Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fluffy Pancakes

I have to admit, I think this is the first time I've made pancakes from scratch. I usually rely on a box mix, but the other day I wanted pancakes for breakfast and we were all out of mix. So I did a quick search of the recipes I'd saved on Allrecipes.com over the years and found one that fit the bill. Simple, quick, and easy. I may never buy a box mix again!

It's very important that your griddle is preheated. You want to start pouring those pancakes as soon as you're done mixing the batter. Otherwise, the batter will start to get real thick and you won't see as good results.

adapted from Good Oldfahsioned Pancakes on Allrecipes.com

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups milk (you may want a little more if you like thinner pancakes)
1 egg
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional

Preheat griddle to med-high heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the center and add the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla, if using; mix until smooth. Pour by 1/4 cupfulls onto griddle. Once bubbles stop popping, flip and brown other side. Serve hot. Makes about 12-14 pancakes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Here is a recipe I've been using for a couple of years now. You can make it as spicy as you can handle. I have an 8-year-old daughter so I don't make it very spicy at all. It's great served over steamed rice.

adapted from Sweet, Sticky and Spicy Chicken on Allrecipes.com

1.5 - 2 lbs. chicken breast tenders (or b/s breasts, cut into strips)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
dash or two of hot sauce (or more if you like it spicy!)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 green onion, sliced - optional

In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and hot sauce. Sprinkle tenders with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Brown tenders on both sides and remove to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add sauce to skillet. Once it begins to boil, whisk in cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. water, until desired consistency. Return chicken to skillet and stir to coat. Continue to cook until chicken is no longer pink. Garnish with sliced green onion, if desired.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Rich and Creamy Rice Pudding with Blackberry Sauce

I have been remiss in posting to this blog, sorry. We moved in February and I'm just now getting my groove back. With Easter only a couple days away, I thought I'd share something springy. And can you believe it? I actually got a decent photo of my food! Let me say, Pinterest is a major motivator to get your food to actually look good so people will want to eat it, lol.

And speaking of Pinterest, that is where I got the idea for this recipe. Blackberries were on sale and I bought 3 packages, not knowing what I'd do with them. I did a search for "blackberry" and came across an intriguing recipe from Spoons 'n' Spades that involved rice pudding with caramel and blackberry sauce. I liked the idea, but wasn't so sure about the caramel part. It got me thinking. So I searched for a good rice pudding recipe (I wanted something creamy and rich) and found one on Food.com that sounded right. I made a few changes, of course, because I can never leave well enough alone. Another search for blackberry sauce led me to Smitten Kitchen, whose recipe I have, again, adapted (very slightly).

This recipe is designed to be served warm. If you wish to serve it cold, just understand that the rice will continue to soak up liquid as it cools and the pudding will get really thick. This can be fixed, however, by stirring in more milk or half-and-half to reach the desired consistency just before serving. The blackberry sauce is great warm or cold. You will no doubt have left over sauce, but it's great on ice cream, pancakes, in smoothies, etc. Or you can freeze it until next time.

adapted from Yummy Creamy Rice Pudding on Food.com

3/4 cup uncooked white rice (any grain will do, just not instant)
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half (or milk will work)
2/3 cup raisins, optional
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add milk, sugar, and salt and cook over med-low heat until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally (about 15-20 minutes):

Meanwhile, beat egg with half-and-half. Slowly stir into rice with raisins and cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Let cool slightly and serve warm.

slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

12 oz (1 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen blackberries*
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice

While rice is cooking: combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan (if you don't want seeds). Scraping with a rubber spatula will help force the pulp and juice through. Heat sauce over medium heat until it boils, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use. Can be kept in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

*if using frozen blackberries, reduce water to 2 Tbsp.