Blueberry Banana Muffins

blueberry-banana-muffinsI’ve been into breakfast baking these days, and with the holidays coming up, isn’t it nice to have freshly baked muffins for your guests? With all the heavy meals this time of year, it’s also nice that these Blueberry Banana Muffins are lighter than their coffee shop counterparts and packed with fresh fruit. These muffins have about a third of the fat than the blueberry muffins found at Dunkin and about half of those at Starbucks, so you can feel pretty good about making them. They are also pretty delicious.

 

blueberry-banana-muffins-2Ingredients (makes 6 large muffins or 12 cupcake sized muffins):
3 over-ripe bananas
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten or 3 tbsp. egg whites
200 grams all-purpose flour (approximately 1½ cups)
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tbsp. decorating or sanding sugar (optional)

blueberry-banana-muffins-3Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with wrappers. In a large bowl, mash over-ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir in melted butter, baking soda, salt, sugar, vanilla and beaten egg (or egg whites) until well combined. Fold in flour and blueberries with a stiff spatula and spoon into muffin tin. Sprinkle tops with decorating sugar, if using. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Enjoy!

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

cheesy-cauliflower-gratin-1Move over macaroni, there is a new cheesy side dish in town. This cheesy, decadent side is lighter on carbs, but I guarantee you won’t miss them. Cauliflower always makes its way onto my dining room table for the holidays, whether steamed, roasted or baked, and this would be a perfect side for Thanksgiving. This recipe makes a large batch, enough for a family gathering, but could easily be halved for a weeknight meal.

 

 

cheesy-cauliflower-gratin-2Ingredients (Serves 6-8):
2 heads cauliflower (approx. 2lb), cut into small bite sized florets
4 oz. Colby, Monterrey jack or a Colby-jack blend, cut into cubes
4 oz. cheddar, cut into cubes
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
⅛ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

For the crumb topping:
1 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. breadcrumbs

cheesy-cauliflower-gratin-3To make the crumb topping: Melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium low, then add breadcrumbs. Stir until just starting to turn golden brown. Turn off heat and set aside.

Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces and place in a large baking dish. Make sure they are cut small enough to allow an even coating of cheese sauce.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium saucepan, melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter on low, add flour, stir for 2-3 minutes while bubbling but not brown. Add milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and half of the cheese. Stir for 2-3 minutes until starting to melt, then add remaining cheese. Continue stirring until cheese is melted, being careful not to let the milk boil. Once melted, pour over cauliflower, coating evenly. Let sit 5 minutes (this will let the cheese sauce firm up slightly so the crumbs sit on top rather than sink into the cheese sauce). Add crumb topping and bake for 35-45 minutes until cheese is bubbling and cauliflower is cooked. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

cheesy-garlic-breadsticksThere is something about freshly baked bread that makes every meal better. It makes a light salad more substantial, and every soup, stew and gravy needs a fresh piece of bread for sweeping off the plate. Add garlic + cheese and we’ve covered all my favorite groups. Who doesn’t love cheesy breadsticks?

 

 

cheesy-garlic-breadsticks-2

 

Ingredients (makes 8 breadsticks):
8 oz. pizza dough (see recipe)
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
¼ tsp. Italian seasoning
Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

cheesy-garlic-breadsticks-3Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pizza dough into an approx. 8×8 inch square. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl for 15 second increments until fully melted. Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Brush melted butter mixture on dough and top with shredded cheese. Bake on a pizza stone or cookie sheet for 12 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Brush with any remaining butter, sprinkle with sea salt and cut into 8 breadsticks. Enjoy!