So Easy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I look forward to blogging more again when September arrives! Our kids are still on summer vacation for another week, so life is bananas with school shopping and sports schedules.  Speaking of bananas…. 🙂

I found overripe bananas in the fruit basket today and decided to make my go-to recipe for banana muffins. Sooooo easy!

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ¾ cups flour

½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Mash bananas. Mix with sugar, egg and butter.  Add remaining ingredients and blend well. (I often add more chocolate chips.) Spoon mixture into paper muffin cups.  Bake for 20 minutes. 

Option: Eliminate chocolate chips; add nuts.

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

I’m always looking for new ways to get my kids to eat zucchini and this one is delicious, but not deep-fried!  This terrific recipe is courtesy of Food Network and Ellie Krieger.  See note below for a great tip about crisping vegetables.

Ingredients:

Cooking spray

2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I used seasoned)

1/8 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper as desired.  Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp.  25-30 minutes (depends on the size of your zucchini, so watch the oven).

Note: I always let raw veggies sit on paper towels to release water before attempting to crisp them, but I’ve never salted raw veggiesOne of the reviewers of this recipe suggested salting the raw zucchini rounds on paper towels and letting them sit to release water (thus allowing the vegetables to turn out “crispy” and not “soggy” after cooking).  I was shocked at the additional amount of water that drained out! What a wonderful tip for crisping veggies!

Easy, Delicious Cracker Bark!

ToffeeBarkMy family never tires of good, old-fashioned cracker bark! This recipe is easy and is always a hit at summer picnics!

Ingredients:

1 sleeve or Saltine crackers – Club crackers may be used

1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts – Heath toffee chips may be substituted for the walnuts

Kosher salt (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Place crackers on the sheet in a single layer.  Break up the crackers where necessary to fit the size cookie sheet you are using.  In a saucepan, melt the butter, mixing in the brown sugar.  Add baking soda and stir.

Pour the mixture over crackers and spread evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crackers.  Place cookie sheet back into the oven for a few minutes to soften the chocolate chips.  Remove from the oven and spread the melted chocolate chips evenly over the crackers.  Sprinkle the walnuts over the warm chocolate.  If desired, sprinkle a small amount of Kosher salt over the chocolate. 

Place in the refrigerator to set the cracker bark.  I have placed it in the freezer as well to speed up the firming process.  When cooled, break or cut the bark into pieces and place on a platter.  Cracker Bark

Tummy Tuesday! Phyllo Mushroom Bites

MushroomFolding-it-up(Since the Easy Chicken Wing Dip came out a day early, let’s enjoy two recipes this week!)

Ingredients:

8 oz. softened garlic-flavored cream cheese

10 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 T. chopped fresh or dried chives

2 t. hot sauce

1 t. salt

1 t. pepper

1 roll of Phyllo Pastry Sheets (store brands work fine)

1 stick of melted butter

Flour for counter

1 egg for wash

Parchment paper for lining the pan

Directions:

Mix cream cheese until smooth. Stir in mushrooms, onion, chives, hot sauce, salt, pepper and Parmesan.  Cover bowl, allowing the ingredients to combine for an hour in the fridge or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Beat egg in a small bowl.

Wait to open the phyllo sheets until your butter is melted and you are ready to begin brushing the sheets.  Remember that phyllo dries out fast, making it very difficult to work with if you don’t move quickly.

Sprinkle flour onto counter.  Unroll your phyllo.  Cut the pile of sheets in half.  Wrap the unused sheets in plastic wrap.

Pull first sheet off the pile.  Lay one sheet of phyllo on the floured surface.  Brush with melted butter.  Fold in half.  Brush dry side with melted butter. Fold one more time in half again, brushing the dry side with butter.  You should have a long, narrow rectangle in front of you.   Scoop 1 T. of the cream cheese mixture on one end of the buttered dough and spread toward the edge.

Begin folding the dough into a triangle shape.  Seal edges by dipping fingers in beaten egg and pinch closed.  Repeat steps for remaining filling and phyllo sheets.

Brush the tops of the mushroom bites with beaten egg.  Sprinkle with salt, if desired.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your bites (see tip below).

Tip If you’re trying to figure out how to make the “perfect triangle” and it’s not working, just cut and pinch the phyllo sheets into any shape you desire.  The baking time may change due to the size of the shapes, so keep an eye on the oven.  My family could care less about the shape, but the yummy taste is the same!