Homemade Banana Chocolate Chip Bread…..

Today is the perfect day for banana bread, don’t you think?  Our lovely sunny and perfect weather is gone.  It’s a bit gloomy outside.  Nothing like a sweet quick bread with chocolate chips to lift our spirits!  This recipe is a very simple one bowl recipe that is consistently delicious.

I always make my quick breads in mini loaf pans.  I do this for three reasons. 1)  They take far less time to bake thus, we’re baking green.  2)  When you bake a quick bread in a large loaf pan they often times dry out due to the very long baking time.  3)  I usually give half of what I bake away as little gifts or pick me ups to my friends.  These are the perfect size to share with someone who might need a little lift.  You can find disposable ones at most any baking isle in the grocery store. I also found them at Bed Bath & Beyond in packages of four for around $10.

What to do with over ripe bananas if you’re not ready to bake?  Don’t throw them away!  Simply remove the peel and put into a zip freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible, seal, and date.  When they thaw they are not the most appetizing fruit but let me tell you, frozen bananas make the BEST banana bread!  I find that when I pulverize the bananas with the other wet ingredients before adding to the dry, you get the best result.  I use an immersion blender but a regular blender will work just fine.

When adding chocolate chips, raisins or nuts to a quick bread, always mix them in with the dry ingredients.  This will prevent the goodies from sinking to the bottom of the bread while baking.  Even chocolate distribution….very important.
Homemade Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

1 1/2 cups ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)  I’ve made it with four smaller bananas, the measurement doesn’t have to be exact
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil
2 cups all purpose  flour (you can do half whole wheat flour with half all purpose flour if you like)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips, any variety you like, I love milk chocolate chips:-)

1)   Preheat the oven to 350′.  Coat 4 mini loaf pans well with cooking spray.  They should be about 6″x3″.
2)  If you’re using an immersion blender, place the bananas, eggs, and oil into a large mixing bowl.  Blend well with the immersion blender.  If you’re using a regular blender, blend the bananas, eggs, and oil in the blender and pour into a large mixing bowl.
3)  In a medium size bowl, mix the flour through the chocolate chips until well blended.
4)  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just blended.  Divide among the prepared pans.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Test with a toothpick if you’re unsure if they’re done.  If it comes out clean, you’re good to go.  Allow them to cool on a rack in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing.  Cool completely.  Wrap with cling wrap or put into a cellophane gift bag and tie with a pretty ribbon.

*This bread freezes brilliantly!



Baked Tortilla Chips and Strips…..

Baked Tortilla Chips
Baked Tortilla Strips are great in salads

Why not bake your own tortilla chips?  They’re much less expensive and have only 3 ingredients.  You will notice a big difference between these homemade chips and commercial ones, they have a true corn taste. You could also spice them up if you wanted to with a little chili powder and cumin, or a pinch of cayenne.

I love the baked tortilla strips.  When I make tacos for my kids I make a taco salad for myself with just a few of these.  Try these crunchy salad yummies on my Grilled Chicken Salad with Jicama.  Make a nice amount and store in an air tight container or a zip bag and they’re ready to go the next time you need them. 

Baked Tortilla Chips or Strips

1 dozen corn tortillas, for chips cut into 4’s, or cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon canola or olive oil
2-3 pinches of kosher salt

1) Preheat oven to 300’.
2) Place cut tortillas into a medium size mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil over and add salt. Toss carefully with your hands to evenly coat. Spread the chips/strips over a cookie sheet being careful not to overlap. You will have to bake in a couple of batches. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until completely dry. Cool completely and store in an air tight zip bag or container.

*Serve chips with your favorite dip or strips over salads