Leftover bananas can sneak up on you. It seems like one day they are firm, yellow and delightful and the next day they are dark brown and overripe. Thankfully bananas are very versatile. They are fantastic for baking, making smoothies and drinks and even in savory dishes. I enjoy making banana bread with my overripe bananas and have posted my favorite version here. This time I wanted to make some muffins that were healthy AND delicious with some chocolate thrown in to make it special. I used mini chocolate chips because 1/2 cup goes a long way and feels like there is a lot more than there is! They turned out moist, flavorful and delicious. This recipe makes one batch of 12 muffins. If you get up early, you can throw the ingredients together stick it in the oven and go for a 22 minute run and come back to incredible warm muffins for breakfast. It’ll improve your performance (guaranteed) when you know such deliciousness is waiting for you!
Spiced Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used Atta, or Indian WW flour)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 large bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup non fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl mix the flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the mashed bananas, baking soda, egg, melted butter, milk and yogurt until well incorporated. Stir the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended (don’t over mix). Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and using an ice cream scooper fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake the muffins for 30 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the muffins to rack to cool for 15 minutes.
Sometimes the best dishes are those that I’ve cooked quickly. I came home kind of late last night and needed to make a fast and healthy meal. I was pretty much throwing ingredients together that I thought would make tasty combinations. It came together in less than 30 minutes and the whole family along with a friend who happened to be hanging out all enjoyed dinner together. I love that. There’s nothing like eating a meal together and chatting and talking on a cool summer evening when the sun takes a long time to set. The tangy taste of the feta and artichokes with the hint of rosemary really makes this dish taste like summer….all bright and sunny!
Mediterranean style chicken and artichoke whole wheat pasta
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 bunch flat leafed parsley, coarsely chopped
1 cup of marinated artichokes, rough chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 can italian style stewed tomatoes or 2 Roma tomatoes chopped
2 big handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1/2 pound of whole wheat pasta (linguine, fettuccine or egg noodles)
Cook whole wheat pasta to al dente. In a large skillet or wok heat olive oil, add chicken,salt and garlic and saute for a few minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Add in tomatoes, artichoke hearts, dill and parsley. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add in dried rosemary and feta cheese and cook for about 1 minute. Add in spinach and let it wilt into the sauce. Turn off heat. Toss in cooked pasta and serve immediately.
Chappatis are a traditional Indian flat bread made out of whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is known as “Atta”. Atta is different than whole wheat flour commonly found in U.S. groceries. The protein content is higher and the grind of the flour is finer in “Atta”. This makes the chapatis softer, pliable and delicious tasting. If you get a chance to make chapatis with Atta from the Indian store, you have to try it. Regular whole wheat flour also works, I usually use whole wheat pastry flour to compensate. There’s nothing like fresh hot chappatis with a tiny bit of ghee added to it for flavor. You really don’t even need anything else!
Did I mention that I currently have eight college students chilling out for Spring break? I love having a houseful. It’s fun and anytime any of my kids and their friends choose to hang out at our house, I count it a blessing! I know that time is fleeting. But having house guests who can eat a lot means preparing mass quantities of food. This morning after I got some work done on the computer and had a cup of coffee I braced myself to make a hearty breakfast with things I had around the house. I decided to make pancakes with lots of delicious, healthy, high fiber options packed in. Pancakes are very forgiving. You can add all kinds of ingredients and still have it turn out great!
Here’s the recipe:
Apple Cinnamon Cottage Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
3 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 Granny Smith or Gala apples peeled and chopped
2 tsp Cinnamon
oil for the griddle
Mix chopped apples and Cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Measure out all the dry ingredients in a batter bowl. Add buttermilk, eggs and cottage cheese and mix to get all lumps out. Heat a cast iron griddle or a non-stick griddle (or a frying pan) over medium heat. Brush a little oil on the pan. Pour 1/3 cup batter on the heated pan and spread Cinnamon coated apples evenly over the batter. When the batter bubbles, flip over pancake and cook 50 seconds and serve warm. You can top with powdered sugar, maple syrup or chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella) – the current favorite at this house. Makes about 12-13 four inch pancakes.