Banana Oatmeal Muffins: A Recipe of Odds and Ends

Today on Serious Eats: Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread. A quick, idiot-proof brown bread just in time for St. Patty’s Day.

When you really start cooking for yourself, the best part (beyond the actual eating) is amassing a collection of foods you never thought you’d try, much less learn to love. My kitchen is filled with flavor right now, ranging from vinegars, spices, herbs, and oils to starches, baking supplies, and preserves. I couldn’t have imagined this in college, when my pantry consisted of ketchup and five boxes of Kix.

However, there is a dark side to the glorious assembly.

Filling the nooks and crannies of my shelves, between the grand boxes of lasagna noodles and flasks of sesame oil, are a billion little bags of atypical, mostly-used edibles. Currently, they consist of:
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3/4 vanilla bean
  • 7 vials of food coloring (3 primary, 4 neon)
  • 3 half-full jars of honey
  • 8 pistachios
  • 12 unshelled peanuts
  • 1 small jar chocolate sauce (from 2008)
  • 1 frozen bag yellow tomato slices
  • 6 coffee samples
  • 1/2 box superfine sugar
  • 2/3 huge bag masa harina
  • 4 to 6 drops peppermint extract
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream (I can never tell when it goes bad.)
  • Red curry paste from before I was born (or thereabouts)
  • 1 jar organic tahini, minus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 canister Crystal Lite pink lemonade
  • More tea than any 15 people need (Note: I don’t drink tea.)
  • So many capers. SO. MANY. CAPERS.
The capers, tahini, evaporated milk, and various odds and ends will eventually be turned into a recipe. Other items (and I’m looking at you, chocolate sauce from the beginning of time) will probably suck up space until we move.

Consequently, I love dishes that can eliminate two or three strange elements. Banana Oatmeal Muffins is just such a recipe. Sure, it’s easy, delicious, and makes for an excellent on-the-go breakfast, but you can also throw in just about anything to jazz it up. (Note: except the capers. That would be bad.)

Have a half a bag of oat flour? It goes in here. Two about-to-go-bad bananas? Gone. A few Craisins? Plop ‘em in the bowl. Pistachios, peanuts, honey – even that jar of chocolate sauce wouldn’t be out of place. (Er, maybe.) Your taste buds are your only limits.

So, to end this post, a toast: Here’s to all those little weird things clogging up your cabinets. May they fill your muffins as much as your heart. (Or something.)

If you like this recipe, you might also dig:

Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 muffins.
Adapted from Half-Baked Baker.

1 1/4 cup rolled oats (I used Quaker Old-Fashioned – Kris)
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

NOTE: If you do not have oat flour on hand (which I don’t), simply whirl 2 cups rolled oats in a food processor until they reach a flour-like consistency. This will create about 1 1/2 cups oat flour.

1) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2) In a large bowl, stir oats, sour cream, and milk together until combined. Set aside for 10 minutes.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

4) In a small bowl, mix raisins and all-purpose flour. Set aside.

5) To the oat/sour cream mixture, add brown sugar, vegetable oil, bananas, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Add oat flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Add raisins. Stir until incorporated.

6) Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray (or use muffin cups). Evenly distribute batter among cups. Bake 18-20 minutes, until muffins are golden brown and they pass the toothpick test. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Flip muffins out of pan. Enjoy warm or let cool completely.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
226 calories, 8.3 g fat, 3 g fiber, $0.33

NOTE: My oat flour calculations are for food-processed oatmeal, as described in the note above.
1 1/4 cup rolled oats (Quaker Old-Fashioned): 375 calories, 7.5 g fat, 10 g fiber, $0.34
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream: 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.89
1/2 cup skim milk: 45 calories, 0.4 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.12
1 1/2 cups oat flour: 600 calories, 12 g fat, 16 g fiber, $0.54
1/2 tsp cinnamon: 3 calories, 0 g fat, 0.6 g fiber, $0.01
1/2 tsp nutmeg: 6 calories, 0.4 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, $0.03
1/2 tsp salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
2 tsp baking powder: 5 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.07
1 tsp baking soda: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed: 344 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.29
1/3 cup vegetable oil: 646 calories, 73.1 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.48
2 large ripe bananas, mashed: 242 calories, 0.8 g fat, 7.1 g fiber, $0.46
1 large egg, lightly beaten: 74 calories, 5 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.21
1 teaspoon vanilla extract: 12 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.05
1/2 cup raisins: 217 calories, 0.4 g fat, 2.7 g fiber, $0.44
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour: 27 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, $0.01
TOTAL: 2716 calories, 99.7 g fat, 36.8 g fiber, $3.96
PER SERVING (TOTAL/12): 226 calories, 8.3 g fat, 3 g fiber, $0.33