Monthly Archives: September, 2012

Apple Pancakes

My three year old requested apple pancakes and it was a great way to use up the rest of our appes we had picked at the orchard.  These pancakes turned out delicious.  They had a different texture than the pancakes I usually make and I know my sisters and parents will appreciate this comment.  They reminded me of the texture of the pannekoekens we would have as kids.  Picture the waitresses… “Pannekoekens!”  They were smooth and dense and mmmm, just delicious! 

Apple Pancakes

Recipe adapted from

2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 medium apples, peeled and coarsely grated
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Combin the eggs and milk in a large bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients minus the apples.  Stir well.  Fold in the apples.

Add more milk if the batter seems too thick. (I think I ended up adding about 1/4 a cup after making the first couple of pancakes and realizing they were a bit too thick).

Heat a griddle to medium heat.  Spray pan with cooking spray or use oil or butter to grease pan.  Pour 1/4 c. batter on pan.  Cook until bubbles start to rise in the middle of the pancake.  Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side until cooked through.  Continue until all the batter is used up.  Serve with pure maple syrup (and maybe a sprinkle of powdered sugar if you want a little extra sweetness!).

Food for Thought: I always double pancake recipes and then freeze a bunch of pancakes for breakfast during the week.  This recipe was no exception and the pancakes reheat like a dream.  Simply allow the pancakes to cool (for like 3-4 hours… I usually leave them on the counter until later in the morning) and then stack them with a square of wax paper in between.  Place in a freezer bag.  When reheating, simply take one out, remove wax paper, and microwave about 30 seconds per pancake.  Easy healthy homemade breakfast for the kids!  Yum!


Crispy Pesto Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Ham

Ok, I know it has been a long time since I have blogged… the start up of our fall schedule and just life in general has been a bit crazy, pushing things like blogging to the side for a while.  But, I promise you, this recipe is worth the wait!  It was delicious!!!!  So yummy!  A perfect fall recipe on a crisp Minnesota evening. Well, it doesn’t have to be a fall recipe, but it was a great meal for us.  It seemed extra Fall-y (is that a word?) because we also had it with some oven roasted squash, which I love!

Crispy Pesto Gnocci with Tomatoes and Ham

Recipe adapted from

1 pkg. pre-made potato gnocchi
2 Tbsp. pesto
1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 c. ham cubed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
parmesan cheese, for topping

Boil gnocchi for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to float.  Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook ham until hot and just beginning to brown.  Remove from pan. 

Add olive oil and garlic.  Cook about 30 sec. to 1 min. until garlic becomes just fragrant.  Add gnocchi in a single layer and cook until it begins to crisp on one side (about 3-4 minutes).  Shake pan and cook additional 3-4 minutes until golden and crispy on all sides.

Stir in pesto and tomatoes and ham and serve with parmesan on top.  Yum!

Husband Rating: 10 out of 10

Food for Thought: I think another nice addition to this meal might be some chopped spinach.  That always seems to go nicely.  You could also easily leave out the ham if you wanted a vegetarian version.  Check out the blog that I got the recipe from.  It’s adorable.  It’s written by a girl in Iowa who loves to cook and loves to run.  Hmmmm, a midwest girl who cooks and runs… sound familiar???   🙂

Bulgur and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Mmmmm, I wish I had remembered to make this recipe sooner this summer.  Though the name of the recipe is somewhat uninspiring, the taste of this meal is refreshing and light and utterly delish!  It is a great cold dish that is great the first day, better the second.  We had it for dinner the first night and a picnic on the second day!  I also think that the dressing would be great with other salads too as it is a light, lemony, refreshing dressing that would pair with many things. 

Bulgur and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

1 c. vegetable stock
1 c. coarse-grind bulgur wheat (*see note)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. dry packed sun dried tomatoes, soaked in water to rehydrate, drained, and chopped
4 oz. pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 Tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Optional: meat of 1 rotisserie chicken

In small saucepan, bring vegetable stock to a boil.  Place the bulgur in a large heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling stock into the bowl.  Cover and let stand until the bulgur is tender and the liquid is completely absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, onion, tomatoes, olives, parsley, cilantro, chicken, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, cumin, paprika, and ground coriander.  Whisk in the olive oil.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to mix evenly.  Serve immediately. 

*An easy substitute for bulgur is quick-cook barley.  It cooks up easily and tastes delicious.  I have made this recipe both ways and like it either way.  Be sure to check the barley’s packaging for cooking instructions as well as liquid amounts as it may vary from what the bulgur needs.

Husband Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Cilantro Lime Marinated Flank Steak

I know it is a good meal when my husbad says to me, “Next time we have company, serve this.”  It was delicious, presented well, and was easy to make!

Cilantro Lime Marinated Flank Steak

Recipe from

1 c. fresh cilantro
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 green onions, chopped
1 Serrano chili, seeded, chopped
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 lb. flank steak


Place cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic, green onions, Serrano chili, and sea salt together in a food processor or large bowl.  Food process or blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Place flank steak in large freezer bag and pour half the marinade into the bag.  Squish the bag so the marinade is completely covering the flank steak.  Place into the refrigerator and let marinate for 3-4 hours.  Reserve other half of the marinade as a dipping sauce.

Remove steak from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to grilling.  Preheat grill to medium high heat.  Brush grill grate with oil.  Grill flank steak for 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Remove from heat and let the meat rest for 5-7 minutes before slicing and serving with reserved sauce.  Enjoy!

Husband Rating: 8 out of 10

Food for Thought: We served this with some grilled peppers and guacamole and chips and it was a delicious combination.  I also thought that it would be good sliced thinly and served in tortillas fajita style.

Food for Thought:

Penne with Italian Sausage and Peppers

Though this meal will also be really good when it is cold out, it was a great summer one-dish dinner. 

Penne with Italian Sausage and Peppers

1/2 lb. whole wheat penne pasta
1 lb. turkey Italian sausage links
2 bell peppers, yellow, orange, or red, seeded and sliced
5 roma tomatoes, diced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh basil
salt/pepper to taste
shredded asiago cheese

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.  Drain, rinse, and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook sausage links in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.  Remove from pan and slice.

In the same pan, add olive oil and minced garlic.  Saute for 1-2 minutes and then add the onion and peppers.  Saute onion and peppers about 5 minutes or until just starting to soften.  Add tomatoes and continue to cook until tomatoes are soft and saucy, about 10 minutes.  Toss sausage and pasta in with tomatoes and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve topped with fresh basil and shredded cheese.

Husband Rating: 7 out of 10

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Whenever my husband asks for this salsa, he always wants just this for dinner, nothing else.  It’s that good and we end up eating so much of it that we are full and don’t really dinner after anyway.  It makes a large batch that can keep in your fridge for a few days and is just the epitome of summer-y foods.  Picture a big bowl of this salsa with chips, a cool beverage of your choice, sitting out in your backyard in the evening or sitting out on the boat in the warm summer sun.  Ahhhh… love it!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 c. frozen corn, thawed
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3 avocados, chopped (save the pits)
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. lime juice
salt/pepper to taste

Mix olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, and salt/pepper together in a bowl.  Toss veggies together in a bowl and pour dressing over the top stirring to coat evenly.  Toss the avocado pits in the bowl to help the avocados brown more slowly.  Serve with chips.

Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days in a sealed container.

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