Cathie Campbell

Feeling brunchy this Easter?

Not fancy, but big on flavor, banana muffins are a welcome addition to any brunch menu.
Not fancy, but big on flavor, banana muffins are a welcome addition to any brunch menu. Roozitaa, Wikimedia Commons

Brunch is good at any time, not just holidays of course. Even if Easter isn’t something you celebrate, one good thing about food is that it fits into our schedules and makes friends with our tummies and taste buds whenever we feel like it. My family mostly has limited our Easter celebration to an early dinner, with the table just as loaded as it is for Thanksgiving. When my Italian Nana was still with us, we used to have a big after-church spread of home baked breads and pastries in the morning. I remember helping her in the kitchen as she labored up to her elbows in flour and yeast bread dough. Good times. However you celebrate your Easter traditions, and even if you don’t have any, it is my hope you are all healthy and happy, and of course, well fed.

Green onion, cheese and bacon pancakes

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 large eggs, room temperature

1  1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for skillet

1 cup shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese

3 green onions, thinly sliced (about  1/2 cup white and green parts), plus more for garnish

Crisp cooked bacon

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk and oil; whisk until just moistened. (Do not overmix; a few small lumps are acceptable.) Fold in shredded Cheddar cheese and sliced scallions.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Drizzle skillet with oil, rubbing with a clean paper towel to evenly spread it around. Cooking in batches, ladle 1/4 cup batter per pancake into skillet, spreading in an even circle. Cook until edges begin to set and the pancake bottoms are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip; cook until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes more. Top with more sliced green onions, some crumbled bacon, yogurt and pepper, to taste; serve. Makes 4 servings.

Banana muffins

1  3/4 cups flour

1 package (3.4-oz.) banana flavored instant pudding mix (vanilla would work well too)

1  1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup mashed fully ripe bananas (about 3)

 1/2 cup salad dressing such as mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

 1/2 cup sugar

 1/3 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin with baking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, pudding mix, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients with a whisk until well blended. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Don’t worry about lumps.

2. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until they test clean with a toothpick. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, remove to cool slightly. Makes 12 muffins.

Blueberry banana smoothie

This recipe is for one but can easily be multiplied.

1 banana

1 cup blueberries

 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or any type of milk you prefer)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon lime juice

 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup ice

1. Add banana, blueberries, coconut milk (or whatever kind you are using), honey, lime juice, almond extract and ice to blender and blend.

2. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

Apple streusel pull-apart loaf

I am not sure where the original version came from but I am guessing the Pillsbury Company. I also don’t know if I constructed these right, but I put apple topping on each slice of biscuit before stacking them; made sense to me.

1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Refrigerated Biscuits

1 cup chunky applesauce

 1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

 1/4 cup brown sugar

 1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons melted butter, divided

 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons milk

 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 (325 for dark or nonstick pan). Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to hang over the sides about 2 inches.

2. In a small bowl, mix chunky applesauce, sugar and cinnamon. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. Top each biscuit round with a spoonful of the apple mixture.

3. Stack a second biscuit atop and press gently. Repeat with remaining biscuit layers until 8 stacks are formed. Starting at one short end of the pan, place biscuit layers on their edges, just touching each other, until pan is loosely filled.

4. Mix together brown sugar, flour and butter until a coarse crumble forms. Sprinkle over the top of the biscuits in pan.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Mix together sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over loaf. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings (4 is more like it.)