Red Velvet Pancakes For Valentine’s Day

valentines day babiesTo all of my Valentines, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I made these pancakes this weekend in preparation for breakfast on Thursday with my Valentines (since I will be working both jobs that day and won’t be seeing them other than at breakfast before bedtime really). These hold up great frozen in proportioned Ziploc baggies (where is my endorsement deal from them?) for about a month, so this recipe makes tons of pancakes. Enjoy the love-fest all month long!

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Pancakes

6 cups all-purpose flour

6 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

6 eggs

4 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk, or almond milk, or half and half (no 1 % or skim)

6 tablespoons red food coloring

6 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, melted

Mix all the dry ingredients in a really large bowl. Mix all the wet in a medium-sized bowl, whisk these

Because I love these old cards...

Because I love these old cards…

thoroughly, this is like when making a cake, once you combine wet and dry ingredients you are going to want to leave lumps so that these pancakes are nice and fluffy.Combine everything in the large bowl, slowly whisking until it’s well combined. (There should be no flour in the bottom of the bowl, but small lumps of flour in the mix are good)

Heat very flat frying pan, or griddle, to a medium high heat. (If your first batch of pancakes turns too dark or cooks super-fast, lower the heat. They should take a while to cook.)

Pour out batter onto griddle and leave them alone as the bubbles form. When the uncooked side is fairly covered in popped bubbles, flip. (The edges will also look dry)

After flipping, allow them to rise (DO NOT press them down! This will make them heavy instead of fluffy!). The reason you are cooking at the lowest possible temperature is so they can cook through without burning or squishing, all of which are bad for pancakes. The best time for this side is about ½ the time they spent on the other side cooking. Experiment with the timing until you get a feel for it.

*This is also fun if  you toss in chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder and  reduce sugar to 1/2 cup, and reduce red food coloring to about 3 Tablespoons. Then you have Pink Chocolate Chip Pancakes!*

Sizzling on a griddle...

Sizzling on a griddle…

You can use regular syrup (BoyChild II is a purest). I also (thoroughly) enjoy melted butter with a sprinkle of powdered sugar as my topping. (Of course, I like any pancake best this way, you know, dripping with buttery goodness…) But if this is all too pedestrian for you (or there is someone to impress) try the following glaze recipe poured hot over the top.Vintage VDay

Cream Cheese Glaze:

Remember Cream Cheese Frosting? Get 2 cups out of your fridge (What you haven’t been keeping some in there for mid night snacking straight from the Tupperware “just in case”?! Well, then whip some up real quick).

Put the 2 cups frosting in a microwave safe bowl, add 2 Tablespoons of water.

Heat on 50% power 30 seconds at a time, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. If your mix is still too thick, add more water 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Space VDayServe glaze warm over hot, buttered pancakes.

Do you have a special Valentine’s Day meal? Please share in the comments or email me at mamaskitchentable@gmail.com.

eggcellent valentine

eggcellent valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day my loves!

Easy Make Ahead Hashbrown Casserole

This is from the collection of excellent back to school make ahead breakfasts I mentioned before. This is great for making and freezing, like the French Toast Casserole and can be a school day breakfast or a brunch dish that can travel frozen to an out-of-town thing or be ready when the holidays and all their visitors are invading your home. I have a picture of the one I made the first week of school, somewhere… If I can find it I will add it to this recipe. This casserole is best when served with a side of citrus fruit, you know, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, pineapple, something like that.

What you will need:

1 bag (medium-sized) frozen hashbrowns

1 medium-sized casserole dish (think 8 x 10 or so)

Leftover sausage

1/3 cup Heart Healthy Bisquick

7 medium eggs

6 oz Cheddar or Colby Shredded ( you can use more, but this ratio is a nice balance)

1 Tablespoon Seasoned Salt

2 Tablespoons Onion Powder

Black Pepper (to taste)

Cooking Spray (I recommend Butter for this one)

To make:

In a bowl combine eggs, salt, onion, pepper, bisquick, sausage, and cheese.

Spray casserole dish.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place 1/2 of hashbrowns in bottom of dish.

Pour all of egg mixture on top.

Place remaining hashbrowns firmly over everything.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes.

*If you are going to freeze this: Once it is cooled wrap with a layer of Saran Wrap and then another of tin foil, label and place in your freezer. When ready to cook unwrap and follow below directions straight out of the freezer. Keep in mind frozen solid to done will take about twice as long as 1/2 cooked to done, so some planning ahead will be required.*

Remove foil. Return to oven until hashbrowns are crisp looking on top and there is no runny egg mixture. (this will take about 20 minutes)

Serve in squares with fruit and glasses of milk for a hearty breakfast.

Easy Make Ahead Sausage Baskets

Here we are, back to school in one week. Sigh. One of the things I do to make the school year a little easier on myself is make breakfast the night before. I have several make ahead breakfast recipes, you remember the French Toast Casserole, I thought I’d share some of these with all of you. Make ahead breakfasts are perfect for those of us who want our kids to eat real food in the morning for school, but whose brains don’t function well enough to cook. (Not to mention I like my 5 to 6 hours of sleep every night, so no, I’m not getting up earlier) I also discovered that it was the best way to actually feed everyone when GC started middle school. Around here the high school starts, then about 30 minutes later the middle schools start, then 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours later (depending on which one your kid goes to) the elementary schools start. Now, despite the fact that eggs are going to kill us (for this week) I want to feed my kids food that includes proteins and carbs and fruit (not sugar cereal or pop tarts *shudder*) for breakfast. But anyone who has ever tried to eat hour old eggs can tell you, you can’t keep them warm or reheat them; so making breakfast that can span from 5:30 am till 8am, be quick, be appealing, be inexpensive, be different at least some days, and be fairly healthy? That’s my challenge. Also, most of these are great for taking to brunches, or when you have relatives around wanting breakfast at all hours like you have nothing better to do and have opened a damn bed and breakfast during the holidays (which, as we all know, once we get nice and used to school, Bam! Holidays!). Sorry I have watched my mother struggle with this and have even participated in the insanity. Anyway, back to school mornings. This first one is yummy and super easy, and can be carried in the car during snooze button related emergencies. (An added bonus)

What you will need:

1 lb sausage (Turkey works great here, but you can use whatever sausage you like. Make sure to use the ground sausage, not links or already pattied sausage. The good news, that’s the cheapest sausage out there)

Shredded cheddar

2 cans (10 to a can) biscuits (these are the tiny biscuits that are usually sold in four packs)

Muffin tins

Cooking Spray (I recommend a butter-flavored one)

Heat oven to 400° F

Brown Sausage. Place on 2 layers of paper towels to help drain fat.

Spray muffin tins.

Use 1 can of biscuits to make baskets in the bottom of each tin. Carefully (remember the less you handle dough the better) using your thumb in the center, stretch the dough into a shallow bowl like in the picture.

Place a pinch of shredded cheese (just enough to fill the divits you made earlier) into each basket.

Use a small spoon to place sausage on top of cheese. (you want to try to stay in the middle of the biscuit as best you can)

Gently stretch the second can’s biscuits large enough to top the baskets. Using fingers lightly push the edges just lower than the center.

Bake until golden brown. (about 15 mins)

 * You will have lots of sausage left over. Once it is completely cooled place in freezer safe container and put it in your freezer. You can use this portion in another recipe, or to make more of these baskets.*

After you have let these cool slightly (they will still feel warm, but wouldn’t burn your fingers) drape a clean dish towel over them. This will keep them fluffy and fresh tasting for in the morning. You can reheat these or not to serve, it’s totally up to you. After breakfast you will want to place leftover baskets in a Tupperware and place them in the fridge.

 Serving:

You will notice how tiny these are. That’s on purpose, you can serve these with whatever cut up fresh fruit you gave on hand (or applesauce- a breakfast fav around here) and a glass of milk to make a nice well-rounded breakfast that isn’t so filling you might need a nap afterwards. I recommend serving 1 basket, 1/3 to 1/2 piece of fruit (depending on the fruit, obviously) and milk to kids about 8 and under, if they are hungry afterwards, well, you have 10 baskets, let them have a another. For the bottomless pits bigger kids, I go ahead and start them with 2 baskets, 1/2 to 1 piece of fruit and the milk. An alternative for the kid who doesn’t want to drink milk this week: 1 glass of OJ (not SunnyD or other such crap, actual 100% OJ, with pulp, aka fiber) and 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt instead of fruit and milk works also.

See how easy that is? Just so you don’t think I put on my judgey pants today, yes we do keep cereal (like Cheerios and Raisin Bran) around the house, but I try to have those be for weekends (when I sleep in) and on mornings when we just have no time at all. Like all things, moderation is key, don’t eat sausage or processed cereal everyday, mix it up.

As always if you try this out, or have a make ahead breakfast idea of your own, let me know!

 

Easy Make Ahead French Toast Casserole

 Now for more yummy & easy stuff I can make in a hotel kitchen. This is a breakfast casserole. You can make it and eat it as a breakfast for supper kind of thing, or you make it the night before and then heat it up in the morning. I suppose if you were a supreme mommy overachiever you could make it in the morning, but if you are I would really prefer not to know, not good for my self-esteem and all. As a side note you can wrap it in Saran Wrap and freeze this as well.

 You will need to make cinnamon sugar for this casserole, I use a 1 Tablespoon cinnamon to 1 cup sugar ratio, you can alter this to your own preference.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup skim milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)
  • 1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread (use whatever brand you prefer, I get store brand)
  • 1 lb turkey bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups cinnamon sugar
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cooking Spray (use butter flavored)
  • Butter (or margarine)
  • Syrup

Brown bacon, set on paper towel to drain and cool.

Whisk in a medium-sized bowl eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Crumble bacon.

Coat casserole dish with butter. Place small amount of egg mix in dish (not quite enough to coat, but so that it runs around across the bottom). Place 1 layer bread. Sprinkle about 1/3 bacon across top. Pour about 1/3 egg mix over bread and bacon. Layer again with bread, bacon and egg until all ingredients are used. (try to save egg mix for last layer)

Bake, uncovered, for 20 mins.

If you plan to freeze: cool, wrap and place in freezer at this stage. When it is time to eat, follow the remaining steps.

Spray aluminum with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake until eggs are fluffy and done even in center. Casserole should be slightly springy when pressed with finger, and will be a golden brown color across the top. This will take about 15 mins.

Allow to cool/set slightly before cutting into squares.

Serve squares with butter & syrup to taste.

Some other ideas:

  • You can use regular bacon or sausage if you prefer, this way has lots less fat, etc and would be fine to eat multiple mornings in a week. A more indulgent version would be best for a large brunch (i.e. everything in moderation).
  • You can substitute flavored coffee creamer for the milk, experiment with your favorites.
  • This is great topped with fresh berries & powdered sugar instead of butter and syrup as well.

Hmmm… well I know what I’m making tonight for breakfast tomorrow. Yumm 🙂 

 Have a good day everyone & as always, if you try this out, let me know what you thought & if you have any suggestions to improve it!