Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oatmeal Pecan Pancakes

When Noah wakes up on Sunday morning his first question is, "Is it Fast Sunday?"  If it’s not Fast Sunday, then the next question is, "What are we having for breakfast?"  Since Todd and I have been married, Sunday breakfast has always been more than just cold cereal.  A delicious Sunday breakfast has become a family tradition.

Oatmeal Pecan Pancakes

1 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Mix together dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add buttermilk and eggs to dry ingredients, stir until combined.  Stir in pecans.  Cook on hot griddle.  Serve with sliced bananas and buttermilk syrup.

*We top our pancakes with the pecans instead of putting them in the pancake batter.  My little ones like them better that way.
*The bananas are a must!

Buttermilk Syrup

This syrup has become a staple at our house.  It is delicious on anything from french toast and waffles to a chocolate chip cookie with ice cream.

Buttermilk Syrup

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Karo syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Combine the buttermilk, butter, sugar, karo syrup, and salt in a large saucepan.  Boil for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.  Stir until foam decreases.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cocoa Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Cocoa Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

10 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Prepare an 8-inch square pan by spraying with cooking spray.  Line bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.  Spray the foil or parchment with cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 325.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a heat-proof bowl and place over a large pot of simmering water.  The bottom of the bowl should rest in the pot, but not touch the water.

Stir occasionally.  When the butter is just about melted, remove the bowl and let the residual heat continue to melt the butter.  Stir until smooth.  Carefully touch the cocoa mixture, it should feel warm, not hot. 

Once the cocoa mixture is warm you can stir in the eggs, one at a time.  Wait until each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next.  Stir in the vanilla.  Once the mixture looks cohesive and shiny stir in the flour.  Mix until flour has been completely incoporated.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes up with a few moist crumbs.  This will take about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Once cool, frost with peanut butter frosting and sprinkle with flake salt (Maldon) or Fleur de Sel.

Peanut Butter Frosting

6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of kosher salt (I like a big pinch of salt)
1 teaspoon Maldon salt

Cream the butter and the peanut butter until combined.  Slowly stir in the powdered sugar until completely incorporated.  Spread over cooled brownies.  Sprinkle the Maldon salt over the top of the frosted brownies.

*I love Maldon salt.  You can find it at Williams Sonoma.

Adapted ever so slightly from Not Without Salt

Cuban Black Beans with Carrots

I got this recipe from my Aunt Traci, but have changed it just a bit to fit my family.  This is a quick and yummy dinner.

Cuban Black Beans with Carrots

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
4 large carrots, small dice
1 red pepper, small dice
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce, plus 1 can of water
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (Traci uses 2 T. parsley)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked brown rice or quinoa

Sour cream

In a large skillet, sauté onions, garlic, and spiced in the oil until the onions begin to soften.  Add the carrots and sauté for a few minutes.  Add the peppers and sauté a couple of more minutes.  Add salt, pepper, tomato sauce and water.  Simmer until the vegetables are tender.  About 10 minutes.  (I like my carrots to maintain a slight crunch.)  Add black beans and simmer until heated through.  Salt to taste.  Serve over brown rice or quinoa.  Garnish with sour cream, diced tomato, diced avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Farfalle with Pistachio Cream Sauce

I was looking for something to make for dinner on St. Patrick's Day that was green, but naturally green.  This is what I ended up making and it was quick, easy, creamy and delicious.

Farfalle with Pistachio Cream Sauce

8 ounces farfalle pasta
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup ground pistachios (grind in a blender or food processor)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream (according to taste)
Crushed red pepper
Fresh ground black pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  In the meantime, chop onion and grind the pistachios until the pieces are very small, but not completely uniform.  Add pasta to water and boil according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, begin sauce: heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add onion and cook until translucent, but not browned.  Add pistachios and enough oil to moisten them (if needed).  It should be a paste-like consistency.  Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about one minute (do not let the pistachios take on any color).  Add cream, stir until heated through, remove from heat.  Add a pinch of crushed red pepper, black pepper and plenty of salt to taste.

When pasta is al dente, drain well then add to the sauté pan with the sauce.  Toss well to coat and serve immediately with lots of fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

This recipe comes from Pinch My Salt

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Favorite Chocolate Cake

Oh how I LOVE this cake!  I think I ate this cake every night for a year or so until I started to feel full in the morning.  I try to refrain during the week which sometimes puts me in a bad mood, but when the weekend nights come, you can find me sitting on my couch with my chocolate cake, ice cream and tall glass of milk (with ice in it of course.) 

Preston and Stella like to stir their ice cream and cake together.  When I was little and my family would go to my Grandma Dixie's for Sunday dinner, I would do the exact same thing.  But now I think that one piece of cake stacked on top of another with a scoop (a large scoop) of vanilla ice cream is the most delicious way to eat it!

Chocolate Sheet Cake

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

Melt butter in sauce pan and add cocoa powder, stir to combine.  Add 1 cup boiling water to butter chocolate mixture and bring to boil.  Pour over flour mixture and mix well. 

In a small bowl mix the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla together and add to chocolate flour mixture.

Pour into jelly roll pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 


¾ cup butter
4 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ¼ cup powdered sugar

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add cocoa and salt, stir to combine.   Remove from heat and add milk and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Frost cake while still warm.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sausage, Onion and Pepper Pizza

My husband Todd loves this pizza!

Sausage, Onion and Pepper Pizza

1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onions
1 1/2 cups red, orange or yellow bell pepper strips
1-pound Italian sausage
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14.5-ounce) can petit diced tomatoes, undrained
1 loaf French bread, cut in half horizontally
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add sliced onion and bell peppers strips, and sauté 6 minutes until tender.

Remove onion and bell peppers from pan and add sausage, cook until browned, stirring to crumble.  Drain off fat from sausage and add onion and bell pepper mixture back to the pan.  Add crushed red pepper flakes, and diced tomatoes, and cook 5 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Spread sausage mixture evenly over cut sides of bread, and sprinkle evenly with cheese.  Place bread halves on a baking sheet.  Bake at 450 for 5-10 minutes until cheese melts. 

*If I have a loaf of the Fabulous French bread on hand, I like to use it for this recipe.
*My sister Stephanie suggested dicing the peppers and onions to make it more kid friendly, but still get all of the flavor.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fabulous French Bread

My favorite way to eat this bread is sliced with butter and honey and then put in the oven for a few minutes.  The crust gets a little bit crustier and the center is soft and warm, it is sooo good!

Fabulous French Bread

2 packages of yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water
Pinch of sugar

Combine water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl.  Let rest 10 minutes.

2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons shortening, melted
5 1/2 to 6 cups flour

Combine hot water, sugar, salt, shortening and 3 cups of flour in a bowl of electric mixer.  Add yeast mixture and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour and mix until combined.  Let dough rest for 10 minutes, beat down.  Repeat the rest and beat down step 4 more times.  Turn dough onto a floured surface and divide in half.  Shape into 2 long loaves and place on sheet pan or a French Bread loaf pan.  With a sharp knife (I use a razor blade) make 3 diagonal cuts on each loaf.  Brush loaves with egg white.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes.

*I got this recipe from my mama, she use to make this bread all the time when I was little.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

These meatless burgers are really flavorful and yummy and there were no complaints from my little ones which makes them even more awesome!

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon canned minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Remaining ingredients:
Hamburger buns, toasted
Romaine lettuce

To prepare burgers, combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add pinto beans and corn; partially mash with a fork.  Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

To prepare chipotle mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon chipotle in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Spray skillet with nonstick cooking spray and add patties to pan, cook 4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated.  Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, tomato, avocado, lettuce, and top half of bun.

*These burgers are a bit hard to keep together which makes flipping them an adventure.  One of the reviews I read suggested refrigerating them for a few hours before cooking. 
*I had enough bean mixture to make six patties. 

Adapted from Cooking Light

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups half and half
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies, undrained
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Pico de gallo
Tortilla chips

In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in butter until translucent. Dissolve the bouillon in hot water.  Add to pan along with cumin; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add half and half, cheese, corn, chilies, and Tabasco sauce.  Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted.  Garnish with cilantro, pico de gallo, and tortilla chips, if desired.

The Best Waffles Ever!

These waffles are so delicious!  They are a family favorite for Sunday breakfast.

Marion Cunningham's Raised Waffles
from the Breakfast Book
This recipe works best with a standard waffle maker (not Belgian)

1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pour the water into a large mixing bowl.  (The batter will rise to double its volume, so keep that in mind when you choose the bowl.)  Sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour, and beat until well blended and smooth.  (Electric beaters work well.)  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it stand overnight at room temperature. 

Before cooking the waffles, preheat waffle maker.

Just before cooking the waffles, add the eggs and baking soda, and stir to mix well.  The batter will be very thin.  Pour the batter into hot waffle maker and cook until golden and crisp.  Serve with buttermilk syrup.  Delicious!