheese. If desired, may top with 2 chopped medium tomatoes, 2 cups shredded lettuce, chopped green onions and sour cream or yogurt.The Banana Nut Bread the Thompson's really Like• 2 cups sifted flour• 1 teaspoon baking soda• 1 teaspoon baking powder• 1/2 teaspoon salt• 1/2 cup butter• 1 cup white sugar• 2 eggs• 1 Tablespoon milk• 1 teaspoon vanilla• 1 cup pecans-chopped lightly• 3-4 ripe bananas-mashed 1. Measure and sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 2. Mix the butter and sugar together, add eggs and milk and vanilla. 3. Stir until thoroughly mixed, then add mashed bananas. 4. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. 5. Pour into a well greased 9x5x3 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.Chicken and Noodles Casserole• 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Swanson chicken broth (1 and 3/4 cups) I have used a boxed chicken broth instead of the canned.• 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves-crushed• 1/8 teaspoon black pepper• 2 cups frozen vegetable combination (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)• 2 cups UNCOOKED medium egg noodles• 2 cups cubed COOKED chicken 1. In medium skillet, mix broth, basil, pepper and vegetables. 2. Over medium-high heat, heat to a boil. 3. Reduce heat to medium. 4. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. 5. Add chicken and heat through.What my Grandma didn't teach me:To make self-rising flour, mix 4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 Tablespoons baking powder. Stir lightly and store in air-tight container. Tip of the week: ( Think banana bread!)Over-ripe bananas can be frozen until it's time to bake. Just place them unpeeled in a plastic bag in the freezer.My favorite yard man brought a helper and they trimmed the large Live Oak in our front yard and all the very large bushes as well as cleaning up the smaller limbs from the Crepe myrtles. Things are looking much neater. They also took all my roses down by half their size (height); this was only a week ago and the roses are already sending out light green beautiful new growth! They commented that my tulips are coming up and the pansies have weathered the severe cold. Oh, I can't wait to see that bed fully in bloom.Have another good week in Parker County. It's not spring yet, but we're getting closer.