Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fun and tasty ways to eat a banana

One of my favorite fruits has always been the banana. They're 'portable', loaded with nutrients and, best of all, fairly cheap. They're also one of the few fruits my kids will eat without having to be 'bribed', which is a big plus! Sometimes, though, I want to do something with them other than eat them right out of the peel. Plus, they don't always get used before they get soft and bruised. I don't want to waste them, so I try to find ways to use them in various types of recipes. Some didn't turn out so well (banana coffee creamer, anyone?), but here are two of the recipes that did work for me. Unlike my mom's recipe for banana bread, they're pretty quick.

If you have some bananas that are about to go bad, here is a good way to put them to use.
Easy Banana Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large ripe bananas
3 eggs
½ cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp baking powder

Warm up your griddle or pan to medium heat.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs for 2 minutes or until frothy. Add milk, flour, vegetable oil and baking powder and mix.
Take two of the bananas and smash them up well. If you like, use them to take out the frustration you have with your boss or neighbor. Stir them into the batter. Ladle the finished batter onto the hot surface in ¼-cup portions and cook until both sides are brown. Now, slice up the other banana, put on top and serve.
If you want an extra-special treat, use strawberries in the batter or on top. Strawberry syrup is even better!

I had one of these when I went to Disney World and, well, let's just say the monkeys were jealous! Okay, not really, but you get the point. They're awesome, and perfect for a hot summer day.
Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Bananas
4 large bananas, cut in half
One 12-oz bag of chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups peanuts (optional)
The recipe originally calls for semi-sweet chips, but feel free to use milk chocolate, white chocolate or whatever you want. I've also used confectioner's chocolate because I had some left over from another recipe.

Microwave the chocolate chips for 2-4 minutes in a shallow dish. You'll want to stir every 30 seconds so the chocolate doesn't burn. Once melted, add the vegetable oil. Then, take a popsicle stick or skewer and insert into the cut end of the banana, pushing it up about 2/3 of the way up. Hold onto the stick and roll the banana in the chocolate to apply an even coat. If you plan to use a 'bonus' topping like peanuts or sprinkles, put said topping on separate plate and repeat. Now place on a wax-papered plate and put in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. If you are preparing them for tomorrow, they can freeze up to 8 hours.
 As you can see, there are many quick ways to use bananas than just eating them out of the peel. Write these down, and you'll never have to throw out a banana again. Enjoy!
And no, I didn't actually try to put bananas in my coffee. My husband stopped me in time. :)

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