Nutritious & Flavorful Two-Ingredient Pancakes

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These are the most flavorful pancakes I’ve ever eaten. That includes homemade and restaurant varieties…and I’ve enjoyed more than my share of “flapjacks.”

I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for simple, flourless pancakes lately. We’re not really the most healthy-recipe conscious household, but I was intrigued by this two-ingredient option.

It’s so simple that there’s not really a recipe. You mash up a banana, and you whisk it well into two eggs. Then you pour it into a skillet and resume the normal pancake-making process.

That’s it.

No flours or oils or other ingredients. Simple pancakes. (Though I will say that I started with a small banana and found I needed an additional small banana to get the right “batter” consistency, so watch for that.)

You might say, “Are these going to taste too much like bananas?” That was my concern, too, but I found they were not overly banana at all. Just enough, and just the right moist texture.

I was also worried this would turn out like some kind of horrible banana scrambled egg, omelet or frittata dish. Not in the least. Wowed by the results, I topped a short stack with a few blueberries and a little syrup, and I had a delicious breakfast. For people on the go, I could see topping a pancake with a little peanut butter, rolling it up and taking care of breakfast on a busy morning.

A lot of recipes sell “simple” and “healthy,” and many don’t deliver. This one does. For their simplicity, their nutrition and their delightful flavor and texture, I highly recommend trying banana pancakes.

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Simple Crockpot Apple Butter

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Imagine the scent of apples and autumn. When Matthew and I made apple butter (twice!) over the past few weeks, our home smelled gloriously like fall, cinnamon, apples and allspice. After a visit to the Lincoln County Apple Festival, we found ourselves in possession of a peck of apples. With nearly 40 on our hands, we decided to try a recipe for crockpot apple butter. An old Methodist cookbook provided us with a fantastic recipe. (We only tweaked a few things – removing cloves, for instance.) It was simple enough: peel and chop the apples to fill the crockpot, cook, measure, add other ingredients and continue to cook. The total cooking time was over 12 hours, but using the crockpot made it easy. We only had to check it from time to time. When we were finally done with both batches, we had 6 full jars (half-pint-size) of apple butter. One batch we made with green apples – the other with red. Both resulted in delicious, smooth, spreadable, sweet apple butter. If you ever find yourself with a peck of apples, we encourage you to try this recipe, too. Don’t forget to share!

Crockpot Apple Butter

Ingredients
8 cups cooked apples (takes about 15 uncooked apples)
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice

Directions
1. Peel and chop enough apples to fill the crockpot. (We found we needed at least 15.)
2. Cook on high for several hours until the apples begin to cook into pieces.
3. Measure the cooked apples and put 8 cups back in the crockpot. Mix in all other ingredients and stir.
4. Cook on high until hot, then turn down to low and cook for 8-12 hours.
5. Remove the lid and cook just until the mixture is of spreading consistency.
6. Jar and enjoy! Apple butter is delectable on a bagel, croissant, biscuit, toast and more!

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Pasta Mama: Creative, Flavorful, Simple

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If I tell you I’m going to make you pasta and scrambled eggs for dinner, what’s your reaction? Does it sound more appetizing if I tell you I’m going to mix the eggs into the pasta? Maybe it further helps if I tell you several Asian pasta dishes include eggs that are scrambled in somehow?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. When I first heard about Pasta Mama seven or eight years ago on one of my favorite Food Network Shows “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” I turned up my nose, too. It didn’t exactly sound like a delicious meal. But I’ve always enjoyed trying new things that involve ingredients I enjoy, so I gave it a whirl, as Kevin McAllister said of a frozen macaroni and cheese dinner while grocery shopping in the 1990 movie Home Alone. And the Pasta Mama blew me away with its simplicity and flavor.

Some people aren’t big fans of marinara sauce, so they prefer an alfredo or other topping for their pasta. This offers another cheap, flavorful option with the eggs and spices, and if you already have spices and dry pasta in your kitchen or pantry, it won’t cost you much at all to make (also considering eggs are pretty cheap). And if you cook the eggs and pasta just right, it’s not too dry or too wet.

Pasta Mama at its best is a very simple and light dish, so don’t plan on feeling extremely full afterward. In fact, it’s a dish you might have as a small meal as part of a plan to eat more than three meals a day, or you might even try it for a simple and quick breakfast. You can use that leftover cooked, plain pasta to get a head start, but even if you have to cook your pasta first, this dish won’t take you more than a half hour to prepare.

The following recipe is a modified take on a suggestion from Food.com.

Ingredients

10 ounces dry pasta

3 eggs, beaten

2 minced garlic cloves

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon fresh grated parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

 

Directions

1. Cook your pasta in a pot until it has the softness/firmness you prefer. (If you already have leftover cooked pasta, just heat it enough to knock the chill off before you take the next step in the recipe.)

2. In a skillet on medium heat, saute all of your spices with the butter or oil.

3. After your spices have sauteed, add the pasta and water and stir together.

4. Pour in your already-beaten eggs and combine until the eggs fully cook and mix with the pasta.

5. While your dish is still in the skillet, sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top. You can, of course, add as much cheese as you want.

6. Plate and serve. As with anything, your yield depends on how much pasta you actually use, how much each diner eats and the age of your diners. If you feed this to kids, it will probably go farther with each individual eater.

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Molly’s Take: I wasn’t terribly afraid of the egg and pasta combo here, since I love Asian rice and noodles and those often include eggs of some kind. I also am a person who really can’t stand marinara sauce in most settings, so I was excited about the prospect of an alfredo alternative. The Pasta Mama delivered. Its simple flavor, perfectly seasoned with herbs and spices, was light and tasty. As Matthew said, it isn’t incredibly filling or heavy, but I could easily see adding some type of fish like salmon or shrimp to the dish. However, the Pasta Mama stands alone in its simplicity and flavorful taste. Definitely give it a try.

Matthew’s Take: Of course, I really love this dish, or I wouldn’t be sharing it with you. My favorite way to eat pasta has always been with some kind of tomato-based sauce and beef meatballs or a cheese-based sauce with chicken. This is a completely different dish and one I’ve never had in a restaurant. I’ve never seen it on a menu in a restaurant, despite seeing it recommended on a food show by a professional chef who ate it at a restaurant. Maybe it has a low profile because it would take most people by surprise. I know it did me. Other than not being heavy enough to fill me for a long period of time, Pasta Mama is surprisingly satisfying. The garlic butter and cheese help provide their own deal of flavor, but it’s the eggs that offer the most boost to the texture and taste. You may be skeptical, but I encourage you to give it a try. Creative cooking can be exciting because it can break our normal routine in the kitchen and at the table. And this is a way to be creative and make an economical meal in a half hour or less. I give it an A for taste and an A+ for both cost and ease.

Delightfully Simple Amish Oatmeal Pie

Some recipes are complicated. Others can fit entirely in an iPhone screenshot. My new favorite pie in the world is of the latter variety. An old-fashioned recipe from the Amish, it features oatmeal (the inexpensive type you buy in a round tube at the store) as its star player. The pie itself is reminiscent of pecan, but less gooey and sticky, perhaps because of the milk it includes. This makes the base of the pie a delicious mix between pecan-pie-gooey-goodness and custardy-smooth delight.

Without further ado, the Amish Oatmeal.

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Ingredients: 

3 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. butter, melted

2/3 cup oats

2/3 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

 

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk until combined.
  2. Pour into an unbaked pie shell (be sure to prick holes in the shell with a fork for ventilation).
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until the pie is cooked through. (My oven usually requires 55 minutes. But surprisingly, it usually doesn’t over-brown the edges.)
  4. Enjoy thoroughly.

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Matthew’s take: My tastebuds recognize two kinds of pies: fruit pies and non-fruit pies. This pie is, hands down, my favorite non-fruit pie, even ahead of pecan pie, chocolate pies, pumpkin and sweet potato pies, and all other custard pies that I love. It has the sweet filling, and the crackle and texture on top, of a pecan pie…without the nuts! Buying pecans costs more, and it adds an element (the nuts) that some people don’t prefer or can’t ingest due to allergies. The other great thing about this pie: it’s sweet without being way too sweet, which caters to people (like my mom and dad) who don’t like their desserts to be too rich and indulgent. This pie’s wonder will surprise you, and as soon as the final slice is gone, you’ll want to bake another.

Molly’s take: This pie is my new absolute favorite to make. No fussy, annoying, sticky pecan pie mess. (I have a love-hate relationship with baking pecan pies. Sometimes they’re great; other times, they won’t set up for what seems like hours. Then, you get a crispy crust and too-hard pecans on the top. But enough complaining.) The Amish Oatmeal Pie is easy, darn easy, and it has a melt-in-your-mouth taste that will scrumptiously satisfy your sweet tooth. Everyone who tries it is bound to like it. If they don’t, there’s somethin’ wrong with ’em!

Old-Timey Brown Sugar Pie

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This is probably one of the first recipes Molly ever made when she started baking. Pies are her favorite, and this is one of her top three choices to bake anytime. (The other two, for reference, are her great-grandmother’s recipes for chocolate pie and sweet potato pie.)

There’s nothing more amazing than pulling this pie out of the oven, freshly baked, warm and perfect, then slicing it after it cools and having a warm, custard-y slice of brown sugar pie with a dash of whipped cream on top. This pie is sooo good, and it keeps for days, so you can rewarm slices of it and they just get better every time.

Many a morning, Molly had a slice of this pie for breakfast. If you’ve never heard of it, we’re not surprised. Matthew had never heard of a brown sugar pie until Molly told him about them. The recipe came from an old (possibly a hundred years old by now) cookbook that Molly’s great-grandmother owned. But just so you can envision its deliciousness, it’s similar in taste to a pecan pie, and in consistency, to an egg custard. Here’s how it’s made.

Ingredients:

1 cup corn syrup

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 stick butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash of salt

1 deep dish pie crust

Instructions:

IMG_33601) Put the syrup and brown sugar into your bowl and mix together with the three eggs.

2) Melt butter in the microwave. (Try not to make it super hot, but do try to melt most of it.)

3) Add the butter, vanilla and salt.

4) Prepare the pie crust by poking it all over with a fork.

5) Pour the mixture into the pie crust (trust us, you’ll need a deep dish pie crust) and bake in a 350-degree oven until it’s done in the middle. This usually takes about 35 minutes, but it can take longer. To prevent the edges of the pie crust from getting too brown, you can cover them with foil. We also suggest not cooking it too long, since the pie has a tendency to get sticky if you do.

6) Let it cool completely before slicing. (You might want to dip the knife in hot water and wipe it after each slice for a cleaner cut each time.)

Here’s a look at the mind-boggingly delicious, soft, sweet pie with a little piece cut out of it. (It’s messy, we know. We couldn’t wait til it cooled to slice into it.)

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Matthew’s take: What a delicious discovery this was for me. If you add pecans, it’s almost the same as a pecan pie. The brown sugar pie is more custard-like, so the filling consistency is a bit different. It also has a bit of a caramelized consistency to it, so be careful if you have concerns about sticky foods and your teeth. I would highly recommend trying it, the first time without any topping to get the full burst of flavor and texture, and a second time with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. If you’re like me, you’ll feel a tad more Southern after you have a piece of brown sugar pie. I give it an A+ for taste and a B for presentation. Like pecan pie, brown sugar and many chocolate pies aren’t the prettiest in the world. But who needs pretty when you’re eating a tasty pie anyways? 🙂

Molly’s take: If you’re looking to try something different, old-fashioned and unique, I definitely recommend this delicious, sweet pie. It’s got simple ingredients (I actually have the recipe memorized) and is something almost anyone will like. (Except my mom, who’s a chocaholic and refuses any offering not made with cocoa.) We hope you’ll give it a try. Be adventurous! You just might like it. 🙂

Easy Latticed Blueberry Pie (with canned or fresh berries)

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Unlike most food blogs, we like to get down to the recipe asap. So here it is, with our comments below. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Two prepared roll-out frozen pie crusts
  • 4 cups of blueberries (fresh or canned)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • A dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten in a cup with 1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

  1. Spray or butter a pie pan. Lay and shape one roll-out pie shell into the pan. Take the other crust and cut it into strips for later.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the milk and flour, then brown sugar and cinnamon. Add blueberries (if canned, be sure to drain completely) and stir. Pour into bottom crust.
  4. Take the strips of dough and weave them into a lattice top on top of the pie. Pinch the edges to seal them together. Brush the crust lightly all over with the egg mixture and sprinkle it with brown sugar.
  5. Put the pie on a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and move pie to top rack. Cover the rim of the pie crust with foil to make sure it doesn’t get burnt. Continue to bake at 375 until crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. (This takes about 20 minutes.)
  6. Let the pie cool to set and thicken before serving, so the pieces will come out whole.
  7. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Molly’s take: I adapted this recipe from the original found on http://shewearsmanyhats.com/easy-blueberry-pie-recipe/. At first, it was way more complicated than I wanted for an easy pie. After making the pie, I realized it could be a lot simpler. The original recipe says instead of immediately baking the pie, you can also freeze it for up to two months in plastic wrap and a large plastic Ziplock freezer bag. I haven’t tried this, but it could be good to have on hand! All in all, the pie is delicious and my blueberry-loving husband couldn’t stop eating it. 🙂 Out of all the pies I’ve made, it was one of the easiest, even with the lattice on top.

Matthew’s take: A basic blueberry pie is one of my favorite desserts. It walks the line between decadent dessert you can top with ice cream and dessert that can pass for a breakfast option. This blueberry pie recipe is as good as any I’ve had, and we made it with canned berries. Making it with fresh berries in season would put the pie over the top. The lattice crust was a very nice touch, both for taste and for presentation. This is one of those recipes that could be replicated with other berries. If you like berry pies like I do, this one gets an A+ for presentation and an A for taste.