As the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep people indoors, more and more home cooks are reaching for comfort-food recipes — easy, satisfying dishes they can make with the ingredients they have on hand.
A new TODAY Food video series aims to meet that need: "Cooking in Pajamas" will feature chefs and home cooks sharing their favorite pantry-friendly comfort-food recipes, made in their own kitchens. And just like the rest of us, they'll be staying comfy in their pajamas the whole time.
Katie Lee, co-host of "The Kitchen" on Food Network and a TODAY regular, kicked off the series with her "super simple" blender banana pancake recipe, joking that she was cooking in sweatpants instead of pajamas because they were the only things that fit her at four and a half months pregnant.
"Literally, nothing I own fits me. My husband has seen me in these sweats about 90 times during this quarantine," she joked, adding that her husband, TV producer Ryan Biegel, was serving as her cameraman for the video.
Lee started the recipe by pulsing a cup of oats in a blender until they have a flour-like consistency. Next, she added a cup of plain yogurt, adding that it could be easily substituted with flavored yogurt or cottage cheese.
Next, Lee added a "really ripe" banana, adding that she likes the way the pancakes taste similar to banana bread. Once again, she said, you can tweak this step to match your tastes. She's made the same recipe in the past with canned pumpkin and suggested that leftover sweet potatoes could also work.
Then she cracked two eggs directly into the blender.
"We've got our fiber from our oats, we've got our protein and our calcium from our yogurt and now, more protein from two eggs," said Lee. "So you can feel pretty good about these pancakes."
Finally, for some flavor, she added half a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
"I don't put any sugar in these pancakes because I find that I get enough sweetness when I add maple syrup at the end, but you could totally add a couple tablespoons of sugar," Lee said. "You could put some honey in here as well, or the maple syrup could go right in."
She then blended those ingredients together and greased her preheated griddle with butter, preparing for the pancake pour.
"My grandma always cooked her pancakes in butter, and I think it's really worth it, because it makes a nice little crispy edge around them," Lee said.
She then poured the batter straight from the blender onto the griddle, using about a quarter cup of batter per pancake. She let them cook for about two minutes, added a sprinkle of chopped walnuts for some texture and then flipped them, allowing them to cook for another minute.
"We're not just cooking in pajamas — we're eating in pajamas, too!" Lee said as she prepared to dig into the pancakes. She also noted that the pancakes could be premade, frozen and popped into the toaster to eat whenever a craving strikes.