Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

img_5338My friend introduced this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie to me at work and it’s my go to for easy brunch, sweet treats, travel snacks, etc. Once you get the initial ingredients (I’m sure you may have many of them already), you’ll be able to make the recipe over and over again. I like it when I happen to buy a bunch of bananas and they start to go bad before I can eat them all. I just peel them, put them in a freezer safe Ziploc bag and use them later in this recipe

Makes: 24 mini muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Materials:                   

  • Oven
  • 2 medium bowls
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups (1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup)
  • Measuring spoons (tablespoon (Tbsp), teaspoon (tsp), 1/2 teaspoon, 1/8 teaspoon)
  • Mini muffin pan
  • Mini ice cream scoop or spoon

Ingredients:

ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 medium bananas (or whatever fits in 1 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp milk (I used 2% but use whatever you have)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray

3. Whisk together the 2 bananas, 2 Tbsp milk, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp vinegar, and 3 Tbsp vegetable oil in the 1st bowl

4. In the 2nd bowl add 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, and 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar

5. Pour ingredients from step 3 (the wet) into ingredients from step 4 (the dry)

6. Stir until evenly mixed

7. Use mini ice cream scoop or spoon to get batter into the greased muffin pan, filling about 2/3 of the way

8. Put in the oven, setting the timer for 15 minutes

9. After 15 minutes, remove the muffin pan from the oven

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10. Remove from pan, let cool, and enjoy! (Or store for later eating)

My muffin pan is well greased and the muffins come out easily. If you know that yours has trouble sticking you may want to add liners.

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*Nutrition for 1 mini muffin:

  • Calories: 80
  • Total fat: 3 g
  • Sodium: 99 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 12 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Refer to the link above for the original recipe which includes recipes if you want to use gluten free flour, want to make it vegan, or want to use sweeteners instead of sugar.

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Homemade Recipes – Squash & Zucchini Boats

I am a sucker for a good price when I’m shopping for groceries. When it comes to produce, I only buy what’s in season because that means it’s on sale (aka cheaper) and tastes the best. This usually ends up with me buying a lot more veggies than I know what to do with. I always have good intentions and plan to use everything before it goes bad, but then life happens. Either I work late and I’m too tired to cook or maybe friends want to go out to eat. Whatever the reason, I just don’t get around to using the vegetables fast enough.

I hate to throw things away so I had to think of a way to use the wrinkling veggies in a dish where it wouldn’t be noticeable that the vegetables were past their prime. Then I saw a picture of a squash boat on my news feed that a friend had made which intrigued me as I had squash that was on its last leg. I found a recipe, looked at the ingredients and decided I had everything I needed, give or take. I was excited to try the boat recipe and the first thing I did was cut my squash in half, then I actually read the recipe which said to cook it whole first. It was at that point that I knew I had to just come up with something on my own. So here it is, a very simple, versatile, and amazingly delicious way to use up all of your wilting veggies.

Oh, and the best part about this recipe? Just use what you have on hand. I only had 1 squash so I used zucchini too. I had leftover cornbread but you could use other leftover bread, panko, breadcrumbs, or croutons. Instead of scallions use yellow or red onions. Substitute red bell peppers for tomatoes. Add some cooked spinach. Don’t have Parmesan cheese? Use whatever is in the fridge. Wanting to make more of a meaty dish? Instead of mushrooms, use ground beef, turkey sausage, or bacon. The combinations and possibilities are truly endless and this can be adapted to meet your and your family’s wants and dietary needs. You can each have your own boat with your own fillings which is great for picky eaters.

These can be great as side items at dinner or even make them your meal. Make a big batch on Sunday to take to work and just heat them up for lunch. Don’t forget to check out my mini crustless quiche recipe for breakfast at work while you’re at it.

Makes: 4 squash/zucchini boats

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Materials:                   

  • Oven
  • Steamer pot
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Sauté pan
  • Medium bowl
  • Spoon
  • Baking pan
  • Tin foil
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Ingredients:

  • 1 squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped leftover cornbread
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions, white and light green part
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

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2. Boil water in steamer pot

3. Cut squash & zucchini in half lengthwise

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4. Once water is boiling, steam halved zucchini and squash for 7 minutes

5. While vegetables are steaming, finely chop up leftover cornbread, dice mushrooms, slice scallions, and dice tomatoes. Set aside.

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6. When finished steaming, remove pot of zucchini and squash from heat and allow to cool before handling.

7. Drizzle olive oil to coat sauté pan and add mushrooms and allow to cook down and become tender.

8. Add scallions and seasonings of your choice (I like garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and ground cayenne red pepper for a little heat).

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9. Toss to cook until scallions become more translucent then remove pan from heat.

10. Once zucchini & squash are cool, scoop out insides with a spoon. You may need to run your knife along it if it doesn’t come out easily. If you scoop too close to the skin your boat will be more like a flat beach towel so be sure to leave enough to allow the vegetable to maintain its shape.

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11. Chop zucchini & squash insides into small chunks.

12. In the medium bowl, add zucchini & squash chunks, cooked mushrooms & scallions, cornbread, tomatoes, and cheese. Mix together.

13. Line baking pan with tin foil and place empty boats.

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14. Use spoon to put stuffing into zucchini & squash boats. They will be overflowing.

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15. Put in the oven, setting the timer for 10 minutes.

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16. After 10 minutes rotate the pan 180° and set the timer for another 15 minutes or until cheese is melty and breadcrumbs are brown. Do not leave in too long or it will burn.

17. After a total of 25 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and allow boats to cool on pan

18. Enjoy! (Or store for later use)

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*Nutrition for 1 boat with Parmesan cheese, cornbread crumbs, mushrooms, scallions, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash:

  • Calories: 177
  • Total fat: 6 g
  • Sodium: 353 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 26 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Protein: 9 g

The nutrition can be altered depending on the type of cheese and breadcrumbs you choose such as low fat and low sodium options.

Also note, if you use meat it will increase protein along with cholesterol, sodium, and fat.

Nachos

I got this recipe out of Bon Appetit magazine and made some changes to make it my own. If you’re anything like me then when you have nachos you want each one to have a little of everything. You don’t want that sad plain nacho that didn’t get any toppings, and you want crispy chips not soft, mushy ones. Use this recipe to get the perfect bite each time. Have picky eaters or those with diet restrictions coming to your party? This is a perfect way to please everyone, just start with the base and let them add their own fixings.

If everyone is ok with cheese but not meat, have meat on the side as a topping. For the cheese, I happened to have some pre-shredded 4 cheese Mexican blend in the refrigerator. Freshly grated cheese melts very nicely though but takes some extra time. Other options include sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack.

Topping ideas: cilantro, sour cream, diced tomatoes, salsa, chopped onions, sliced avocado, corn, mango, guacamole, bacon

Makes: 16 servings (2 batches, each one with 8 servings)

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cook Time20 minutes

Materials:

  • Oven
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Colander
  • Can opener
  • Spatula

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large bag of tortilla chips
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • optional, 3 cups shredded or ground meat (try my pulled pork recipe)
  • optional, 1 bunch of cilantro for garnish

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350

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2. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

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3. Place 1/2 of chips in a single layer without much overlapping (this prevents soggy chips).

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4. If using meat, add pieces to each chip.

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5. Open can of beans and place in colander. Run water over to rinse and drain well.

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6. Add 1/2 of beans to the chips

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6. Add 1/2 of cheese to the chips.

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7. If you are cooking just for yourself or don’t have picky eaters/people with diet restrictions, add any other toppings you want.

8. Place in oven for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.

9. Remove from oven and serve using spatula for less mess.

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10. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

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10. Repeat steps 2-10 for 2nd batch.

*Nutrition  for 1 portion (1/8 of a pan) not including meat using 2% Mexican 4 cheese blend:

  • Calories: 226
  • Total fat: 10.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 7.5 mg
  • Sodium: 255 mg
  • Potassium 76 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 27 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 7.7 g

If you choose a lower fat cheese that will reduce calories as well.

Pulled Pork

I found this recipe in Shape magazine and altered it a bit to make it my own. Perfect for parties (Super Bowl, BBQs, etc) where you can let guests build their own sliders, nachos, or pizza. It’s great to put on the stove a couple hours ahead of time and let it simmer while you finish getting ready.

Makes: 20 portions (1/2 cup serving size)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Materials:

  • Oven
  • Medium bowl
  • Whisk or fork
  • Knife & cutting board
  • Deep cooking pot

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lean pork tenderloin (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

1. Trim the fat and cut the pork into smaller chunks.

2. Slice 1/2 of a red onion

3. In the deep cooking pot, whisk together 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 cup water.

4. Add the pork and 1/2 red onion

5. Bring to a boil on high heat

6. Reduce the heat so mixture simmers

7. Cover for 1 hour

8. Take chunks of meat out and place into medium bowl and shred with 2 forks. You can shred it finely or leave large chunks depending on your preference.

9. Place shredded pork back into pot, re-cover, and continue cooking for 30 more minutes.

*Nutrition for 1/2 cup portion of pulled pork

  • Calories: 102
  • Total fat: 2.9 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Choleserol: 43 mg
  • Sodium: 94 mg
  • Potassium: 213 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 4 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Crustless Mini Quiches

I thought of this recipe when I started working as a Dietitian at the hospital. I am not a morning person at all and I was looking for a way to have a nutritious breakfast that wouldn’t require me to set my alarm any earlier and this is what I came up with. You can make them Sunday evening and you’re set for the workweek for breakfast. Just put them in the fridge and pop them in the microwave in the morning  to reheat.

Makes: 9 crustless mini quiches

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Materials: image_1                  

  • Oven
  • Medium bowl
  • Whisk or fork
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Muffin pan
  • Spoon

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Mix-ins such as vegetables and cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

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2. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray

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3. Add eggs, milk, and desired seasoning into bowl and whisk  (I chose the Italian Herbs grinder I had in my pantry. I add LOTS to give extra flavor.)

4. Pour egg mix into muffin pan, about 3/4 full

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5. Add desired mix-ins (I use what I find at the Farmer’s Market. This week I happened to have scallions, red bell pepper, and cheddar cheese. Other options to try are spinach, onions, swiss, mushrooms, tomatoes, feta, etc. Get creative!)

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6. With a spoon, stir each cup to get the mix-ins incorporated

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7. Put in the oven, setting the timer for 10 minutes

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8. After 10 minutes rotate the muffin pan 180° and set the timer for another 10 minutes

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9. After a total of 20 minutes, remove the muffin pan from the oven (You will notice the quiches have puffed up a lot but they will sink back down once removed from the oven.)

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10. Immediately remove quiches from muffin pan using a spoon to help scoop them out

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11. Let cool and enjoy! (Or store for later use)

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These are not just for working people in need of a fast breakfast either. Have a family or group of kids with different likes and dislikes when it comes to veggies? Have bowls of different options available and have each person add their own mix-ins. It’s an easy way to allow everyone to have breakfast just the way they want it.

*Nutrition for 2 mini quiches with egg and milk only (since your mix-ins will vary):

  • Calories: 124
  • Total fat: 8 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 289 mg
  • Sodium: 122 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 2 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Protein: 10 g

Keep in mind cheese will add protein as well as saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

If you would like to print this recipe without the pictures go here