French Crepes for breakfast!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

Beautiful French Crepes make a lovely breakfast, even on short notice! Requiring only a few ingredients, that are likely on hand, these come together quickly, with some sugar and fresh berries, they are ready to make the day feel special!

The beauty of this recipe is that it doubles for both sweet and savory dishes. So if breakfast isn’t the right time, they can easily be made and rolled around savory dishes such as shrimp with butter & fresh herbs, chicken & broccoli with a cream sauce, or ham & shredded cheese with a fried egg!

I used a simple recipe from https://thestayathomechef.com/crepe-recipe/ that I would highly recommend!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 C flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C milk
  • Butter for cooking
  • Fresh berries or fruit for topping
  • Granulated or powdered sugar for topping
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add in eggs and whisk to combine.
  • Slowly pour in milk, whisking until you have a smooth, pourable batter.
  • Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Let about 1/2 tablespoon of butter melt in the pan.
  • Pour a little of the crepe batter in the pan and swirl it around to cover the bottom of the pan. Let cook about 1 minute, until surface loses its shine. Flip carefully.
  • Repeat until all batter has been used, melting another 1/2 tablespoon of butter for each. This recipe makes about 5 large 10-inch crepes, or 10 small crepes. (I got 7 8-inch crepes.)
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

Puffed Pancakes with Orange-Apricot Sauce from The White River Inn, Cotter, AR

Right out of the oven!
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

These delectable treats were served to us on a recent visit to The White River Inn, in Cotter, Arkansas. The lovely proprietor happily shared the recipe, and I am so thankful. These come out looking fancy, but in reality, they are very quick and easy to make. The accompanying Orange-Apricot Sauce can be made ahead, and is supposed to keep for quite awhile in the fridge so it could be ready to go on any given day.

I think these would also be great with a dusting of powdered sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon, just like a miniature Dutch Baby pancake, or even with a scoop of Peach ice cream and some fresh whipped cream for dessert. A truly versatile dish, in my mind!

Though I got this recipe in Arkansas, it seems to have originated at The Featherbed Inn, in Waltsfield, VT, at least that’s what the copy of the recipe says. http:/www.featherbedinn.com, so credit is due there. It’s great that Inns, Lodges, and B&Bs around the country can share recipes that work well for groups, and can be easily adjusted for the expected number of guests on short notice. 👍🏻 I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Pancakes (2 servings)

  • 1/4 C Flour
  • 1/4 C milk (we use 1%)
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (I used orange extract)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 6 oz ramekins or 2 12 oz ramekins or oven proof bowls
  • 1-2 T butter
  • PAM spray
  • 1 C Orange juice
  • 1/8 C sugar
  • 1/2 C Apricot Jam
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
  • Sliced almonds, Orange twist, or Strawberry as garnish
Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2021

Preheat oven to 475°F. Spray oven-proof ramekins with PAM Cooking Spray and place ~1/2 T butter in each. Beat egg until piled high. Beat in milk, add flour and beat until smooth. Mix in extract. Place ramekins into oven to melt butter, remove and pour batter into center of each dish. Bake about 10 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with Orange-Apricot sauce or topping of your choice.

For sauce: in a small saucepan, place orange juice and sugar, bring to a slow boil mixing until sugar is melted. Add Apricot Jam and simmer until slightly thickened and jam is melted. Add more juice if needed. Add about 4 Mandarin Oranges per pancake and vanilla (optional) and warm until oranges are heated through. Sauce keeps in the fridge for awhile (just like jam or jelly) and can be reheated as needed. Spoon over pancake and garnish with sliced almonds, an orange twist, or a strawberry for color. ENJOY!

*Note: Nutrition information calculated for pancake with Orange-Apricot Sauce.

Faux Spaghetti!

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2021

Faux “Spaghetti”! I came up with this simple idea last night since I’ve made great progress shedding my Covid gain, down 10 pounds as of today! Simply, zoodles (zucchini noodles) sautéed with a spray of Pam cooking spray, and an easy sauce of mild Italian sausage, browned with 1/2 of a sliced onion & a little minced garlic, 1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes crushed with the hand blender, and 2 tblsp of red wine. All brought to a simmer and served on top with a light sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Healthy and filling, I could eat this anytime!

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2021

This was my solution to not having any crushed tomatoes on hand… I really need to check my inventories and stock the cupboards again!

Skinny Blueberry Muffins

Photo credit: ©️Debra M Kirsch 2021

I came across this recipe for “skinny” muffins and thought “Viola, just what I need as I try to shed some of these Covid pounds that I acquired over the last year!”

With a simple to follow recipe, and only a couple of items that I needed to grab from the store, I got cookin’, or should I say baking! It’s been a little while since I had the house smell so good.

I made one additional substitution, in addition to a couple that were listed with the recipe, and that was 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce instead of 1/4 C of vegetable/canola oil.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk*
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil**
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt***
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries tossed in 2 tablespoons flour (helps prevent sinking)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Spray the cavities of a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan very well with cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside. (I don’t prefer the cosmetic look of muffin liners.)
  2. To a large bowl, add all the flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  3. To a separate large bowl, add the egg, sugar, milk, canola oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until smooth and combined, without needlessly over-mixing or muffins will become tough.
  5. Add the blueberries and fold gently to incorporate. I haven’t tried the recipe using frozen blueberries but if you do, I recommend adding them to the batter frozen because they’ll run and bleed less than if thawed, adjust baking time accordingly if necessary.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop or 1/4-cup measure, evenly distribute the batter into the cavities of the prepared pan, filling each cavity about 3/4-full. Tip – Add a couple blueberries to the top of each muffin for a nice pop of color.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F. The short baking time at very high heat helps the muffins get a more domed top.
  8. Lower the temp to 375F and bake for about 19 to 20 minutes or until tops are set, lightly golden, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Use your judgment when evaluating doneness because muffin pans, ovens, ingredients, and climates vary. Start watching closely at about 16 minutes.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in pan on top of a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing and placing on rack to cool completely. Gently rim each cavity with a knife if necessary for easier removal. Muffins are best fresh but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

So, here’s the link to the recipe, I really hope you enjoy it and I highly recommend following Averie Sunshine! She hasn’t failed me yet. 😃

https://www.averiecooks.com/skinny-blueberry-muffins/

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2021

NOTES

*Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk or another milk may be substituted

**Liquid-state coconut oil may be substituted or unsweetened applesauce

***I used 0% fat but other Greek yogurt or sour cream may be substituted

Dutch Baby Pancake, it’s cold outside🎶🎵🎶

For Christmas Bruch we dove into 2 of these “babies”! Super quick and easy, it’s made with everything you have on hand. I found the recipe on Allrecipes https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23898/dutch-babies-ii/

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 T butter
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Place 10 inch cast iron skillet in to preheat.
  2. In a small bowl mix dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs together, then add milk and whisk again.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk together until smooth.
  5. Remove skillet from oven and reduce temp to 425 degrees F.
  6. Add butter to hot skillet and melt. There should be an ample amount covering the bottom of the pan.
  7. Pour all the batter into the center of the skillet, return it to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. It will puff up and become golden brown.
  8. With a large spatula, you can remove the pancake to a cutting board or plate for serving.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with lemon wedges.
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Holiday Cookies

🎶 It’s the most wonderful time of the year…🎶 Cookie time!! We can bake sweets galore and not feel guilty about it. Give them as gifts, nibble a few while you address cards, or just enjoy that wonderful feeling you have thinking about how blessed we truly are, despite the challenges we face.

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

These charming cookies are just the thing to spread some holiday cheer. This time I used a recipe from Willams-Sonoma that came with a cookie cutter set, sometime in the past.

They are a bit thicker than I typically make them, but I will admit they are sturdier and held their shape well while baking. *TIP! I learned that if you roll the dough out directly on a silpat sheet (no flour needed), and cut the cookies there, you can just remove the excess and pop the silpat on a baking sheet) and into the oven. This makes for less handling of the cookies, but the best part is that you can easily re-roll the scraps to cut more cookies, and not have all the extra flour from rolling!!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Here’s the recipe, it was super easy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose glour
  • 1/4 tsp baking oowder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1egg
  • Royal icing (recipe below)
  • Sprinkles, sugars, candy decorations
  1. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between. Mix until just combined.
  3. Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or as long as overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or use Silpat nonstick liners.
  5. On a slightly floured surface (or directly on Silpat), cut out cookie shapes. Space cookies about an inch apart and bake until just golden around the edges, about +/- 10-12 minutes. Cool on Pan for 5 minutes and remove to cooling rack. Decorate as desired. Makes about 12-18 cookies (more if you roll them on the Silpat!).
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Royal Icing

  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 egg whites (or equivalent meringue powder & water)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla, or other flavored extract, I used peppermint
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tarter

With an electric mixer, beat egg whites until they get foamy, add sugar, vanilla, and cream of tarter. Beat on high speed until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Use immediately, or store covered tightly with plastic wrap at room temp for up to 6 hours. (It will last longer if you used meringue powder instead of egg whites). Divide into several bowls and tint with food coloring. Have fun!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

This is a fun project, that can be done in one day, or spread over a couple. Beware, there are always sprinkles and icing in the strangest places afterwards😂

Happy holidays!!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Thai Red Curry Soup

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

My daughter sent me this recipe, she tried it first and was so happy with it, and the cold fall nights were the perfect time to try it.

I admit, I had to do a little shopping because there were a few things that I don’t regularly keep on hand, but it was worth a run to the store! It think it took about 30 minutes start to finish, to pull together, so that adds up to a great weeknight meal as well.

Ingredients:

  • 18 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 2 t sugar
  • 6 oz cremini mushrooms (can sub white mushrooms) trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 6 oz snow peas, strings removed and cut in half
  • 2 t Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Pat chicken dry, season with salty& pepper. Heat oil in large sauce pan until just smoking. Brown chicken lightly, 2-3 minutes per side and transfer to a plate and cover.
  2. Ad shallot to pan and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in broth, coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of fish sauce, and sugar. Scrape up any browned bits.
  3. Add browned chicken and any juices that have accumulated, bring to a simmer about 10 minutes. Flip chicken halfway through. Remove chicken to a cutting board, cool slightly and shred.
  4. Return soup to a simmer, stir in mushrooms & snow peas, cooking until tender, about three minutes. Whisk lime juice, curry paste and remaining fish sauce together in a small bowl. Remove soup from heat and stir in lime/curry mixture and shredded chicken. Let sit for about 2 minutes while chicken heats through. Taste for seasoning, add salt/pepper as needed.
  5. Garnish individual portions with a healthy sprinkle of fresh cilantro and enjoy!

Little Potato Bites Appetizer

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

These little one bite appetizers were a big hit as an appetizer served with champagne, so start off the evening!

I saw something along these lines, I can’t remember where, but it was easy enough to remember, or at least inspire.

You will need:

  • about a dozen really small potatoes, I used Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • egg salad (see below)

Take about a dozen baby potatoes, boiled in salt water until tender, and left to cool. Then pop them in the fridge to firm up and make them easy to slice in half.

Meanwhile, make some egg salad:

  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • 3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

I made my egg salad in a mini processor, and it yielded a wonderful and smooth purée, with just enough texture. The celery needs to be really small or it clogs the piping tip.

Take potato half and remove a small divot with a melon baller, this will give a nice spot to pipe your egg salad, place a healthy dollop and top with crumbled bacon or a little caviar.

These are quick easy and delicious! Your guests will think you are a star!!

White Chocolate “Brownie” Bites

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

With an excess of white chocolate in the cupboard, I decided these would make some yummy Halloween treats. In fact, they make make another appearance at Christmas.

The recipe, from SallysBakingAddition.com, is quite similar to Bakers One Bowl Brownies, and you can make it on one bowl. I baked the batter in a jelly roll pan lined with foil instead of a 13 x 9 pan, for half the usual time. This yielded a thinner brownie that was easily cut with small cookie cutters. The cut shapes were covered in a chocolate ganache, and/or melted white chocolate drizzle, in lieu of white chips in the batter, and I also skipped the frosting that went with the original. I used cookie cutters that were just one or two bites in size, so these are wonderful little nibbles to have around when you want a little something sweet, or to share them with friends. This must have yielded 60-70 little bites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (230g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces(170g) pure white chocolate, coarsely chopped*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • optional: 1 cup (180g) white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch pan or line jelly roll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished brownies out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and chopped white chocolate. Melt in 30 second increments, whisking after each, until completely smooth. Whisk in the sugar until completely combined, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Whisk in the flour and salt, then fold in the white chocolate chips (optional) until combined. Batter will be thick. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, 15 minutes for jelly roll pan, covering loosely with aluminum foil halfway through. Test the brownies with a toothpick at the 30 minute mark. Insert it into the center of the pan. If it comes out with wet batter, the brownies are not done. If there are only a few moist crumbs, the brownies are done. Keep checking every 2 minutes until you have moist crumbs. My brownies take 32 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. If cutting into shapes, place in refrigerator for an hour, or more, so brownies are firm. Drizzle cut shapes with chocolate ganache (see recipe below) or melted white chocolate. Add sprinkles if desired.
Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Chocolate Ganache:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Combine melted margarine or oil, cocoa, and hot water.
  • Blend in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.
  • Pour or spread on brownies or cake.
  • Glaze will firm and almost harden when cool.

I recommend using Coconut Oil, in lieu of Margarine or other oils, since it solidifies at a higher temperature (about 70° F). This will give a better chance of not getting runny at room temperature. Though the recipe says it will harden, it’s not like the Magic Shell you pour on ice cream, it is softer than that.

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

One-Pot Spicy Sausage and Tomato Pasta

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Delicious recipe from Chicago Tribune Health & Family section, which turns out to be a recipe from @kitchn, which I really love. The thing that grabbed me about this was the fennel. It’s an ingredient I don’t use much, so I put this on my shopping list. This packs a wonderful, cumulative punch of heat, I highly suggest giving it a try. Plus, it’s ready in 30 minutes!

https://www.thekitchn.com/one-pot-spicy-sausage-and-tomato-pasta-23077666

Ingredients:

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020
  • 12 oz smoked andouille sausage
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 12 oz dried linguine pasta
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut andouille sausage crosswise into 1/2 inch rounds and thinly slice 1/2 medium fennel bulb. Place both in straight sided skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté lightly. Add 4 cups of water, dried pasta, 2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil stirring, and turning pasta with tongs to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al sentence and the liquid is mostly evaporated. This is about 10 minutes. Meanwhile tear fresh basil leaves and add the last two minutes of cooking.
  3. Remove from heat and taste, seasoning with more salt as needed. Garnish with fresh basil.
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020