Buttermilk Pancakes

Quick Post: I have tried several buttermilk pancakes recipes, but this one in my family’s opinion surpasses them all. They are the most fluffy and flavorful pancakes we’ve ever had. Lately I have been halving the recipe and we end up with exactly nine pancakes. Don’t forget to use real maple syrup! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buttermilk Pancakes ingredients – adapted from Eat My Charlotte

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons backing powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Additional butter or cooking spray

Directions – Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl (the dry ingredients). Whisk buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and vanilla in another large bowl. Add to dry ingredients. Stir until batter is just blended but still lumpy (do not overmix). Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter on griddle over medium heat. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle, spacing 2 inches apart. Cook until bubbles break on surface, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes over. Cook until bottoms are golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to plates. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to skillet as needed. Serve pancakes immediately with butter and syrup

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Bulgur Chili (vegan)

I have never cooked with or tasted bulgur before today, but I can now say it’s a great healthy, whole grain to use. My only dilemma now is finding more tasty recipes to use up the rest of the package of bulgur! I’ve been looking through my trusty, stand-by websites for inspiration, but there aren’t a whole lot to choose from. I did however find a ton here, some of which I bookmarked and hopefully will get around to trying soon. I have so many bookmarked recipes…really, way too many! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Bulgur Chili ingredients – adapted from Naturally Ella

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 whole cloves, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernals
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 mediums jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained (I didn’t have kidney beans, so I used black beans)
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika
  • 3-4 cups vegetable stock (I ended up using 3.5 cups, it just depends on how thick or soupy you prefer your chili)

Directions –

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, and peppers, saute until they begin to soften.  Stir in spices, corn, and tomatoes.  Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil (start with 3 three cups of stock.)  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally.

If the chili begins to thicken too much, continue to add stock until it reaches a chili-like consistency (the bulgur will soak up a good majority of the liquid.)  Let simmer for 45 minutes until bulgur has softened.  Taste and adjust seasoning.



Vodka Cream Pasta with Italian Sausage

I was introduced to tomato/cream pastas some time last year…dangerous! I don’t make them very often at all and our favorite so far is Penne al la Betsy via The Pioneer Woman. The first time I made it, I subbed chicken for the shrimp – see that was before I was comfortable cleaning, deveining, and cooking shrimp. My family loves shrimp, even my picky eater loves shrimp. Thankfully, she loves sausage (and bacon) too, and if she knows what’s good for her, she’ll eat some of this too!

I cooked the sauce much longer than what the recipe specified – actually, it doesn’t give a time limit at all. I also thought it best to use 1/2 cup of vodka and about the same amount of heavy cream, because 1 cup of each seemed like over-kill to me!

Verdict: rich, creamy, flavorful, yum! This makes a lot of pasta, so unless you want to deal with all the leftovers, invite some friends over! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Vodka Cream Pasta with Italian Sausage Ingredients – adapted from Eclectic Recipes

  • 5 links sweet Italian sausage, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1 32 oz can Italian tomatoes (I used crushed San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup vodka (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup cream (I used about 3/4 cup)
  • a large bunch of basil, roughly chopped or torn
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • penne pasta (I used angel hair)

Directions –

Preheat large skillet. Drizzle with olive oil and add sausage to pre-heated pan. Brown sausage. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes. Add vodka. Turn heat to a simmer. Break up tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher.

In a separate saucepan, while sauce is simmering, bring water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions.

When pasta is done, Add cream to sauce and bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add basil and stir until just wilted. Serve over pasta, and don’t forget the garlic toast!


Stuffed Portobellos

Quick Post: This photo is in no way a representation of its taste! I think bacon would have been a great addition to this, but sadly, M ate the last of the leftover bacon tonight. I added some cooked chicken instead which was a fine substitute – but bacon it isn’t!;o) This meal came together fairly quickly and cooked up in the oven in 15 minutes. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Stuffed Portobellos Ingredients – adapted from How To: Simplify

  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 portobello mushrooms caps, with stems removed
  • Salt and pepper (I added a 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning too)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 whole tomato, diced
  • 3 slices bacon, fully-cooked and crumbled (I used some cooked chicken instead)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly chopped basil (I love basil but I didn’t have any)

Directions –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking dish by covering it with aluminum foil.

Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Brush the mixture on the aluminum foil and then brush the mixture on the tops and bottoms of the mushrooms caps. Sprinkle the caps with salt and pepper and then set them, gill side down, on the baking dish.

Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil and vinegar mixture in a saucepan and saute the onion until it becomes translucent.

Place baking dish in the oven and bake the caps for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, flip the mushroom caps and continue to bake for 5 minutes. Remove the mushroom caps from the oven.

Fill each of the mushrooms caps with goat cheese, tomato, onion and bacon. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.

Place in the oven for 5 minutes and serve warm.


Molten Chocolate Cakes

M has a sweet tooth…even when he’s sick apparently!;o) It’s okay though because this dessert is so quick to mix together, then it only takes a measly 12 minutes to bake! I also appreciated that the recipe only makes four – 6 ounce ramekins worth – I only have four of them, perfect! I know what I’ll be making him for Valentine’s Day dessert at least – now I just have to figure out what the main course is. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Molten Chocolate Cakes Ingredients – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus 1/4 pound (1 stick)
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease and flour 4 (6-ounce) ramekins or baking dishes with the 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of flour in each, tapping out the excess flour. Set on a baking sheet.

In a double boiler, or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the remaining 1/4 pound of butter with the chocolate, cream, and powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt until thick ribbons form, about 3 minutes. Sift 2 tablespoons flour into the egg mixture and fold together. Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture. Divide among the prepared dishes and bake until the sides of the cake are set and the tops are puffed but still soft, about 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the ramekins for 2 minutes, then unmold onto dessert plates.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Poor M is sick with the flu, but thankfully the fever and headaches haven’t made him nauseated. I asked what he’d like for dinner and of course, he requested chicken noodle soup. “Great” I thought…I always want to go the extra mile (as much as possible) when he requests something, and I really didn’t feel like making stock from scratch…it takes too long. This method I used seemed like a good substitute for it. I took a little help from the store with some stock in a box and doctored it up a bit to cook the chicken, which enriched the flavor and richness. This took more effort than I originally wanted to put into it (the rainy, cloudy weather makes me lazy) but it was so worth it because the whole family enjoyed eating it and the leftovers will taste even better. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup ingredients – a Mom Makes original recipe

  • 1 – 4 pound whole chicken, rinsed well
  • 1 carton of chicken stock
  • 1 carton of vegetable stock
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 5-7 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 TBSP of whole peppercorns
  • 4 – 6 cups water

Soup ingredients –

  • 3 cups egg noodles
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 – 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 10 – 12 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups of shredded chicken
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried parsley flakes (optional)

Directions for Stock –

1. In a 8 quart stock pot or larger, place all ingredients and cook for one hour. Be sure to skim fat and scum off the top while cooking. Once the chicken is cooked, carefully remove it from the stock pot and place on a foil lined half sheet pan to cool – at least 40 minutes.

2. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and discard all vegetables and herbs. Skim the remaining fat off the top of the stock.

3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle shred into uniform pieces.

Directions for Soup –

1. Heat a saute pan to medium and add butter and olive oil. Once the butter melts, add all your diced veggies to the pan. Saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, place a soup pot with the 10 – 12 cups of chicken stock to simmer and add the cooked vegetables and shredded chicken to the soup pot. Bring to boil, season to taste and add the egg noodles and peas. Cook until the egg noodles are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste again, season if needed – enjoy the soup with a crusty loaf of bread…yum!

Fish Tacos

Quick Post: I’m not the most confident when it comes to fish or frying, but I tackled both for tonight’s dinner. Frying makes me nervous because it is pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead of deep frying, I only used about 1/3 of an inch of oil in my pan and flipped the fish halfway through the cooking time. Also, I recommend setting your oven to the lowest it will go – (mine was at 150) and placed the fish on a cooling rack on top of a sheet pan and let them hang out in the warm oven. Two pounds of fish is a lot to fry, and I couldn’t put more than 6 or 7 pieces in my pan at a time. These turned out to be really tasty and I would use this recipe again. We enjoyed these with my favorite Mexican “orange” rice and fresh pico de gallo. I would have liked to make the chile mayo because it would have added creaminess to go with the crunch of the fish, but I ran out of mayo the other day. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

The Ultimate Fish Tacos ingredients – adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 2 pounds mahi mahi (skinned, boned and cleaned) cut into 1-ounce strips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions –

Prepare the fish. Cut the pieces of fish into 1-ounce strips. Set up a breading station of flour, lightly beaten eggs with water, and seasoned panko bread crumbs. Season all with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg then bread crumbs. Once all the fish is breaded deep-fry in small batches in (375 degrees F) oil. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Pico de Gallo ingredients – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 5 whole Plum (roma) Tomatoes
  • ½ whole Large (or 1 Small) Onion
  • 3 whole Jalapeno Peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt To Taste

Direction –

Chop jalapenos, tomatoes and onions into a very small dice. (Leave seeds in your jalapenos for a hotter pico). Adjust amount of jalapenos to your preferred temperature. Next, chop up a nice-sized bunch of cilantro. Just remove and discard the long leafless stems before chopping. No need to remove the leaves from the stems completely. Place all of these ingredients together in a bowl and give it a good stir.

Squeeze the juice of half of one lime into the bowl. Add salt to taste and stir again.



Simple but Elegant Lunch

This was really good, and I love that I can easily throw this kind of meal together cause I have such a well stocked pantry and fridge. I was able to use some of the pesto that I made over the weekend,  crimini mushrooms, minced onion and some grape tomatoes to create a tasty pasta “sauce”.  Today I picked up some quinoa pasta shells because there is way more protein  and other good-for-you stuff that regular pasta can’t offer. I would have loved to add some peas to this, but sadly I had no frozen peas! Anyway, I am really happy with how this turned out, and I think having pesto on hand in the fridge or freezer is something I will have more often. It isn’t hard to make and it tastes worlds better than any pre-made pesto with unpronounceable ingredients. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom “Burger”

M requested hamburgers, homemade buns and baked beans (with bacon, of course) for dinner…not health food by any stretch of the imagination! The other day, I saw portobello mushroom caps for sale at Publix which started the wheels turning in my brain…”what could I do with those?” I typed “portobello” in the TasteSpotting search for inspiration – it never fails me! There were several recipes for burgers using marinated caps, some topped with caramelized onions, others with pesto, brie or roasted red bell pepper. I combined a few different ideas to come up with what sounded good to me. Mine will have the roasted (on the grill) red bell pepper, pesto and some traditional burger toppings. I know the hubbs is going to look at me like I have a third eye or something, but I’m not making him eat it!;o)

Anyway, this meal was so tasty and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the beef. Portobello mushrooms are pretty hardy and it absorbed the marinade perfectly. I would definitely make this again, although I would be the only one eating them next time too. M hates mushrooms and bell peppers, so I don’t think I could pay him enough to try them. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Marinated Portobello Mushroom “Burger” – a Mom Makes Origional

  • 2 Portobello Mushroom caps, gills removed and brushed clean
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1-2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TSP Italian seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toppings –

  • 1/2 roasted red bell pepper
  • 2 TBSP Arugula pesto
  • small handful of salad greens
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 split Parmesan cheese bun

Directions –

Place the mushroom caps in a zip top bag, mix all the remaining ingredients and pour over the caps. Let marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Grill the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes a side add cheese half way through cooking time if desired.

Toast your bun, spread pesto on both sides, add a slice of beefsteak tomato, some salad greens, half a roasted bell pepper then top with your mushroom cap. Enjoy!

Arugula Pesto Ingredients – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 2 cups of packed arugula leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 garlic clove peeled and minced

Directions –

Brown 6 garlic cloves with their peels on in a skillet over medium high heat until the garlic is lightly browned in places, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan, cool, and remove the skins.

Toast the nuts in a pan over medium heat until lightly brown, or heat in a microwave on high heat for a minute or two until you get that roasted flavor. In our microwave it takes 2 minutes.

Food processor method (the fast way): Combine the arugula, walnuts, roasted and raw garlic into a food processor. Pulse while drizzling the olive oil into the processor. Remove the mixture from the processor and put it into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Cheese Burger Buns – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 6 ounces lukewarm water
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 14 3/4 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 7/8 ounce sugar
  • 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese or the finely grated cheese of your choice
  • 3/4 to 1 1/4 teaspoons salt*
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder, optional but good
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant
  • butter for brushing on top
  • *Use 3/4 teaspoon salt if you use cheese powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt if you use grated fresh cheese

Directions –
To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead them — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, somewhat tacky dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or other container large enough to allow it to at least double in bulk, cover, and let it rise for about 60 to 70 minutes, till it’s just about doubled.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into 8 pieces.

Round each piece into a smooth ball, and place on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently flatten the balls to about 3″ diameter

Cover the buns and let them rise till they’ve expanded nicely, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush each bun with melted butter.

Bake the buns till they’re a light, golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Remove buns from oven, and brush with melted butter again. Place them on a rack to cool.

Yield – 8 big buns

Buffalo Chicken Soup

I was in the mood to cook something and I had some chicken breasts in the fridge that were about to go bad. TasteSpotting is my favorite website for inspiration and it hasn’t let me down yet. I bookmarked this recipe months ago and today I decided to go ahead and try it out. Thankfully, it doesn’t require lots of ingredients or take too much time. It’s nice, light and pretty spicy depending on how much Frank’s Red Hot you put in. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Soup ingredients – adapted from My Fiance Likes It so It Must be Good

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 to 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (depending on your taste)
  • 1 cup shell pasta
  • blue cheese for topping

Directions –

In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken chunks and set aside.

In a dutch oven over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken and set aside again.

Add remaining tablespoon of butter to pot and add vegetables. Cook until soft and translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add back in the chicken, chicken stock, hot sauce, and shells. Cook until noodles becomes soft. The longer you let it sit, the spicier it will get!

Top with blue cheese and dig on in!