Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hard Candy

This was ALL my husband! After a peanut brittle fiasco, he decided I would do well to have a candy thermometer. (He was right. I thrive on accuracy.) With our new instrument came watermelon flavor oil. He instantly wanted to make hard candy. We brought home our findings and he set to work. The result was perfection! Way to go, Babe! (ps. we halved the recipe and it made about 2-3 cups of broken candy.)

3-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon or peppermint or other flavor oil
1 tsp red or green (or desired) food coloring

Prepare a cookie sheet with a coating of oil and a dusting of powdered sugar.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook on medium high heat until candy thermometer reads 300 degrees (hard crack stage), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in oil and food coloring, keeping face away from mixture as odor is very strong. Immediately pour onto an oiled cookie sheet. Cool; break into pieces. Store in airtight containers.

Yields: about 2 pounds

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pumpkin Nut Bread

In preparation of our 2nd annual Pastors' Christmas Open House party at our home I have been baking up a storm. Lots and lots and millions of cookies. I figured some people might appreciate a loaf of deliciousness. A change from the cookies. I found this recipe from Good Things Catered and new I had to try it. Katie's recipes have been very big successes for me in the past and this just sounded too delicious.

It is.
You will love it.
Perfectly moist.
Perfectly spiced.

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. chopped walnuts, plus more for topping

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare loaf pan (or mini loaf pans)
-In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, salt, spices and whisk to combine.
-In large bowl of mixer beat oil, butter and sugars until creamy until lightened in color and texture, about 3 minutes.
-Beat in eggs one at a time.
-Add pumpkin puree and beat until combined; scrape down sides of bowl.
-Add milk and vanilla and beat until combined; scrape down sides of bowl.
-With mixer on lowest setting, add flour mixture just until barely combined.
-Remove bowl from mixer and fold in 1 c. walnuts.
-Scrape batter into pan(s) and spread evenly.
-Top with extra chopped walnuts and place into oven.
-Bake about until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour for regular loaf and 35-40 minutes for mini loaf.
-Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 20 minutes.
-Turn out onto wire rack and let cool completely.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Unstuffed Green Pepper Soup

My mom passed this recipe along to me from an awesome soups cookbook. (I'll let you know the title as soon as I can remember it.) It sounds (and tastes) a lot like a hearty chili and my dad told me it was "awesome." (Which is a really high compliment from him!) Kevin and I were both big fans!

The "hardest" part of this soup is probably preparing all 3 green peppers or opening all the cans. :)
Also, I might recommend leaving the rice out of the pot of soup and adding to to individual bowls at the time of serving. Otherwise most of the liquids are absorbed into the rice (meaning you might have to add some extra liquids to eat this as leftovers...which there are a LOT of when you're serving 2. I would say this could serve 5-10 people depending on serving sizes.)

3 green peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 pound ground beef (I used only 1 lb--half lean ground beef, half lean ground turkey), browned
1 (4oz) can mushrooms, drained
2 (14oz) cans tomato soup
2 (14.5 oz) cans beef broth (I used 3 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 3 cups water)
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
crushed red pepper flakes (Optional)
chili powder (optional, I used 1-2 Tbsp)
1-1/2 cup uncooked rice (cooked separately to yield 3 cups)

In a large dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook onions and garlic until beginning to soften (5 minutes). Add green peppers, stir occasionally and keep covered until softened.

In the meantime using a separate skillet brown ground meat.

Add salt and pepper to the onions and peppers in the dutch oven as desired. Stir in mushrooms. Stir in ground meat. Add in crushed tomatoes, tomato soup, beef broth. Stir to incorporate. Heat to a low bubble, stirring frequently. Add in crushed red pepper and chili powder as desired (or leave out altogether.) Add the rice when ready to serve (or leave out of the large pot and add desired amount to each individual serving.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Swirled Cinnamon-Apple Bread

If you have a bread machine, this recipe is a must! It's perfectly delicious and (I believe) tastes just like the cinnamon swirl bread you can buy in the store. It's amazing as toast, but if you like apples and you like cinnamon than you should like this bread any old way. Kevin was a huge was I!

This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens: Bread Machine Bounty.

1/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 cups flour or bread flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry or bread machine yeast
1/2 cup peeled, shredded apple (about 1 apple)
3/4 cup peeled, finely chopped apple
1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts or pecans (this would be amazing, but we had none and it was fine without!)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
Powdered sugar

Add first 8 ingredients to machine according to manufacturer's directions. (Always add liquid ingredients first, then dry ingredients (should be floating on top of liquids), then make a small well in the dry ingredients and add yeast LAST--being sure the yeast never comes in contact with the liquids or it will be activated too soon.) Select dough cycle.
When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, for filling, in a medium mixing bowl stir together the chopped apple, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

On lightly floured surface roll dough into a 14x9 inch rectangle. Spread with 1 Tbsp margarine or butter and filling. Beginning at both short ends, roll each end up jelly roll style to the center (I totally missed this and rolled it all one worked just fine). Place loaf, rolled side up (or down if rolled in one direction like I did), in a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise till almost double (about 30 minutes).

Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or till bread sounds hollow when top is tapped with your fingers. If necessary loosely cover with foil the last 10 minutes to prevent overbrowning. (I ended up baking it for almost 20 extra minutes and it still wasn't sounding hollow as most loaves do, but it looked done so I called it done and it was fine.) Remove from pan. Cool on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Homemade Pasta

This is something I never thought I'd try but it's SO incredibly easy I can't imagine not! I am Italian after all, so I can't shame my ancestors. :) Don't be afraid. You can do this. It's 50 times easier than bread making and even cookie making. Try it! I think you'll love it! (This recipe is from the Betty Crockpot Cookbook)

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cups water
1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
Italian seasoning or other herbs, if desired

In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add eggs, water and oil to well; mix thoroughly. (If dough is too sticky gradually add more flour while kneading. If dough is too dry, mix in enough water to make dough easy to handle.)

Gather dough into a ball. On lightly floured surface, knead 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth and springy. Place in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap to stand for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. On lightly floured surface roll one fourth of the dough at a time into a rectangle, 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick ( keep remaining dough covered while working). Loosely fold rectangle lengthwise into thirds. (I didn't fold into thirds as my pasta kept sticking together. A little too wet still I guess.) Cut (with a large knife or pizza cutter) crosswise into 2 inch strips for lasagna, 1/4 inch strips for fettuccine or 1/8 inch strips for linguine. Unfold and gently shake out strips. (The cutting "rules" are completely fluid. Do whatever the heck you want.) Hang on pasta drying rack or arrange in a single layer on a lightly floured towel.

Let stand 30+ minutes or until dry. (If using a pasta machine, pass dough through machine until 1/16 inch thick.)

In 6-8 qt saucepan, heat 4 quarts water (salted, to flavor the pasta...ALWAYS salt pasta water!) to boiling. Add pasta. Boil uncovered 2 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally until firm but tender. Begin testing for doneness when pasta rises to the surface of the water. Drain pasta.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cheesy Potatoes and Broccoli

This dish could easily serve four people as a side dish or overly fill two people's plates for a main course. Kevin requested some sort of cheese and potatoes combination for dinner. I decided to get creative. The results were perfect. Exactly what I was tasting in my head.

1-2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1-2 Tbsp flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 1-1/2 c milk (skim works fine)
1/2 cup cheese (I used velveeta)
2 medium or large potatoes, sliced thinly
1 cup broccoli florets (frozen)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat a small sauce pan to medium. Add the butter and melt. Whisk in flour to create the roux (thickening agent useful in many soups and gravies). Add minced garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant and softened. Whisk in milk. Stir until thickened. (You have just created a bechamel or white sauce.) Add more milk if mixture is too thick. Stir in grated or cubed cheese. Cook until cheese is melted and mixture is a desired consistency.
Coat an 8x8 cooking pan with nonstick spray. Place potatoes and broccoli in pan. Pour sauce over top. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir. Bake another 10 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Simple Fantasy Fudge

This recipe is adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens posting given to me by Mrs. Shaner, a fellow church member. I had 1/2 cup of evaporated milk leftover from the pumpkin cake my mom made for Thanksgiving and so I ignored the indicated amount of evaporated milk (2/3 cup) and hoped it would work. I was fairly certain it would be fine having compared it to another recipe.

It turned out beautifully and OH so delicious! I hope to try the Peanut Butter-Chocolate Fudge variation sometime soon!

1-1/2 cups sugar
1- 5oz can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk (I used 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
2 cups tiny marshmallows (or 20 large)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Line an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil with non-stick spray; set pan aside.
Butter (or spray) the sides of a 2 quart heavy saucepan (to keep the fudge from sticking too much.) In saucepan melt butter. Add in sugar and evaporated milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 6 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add marshmallows, chocolate pieces, vanilla and walnuts. Stir until marshmallows and chocolate melt (may need to set over still-warm burner to melt the larger marshmallows, if using) and mixture is combine. Beat by hand for 1 minute.

Spread fudge evenly in the prepared pan. Score into squares while warm. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until firm. When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of the pan. Cut fudge into squares. Store tightly covered in the fridge for up to one month.

Makes about 2 pounds (64 pieces; I cut mine in 36)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge:
Prepared as directed above except substitute 1/2 cup peanut butter for the butter and, if desired, peanuts for the walnuts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cinnamon Snaps

When I saw this recipe on Pam's wonderful food blog, I couldn't help but try them. I love cinnamon! When I compared this recipe to Pioneer Woman's Spicy Molasses Cookie I realized they're almost identical--which the exception of the spices and the butter. Kevin loved these much more than the Spicy Molasses Cookies as they don't have the "bite" that comes with the addition of cloves & ginger. I love both of them.

3/4 cup of butter, softened (I used shortening and it was great!)
1 cup of brown sugar (could substitute white sugar)
1 egg
1/4 cup of molasses
2 1/4 cups of flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the softened butter and brown sugar with a mixer until creamy; add the egg and molasses and mix well. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and gently mix together. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixer until well combined.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls and dip into the raw sugar; place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes; cool on wire racks. Enjoy.

Yields: 2-1/2 dozen

Oatmeal and Pie Spice Cookies

I've been receiving the Real Simple "cookie of the day" email and these looked perfect. (Especially since I so rarely use my pumpkin pie spice.) Though the dough was thick and a little dry, they turned out deliciously. Soft and thick and hearty! Delicious!

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon apple pie or pumpkin pie spice (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

Heat oven to 375° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the butter, brown and granulated sugars, corn syrup, and vanilla for 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and pie spice. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir in the oatmeal.
Form the dough into tablespoon-size mounds. Place on the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned at the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks. Cool completely.

Eggs in a Basket

I can't remember where the idea for this breakfast came from. I'd heard of "eggs in a basket" before, but I didn't exactly know what I was doing. The first time around was tasty but not exactly the way the baskets were meant to be. :) This breakfast isn't really any different then toast and eggs but Hey! it's fun! And Kevin's loves it!

2 pieces large bread
2 large eggs

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Use a knife or a biscuit cutter to cut a circle out of the center of each slice. Place the slices butter-side down in a skillet or griddle preheated to medium-high. Crack one of the eggs into a small dish. Pour slowing into the cut out center of the bread. Repeat with the second egg. (Feel free to grill the cut out circles as well!) Spray the uncooked baskets with cooking spray. Cook until bread is nicely browned (about 5 minutes). Flip over and cook for just a minute or two (too much longer and the yolks will set.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mama's Chili

This chili says "home" to me. I am not a picky eater in the least. And I love "chili" because it means something different to everyone. Some people make theirs extra thick or spicy or with chicken. The options are endless and I enjoy trying every variety. But this recipe in particular comes from my mom's recipes. And though I don't normally follow recipes to the T, I did this time because I had a hankering for Mom's chili. It's just the perfect thickness and you can add as much chili powder or Tabasco sauce that you want if you love heat. And don't forget about the endless topping options. :) Tonight, I'm serving this with a loaf of fresh white bread. What's better than that?!

Actually the reason I'm making this tonight is because I just found out an hour ago that my parents my arriving at our home tonight. Oops. Totally missed that memo. I guess I thought we were meeting them at Kevin's parents' house tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner. I was cracking up as I overhead the conversation Kevin was having with my mom as she said they should have left the house a while ago. What?! Tonight?! I wanted to have something for them to eat when they arrived and I wanted it to be home cooked but not overly strenuous. This chili goes together in 30 minutes or less. Then just let it simmer away to goodness. :)

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2-8 oz cans tomato sauce
2-15 oz cans kidney beans
1 tsp salt
3-4 tsp chili powder
2 bay leaves

Brown the ground beef in a 6 quart sauce pan. Add onion, green pepper and garlic. Saute until softened. Add spices. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Season additionally as desired. Cover and simmer for at least one hour.

Serve with extra hot sauce, grated cheese, sour cream, crackers, cilantro or anything you feel like adding. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mel's Own Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok. You may have to forget everything I've ever said about chocolate chip cookies. I may have just created a new perfect cookie. Though Kevin and I are still huge fans of the flavor of the cookies with all butter, the texture and thickness of this cookie is phenomenal (not as flat as the all-butter cookie. Butter melts at a lower temperature, thus butter cookies spread more.) We both agree that this recipe replaces "The perfect" chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I'll let you decide for yourself. These are a bit softer and flatter than "the perfect" ones. They have more vanilla (a flavor we love) and the ratio of the fats to the flour changes everything. Please don't forget the refrigeration stage. SO important for this recipe.

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 to 2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Soften the margarine. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl using a whisk and set aside.
Beat margarine, shortening, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until completely combined and creamy. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk and beat until combined. Gradually (in three additions) mix in flour mixture, beating just until combined (do NOT overmix!). Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are just brown and middle is not quite set yet. Cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Before adding more dough to warm cookie sheets, place sheet in freezer for 5-7 minutes to cool.
Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Soft & Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I've said I don't try other chocolate chip cookie recipes simply because Kevin absolutely loves "the perfect" recipe I use and will hardly tolerate me trying a new one. :) But alas, I caved. I wanted a different recipe--preferably one with all butter (since it's on sale at our Aldi for $1.49 a pound!) and one which had been road tested and approved by a fellow foodie whom I respect and admire. I hit up Michelle at the BrownEyedBaker and found what I was looking for. Though I'm still trying to figure out the cooking capabilities of my new oven and new baking sheets (and may have over baked a few batches), they still turned out scrumptious. (I don't even want to know how many I ate! eek!) Don't let the thin look deceive you into thinking this is a crunchy cookie. Though the edges may be, these turned out exactly as Michelle predicted--"thin, not cakey, soft, chewy and gooey." Yum!

*note: these cookies are even better the next day. Soft and Gooey is right!

Chelle’s Soft & Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Microwave butter for 30 seconds, stir and set aside. Do not worry if it is not completely melted.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk and beat until combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture, beating just until combined (do NOT overmix!). Stir in chocolate chips.
Refrigerate dough for 15-30 minutes.
Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are just brown and middle is not quite set yet. Cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Before adding more dough to warm cookie sheets, place sheet in freezer for 5-7 minutes to cool.
Store in an airtight container.

Recipe yielded 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Once again, Joy the Baker has brought something wonderful into my world. Anything with "chocolate" in the title twice is worth baking, am I right?! This bread is almost chocolate cake-like...the perfect thing for the day after my birthday! It was deliciously amazing. I loved finding those melted bits of chocolate. It was like gold! Eating a slice with a glass of cold milk was perfection. Kevin really liked it as well though he says it's equal to "normal" banana bread. I almost wouldn't qualify it as banana bread. I think of it in a chocolate category all it's own.

It's like cake you can eat for breakfast!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan (or two mini loaf pans--2x6") and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets one on top of the other. This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute until soft. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more. Add the egs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Still on low sweep, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 3o minutes. Cover the bread loosely with a foil tend to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40-45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 and 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Most everyone (or at least most kids) love a good Rice Krispie Treat. I know I do. I've made a couple pans before but struggled to get the right consistency. It probably had something to do with the age of my marshmallows, honestly. :) This batch turned out just right! And if you love peanut butter as much as I do, definitely go with "option 2"--1 Tbsp butter and 1/3 cup peanut butter. I forgot I wanted to add the peanut butter, so I have a bit more "fat" added to mine than is necessary, but I'm ok with that. They're still delicious little buggers. (After serving these peanut butter krispies tonight to teens and twenty-somethings the verdict is: these things rock!)

This particular recipe is a combination of the Kellogg's Rice Krispie Treat recipe and a recipe from Cooking Light Cookbook.

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- OR- 1 Tbsp butter and 1/3 cup peanut butter
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
- OR - 4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies® 9r other puffed rice

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.
Using buttered spatula or wax paper or greased hands evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

I know, I'm on some sort of a pancake kick. I'm ok with that. Aren't you? Who doesn't love pancakes? Seriously.

I found this recipe in my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook. I figured the recipe "as is" wouldn't be nearly as good as Joy's Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Pancakes, so I changed a few things here and there. This recipe is my edited version.

Makes 5- 5" pancakes (thick!)

1 egg
1 cup ap or whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk*

*buttermilk can be made by adding just under 1Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice to the milk.

In medium bowl, beat the egg until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients just until combined. Batter may be lumpy. Don't over mix. Heat griddle over medium heat. It is ready when you drip water on it and the droplets jump around and sizzle. Pour batter onto a hot griddle using 1/4 cup or a small ladle. Flip when bubbles form and pop. Enjoy with syrup or a topping of your choice!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sausage and Peppers Over Pasta

This one pot dinner (well, two I guess because of cooking the pasta) is absolutely delicious. That is, assuming you love Italian staples like sausage, green peppers, garlic, onions, and of course spaghetti. I came up with the idea this morning, knowing Kevin had mentioned sausage as a desired main dish for the week.

Ingredients (for 2)
2 sausage links, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1/4 large onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
pasta sauce, homemade or store-bought (I like Prego. Or Meijer brand.)
Spaghetti (desired amount)

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp oil. Saute onions, peppers, and garlic until soft and fragrant. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan. Add sausage slices and let them brown on each side. Stir skillet contents together, being sure to scrape up the browned bits of sausage to add flavor. Pour in 1-2 cups pasta sauce. Heat through.

Meanwhile, cook pasta. Drain and stir into sauce. Serve and enjoy!