Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pantry Challenge and Banana Bread

I'm starting to see some space in the freezer after using most of the pork, beef, ground turkey and chicken I had lurking in there. Four boys sleeping over last night also helped: we no longer have cupcakes, most of the freshly baked cookies, dinner rolls, pasta sauce, frozen waffles or breakfast sausage bogging us down.

Tonight we're off to the neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party, so I won't be cooking at home (though I had leftover pasta and broccoli from last night's dinner for lunch today). But I've got next week's menu all figured out, using more pantry and freezer items supplemented by the fresh vegetables I bought yesterday. And here's the really cool thing: After deducting the cost of the ingredients I bought to make my dishes for the progressive dinner, I realized the weekly groceries for my family of 4 cost about $50.

In the spirit of frugality, I decided to bake some banana bread with the four overripe bananas in the fruit bowl. The recipe I used comes from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook, in which she hides various fruit and vegetable purees into foods that you'd like your kids to eat. Some of the recipes are good, others are questionable (I didn't enjoy the spinach in her Blueberry Oatmeal Bars). But I like her banana bread recipe; it's not as dense as some others I've tried, and it's easy to make.

Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
5 bananas, pureed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flours with the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil with a wooden spoon until well combined. Mix in the egg, egg white, banana puree and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool at least 5 - 10 minutes before turning bread out onto a rack to cool completely. When cool, store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

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