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BANANAS FOR BREAKFAST, BRUNCH OR DESSERT

Bananas au Gratin is an unusual and easy-to-make entree for a breakfast or brunch party. You can make it the day before and then just put it under the broiler for a few minutes, and it's ready to serve. This same recipe can also be served as a delicious and healthy dessert. I like to make it in individual au gratin dishes for individual servings, but it can also be made in a large baking dish, which is ideal for buffet service. I recently gave this recipe to a friend of mine who wanted to serve it for her daughter's birthday party. She served it with chocolate milk and graham crackers spread with peanut butter, and the kids all loved it.

BANANAS AU GRATIN

2 cups (1 pint) low-fat cottage cheese

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 bananas

4 graham-cracker squares, crumbled

Ground cinnamon, for garnish
Combine the cottage cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon rind and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread the blended cheese mixture in a shallow 7-by-12-inch glass baking dish or put 1/4 cup of the mixture into each of 8 individual au gratin dishes.

Thinly slice the bananas, and spread the slices evenly on top of the cheese mixture. If using individual dishes, put half a sliced banana on top of each serving.

Sprinkle the top evenly with the graham-cracker crumbs and then sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Place under the broiler until hot and lightly browned. Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains approximately 131 calories, 2 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 251 milligrams sodium, 21 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 2 grams fiber.

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