Roasted Banana Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

 Banana Bars4

 

Does anyone else out there freeze bananas?  The reason I ask is because I sometimes have a hard time “timing” bananas right, and I’m finding that freezing bananas is a pretty awesome thing.

I like to hit the grocery store right after work on Fridays-it’s not too busy, the aisles aren’t packed, and I can get in and out in a decent amount of time.  (Compare that to the time I decided to just go on a Saturday morning-twice the amount of time, a severe lack of parking in the garage, and a loss of great baking/cooking time.)  This is because I tend to do all my baking and cooking for this blog on the weekends since I work full time during the weekdays.  Which means a lengthy list, a meal plan in place, and a full 48 hours of pacing myself in the kitchen.

So I try to buy a bunch of the greenest bananas in the section to last for the next work week. (They are my favorite go-to work snack since they are portable, don’t require a pre-eating wash, and make me full for the busy mornings.)  But, inevitably, I’ll occasionally end up with some pretty ripe bananas which I would definitely crush somehow in my work bag (wiping banana off my Ipad cover is not very fun).  So I’ve been freezing them when they get like this for future use in a bread or cookies..or bars, like these.  I’ll just let them thaw and bake away.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I’m not throwing them away.   And then I always have an excuse to make something like these bars..oh, and an excuse to make some browned butter frosting.

 

Banana Bars3

Roasted Banana Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

Servings: about 24 bars (depends on how you cut them)

Ingredients

 
 For the bars:
2 cups sliced ripe banana (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 and 1/4 cups flour (the original recipe calls for cake flour; I used all-purpose flour because that’s what I had on hand)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
For the frosting:
1/4 cup  (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup  reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Banana Bars1

 

 

Instructions

1. For the bars:  preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.   In an 8-inch square baking dish, combine the bananas, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter. Bake for 35 minutes, stirring about halfway through. Cool slightly.

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour,  baking soda, and baking powder.

5. In a separate medium bowl, combine the banana mixture, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, stirring until combined.

6. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together  1/2 cup of the butter and granulated sugar  on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

7. Add the eggs to butter/sugar mixture; mixing well.

8. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture alternating with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

9. Spray a 13 x 9–inch baking pan  with cooking spray and evenly pour the batter into the pan.

10. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

11. For the frosting: melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

12. In a medium bowl (using an electric hand mixer) or in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat in medium speed until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled bars. Sprinkle with pecans.

 

Source: Directly from Cooking Light, as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

February 25, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Katrina @ WVS - I am the biggest banana freezer ever!! This is totally the recipe to use them up with!

February 25, 2014 - 6:51 pm

Joanne - Yes! Freezing bananas is the best. I only like to eat them when they’re just past green, so I end up freezing a ton of them. Can’t wait to use some of them up in these bars. That browned butter frosting is genius!

February 28, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Kaitie - This looks so good! I have a questions about the frozen bananas though- whenever I freeze bananas and then thaw them later, they come out pretty mushy and liquidy. Is this okay for the roasting step? I figure I’ll just peel them and let the banana mush slide out into the pan…

February 28, 2014 - 11:32 pm

srlacy - Hi Kaitie-
They should still be ok. They will be really mushy after roasting anyways.

March 3, 2014 - 5:42 am

Helen @ Scrummy Lane - Hello! Fabulous idea to freeze ripe bananas. I knew this, but had forgotten all about this little gem of a trick. So thanks for the reminder and the bars look fabulous, too! I just made a similar frosting with cream cheese for a banana loaf I made yesterday (all ready to ice very soon!)and added some white chocolate. It’s my first attempt at a frosting so I hope it’s OK!

March 3, 2014 - 6:12 am

Elizabeth - Hi Shannon,

Great blog you have here. I was pretty excited to “stumble” across it.
Unfortunately, I cant seem to find the subscribe button. Is it just me or is it hiding somewhere?

Ever your fan,
Elizabeth

March 3, 2014 - 4:22 pm

srlacy - Hi Elizabeth-

I don’t have a subscribe function via email for the blog, but I usually update twice a week. If you use social media, you can also find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Feedly.

Broken Yolk Sandwiches with Garlicky Kale

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Sometimes you just have to dive, face-first, into some real comfort food.

Some people find solace in a giant bowl of ice cream or a huge dish of creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese.  Others like anything with chocolate in it while some prefer some home-cooked mashed potatoes.  Yes, I love all of these things and pretty much find an excuse to eat them any time I can.

But, sometimes a nice cheesy, drippy, runny egg sandwich is just something that makes me feel better.  Maybe it’s because I have fond memories of my dad making egg sandwiches all the time as a kid or maybe because when I was doing my emergency medicine rotation in medical school, I would sometimes zip through a Starbuck’s drive-thru for an after-overnight shift comfort food run after a particularly grueling shift (not such warm fuzzy memories of the rotation itself…..)..which somehow made me feel a bit better (also it helped me sleep during the day).

Regardless, a few years back in the early days of this blog, I made this version of a Broken Yolk Sandwich.  Since times have changed a bit and my need for comfort food has seemingly increased exponentially, I decided to come up with another version which would incorporate a bit more nutrition in the way of healthy greens.   Be creative here.  I love sourdough bread when it comes to breakfast sandwiches, but use whatever kind of bread you like here.  Also, feel free to throw in some mushrooms or onions to the greens to make this more veggie-friendly.

Bring on the comfort food.

 

 

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Broken Yolk Sandwiches with Garlicky Kale

Servings: 2 sandwiches

 

Ingredients

For the greens:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 head lacinato kale, leaves torn and stems discarded

1 garlic clove, minced

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sandwiches:

Sourdough bread, sliced and toasted

2 eggs, prepared the way of your choosing.  I prefer mine fried, over easy. (Gotta have that drippy yolk!)

Cheese, type of your choice

 

Instructions

1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil until shimmering.

2. Add the kale and cook, stirring frequently, until the kale has softened, about 4-5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Assemble the sandwiches as desired.

 

Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

 

February 20, 2014 - 8:08 am

Christina - I am crazy for broken yoke anything lately. I’ve even created an amazing rice and bean dish made with farro instead of beans and topped with eggs ready and waiting for their yokes to be broken. I agree, it’s comfort food all the way. I can’t wait to try your sandwich!

February 20, 2014 - 9:48 am

Joanne - I would only ever get egg sandwiches with my dad, so they definitely hold some serious nostalgia for me now! The runny yolk is definitely an added bonus! As are all those great greens.

February 20, 2014 - 12:21 pm

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - Um, yum!! I totally need to start pairing kale with dippy eggs..and on a sandwich? Even better!

February 20, 2014 - 7:40 pm

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Eggs are my comfort food too – had them for dinner tonight! Now I just need some kale and some sourdough and I’m off to the races!

February 23, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Christina @ but i'm hungry - Now THIS is my idea of a breakfast sandwich! I’m a sucker for a good runny-yolked egg… yummmmm.

March 24, 2014 - 1:31 pm

Monday Munchies: Breakfast! | Captivated by Cooking - [...] And these broken yolk sandwiches with garlicky kale, especially now that I know I love [...]

April 15, 2014 - 12:07 pm

Fun Combos I’m loving | Captivated by Cooking - [...] I discussed breakfast foods recently I mentioned a few breakfasts I wanted to try, including these broken yolk sandwiches with garlicky kale. Well I tried them, and they are WONDERFUL! I made some modifications that really make my tastebuds [...]

Minestrone Soup

 Minestrone4

 

There’s something incredibly satisfying about using up a whole bunch of random ingredients at one time….and actually having a bit of a culinary success with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a LOT of kitchen fails (especially lately, it seems), but one weekend, I was bound and determined to just get rid of a bunch of random pantry things and a whole bunch of produce that I had over-bought…once again.

I woke up relatively early (thanks to Scout who now does this thing where she stands right next to my bed and stares at me…without blinking…until I wake up and realize she has to go out.  It’s actually kind of cute, and I would much rather her wake me up to make me take her out than deciding to take matters into her own “paws”.)  After that, I felt a little jolt of inspiration to get into the kitchen and just “go.”  Turn my music on, drink some tea, and play around.   And chop some vegetables.  (There’s something extremely cathartic about chopping vegetables…if I’m in the mood for it.)

So…a minestrone soup was born.  With a few cans of random beans, a half-opened bag of whole wheat orzo, and some celery/carrots that were still good in the crisper…from God knows when I bought them.  I played around here with the ingredients, and since this is kind of a hodge podge recipe, you can take creative liberty here as well.  Use (or omit) your favorite kind of pasta.  For a vegan soup, don’t put in the Parmesan rinds (which I am absolutely loving having on hand-I’ve been freezing them since I seem to go through Parmesan like water-it adds so much additional flavor.)  And of course, you can add in whatever kinds of vegetables you like.  Serve with some warm, crusty bread…and you are good to go.

 

 Minestrone1

 

Minestrone Soup

Servings: about 6-8

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

One 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (keep the juices!)

1 bay leaf

One 2-inch Parmesan rind (optional, but highly recommended)

4 cups vegetable broth

One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 head kale, torn into pieces, stems discarded (I used lacinato kale here.)

1 cup cooked whole wheat orzo (or whatever kind of pasta you like)

 

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Instructions

1. In a large saucepot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.

2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5-6 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the diced tomatoes (and their juices), bay leaf, Parmesan rind, vegetable broth, and both types of beans.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.  You can go ahead and cook your orzo in a separate pot at this point if you would like.

5.  Add the kale leaves and cooked pasta, stirring to thoroughly combine, and let cook for an additional 10-15 minutes (until the kale leaves have softened).  Enjoy.

 

Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

February 18, 2014 - 9:24 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I love soup with a whole wack of ingredients too! Especially minestrone! Loving this :)

February 18, 2014 - 9:42 am

Joanne - A bowl full of minestrone is the kind of thing that just makes my heart happy! Partly because it is SO GOOD FOR YOU. But also because comfort food = love.

February 18, 2014 - 12:12 pm

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - Yum!! You had better believe that this is my kind of soup! I cannot wait to give it a try :) .

February 18, 2014 - 1:58 pm

Eileen - This minestrone sounds wonderful! Definitely super warming and delicious on a cold day. I especially love the idea of stuffing in all the kale in the house. :)

February 18, 2014 - 2:50 pm

Maria Tadic - My dog does the same thing!!! Except he puts his nose to my face and just keeps it pressed into my cheek… crazy animals! But loveable. As is this soup!!!

February 18, 2014 - 11:42 pm

Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody) - Minestrone is the soup of the gods! I’m a firm believer that a good minestrone soup can convert even the most wilful soup-haters.

April 11, 2014 - 6:02 am

Friday Foodie Favorites: April 11, 2014 - [...] easy peasy to make and result in me having a TON of leftovers.  I made Shanon’s recipe for Minestrone Soup a couple of weeks ago and instantly fell in love.  While I pretty much love any recipe that [...]