Matt’s Pancakes

Classic, Fluffy, Buttermilk Pancakes via Brittany's Pantry - I use this recipe for breakfast and brunch, but also use it as my base mix to add all kinds of fun things to!Ah, pancakes.  Now you may not be too excited about this, but we eat a lot of pancakes in our house.  The other day we had breakfast for dinner; pancakes, sausage, eggs over easy, and sweet potato hash.  I make big batches and then freeze them for quick breakfasts for my kids.  They probably have these pancakes 2 or 3 times a week.  I went through a faze about a year ago and tried at least a dozen different recipes for pancakes.  Oatmeal pancakes, blueberry corn cakes, gingerbread pancakes, banana sour cream pancakes…phew!  You name it I tried it.  I threw away the ones that weren’t great, kept the ones that were good, and tweaked those that needed it.  This recipe is the basic one I use for everyday.  Easy to vary, its the perfect jumping off point if you want to add blueberries, chopped nuts, chunks of banana, raisins, etc.  I call them Matt’s Pancakes because the original recipe came from my brother-in-law.  He says the recipe is the same as the one on the back of the powdered buttermilk container-a recipe his family has been using for years-just with real buttermilk added.   I have changed it quite a bit to make it healthier and a little faster.  I’ll include both versions here so you can try them both.  Either way, it is one of my basic, everyday, go-to recipes.  And who doesn’t like pancakes?

Matt’s Pancakes (and mine)
Everythng in italics are my adjustments.  Make them either way you like!

2 c flour (1 c white flour 1 c white whole wheat flour)
2 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Combine all dry ingredients.  Mix separately and add:
4 T melted butter (1/4 c canola oil)
2 c low fat buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Carefully mix wet ing. into dry just until combined.  DO NOT OVER MIX!  There should be a few lumps in the batter.
Note:  Add 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1/2 c raisins for variation.  Use your imagination or whatever your family likes.

California Chopped Salad

California Chopped Salad W/Shrimp | Brittany's PantryO.K. So I have been a bit busy these last few days and while I have been cooking, I have not had the time to tell you about it.  We replaced all the storm windows in our screen porch, finished painting the outside of our house, finished up swimming lessons…we have had a full week!

This is a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe and while I don’t love and follow every chef on the Food Network, she is one I have been loyal to long before she became so well known.  My husband I have regular cravings for the Chicken Piccata and Lemon Spaghetti from her first cookbook, Everyday Italian.  I think the only other person I am so dedicated to in the food world is Ina Garten.  But that is another day.

This is so fresh and tangy and scrumptious, my family ate every last morsel.  To be fair, my husband will eat just about anything and I seem to have the only two kids in the universe who aren’t picky.  Even so, this was an exceptionally good meal.  Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.  I already have it on the menu plan again for next week!

California Chopped Salad W/Shrimp | Brittany's Pantry California Chopped Salad-recipe modified 1/26/13
Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis

1 head romaine lettuce, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
1 c frozen corn, defrosted
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise or quartered if very large
8 oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, chunked, or 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced

3 T lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1 T honey
salt and pepper

Toss the shrimp and zucchini in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  If the shrimp is not large enough to grill, skewer the seafood and grill over medium hight heat with the zucchini, until shrimp is just pink and the zucchini has grill marks and is just cooked.  Cube the zucchini and shrimp into bite sized pieces. Add the romaine to a large serving bowl or platter.  Add the remaining salad ingredients.  Whisk all dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad.  Toss lightly.  Serve and enjoy!

Margarita Pasta Salad: An Old Standby

Margarita Pasta Salad from Brittany's Pantry - A great, crowd pleasing side to go with any dish!Don’t you just love those recipes that you make over and over and they never fail you?  No matter how many times you make it, it always turns out and everybody always loves it.  For my neighbor, its chocolate chip cookies.  She makes one of the best I have ever had and is famous for them.  With my mother-in-law its Keebler Cracker Bars.  My best friend, a Mississippi gal, makes a sweet potato casserole that seems to taste better out of her oven than mine.  This may be attributed to some kind of southern woman secret I am not privy to but whatever the case, we all have them.  I have several in fact.  Many of which, I don’t doubt, will grace this page with reliability and the sureness of success for all who try them.

Today I went to a BBQ and was told to bring a side salad.  My immediate elation at being able to share food with others was tempered by the lack of specifics.  Lettuce, coleslaw, pasta, potato, fruit, vegetable?  You may think I am obsessing, but these are the things that keep me up at night.  I like variety and I didn’t want to be the third person at the party who brought potato salad.  Solution?  A pasta salad that everyone likes, that parents could cut up and feed to the babies that I knew would be present, and most importantly, that I had the time and ingredients to make.  A pasta version of a Margarita pizza, it has only a few basic ingredients.  Add what you like and enjoy.  Leftovers make a great lunch.

Margarita Pasta Salad from Brittany's Pantry - A great, crowd pleasing side to go with any dish! Margarita Pasta Salad

1 lb small shaped pasta, such as bow tie, ditalini, rigatoni, penne, shells etc.
1-8oz pkg, fresh mozzarella, cut into small, bite sized chunks
1/4 c chopped, fresh basil
2 c chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil just until moistened.  Gently add the other ing.  Chill or serve room temp.  Can be made several hours ahead of time.
Note:  The measurements here are estimates.  Feel free to add more or less of whatever you like or don’t like.  Grilled chicken is a wonderful addition, as are freshly sniped chives.  The different colors of heirloom tomatoes look especially gorgeous.