How to Make a Cheap, Nutritious, and Delicious Banana Pudding
Banana Pudding needn't be decadent or expensive to be delicious! In this version, I use one percent milk to make the pudding and plenty of bananas, which are what the dessert is about! The pudding is inexpensive to make and is a great weeknight dessert. It's sweet, but not overly so. Again, the bananas provide the best sweetness. I use cheap "Maria Cookies"--which are thin, lightly sweetened cracker-like cookies--in the pudding, but vanilla wafers are the standard and will work fine. So will animal crackers. Use what you have and like. Even chocolate chip cookies--homemade or store-bought--will work and taste great in the pudding (and it's fine if they are a little dry, because the cookies will absorb moisture from the pudding, which is what you want). You can make the pudding in minutes using the microwave. Growing up, we used to eat the banana pudding my mom made while the pudding was warm, primarily because my mom worked (hard!) and didn't have time to let the pudding cool. Nonetheless, the pudding was incredible warm, and there usually wasn't much left of it to cool off! If you do have time to let the pudding cool, go for it! The pudding will soften the cookies, firm up, and taste amazingly good for something so simple. Enjoy!
Simple Banana Pudding -- Serves 4+
2 1/2 cups of milk (1 percent or more is fine), divided
1/3 cup of sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 medium-large bananas
12-18 cookies (Maria cookies, vanilla wafers, etc.)
Whipped topping or sweetened whipped cream
In a large microwave-safe bowl or measure whisk together well 2 cups of milk and the sugar. Microwave the milk mixture for 2 minutes, whisk it well, and microwave the milk mixture another 30 seconds. In a small bowl or cup stir together well the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with the cornstarch until the cornstarch blends into the milk. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the microwaved milk mixture. Microwave the mixture for a minute, whisk it, and microwave it again for another minute. If it hasn't thickened enough to coat a spoon, microwave the mixture again for another 30-45 seconds. Whisk in the vanilla. The pudding should have thickened by this time so that it looks/has the texture of a medium-thick gravy. Place half of the cookies in a heat-proof serving dish or bowl. Pour half of the pudding over the cookies. Slice the peeled bananas evenly over the pudding. Place the remaining cookies on top of the bananas. Pour the remaining pudding over the cookies. Let the pudding cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it for at least a couple of hours. Top the pudding with whipped topping or whipped cream and serve the pudding in bowls.