Never throw out a overly ripe banana. It makes for moist, flavorful cookies, muffins and breads.
Reader Bob Petersen takes overripe bananas, wraps them in wax paper and stores them in the freezer.
"When ready to use, put into mixing bowl and allow to thaw," Petersen said. "They will be black in color, probably; that's OK. There will be some juice; do not throw away but use in recipe."
That's good advice for not wasting any more bananas and also adding a little more moisture to baked goods.
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Lately, I am making whole wheat banana oatmeal muffins. These are easy, healthy and most of all taste good. My family and the participants in recent ministry class really like them. They are made with whole wheat flour, two overly ripe mashed bananas, quick cooking oats, vanilla and a little sugar, but agave or sugar substitutes could be used.
Reader Norma Shiero of Palmetto said she was tired of banana muffins and bread and wanted a good banana cookie recipe, so I won't share the muffin recipe today. I am sharing three banana cookie recipes that her fellow readers sent in. All contain oatmeal.
Shiero also wanted a zucchini cookie recipe, and Petersen has obliged with a good recipe.
Sending in banana cookie recipes are Brenda Skrmetta, Glenda Myers and Petersen.
Skrmetta's recipe is certainly an easy one.
2 ripe bananas
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
Mix all. Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
-- Submitted by Brenda Skrmetta
Myers' recipe is a more traditional cookie with flour, eggs, sugar and the like. She adds toasted pecans and allspice for more flavor.
BANANA PECAN COOKIES
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1- 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons allspice
4 tablespoons milk
1 cup mashed bananas
3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cups pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely.
Cream butter and sugar in large bowl, then beat in egg.
Gradually sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice into the creamed mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir in the milk and the mashed banana. Finally, add the oats and chopped pecans and mix well.
Drop 20 rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, making sure they are well spaced. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or till cookies are light brown. Transfer to wire rack and cool. Makes 20 cookies.
-- Submitted by Glenda Myers
Bob Peterson has shared banana and zucchini recipes "from my accumulation," he said. "Hope they help."
BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES
1- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2)
1-3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In a bowl, combine first 6 ingredients; beat in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg, bananas and oats; mix well. Stir in chips and nuts.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 4 dozen.
-- Submitted by Bob Petersen
ZUCCHINI NUT COOKIES
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cream together shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in egg. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; stir into creamed mixture. Mix in zucchini, raisins and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
-- Submitted by Bob Petersen
Cracker Barrel chicken
Shiero also asked for help finding a recipe similar to the grilled chicken served at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.
"Can anyone tell me how to fix the grilled chicken that Cracker Barrel has on its country plate?" she asked. It is sliced. Someone told me to use Italian dressing and honey, but it doesn't taste the same."
Petersen comes to the rescue again.
"Tell your friend looking for the Cracker Barrel recipe to add fresh lime juice, about a half to a whole lime, to the Italian dressing and honey mix; allow to marinate about an hour. That should fix the taste, I hope."
Shiero will have to give this suggestion a try and tell us how she likes it.
More low and slow
Nedra Baldwin of Biloxi, Miss., has a few more slow-cooker recipes for readers to try.
I love that all of Baldwin's recipes are so different. Today, she shares an Asian chicken, Swiss steak and a spicy picante chicken.
SLOW-COOKED ORIENTAL CHICKEN
1 broiler-fryer chicken (3- 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut up
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup slivered almonds
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the chicken in oil on both sides. Transfer to a slow cooker. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, garlic and ginger; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low; cook 4-5 hours longer or until meat juices run clear. Remove chicken to a serving platter; sprinkle with almonds. Spoon juices over chicken or thicken if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings.
-- Submitted by Nedra Baldwin from an old issue of Taste of Home magazine
SO EASY SWISS STEAK
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 pound beef top round steak, cut in half
1/2 medium onion, cut into slices
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add beef; seal bag and shake to coat. Place onion in 3-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Layer with beef, celery and tomato sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
-- Submitted by Nedra Baldwin, from "Taste of Home Everyday Slow Cooker and One-Dish Meals"
Andrea's note: I would use bell pepper instead of the celery because I don't like celery. Bell pepper will still give you that crunch.
2 cups mild picante sauce
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each cut in 2 or 3 pieces
Mix picante sauce and soup until well blended. Spread small amount in bottom of slow cooker. Arrange chicken pieces over sauce. Layer remaining chicken and sauce, ending with sauce to cover chicken. Cover; cook on low 7 to 10 hours until chicken is done. Makes 6 servings. Serve with rice, refriend beans and warm tortillas.
-- Submitted by Nedra Baldwin from a Current catalog
Lost a recipe?
If you have misplaced or lost a favorite recipe, readers and I would be happy to help find it for you. Just drop me a message via e-mail or a note via snail mail.
Andrea Yeager, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.