Mei making dumplings


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Irene making dumplings
5 Ways To Use Up Overripe Brown (or even Black) Bananas

5 Ways To Use Up Overripe Brown (or even Black) Bananas

brown banana bread

I have a toddler who is basically a banana-consuming machine, so there's always a bunch sitting on our counter. Unfortunately, even with her ravenous banana consumption, it's hard to always eat them all before they start to soften (and I still push her to eat brown bananas too - they are totally safe to eat). Luckily there are a whole bunch of dishes you can make with brown and even nearly black bananas, so you'll never waste another banana again! 

1) Banana Bread 

Banana bread is the go-to recipe for overripe bananas as they actually add a lot more flavor and are easier to cook with than firm greener bananas. If you ever have 3 or more bananas, try making Smitten Kitchen's Crackly Banana Bread , made crunchy and fun with the addition of uncooked millet (I used quinoa instead and it worked perfectly). She's got another banana bread recipe with bourbon too, which is an excellent alternative. 

brown bananas

2) Banana Pancakes

My sister-in-law Melanie told me about this super easy 'pancake' recipe as great toddler food - it's just bananas and eggs. Turns out it's also a great gluten-free AND dairy-free pancake alternative, which can easily be customized with a scoop of ground flax or chocolate chips or whatever else you like. The Kitchn has a good overview here - we make them at least once a week in our house. They're super easy, doable on a weekday morning, and have both protein and fruit so they're a toddler win in my book. 

3) Frozen Bananas for Smoothies

Have you tried the Smoothie Bag idea yet? I've got a large bag in the freezer where I stash fruit for future smoothies. Any time it looks like I won't get to something in time, or it's starting to look a little worse for the wear - wrinkled blueberries, soft peaches, brown bananas - I pop them in the Smoothie Bag and then they're ready to be blended up whenever I'm ready for a cold sweet treat. If you have kids, this can be a great way to incorporate the veggies you're always trying to get them to eat - my daughter likes peas, corn and cauliflower in her smoothies too. Make sure to peel the bananas before you put them in the bag, and maybe break them up into a few pieces too. Getting peels off a frozen banana = not fun. 

4) One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream!

Also from The Kitchen - banana ice cream! If you've got frozen bananas in your Smoothie Bag, you can whizz them up in the blender to a shockingly ice-cream-like texture with no ice cream machine. It's kind of miraculous. 

5) Our house favorite dessert - Banoffee Pie! 

My Scottish husband Leo grew up on the magical concoction that is Banoffee Pie (banana + toffee = banoffee), but it's barely known in the States. Which is a shame, because it is basically the easiest and greatest dessert of all time. Any time we want to bring a dessert to an event, I make Leo prepare the Banoffee Pie. Given that he has never baked anything in his life, that should help you understand how wonderfully simple this dessert is to prepare. 

Here's what you need:

  • 3 large bananas - firm or ripe or slightly overripe is fine. Ideally, I like them firmer for a bit of texture, but you can definitely use up browned bananas here
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust - we usually use storebought ones, but occasionally I will get ambitious enough to make my own
  • 1 13.4 oz/380g can of dulce de leche - we find this rich caramelly spread in the supermarket all the time now, sometimes in the baking section near condensed milk or in the International section
  • Whipped cream - I usually whip up an 8 ounce container of heavy cream with a pinch of salt, but feel free to go with the squirty variety here.  

Then you just assemble your ingredients! Spread the dulce de leche over the whole pie crust to make a caramel layer. Slice your bananas into thick coins and place them close together all over the dulce de leche to make a banana layer. Then dollop or squirt your whipped cream on top to cover all the banana. All done - you've got a banoffee pie! 


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