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Missed National Pancake Day?



Did you know yesterday was National Pancake Day? … or was it?

If you look at my list of National Food Days… February 28th ...pancakes are mysteriously missing …but… thanks to the folks at IHOP… yesterday was National Pancake Day…. and to celebrate the day they gave away free pancakes!

Gasp! … You missed it??? You didn’t go down to IHOP and get your free pancakes?

Well… how about having your own celebration… even if it’s a day late… How about making a pancake supper tonight? Surprise the family… make them a great big stack of their favorite pancakes for supper. They will not mind it being a day late… trust me!

Sprinkle the special ingredients in to make each person’s favorite… be it blueberries… chocolate chips or even raspberries and white chocolate chips… whatever their favorite is… or better yet.. make up some of those fabulous southern favorites Sweet Potato Pancakes with Pecan Butter!

Here are some links to help you find that perfect recipe for tonight!








Light and Fluffy Pancakes










Southern Sweet Potato Pancakes and Pecan Butter









Chocolate Chip Pancakes









White Chocolate Chip Pancakes

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Recipe: Red Raspberry and White Chocolate Cream Pastries


These Red Raspberry and White Chocolate Cream Pastries are made of flaky puff pastry dough with a filling of sweet white chocolate cream cheese and red raspberries….. deliciously indulgent… a wonderful dessert or as we had it.. as a breakfast pastry… with coffee.. a fabulous way to start the day!

Pastry recipes seem difficult and they certainly can be… my Grandmother was so good at making light and flaky pastry that my efforts pale in comparison… actually truth be told … there is no comparison… but as Warren would say.. practice makes perfect… or so he hopes that I practice.

Well… this recipe was a snap to make and turned out extremely well… I did cheat.. I used frozen puff pastry… we are so fortunate today to have the convenience items at the store that our Grandmothers didn’t have. … and while it isn’t close to the quality of my Grandmother’s pastry… it is very good.

Trust me… frozen puff pastry is your friend… not only does it eliminate the hours of work… it comes out pretty darn good. I try to keep a package in the freezer.. it makes making impromptu desserts a snap.

This recipe is slightly adapted from a recipe from the folks at Pepperidge Farms.

TIPS

Sometimes the pastry dough just doesn’t unfold like it should… I just roll it out to the size I need.. I have never had a problem with it turning out flaky and just fine.

I have a ruler I keep in the kitchen.. this way I can measure the dough exactly and roll it out to the size specified in the recipe… there are pastry boards with measurements on it that are handy as well.

Be careful placing the 3 inch cutter (I used a biscuit cutter) on your dough…. the dough when rolled out to the indicated size will make exactly 12 circles per sheet… actually.. I wasn’t careful and ended up with 19 circles instead.. I had waste… I could have rolled the scraps and then cut more circles, but didn’t….

Didn’t plan ahead? Need to soften the cream cheese quickly? See my post for directions how to soften cream cheese quickly.

The original recipe directions said to put a tablespoon of filling on each pastry dough circle… if you do that you will run out of filling… I used a measuring spoon to spoon out the filling.. and used about ½ - ¾ of a tablespoon.

I put about a tablespoon and a half of Smucker’s Seedless Red Raspberry jam in a measuring cup and microwaved it for about 10 seconds or so to melt it. Then I put the fresh raspberries in a small bowl and tossed them with the melted jam.. just enough to coat them.. I think it balances out the tartness of the berries better than just using the raspberries.

Remember to use the beaten egg wash around the edge of the dough circle to seal the dough… otherwise… this will happen to your pastry.. the top will slide right off.

Pinch the pastries then crimp them with a fork.. don’t fret if they don’t look perfect when you do it.. they will bake and smooth out naturally.. in fact the crimping will all but disappear anyway… but do it to help seal them closed.

Don’t panic if they leak… they will look just fine when removed from the pan.. in fact they look a little like little jelly donuts.



Use Demara sugar to sprinkle over the tops.. it adds a great little sweet crunch and gives them a professional look. You can find it in the grocery store by the other sugars. For information about Demerara sugar see my post about it.

Beware.. you can’t eat just one!






Recipe: Red Raspberry and White Chocolate Cream Pastries

All you need:

1 pkg. (17.3 ounces) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
Sprinkling of all-purpose flour (for the board)
½ of an 8 ounce pkg. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup white chocolate chips
1 pkg. (6 ounces) fresh raspberries
1 ½ tablespoons Smucker’s Seedless red Raspberry Jam
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons Demerara Sugar (see Tips)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Microwave the seedless raspberry jam in a microwaveable bowl until just melted.

Place the raspberries in a small bowl and toss with the melted jam …then set aside.



In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth. Stir in the white chocolate chips and set it aside.



Beat the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside.

Lightly sprinkle flour on a work surface and roll out a pastry sheet to a 12 inch square. Using a 3 inch round cutter, cut circles out of the dough… you should get 10-12 circles. Repeat with the other pastry sheet.



Brush the edges of half the circles with the egg wash. (reserving the other half of the circles to use as a top).



Divide the cream cheese filling evenly the circles.



Place 2 jam coated raspberries on top of the cream filling.



Place the reserved circles on top and press the edges closed.



Crimp the edges with a fork.



Place the pastries on the prepared baking sheets.

Using a sharp knife make 3 small slits in the top of each pastry.



Brush with egg wash.



Sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.



Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the pastries from the pan and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.

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Demerara Sugar


Ever notice that professional baked goods sometimes have a large granular sugar on top... it adds a sweet crunch to the crust of breads, muffins and pastries?

Many home bakers sprinkle their baked goods with sugar… I am no exception…. but I wanted to get that crunch… so I did some research and found that Demerara sugar is used. It’s popular in the UK and is also available here in the states.

So just what is Demerara sugar?

As described on the Florida Crystals website… it’s a large amber colored granule with a hint of molasses inside each crystal. It is crystallized from the initial pressing of 100% pure cane sugar. It is not the same as brown sugar.

Demerara Sugar is readily available in supermarkets in the sugar section. The brand I purchased was Florida Crystal, to locate a retailer that carries their brand go to their website. There are other brands also available.



I hope you found this helpful.

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Recipe: Spanish Tortilla


A Spanish Tortilla is not what most people associate with tortillas… most Americans… when hearing the word tortilla immediately think of those thin flour or corn flatbreads that we wrap our tacos or burritos with…. not so with the Spanish Tortilla.

The Spanish Tortilla is made up of eggs and potatoes… at least that much most will agree on.. however.. after you get past the eggs and potatoes … the debates begin… most people add onions.. and still others add chorizo and possibly peppers…

So what exactly is a Spanish Tortilla?

Tortilla literally means little torta or little cakes… Spanish Tortillas are made of thinly sliced potatoes that are cooked in oil, tossed with slightly cooked onions and beaten eggs… placed in a skillet with rounded sides (an omelet pan would suffice) and cooked to form a “little cake” that’s sliced into wedges. It is served at all times of the day… a breakfast or snack (tapas)… eaten warm or cold…

This recipe is a traditional one.. made simply of potatoes, onions and eggs. We enjoyed it as a Sunday breakfast with some bacon.

TIPS

I cooked the potatoes and onions (separately) in a large skillet… they had to removed anyway, so there was no point in using the smaller skillet as in would increase my cooking time at the stove.

I used non-stick pans… which are easier to use… as the potatoes won’t stick and you will need less oil.

A word of caution… you are not making potato chips.. so try to avoid browning the potato slices… you want them a bit crusty on the outside and cooked soft on the inside… do not do as I did… I did not keep a close eye on them.. and some of mine browned… they tasted fine but the others that were cooked less worked better. Cooking time over medium high heat should be roughly 3-5 minutes.

As I mentioned.. don’t think you can cook the potatoes and continue to prep the remaining ingredients… it just doesn’t work well.. take my advice… get all your potatoes and onions sliced before starting the cooking process.

Cook the potatoes in batches… after about 2 minutes I flipped them with a spatula and cooked for another minute or so… they get a very pale tan.. then they should be done… assuming you cut them as directed … about 1/8 inch thick.

I cooked all the potatoes.. removed them as they were done to paper towels to drain… then put them in a large bowl.

When the onions went in.. there was probably no more than 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan.. I stirred the onions in the oil.. so it coated them very lightly and I cooked them over medium heat, stirring constantly until they were soft. They went into the bowl with the potatoes.

I allowed the onions to cool for a few minutes.. until they were cool enough to handle.. tossed them to evenly spread the onions throughout the potatoes.

Flipping the tortilla can be tricky…. I have an oven safe large plate that I used to place over the pan when flipping the tortilla.. it worked fine .. but it is awkward.. and you may need help… if your pan is heavy and you think you will have trouble… allow the pan to cool a bit too prevent any burns.. it won’t affect the end result…

This makes about 4 large servings.

Eat this hot, warm or cold… it is totally delicious any way you serve it.






Recipe: Spanish Tortilla

All you need:

4 large potatoes (white or Yukon Gold)
1 medium onion
6 eggs, beaten
Olive oil
Sprinkling of salt and pepper

All you have to do:



Peel and slice the potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices.



Peel and cut the onion in half.. then slice the onion into thin slices.



In a large non-stick skillet… add a thin layer of olive oil… heat over medium high heat.

When oil is hot.. and enough potato slices to cover the skillet (you will need to cook the slices in batches). Cook until they are a very pale tan (a little crusty on the outside, soft on the inside) and flip them for a minute to cook the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add a little olive oil as needed for the additional batches. *See Tips

When all the potatoes have been cooked and drained, place them in a large bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.



Remove any excess oil from the skillet, leaving about 2 teaspoons of oil. Heat the skillet over medium heat and cook the sliced onions, using a spatula, continuously stir the onions until they are soft. Add them to the bowl with the potatoes.

All the contents of the bowl to cool a bit… then toss to evenly mix the onions with the potatoes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the beaten eggs to the potato and onion mixture and toss to evenly coat them. Allow them to sit for 5 minutes.



Spray a 9 or 10 inch non-stick omelet pan (skillet with sloped sides) with cooking oil spray.

Heat the pan over medium high heat.

Add the potato mixture … making sure you pour all the beaten egg at the bottom of the bowl over the potato mixture.

Cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the bottom is golden and the egg mixture is almost set. (Check by peeking underneath .. lifting an end with a spatula). Remove the lid.

Place a large plate or another omelet pan….over the pan and flip the tortilla onto the plate or 2nd pan.

Now slide the tortilla back onto the original pan and cook until the bottom has cooked and is golden… the amount of time you cook it will depend on how you like your eggs… 2-4 minutes will have a wet interior.. if you prefer your eggs drier.. then 7-8 minutes would be about right. Make sure you keep an eye on it .. you don’t want the bottom to burn… if it starts getting too dark.. lower the heat.

Slide the tortilla onto a serving plate.



Allow the tortilla to set about 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.

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Recipe: Cheesy Sausage Pie


This is a quick and easy recipe for a meat pie… a terrific meal for those nights when you’re short on time… cook the filling and pop it in the oven … then relax while it bakes..

Serve it with some biscuits and you have yourself a nice little meal with hardly any clean up.. now how great is that?

This recipe is slightly adapted from a Pillsbury recipe. I changed very little… added more corn and spices… I made it a deep dish pie rather than a regular pie.


TIPS

I added a tablespoon of Italian seasoning to the recipe.. after tasting the filling.. I felt it was just too bland… if you prefer a blander pie.. just don’t add the Italian seasoning.

I used a blend of shredded cheese, Colby and Monterey Jack… or you can use Cheddar…

I hope you try this!






Recipe: Cheesy Sausage Pie

All you need:

1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, drained
2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives, drained
1 pie crust
1 ½ cups shredded cheese

All you have to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the sausage, onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat until the meat is no longer pink.



Skim off any excess ft if there is any.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, olives and Italian seasoning. Mix well.

Place the pie crust in a deep dish pie plate.

Add the filling.



Bake for 40 minutes.

Remove the dish form the oven and sprinkle the cheese over the top of the pie.



Return the dish to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

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Recipe: Stuffed Cabbage


Stuffed Cabbage was a meal from both ..Warren and my childhood… we both can remember our Mother’s making it… and oddly enough … even with all the recipe variations out there.. our Mother’s made it virtually the same way.

My Mother made it with a little Hungarian touch.. after all.. we had to add paprika and garlic in the meat mix.. but other than that… it was just about the same…. just delicious!

TIPS

When getting the leaves off the head of cabbage… make a slit at the bottom of the leave where it connects.. then using your fingers loosen it from the base to the top…

If the leaves tear.. don’t get upset.. just roll it up as best as you can and secure it with tooth picks.. it will cook up just fine.

I used condensed tomato soup since that’s what our mothers used. If you prefer a more Italian twist to this.. you could substitute tomato sauce.

I’ve read reviews on other sites for similar recipes and some complained that it was bland.. well folks… that’s the recipe… it isn’t all hot and spicy.. at least not traditionally.. you certainly can make it that way… but traditionally it is very similar to stuffed peppers.

My recipe uses both Hungarian Hot and Sweet Paprika.. it really does add flavor and I recommend you try using it.. they are both easily found in the spice section of the grocery store.

I bake my Stuffed Cabbage… my mother did it on the stove, but you run the risk of charring the bottom layer… baking it in the oven works like a charm.

I chop the onion and garlic cloves together in the mini chopper… it chops them really fine and mixes them nicely.

Serve these with mashed potatoes or noodles.






Recipe: Stuffed Cabbage

All you need:

8 cabbage leaves
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 egg, beaten
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
½ teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Sprinkling of salt and pepper
2 cans condensed tomato soup

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread about ½ a can of the condensed soup over the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish. Set them aside.

Place the cabbage leaves in gently boiling water for about 5-7 minutes.

Remove with tongs and drain in a colander.. run cold water over them .. then dry them with paper towel.

In a medium bowl combine the meat, rice, egg, onion, garlic, parsley, paprikas, salt and pepper.

Add 3 tablespoons of the tomato soup to the mix. Combine well.

Lay the cabbage leaves out and divide the mixture evenly among the leaves.

Fold the sides in over the filling and roll them up starting at the end with the large vein. Secure with toothpicks. Place the cabbage rolls in the prepared baking dish.



Cover with the remaining condensed soup from the opened can and the second can.

Cover the baking dish with foil (non-stick works best… non-stick side down.

Place the baking dish on the foil lined baking sheet (to catch any overflow).

Bake at 350 degrees F for 2 ½ hours.

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Recipe: Vegetable Beef Barley Soup


This hearty Vegetable Beef Barley Soup is chock full of vegetables… low fat and delicious…this is a crock pot recipe… everything goes in the crock pot and the crock pot does the work… my favorite kind of meal .. especially when I’m busy doing other things…

TIPS

I used a mix of fresh and frozen vegetables.. you can use all fresh or all frozen vegetables if you prefer.

I sliced fresh baby carrots.. I like the way they look in soup and I had them on hand.. you can use frozen instead.

Adjust the recipe however you like it… don’t like peas.. leave them out…. like lots of barley.. add a bit more than the recipe calls for…. like it more stew-like… don’t add as much beef broth.

When planning your groceries for this meal.. make sure you have extra beef broth on hand… so you can add more if needed…start off with the amount of beef broth listed… and add more to your liking.

If you like peas that are firm.. add them about 30 minutes before the end…

I originally used 1 teaspoon of basil and one teaspoon of oregano (as listed) but after taste testing.. I decided it needed more spice and I added a tablespoon of Italian Seasoning.. it came out perfect for us… so that’s how I listed the ingredients… it’s not an error.

Just as you can vary the amount of spice… you can adjust the garlic and onions… I listed what I used.. we like a flavorful soup.

This reheats wonderfully… I did add more beef broth when I reheated it.

Perfect for a winter’s night…






Recipe: Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

All you need:

1 ½ pounds lean stew meat cut into small pieces
½ medium onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup fresh baby carrots, sliced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen whole green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 can Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes
2 (32 ounces each) beef broth (see Tips)
2/3 cup pearl barley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

All you need to do:

Place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 9 hours or on high for 5 hours.

Adjust seasoning.

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Mardi Gras Foods


It’s Mardi Gras time again!… and that means lots of great food… and with Fat Tuesday coming up.. time to indulge that sweet tooth!

Here are some terrific recipes perfect for any Mardi Gras celebration!








Quick Mardi Gras King Cake - a quick and easy recipe for this traditional Mardi Gras Cake... perfect for breakfast or a dessert.. after all.. why not? It is Fat Tuesday!








Banana Foster Waffles










Garlic Cheese Grits










Cajun Seasoning - keep this in a jar.. makes it really handy to use in recipes









Shrimp and Grits










Dirty Rice with Smoked Sausage










Gumbo










Red Beans and Rice









Jambalaya - a crock pot version to help make things easier

Spicy Cajun Seafood Pasta



Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce - this southern spin on Bread Pudding is perfect for that last minute sweet before Mardi Gras ends.








Bananas Foster No-Bake Cream Cheese Pie

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