Monday, January 7, 2013

A Weekend Filled with Use-it-Up Success!

Good morning world, it's Monday!

In this household that means a very tired mommy and daddy, because little dude did not sleep well.  On the bright side, it's a new week, the house is fairly clean, our fridge is stocked with great food for the week, and there is caffeine brewing in the Keurig. 

On Saturday I went a little crazy with the Use-it-Up theme.  To start off, I absolutely had to use-up six bananas that had gone black.  My kiddo likes his bananas (and hence the name of the blog) so each week I always buy a few.  On one particular trip, the grocery store got smart and placed a banana stand in the middle of the aisle where he could reach them at his height. He proceeded to grab a big bunch and accidentally dropped them on the floor.  I didn't think it would be right to put them back, so into the cart and that's where we got our extra bunch of bananas. 

One of the classic things to do with aging bananas is to make banana bread.  Of all the recipes I have made, this is an area where I feel the most fearless.  I love to try a new recipe, and if it doesn't quite turn out, I don't feel bad because it was practically free.  On Saturday I set Jett to the banana mashing, which was a whole lot of fun! 

He did a great job, and I picked out two new "low-fat" banana bread recipes.  Low-fat because I was out of butter but did have oil and applesauce.  One did not turn out great, and had a strange consistency, even after I tried to save it with Nutella.  The other was great and will be one I go to again and again.  I really enjoyed Joy the Baker's Low Fat Oatmeal Banana Bread.  I did not have old fashioned rolled oats, but the quick oats I had seemed to work just fine.  The bread had a great nearly oatmeal cookie consistency, but with a light delicious fruity flavor.

After the bread was out of the oven, I took a tip from the Queen of Quick Cooking - Rachael Ray, and made a five-minute soup.  I had all that great leftover chicken from the first day of Use-it-Up, which made for great fajitas one night, but I still had some left. 

The steps to five-minute soup are simple.
Chop some carrots and celery, or whatever vegetables you need to eat up. Next, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in your soup pot.  Throw in garlic, chopped onion, thyme, rosemary or whatever flavorings you like and stir. (I didn't measure, but just put in a modest amount that looked good.) Toss in your veggies, turn down heat slightly and allow to cook until softened.  (At this point I also went to my freezer and grabbed a bag of half-eaten asparagus stir fry mix and threw that in too.)  Pour in a can or about 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, and simmer.  While the veggies are cooking, do a quick rough chop on your chicken leftovers, and into the pot they go.  At this point you can allow to simmer until the chicken is warmed up, or for a bit longer to allow the flavors to develop.  Jett and I had a beautiful, veggie packed soup for our lunch that was prepped in 5 minutes and ready in 30 minutes.

For dinner I went one more step toward Use-it-Up obsessed and mixed up some bread dough in my bread machine, and used up leftover spaghetti sauce, pepperoni, and cheese to make a quick homemade pizza.  Jett yelled "Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!" when I took it out of the oven, so I think that was a hit too!

I hope this post gave you some ideas for how to Use-it-Up this week.  On the next post I will share how my first Costco shopping trip went.

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