Monday, January 26, 2009

Best Ever Homemade Pancakes

So, there is no photo of the pancakes. First, we all know what pancakes are supposed to look like. Second, I can't make a pretty pancake to save my life. They taste good, they just don't have that uniform golden brown-ness that makes a pancake look good. So you'll just have to trust me and make these for yourself. I found this recipe a few years ago. It was probably the third or fourth pancake recipe I tried, and it's the only one I've made since. It's easy and delicious, what more can you ask for?

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl mix the butter, milk and eggs. Slowly stir into the dry ingredients. Let sit at least ten minutes before cooking.

As for cooking directions, trial and error is best. I use an electric griddle that works best when set around 350 degrees. Do not try to flip the pancakes until the bubbles pop and the holes remain (if that makes any sense to you, I don't know how to describe it better).

Chicken Fried Rice

I have made this recipe a few times now. I originally got it from Joelen's Culinary Adventures. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, you should, she is quite the busy foodie. I never thought that I could make a decent fried rice until I followed her instructions. The other night we were stuck on what to prepare for dinner, and we realized we had leftover chicken, rice from the Pork Chops in Tomatoes we'd just made, and veggies in the freezer. So we made up a quick Chicken Fried Rice that hubby says is better than at the restaraunts. I skipped a few ingredients from the original (because of an upset stomach from too much movie popcorn and laziness), which is listed above, and have the recipe we used below. Even with the limited seasonings in my version it is an incredibly flavorful dish. You could easily make this with any variety of meats and veggies.

Chicken Fried Rice
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cups day old rice

Heat oil in a wok or large fry pan. Stir fry chicken until crispy, push to side of pan. Crack the eggs into the pan and scramble until cooked through. Add rice to the pan, crumbling it up as you do so to seperate the grains. Add soy sauce. Add frozen vegetables and heat through.

Pork Chops in Tomatoes

This is a simple and tasty meal that's also extremely healthy. It tastes even better when made with home-canned tomatoes, but would work well with store-bought as well. This is a dish that my parents made all the time while I was growing up that I would never eat, but I love it now.

Pork Chops in Tomatoes
  • 6 pork chops from loin
  • 1 quart canned tomatoes (mine included celery, garlic, peppers and onion)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut pork chops into small chunks, approximately 2 inches by 2 inches. In a Dutch oven, brown the pork in some olive oil. Remove from heat and pour tomatoes over top. Cover, and bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Pork pieces should be fork tender at this point. Serve over rice.

Frito Soup

This is a quick and easy meal to prepare, and is one that we usually will make on our camping trips (we're RV campers). My husband got the recipe from one of his coworkers, and after a couple of slight modifications this is the way we prepare it. For me, it's essentially an excuse to dump all sorts of Fritos on top of my dinner, and don't let the photo fool you - I added more Fritos after I took the picture.

Frito Soup
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 bag Fritos

Combine all ingredients except Fritos in a saucepan and heat through. Depending on the consistency of the salsa you use and desired thickness, you may want to drain the corn or add water to the soup. Serve topped with Fritos.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

My husband is allowing me to blog one of his meals tonight. This is a recipe that my husband got from a co-worker years ago. The original recipe was different and over the years it has morphed into what we make today. It's not your traditional jambalaya, but it is a very tasty one-pot meal. Here at home we usually serve it with tortilla chips, when my husband makes it at work he usually serves cornbread.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken (can be a whole chicken or boneless, skinless breasts)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 16 ounce cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

Boil the chicken in the water along with salt and pepper. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken, strain broth. If using a whole chicken, remove meat from bones and skin. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. If using chicken breasts you may want to add some bouillon to the water to make a more flavorful broth.

In the same pot, brown the sausage. Drain fat. Add in the chicken, broth and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

For the best flavor, use the same pot for all steps of the recipe.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Whiskey Slush

This is a drink recipe that comes from my husband's family. I'm not sure where it originated, as they have been making it for years. It's something he likes to make every year around New Year's.

Whiskey Slush
  • 1 12 ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 12 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 cups water
  • 7 tea bags
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups Kessler's whiskey
  • Faygo Rock N Rye

Brew the 7 tea bags using the first 2 cups of water. Mix all remaining ingredients except the Faygo together in an empty, plastic one gallon ice cream pail (or other large freezer safe container). Freeze. Serve by scooping some of the slush mixture into a glass and topping with Faygo Rock N Rye.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tortilla Black Bean Soup

I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's webpage. We're currently trying to cut down on the meat we eat, so this seemed like a good soup to try. I made very few adjustments, but it would be good with some ground sausage or shredded chicken added in if you wanted a heartier meal.

I made tortilla strips instead of crushing tortilla chips to make it more like a restaurant soup.

Tortilla Black Bean Soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen corn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tortilla strips

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic and chili powder until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beans, tomatoes (with juice), broth, corn, and water; season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Let simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until flavors are well blended. Serve topped with tortilla strips.

Semi-homemade Tortilla Strips

  • corn tortillas
  • olive oil in a mister or cooking spray
  • seasonings of your choice (I use a combination of things like chili powder, cayenne, pepper, garlic powder, salt)

Cut tortillas into strips. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Spray tops of tortillas with olive oil or cooking spray and shake on seasoning. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 8 minutes, chips will crisp some as they cool (if using a dark baking sheet you may need to cook less).