Friday, April 18, 2014

Strawberry Pancakes


We almost always eat fruit with our pancakes but we don't often eat fruit IN the pancakes.  I love blueberry pancakes but for some reason most of the family prefer the blueberries on the side.  Strawberries are a favorite around here and even when they aren't in season, we eat them all the time.  

I just knew that strawberries in pancakes would be awesome.  But I wasn't sure how the others would go for it. 

I was afraid that the chunks of strawberries would be too big and that they wouldn't cook right.  But I was wrong and they cooked perfectly and the strawberries were perfect. The family completely loved them.  I only regret that I didn't double the batch!

Strawberry Pancakes

1 1/4 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. butter, melted
2 cups sliced strawberries

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In an small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla.  

Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry.  Stir in the melted butter.  The batter should be thick and smooth.  Fold in the strawberries.  Spoon the batter onto a hot pan.  Cook the pancakes until set and bubbly, about 3 minutes.  Flip them with a spatula and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Serve with maple syrup if desired. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup

My baby loves chicken noodle soup.  It's actually the only soup he will eat. He loves Progresso Chicken Noodle and he loves to get it when we eat out too. But his favorite is this homemade chicken noodle soup.  

I often will cook a whole bunch of chicken in the crockpot to use for various meals.  Everytime he sees chicken cooking, he gets an excited look and asks if I'm making soup. Usually I do. It really is super easy to make and he loves it so much.  

Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

1 tbsp. butter
1 cup baby carrots, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 - 3 celery stalks, chopped
4 cups water
4 chicken bouillion cubes
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups egg noodles
1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded

Melt butter in a large pan. Add carrots, onion and celery and cook for about 5 - 7 minutes.  Add water, chicken bouillion, oregano and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Add noodles and cook for about 7 - 8 minutes until done.  Add chicken, stir and serve. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kung Pao Chickpea Tacos

Chinese takeout is my favorite. What I don't like is how I feel after eating it though.  There is always way too much salt and I just never feel good the next day. So if I want to enjoy Asian food, I have to make it myself.  I've made so many recipes that I absolutely love. This is one of the first vegetarian Asian meals that I have made and loved. 

This is seriously the easiest recipe.  We doubled the recipe so we'd have leftovers and I am so glad I did. I ate this for lunch for a few days and it was wonderful. 

The sauce is perfect. Though I absolutely love the tacos, next time I might double the sauce and serve it over rice. Though seriously, tacos rock!

Kung Pao Chickpea Taco Recipe
Adapted from Eats Well With Others

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp dark sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb snow peas, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
  2. Whisk together the soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sriracha.
  3. Heat sesame oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the pepper slices and snow peas and saute until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add in the sauce and chickpeas, and cook until heated through.
  4. Distribute the filling among the tortillas and top with the peanuts. Serve.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Banana Bread Bars

I get excited when we actually have bananas that start to get over ripe. It doesn't happen very often. No matter how many bananas that we buy, they almost always get eaten. I've had to resort to hiding them in order to make banana bread.  

I found this recipe with brown butter frosting and it sounded fantastic. Have you ever had something with browned butter?  It's amazing how it completely changes the taste of what you're making. I absolutely love it. Once you know how to make it, it's easy. It's so much different than just melted butter. You have to wait and wait until it just browns and  starts to smell different and then take it off the stove immediately. I just love the smell of browned butter. I just knew that this frosting would be amazing with the Banana Bars. 

I've actually made this recipe three times.  They are seriously the best Banana Bars.  My daycare kids say it is the best banana cake in the world.  Pretty high honors from 4 year old kids! 

Banana Bread Bars Recipe
Recipe from Veronica's Cornucopia

1 ½ cups (10 ½ oz) granulated sugar

1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
½ cup (4 oz / 1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups (15.25 oz, peeled) over-ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 or 4)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (8 ½ oz) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup (2 oz) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
½ cup (4 oz / 1 stick) butter
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
about 3 tablespoons milk or half and half
Heat oven to 375F. Grease and flour a 10×15 jelly roll pan or line with parchment paper.  I used a baking sheet. For thicker bars you can use a 9×13 pan and bake longer. Beat first four ingredients until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla for one minute. Add dry ingredients and blend for one minute. Stir in nuts if using and spread in pan. The pan will be very full but it won’t rise over the edge during baking. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
For the browned butter frosting: Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat past the melting point until it is boiling and a delicate brown, stirring constantly. The solids will separate and turn into chocolate brown flecks at the bottom of the pan.  Remove from the heat and immediately add the remaining ingredients. This should be thicker than a glaze and thinner than frosting. Using a spatula, smooth over the top of the Banana Bread Bars immediately. The frosting will be easier to spread once it’s on the warm bread.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Parmesan Potato Puffs

We eat a lot of potatoes around here.  Mashed, baked, stuffed and roasted.  They appear as a side dish quite often.  We buy the ginormous bag of potatoes at Costco way more often than someone should. I think. Well, they are healthy so I don't mid so much.  There are worse things we could eat mass amounts of, right? 

These guys are like light and fluffy fried mashed potatoes.  You can go ahead and play with the spices as well. I think that they would be great with chipotle powder.  

They are easy and actually kinds fun to make.  Every one loved them and now we have even more reason to buy and eat potatoes. 

Parmesan Potato Puffs Recipe
Adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
coarse salt
vegetable oil, for frying

Place potatoes in a large pan and cover with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until they are fork tender.

Drain potatoes and put them back in the pan, set it over the heat, cook for a minute or two to dry up the excess water on them.

Mash them with a potato masher. Stir in the egg, butter, Parmesan, flour, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Season well with salt, about a heaping teaspoon.

Lightly flour your hands and roll potato mixture into 1 to 1 + 1/2-inch sized balls.

Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large pan set over medium-high heat. Once it starts to shimmer add one of the potato puffs - the oil should bubble and sizzle immediately, if it doesn't let it heat up a little longer. Cook the puffs in batches, don't crowd them because they will poof up a little as they cook.

Cook about 2 minutes a side or until golden brown, then turn and repeat, then turn and repeat again if needed so you can get all sides of the puffs nice and golden brown. Add more oil to the pan as needed.

Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Serve hot or at room temperature.