Dina Cheney

Author, Still Life Painter, Recipe Creator, Photographer

Healthier Banana Brownies

Desserts, Edible Gifts, SnackDina CheneyComment

Makes 8

Ripe bananas are the secret ingredient in these moist, rich brownies. The fruit adds sweetness and moisture, which allows for a smaller amount of added oil and sweetener. Plus, these treats are whole-grain! I can assure you - no one will notice the difference!

Nonstick cooking spray

1 four-oz. bar 60% semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped

2 medium-sized ripe bananas

1/2 cup safflower, grapeseed, or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave, about 1 minute and 20 seconds (microwave in 45 second increments, and stir). Let the chocolate cool to slightly warm. To the melted chocolate, whisk in the bananas, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Use a potato masher to mash the bananas, and stir together the ingredients until well mixed.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, coconut sugar, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, and stir together until well-blended (but do not over-mix).
  3. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish, and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out with only a couple of moist crumbs, about 30 minutes (check after 25 minutes). Let cool, chill, and then cut into 8 squares.

Korean Steak Lettuce Wraps with Grilled Peaches

Dinner, LunchDina CheneyComment

Serves 4

Grilled peaches add sweetness and color to grilled steak with a Korean-inspired marinade. Fresh romaine lettuce provides crunch, and gochujang sauce makes everything taste amazing!

½ cup apple juice

¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 TBSP gochujang sauce (plus about 1/4 cup extra for serving)

1 TBSP sesame oil

1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce

1 heaping TBSP chopped ginger

Scant 2 lbs trimmed skirt or flank steak

Vegetable oil for the grill

Salt to taste

8 romaine lettuce hearts, washed, dried, and chilled

2 cups cooked white sushi rice

1-1/2 cups large dice ripe peaches

2 TBSP thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only

  1. Add the juice, vinegar, gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and steak to a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat the grill to medium-high, and carefully oil. Pat the steak very dry and season on both sides with salt. Grill until medium-rare or cooked to your liking, turning over halfway through, about 15 minutes total for flank steak or 10 minutes for skirt steak. Let the steak rest for about 10 minutes, then slice thinly on the bias against the grain.
  3. While the steak grills, place the peach chunks on two metal skewers, sprinkle lightly with salt to taste, and grill until the fruit is tender, but still retains its shape, turning over halfway through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Arrange the romaine cups on a large platter. Place some rice in each cup. Top with some steak, grilled peaches, scallions, and a drizzle of gochujang sauce. Serve immediately.

Matcha Granola with Local Strawberries

Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Edible Gifts, SnackDina CheneyComment

Makes about 4 1/2 cups

Serve this gorgeous green granola with local strawberries, cherries, or pomegranate seeds, with or without coconut (or dairy) yogurt.

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 cups raw quick oats

1 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, minced

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. matcha powder

  1. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When warm, add the oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and ginger, and cook, stirring, until the oats are coated with the oil, about 3 minutes. Add the agave nectar and salt, and cook, stirring, until the agave nectar evenly coats the oats and the granola is very lightly golden, about another 4 minutes. Stir in the matcha powder.



Green Grape Slushie

Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Drinks, SnackDina CheneyComment

Serves 2

This refreshing three-ingredient dessert or snack is delicious--and sweetener-free!

4 cups seedless green grapes, frozen for at least 3 hours

1 lime, zested and juiced

1/8 tsp salt

  1. To a high-speed blender, add grapes, all of the lime zest, half of the lime juice, and salt. Puree until you achieve a slushy consistency, about 12 seconds. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Cornbread

Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, SnackDina CheneyComment

Serves 8

This tender quick bread is simple to prepare, and makes ideal use of fresh, local berries. Dairy-free, it is lightly sweetened and wholesome. To make it more decadent, drizzle with pure maple syrup before serving.

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup cornflour or fine-ground cornmeal

1 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup coconut sugar, brown sugar, or Sucanat

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1-1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla cashew milk

1/4 cup safflower or olive oil

2 large eggs

1 cup halved small hulled strawberries, preferably local

  1. Preheat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk together cashew milk, oil, and eggs. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish. Arrange the strawberry halves around the top. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out with just a couple of crumbs, about 35 minutes.