Whole-Grain Pancake Mix

I am a pancake girl and I will always pick pancakes over waffles. One thing I can promise you right now, I will only give you pancake recipes that I truly love. The past couple months I have tried making pumpkin pancakes and cake batter pancakes. But they have not lived up to my standards. I am still on the lookout for that perfect pumpkin pancake and I hope to find it by fall.

Since we have been eating a bit healthier, I wanted to get a pancake mix I could use on the weekends and not feel guilty about eating. I’m so happy I was able to find it on the first try. This recipe makes a mix that you can keep in your refrigerator for a long time and use it as you need it. It couldn’t be any simpler. I usually always have buttermilk in my refrigerator, but if you don’t, you can easily make a substitute at home. I’ll include that in the recipe. I hope you enjoy these pancakes as much as we did.

Whole-Grain Pancake Mix:

For the mix:

  • 4 cups white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 3 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  1. Grind the oats in a food processor until they’re chopped fine, but not a powder.
  2. Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. (A hand mixer could also be used) Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.

For the pancakes: serves 4

  • 2 cups pancake mix
  • 2 cups buttermilk*
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Whisk together the pancake mix, buttermilk, and eggs till just combined. (The batter will be thin but will thicken up as it sits.) Let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and set a baking sheet in the oven.
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. If using an electric griddle, set temperature to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the pan with some butter.
  4. Drop 1/4 cup of the batter onto heated pan. Cook pancakes till the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking , about 2 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 2 minutes, till done. Transfer the pancakes to the warmed oven and continue the process till the batter is gone. Enjoy!

*Buttermilk Substitute… Stir together 2 cups milk with 2 tbs of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Let stand for 5 minutes until thickened.

Source: King Arthur Flour

Baked Penne with Chicken and Kale

Lately, I’ve been all about healthier eating. I am feeling a lot better and even losing weight. But I have to admit that I can’t cut everything out, I must have my baked pasta’s! But who’s to say you can’t eat baked pasta? As long as it’s healthy, go for it! That’s where this recipe comes in.

We really loved this dish. I was so happy to see my kids eat everything including the Kale. Kale is one of those greens that has many nutrients and vitamins. I don’t make it often, but I think that will change. I did omit the red bell pepper, but that’s because my husband can’t eat them. I’m leaving it in the recipe because I’m sure it tastes great in the dish. The recipe also calls for leftover chicken but I didn’t have any. I took chicken breasts and roasted them in an oven for 35 minutes, till they were done and shredded that. All in all, it’s a dish I do plan to make again. I really think you and your family will enjoy this meal.

Baked Penne with Chicken and Kale:

  • 13.25 oz box whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 bunches kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 48 oz ricotta, part skim
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 oz Parmesan, finely grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups leftover chicken, shredded. (you can roast 2 chicken breasts in the oven at 375 degrees for about 35-45 minutes, till done)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot pot.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onion and red bell pepper, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes. Add grated carrot and garlic, cooking another 2 minutes. Add kale, toss, and cover, turning off the heat and letting sit for 5 minutes. Transfer to the pot with pasta.
  4. Stir in ricotta, lemon zest and juice, hot sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, chicken, and reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan. Bake until bubbly and the top golden brown, 30 minutes.

Source: Slightly adapted from Foodie Bride

Lean Mean Green Smoothie

Can you believe that all those ingredients above can make a delicious smoothie? I know I couldn’t when I had seen versions of it pop up all over the blogosphere. I finally decided it was time to try it. I have always needed more iron in my diet and figured this would be a good way to get it. I was very surprised at how great it tasted, it was more like an orange and banana smoothie than a spinach tasting one. I do think the smoothie tastes better once it’s really chilled. I ended up shoving the smoothie into the freezer for about 10-15 as I cleaned up my mess. It was nice and cold when I was done and I downed it in no time. I really think you will enjoy this drink!

Green Smoothie:

Yield: 2 servings

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 orange, peeled and separated into segments
  • 1/2 apple (your favorite variety), peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled and separated into segments
  • 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth and completely combined.
  2. Drink all at once, or separate into two servings. The smoothie can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one day. It will be thick when coming out of the refrigerator, whisk/stir before drinking.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Creamy Chicken and Spinach Casserole

I think I might have a new goal; trying to make as many dishes I can out of the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. I have made a handful of recipes so far and they all have been really good. The biggest plus is that they are healthier for you. The newest one I tried was the Creamy Chicken and Spinach Casserole. I ended up doubling the recipe to make sure we had enough for everyone and it doubled nicely. The only thing I didn’t double was the spinach. I felt the one box of frozen chopped spinach I had was just enough for the dish. If I would have added another 10 oz box, it would have overpowered the dish. The kids and hubby really enjoyed it and my son had more than his fair share so I’m glad I doubled it.

Creamy Chicken and Spinach Casserole:

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups 1% lowfat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped coarse. (chopped spinach is also good)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 8 oz whole-wheat penne
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 2 oz)
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat an 8 inch square baking dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tsp of the oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken, break up any clumps, and cook until lightly browned but not fully cooked, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the skillet and return medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  5. Return the chicken with any accumulated juice to the skillet. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Off the heat, discard the bay leaf and stir in the Parmesan and lemon juice. Stir in the spinach, breaking up any clumps, until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and 1 tbs salt and cook, stirring often, until almost al dente but still firm to the bite. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  7. Add the chicken-spinach mixture and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. Pour the pasta into prepared baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook