Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sour Cream Pancakes

Weekends deserve a little extra special treatment, like waking up late, hanging out with friends and having good food.  Nonetheless, you don't want to be in the kitchen all day just to have a home-cooked meal.

Start the day off right with this light, simple recipe of Sour Cream Pancakes which has been featured in The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook.  I have reviewed multiple variations, but Ree Drummond's is as easy as they come.  If you are having a bunch of friends stop by, double or triple this recipe.  Each batch makes about 8 pancakes.

Cut up some fresh strawberries or mixed fruit, add maple syrup and butter, or make it decadent with a dollop of Redi-Whip.  Add some bacon or sausage, or scrambled eggs and you have a fantastic brunch before heading out to the game...or studying.

Mixing bowl
Large Non-stick skillet
1/4 cup measuring cup

1 cup sour cream
7 Tablespoons of flour
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp of vanilla

Butter, for skillet

1. Wash your hands.
2. Combine the sour cream, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Stir until just mixed.

3. Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla.

4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.

5. Gently mix together until ALMOST smooth.  It's ok to be somewhat "lightly clumpy".

6. Heat your skillet over MEDIUM heat.

7. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter.
8. Use 1/4 cup to place batter into skillet.  A large 12" skillet will hold 4 pancakes.
(If using a smaller skillet, reduce the number.  You do not want the pancakes merging into each other.)

9. Once you see bubbles forming along the edge of the pancake, use a spatula to gently and quickly flip it over.

10. Cook until golden brown and place on a warm plate.

11. Leftovers are great for quick snack with peanut butter or plain.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mocktails Intro

You don't need to be 21 to have a good drink nor do you need alcohol to have a good drink--you really just need a lot of ice and some killer recipe combinations.

Skip the empty calories, additional cost, and risk of getting kicked out of school for "underage drinking".

As a "close relative" can attest to...stiff penalties (and a sobriety class) ensue (even if only by happen stance) if you stumble into a friends room with any form of ethanol. 

Try one of these recipes first before doing something stupid--and make one for your friend so they don't do something stupid. 

Friends don't let friends be stupid.

Sunset Fire Lemonade

Grip strength, to squeeze fruit and extract juice; or, 
Manual juicer, approx $5
Spoon, to stir
Drinking glass

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice

2-3 thin slices of jalapeño 
1-2 fresh basil, chopped

1/3cup strawberry / orange juice

1/2 can regular or diet ginger ale

To add sweetness, choose your preference:
--Equal, Truvia, or Splenda
--Regular or raw sugar
--Simple syrup or agave syrup 

To skip the sweetness, use Seltzer water.
To skip the heat, omit the jalapeños. 

To skip trouble, skip the alcohol and do us all a favor...wait until you are celebrating your 21st in Vegas where 'what happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas'.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer In Your Mouth

Basil and tomatoes are one of the greatest combos ever (next to Frodo and Sam, 007 & M, or Skywalker & Obi-Wan). Some things just go together!

Bruschetta is an explosion of flavors in your mouth and you can't help but taste summer.  This is one of our son's favorite appetizers or snacks...although, to be honest, we have eaten an entire tray as our supper some nights.  The key here is getting fresh tomatoes off the vine from your local farmer's market and fresh ingredients--it's better for you, the environment and the economy.

Keep it simple with a fresh loaf of French bread; or, go all out with the goat cheese and toasted pine nuts version.

I have never tried this, but you could conceivably exchange cilantro, red onions, and jalapeños for the basil and green onions, and make a salsa.

Large mixing bowl
Chopping Surface
Knives to chop

3 cups tomatoes, diced
5 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 basil leaves, chopped

1 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

French bread or ciabatta, sliced
4 oz. Soft goat cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted & chopped

1. Wash your hands.
2. Wash tomatoes, herbs, and onions.

3. Seed tomatoes and finely dice them.

4. Slice your green onions and mince the garlic
5. Chop a nice handful of fresh basil.  Sorry the dried stuff isn't good enough for this.
6. Combine first 9 ingredients. (except bread, cheese, and nuts)

Add 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
Add 3 Tablespoons of good olive oil
Add juice of 1/2 to 1 full lemon.

7. Once it's gently combined, adjust the taste according to your liking with additional salt, lemon, vinegar, or oil.

8. Slice fresh baguette and enjoy!

Optional, but so worth it:

9. Toast slices of bread in oven with a drizzle of oil

10. Toast pine nuts ( as demonstrated in previous blog. Remember these little nuts burn easily) 
11. Spread goat cheese on toast.
12. Sprinkle pinenuts on bread.

13. Place generous helping of tomatoe mix on top.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Meatball Minis

Reasons to have a good and tasty meatball recipe:

A. Cheap
B. Easy 
C. Delicious
D. Versatile
E. Incredibly satisfying as a meatball slider; or, with spaghetti & red sauce, or, simply, on a toothpick. 

I found this twist on meatballs from Ted Allen's 'In My Kitchen' cookbook and thought I'd share it just because any college kid looking for ways to keep things simple, affordable without sparing the tastebuds will want a "go-to" meatball sub or pasta dish.

Check it out. 
Total cost: approx $15 to $20
Makes: approx 22-25 nice size meatballs

Large mixing bowl
Large Non-stick skillet
(If your skillet is smaller, you will have to do meatballs in 2 separate batches)
Functioning stovetop with electricity

1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/8 -1/4 tsp of cayenne 
( if you don't like spicy, just use regular black pepper)

1 jar of your favorite quality marinara / pasta sauce
Regular dinner rolls for sliders, hoagie roll for meatball sub, or box of pasta--you choose how to use these delicious and spicy bites.

1. Wash your hands and read all steps.
2. Combine all ingredients into large mixing bowl.

3. Form approximately 22-25 golf-ball size meatballs with your washed bare hands

4. Heat large non-stick skillet with 3 Tablespoons of olive oil over MEDIUM

5. Place meatballs in a single layer in skillet so that they do not touch. 
6. Brown meatballs on all sides. Do not rush this step. Takes about 15 minutes.

7. Once all the meatballs are browned, but not fully cooked, add your favorite red sauce to the skillet along with the meatballs.

8. Let this simmer on LOW until meatballs fully cooked. 
9. Toast your slider rolls with butter in the meantime.

10. Add meatball with provolone, and your slider is done! 

Alternatively, make a box of spaghetti and have 'Spaghetti & Meatballs' instead; and, use the rolls for garlic toasts.