Cooks Exchange

Readers share more banana recipes

Even if kids or teens manage to eat their school lunches, those same kids are hungry when they step off the bus.

It is a juggling act to have a healthy snack that won’t spoil the appetite for dinner. Bananas, yes, bananas again, make for great after-school food, whether it is in its original packaging or in muffins, cookies or fruit salad. Bananas pack health benefits.

Nutritionists say the bananas because of their high potassium content can help lower blood pressure, help combat the production of free radicals, provide more dietary fiber and support heart health.

A study at the Imperial College of London found that children who ate just one banana a day had a 34 percent less chance of developing asthma.

For both kids and adults, bananas can boost memory and moods because they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that has been proven to help combat memory loss and lift spirits — a plus for those senior moments, too.

One medium banana contains 110 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 450 milligrams potassium, 3 grams of fiber, 9 milligrams vitamin C and 1 gram of protein. Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium.

Mashed bananas can replace oil or butter in baked goods. If bananas turn dark and the kids won’t eat them, put them in freezer bags to use for smoothies. The frozen banana can replace the ice in a smoothie. Another quick way to get the power punch of bananas is sliced on cereal.

Here are some banana snacks that young and old will enjoy.

More banana pudding

“One of your readers requested a recipe for banana pudding,” said Bernice Strickland, Bradenton, FL. “This made-from-scratch version has been used in my family for many years.”

Vida Risk of Ocean Springs, who wanted the recipe, can give this one a try, too.

A favorite chicken-fried steak

“If chicken-fried steak is the same as ‘country-fried steak’, we can recommend The Fried Green Tomato on Lamey Bridge Road in D’Iberville,” said Ann Allen of Ocean Springs. “They have a great buffet that features country-fried steak on Thursdays. I hope this helps.”

Ron Hellyer, here is a place to check out. Let me know what you think.

If anyone else has found good chicken-fried steak, please let me know where to share with fellow readers.

Low-sugar cake

Brenda Roberts wants a banana cake recipe that is made with Splenda and a good pound cake recipe.

“Because I am a diabetic, the cake has to be made with Splenda since it is baked,” said Roberts. “Any version of a banana cake will do so I can add it to my recipes. I appreciate it so when other readers share their recipes.”

Readers, do you have low-sugar banana and pound cake recipes, preferably made with Splenda? If so, please send me the recipes for Roberts.

CHIQUITA BANANA SAMMIES

1 whole banana

1/3 cup peanut butter

2 graham crackers

1 sheet plastic wrap

Mash the peanut butter and banana together in a small bowl with a spoon. Put a spoonful of the mixture onto half a graham cracker and top it with the other half to make a sandwich. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour before eating.

— From Chiquita Bananas

QUICK CHIQUITA CHOCOLATE BANANA POP

1 whole banana

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup crisp rice cereal or nuts

2 whole ice treat sticks (wooden craft sticks)

1 sheet plastic wrap

1 sheet wax paper

Peel the banana, cut it in half width-wise and insert the sticks part way into each banana half. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for about an hour. Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and melt them on half power, checking every 10 seconds so they don't burn. Dip the bananas in the melted chocolate till they're coated. Dip in rice cereal or crushed nuts, if you like. Place on wax paper and put in the freezer to set for at least one hour.

— From Chiquita

MONKEY MUFFINS

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

2/3 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the bananas, peanut butter, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in chips.

Fill greased or paper-lined miniature muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 6 dozen.

Nutritional data per two muffins: 126 calories, 6 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 112 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams sugar, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat. - From “Taste of Home” cookbook

I have used banana oatsies in kids’ cooking classes and with my Sunday school classes. The youngsters love them.

BANANA OATSIES

2 really ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup rolled oats

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add oats, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a spoon until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop by spoonful onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

BANANA PUDDING

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk (may add 1/2 cup extra)

2 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

36 vanilla wafers

3 medium bananas sliced

Blend 1/2 cup sugar, the flour and salt thoroughly together in top of double boiler or heavy pan. Add 1/2 cup milk, stirring to make mixture smooth. Add remaining milk. Cook over boiling water, stirring frequently, until thickened. Cover; cook 15 minutes. Beat egg yolks slightly, add hot custard slowly to yolks. Return to double boiler; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Line bottom and sides of a baking dish with wafers. Arrange bananas in layer on top of wafers. Pour custard over bananas. (There may be enough bananas and wafers for a double layers). Beat egg whites stiff but not dry; add remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly. Spread meringue over custard. Bake in moderately slow oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm or chilled. Serves 6 to 8.

— Submitted by Bernice Strickland

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