Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lazy Day Recipes - Banana Bread and Roasted Veggie Soup

Of course my kids beg me to buy them bananas because they love them so much but what ends up happening?  They don't get eaten and I'm left with brown over-riped bananas - so what to do with them??  Make banana bread of course! 

Since it's raining outside (and I hate running errands when it's raining), I decided to stay in today and make some banana bread.  So I started getting all of my ingredients together, and I realized that I had no butter!!  I swear that I had a couple of pounds in the freezer but I couldn't seem to find them.  But I needed to use up those bananas so I decided to alter my recipe to adjust for the lack of butter by using some 2% greek vanilla yogurt.  I also wanted to experiment with almond meal in lieu of some of the flour so we'll see how this substitution pans out.  I used my usual Banana Bread recipe but instead of the butter, I added an extra egg and 6 oz. low fat greek vanilla yogurt.  For the flour amounts - I used 1/2 cup each AP flour, whole wheat flour and almond meal (purchased from Trader Joes).  I used 3/4 cup each Splenda baking sugar and Organic Cane Sugar (also purchased from Trader Joes).  I also added about 3/4 cup shredded coconut since I happened to have a small amount left in the pantry and I wanted to use it up. The end result - a moist and delicious bread/cake.  The top got a tad bit browner and crunchy but that's likely due to the sugar mixture.  This came out awesome - I might have to use this recipe more often!

While I was searching through my refrigerator for butter for my banana bread, I saw that I had a ton of carrots, some parsnips and other veggies that needed to be used up soon.  Again, since the weather is so cold, wet and dreary, and the oven was already on, I decided to make a Roasted Vegetable Soup.   You can use the ingredients that I used but I think this is a great and versatile recipe since you can adapt the recipe to suit whatever produce you have in your fridge that needs to be used up.  The recipe I used is as follows:

"Kitchen Sink" Roasted Vegetable Soup - use whatever veggies or ingredients you have on hand

2 lbs Carrots, peeled and chopped in chunks
1 lb Parsnips
1 large Yellow Onion, roughly chopped
6-8 Garlic Cloves, peeled and left whole
2 Tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 Jalapeno, remove seeds/veins and roughly chop
1 large Zucchini, roughly chop
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
5 cups Water or Vegetable Stock, or more if needed
4 T Balsamic Vinegar

Place all the chopped veggies onto a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly to coat all the veggies.  Place in 400 F oven, stir after 30 minutes.   Roast another 30 minutes.

Place roasted veggies in large stock pot, add 4 cups of water/stock and puree with hand blender, adding 1/2 cup water/stock at a time until you get the consistency you desire.  Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Warm soup, top with goat cheese or whatever you prefer, and serve with toasted bread or croutons. 

You can also puree the soup in a blender if you don't have a hand blender.  This is a great, delicious and easy recipe to use up whatever veggies you have left in your fridge.  You can also freeze any leftover soup for a quick, nutritious and easy dinner on a cold day.  Enjoy...