Oct 31, 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes

I tried this recipe for the first time this morning, and I'm hooked! The oatmeal mixture is incredibly easy to make, and you can store it in the fridge or freezer to use whenever the mood strikes you. Once you have the mix, all you need to do is just add an egg and a cup of buttermilk, and you're ready to go!

Also, a friend recommended a delicious variation on this recipe. Try adding a mashed ripened banana along with the buttermilk and egg, before you cook the pancakes. That's the variation I'm most fond of currently. Or I've also made blueberry pancakes by tossing in fresh blueberries, when I've had some on hand.

One other note. Since a single batch of this pancake batter makes more pancakes than I can eat at one sitting, I usually cook all the pancakes up and then freeze the extras. That way, when I want a quick breakfast, I just pull a few pancakes out of the freezer, microwave them till they are warm, and add the butter and syrup. Very yummy and so easy. This recipe is high in fiber and yet the pancakes are fluffy and delicious (and you can increase the ratio of wheat flour to white flour, if desired)!

This is another recipe adapted from My Kitchen Cafe.

3 1/2 cups rolled (quick) oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixer with a paddle (or by hand). With mixer on slow speed (or gently by hand), drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it stays together, it is just right. If it is still crumbly, add another tablespoon of oil at a time until the consistency is correct. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make the pancakes: whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup buttermilk (a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk will also work), and 1 egg. The mixture may seem thin at first but the oats will soak up the milk as it stands while the griddle preheats. Heat a griddle and drop the batter onto it. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface and don't break, turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side.

*Makes 10 cups of dry mix. One cup of mix will make about 6 to 7 4-inch pancakes.

Oct 16, 2010

Marinara Sauce

Friends have often told me that it's so easy to make homemade pasta sauces that there's no good reason to rely on store-bought sauces, which aren't nearly as good. And I've tried a few times to make my own pasta sauces, but I just kept returning to bottled versions out of habit and convenience more than anything else. In any case, a marinara sauce such as this one may finally make a believer out of me. It's delicious! Furthermore, the recipe is very simple, uses basic ingredients that I usually have at home, and the end result can be divided into smaller portions and frozen for future use. How can you go wrong with that? This recipe comes from one of my favorite recipe blogs--My Kitchen Cafe.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (28-ounce each) cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter (optional but delicious)

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring very frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until all the vegetables are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and bay leaves and simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot, until slightly thickened and the vegetables are completely tender. Stir in the brown sugar. Taste the sauce. Add salt and pepper as needed. Add the butter and stir to combine if you want to round out the flavors and add a dimension of silkiness.

Remove the bay leaves. In a blender or food processor, blend the sauce (in several batches, if necessary) until it is smooth. The sauce can be frozen once it is cooled completely in freezer-safe ziploc bags for up to 6 months.

*Makes about 7 cups of sauce

Oct 2, 2010

Fruit Dip

This easy and delicious fruit dip recipe comes from my coworker and friend Lauren Woodmansee. She brought this dip to a recent office birthday celebration.

1 7-ounce container marshmallow creme
1 8-ounce package Cool Whip (I used an "Extra Creamy" generic brand)
1 8-ounce container of strawberry cream cheese
2 tablespoons orange juice

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Then chill for at least an hour before serving with cut fruit, such as apples, cantaloupe, pineapple, bananas, strawberries, grapes, pears, etc.