Cook’s notes: I’ve written about trail mix before, but here’s a new formula to try.
50% nuts, 30% dried fruit, 10% cereal or other, 10% chocolate chips.
- 5/8 cup smoked almonds
- 3/8 cup dried cranberries
- 1/8 cup dried apricots (diced)
- 1/8 cup dark chocolate chips
Cook’s notes: I was helping my brother research banana bread recipes, and found this one, which is baked in a square pan. I reduced the sugar drastically per a discussion on chowhound, and it’s still plenty sweet (tip: use 1/3 cup brown sugar to replace each 1 cup white sugar). I also changed the recipe so you can make it in one bowl of a stand mixer.
- 4 ripe bananas, peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil (instead of 1/3 cup melted butter)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1.5 cups flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pecans (instead of 3/4 cup chocolate chips)
Heat the oven to 325F and lightly coat a 9-inch x 9-inch pan with cooking spray.
In a stand mixer, beat the bananas and oil (or melted butter) together until the bananas are mashed. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Add the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat in with as few strokes as possible. Stir in the pecans (or chocolate chips), and pour the mixture into your pan.
Bake 45 to 60 minutes. Check for doneness after 45 minutes.
via Best Ever Banana Bread
Cook’s notes: I’ve been fascinated by small batch baking and reducing recipes for baked goods lately. Here are some notes I’ve found useful.
9 x 13-inch pan. Volume: 15 cups (24 to 36 cupcakes)
- Cut recipe in half and use an 8 x 8-inch square pan
- If recipe calls for 1 egg, use 1 egg (not 1/2 egg)
Square pan volume: 2 quarts or 8 cups (12 cupcakes)
- 9 x 9-inch square pan
- 9 x 5-inch loaf pan
- 8 x 8-inch square pan
For any of these, cut the recipe in half and use a 6 x 6-inch square pan.
Note that a bread recipe for a loaf pan can be baked in a square pan.
Round pan volume
- 9 x 2-inch round (8 cups): Also makes 12 cupcakes. Cut recipe in half and use a 6-inch round pan.
- 8 x 2-inch round pan (6 cups): Same as 75% of a 9-inch pan recipe.
- 6 x 2-inch round pan (4 cups): Makes 6 cupcakes.
Source: Includes Cake and Baking Pan Size Conversions – Allrecipes, http://www.thekitchn.com/halving-casseroles-tips-for-re-137981, http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html, http://www.wilton.com/cms-batter-amounts.html, http://www.thekitchn.com/halving-casseroles-tips-for-re-137981
Cook’s Notes: Several web sites have this same recipe. I keep it on hand year-round, and the spice blend is terrific in smoothies, pumpkin pie, and more. It’s also good in Rice Krispie marshmallow treats.
Update: Small batch version with pepper. This terrific blend is from Dessert for Two:
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix the following spices together in a small bowl: Makes 4 oz.
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1.5 teaspoons ground allspice and 1.5 teaspoons ground cloves.
Store in a sealed container at room temperature.
Cook’s notes: This is a riff on an older recipe, the Best Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Salad. We needed a smaller amount of the corn salad to use as a topping on turkey taco salad.
2.6 oz. olive oil
2 oz. lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried cilantro
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounce can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
Mixed salad greens
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil to black pepper). Stir in the corn and black beans. Serve on a bed of mixed greens.
Cook’s notes: This recipe is based on author Pam Anderson’s Formula for Bean and Grain Salads. Ms. Anderson is one of my favorite cookbook authors. Her formula helped me make just the right dish for a supper potluck right after work. I made the pasta dish the night before, which let the flavors blend nicely. You can also use 1/3 cup your favorite vinaigrette instead of making the lemon dressing.
Yield: Makes about 7.5 cups; enough to feed a crowd
2 cups cooked pearl couscous
15 oz. can [2 cups] chickpeas, drained
2 cans tuna, drained (net 8 oz.) and flaked
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
1.5 cups roasted corn kernels
1/2 cup sliced olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 Tablespoons dried Italian herb blend
Dressing: 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 4 teaspoons lemon juice.
Prepare couscous according to package directions; make the dressing while the grains cook. Place couscous in a large bowl with remaining ingredients (chickpeas to herb blend) and stir gently to combine.
Drizzle salad with dressing and toss to coat.
Cook’s notes: Thank you, Paula Jones, for a lovely sauce recipe! via Lighter Sriracha Dipping Sauce » Call Me PMc. She recommends serving it on turkey burgers or with fries or baked cauliflower or on a salad. It would also go well with raw or roasted veggies. I served it with brown rice and sauteed chicken thigh strips.
- 4 Tablespoons “Just Mayo” light mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons plain fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in refrigerator up to one week.
Cook’s notes: Another wonderful spiralized zucchini recipe inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod. We sauteed the cherry tomatoes with the zucchini.
2 Tablespoons (1 oz) olive oil
16 oz cherry tomatoes
3 to 4 zucchinis, ends trimmed and spiralized (or cut into thin strips)
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil pesto, to taste
Heat a large skillet over a medium-high burner. Add the oil and tomatoes, stirring frequently, until the tomato skins start to split and release their juices. Add the zucchini and gently cook until zucchini is tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Toss with pesto (about 1/4 cup, stir and add more if desired).
Cook’s notes: I found a wonderful recipe online for a spice blend to use in homemade turkey sausage. I omitted the brown sugar but left in the red pepper flakes.
On its own, the turkey sausage had a bite, but we used it in several dishes and found it delicious: scrambled eggs with cheese, on top of pizza with red and yellow bell peppers, and on spiralized zucchini with red sauce and mushrooms.
In a small bowl, combine all spices and set aside:
- 1.5 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or equal parts dried basil, oregano, and thyme)
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or whole fennel seeds
When you’re ready to use it, brown 1 lb. (16 oz.) ground turkey in a large pan on stovetop. Add 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar and stir. Add spice mix and stir to combine.
Adapted from newleafwellness.
Cook’s notes: Adapted from several recipes to make a quick weeknight dinner. You could increase the vegetable content by adding baby spinach to the zucchini. Top with Feta cheese, if desired.
3 zucchinis, spiralized (or cut into thin strips)
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can (6 ounces) light tuna, packed in oil
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 large lemon (zest and juice [3 Tablespoons])
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Heat a large skillet over a medium-high burner. Gently cook the zucchini noodles until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked zucchini, tuna, chickpeas, parsley, lemon juice and zest, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days.