Best Creamy Banana Pudding

 

Best Creamy Banana Pudding

 

1 cup milk*

1 ripe banana, sliced

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 egg yolk

Pinch salt

¾ tsp vanilla

 

Place milk and banana slices in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Remove saucepan from heat, cover and allow milk and bananas  to steep for a minimum of 4 hours of or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Return milk mixture to the stove and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Drain through a wire mesh strainer into a heat-proof bowl. Discard banana slices.

Whisk sugar and cornstarch together in the saucepan, then whisk in the egg. Slowly add in milk, whisking constantly. Return to the stove and heat over medium-low heat until steaming, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

Turn heat up to medium and bring to simmer, stirring constantly.

Remove pan from heat, cover and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla and salt, then transfer pudding to individual bowls and cover tightly. Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator. The pudding will thicken as it cools.

Leftovers can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

*Evaporated can be substituted in this recipe

 

2 servings, 210 calories per serving

 

 

Quick and Easy Homemade Pancakes

 

Quick and Easy Homemade Pancakes
Quick and Easy Homemade Pancakes

Quick and Easy Homemade Pancakes

 

1 cup flour

2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp melted butter

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

 

Heat a large skillet or griddle on the stove over medium heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together vanilla, butter, milk and egg. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and whisk just until moistened. Do not over mix (a few lumps are fine).

Coat skillet with cooking spray and pour batter by ¼ cupfuls into the pan. Cook until the surface of the pancake has some bubbles that have just begun to pop (about 2 minutes). Flip pancake and cook until the other side is browned (1-2 minutes). Pancakes will quickly over brown so don’t leave them unattended!

Serve warm with syrup, jam, sugar or other desired toppings.

 

6 pancakes, 165 calories per pancake

Hack: Pancakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow to cool, lay on a baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes or until frozen. Transfer to freezer-safe bag or container and seal tightly. Reheat from frozen using oven, microwave or toaster.

 

 

What To Cook When You Don’t Have Time To Cook

What To Cook When You Don't Have Time To Cook
What To Cook When You Don’t Have Time To Cook

We’ve all been there.  Heck, some of us are there every single day.  You had to work late.  You have to be somewhere early.  Your son has football practice and your daughter has soccer.  You got a flat tire on the way home.  Whatever it is, it’s left you with no time but guess what?  You still have to eat.

It’s tempting to just hit the drive-thru or order delivery but you’re trying to eat healthy, right?  There are some healthy things you can do to eat healthy…even if you don’t have the time.  Here are a few ideas about what to cook when you don’t have time to cook. 

Grab It and Go

Grab It and Go
Grab It and Go

 

Sometimes the best strategy is to have some prepared foods on hand so you can just grab it and go, especially if you know you’re going to be short on time in the coming days.

Leftovers.  Don’t toss the leftovers!  Break them down into serving-sized portions (even if it’s only one serving) and put them in the fridge or freezer for another time.

Make It Ahead of Time.  If you know you’re going to be rushed in the morning, overnight oats are a great breakfast that you can just take with you.  Breakfast cookies can be prepared in a short order of time and then stored in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick snack. Sometimes I bake this cauliflower casserole and package it into serving size pieces for easy meals during the week.

Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand.  Nuts, dried fruit, baby carrots, fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, whatever tickles your fancy. 

Quick and Easy Meal Ideas

Quick and Easy Meal Ideas
Quick and Easy Meal Ideas

 

Plan Ahead.  Naan dough is easy to throw together and it keeps in your fridge (ready to bake) for up to 3 days.  Throw on some topping to make a flatbread pizza or spread on some peanut butter, granola and honey.

Dust Off Your Slow Cooker.  There’s nothing better than coming home to find that dinner is ready.  You can use a recipe like this pulled pork or do your own thing.  Throw in some meat and veggies (get the precut veggies from the produce department or use frozen to save time).  Add a little broth or some sauce, turn it on and walk away.

Make It Quick.  Things like spinach feta pitas and this pasta dish are super easy and come together super fast!  Scramble some eggs with veggies and cheese for a light meal or whip up some scallops in less than 5 minutes.

Or Don’t Cook At All

Or Don’t Cook At All
Or Don’t Cook At All

Have A Sandwich.  What’s in your fridge?  A piece of leftover chicken or pork tenderloin?  Slice it thin and throw it on some bread.  Fry an egg.  Cream cheese and olives.  Or make this veggie wrap.

Always Have Peanut Butter On Hand.  Spread it on toast or crackers, with apple slices, slathered on a banana or eat it right off the spoon!

Salad Days.  There are many different kinds of lettuce available, already torn into bite-sized pieces and bagged up in the produce department, ready to go.  Pair it with some cherry tomatoes, leftover meat or hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and your favorite dressing.  Dinner is served!!

One-Pot Wonder

One-Pot Wonder
One-Pot Wonder

Soup To Warm The Soul. Chicken Ramon and Vegetarian Tortellini Soup both come together in less than 30 minutes.  Don’t have all the ingredients?  No worries!  Simply put some broth in a pot and throw in what you do have!  Frozen, fresh or leftover veggies, pasta or rice and some protein, if desired.  Simmer it up until everything is cooked to your liking.

The Rice Cooker’s Got You Covered.  This is one of my favorite quick and easy meal hacks.  Measure the appropriate amounts of rice and water into the cooker.  Follow that with some ground meat/poultry or nuts/seeds and chopped veggies. Turn it on and dinner is already almost done.  If you want to jazz it up even more, use broth instead of water and toss in a dried Thai pepper.

Hearty Meals, Quick Clean-up.  Thai curry is warm and comforting while bacon asparagus pasta is a real stick-to-your-ribs dish that comes together quickly. Making a stir-fry is another sure-fire dinner plan.  Simply heat a little oil in a saute pan, put any kind of protein and veggie in and cook until everything is done as you like it.  Stir in or serve it over some cooked pasta or rice.

Think Outside The Box

Think Outside The Box
Think Outside The Box

 

Many people feel hemmed in about what sorts of foods are for which meals.  I’m here to tell you to stop it.  Seriously.  Stop.

If it’s good for breakfast, it’s still good when it’s time for dinner.  This breakfast burrito is easy to make and easy to take with you.  Oatmeal is a healthy choice for any meal and clocks in at less than 15 minutes.

A healthy snack can make a fantastic light meal.  Hummus and sugar snap peas, apples with peanut butter, yogurt granola cup…you get the idea.

Dinner for breakfast?  Why not?  Last night’s baked beans will be great over toast.  That leftover pork chop and roasted carrots will be delicious in some scrambled eggs or an omelet!  Use leftover asparagus to make this delicious breakfast treat!

You Have What It Takes

You Have What It Takes
You Have What It Takes

You don’t have to use any of the suggestions I have listed above but I do hope I’ve given you some food for thought.  You have what it takes to come up with healthy meals in a snap if you open your mind to different possibilities!

What about you?  What quick fixes have you come up with for mealtime?  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below!

All My Best,

Cynthia
cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

Chicken Pesto Naan Pizza

 

Chicken Pesto Naan Pizza
Chicken Pesto Naan Pizza

Chicken Pesto Naan Pizza

 

2 tbsp butter

1 small onion, thinly sliced

¼ of one naan dough recipe (¼ lb)

⅓ cup scallion pesto

⅔ cup cooked chicken, cubed or shredded

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (4 oz)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Melt butter in a skillet over low heat.  Add onions and saute until golden, about one hour, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450℉.

Sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with cornmeal.

Roll naan dough into a ball.  Lay on parchment paper, sprinkle with cornmeal and, using a rolling pin, roll the ball into an 8” circle.  Coat the rolling pin with cooking spray if the dough begins to stick.

Slide naan (still on parchment paper) onto a baking sheet or cooking stone.  Bake for 6 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes.

Spread pesto over naan.  Top with chicken, onions and cheese.

Place pizza back in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper to taste.

 

3 servings, 450 calories per serving

Hack:  Pizza can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or can be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months.

 

Orange Glazed Pork Chops

These orange glazed pork chops are easy to make and are on the table super fast, which makes for a great weeknight meal! Try pairing them with butternut squash!

Orange Glazed Pork Chops
Orange Glazed Pork Chops

Orange Glazed Pork Chops

 

Marinade:
⅓ cup orange juice
⅓ cup soy sauce
4 tsp brown sugar
¾ tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic

3 pork chops (5oz each)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

¾ cup orange juice

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

¾ cup brown sugar

½ tsp salt

 

Mix marinade ingredients in a sealable bag or flat container. Add pork chops and allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally.

Before cooking, remove pork chops from the refrigerator. Remove from marinade, pat dry and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place pork chops in a skillet and allow to cook until the internal temperature reaches 140℉, turning once (4-8 minutes, depending on thickness). Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.

Mix orange juice, mustard, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl. Add to pan and cook over medium-high heat until thickened, about two minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour orange glaze over pork chops and serve immediately.

 

3 servings, 600 calories per serving

Hack: Leftover orange juice can be frozen for up to 12 months. Pour orange juice into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer until solid. Transfer to freezer bags or freezer-safe containers for storage.