Pancakes revisited

Just dropping in to update you on the buttermilk pancakes I made a while back.  In my post I mentioned that the original recipe made a giant stack, and I was going to freeze them for another time.  

Well today was that time.  I will admit I was a little skeptical about how my frozen pancakes would hold up in the toaster.  As they were toasting I kept reminding myself that Eggos are just frozen, previously cooked waffles — not to mention that they have their own version of pancakes now too!  

I had to flip them once, which I would have done with my Eggo waffles too, as I like them to be crispy.  But when they popped the second time I was impressed.  They were the perfect crispness, no burning, no frozen patches, and best of all not falling apart!!

I buttered them up and broke open my new bottle of PC 100% pure maple syrup and poured on some golden delight.  

Overall I think I liked these pancakes better as freezer pancakes than the original fresh from pan ones.  I’m not sure if that makes me crazy, but I guess they held up better and had a better crispness to them.  They also sucked up the butter and maple syrup like champs.  

Mustard — not just a condiment!

When I stumbled across todays recipe, I was completely taken back by the name — and had to check it out.  The original pinner called it “Holy Yum Chicken” — now how can you not be intrigued by this?  So I looked into it, and it looked fairly easy — and the main ingredient was mustard.  My hubby is a huge fan of mustard — so I thought sure I’d give it a try.  Here is my Mustard Chicken .. better known as Holy-Yum Chicken.

The original blogger has made some clear disclaimers about their recipe to clear up what I can only assume are some common problems people encounter when cooking this chicken. I tried my best to follow the recipe to a T — taking into account every disclaimer they state.

First things first — DOUBLE line your baking dish.  I emphasize the double as this seemed to be a key point in the recipe — according to it’s importance being highlighted in the disclaimer.

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Next gather all of your ingredients.  I had a little distraction when I was trying to do this — but he was cute so I let him be.  Photo-bomb!!

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In a smaller bowl, mix together mustard, maple syrup, rice vinegar, S&P.  I used 2T of the rice vinegar as I wanted it to be more tangy than sweet (as suggested in the notes section of the original blog).

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Next place chicken in pre-lined baking dish and pour mixture overtop. Once again the original blogger stressed the use of a smaller baking dish vs a large 9×13.  Her point was that the sauce is to cover and coat the chicken while cooking — if the pan is larger than there would not be the proper ratio of sauce to chicken and it would not be as succulent when finished.

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Toss in the oven for 40-ish mins.  Let stand for 5 mins before moving chicken to plate.  DO NOT throw away the liquid as you need to use it to make sauce. To thicken, whisk in 1T of cornstarch.  Now I almost always fail at thickening sauces with cornstarch – never adding enough and then adding too much.  I found it hard to whisk it together without getting caught on the foil, but eventually it worked.

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Pour your sauce over your chicken, and sprinkle with rosemary.  Serve alongside potatoes or rice and a side of veggie.

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I loved the taste of the chicken and sauce, especially the pieces with the rosemary.  Although there are a lot of disclaimers which might scare people away — it was a fairly easy recipe to make and if you follow her steps it turns out amazing!

Quick and Delicious Tilapia

I was looking for a quick dinner that would use only the things in my house.  I haven’t made fish in a while, and I knew we has tilapia in the deep freeze.  About a month or so ago, my hubby wanted to go to a chicken and fish diet, so I knew I had quite a few recipes already pinned.  I perused the many fish related pins, and decided to make Parmesan Pesto Fish.

I like cooking with fish because most of the recipes I’ve found contain very few ingredients.  This one is no different with only 4 necessary items!  My kinda meal😉

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We buy our frozen tilapia at Costco as you can get a large bag of around 10-12 pieces for $18 — and they are BIG individually wrapped pieces (key).  If I know I am going to be making this for dinner, I often pull out the amount I need (2-4) and put them in tepid water to thaw.  I read somewhere a while ago about thawing in water — not using hot or cold water, but a medium warmish works best.  I can normally thaw my fish in about 10 mins in tepid water — maybe changing water once.

Anyway, I digressed away from this recipe there — but whatever I can pass on to help others is kinda why I’m doing this.  Back to the job at hand.  This recipe is done completely under the broiler.  Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.  I normally don’t own cooking spray, but a friend brought it over a while back and left it for me — so why not use it — am I right?!?!

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Once I have thawed my fish using the above method, I cut open, rinse and pat dry.  I absolutely love that Costco individually wraps their fish (Sole, Halibut, Mahi Mahi, Tilapia) — it mades it super easy to thaw the right amount.  Again I digress.  After the fish is ready I placed them on the prepped tray and sprinkled with Parmesan.

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Throw them in the oven under your broiler.  My oven has 2 broiler settings (Low and High).   I like using the Low setting as I can slowly broil without burning the top. I broil for about 10 mins checking to make sure it flakes nicely when I touch with fork — this is my way of testing done-ness.  When it begins to flake I pull it out.  Then take a spoonful of pesto and smear across baked fish.  I try to scoop out a spoonful for each before I smear so as not to contaminate the rest of the pesto.

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Now you don’t have to — but I like to return the fish with the pesto back to the oven for about 2 mins just to finish it.  This is not in the original recipe, but I just felt like the pesto wasn’t done without a little heat.  After pulling out of oven sprinkle your chopped tomato over fish.

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Serve with rice and some greens and you have a delicious, easy, quick meal.  I love the combination of flavours in this recipe, not too overpowering — just perfect!

Monsters Monsters Everywhere!!!

I believe this is one of the original things I pinned when I first started my Pinterest account EONS ago!  When I first found this pin, I thought to myself, “self — you could easily make these.”  All I need is to take a trip to the dollar store, grab the supplies and I could do it relatively cheap.  It only took me about a year to actually get to it.  Here are my Rock Monster Magnets!

I was able to get all the supplies I needed from the local Dollarama, which made this pin relatively inexpensive — which is a giant Pro!

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Start by pulling out rocks that are as flat and smooth as possible.  I found that my bunch of rocks wasn’t the best — but when I bought them (about a year ago), I didn’t really look at the bag to ensure I had a good selection.  So beware!  Next time I make them I will spend more time looking through the bags to get the best bang for my buck!

Once you have your selection picked out — time to paint!

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Now again — all of my supplies came from the dollar store, so the paint is not the highest quality paint.  This being said, I had to paint my rocks several times to ensure it was a solid coat and no rock colour was showing through.  And for those of your wondering — no I did not paint the back!  I thought about it for a while — but when I weighed the pros/cons of painting the entire rock — it just wasn’t worthwhile.

Once my rocks were entirely painted and dry, it was time to add my faces.  I used the original blog for ideas, as she has a ton of different facial expressions!   I did actually paint my faces on, whereas the original blogger used a permanent marker.

IMG_7846Once my mouths were painted — I added white for the teeth.  In some cases this meant going back over with black to touch up, but oh well.

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 I used crazy glue to adhere my googly eyes.  This is where the shape of your rock matters.  If the rock was too round, I found that the eye would not adhere well, as it would stick up in spots.  Sometimes this was easily remedied by using smaller eyes, other times it meant repositioning. In one case I tried really hard to use one large eye on a rock that just didn’t want it, and it lifted the paint right off and I had to repaint the rock! But that was 1 out of 15 — can’t really complain!!

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Now because I used crazy glue, which dries shiny — and the paint I used was a dull finish, it meant I had to shellac the entire lot.  This wasn’t necessarily a bad things — but if I didn’t already have the shellac from another pin, this would have been an unnecessary expense.  When the shellac was dry, I used a hot glue gun to add the final piece — the magnet!

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Sometimes I get a little over-excited when I finish a pin, because I am so proud of how they turned out.  When I finally finished these guys — I was over the top excited!!!  They turned out so great, better than I ever anticipated.   I decided to break them up into 3  batches of 5, as my husband pointed out that we don’t need 15 magnets for our fridge!

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** Update ** I loved them so much that I recently went to the dollar store and purchased more supplies to make another batch.  This time I intend on doing some pastels I think!

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

I am not normally one to make loaves, as I tend to mess them up somehow, but this week when I was looking around my kitchen and then on Pinterest I found what looked like an amazing recipe.  So I decided to give it a shot and here is me taking a chance on Apple Bread.

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I liked this recipe as it seemed pretty straight-forward.  For some reason, as stated above, I have a hard time making loaves that actually taste or look good.  Who knows what I have done in the past to screw it up (repeatedly), but this one looked pretty easy. Oh and did I mention I had everything in the house already — no need to run to the store for any last minute/odd ingredients!! SCORE.

First thing to do is make the cinnamon/sugar mix that will be sprinkled over the apples in layers.  In side bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon — a fork works well for making sure there are no clumps!!

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Next in another bowl cut your butter and sugar together. This time I was smart and pulled the butter out of the fridge early to soften!!  Next mix in eggs and vanilla.

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Finally add dry ingredients and milk.  Mix together well.  So far so good — this didn’t really seem so bad!

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Make sure your have your apples cut up into smaller chunks.  I cut them up here instead of at the beginning — not that it really matters!

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This is where things started to get iffy.  The recipe states to POUR batter into loaf pan, but my batter seemed rather thick.  It would not/could not pour in any manner.  Instead I scooped a layer of batter into loaf pan and smoothed it out.  Then topped with a layer of apples, and then a layer of cinnamon/sugar mix.

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Repeat this step (batter, apples and sugar mix).  Push apples and sugar mix into batter on top layer to ensure an even cook.

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Even though it seemed a little thick, it looked pretty decent before I baked it.  I threw it into the oven for 50 mins. In my oven this was the perfect amount of time, as my toothpick came out batter-free.  Now was the moment of truth!!!  Was it going to be good?

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YES … yes it was!  It was absolutely amazing!  I loved it, as did my husband.  I really liked the layer of apples and cinnamon vs being throughout, although this made it difficult to eat (the bread breaks apart at layer).  I would highly recommend this easy, delicious apple bread recipe!!!

Fluffy Yummy Pancakes

I had some buttermilk still leftover from a recipe and since it was Saturday morning, I thought they might make some yummy pancakes.  So I hunted around on Pinterest for a pancake recipe that would use up the rest of the buttermilk and not require me to buy anything new.  Here is the one that fit the bill, my rendition of “Perfect” Buttermilk Pancakes.  This recipe seemed pretty straightforward with only a few ingredients!  I like those kind.

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First step — Combine all dry ingredients in medium bowl.  In a separate container mix buttermilk, egg and melted butter.

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Pour wet into dry and slowly stir until it is combined well.  Let it sit for a few minutes to let it fluff up!

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While it is sitting, add butter to pan.  Now normally I don’t use oil or butter to cook my pancakes, but I was trying to follow the recipe.

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I used a 1/3C measure and scooped batter into the buttered frying pan.  After a few minutes, when the batter was beginning to bubble through and the pancake was golden brown I flipped.   My result (of using butter in my pan) wear flat, oily pancakes — NOT what buttermilk pancakes are supposed to look like.

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So because they weren’t turning out as I hoped — I prepped a second pan and tried it my way (no butter).  Once the pan was hot (I test with a few drops of water, when they sizzle in the pan it is perfect temp), I dropped in some batter.

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I could instantly see better results — it maintained a rounded shape, was fluffy and bubbled nicely.  Once it was golden brown I flipped and had a perfectly cooked pancake.

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This recipe made quite a few pancakes, and as the original blogger suggested, I put the extras in the freezer for another time.

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A giant stack of delicious fluffy great pancakes.  For my first attempt, and taste, of buttermilk pancakes they turned out fabulous!!!

Easy Peasy Cheesy Chipotle Rice

This recipe is something I came across a while ago, and honestly have made about 3 times already.  This is my rendition of Cheesy Chipotle Chicken and Rice.  I love this recipe because it is another one of those One Pot Wonders!!!

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It does require some prep work — as your chicken needs to be cooked prior so you can shred it.  So I have often made this when I have had spare chicken from another recipe that I have baked in the oven with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

In a large pot (which seems ridiculous at first but you later realize it needs to be big to fit EVERYTHING), combine rice, chicken broth, 1T butter and spices.  I don’t think I have ever made this with actual chipotle spice which the recipe calls for, instead I use chili powder.  This is for two reasons: 1) I don’t have chipotle spice and 2) we are wimps when it comes to spice.

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Let this simmer for a while, until the rice is almost cooked and there is little liquid (about 10-15 mins).  This is a good time to shred your chicken, as that seems to take FOREVER! Next add in beans, chicken, corn, onions, garlic, peppers and butter.

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Stir this around for a while until the onions have cooked.  I found almost every time I have made this that I need to add in more chicken stock here b/c the recipe starts to dry out as I am stirring.  I add about 1/4 – 1/2C more broth.  Stir in your cheese and mix well.

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And you are done!  It is that simple.  I like to top mine with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro.

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It might not look pretty — but damn is it delicious!!!