Banana Bread Muffins

2-3 very ripe bananas (depending on size; you can also use up to 9 baby bananas)
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c soft coconut oil
3/4 c honey (or 1 c sugar, if you prefer a vegan version)
2 Tbsp molasses
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 to 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, diced fruit

Use a wire whisk, a fork, or a wooden spoon to mix the batter or it will be gummy and dense.

Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas really well. Add honey, applesauce, oil, and molasses. Whisk briskly to incorporate.
Sift in flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Mix well. Fold in any add-ins.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 18-24 minutes. The tops should be lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

For a nut butter and jelly version, add 1/4 c of a nut butter of your choice (peanut, cashew, almond) to the batter when you add the wet ingredients. Fill muffin cups 1/3 full. Put 1 tsp of jelly or jam in the center of each cup and fill the cups to 2/3 full. Bake 18-24 minutes at 350 deg F. Tops should be lightly browned.


Melted Hot Chocolate

I bet this could be made with powdered ingredients and such, but I didn’t feel like mixing a powdered cocoa mix. I would have had to find a lot more stuff. I was reading a thread in a forum about hot chocolate, and someone mentioned melting chocolate bars and adding hot milk.

Well. I had chocolate. And I had milk. So….

About 1 oz solid chocolate, broken up
1 T granulate sugar, white or brown
3/4 c milk, warmed
Marshmallows or whipped cream

Put the chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have one, rig up a makeshift double boiler by putting water in a pot and putting a smaller pot in the water. Turn the burner to medium-low. Once the chocolate started to melt, add the sugar. After everything is melted together, whisk in the warmed milk. Heat it through, pour into a mug and top with marshmallows. 

Fluffy Pancake Variations

All of these are variatiOns on the Fluffy Pancakes from last week. Use the basic recipe and add the following ingredients.

Vanilla-Nutmeg Pancakes with White Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c white chocolate chips

Spiced Cocoa Pancakes
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 tsp each allspice, ginger, and cardamom
1/4 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp milk, buttermilk, or whey

Fluffy Pancakes

3/4 c + 1 Tbsp flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp melted butter
3/4 c milk, buttermilk, or whey

Stir together dry ingredients. Combine with egg, butter, and liquid. Batter should still be lumpy. Melt a tsp of butter over medium-low heat. Pour a few Tbsp of batter onto melted butter. Flip when bubbles start to form and pop on surface. Remove when pancakes are puffy.

Makes 7-8 4-inch pancakes

Spicy Rosemary Chicken

You’ll need a cast iron skillet for this dish. Serve with rice or potatoes.

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp rosemary sprigs, crushed
1/4 c lemon juice, divided
1/2 Tbsp olive oil or melter butter
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/4 tsp each paprika, turmeric, and chili powder(or cayenne pepper)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 deg F. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Combine rosemary, 1/8 c lemon juice, oil, gigner-garlic paste, and spices.
Coat chicken pieces with mixture and add chicken to skillet. Cook five minutes or until chicken begins to turn white.
Turn chicken, drizzle with remaining lemon juice and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken. Is cooked through.

Besan Ladoo

These are, I’m told, a staple sweet during many festivities and celebrations in India. I don’t know of any similar dessert to compare these with; they’re certainly unlike anything in most American menus. They are a bit dry and are something of an acquired taste. (That said, my toddler would happily gobble them up by the plateful if I let her.)

1-1/2 cups + 4 Tbsp besan (chickpea) flour (can be found at Indian groceries and at some large chain grocery stores)
1/2 cup Ghee
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom (or equal parts ground coriander, ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon)
4-5 tbsp almonds, finely chopped
1 tbsp raisins

Melt the ghee and add the raisins. Keep at low heat – just melted. Roast the flour until fragrant, but not browned or burnt. Add ghee/raisins and stir until well combined. Turn into a bowl and allow to cool down; it should still be warm, but not hot. Add sugar, spices and almonds and combine. Roll into small balls and allow to cool completely.

Channa Masala (Spiced Chickpeas in Tomato Sauce)

1 cup Chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 tsp turmeric
1 tea bag
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp ghee
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp Cumin-coriander powder (or 1 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander)
1 tsp chilli powder
1 red onion
2 tomatoes, chopped finely
2 tbsp Tomato puree
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste 
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste (or 2 tsp lime juice, 1-1/2 tsp molasses, 1 tsp sugar) 
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, add 6 cups water, chickpeas, turmeric, bay leaf, and tea bag. Bring to a boil and cook for an hour.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt ghee and add caraway seeds and the spices and saute for 30-40 seconds. Add the onions and then ginger-garlic paste and saute until the onion is translucent. 

Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and tamarind paste and cook till the tomato is soft.

Remove the tea bag and bay leaf from the chickpeas and drain, reserving the liquid. Add the chickpeas to the tomato sauce and add 1 c of the reserved liquid. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens up.