Saturday, December 14, 2013

Eggnog Pancakes

These pancakes are the best! least that is what my kiddos said. 'Tis the season for all things eggnog and since we needed to use some up and it was time for the weekend pancakes again, I decided to tweak one of my favorite pancake recipes to include eggnog. I added cinnamon chips, but there are a number of other things you might add in to take it to another level- like orange zest and chocolate chips. Have fun experimenting with these!

Serves 4
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups eggnog (or liquid of choice)
  • 1/4 cup oil or butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or juice of 1/2 lemon
  • cinnamon baking chips
  • In a large bowl, combine milk, oil and vanilla extract. Stir in the sugar. 
  • In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix together egg and lemon juice.
  • Add the dry ingredients and egg mixture to the liquids and stir only until largest lumps are mixed in.
  • Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes- you may start cooking right away but the pancakes made from the batter that has set is a little fluffier.
  • Preheat griddle to medium-high and use butter or coconut oil to oil the surface. Pour out approximately 1/4-1/3 cup for each pancake and sprinkle the baking chips over each pancake as quickly as possible so the pancake cooks up and around the chips.
  • When each one is starting to bubble and the bottom edge is golden brown, flip it over and cook for an additional couple minutes or until golden brown.
  • Butter each pancake while still warm and serve with syrup or your choice of toppings.
  • If you are making a large batch, you can keep them warm by placing them on a wire rack inside of a baking pan and put in the oven at the oven's lowest setting until serving.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Zucchini Potato Tart

This is the perfect lunch or light supper dish and is wonderful with different meats-- or leave the meats out entirely, if you prefer. I love how the tomatoes take on a roasted flavor as it bakes. This dish is a real breeze with a mandoline slicer- have I told you how nice this tool is? I have fallen in love with it for thinly slicing garlic when I sauté vegetables, slicing carrots thinly for salads (my kids don't love big chunks of anything hard to chew- eating a salad will take forever!). I also love to use this slicer for the veggies in this dish. I'm so crazy that I almost took it to my parents house when I went for a visit the last time because it is cuts down on prep time so much! Anyways, back to the recipe-- check this out and give it a try and see my notes at the bottom.

Serves: 6-8
  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 large or 3 small potatoes, thinly sliced (may leave skins on)
  • 1 medium or large onion- I used a mix of red and sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 pound ham, diced (may use bacon or other meat)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice- I used mix of cheddar and monterey jack
  • 1 large tomato or 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • oregano, divided, crushing in palm of hand before sprinkling over tart
  • seasoned salt/pepper
  • celery salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • 5 eggs

  • After your vegetables are sliced, cover the potatoes so they do not brown.
  • Place pie crust in a deep dish 10 inch pie pan. 
  • Begin layering about half of each of the vegetables except the tomatoes, seasoning well with salt/pepper and herbs between each layer.
  • Then sprinkle top of vegetables with onion and cheese and then ham or meat. 
  • Repeat layers, seasoning each layer well until all the squash, potatoes, onion and meat is in the pie.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together with 1/4- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt/pepper and then pour over the vegetables in the pie crust.
  • Arrange tomato slices over the top and sprinkle with more salt/pepper and crushed oregano. Cut a couple smaller slices into 1/2 to make crescent shapes and place them in the center to form a swirl or pinwheel effect.
  • Fold the top edges of the pie crust over the pie.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 1 hour- 1 hour and 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender to fork. Remove foil for the last 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle more cheese on top if desired.
*Note: If you want this to bake quicker,  sauté the squash and potatoes with a couple tablespoons of butter or oil for about 5 minutes until they are just beginning to soften. Then follow the recipe as above. This will shorten the baking time by at least half.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Blueberry Buckle (coffeecake)

This is one of the recipes I remember my mom making throughout my childhood and I always thought the name was so funny. It wasn't until just recently when I was watching Alton Brown on "Good Eats" talk about his Blueberry Buckle and how a Buckle was actually an old-fashioned coffee cake that I understood the name. Don't ask me to explain or remember how the word "buckle" has anything to do with a cake!

Anyways, I love this cake because it is easy to make, full of fruit and a dense but moist cake that is a perfect treat for any occasion. I don't remember my mom ever putting a glaze on top, but it adds a nice touch. I also added the almond extract to the cake and put vanilla in the glaze, but you could use whatever flavor you like in the cake and glaze-- lemon or vanilla would be great, even coconut and mix some coconut in with the crumble topping. Also, try this with 1/2 cup chopped nuts added in the crumb topping, as well. This cake is just perfect for switching up the flavors and fruits! So give it a try and have fun with it.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I use palm oil shortening), or you may use another oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (if using vanilla- increase it to 1 or 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups well drained blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp milk, more if needed
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, mix sugar and shortening together until well blended. Add in egg and wisk together. Stir in the milk and extract.
  • In a smaller bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Mix into the wet ingredients in thirds.
  • Fold in the blueberries carefully so as not to break up the berries. Batter will be very thick.
  • Put in a greased 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking pan and press out to the corners of the pan, making sure it is pretty evenly distributed in the pan.
  • In small bowl previously used for dry ingredients, mix together topping dry ingredients and then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until dry ingredients have combined well with the butter- should be little clumps without a lot of extra loose flour mixture.
  • Sprinkle evenly over top of the cake batter in the pan.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • While cake is cooling on a wire rack, mix up the ingredients for a glaze, adding milk 1Tbsp at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. If it gets too wet and runny, add more sugar. Cover glaze until cake cools.
  • After cake has cooled completely, use a spoon and drizzle the glaze over top of the cake, back and forth. Cut and serve!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Party Mini-Quiches

I made these mini-quiches recently for a garden party. These are really a quick version of quiches since they do not have a pastry crust. Instead they are made with a baking mix that gives them more of a muffin consistency. However, these are still light and not too dry. If you want to make them even more egg-like in consistency, try using more egg and less baking mix. This recipe is also wonderful for all different vegetable and meat variations. Since I didn't have bacon when I made these, I made them vegetarian, but they would have been even better with a little crispy bacon. The great thing about making them in mini-muffin pans is that they are great for tea parties or other occasions when you do not want to worry about utensils.

Makes approximately 24-36 depending on muffin size and number of add-ins
  • 5 eggs
  • 2/3 cup baking mix
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 Tbsp half and half (may use light cream or whole milk)
  • 1 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2- 3/4 tsp dried oregano (crushed in palm)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a pizza blend)
  • 1 medium pickled sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 4-6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 small mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped

  • Beat eggs in large bowl.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Grease mini-muffin tin- if it is not non stick, then you should use the baking spray with flour.
  • Fill muffin tins using small cookie scoop and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool in the pan. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Italian-style Quinoa Cakes

I have been falling in love with quinoa lately. It is such a power-house of nutrition and yet is so versatile. It also cooks quite fast. So when some friends and I were meeting at a beautiful historic home nearby for a garden party, I had planned to make arancini (rice balls), but I had not realized until it was too late that these are actually from leftover risotto. So from lack of pre-planning, I was forced to make some last minute changes and found these quinoa patties from I decided to go with an Italian theme and play off the parmesan cheese. All in all, I was really pleased how well they turned out. It took a little practice to find the right consistency but don't worry too much about it since the parmesan actually helps makes a nice crust as it cooks. I almost thought the patties were a little easier to cook when they were a little more moist. As always, feel free to leave out any seasonings or ingredients and add in some you really like, instead. I really loved the way the patties took on a roasted tomato and basil flavor and the parmesan added a nice subtle flavor.

Makes approximately 24 cakes
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dried onion (may use 1 finely chopped onion)
  • 1/2- 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning blend
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, crushed in palm of hand
  • 1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 6-8 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs, more if needed
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Cook quinoa as directed- bring broth to a boil and add in the quinoa, onion and lemon pepper seasoning. Stir well and cover. Allow to cook approximately 15 minutes, or until all the quinoa seeds are opened and soft. Stir and allow to cool somewhat.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir together.
  • Mix in the partially cooled quinoa.
  • If it is too wet, add in more bread crumbs gradually. If it is too dry, add in water, tablespoon at a time. Allow to stand for a few minutes.
  • Form mixture into patties 1 inch thick and shallow fry over medium heat about 3-5 minutes each side (until medium golden brown). (I found it was easiest to make a ball and then place in the hot frying pan and flatten gently with the back of a spoon, then use the spoon to firm the patty's edges.) 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rhubarb Cherry Coffee Cake with Caramel Sauce

This is another great rhubarb recipe that I adapted from a Taste of Home magazine. Since I had some tart cherries that were not really enough to make something by themselves, I decided to add them into the cake with the rhubarb. In addition, I opted to use some cinnamon and vanilla in the cake, as well as some chopped nuts in the topping. Feel free to leave the cinnamon out and just add vanilla. The original sauce recipe also calls for double the amount of ingredients, but I felt that even using only 1/2 the original amounts made more than enough caramel sauce. Feel free to substitute any other fruits such as apples/cranberries, mixed berries, pears. Enjoy this very moist coffee cake anytime of the year by using seasonal fruits or even frozen fruits!

  • 1/2 cup shortening or oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (may use other nuts instead)
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and vanilla; beat well.
  • Combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.
  • Fold in rhubarb and cherries.
  • Pour into a greased 13x9 inch baking pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
  • Cut in the butter until crumbly. Combine the nuts. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

For Sauce, in a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in brown sugar and cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve with warm coffee cake.

Shared with the following:
Inspiration Monday Party
Our Sunday Best Link Party #5

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How To Perk Up Jarred Salsa

While I have written before about how I love fresh salsa and there is nothing that can beat its flavor, I also know that fresh salsa is quite expensive to buy and even make any time of year, especially in the winter when so many of the items are not in season. So I LOVE shopping at Aldi's for fresh produce because it is so much cheaper. I can find grape tomatoes and avocados, among other things, at about half the sale price at other stores. Jarred salsa makes a great snack and is much cheaper but really needs a little something more to enhance it. I love avocados, but not alone, and they are a great super-food. So one of our favorite ways to eat them is chopped in salsa. Also, I am a great fan of cilantro and it is affordable any time of the year. Lately, we have been hooked on this recipe and I thought I would share it with everyone here. Here's to spring and getting a salsa garden going!


  • 2 cups of salsa
  • 1 15 oz. can of corn, drained or 2 cups of fresh/frozen cooked corn, drained
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained or 2 cups of cooked black beans
  • 2 avocados, cut into small chunks
  • cilantro, chopped (according to taste)
  • lime juice (according to taste), may substitute lemon in a pinch
  • 1 small- medium chopped red onion, or whatever type you have on hand
  • Handful or more of grape tomatoes, quartered


  • Combine all ingredients together and allow flavors to combine for a couple hours- although I found this quite addicting when I was tasting during preparation!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Succotash is a dish that immediately takes me back to my grandmother's house. She seemed to regularly make this and would offer us some when we came to visit. I came to enjoy this dish very much and eventually joined her in a mission to find the beans when local growers stopped growing them for the markets around us.

This dish was especially popular years ago with farm and country folks. The dish is based on beans (often lima beans) and corn. However, the version my grandmother always made is quite different- she always used a shell bean.

The shell beans that my grandmother and great grandmother used seem to resemble closely the cranberry bean- the shells were a red and cream/white variegated pod and the beans also had a similar creamy background with reddish swirls around the bean. When dried, they are often anywhere from a tannish/red flecked color to a darker reddish/brown color. These beans can be difficult to find- I was not able to find them for many years after I married and moved away from the area where I grew up near my grandmother.

For this reason, my grandmother tried to find farm markets that would sell the shell beans so she could make her succotash the "right way"- she actually canned the beans together with fresh sweet corn, cut from the cob. The two would cook together during the canning and the flavors would be so concentrated. After I married, she gave me some beans to plant in our garden, with the idea that we would share some of the harvest with her. So I decided to can the beans and corn together- when I finished canning, I thought I was doing something wrong because almost all of the juices came out of the jar and everything cooked into a solid mass. When I was talking lately with one of my aunts about this recipe, she told me that this is how the jars of beans/corn come out. Anyhow, I do know that the flavor was different than just cooking the beans and then adding in the corn.

My grandmother grew up in a poor family where most of the children spent their teenage years working on nearby farms because the family needed the money and could not really afford to feed and clothe everyone. This is one of the family dishes that was passed down from her mother and could be made with things from the garden that were inexpensive and yet filling. 

If I do not have the home-canned beans and corn, I found that you can get a pretty close flavor by pressure cooking the beans (saves a lot of time and there is no need to soak the beans first) and then simmering the beans and corn together for an hour or two. If you do not have a pressure cooker, try cooking the beans in a crockpot on high for about 6 hours. This is a very simple dish- my grandmother only used the beans, corn, salt and pepper, and some canned milk at the end. Now, on the other hand, I have never been one to leave a simple recipe alone! So I have almost always sauteéd some onions and celery to put in the succotash, added chunked potatoes to make it more of a main course soup and added some other seasonings.

These beans were quite red (usually the beans are more of a brown color when cooked) and colored the succotash. They still taste the same. The corn was farm-fresh grown and frozen white corn that is very sweet.

Servings: about 8-10
  • 1 pound bag of cranberry beans or similar shell beans
  • 1 quart bag (or 4 cups) of frozen or fresh sweet corn with juice
  • 3 medium-large potatoes, cut into chunks (optional)
  • chicken soup base or broth
  • water
  • 1-2 large onions
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
  • seasoned salt/pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • evaporated milk or cream
  • Cook the beans as instructed on the package, or cover beans in a slow cooker with about 2-3 inches of water and cook on high in a slow cooker for 6 hours, or in a pressure cooker for about 30 minutes. Drain beans from liquid.
  • In a dutch oven style soup pot, sauté onions with a couple Tbsp of olive oil until they become translucent. 
  • Add in the garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the beans, sweet corn, chunked potatoes and enough water/broth to cover all the ingredients. If using water, add in a few bouillon cubes or a few Tbsp of soup base. 
  • Season with salt/pepper and dried parsley.
  • Simmer together until beans and potatoes are soft. 
  • When finished cooking, add in milk/cream gradually until broth is milky-- if you use a whole can of evaporated milk, it will be quite thick. If you desire a thinner succotash, you may need to add a little more water to thin it out. Season to taste, adding more salt as needed.
*We recently ate succotash (made for this picture without the potatoes added) over top of mashed potatoes and it was delicious.

If you are only cooking for a couple people, cook up the entire recipe and then freeze half of the succotash for another time- although it is best frozen if you do not add in the potatoes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Plain Muffins

This is another one of the nice little foods we had at our cooking club tea party recently. One of the members shared her family's old recipe that she remembers being served at her aunt's home many times when she was young. This is a simple muffin (I was struck by the idea of a plain muffin when she shared them with us at first!) but is wonderful with jam or lemon curd as we had them at the tea party. They are not very sweet- just a hint of sweetness. Since they are easy to make, they are great to make for something different for a snack or tea-time.

Makes 1 dozen regular sized or 36-48 mini muffins (depending on amount used)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter, shortening or oil
  • optional: 1 tsp vanilla 
  • optional: confectioner's sugar for dusting
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, beat egg slightly and add milk and fat, as well as vanilla if using.
  • Sift together dry ingredients and then add into the liquids.
  • Beat about 1/2 minute just until all the flour is mixed throughout the batter.
  • Prepare greased muffin tins and fill half full. Bake at 375 degrees about 15-20 minutes for regular sized muffins or 8-12 minutes for mini muffins (start checking about 3-5 minutes before time ends in case your oven temperature varies.) They should be light golden brown. 
  • Cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then remove to wire racks to cool longer.
  • May be served warm or cool with jam or other toppings. Dust the tops with confectioner's sugar, if desired.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blueberry Scones... a tea party... and reminiscing about Victoria magazine

Our cooking club had a wonderful tea party at my house the other evening. This was our first one together, and the table was overflowing with the massive array of treats. Since having this tea,  I read If Teacups Could Talk by Emilie Barnes and was so inspired to take moments with my family and friends to celebrate life and relationships in this way.

Somehow, in the midst of this, I was taken back to my late teens and early adult years when I spent hours poring over the "Victoria" magazines that came every month. This was truly something that shaped my tastes for clothing and decorating, although I would not say that I really decorate or dress in that style today. However, there were timeless and classic qualities about much of the clothing, decor and furniture. There is something pretty and restful about the magazine and the way it encouraged people to have a place of beauty to relax in either alone or with others. I would also dream of traveling someday to many of the beautiful places across the countrysides of England and France, among others, that were featured in those pages. It is funny that in the intervening years, getting married, moving away from my hometown and later stopping the subscription because I was overrun by magazines and needing to save some money, I still could not bring myself to throw out or give away the old copies. They were always so wonderful and enjoyable to reread. Right now, they are sitting in boxes in the garage, and all these last 5 years, I kept trying to get up the nerve to de-clutter and get rid of them. Instead, I think I am going to put them on a shelf in my soon-to-be organized office so they will be more easily accessible for relaxation and inspiration.

So, enough with my memories. I want to share my latest scone recipe that I made for our tea party and have been really enjoying. I loved them when they were fresh, but they are also very good days later. Just keep them stored in an air tight container in the fridge and then toast them when you want to have some. The outside becomes just slightly crispy like they just came out of the oven and the inside stays moist, tender and so flavorful. This is my new favorite snack or breakfast with tea or coffee after my youngsters are fed and I have a few minutes to sit and relax.

Serving: 16 mini scones or 8 regular sized
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3-4 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp butter, cubed
  • 2/3- 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon peel
  • coarse (decorator) sugar for sprinkling on top
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly grease cookie sheet, or may use a smaller rectangle baking dish
  • Sprinkle fruit with 1 Tbsp of sugar and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and remaining 3 Tbsp of sugar. 
  • Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork (or just your fingers!) until chunks are very small pea-sized.
  • Whisk together the cream, 1 egg, vanilla extract and lemon peel and then add into the dry mixture. 
  • Stir until the wet and dry ingredients begin to come together.  If there is a lot of flour left in the bottom of the bowl, add a couple Tbsp of cream to the bowl and mix it all together. 
  • Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead the dough a few times just until it holds together and some of the extra flour from the bowl has been incorporated in.
  • Press or roll out into a rectangle or press into the rectangle pan if using one. Divide into 4 equal sections, pressing straight down with a sharp knife. Then cut diagonally across each section, pressing straight down.
  • Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush over top of the scones. 
  • Sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes just until the outside is golden brown.
  • Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes-- wonderful served warm with lemon curd.
Parts of this recipe was inspired by Lady Behind The Curtain's scones.
This was shared on the following:
I Should Be Mopping The Floor party #55

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tortellini In Vegetable Sauce

This was my latest brainstorm recipe that turned out so well that my husband and I could hardly stop eating this. I had a lot of different vegetables that needed to be used up, not enough time to thaw some meat and wanted to do something easy before I had to run off to work in the evening. It turned out that the veggies I had worked wonderful together for this dish, but I really think you could use all different types of vegetables and have a great dish. The cooking time for this is less than 30 minutes and would be a great weeknight meal if you have the veggies already prepped.

Serves about 6 (or 4 adult servings)

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cleaned and finely chopped, including the upper stems
  • 1 pint size container of grape tomatoes (or you could substitute 1  15oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice)
  • 1 large onion or 2 small-medium onions
  • 2 medium carrots, medium diced, or may use baby carrots chopped
  • 2 large celery ribs, chopped
  • 2-3 mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • palmful of Italian seasoning/herb blend
  • salt blend like Goya Adobo with pepper
  • 1 pound pasta of choice
  • cream or half and half
  • 2-4 large handfuls of spinach, chopped (or may use 1/2 small package of frozen spinach); may use another type of greens
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup romano cheese, shredded
  • 2-3 low fat string cheese sticks, shredded and then chopped (optional), or may use handful of shredded mozarella cheese
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • In a large covered skillet, generously drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and season with seasoned salt blend and crushed Italian seasoning. After it has begun to cook and soften a little, cover the pan so the juices do not evaporate out. Stir occasionally and add a little water if needed.
  • While the veggies are cooking, start the pasta water. Liberally salt the water. Cook pasta about 2 minutes less than the recommended time as it will cook in the sauce at the end.
  • As the veggies become tender as you desire, add in the cream gradually until the sauce is lightly creamy- I used about 1/4-1/3 cup.
  • Add in the chopped spinach. 
  • Pull out about 1 - 1 1/2 cup of pasta water as the pasta is finished and set it aside.
  • Add the cheeses to the vegetable mixture and then add in the drained pasta.
  • Combine everything together and add in as much pasta water as you need to make enough sauce to cover the pasta. Cover the pan as it cooks together for a couple more minutes. 
  • Garnish with parsley and serve with a garlic bread or other warm rustic bread.
*Note- if using more sturdy greens in place of spinach, add them in with the vegetables at the beginning since they need more time to cook.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Baking Mix (Biscuits, Pancakes, etc)

Here is another one of the mixes I came up with recently through trying different recipes and incorporating ones that I already use and love. As I already wrote previously, I have been looking for more mixes that are homemade because they are great for saving time, but they also save money and allow me to control more what our family eats. It is hard to find mixes that are part wheat flour and do not use partially hydrogenated oils.

This mix can be used in place of any baking mix in recipes, as well as to make biscuits or make into pancakes (although I have a buttermilk pancake mix I previously posted that I prefer). I also used palm shortening since it is naturally solid and does not turn rancid at room temperature. I had to order palm shortening online (I bought from Tropical Traditions) since it is not always readily available in many grocery stores in the U.S.

Makes about 9 batches of biscuits or pancakes

  • 10 cups flour total (may divide into different types of flour but is best if not using more than 1/2 whole wheat flour)- I used 6 cups white flour, 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour and 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups shortening or butter
  • 2 cups dry milk powder
  • In a very large bowl or clean bucket/dishpan, mix all the dry ingredients together except the dry milk. 
  • Cut in the shortening or butter until it is mixed throughout the dry ingredients and is about pea-sized
  • Stir in the dry milk and mix together well.
  • Store in a cool dry place in a 1 gallon sized container. If using butter, you should keep it in the freezer or at least the refrigerator.

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To Make Biscuits:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Mix together 1 1/2 cups of baking mix with 1/2 cup milk in a medium bowl. (Add it gradually and use a little less if you want to make the dough drier so it can be rolled/cut out).
  • Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or just until the tops are golden brown.
  • Remove to a cooling rack.
To Make Pancakes:
  • In a medium bowl, beat together 1 egg, 1 cup of milk and 1 tsp vanilla.
  • Add in 1 1/2 cup of baking mix and stir just until moistened being careful not to overmix.
  • Fry on a greased, hot frying pan or griddle.

Adapted from Baking Mix recipe in Simply In Season, 2009

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Buttermilk Pancake Mix

I love buttermilk pancakes but do not always have buttermilk on hand to use. Sometimes I make soured milk to use, but it takes a little time and forethought. On the SACO Buttermilk Powder container, there is a recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes that we use and really enjoy. I have adapted it and made it into a bulk mix that can be made up and save some time when you are making pancakes. I was able to find buttermilk powder in a 10 pound package much cheaper at one of the local country stores, and I store the extra in the freezer. If you have any stores near you that sell bulk foods, they are probably able to order the buttermilk powder for you at a much cheaper price than the name brands available online or in the stores.

*Note: the label in the picture has been changed since I took the picture and should not be followed for this recipe since I adjusted ingredients in the meantime.

Bulk Recipe Ingredients:

  • 10 cups all purpose flour (or up to 5 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour; may also use 4 cups all purpose flour, 3 cups cake flour and 3 cups whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered buttermilk powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
Bulk Directions:
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine/sift together the ingredients, being sure to mix everything together very well.
  • Store in a cool place in a well-sealed gallon container.
Below are the instructions that you can print out on a large label and affix to the side of your container. This way you always have the instructions when you are ready to make pancakes. You may need to copy/paste and adjust according to the size of your labels.

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                            Buttermilk Pancake Mix

To Make Pancakes:    Makes about 10 pancakes (4 inch) 
  • 1 1/2 cups pancake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 - 1 cup water (depending on how thick you like your pancakes)
  • 2-4 Tbsp oil or melted butter
  • Measure 1 1/2 cups of pancake mix into a medium mixing bowl. 
  • In a smaller bowl, mix together egg, vanilla, water and oil.
  • Add liquids into the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened/combined, being careful to not over-mix.
  • Heat skillet or griddle on medium high heat. 
  • Drop 2-3 Tbsp of batter into greased skillet/griddle and cook until bubbles appear around the top of the pancakes. 
  • Flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until other side is golden brown.
Optional add-ins:  1/4 cup applesauce or grated apples or other finely chopped fruit, 1/4 cup coconut or chopped nuts. If using chocolate or other flavored baking chips or berries, toss first in a couple Tbsp of flour to keep them from falling to the bottom of the bowl. 
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Mop It Up Monday 51