Banana Week! Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

chochipbananamuffin2Who doesn’t love a fantastic near questionable banana? (raises hand) I do, I do! On our last extravaganza to the grocery store last week, I intentionally bought a few too many bana-nanas for some baking this week. A month or so back, ‘Cakes’ came home from work with a story. This ever so kind lady whose home he was remodeling was making some mini-muffins…some mini Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins that she so willing donated to his face. He told me, “The were the best ever”. WHAT?! He doesn’t even like bananas! Apparently when masked in chocolate…he’s able to tolerate them 🙂

I felt like he cheated on me, well on our kitchen at least. (haha….) Someone else, baked something better than me?  Get out-of-town. This situation needed to be remedied with quickness. I have recipe testing and overripe bananas to conquer, I need to be the best. I will…make a better Chocolate Chip Banana Muffin.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to be the best…when you cut out butter, especially in baked goods. But hey, it’s a good Sunday challenge right? Right!  Well, here it is! A new fantastic Chocolate Chip Banana Muffin recipe, without butter! These are incredibly soft and moist that just fall out of the liners, with just the perfect touch of chocolate. Love this recipe!

*Avoiding chocolate? Replace the chocolate chips with toasted almonds!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

3/4 cup Sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

3 medium mashed bananas

1/2 cup Oats (I used quick cooking oats)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp of vanilla greek yogurt (optional-only if you have one open, throw a big spoonful in!)

2 cups All Purpose Flour

3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

2/3 cup Miniature Semisweet Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line your muffin tin with liners, and give them a very quick mist of cooking spray. (as little as possible)

2. Mash bananas together with a fork (or in a blender/processor),in that bowl add the oil, and sugar to the bananas. Whisk together well.

3. Add your oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix together slowly because the flour will tend to ‘poof’. (I used a spatula not the whisk to mix here)

4. Finally, stir in your mini chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into muffin liners till 3/4 full.

5. Bake for 13-14 minutes, till the tops begin to brown.

chochipbananamuffin1

Lemon Roasted Chicken with White Wine Linguine

whitewinecknLet’s make a dish with some wine.

What kind of wine? A beautiful (cheap) bottle of white wine, carefully chosen (from the bottom shelf), the kind you don’t mind splurging a bit on (all $4.99 of it). Psssht. I don’t use expensive wine when I cook with it… dorks. A white blend, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc is the way to go. Don’t be afraid to hit that bottom shelf and take home a cheap bottle  but  make sure it’s something drinkable enough that allows you the occasional pull from the bottle while your cooking…

I was craving a ‘real’ meal. You know, a real one…with carbs. I’ve been trying to limit my pasta intake to about once a week and it was time.  Since I started dinner earlier in the evening, I was able to pull off a marinade. I really need to plan in advance better…I don’t use marinades enough, they’re totally worth it (maybe I should amend my Kitchen New Years resolution and add this to it!). 2-24 hours is great for a marinade, so if you’re a better planner than me…or get home early, marinade it! It will add a great boost of flavor of succulent chicken to your dish.

We tend to go to the store together on Sundays to shop for the week. It’s such a highlight of my weekend because that’s when I load up on all my fresh produce for the week. Every color of pepper….found it’s way into my basket. Orange, yellow, red, green, oh, and jalapenos. Beautiful! So what do you do with the leftover peppers from Fajitas the night before? You julienne them….and add whole wheat pasta 🙂

What’s ‘Cakes’ take: ‘You made me eat whole-wheat pasta, and I enjoyed it’. He’s charming, isn’t he?

What’s your favorite type of pasta?

Lemon Roasted Chicken with White Wine 

2 small boneless chicken breasts

1 lemon (or lemon juice…always have this on reserve in your fridge)

1 sprig of rosemary, smashed

1/2 tsp of minced garlic

s/p

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp of ginger

1 tbsp of parsley

1/4 cup each of red and yellow peppers, as well as a yellow onion

1/3 cup white wine

1/4 reserve pasta water

1/2 tsp of chicken granules

3 tbsp of milk+ 1 tbsp of flour combined

mozzarella (optional)

green onion (optional)

Marinade: in a bowl or shallow dish, add your squeezed lemon (or 2 tbsp of juice), oil, ginger, rosemary, salt/pepper, garlic, and toss in your chicken breasts. Marinade for 2-24 hours, covered in plastic.

1. Heat your cast iron skillet, add an additional 1 tbsp of olive oil, or just enough to coat your pan, Let heat for about 2 minutes on med to med-high. Add your peppers and onions, cook thru for about 2-3 minutes. When finished transfer them aside.

2. Start your water to boil for your pasta and under cook it by about 2 minutes, set aside (as well as the reserve water)

3. Once your pan has heated add your marinated chicken breasts. I made sure mine were not thick so they only took about 3-4 minutes on each side. Once they’ve finished, transfer them to a plate, stacked on top of each other and cover them with foil. This allows them to rest as well as keep them warm.

4.Turn heat down to medium. Add your reserve water  and 1/2 tsp of chicken broth granules. Because the pan is still very hot they will dissolve quickly. Then add your white wine and let it reduce for a couple minutes. Add back in your peppers. Let cook for another minute. Then add your milk/flour combo and parsley. Stirring.

5. Add in your cooked whole wheat pasta. While letting this cook for about 2 minutes, chop your chicken.

6. Remove from heat, and serve into two bowls. Add a small palm of mozzarella cheese on each, top with chicken, and I also added some diced green onion for color.

President Potato Soup

baked potato soupWinter, the perfect time to spoon as much soup in your face as possible. You know the other great thing about the perfect winter day and making soup? The most amazing aroma, bacon and cream. If bacon ran for President, it would win. President Potato Soup?

All though the only thing that could make the best soup better is a bread bowl, which I didn’t do… I was so overwhelmed with the bacon aroma in my house I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. President Bacon wins again. Easy to make, cheap ingredients, and takes no time at all to throw together. Creamy, rich, and smooth, with all your favorite toppings to finish it off just the way you like it!

President Potato Soup

6 Russet Potatoes (sliced into 1/8ths, skin on)

5-6 slices of bacon

3 celery stalks

1 onion, finely diced

2 tsp minced garlic

7 cups of chicken broth (low sodium)

4 tbsp flour

4 tbsp butter

1 1/2 cups of half and half

2 japanenos, chopped (optional)

1 cup sour cream

green onion

cheddar cheese

1.Slice your russets in half, and then each half into fourths. Place them in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until softened, drain water.

2. While potatoes are boiling, begin frying your bacon. After it’s crisp, chop finely and set aside. Pour off the grease but do not clean your pot.

3. On medium heat in the bacon pot, add your celery, onions and garlic, cook thru about 4 minutes, then add your potatoes (and japapenos).

4. Add in your broth and butter to the pot. In a separate cup, mix your half and half and flour with a whisk. Once combined add to the pot.

5. In small batches add to a blender until you get a smooth consistency (I just used my hand blender since I cut the batch in half). Once you have a smooth consistency of the soup, keep on low-medium heat, careful not to boil and add the sour cream.

6. Top each serving bowl with bacon green onion and cheddar cheese.