Breakfast Banana Split

It’s time to have some fun with our food!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let’s start with this festive, tasty, KID-FRIENDLY Breakfast Banana Split. It’s got all of the fun of a classic banana split, yet it’s healthy enough to be acceptable for breakfast. That’s my kind of meal!


The idea for this recipe (if you can call it that) came to me while I was working out at the gym, as many of my great ideas do. I’m not sure what spurred it, sometimes things just pop into my head as I’m zoning out on the elliptical. But once I thought of it, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I needed to make a Breakfast Banana Split ASAP!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let me tell you a little story to set the scene for this idea.

When I first moved to Santa Barbara almost four years ago, I hunkered down in my brother and sister-in-law’s casita for a few months until my job went from temporary to permanent. I had a pretty sweet little set-up there, a futon bed, a full bathroom to myself, and a little nook with a mini-refrigerator. I did not have a kitchen, but luckily my fam didn’t mind me popping into the house and whipping something up, especially if it involved me making something that there three young kids, my niece and nephews, would eat.

While I lived there, I took a little bit of a challenge upon myself. Like most kids, my niece and nephews were not huge fans of foods that held any sort of nutritional value, so my challenge was to find ways to make food that they would love to eat while secretly sneaking in some healthy fruits and veggies. My greatest success with them was when I made “breakfast popsicles,” which were basically a big batch of smoothie loaded with greens (and sometimes other veggies,) poured into popsicle molds and frozen overnight. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to eat popsicles for breakfast?

As soon as the idea came to me for these Breakfast Banana Splits, I knew they’d be one of these dishes that kids will just jump at the chance to eat in the morning. I don’t have any children of my own (yet) but I look forward to exercising my nutrient-hiding creativity once again, and I know a Breakfast Banana Split will be making a frequent appearance on our household menu.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

So here’s how it goes down: Banana sliced lengthwise, just like the classic setup. Heaps of plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of the ice cream, because we’re making this acceptable for breakfast. Loads and loads of toppings (mostly healthy, some a little more indulgent.) Finally, we can’t forget the cherries on top!

The great thing about this Breakfast Banana Split is that it’s incredibly versatile. I decided to use toppings like flaked coconut, chopped pineapple, date caramel, strawberry jam, toasted nuts and cacao nibs, but you can really use whatever you like (or whatever you have in your pantry!) Some other ideas you could include are freeze-dried fruit, melted almond or peanut butter or hemp seeds. The possibilities really are endless.

Whether this is a true “recipe” or not, you have to admit it’s a pretty genius breakfast option, especially when you have finicky little ones.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

What are some ways you sneak nutrient-rich foods into your picky eaters’ diets?

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Breakfast Banana Split
Prep Time
10 mins
 

The classic soda fountain treat is given a healthy spin and turned into a delicious, kid-friendly breakfast. Who doesn't want dessert for breakfast?

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 serving
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, peeled and split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam, melted
  • 1 tablespoon date caramel (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 2 maraschino cherries
Instructions
  1. Place banana halves on either side of a sundae dish or larger, shallow bowl. Scoop Greek yogurt in between banana halves and add toppings. Don’t forget the cherries on top!

Recipe Notes

To make the Date Caramel (will make extra): Soak 20 pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor with 4 tablespoons water and 4 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Pulse until a smooth puree forms into a thick caramel consistency. Store any extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles

Is everyone completely sick of pumpkin yet?Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

I sure hope not, because today I’m sharing the recipe for this Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles, and it is all kinds of delicious.

Our lives are about to become a bit upended. The holidays are fast approaching, which means family visiting, kids out of school, and more parties and events than we can comfortably handle (but not like that stops us.) In a time of such indulgence and celebration, it’s important for us to stay rooted and focused on things that keep us sane, like home-cooked dinners full of nutritious foods, evenings spent at the kitchen table connecting with those who matter most.


This Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Papperdelle and Sweet Potato Noodles is the perfect, quick and healthy dinner to get us through these crazy times, to serve in those rare moments when we have a night with no open houses or company holiday parties. It’s full of nutrients, yet comforting and “homey” at the same time. The kind of meal your family will love without knowing it’s actually good for them!

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

The other great news is that this meal can be customized in sooo many different ways, for any sort of diet. It’s already vegetarian, but to make it vegan, just use a vegan pasta or omit the pasta altogether and double up on the sweet potato noodles. If you (or anyone in your family) is like my husband and needs some sort of protein with his meal, throw on a grilled chicken breast or shrimp. Gluten-free? Again, just sub in brown rice pasta or more sweet potato noodles. The possibilities are endless!

I also (shamefully) realized when getting this post ready that this is the first recipe I’ve shared here on CGC featuring spiralized vegetables. This is so crazy to me because we literally probably spiralize vegetables in some form or another for dinner at least one night a week. It’s usually in the form of zucchini, tossed with whatever vegetables we have on hand and some sort of lean protein.

There are endless possibilities for spiralizing, and if you’re curious about other ways you can use the technique, just head on over to Ali Maffuci’s blog, Inspiralized. She is the QUEEN of spiralizing and always has such great ideas. I’ve followed her for quite some time now and, although there are tons of options out there these days, hers is the brand of spiralizer we use. We’ve also bought it as a gift for just about everyone we know (ahem, Christmas is just around the corner!), and it’s always received rave reviews. If you need to pick one up for yourself and 20 of your closest friends, click here!

But let’s get back to this Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles! Because I’m pretty sure you should just make it tonight for dinner. You might also already have most of the ingredients on hand. Canned, crushed tomatoes, pumpkin puree, sweet, potatoes, pasta…all items that are likely living in your pantry around this time of year. The only fresh items you’ll want to go out and grab are a couple of tomatoes and a big bunch of fresh basil. Dinner will be ready before you know it!

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

I used a deep sauté pan to make the sauce (this is the exact one I used, which I have to say is one of my FAVORITE types of cooking vessels to have on hand) so I could just throw in the sweet potato noodles and cooked pappardelle and serve everything out of the one pan. So easy!

I cooked the pappardelle until al dente, but I threw in the sweet potato noodles raw and just let them simmer in the sauce for a little bit.

Once you have the sauce cooked and the noodles added, simply serve as is or top with your favorite protein (meatballs, anyone?) A little crusty bread on the side never hurt either 😉

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles

15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

A healthy, quick and easy dinner to whip up during the busy holidays. Pappardelle and spiralized sweet potato noodles are tossed in a nutrient-packed pumpkin basil marinara sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup diced sweet potato (optional – I used the leftover “nubs” from spiralizing the sweet potato noodles)
  • 8 ounces pappardelle
  • 2 sweet potatoes, spiralized

Instructions

  1. In a large, deep sauté pan, warm olive oil over medium high heat. Once oil is warm, add shallot and garlic. Saute until mixture starts to turn translucent and fragrant (about 5 minutes) then add diced tomato. Stir to combine.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, pumpkin, red wine, brown sugar, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to pan. Stir to combine, then stir in basil and diced sweet potato (if using.) Bring to a heavy simmer, stirring occasionally.
  3. While sauce is simmering, cook the pappardelle. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add pappardelle. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until al dente. Strain immediately and set aside.
  4. Add spiralized sweet potato to the marinara sauce simmering on the stove. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, and then add pappardelle, simmering for an additional 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and serve immediately.

Notes

Wine Pairing Notes: Marinara pairs wonderfully with many heavier red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or an Italian red such as Barbera or Sangiovese. In all honesty, this dish will probably pair best with whatever wine you use to cook with, so don’t go for the super-cheap stuff!

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Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Pumpkin – it’s what’s for dinner!

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Pastrami Pizza

TGIF!

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

I don’t know about you, but I am sooo glad it’s Friday. It has been a long week and I am so ready for the weekend and a quick and tasty dinner to kick it off.


When Chris and I were kids, BOTH of our families had a tradition of Friday night pizza and the TGIF shows on ABC – specifically Family Matters and Full House (hello fellow children of the 90’s!) We’d get home from school, put on our comfy clothes, and hunker down in front of the TV for a night of watching Steve Urkel and Michelle Tanner with a big, fat pizza pie (or two.)

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Chris and I don’t have a family of our own yet, but we talk often about wanting to start a tradition like this once we do. Fridays = pizza, and although TGIF is no longer airing, I’m sure we’ll be able to find one thing or another to watch amongst Netflix, Hulu, Amazon TV, etc. etc.

So, to celebrate the end of this crazy week, I whipped up a pizza for us to not only enjoy this week, but also keep in our archives for those fun Friday nights of the future.

In keeping with the “nostalgic” theme of this post, I recreated this pizza based off of one we have whenever we go visit Chris’ parents. Since we both have to work until at least 4 or 5 on Friday afternoons, we usually don’t get up to their house until 9PM (or even 10PM.) It’s become a tradition for his folks to go to one of their local pizza joints, My Pizza, and bring home a couple of pies to keep in the oven until we arrive.

One of the pies that is ALWAYS waiting for us when we arrive is their Pastrami Pizza. This has been a favorite in Chris’ family for a looooong time and it quickly became one of mine as well. As soon as I had it, I knew I wanted to try and recreate it so we could enjoy it at home in between our trips up north.

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Although, not EXACTLY like My Pizza’s, the version I created is pretty darn close and will help satisfy us between visits.

We start with a classic no-knead dough (which I found via My Name is Yeh who found it via Jim Lahey, thanks guys!) This is a REALLY easy dough recipe (it literally takes less than 5 minutes to whip up), but you have to plan in advance since it takes at least 18 hours to rise. Once the dough has finished rising, simply split it up into parts depending on how big of a pizza you want to make (four parts make mini, more single-serving pizzas, while two parts make a pizza that will serve 3-4 people.) OR – since it’s already Friday and we want this pizza tonight, we can just buy a pre-made crust or dough at the grocery store on our way home from work. Sound good?

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Then, we add the toppings that will get baked on top of the dough. Mayo for sauce, mozzarella for cheese, pastrami, and red onions (cooking the onions will help take away some of their bite.)

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

After baking, we throw on some more toppings: lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini and mustard.

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Voila! Pizza’s done. While we’re letting it cool, let’s throw on our sweatpants and find something good to watch on Netflix. Friday night never looked (or tasted) so good.

Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

Pastrami Pizza

Yield: Makes 2 medium pizzas

Ingredients

  • One recipe of Jim Lahey's Pizza Dough or store bought dough
  • Extra flour for working with the dough
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise (2 tablespoons per pizza)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, sliced (4 ounces per pizza)
  • 8 ounces pastrami (4 ounces per pizza)
  • ½ of a small red onion, diced (1/4 of an onion per pizza)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (1 tomato per pizza)
  • ½ cup chopped pepperoncini (1/4 cup per pizza)
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (1 cup per pizza)
  • 3-4 tablespoons yellow mustard (1 ½ - 2 tablespoons per pizza)

Instructions

  1. Prepare dough according to instructions. Once dough has risen, cut into two portions. While working with the first portion, place the other portion in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. On a pizza stone coated with cornmeal/flour or on a pizza pan coated with cooking spray, roll out the pizza dough to the desired shape.
  4. Spread 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise over the dough, then add mozzarella, pastrami and red onion. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with tomatoes, pepperoncini and lettuce. Drizzle yellow mustard over top.
  6. Repeat with second portion of pizza dough.
  7. Let cool slightly before serving.

Notes

Wine Notes: This pizza would go be equally great with a darker rose or a nice Zinfandel.

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Pastrami Pizza | CaliGirl Cooking

You know you want in.

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Happy Sunday!

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

I hope you have all been enjoying your weekend and getting into the holiday spirit. I know we have! There’s something about the first weekend in December when everyone is getting their trees and hanging up lights, holiday parades are starting and every corner seems to have some sort of “pop-up shop” or arts & crafts fair. It’s all so very festive and I just love it!!


So, because we’ve all been busy attending parties and getting into the holiday spirit this weekend, I wanted to take this Sunday to share a SUPER easy and delicious stuffed Portobello mushroom recipe with you. It’s going to turn into a go-to weeknight dinner for you that’s perfect for this busy time of year.

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

These Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are a simple dinner, but one that will be filling enough with a light salad that it won’t contribute to the gut-busting feeling you’ll get from all of those holiday meals. You won’t even need to put on your stretchy pants!

So let’s talk about what goes into these bad boys. First, we marinate some large, hearty Portobello mushrooms in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic. This gives the mushrooms the most delicious flavor that you really could just bake them off right then and dig in, but where’s the fun in that? We’re going to round this out and make it a meal.

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

Next, we make the stuffing. Brown-butter and sage infused breadcrumbs are the first step. If you have not yet discovered infusing brown butter with fresh herbs, do it right now. You will not be sorry and it will truly elevate any dish you make.

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

Now we combine the breadcrumbs with sausage, bacon and cheese (told you, we’re rounding out the meal here!) Finally, we drizzle any leftover marinade into the stuffing mixture. Since we’re not marinating meat, we don’t need to worry about any sort of cross-contamination which in turn means no waste. Yay! Plus, once you taste this marinade you will not want to waste one bit of it. The balsamic, olive oil and garlic are just a flavor explosion in your mouth and balance perfectly with the saltiness of the components in the stuffing.

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

Stuff the bello’s, pop ‘em in the oven, and 15 minutes later you’re well on your way to a lovely weeknight meal. Eat ‘em while they’re hot, but they do reheat well so, essentially, you’re fed for the whole week. More time for cookies, cakes and pies? I think so!!

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 leaves of fresh sage
  • 1 ¼ cups multigrain bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup panko
  • 3 slices applewood smoked bacon
  • 2 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
  • ¾ cup mixed shredded cheese (I use the Quattro Formaggi mix from Trader Joe's)

Instructions

  1. Combine the minced garlic, olive oil and balsamic in a small bowl. Divide the Portobello mushrooms between two gallon-sized resealable bags (two per bag) and pour half of the marinade into each. Toss to coat the mushrooms in the marinade and then place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to a couple of hours.
  2. Once mushrooms are done marinating, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and begin to make the stuffing. Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted most of the way, add the sage leaves. Let the butter finish melting and continue to cook until brown specks begin to appear. Remove the sage leaves and reserve for later.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs and panko to the butter on the stove. Chop up the reserved sage leaves and add those back in as well. Cook over medium heat until the breadcrumb mixture begins to turn light golden brown. Pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Spray the same sauté pan with some nonstick cooking spray and then add the bacon. Cook until golden and just crispy. It is important not to overcook the bacon in this step. Once cooked, remove from pan and set on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
  5. Next, in the same sauté pan and using the grease from the bacon, add the sausage. Cook until lightly browned, then add to the mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs. Chop up the bacon and add that as well. Finally, add the cheese.
  6. Remove the mushrooms from their plastic bags and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Pour any remaining marinade into the stuffing mixture and stir to coat. Divide the stuffing up amongst the four Portobellos and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Perfect when paired with a light green salad.

Notes

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Because of the heartiness of the mushroom and the richness of the stuffing, a red wine would be best suited for this dish. Depending on your personal preferences, either a Pinot Noir or a Cabernet Sauvignon would be lovely.

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Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobellos | CaliGirl Cooking

I’m ready for my closeup.