Archive for the ‘What’s for Dinner’ Category

What’s for Dinner: Whole Wheat Pancakes

August 25, 2008

I love bacon, eggs and pancakes. But, quite honestly, there’s a better chance that Ralph Nader will win the presidential election then there is of me getting up at the crack of dawn to fire up the griddle. Cereal and coffee are about all I can handle that early in the morning. So, sometimes, I make breakfast for dinner.

Breakfast for dinner is easy, cheap and you generally have all the ingredients laying around.

I’ve been trying to incorporate more whole grain into my family’s diet, and whole wheat pancakes are a great way to do that.

I bought a bag of King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, and went in search of a whole wheat pancake recipe. I came across several warnings that whole wheat flour made pancakes that were too dense, and suggested using half wheat and half white flour or adding some other ingredients I didn’t have on hand.

I ignored all the warnings, and got out my Fannie Farmer cookbook with my favorite pancake recipe. I made them like I always do, but with whole wheat flour. How bad could it be, really?

Not bad at all. The whole wheat pancakes turned out fine. They weren’t dense at all, and raised up nice and fluffy. I don’t know what all the fuss was about. They have a slightly nuttier flavor that goes great with maple syrup, and they get just a little crispy on the outside. A nice touch.

The only difficulty I had was telling when they were done, since they’re already brown to begin with. You just have to keep a close eye on things.

Now, the whole wheat is good for you, but if you really want to turn this into a super food, pour some homemade blueberry sauce over them in place of your Aunt Jamima. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, and all sorts of other good stuff. Since you’re being so healthy, splurge a little and top it all off with some whipped cream. Homemade if possible.

Oh, yum!

Now, if you like these, make a double, triple, even quadruple batch, then freeze the left overs. You can pull one of two out of the freezer at a time, and warm them up in the microwave. I can handle that at 6 a.m.

Keep you extra blueberry sauce in a mason jar in the fridge for up to a month, or freezer for up to a year.

Whole Wheat Pancake Recipe

1/2 – 3/4 cup of milk

2 tbs butter, melted

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Lightly beat the milk, butter and egg in a mixing bowl. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and add all at once to the first mixture. Stir just enough to dampen. Grease a frying pan, (non-stick cooking spray on a cast iron skillet works best) and set over moderate heat. Test the pan by sprinkling with a few drops of water. It’s ready when the water beads up and sizzles away.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into pan. Cook until cake is full of bubbles on top, and slighlty browned on bottom. Flip and cook until the other side is browned.

Blueberry Sauce Recipe

1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of blueberries

Dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil. Add blueberries. Bring to boil again. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened. If sauce seems too thin, add a little corn starch to thicken more.

Homemade Whipped Cream Recipe

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbs powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Chill whisk or mixer beater and mixing bowl in the freezer for a few minutes. Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Gradually whip in the sugar and vanilla.


What’s for Dinner: Oriental Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters

July 27, 2008

It’s been a while since I posted a What’s for Dinner recipe. We’re just too busy enjoying the outdoors to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking. But I had some chicken leg quarters I wanted grill. There’s no better piece of chicken to cook on the grill. The dark meat and high fat content keep it moist and tender. This was simple and yummy. Make a double batch because the leftovers are good cold from the fridge too.

Oriental Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe

1/2 cup Miracle Whip® Salad Dressing
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
4 boneless Chicken Leg Quarters (about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds)

Preparation –

Whisk together the salad dressing, soy sauce, and seasonings. Spray the grill rack with non-stick cooking spray. Place the chicken on the prepared grill, about 8″ above the coals. Brush with half of the sauce. Turn over and grill for about 20 minutes. Brush with the remaining sauce, turn and continue grilling about 20 more minutes or until the chicken is tender and juices run clear. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature in the thickest part of 170 degrees.

I found this recipe here.

Slash your Grocery Bills with Angel Food Ministries

July 8, 2008

Gas prices are still going up. Food prices are on the rise. We may have to tap the kid’s college fund to heat the house this winter. (Ha! As if there’s a college fund. I haven’t finished paying off my higher education yet.) If I think about it all too long, I get a little dizzy and have visions of the world coming to an end.

When it comes to gas and energy costs, all you can really do is stop traveling, and turn down the thermostat. But a family still has to eat. The good news is that there is some relief when it comes to food costs.

Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit organization that provides affordable groceries to families all over the country. For $30 dollars you can purchase one unit of food that is enough to feed a family of four for about a week. The actual retail value of the food is between $60 and $75. The menu is different every month, and includes both fresh and frozen items. You can purchase as many you units as you want, and there are no income restrictions.

We started participating in the Angel Food program last fall when I learned about it from my MOPS group. It’s saved us quite a bit of money, and I was pleasantly surprised by the items on each month’s menu. Everything from steak to chicken to pork chops. Even convenient and kid friendly foods like tater tots, mac & cheese and chicken nuggets.

Since the menu does change each time, there are months that the packages include more foods we like, and some months when everything doesn’t always fit out tastes. We take advantage of the months when the menu is full of foods that are popular at our house by ordering several units, and filling up our deep freezer and cupboards. Then the next month we might order less. We do still have to buy a few things at the market each week, but we definitely spend a lot less on food purchases.

I know some people might be reluctant to participate, because it sounds too much like a charity. But here’s the thing. Anyone that wants to save money on groceries can participate. It doesn’t matter if you make ten-thousand or a hundred-thousand a year. We could still get by doing all our shopping at the supermarket, but it doesn’t make sense when we can do this, and free up extra cash for any number of things each month.

Now, there are people who participate in the Angel Food program, because it’s the only way they can feed their family every month. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out help when you need it. Besides saving money, I feel like by participating we’re helping to support the program to make sure it’s around for the people who really need it to make ends meet each month. There are also quite a few people who order Angel Food packages to give to someone else who is in need. Thirty dollars a month is a pretty do-able amount for many of us to put toward helping out another family.

I really encourage you to go to the Angel Food website and check it out. You can put in your zip code and find a program near you. Many are located at churches, but you don’t have to attend the church to participate. Give it a try, and see if it works for your family. Even if you don’t participate, spread the word. You never know who might benefit from the program.

Can’t find a program near you? Go here to see how you can get one started in your community.

What’s for Dinner: BBQ Pork Ribs

May 22, 2008

Several years ago I found a terrific BBQ Pork Rib recipe on-line. They were delicious. Better than any ribs I’d ever had in a restaurant. Then I lost the recipe in a move to a new house, and despite many searches since, can not find the same recipe on-line. So I’ve been trying to replicate it from memory for a while now. This last attempt came pretty close.

BBQ Pork Rib Recipe

Rack of St. Louis Style Pork Ribs

29 Oz. can Tomato Sauce

4 Tbs Honey

2 Tbs Brown Sugar

2 Tbs Chili Sauce

1 Tbs A 1 Steak Sauce

1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbs Dijon Mustard

1/2 of large Onion, 1/4 finely chopped, 1/4 coarsely chopped

2 Stalks of Celery

4 Cloves of Garlic,  2 Chopped, 2 Pressed

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Salt

1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar, divided

2 tsp Liquid Smoke

1 tsp Celery Seed

In a large stock pot bring to boil enough water to cover ribs. Add the celery stalks, coarsely chopped onion and chopped garlic. Add ribs. Par-boil one hour. Remove ribs from water. Reserve 3/4 a cup of the broth.

While ribs boil, prepare BBQ sauce. In a large sauce pan mix together tomato sauce, honey, brown sugar, chili sauce, A 1, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, finely chopped onion, pressed garlic, pepper, salt, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and liquid smoke. Bring to boil and simmer until slightly thickened.

Place par-boiled ribs in a large plastic bag or plastic storage container.  Measure one cup of BBQ sauce and add 3/4 a cup of the broth, 1/4 a cup of vinegar and a tsp of celery seed. Stir together and pour over ribs. Marinate 6 hours or over night. Remove ribs from marinade. Discard marinade.

Grill ribs over indirect heat for one hour. Turn every 15 minutes. After the third and fourth turn, coat the top side of the ribs with some of the remaining BBQ sauce. Serve the rest of the sauce warm, on the side with the finished ribs. 

I know the sauce has everything in it but the kitchen sink. I just kept adding ingredients that I knew are used in BBQ sauce until I got the right flavor. This makes a sweet, but tangy sauce.

Got any good Rib recipes? I’d love to try it. Leave a comment and share it with me.


What’s for Dinner: Oven-Fried Chicken

April 29, 2008

This sounded easy enough.

Oven-Friend Chicken Recipe

2 cups buttermilk

2 tbs Dijon mustard

2 1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

8 split bone-in chicken breasts (skin removed)

2 1/2 cups crushed corn flakes

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 tsp ground poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbs vegetable oil

Whisk buttermilk, mustard, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 tsp of garlic powder,  1 tsp of black pepper and hot sauce together in bowl. Add chicken. Turn to coat. Marinate one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat foil with non-stick spray.

Toss corn flakes, bread crumbs, remaining garlic, black pepper, salt, poultry seasoning, paprika and cayenne in a shallow dish until combined. Drizzle oil over crumbs and toss until well coated. Removed chicken from marinade and dredge in crumb mixture one piece at a time. Press crumbs onto all side of chicken. Bake 35 to 45 minutes.

From Cook’s Country magazine

It went well until I got to the dredging part. That breading just did not want to stick. My pieces ended up about half covered. Then some of it fell off in the oven. And what fell off burned long before the chicken was done, making my house smelly and smoky. If you make these, definitely line your baking sheets with foil. I was out of foil. I soaked and scrubbed for days to get the burned-on corn flakes off.

All that said, the chicken did taste good.