MasterChef Junior: Family Favorites

This week’s MasterChef Junior started out with a Mystery Box Challenge that wasn’t so much of a mystery.  Thanks to a floating banana from the sky, the home cooks are not surprised to find bunches of bananas under their boxes.  Bananas are one of my absolute favorite foods, so I love this challenge!

Gordon, Joe, and Graham taste Jenna’s, Nathan’s, and Ryan Kate’s.


Nathan wins!  How could he not with those mouth-watering macarons?!  He wins an advantage in the elimination challenge, which Gordon’s youngest daughter, Matilda Ramsay, comes out to announce.

Twelve-year-old Tilly explains that the one dish the Ramsay kids always request their father make is salmon en croûte with hollandaise sauce, baby potatoes, and minted peas.  The kids will basically taste it/make it (for those of you who watch Hell’s Kitchen) but with a little help from Matilda, who lists the ingredients for the dish which they also find on their stations.

Though Tilly sports a British accent, she pronounces basil like an American, much to her father's chagrin.  Gordon teases her about this, but she's adamant it's bay-zil.

Though Tilly sports a British accent, she pronounces basil like an American, much to her father’s chagrin. Gordon teases her about this, but she’s adamant it’s bay-zil.

Nathan doesn’t have to cook, instead he gets to eat a salmon en croûte prepared by Gordon Ramsay himself.

The kids try to replicate Gordon’s dish, with varying degrees of success:

Gordon's dish is in the center.  How did the kids do?!

Gordon’s dish is in the center. How did the kids do?!

Jenna | salmon perfect, pastry cooked beautifully, even the hollandaise  came together!
Andrew | just nailed it, overall excellent!
Kayla | way too much pastry, and it’s raw, very little salmon.
Ayla | the sauce is spicy, but the salmon, the hero, is perfect!
Ryan Kate | overcooked her salmon
Riley | pastry is raw, potatoes need more color, hollandaise is broken.
Jimmy | visually, near perfect, and the taste aligns!

The top two are Jimmy and Andrew, whose the real winner.  On the bottom, we have Kayla, Riley, and Ryan Kate.

Ryan Kate is eliminated, and I literally gasp out loud.  Riley is also eliminated.  I’m really shocked at these results, as I thought Ryan Kate had been a strong contender and Kayla was looking a bit weak lately.  Let’s hope she can make a come back!  It’s just Jenna and Kayla hanging in there for the girls, now.

I’ll miss Ryan Kate, who cooks with such maturity.  I’ll miss Riley, with statements like he “made a lot of nice friends.”  It goes without saying that they are both very talented!

Six left means the competition is really getting down to the wire!  Can’t wait to see what these kids do next!

Cooking for Lazy People: Smoothie Edition

Welcome to another edition of Cooking for Lazy People.  This time, it’s Ninja Adventures!  And by that, I mean my blender with which I made this delicious peanut butter banana smoothie!


I got my Ninja blender for Christmas last year.  Kitchen gadgets are adult toys, so this makes sense, yeah?  After assembly, I was slightly afraid of the behemoth blender.  I’d dabbled in milkshakes, but never really knew how to construct a smoothie.  A couple of weeks back, with two mushy bananas on my counter, I decided it was time to face my fears.

I felt a bit like iJustine, who does ton of Ninja “cooking,” very much in the way I made this smoothie: throw things in there and hope for the best.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tray of ice cubes (12)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter
  • honey, to taste

Here’s what you do:

Just throw it in there and blend it all up!  I keep my finger on the pulse button until things look smooth.  Then I give it another few quick pulses for good luck.

This makes three drinking glass sized portions– too much for one sitting, if you ask me.  I usually have one to drink, then refrigerate the rest in a big tumbler for breakfast the next day.  Things separate a big over night, but a good shake takes care of that!

This is delicious (akin to the Jimmy Carter at Boloco, if you’re familiar) and comes with minimal guilt!

I’m looking for more smoothie recipes to try out, so leave me some good ones in the comments!