Sunday, November 1, 2015


Pancakes are a weekend breakfast staple in our household. However, I really dislike that they take a long time to make and the chef doesn't get to eat with the rest of us. We also would prefer the kids to eat homemade pancakes with minimal ingredients vs Eggo Waffles - so I was looking for a way to mass produce pancakes in a quick efficient manner. 

We found this recipe because it is specific to almond milk and we normally don't have regular milk at home. The almond milk keeps the pancakes softer and the edges won't crisp up as much. 

I have a whoopie pie pan that I have never used and thought this would be the perfect excuse for it! When I make whoopie pies I use a small cookie scoop to ensure the sizes are the same. I purchased the pan when I was on a breakfast sandwich kick and thought this would be perfect to create sandwich sized egg patties. 

If you don't have one of these pans you can also use muffin tins and put enough batter in them to cover the bottom. I think they would poof up to become mini pancakes.

If the kids were willing to eat square pancakes then I would try making them in a 9x13 pan and cutting them. That would probably be the easiest way...but a girl can dream right?

I tripled the pancake batter below and created 40 silver dollar size pancakes in about 40 minutes (includes getting out the ingredients, making the batter, doing dishes, and cooling time). This did take a while but while the pancakes were baking I was able to do other things around the kitchen (like the dishes!). We stored some in the fridge and others go into the freezer. To warm we microwave them for 20-30 seconds (if not frozen) and about 45 seconds if frozen.

From a visual these are very pale pancakes but the kids liked them better that way, if you want them to be darker/more golden you can add a little butter in each hole before adding the batter. Also use the melted butter in the batter instead of the oil. 

These pancakes are pale, soft and fluffy and cakey! Enjoy!

Slightly lumpy pancake batter

2 tablespoons of batter for each hole

Let cool 3 minutes before removing from the pan

Pile of warm fluffy pancakes!

The perfect size for  mini sausage sandwiches!
Adapted from Silk Almond Milk
makes about 13 mini pancakes

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1-2 tablespoon sugar or honey
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Almond milk, any flavor but Chocolate (or regular milk)
2 tablespoon oil or melted butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together Silk, oil and egg.
Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir just to moisten—a few lumps are fine.
Cook pancakes on a griddle over medium heat. 
Pour 1/4 cup of batter on the pre-heated pan. 
When larger bubbles start to form and the edges are turning slightly cooked, flip the pancake. It takes about 1:30-2:00 per side.  
Serve immediately or let cool and store in airtight container in the fridge.

Whoopie Pie Pan:
Pour 2 tablespoons of batter into each hole. 
Bake at 375F for 9-12 minutes. If too pale you can toss under the broiler for a 30 seconds. 
Serve immediately or let cool and store in airtight container in the fridge.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hearty Slow Cooker Chili

I adapted this recipe from many different recipes available online and based off of the food in my kitchen. I really didn't want to have to go to the grocery store!

I used a combination of ground pork and ground turkey, roughly 2 -2.5 pounds and tomato sauce for tomato puree. I also added in some tomato sauce that was left over from dinner the other night. I actually keep a small container of the Chili Seasoning pre-mixed which is handy for assembling this meal!

I browned the meat and combined everything in the slow cooker the night before and stored it, covered, in the fridge. When I woke up I popped the insert into the cooker and set it on low. Volia! Dinner is served!

Serve with my Quick Rise Bread or with tortilla chips!

Hearty Slow Cooker Chili
serves 4-6

2 pounds ground beef (or pork or turkey or combination)
3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 (10.75 ounce) cans tomato puree (or sauce)
2 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1-2 tablespoons Chili Seasoning

  1. Place the meat in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease.
  2. In the slow cooker combine the meat, onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, and kidney beans.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of chili seasoning, stir, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. 
  4. After a while (when you get home from work?) taste it and see if you want it spicier, if so add more chili seasoning.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Simple Chili Seasoning

Keep this chili seasoning on hand to add some kick to a regular meal or to whip up a warm chili dinner! I triple the recipe below and store with my regular spices.

Check out some of my other Chili Recipes!

Simple Chili Seasoning
1 heaping tsp of chili powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper

Combine above spices in a container with a top and then store in a cool dry place.

Use: Approx 1 tbsp per 1.5 pound of meat. Use more if you prefer it to be spicier. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

M&M Cookies

I ran out of M&M's so I used some chocolate chips too. These are so yummy! One of the kids told me, "These are the best things we have made!" 

If you double the recipe use 3 sticks of butter. If you half the recipe, continue to use the full egg.
When creaming the butter and sugar continue to cream until there are no visible butter chunks.
To ensure the cookies look similar and stay poofy - refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours or over night! It isn't necessary but does make them look better.

Red’s Ultimate M&M's Cookie
Adapted from So Tasty So Yummy
makes 4 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 12-ounce package M&Ms, approx 2 cups

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into butter and sugar mixture. Stir in M&Ms. Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft. Cool 1 minute and place on wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry

I suffered an impulse buy a while back and purchased this spice bottle. Generally I don't buy the premixed spices because there is a lot of sodium!

However, the bottle wasn't super expensive and the ingredients would be a pain to gather separately. The ingredient list also did NOT include, "natural spices" or "natural flavor" - whatever that might mean. It also contains 88 mg of sodium per 1/4 tsp.

The ingredient list: salt, garlic, soy bean, coriander, chili, onion, lemon grass, celery seed, carrot, chives, turmeric, citric acid, black pepper, mustard powder, cumin, fenugreek, chickpea, ginger, cardamon.

Note: This is not spicy at all and we added some red pepper flakes.

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry
Adapted from The Gourmet Collection Thai Style Green Curry bottle
serves 3

1 large onion, diced
2 tbsp Thai green curry spice blend
1 pound chicken (2 large chicken breasts)
1 large cubed potato
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup sliced carrots

Stove Top Directions:

  • Saute onion and carrots in oil with Thai spice. 
  • Add diced chicken and saute until brown. 
  • Stir in potato and coconut milk. 
  • Bring to a boil and simmer until cooked. Stir occasionally.
  • Serve with rice

Slow Cooker Directions:
Add all ingredients into the slow cooker. Do not dice or cut up the chicken breast. Stir so everything is coated.
Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6. The chicken will have a pulled instead of chunky.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Rotisserie Chicken Dry Rub

Instead of eating deli meat for lunch we have been making rotisserie chicken! I triple the spice amounts below and store the rub so it is on hand.

If you chill in the fridge it will create nicer slices.

Rotisserie Chicken Dry Rub
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp white pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Combine above spices in a container with a top and then store in a cool dry place.

Use: Coat chicken until covered, approx 1 - 2 tablespoons for each chicken breast. Drizzle olive oil  on the top and rub onto the chicken. Bake at 400F for 25-45 minutes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Very flavorful! I did not brown the chicken prior to putting into the slow cooker because I was worried that it would over cook. Would I make this again? Maybe. If I did - I would prepare it differently. I didn't think the slow cooker aspect was necessary. As the slow cooker only needs 4 hours (at a maximum), it is tough to start when you would normally be at work.

If I was trying to save time, next time, I would make the sauce the night before and clean and cut the chicken up. Then that evening I would fry/brown/crisp the chicken while the rice was cooking.

But the flavors were great and we did finish it off quickly!

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
Adapted from The Recipe Critic
Serves 4

3-4 boneless chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces (approx 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¾ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic
pinch of pepper
Sesame seeds (optional)
Scallion, sliced (optional)
  1. In the crock pot bowl mix the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, marmalade, brown sugar, salt and pepper. 
  2. In a ziplock bag, add the cornstarch and chicken. Shake to coat. 
  3. Add chicken to the crock pot OR Pour vegetable oil in the skillet and brown the sides of the covered chicken. The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked since it is going in the crockpot.
  4. Add chicken into crockpot with the sauce mixture. 
  5. Stir.
  6. Cook on low 4-5 hours or high 2-3 hours.
  7. To serve, sprinkle with sliced scallion and a handful of sesame seeds!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)

The husband travels to Germany on occasion and was craving some German Pot Roast also known as Sauerbraten! I looked at many different recipes and decide that Alton Brown wouldn't send me in the wrong direction.

I confess that I did make changes to the original recipe. I omitted the Juniper Berries as those were not available at Wegmans. I did not sear the meat prior to marinating. I also used the slow cooker on low for about 12 hours instead of cooking in the oven.

Many of the reviews said that there were too many gingersnaps and to use 1/2 the amount of sugar. I followed those tips however I think it needed the full amount of both (18 cookies instead of 10 and 1/3 cup of sugar instead of 1/4). The broth/liquid wasn't thick enough and it was very acidic/tangy. I did throw in 2 potatoes that were wilting on my counter tops as well.

I would also vent the slow cooker lid to reduce the liquid and help make it less soupy.

The slow cooker the meat became more pot-roast like instead of slice-able. Tender and yummy, just not what (I believe) it should have resembled.

This was served over fresh and homemade spaetzle!

Adapted from Alton Brown
Serves 2 1/2 very hungry adults

2 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, additional for seasoning meat
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves (1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground cloves)
12 juniper berries (optional)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) bottom round (I used Chuck Roast)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
18 dark old-fashioned gingersnaps (about 5 ounces), crushed
1/2 cup seedless raisins, optional

In a large saucepan over high heat combine the water, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, and mustard seeds. Cover and bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pat the bottom round dry and rub with vegetable oil and salt on all sides.

When the marinade has cooled to a point where you can stick your finger in it and not be burned, place the meat in a non-reactive vessel and pour over the marinade. Place into the refrigerator for 3 days. If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over once a day.

After 3 days of marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Add the sugar to the meat and marinade, cover and place on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 4 hours.

Remove the meat from the vessel and keep warm. Strain the liquid to remove the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Whisk in the gingersnaps and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Add the raisins if desired. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


While tasty I did NOT have the correct technique. These were a pain to make and made a mess of my kitchen!

The dough was very sticky and elastic-y. It was like a very thick pancake batter. This made it difficult to push through the metal colander. It was also problematic when the colander fell into the boiling water and all the dough cooked into each little draining hole.

Next time, I'll put it in a plastic bag and cut off the corner off it. Then I'll dribble the spaetzle dough into the hot water. When it floats it is ready to be fished out of the water!

I served this with our Sauerbraten pot roast!
sticky batter!

connected chopsticks with twist ties
to make a frame. This sort of worked...
balanced the colander over the
 boiling water. How could this end poorly?

Spaetzle Dumpings

Adapted from All Recipes
Makes 2 servings (even though the recipe says this would serve 6)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk (almond milk worked)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1 pinch freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Mix together flour, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Beat eggs well, and add alternately with the milk to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.
  • Press dough through spaetzle maker, or a large holed sieve or metal grater.
  • Drop a few at a time into simmering liquid. Cook 5 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  • Optional: Saute cooked spaetzle in butter or margarine. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top, and serve

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gingerbread Cookies

Super easy! I made the dough the night before and refrigerated the dough overnight. Leave the butter and egg on the counter for 1-2 hours so it is at room temperature. The butter will cream better if it is on the warmer side. 

When cutting out the cookies keep the other portion of dough in the fridge. Instead of re-rolling the scraps right away, use the chilled dough and put the scraps into the fridge. Alternate until the dough is all used up. 

We made cats, mice, and men! The icing recipe is the one I used with the sugar cookies. This takes food coloring very easily and hardens quickly. I used the recipe without the almond extract and did not add any coloring. Once the icing is dry the cookies are able to be stacked. 

We are looking forward to making these around the holidays!

Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted from Wegmans Recipes
Makes 3-4 dozen (depends on cookie cutter size)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 cups all-purpose flour
Icing from Sugar Cookie recipe

In a stand mixer add butter, brown sugar, and salt to mixer bowl. Cream on medium speed until combined and lightened, scraping bowl and paddle as needed.

Add egg; mix to combine. Add molasses; mix to combine. Turn off mixer.

Sift together baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, and flour into separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture. Mix on low just until combined.

Separate dough in half and form each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using rolling pin, roll out one disk of dough on lightly floured surface to a circle about 1/4-inch thick.

Cut out cookies. Transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing about 1/2-inch apart.

Bake one sheet at a time on center rack of oven 12-14 min, or until cookies are firm but not dry. Cool for 2 min and remove from baking sheet.

Chef Tip from Wegmans:

To control the thickness of any rolled-out cookie dough, use rubber rolling pin rings or roll it between two thin strips of wood or Plexiglas (1/4-inch thick). They will help ensure even thickness of the final product.

Incorporate some of the "scrap" dough into the next piece of dough to be rolled out. This way, you won't be left with only scrap dough when finished.

Turn the sheet pan around halfway through the baking process to ensure even baking of the final product.

Set the timer for about half the time recommended, especially with new recipes. This lets you fine-tune the baking time without fear of over-baking the cookies.

For a crispier cookie, bake additional 2-4 minutes.