9 Ways to Use Over Ripe Bananas

banana-ripe.ss-web-600x400.jpg

FFood waste is an important topic that’s near and dear to our hearts. This year, was all about striving to build a better, healthier lifestyle and a more efficient kitchen, which includes reducing how much of our purchased food gets tossed into the trash or compost. As we are living in the time of COVID-19, we should be even more concious about our food choices as well.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits consumed by people around the world and they are often lingering around the kitchen. It’s not uncommon to end up with no less than three overly ripe bananas sitting on the counter at the end of each week. Here are some tips on how to freeze your leftover fruit you might face if you don’t have time to cook/bake with it:

  • Toss bananas into the freezer, peel and all, and reserve for another day. These are perfect for baking with later.

  • Slice bananas into 1”-thick pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then transfer to a ziptop baggie and store in the freezer. Use in smoothies as needed.

  • Mash 2-3 bananas (or however many your favorite banana bread recipe calls for) and place them in a ziptop baggie. Store packets in the freezer and make sure they’re labeled. Keep until you have time to make banana bread.

sliced-banana-300x236.png

Here are some other interesting ways to make the most of your leftover bananas:

jeff-siepman-MssPSnkV1yM-unsplash-600x900.jpg

Banana Quick Bread and Muffins: The darker and uglier the banana, the more flavourful the muffin you’ll end up making. Perfect for tucking into the lunchbox or serving to friends with a cup of coffee, our foolproof recipe for perfect banana bread is one you won’t want to miss.

banana-berry-breakfast-smoothie-600x400.jpg

Banana Smoothies: When bananas are just too ripe and mushy for to consume on their own, add them to smoothies instead. They’re full of flavor and bring a coveted, creamy component to your favourite blended drinks. Our Banana Berry Breakfast Smoothie is a great recipe to try!

banana-oatmeal-4-600x471.png

Banana Oatmeal: Add a large dollop of mashed bananas to your morning oatmeal, stirring it into the cereal before serving.

Canva-Pancakes-and-Ripe-Banana-600x400.jpg

Banana Pancakes: Mash 1 to 2 bananas and add them to your favorite pancake recipe – no ingredient alterations required.

banana-ice-cream-600x471.png

Banana Nice Cream: Freeze banana slices until you have a decent amount (1/3 of a blender full), then blend them to create the best vegan ice cream you’ll ever make.

DIY-Avocado-Face-Masks-9946-1080x864-1-600x480.jpg

Banana Beauty: You might be surprised to learn that overripe bananas can also find their way into your beauty regime, but that’s exactly what happened when we created our DIY avocado face masks. For oily skin, combine ripe banana, avocado and egg yolk to make a soothing all-natural skin brightener.

Banana Foster: Another great recipe for bananas that are perhaps a little too ripe for your taste to eat on their own is Banana Foster. This comes together easily with common kitchen ingredients and is super delicious! Serve with vanilla ice cream or on top of a simple vanilla or gingerbread cake.

frozen-banana-pops-600x471.png

Banana Pops: This a great DIY project for you and the kids while every one is on lock down. Peel and cut bananas in half. Insert popsicle sticks and cover in plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Then remove from the freezer and dip into melted chocolate adding sprinkles, chopped nuts or dried coconut to suit your taste. Enjoy!


Chickpea Quesadillas

IMG_0202 quesidillas.jpg

It’s “Taco Tuesday” and you will not be disappointed with this veggie-friendly quesadilla. Neatly stuff a mess of cumin seasoned smashed chickpeas into a flour tortilla and sprinkle with a mix of cheese and scallions, and you will have so much gooey goodness made with you, the health conscious and family budget friendly and absolute foodie, in mind.

Enjoy!

MAKES 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large (9- to 10-inch) flour tortillas

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

2 cups cojita cheese, crumbled

1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese

3 medium scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced

For Serving:

Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, Mexican hot sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Add half of the chickpeas to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until broken down but not puréed. (Alternatively, place in a large bowl and mash with a fork.) Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan (at least 10 inches) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, stir to coat with the oil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the whole and mashed chickpeas, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl combine the cheeses and set aside.

To assemble the quesadillas: Place the tortillas on a work surface. Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup of cheese. Divide the chickpea mixture among the tortillas, spreading into an even layer but leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top of the chickpeas, then top each with scallions. To fold the quesadillas, fold the top of the tortilla down over the filling to the center. Holding that piece down and working clockwise, continue folding the rest of the tortilla towards the middle until the filling is completely covered (you will have about 5 folds). Carefully flip the quesadilla over and repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Add the quesadillas (as many as will fit in a single layer), folded-side down. Cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Repeat as needed until all the quesadillas are cooked.

Reheating: If not serving immediately, let cool completely and wrap each quesadilla tightly in aluminum foil. Refrigerate or freeze in resealable plastic bags. Reheat uncovered in a 325°F regular or toaster oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes if refrigerated, or about 25 minutes if frozen. Microwaving is not recommended, as the quesadillas will be soggy.

COOK’S NOTES:

Storage: The foil-wrapped quesadillas can be stored in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Marcella Hazan’s Famous Tomato Sauce

IMG_0165.JPG

When it comes to essentials, like tomato sauce, originality is overrated. Marcella Hazan’s classic tomato sauce is famous and adored, and justly so. Scads of bloggers and food writers have written about it, so I’m just following along, here in The Quarantined Kitchen Diaries. This is one of the best sauces I know, and you only need four (yes, four) ingredients.

But first of all, I know what you are thinking. Who was Marcella Hazan? Right?

Marcella Hazan (née Polini; April 15, 1924 – September 29, 2013) was an Italian-born cooking writer whose books were published in English. Her cookbooks are credited with introducing the public in the United States and Britain to the techniques of traditional Italian cooking. She was considered by chefs and fellow food writers to be the doyenne of Italian cuisine.

marcella_hazan.jpg

Marcella Hazan

 

Born in the town of Cesentaico in Emilia Romagana, she earned her doctoral degree in Natural Sciences and Biology from the University of Ferrara. In 1955 she married Victor Hazan and the couple moved to New York City a few months later. Hazan had never cooked before her marriage; she was an academic who did not have time to cook. As she recounted in the introduction to her 1997 book, Marcella Cucina,

“there I was, having to feed a young, hard-working husband who could deal cheerfully with most life’s ups and downs, but not with an indifferent meal. In Italy, I would not have wasted time thinking about it. My mother cooked, my father cooked, both my grandmothers cooked, even the farm girls who came in to clean could cook. In the kitchen of my New York apartment there was no one.”


She began using her husband’s cookbooks from Italy, but found them disappointing as she realized that her clear memory of the flavors she grew up with in Italy allowed her to reproduce her family’s recipes for herself. “Eventually, I learned that some of the methods I adopted were idiosyncratically my own,” she recalled, “but for most of them I found corroboration in the practices of traditional Italian cooks.”

Hazan began giving cooking lessons in her apartment and later opened her own cooking school in 1969. The cookbooks followed, concentrating strictly on simple Italian cookery, where food is prepared painstakingly by hand rather than machine and without American or British influences. To that end, her recipes called for ingredients typical of the Italian home and were designed to compliment the typical Italian meal that balanced two principal courses, followed by a salad and a dessert.

This classic sauce will show you once and for all that homemade tomato sauce can be so simple to make. You only need four ingredients, including a can of whole plum tomatoes, to be rewarded with a rich, velvety sauce that is blissfully delicious.

The idea behind this tomato sauce is simple: Simmer a can of tomatoes with an onion and five tablespoons of butter. Add a pinch of salt and pull out the onion at the end, and what you are left with is a bright, velvety tomato sauce with a rich roundness from the butter. The butter doesn’t cut the edges of the tomatoes’ tanginess in the way that sugar does; instead it complements the brightness and makes it shine.

This tomato sauce is also entirely hands-off; so you don’t even have mince or chop the onion. It’s a great way to knock a meal together with a few pantry staples. Serve it over pasta with a flurry of cheese, and enjoy tomato sauce with the flair of restaurant richness.

Buon appetito!

 

Tomato sauce.jpg

SERVES 2 to 4

INGREDIENTS:

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, no salt or herbs added

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small white onion, peeled and cut in half

Kosher salt

For Serving:

1 pound Cooked pasta

Shaved Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Add the tomatoes, butter, onion halves, and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring and crushing the tomatoes lightly with the back of a spoon occasionally, until droplets of fat appear on the surface of the tomatoes, about 45 minutes.

Remove and discard the onion.

Serve over hot pasta with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

IMG_0183 tomato saue.jpg

 

 

COOK’S NOTES:

Adapted in my own words from Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.”

Basically, you can use what you have on hand to make this sauce. I personally like the Cento brand of San Marzan canned tomato because the product does not contain calcium chloride as a preservative . Also, this variety seems the most balanced, while other cooks with taste more of the acidity in this brand. If you find that your sauce in this recipe is a bit too acidic, add a bit of sugar, to taste.

If you do not have any small white onions on hand, feel free to use red onions, yellow onion or vadalia onions. Looking in my pantry, I was short on small to medium onions and made do with the pearl onions I had on hand.

If desired, you can add cracked black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to add a bit of spice to your sauce.

But remember, for each substitution, you will change the flavor profile of the original recipe……and that is okay.

Remember, recipes are designed to be guides that allow for experimentation and improvisation in your kitchen, because every cook, whether they are professionals, advanced home cooks or novices just beginning will find what suits them to the best of their abilities.