This blog gets less and less like a “green” blog and more like a “recipes for potentially really unhealthy foodstuffs that actually aren’t so bad if you make them yourself” blog with every day that goes by, doesn’t it?
On the other hand, it keeps us away from weird chemical processed things, so that’s not so bad. In fact, this pudding recipe–what’s to avoid? It’s good stuff, right?
In our house bananas are always going overripe before they are eaten, and at a certain point in the summer you just don’t want to turn the oven on for more banana bread, you know? So here’s a delicious couple of alternatives…these are also a good way to avoid adding much sugar, since cooking bananas really heightens the sweetness.
Easy Bananas Foster (base recipe–half or double as needed)
- In a large skillet on medium high, melt 1-2 tbs. butter, 1-2 tbs brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Stir till melted and bubbly.
- If desired, toss in a splash of brandy or rum and stir. I always do, because it adds to the flavor and enables me to stay on the lower side with the butter. (I never bother to flame it–who needs the added terror?)
- Add 2-3 cut up bananas (or 4, I guess–go wild, you know?). If the bananas themselves are the main event, cut them in big diagonals; if you are making pudding or ice cream, go for thinner slices or even quartered slices.
- Stir into brown sugar syrup for maybe 30 seconds till the bananas themselves start to disintegrate a little. Dribble in a few drops of vanilla extract and stir; remove from heat.
Ridiculously easy, right? This takes, and I’m not kidding, maybe 2-3 minutes. We do this over ice cream, folded into crepes, folded into crepes with ice cream, and now added to pudding or ice cream. (In full disclosure, when the Pioneer Woman makes this, she uses a whole stick of butter and a whole cup of brown sugar to 2 bananas, so naturally if you want additional syrup knock yourself out. I prefer to exercise a little more restraint.) So: the variations:
Bananas Foster Ice Cream/Popsicles
Use a little additional brown sugar and vanilla in the original recipe (but probably not much, since the cooked bananas impart a lot of sweetness!). After bananas are made, stir into 2 cups milk or half and half, depending on how decadent you want to be. Pour into popsicle molds or ice cream maker, and, you know, do what you do.
Bananas Foster Pudding
For this, I started with a base vanilla pudding recipe and simply combined it with the Bananas Foster:
- In a large saucepan, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar (you might be able to adjust this down) and 3 tbs cornstarch and stir.
- Add 2 cups milk; heat slowly over low/medium heat until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved; raise heat to medium. (If you feel daring, you could make the Bananas Foster right about now, or you could make it before or after the pudding. Just be aware that timing is sometimes an issue…)
- Continue heating and stirring (make sure you get the bottom edges of the pan) until small bubbles form at the edges of the liquid and it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and remove from heat.
- If you have not already made the bananas, do so now. Add bananas mixture to the vanilla pudding mixture. Pour into 1 large or 6 small bowls; cover and chill.
Again, green? Maybe not really. But these desserts are all full of whole and barely processed ingredients, and when you think about it, they really don’t have much that’s bad in them beyond a little refined sugar and a pat of butter. I’ve made this with 1% milk, and it tastes perfectly decadent.
Let me know if you try this, and how it works for you!
A couple of weeks ago, a friend posted a recipe for banana-cake-in-a-mug. I have a recipe for chocolate cake in a mug that I’ve made from time to time, which is quite good, but until I went searching I didn’t realize how many different things you can make with a single mug, in the microwave.
I’m gradually working my way down this list, and I’ll come back and update as I go. In the meantime, here’s a pretty good list to start from.
Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug–I sort of made this today, only I used leftover cooked pasta rather than cooking it first. It’s actually not bad–the cheese doesn’t melt gently into a lovely bechamel sauce like one would prefer, and it stays a little stretchy, but it tastes yummy and comfort-food-y.
Coffee Cup Quiche–This seems like a sort of no-brainer, actually; we do scrambled egg in a ramekin all the time, why not add a few extra ingredients and put it in a mug? (Obviously, no crust here, but one does what one can.)
Chilaquiles in a Mug–Quiche but with Mexican seasonings and a little tortilla chip crust and crunch. I actually like chilaquiles a lot, so I’m delighted to have found an easy way to make them for myself, since my family isn’t into it.
Meatloaf in a mug–I’m only really linking for the concept, and I’ll post my version if I ever really make it. Off the top of my head, I’d leave out the onion soup mix and add some actual chopped up onion, carrots, and celery, with garlic and herbs. I’d swap barbecue sauce for the ketchup. But I like the quick oats idea instead of bread crumbs…
And now, on to the desserts, which we all know is what we’re really interested in:
Chocolate Cake in a Mug–the Classic, easy and fast and fairly not-too-bad-for-you, if you leave out the chocolate chips and go easy on the sugar. I use organic yogurt and white whole wheat flour too.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake in a Mug—This one will go on the list early…as soon as I get some peanut butter. Looks amazing.
Nutella Mug Cake–I don’t really buy Nutella any more, due to the whole unsustainable palm oil thing, but if I did I’d be all over this.
Banana Cake in a Mug–Looks nice, and easy, and sort of foolproof. I might consider substituting a tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder for 1 tbs of the flour…and maybe leaving out some of the sugar since banana is usually plenty sweet.
Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake–This looks like a basic cake recipe but with cinnamon and applesauce instead of other spices and fruits; seems a little unremarkable, but who knows?
Cheesecake in a Mug–Minute microwave cheesecake; I’m not sure about this one, since you have to stir and cook as you go, so it can’t possibly have the same consistency as regular cheesecake. I tried it, but with an extra (and I think deal-breaking) wrinkle in the mix: I substituted greek yogurt and cornstarch for the cream cheese per this “normal” cheesecake recipe. Didn’t quite do it in the microwave; got all curdly and lumpy. Anyone tried this for real?
Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug–what’s to say? There’s nothing not to like about this…nothing all that remarkable, either, it’s chocolate chip dough but in a mug.
Brownie in a Mug–Ditto above
Cup of Coffee Cake–Intriguing. Looks like more work than it’s worth, but could be good. I just can’t see myself making this, when I could be making the next one down the list…
Mason Jar Berry Cobbler--this one makes a larger portion, or it can be divided into two mugs. (Or, I guess, halved, right?)
Anything I missed from this list? Any more awesome 1-mug microwave wonders out there?
[UPDATE: I decided I wanted a chocolate pudding recipe I could make in a mug too, and made up my own recipe based on another microwave recipe. It’s good! You mix 1-2 tbs white sugar depending on your sweet tooth, 1 1/2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 1/4 tsp cornstarch, and a little salt in a mug. Stir in half a cup of milk slowly till there are no lumps, add 1/2 tsp vanilla, and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring each time till it comes out sort of dark and shiny. Refrigerate till puddingy. If you’re me, you’d also cut up half a banana and a tsp. or so peanut butter and stir it in before chilling. REALLY good…]
A few weeks ago on The Green Phone Booth I posted a “cookbook roundup” of some of my favorite cookbooks. One of them, The New Basics, is where I got the basic template for the absolutely delicious rice pudding I made the other night. No joke, this is probably the best rice pudding I’ve ever had.
The recipe in that cookbook is for Hazelnut Rice Pudding. It calls for chopped toasted hazelnuts, currants soaked in Frangelico liqueur, Arborio rice, milk, and sugar. I’ve honestly never actually made that exact recipe, because I almost never make any exact recipe–but doesn’t it sound amazing? Still, a couple of afternoons ago I just wanted rice pudding…plain old happy comfort food.
So here’s how the basic recipe worked; it takes a long time and needs a little babysitting but not a lot of actual attention or work:
Risotto Rice Pudding
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oiled casserole dish, place the following:
- 4 cups milk
- 5 tbs sugar
- 1/2 cup arborio rice (risotto short-grain rice)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbs. brandy (optional; other liqueur would work)
- 1/2 cup raisins soaked in brandy for a couple of hours to overnight (soaking optional; alternate dried fruits could be very nice)
Bake uncovered in oven for about 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so. (If you forget it’ll make one of those ucky skins on top after 25-ish minutes. If so, no big deal; just skim it off and continue.) After 2 hours the rice should be very mushy and what liquid is left will be thick and creamy. Remove from oven and stir in raisins. Let cool; pudding will thicken even more upon standing.
That’s IT. So easy, so yummy. And I took a few baking potatoes, scrubbed and pierced them, and put them in the oven with the pudding for the last 90 minutes or so of baking. So one oven heating served multiple purposes.