Sunday, September 9, 2012

Banana, Coconut, Chocolate Chip Muffins

I recently had drinks with my former coworker JF and his recent bride SBF. I really enjoy hanging out with them, as we get to talk about the good ole' days of working at Penn (or still working at Penn), and of course food.

On this particular "happy hour" adventure, we managed to restaurant hop in search of a edible dinner and an outdoor table that didn't have squirrels throwing half their dinner at us.

In the midst of the process, SBF told me about a muffin recipe she made before JF's bachelor party, and had made a bunch of changes, got concerned they would be no good for the party, and then deemed them to be the BEST MUFFINS EVER.

Once she told me that they included banana, coconut, and chocolate, I knew I needed to make them for JW. With his birthday this week, I figured it was the best time. (Plus I had 6 frozen bananas and 3 sticks of "banana butter" in the freezer that had to go, as everything was starting to taste like banana- which is the definition and creation of "banana butter". I HATE banana flavored things. HATE.)

The original recipe was almond sub chocolate, so I'll include the recipe I made here, per SBF's recommendation:
"Swap the almonds for chocolate chips and leave out the almond extract and voila...yumminess:) Enjoy!!" 
Of course, my version includes lots of short cuts...

Banana Coconut Chocolate Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 over ripened bananas
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 and line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a stand mixer, mash bananas thoroughly, add the sugar, coconut, and extract. Mix well. Add in the eggs. Microwave butter until melted. Let cool slightly before adding to the wet ingredients.
Add in the dry ingredients (flour, powder, soda, salt) until combined (do not over mix or the texture will be dense). Gently fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop batter using an ice-cream scooper (or the measuring cup used to measure everything) to create equal amounts of batter in each liner. Each liner should be almost completely filed.

Bake 20-25 minutes (they'll smell done & toothpick comes out clean). Makes 18 muffins.

Well, since I had 6 bananas I used made one and half of the recipe, but only had 18 muffin tins, so I used a loaf pan to contain the rest of the batter.

Thanks SBF for an awesome recipe!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Homemade Pasta Sauce turned Lasagna

So, I was able to crank out two meals this week out of one!

Grandmom's Pasta Sauce:
2 cloves of garlic
1 diced onion
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lb of ground beef
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
5 drops of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar, basil, and oregano
2 bay leaves

Saute the garlic and onion in the oil for about 8 minutes. 
 Add and brown the ground meat. (Drain off some of the fat, and keep it on reserve if you need to add more.)  

Add the tomatoes and spices, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
1 box of oven ready noodles (will use 6-8 sheets)
Grandmom's pasta sauce
15oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
2 cups fresh spinahc

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 9x9 dish with spray.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat eggs, ricotta, and 1 cups of the mozz cheese. I also like to add a sprinkling of oregano and garlic powder.

Pour about 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Lay 2 sheets of pasta next to each other (maybe some crumbs or small slivers to fill the pan)- slightly overlapping and breaking where necessary to fit pan. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of noddles. Spread 1/2 of the spinach on top of cheese. Layer on 1 c of sauce.

Repeat with more noodles, more cheese, more spinach, and 1 c sauce.
Repeat with more noodles, remainder of cheese, if there is any leftover spinach, and 1c sauce.

Layer 2 more noodles, last of the sauce, and 1 cup of mozzarella and Parm sprinkled across top.

Cover with foil. Bake 35 minutes, until bubbly. Uncover for 5 minutes, and bake until cheese is melted and slightly brown. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. 

This served 2 of us for 2 days. For leftovers, I added some jar sauce on top because I wanted it to be a little more "wet."