Saturday, May 16, 2015

Blueberry Pancakes

Do you have good pancake flipping skills? Can you make picture perfect round pancakes that are evenly golden brown and beautiful? If so, please leave your flipping techniques in the comments because my pancakes always go splat when I flip them!  It doesn't really matter though because even if these pancakes have uneven edges, they taste amazing.  Plus it helps that I have this really nice, well seasoned cast iron griddle that I absolutely love cooking on, although I do have a bit of a gripe. My stove has one of those "power" burners in the front and a "simmer" burner in the back, do you even know what I am rambling on about? The front burner runs about 50 billion BTUs and the back one is like a measly 7.  In other words, the whole time I am making pancakes, or french toast, or quesadillas, or panini sandwhiches (oh man, I just made myself so hungry, I'll stop listing delicious foods now) I have to stand there and fiddle around with the heat levels on the burners.  Most of the time I end up having to shut the power burner off after a bit and just let the residual heat in the cast iron finish the cooking!

These are the best pancakes that I have ever eaten. They are sweet and fluffy with those perfect crispy edge bits.  Most of the time we make them plain but we had some fresh blueberries in the fridge so little K and I tossed some into ours. Big K stuck with the plain pancakes, of course.  For a super special treat you could add some mini chocolate chips!  I know a lot of people don't like to make pancakes from scratch and think that the box mix tastes just as good but I am telling you, these pancakes are absolutely worth the extra five minutes it takes to measure the ingredients for the batter. Stack these delicious pancakes up and drizzle maple syrup all over! Make sure you use the real stuff, you only use really maple syrup right?!?! (sorry New England food snob over here).  I hope you love these pancakes as much as we do!  Our favorite time to eat them is breakfast for dinner :)


1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp melted butter plus more for cooking
Blueberries, chocolate chips, or other toppings of your choice
Maple syrup, if desired for serving

In a large glass measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk the milk, egg, sugar, and vanilla together.  Add the baking powder, salt, and flour and mix until just barely combined.  Stir in the melted butter.  The amount of flour you use will depend on how thick you like your pancake batter.  If you add the lower amount you will have a thinner more runny batter and if you add the higher amount you will have thick, denser pancakes.  If you mix the batter in a liquid measuring cup with a spout, you can easily pour the pancakes onto the griddle.  Or you can use a 1/3 measuring cup and get nice evenly sized pancakes.  Spoon the pancake batter onto a well buttered griddle or frying pan, over medium heat.  When little bubbles start showing up on the top surface of the pancake it is time to flip.  If you are adding blueberries or chocolate chips put them on the pancake right before you flip.  Cook the other side for about another minute, or until fully cooked through and golden brown.  If desired serve with additional butter and maple syrup. Makes about 8 medium pancakes

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo with Sauteed Portabella Mushrooms

I think that I have mentioned before that I was a pretty picky eater as a child (sorry mom!!).  I didn't even like some of the foods that normal picky kids only want to eat - like pizza and soda.  There was a pretty long 'there is no way on earth you can even get me to try that' list and mushrooms were right up at the top.  Over the years I eventually expanded my horizons and discovered that most of my dislikes were actually delicious.  Mushrooms took a lot longer than most foods and there are still particulars about how they are consumed, but I have to say, they are fantastic in this pasta dish. Seriously, I can't believe I just wrote the word mushrooms and fantastic in the same sentence? It's funny how things change.

This dinner is fairly quick and very simple.  Just a little bit of chopping, one pot, one pan, some cheese grating and you are in business.  For a cream style sauce this is a bit lighter than a normal alfredo, but it is still pasta and there is still cream, so I am not going to rank it very high on the healthy dinner list. I will, however, put it high up on the easy and delicious list.  This would be perfect meal for meatless monday or any time you are in the mood for a creamy, cheesy pasta! And p.s. if you are like my former self and don't like mushrooms, substitute any vegetable or even add some chicken instead.  I hope that you enjoy!

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo with Sauteed 
Portabella Mushrooms

12 oz Fettuccine noodles
1/2 small onion, diced finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp butter
7-8 baby Portabella mushrooms, sliced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Preheat a large skillet with high sides over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter.  When the butter has melted, add the sliced mushrooms and saute for 5-8 minutes until cooked through and starting to get lightly browned.  Season with salt and pepper, remove from the pan and set aside while you make the sauce.  In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  When the oil is heated through, add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.  Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock (you could use dry white wine here instead if you like cooking with wine) and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.  Add the remaining stock and the cream and continue to simmer until the sauce begins to reduce and coats the back of the spoon.  Boil your noodles according to package instructions and reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water before draining the noodles.  Add the parmesan cheese to sauce and stir through until melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and then stir in the cooked noodles and reserved water.  The water will help thin the sauce slightly and adhere to the noodles really well.  Add your mushrooms back into the pasta and stir to combine everything.  Serve with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

Inspired by Simply Scratch