Monday, June 17, 2013

Banana Oat Raisin Pancakes with Honey Cinnamon Butter

I am going to let you in on a little secret. Pancakes are a lot like cupcakes. As in they both are easy to add flavors and special touches to that really take them up a notch or two! If you can dream it, you can make a pancake our cupcake out of it. 

I think we have pancakes at least twice a month in my house. But I am not a huge pancake fan, unless they are so drenched in syrup that all I taste is the syrup. But I have discovered that I like different flavored pancakes and so I set out to make a pancake that I would hopefully like just as much as I like cupcakes, only not as sweet and hopefully not as bad for me! Not really sure how that better for me part turned out, but I did like them as much as I like cupcakes, so that is saying something!!

Banana Oat Raisin Pancakes

Yield: ~16 Large Pancakes

3 Cups Pancake Mix
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cups Oats
2 Smashed Over Ripe Bananas
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 Cup Raisins
2 Cups Water

In a large bowl combine the first 4 ingredients. Add the water and mix thoroughly, I prefer to use a whisk. Stir until you are certain that there are no large lumps in the batter. Then add the remaining ingredients (bananas, raisins and vanilla) mix it a couple of times. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Once pan is hot pour some of the pancake batter in the pan until you reach the size pancakes desired. I made mine rather large. Cook until bubbles appear in the pancake and you can see the edges firming. Slightly lift up one edge, if the pancake is lightly brown, then flip over and cook until that side is also golden brown. Remove from pan and add more batter. Continue doing this until all the pancakes are cooked. Place to the side.

Honey Cinnamon Butter

1/2 Cup Butter, sofetened or Margarine
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Honey

In a small bowl mix the above ingredients together until well blended. You can use a mixer if you need to, but if the butter is soft enough you should be able to mix it with a spoon. 

Now you can take one of those awesome pancakes and lather it with this yummy butter! Drizzle or smother with syrup and eat up! You can also top with pecans or walnuts to add a nice crunch! 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Green Chile Stew

I have lived in New Mexico for a very long time, and enjoy most of the food that this culture has to offer. One of them just so happens to be Green Chile Stew, but no matter how much I enjoy it, I have never attempted to make it on my own. Frankly I don't know why, but the other day I bit the bullet, finally took the plunge and made the Green Chile Stew that my taste buds have been dreaming of. 

Green Chile Stew

Yield: ~12 servings

2 Tbsp. Oil
1 lb. Beef Stew Meat (can also use pork or chicken)
1 Cup + 1 Tbsp.  All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Season Salt
2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Ranch Powder
2 tsp. Black Pepper
4 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled, cubed
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 Large Red Onion, chopped
1 Large Garlic Clove, minced
2 4oz. Cans of Hatch Green Chile
32 oz. Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 14.5 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
4 Beef Bouillon Cubes

In a large stock pot heat oil over medium heat. While oil and pan are coming to temperature take 1 Cup of flour (reserve the 1 Tbsp. for later) and the next 4 ingredients and 1 tsp of pepper. Mix together in a shallow pan like a 9x9 pan. Take your stew beef, pat it dry and lightly coat each piece of meat in the flour, being sure to shake off the excess flour. Once the oil is hot (test by sprinkling some flour in the oil, if it bubbles then it is ready) place about half the stew beef in the pan, leaving enough room around each piece being sure not to crowd the pan. Cook until that side has browned, then turn and allow the other side to brown. The goal here is not to cook the meat completely but to get a nice sear. Once the meat is seared remove from the pan and place on a platter. Cook the remaining meat the same way. Once all the meat is cooked and removed from the oil add the potatoes, onion, garlic, kosher salt and 1 tsp. black pepper. Saute until the potatoes are slightly tender. Add green chile and heat through. Then add the 1 Tbsp. of flour set aside earlier and add to the vegetables. Stir the vegetables thoroughly to ensure that they are all coated in flour and that the flour taste is cooked out, about 30 seconds. Then add the last three ingredients and the stew beef, cover and cook for a minimum of a half an hour. But the longer you cook it the better the flavors will meld. 

After you have waited ever so patiently for that half an hour, ladle up some soup and top with your favorite toppings such as cheese and sour cream. Now eat up!!! And to let you in on a secret, this stew is just better the next day!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

A while back I threw a birthday party for my two oldest boys, nothing special, just some kids at the park with cupcakes. That is the special part. I allowed them to each pick the kind of cupcakes offered at their party. One chose Mountain Dew and the other chose Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream! You could also call these Chocolate Dream Cupcakes! Cause seriously that's what they are.....a chocolate dream! Well at least they are mine! 

So here it is....First you need to start with my basic chocolate cupcake recipe. Which you can find here: Basic Chocolate Cupcakes

Then you make my Nutella Chocolate Mousse, which you can find here: Nutella Chocolate Mousse

Keep the Mousse in the fridge for a minimum of an hour. This will allow it to set. Now you get to make chocolate buttercream, which is a breeze and my absolute favorite. I would eat just this if I didn't feel so guilty. (Psst....I eat a bunch of it when I make cupcakes, but don't tell anyone).

Chocolate Buttercream

1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
2 Sticks Butter (salted or unsalted)
1 Cup Butter flavor Crisco
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 1/2 Cups Powdered sugar

In medium saucepan, combine chocolate and 1 stick of butter, place over medium heat and melt chocolate; whisk until butter and chocolate combine. Remove from the heat and allow chocolate to cool completely, you don't want your buttercream to melt! In a large bowl, or in your stand mixer cream together Butter Flavor Crisco and the other stick of butter. Add vanilla and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix on medium speed. Add another 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Once chocolate is cool pour some chocolate into the creamed mixture and mix together. (Make sure you scrap the bowl before you add the next ingredient). Now continue to add 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and chocolate until both ingredients have been completely used. Mixture should be thick enough to not fall off a spoon and easy enough to pipe. If the mixture is too soft add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 Tbsp. of water, until the mixture reaches the desired thickness. Keep in mind that the temperature and humidity in your kitchen will effect the amount of powdered sugar needed to reach your desired thickness.

Once all elements are made now you get to assemble these yummy cupcakes. Using a melon baller remove a good portion of the cupcake, make sure not to remove too much and ruin the stability of the cupcake. Then using a spoon or a piping bag fill the hole with Nutella Chocolate Mousse. Make sure you fill it to the top of the cupcake. Then using a piping bag and whatever tip you like pipe the chocolate buttercream on top of the cupcake making sure to cover the chocolate mousse. Now they are ready! Chow down!!!

Store in the fridge in order to keep mousse stability. But can still be at room temperature for a while before the Mousse will loose it's stability!