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Saturday, March 16, 2013

pancakes.... yum yum!

My family loves to eat breakfast for supper. So last night that is what I decided to fix. In my search through the pantry I located a box of pancake quick mix, some muffin mixes, and instant oatmeal, and went crazy making an Ihop-style pancake dinner. By the time my experiment was over we had chocolate pancakes, strawberry pancakes, peanut butter ones, and of course, plain ( my husband is sometimes afraid of my kitchen experiments).

If you think pancakes have to be boring or Plain-Jane, think again. You can do much with a simple pancake batter if you just think outside the box.

*Add flavored oatmeal. That's right, just add one packet of any flavor of oatmeal to your batter. If your batter becomes too thick, add a tiny bit of water,  1-/4 of a cup at a time, until it's more of a pancake batter consistency. Adding oatmeal not only makes your batter healthier but the possibilities for flavors are amazing. We've made pancakes using blueberries and cream, banana, and strawberry flavors, as well as maple and brown sugar, apple cinnamon, and cinnamon roll flavored oats. The kids love the new flavors.

*Just add something....anything...to your batter. Even just a tsp.of extract or flavoring can turn out something new and tasty. Sprinkles stirred into the batter makes a child's morning (especially when topped with Cool Whip, more sprinkles, and a drizzle of berry syrup). We know fresh fruit works well too, but have you ever  made a "meal-in-a-pancake"? Trust me, it's good. Just toss some fried sausage, diced ham, or bacon, a handful of cheddar cheese, and a few scrambled eggs into your batter. You don't have to top these with syrup...and they are a complete meal that you can hold in your hand as you run out the door on a busy morning.

Note: adding things that are too wet or gooey can seriously alter your batter and affect cooking time. Use pureed items such as canned pumpkin sparingly. Same thing goes for peanut butter; just a few tsps. will do. I found out last night that too much peanut butter sure makes for some thick, dense, heavy cakes. :(

*Don't forget the toppings! Again, fruit is a winner. Berries, fried apples with cinnamon, anything goes. My kids like peanut butter and jelly on top. I like banana slices and chopped pecans. Another good version is to add chocolate chips or a TBS. of cocoa to the batter and then top the finished cakes with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

*Use muffin mix instead of pancake batter. Muffin mixes make great pancake flavors. Again, there is a wide variety of delicious muffin mixes that are inexpensive and easy to make. 

*Sometimes you want pancakes but just don't have time to pour and wait and flip and pour and wait and flip...I hear that lovely pancake batter can be poured, all at once, into a baking pan and oven-baked until golden for about 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Then, voila! Cut the really big pancake into squares and you are done. How much easier can it get folks?

*The idea of baking pancakes so intrigued me that I did a little online digging for more ideas and came across a yummy recipe that will enable me to cook fluffy, mouth-watering pancakes faster (I am thinking this is a great idea and just in time for our church breakfast in the morning). It comes from www.BigRedKitchen.com and is called Pancake Squares. Go give their recipe a try and let me know how it turns out.

Well, that's about it for today. I am off to eat some brunch and enjoy this sunny Saturday. Bon appetit!-Lynn