Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Add some pumpkin to your normal banana muffins for a fun twist on a classic recipe. :)

Pumpkin Banana Muffins | thepajamachef.comWhen you move, you often have a lot of food to use up so you don’t have to haul it across town. Or is that just me? Soooo I hope you can bear with me as I talk about pumpkin in May. I love it year round, and hope a lot of you do too! Ha!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins | thepajamachef.comAs you know if you’ve ever read my blog, I love muffins. SO much. I almost always have them wrapped in sandwich bags to add to our work lunches–it’s so handy. And since I try to make most of my muffins on the healthier side, it’s a fun good-for-you pseudo-dessert to enjoy during the work day. I’m sure some nutritionists/dieticians might disagree with me on this… but heyyy I like my muffins and I’m not ashamed of it. :) Muffins aren’t ever filling enough for a normal breakfast, but they are a great lunchbox addition or snack. I know these muffins don’t look like much, but they taste great. Like their name implies, they’re a cross between banana and pumpkin muffins. Neither flavor overwhelms, and both flavors go great with pumpkin pie spice. I love making muffins with lots of fruit and/or spice so you don’t have to have tons ‘o sugar to get tons ‘o flavor. I know this is a recipe I’ll turn to again and again since I always have brown bananas on hand, and come fall, will have half empty cans of pumpkin to use up. If you want to spice these up a bit, feel free to stir in some sliced almonds or mini chocolate chips. Mmm! Enjoy!

two years ago: Apple Cream Chicken
three years ago: Pork Chops with Balsamic Blackberry Salad + Orzo

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Time: 30 minutes
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adapted from Simmworks Family Blog

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice.

In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, whisk together bananas, pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla, until fully combined.

Add wet mixture to dry mixture, gently folding until combined. Divide batter between prepared muffin cups, then bake for 13-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yellow Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

Perfectly fluffy and sweet yellow birthday cake, served up with an airy chocolate frosting. Perfection for your birthday celebration!

Yellow Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting | thepajamachef.comMy favorite cake to make is snack cake, for several reasons. A) It’s easy. B) It’s called a snack cake so I can eat it for a snack… or breakfast. :) C) It’s pretty foolproof. Though I’ve been making layer cakes for years, they are still a wee bit intimidating because of all the what if’s. What if the cake doesn’t come cleanly out of the pan? What if a layer breaks when frosting it? What if, what if, what if? But the thing is… for birthdays, when you want to make people feel special, it’s the fancy cakes you want to make. And to me, fancy cake=layer cake. So every year for Ben’s birthday I try to make him a fancy layer cake. He’s always a yellow cake kind of guy, so for a recent* birthday he asked for his favorite… with some whipped chocolate frosting. Apparently buttercream or cream cheese frostings aren’t exactly his fave. Who knew?

Yellow Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting | thepajamachef.comThis was truly the cake [and frosting] of his dreams. The yellow cake was soft, moist, and fluffy… sweet, but not too sweet–the perfect pairing for a light and airy whipped chocolate frosting. Before this, I had only had whipped vanilla frosting. Whipped chocolate frosting is pretty darn good! It has the essence of chocolate, without the overwhelming richness that most chocolate frosting has. In a word, we thought it was incredible! And since it only contains two ingredients–heavy whipping cream and chocolate chips–it’s so easy to make, and even easier to spread. No complaints here. :) Enjoy!

*when I say recent, I mean… ummm, well, 2014. Yikes. I am b-e-h-i-n-d. :) Cake is still cake though, right?!

one year ago: Italian Tortilla Rollups & an epic bridal shower menu
two years ago: Granola Tips
three years ago: Tortellini Soup

Yellow Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 1 1/2 hours + time to cool
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cake from Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice; frosting from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large eggs

for frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour desired cake pans [I used 2 round 9″ cake pans but original recipe has other options- 3 round 8″ pans or a 9×13″ rectangular pan].

To make cake, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, then use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you go, then increase speed to high and beat for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Divide batter between cake pans, then bake for about 25-30 minutes if using the 9″ pans [or 35-40 minutes for the 9×13 or 30-25 minutes for the 8″ pans]. Bake until the cake just pulls away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean as well.

While cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Heat the heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan on low heat until it comes to a simmer. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl, then pour the hot whipping cream on top of then. Let rest for 5 minutes, then gently whisk until combined, smooth with a glossy texture. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours until completely chilled and cold. An ice water bath can speed up the process. When cold, use an electric mixer to whip the frosting into soft peaks.

When cake is done, cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Frost cake immediately and consider storing in the fridge to keep the frosting set until ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

SRC: Green Goddess Dressing

A creamy, tangy dressing filled with lots of fresh herbs and onions… green goddess dressing is divine! 

Hello, friends! What a week! We just moved and are getting settled in our new home. But I couldn’t miss out on the Secret Recipe Club this month so I made my recipe wayyy in advance. So unlike me. :) This month I was given Jenna’s blog, The Painted Apron. Jenna is a lovely woman who gets to divide her time between Birmingham and Orange Beach, Alabama. She loves her family [just browse her blog for adorable grandkid photos! Awww.], football, and hospitality. My husband was very sad to learn that she’s an Alabama fan and wants to say GO BUCKS! OH! He’s a major Ohio State fan and is still basking in the glow of Big Ten > SEC victory in the National Championship last January.

Green Goddess Dressing | thepajamachef.com #src #salad

All that aside, it was so fun to check out Jenna’s blog this month. Some of the recipes that caught my eye included: Creamy Corn Dip, Cranberry Salsa [must make at Christmas!], Cinnamon Roll & Sausage Breakfast Pudding [this would be an awesome dish to make while on vacation… we always stay in condos so low-prep recipes are great!], Apple Pear and Walnut Gorgonzola Galette, and Savory Apple Pie Quesadilla. I must have been in a fall mood when I browsed her blog, but I eventually settled on this great salad dressing. I know I’ll be able to enjoy it all summer long!

Green Goddess Dressing | thepajamachef.com #src #salad

I’ve heard of Green Goddess Dressing before, but don’t really think I’ve ever had it before. Apparently it was concocted in the 1920s in San Francisco as part of a movie celebration. Fun! Truly, it reminds me of a more sophisticated version of ranch dressing. Creamy, herby, and tangy, this dressing is a fun creamy topping for salad. Traditionally, this dressing is made with sour cream and mayonnaise, but this time I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream because I had it on hand. We have enjoyed this dressing for the past two weeks on any and every salad we can find… but the first time, it was fabulous on a salad made up of red leaf lettuce, sauteed asparagus, sliced radishes, chickpeas, crumbled feta, and sliced hard boiled eggs. No matter how you serve it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! Thanks, Jenna, for a great recipe. :)

one year ago: Tropical Cake Mix Cookies
two years ago: Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake
three years ago: Reese’s Blondie Pie
four years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Green Goddess Dressing

  • Servings: 1.5 cups
  • Time: 5 minutes
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from The Painted Apron

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil [or basil paste from Gourmet Garden]
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley [or parsley paste from Gourmet Garden]
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice [from about 2 lemons]
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • crudites or salad, for serving

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a jar or small bowl, then process with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve as a dressing or dip. I enjoyed my dressing with this Asparagus and Chickpea Salad from A Nutritionist Eats [ingredients: red or butter lettuce, sauteed asparagus, sliced radishes, chickpeas, crumbled feta, and sliced hard boiled eggs].

Dressing keeps well in the fridge for about a week. Enjoy!


Check out all the other delicious recipes made by my friends in the Secret Recipe Club this month!

Ricotta Pancakes

Delicate, melt-in-your mouth pancakes are made fluffy and delicious with ricotta, orange, and cinnamon. These fancy pancakes shouldn’t be missed!

Ricotta Pancakes | thepajamachef.com #breakfastThere’s pancakes and there is pancakes. These pancakes are pancakes, if you know what I mean. They’re light and fluffy, but also doughy and satisfying at the same time. The secret ingredient that makes ’em that way is in the title–ricotta!

Ricotta Pancakes | thepajamachef.com #breakfastIt’s a rare occasion that I have leftover ricotta, but I just so happened to have a half cup or so left from a pasta recipe I tried and I didn’t want it to go to waste. That would be so sad! I wanted to try baking with ricotta, but breakfast sounded better… so pancakes it was! I’ve made greek yogurt pancakes and sour cream pancakes before and honestly, the texture is pretty similar. The batter is thick but the pancakes cook beautifully and aren’t tough at all. My recipe uses a liberal amount of orange zest/juice and a touch of cinnamon for a pop of flavor, but you really can flavor these however you’d like–another type of citrus, perhaps, or some fresh berries, or chocolate… Mmm! The possibilities are endless. If I were you, I’d try them out this weekend. :) I would, but I’ll be busy moving. Wish me luck! :)

Ricotta Pancakes | thepajamachef.com #breakfast

one year ago: Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake
two years ago: Maple Berry Overnight Oats
three years ago: Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
four years ago: Springtime Linguine

Ricotta Pancakes

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Running to the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • zest of 1 orange
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted [or oil]
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • butter or oil, for cooking
  • maple syrup or powdered sugar, for serving

Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk, ricotta, egg, orange juice, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Gently stir until just combined.

When skillet is hot, grease with oil or butter. Spoon batter in 1/4 cup increments on skillet, spreading if necessary. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Serve with additional maple syrup or powdered sugar.

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

Cheesy chicken pasta with tangy and sweet sundried tomatoes.. this is pretty much my new favorite Italian dish! 

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to tell you about this pasta, but it’s just so hard. It’s just so hard because it’s just so good! I mean, just look at the ingredients. What’s not to love? Cheese, chicken, tomatoes, pasta, half and half… simple, flavorful ingredients that always taste good–well, now they taste great together!

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

Truly, this pasta is the whole shebang… the whole package… everything you could ever love or want or need–and more! Besides being filled with delicious ingredients, it’s SO easy to make that it’s almost foolproof. If you can boil water you can make this delicious dish. I promise! Please make this creamy, cheesy, carby delight today. You won’t regret it! :)

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Chocolate Baked Oatmeal
two years ago: Club Soda Waffles
three years ago: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette 
four years ago: Salsas for Cinco de Mayo

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 35 minutes
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from Julia’s Album

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ounces sundried tomatoes, either packed in oil or dried like the ones from Trader Joe’s, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil [drained from tomatoes or extra virgin olive oil + some Italian seasoning]
  • 1 pound chicken, sliced into thin, bite-sized pieces
  • paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
  • 8 ounces small-medium pasta [I used campanelle, but rotini or penne would be great]
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil [or more fresh basil]
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2-1 cup reserved pasta water

Directions:

If using sundried tomatoes in oil, drain oil and use 2 tablespoons for the first step. If not, disregard and use extra virgin olive oil plus a bit of Italian seasoning.

Set a large pot of water to boil for pasta and prepare according to package directions, reserving about 1 cup cooking water when finished.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, heat oil until glistening. Add chicken, then season with paprika on top side. Cook for one minute, then flip and season the other side with paprika. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes and garlic. Continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes until chicken is nearly fully cooked. Add half and half to the skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Then stir in cheese, continuing to stir until all cheese melts.

By this point, the pasta should be about done. Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water.

Add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to chicken and sauce mixture in the skillet. Stir to incorporate, then season with basil and red pepper flakes. Taste and add more seasoning if desired, then fold in cooked pasta. Stir together well and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, then serve and enjoy!