Friday, December 22, 2017

Gingerbread Pancakes with Sauteed Apples

I love gingerbread! I'm not talking about gingerbread cookies or biscuits, but soft cakey gingerbread. I think it started in Girl Scouts with my first box of cheap Martha Washington gingerbread topped with a dollop of Cool Whip. I was hooked. This recipe, which is a melding of this one (which is vegan and gluten-free if you need that) from Jessica in the Kitchen and this one from Genius Kitchen has all the right flavors and then some. I think we might have a new pre-Christmas breakfast tradition!
Using our weekend plates. :)
Gingerbread Pancakes with Sauteed Apples

For the apples:
Apples, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt

Peel and chop enough apples to fill a pan for your family. Add the butter, cinnamon, and a 3-fingered pinch of salt to the pan. Cook over medium heat until apples start to turn a caramel color. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the apples are softened to your liking.

For the pancakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup molasses
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil*

Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet to the dry and stir until just combined. Don't over mix or you'll get flat pancakes. Cook over a griddle heated to medium heat and just brushed lightly with oil on a paper towel. Flip once bubbles have formed and outer edges are set.

Top pancakes with sauteed apples, butter, and any other toppings your family loves!

*I accidentally omitted the oil, and our pancakes still tasted awesome so you could completely leave that out.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Like Campbell's But Better

If you grew up in America, you probably had Campbell's Tomato Soup with your grilled cheese sandwiches. As an adult, I look at the can of goo that comes out and wonder, "What is in that stuff?" but part of me says, "Who cares? It tastes like my childhood." I generally go the route of the more adult-like chunky tomato basil soup varieties, but every once in a while, I really get a hankering for classic Campbell's Tomato Soup, which is not available where we are. In comes this easy copycat version that I've adapted for our tastes. As always, I hope you can look past my poor photography skills...ain't nobody got time for that! (Well...I know some people actually do.)

Copycat Tomato Soup
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon oil
1 cup water
1/2 piece vegetable broth cube
1 450g can tomato puree
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grind of fresh black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (comes in a clear plastic packet)
3/4 cup milk (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until the raw smell of the flour dissipates. Whisk in water, broth cube, and tomato puree until smooth. Add all other ingredients except milk. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in milk and cook for several minutes until soup is heated through.*

*I prefer my tomato soup with no milk, but if you choose to add milk, taste your soup before you add the milk. If it tastes very acidic, you'll need to add a pinch of baking soda to keep your milk from curdling. Others suggest keeping the milk aside in a bowl and tempering it by adding some hot soup to heat the milk before you pour that back into the pot. I think either solution will help to reduce those edible, but weird little curdled milk speckles.

What's on our plates?

It's getting colder here so we're turning to more hearty, warming dinner dishes. We have a night out for a carol service and a night of local food so the list isn't very long this week.
  • Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup - I just use a can of tomato puree instead of tomato paste. The celery seed adds a weird flavor so use it with caution. 
  • Buffalo Chicken Chili - I haven't tried it yet, but it comes recommended by someone in my neck of the woods. I'll use my Wonder Bag for slow cooking.
  • Paneer Tikka Kebabs and Veg Biriyani - You'll want to have a box of chat masala on the side to hit those kebabs with. Amazing! Also, if you want to dabble in Indian cooking with tried and true recipes, Padhus Kitchen is an amazing resource. She explains Indian cooking really clearly with lots of photos in the recipes. 
  • Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Sauce and Italian Sausage 
I hope these ideas might give you a little food inspiration for the week ahead. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

What's on our plates?

This week we're eating:

Chinese vegetable stirfry using Charlie sauce

Baked macaroni and cheese
Steamed broccoli

Chicken tortilla soup

Veggie spaghetti sauce with pasta
Green salad

Rice, lentils, and vegetables

Salisbury steak with onion gravy
Mashed potatoes
Steamed green beans

Monday, October 30, 2017

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is perfect to kick of the autumn soup weather. The flavors are light and bright, but the soup is filling. It's an adaptation of this one from Danny Boome at Food Network. You could use fresh tomatoes and beans that you cooked in the pressure cooker, but for me, this should be about a quick weeknight meal with minimal prep.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 Tbs oil
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbs garlic, minced
1-2 green chilies, seeds removed, diced (optional)
6 cups water
2-3 chicken cubes (start with 2 and adjust)
1 can tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 chicken breasts
2 limes, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
One large roti, grilled and cut into thin strips, or tortilla chips

Grated cheese
Lime wedges
Avocado slices

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the garlic and chili and fry for about a minute. Pour the water, tomatoes, chicken cubes, and beans into the pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, lower heat to simmer and add the chicken breasts. Cook on low heat 20-25 minutes.* Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the soup, shred it, and then add it back to the soup. Add lime juice and fresh cilantro to the pot. Remove from heat. Ladle soup into bowls and top with crispy tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips.

*To really speed this up, I poached chicken the night before and had it ready to shred. This dropped the "day of" cook time by at least 10 minutes.

GF Note: This recipe can be gluten free if you choose canned tomatoes with no additives, GF corn chips (Cornitos brand are marked as GF), and GF stock cubes.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Awesome Chinese Stirfry Sauce

This is less of a personal recipe and more of a rave about something that I have loved for about 2 years. It's seriously good stuff!

Nagi at RecipeTinEats lets you in on a Chinese takeout secret--a good all-purpose sauce. This one is awesome, and here you'll find 10 ways to use the sauce.

In order to make this locally, you do need to substitute at least one ingredient. I buy Kikkoman soy sauce for the dark, Tiger brand light soy sauce, and Korean soju for the Chinese wine. The Korean rice wine is available at Uttam.  

Korean Chamisul soju available here

What's on Our Plates

If you're looking for some food inspiration, here's what we're eating this week. On the two chicken days, I'm splitting 500g of chicken, as I'm only cooking for 2.

Grilled chicken with bottled barbecue sauce
Brown rice
Steamed broccoli

Chicken Tortilla Soup
* Swap fire roasted tomatoes for other canned tomatoes
* Substitute any other cooked bean

French Dip Subs

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Pita bread
Tahini sauce

Moo Ping
Thai vegetables in oyster sauce
* Use only the sauce portion of the recipe with whatever veg we have.
Sticky rice