Do you BFD? I do.
I don’t mean Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (whatever that is). I don’t mean Big Freakin’ Deal. (Though sometimes I’d like to think of myself that way.) I’m talking about…
Every once in awhile I remember that pancakes are a totally acceptable dinner option (at least, when rounded out with a fruit salad and some eggs). A few times a year I like to whip up a pancake dinner for the fam. It pleases the kids big time and is super easy to prepare.
And you know what makes pancakes even easier? (Don’t say a boxed mix.) A blender!
When I decided to make pancakes for our most recent BFD, I wanted them to be almond-y–but I’m not one to keep almond flour on hand, so I knew I’d have to make my own from slivered almonds.
No prob! Blender to the rescue!
By mixing all the ingredients for these pancakes right in the blender, you’ll grind slivered almonds up into a flour-like consistency along with everything else. And don’t be deterred by the long-ish ingredient list here. Since everything gets tossed in the blender, it’s a one-bowl meal for the win.
I will say, though, depending on your blender, you might want to pause the blending and stir it up a few times. I love my NutriBullet, but it has a tendency to build dry ingredients up along the sides of the bowl. Pushing them down generally sets things right.
Oh, and one other caveat: with any flour-based food, it’s best not to mix too much. Doing so can overwork the gluten in the flour, resulting in a tough finished product. So don’t leave these ingredients to blend while you, you know, get your nails done or something. You want to get everything to that just-mixed point.
As for flavor, the addition of almond milk and almond extract makes these Almond Blender Pancakes as almond-y as can be. (Let’s just say almond a few more times. Almond. Almond. Almond. Thanks, got that out of my system now.) You can even sprinkle a few extra slivered almonds on top of each one while they cook on the griddle–not necessary, but it makes them prettier to look at. Meanwhile, they’re nice and moist with just enough sweetness, and my nutritionist brain loves that the addition of the nuts provides extra protein, vitamin E, and calcium. (You’ll also soak up protein from Greek yogurt and whole wheat flour.)
For a weeknight BFD (or of course a breakfast or brunch), almond fans will want to dig right in!
Almond Blender Pancakes
- 1/2 c. slivered almonds
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 5 Tbsp. white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- generous 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 c. almond milk
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- additional almonds for garnish
- Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
- Heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto the griddle and cook until the surface of the batter bubbles. Sprinkle a few slivered almonds on top, if you like. Flip and cook the other side.
- Serve plain or with butter and maple syrup.
For fans of smoked salmon, this Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Frittata is a delightful brunch or lunch!
I remember the first time I heard of smoked salmon. I was in junior high, and a bagel place had just opened up at the intersection nearest my house. That summer between seventh and eighth grade, my mom and I would walk over to Bagel Nosh and grab bagel sandwiches, then come home and watch movies to stay out of the punishing Arizona heat. Good memories.
What always seemed weird to me, though, was this bagel topping called “lox.” I had never encountered the concept of cured fish, and it definitely seemed bizarre that anyone would want to eat it on a bagel…with cream cheese…and something called capers? No, thanks. I stuck solidly to my tuna salad or turkey and cheese.
As I’ve become more open-minded about food through the years, however, I’ve come around to smoked salmon as one of my favorite proteins. I now love its smoky flavor and tender texture in dips (like this Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip), on sandwiches, or just with crackers and cheese. So a smoked salmon and cream cheese frittata? A big YES from me!
This frittata is a modification of a recipe in a cookbook I’ve especially been enjoying lately: Ellie Krieger’s Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals, which features meals you can make in a single pot, skillet, or sheet pan. (This also gets a big YES from me, for obvious reasons.)
This cookbook has so far been a total winner, and I’m sure you could cook anything in it exactly as written for a fabulous finished product. But to make this particular frittata, I took some substantial liberties! Like most egg dishes, this is one you can play with to tailor to your tastes–but the basic ingredients of smoked salmon, cream cheese, fresh dill, and chives are the primary non-negotiables. (Oh, and eggs, I guess.)
I made this for a quick lunch on a Lenten Friday and it was just perfect–light, herby, and fluffy. At least I thought so. My preteen, non-smoked salmon-loving son was less convinced. So note to junior highers everywhere (my former self included): Get on the smoked salmon train ASAP. You won’t be sorry.
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Frittata
- 7 large eggs
- 1/4 c. milk
- scant 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 c. green onions or scallions, sliced
- 4 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dried)
- 2 oz. cream cheese (I used light, which tends to be easier to spread)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large oven-proof skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add green onions and cook about 1 minute. Add smoked salmon and dill and stir to distribute evenly across the skillet. Pour whisked egg mixture on top and cook (without stirring) about 8 minutes over medium-low heat. The eggs should be set around the edges but a bit jiggly in the center.
- Preheat broiler. Dollop the cream cheese by teaspoonfuls on the surface of the frittata, then broil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until the surface turns golden brown. Let sit a few minutes, then dig in!
Is it a breakfast? A lunch? Or a dinner? This Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprout Hash is perfect for any meal.
Got your answer? Did you say Brussels like the smarty pants you are? Well, you’re correct. Although three-fourths of English speakers get it wrong, this veggie is, in fact, named after the city of Brussels. The compact little green balls were cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century. And here’s a really deep dive fun fact: In Belgium, they’re not called Brussels sprouts at all. (Because in Belgium they don’t speak-a the English.) Instead, the Dutch word for these veggies is spruitjes.
I didn’t grow up eating Brussels sprouts, so they’ve been kind of a fun discovery for me as an adult. Although I know many people seem to think they’re the stuff of hideous vegetable nightmares, I find them delicious, especially roasted or pan-sautéed…and particularly in this Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprout Hash. When the sprouts’ exterior leaves sear to crispy brownness, it turns them into irresistible bites of veggie candy, if you ask me. Add to that the soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside texture of the sweet potatoes, onions, and sausage slices and you’ve got a tasty no-brainer of a meal any time of day.
I’ve made this hash twice now and both times it’s been the easy, satisfying one-dish dinner I’ve needed on a weeknight. With just six ingredients and minimal prep, it doesn’t get much simpler than chopping a few veggies and meat, sautéing, and topping the whole thing with fried eggs. (DON’T skip the fried eggs. They bring an extra richness that makes the hash feel downright indulgent.)
The other bonuses of this tasty, all-purpose meal? It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo-friendly, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Still, for me, the biggest draws of this hash are its delicious taste and easy-peasy prep. Who couldn’t use more of that in their life?
Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprout Hash
- 1 tbsp. olive oil (or more as needed)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced 1/2-inch thick
- 3 c. Brussels sprouts, halved and/or quartered
- 1 12-oz. package smoked sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 4 large eggs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In your largest nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and sweet potatoes and sauté about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to soften.
- Make room in the skillet and add the halved Brussels sprouts and sausage slices. (You can add more olive oil, if needed.) Sauté another 3 to 5 minutes or until the sprouts and sausage slices begin to brown.
- With a large spoon, press four divots into the sausage-veggie mixture. Crack an egg into each divot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the skillet and cook until eggs have just set, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Pumpkin Olive Oil Muffins bring the heart-healthy goodness of olive oil to your breakfast table.
Is olive oil all it’s cracked up to be? You hear it touted as the heart-healthy oil–almost a savior of recipes. Something’s got three pounds of cheese and oodles of bleached, refined flour but it has olive oil???? Must be healthy!
As a nutritionist, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that olive oil automatically makes anything good for you, but it does come with significant health benefits.
As part of a Mediterranean diet, it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), especially if you’re already at risk. One study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people at risk of CVD who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with–get this–extra olive oil had fewer major adverse cardiovascular events than those who supplemented with nuts. In another, more olive oil (yes, more fat and calories!) helped reduce body fat and improved blood pressure.
I’m convinced that subbing olive oil for other oils and butter whenever possible is a smart choice. I’m especially into including it in baked goods. (These delicious banana chocolate muffins and orange cake are among my favorites.) As long as the olive flavor isn’t overpowering, I find it a really nice, mellow complement to the sweetness of most baked goods.
So, being that it’s fall and therefore time for ALL THINGS PUMPKIN, I of course wanted to give olive oil a whirl in some pumpkin muffins. Trouble was, I had a hard time finding a recipe. When I Googled “Pumpkin Olive Oil Muffins,” it yielded very few results. “Pumpkin olive oil face mask” was much more popular. (Why would you put these delicious ingredients on your face without putting them in your mouth??)
Clearly, it was time to get creative. I adapted this recipe from the one on Olio Olive Oils’ website. A bit less sugar, a bit more time in the oven, and a yogurt-milk blend instead of time-consuming DIY buttermilk made these turn out perfecto–full of pumpkin spice flavor with a delicate, chewy crumb. I *may* have conveniently hidden the Tupperware full of these muffins under our countertop bread stash, where my kids wouldn’t readily notice them.
If you’re looking to add more olive oil to your home baking, you won’t be disappointed with these perfect-for-fall treats!
P.S. Want to know more about cooking oils? You can learn more about which oils work best for which types of cooking in this guide I wrote on Healthline.com.
Pumpkin Olive Oil Muffins
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 c. milk, any variety
- 1 c. canned pumpkin
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
- scant 1/3 c. white sugar
- scant 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with baking spray (even better if it's olive oil-based.)
- In a large bowl, stir together olive oil, applesauce, eggs, yogurt, milk, and pumpkin until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients and combine until no lumps remain.
- Distribute among prepared muffin cups and bake 20-22 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
Maple Oatmeal Muffins bring simple, wholesome goodness to your morning! Make a dozen with a single bowl.
Like many Americans with a bit of disposable income and nowhere to vacation this summer, we’re in the middle of a kitchen remodel. (Cause, you know, great idea during a pandemic to rip up the cooking and eating space in your already stressed-out home. 🤪)
Anyway, we’re three weeks into the chaos of dishes in the bathtub, makeshift cardboard countertops, and appliances in the bedroom. I’m sure it’ll all be worth it when our new cooking space is sparkling and beautiful–and my husband has proven himself to be EXTREMELY capable at renovating–but man, it sure makes mealtimes tough.
I’ve been hanging in there at dinnertime with some pre-made frozen casseroles, but at breakfast there’s only so much cereal and frozen waffles I can eat. After awhile, I need my baked goods to start the day! (It’s no secret that I’m a muffin–aholic.)
With my mixing bowls in my office and measuring cups in my family room, I’ve needed to stick to the old KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid…which is why I chose this maple oatmeal muffin recipe recently. It’s made with just one bowl and super basic ingredients like oats, maple syrup, and nuts. This way, I was able to whip up a dozen hearty muffins without making an even bigger mess in my kitchen (though I *did* have to wash the bowl in the bathtub). Plus, no need to pull tons of ingredients out of my pantry and clutter up my already untidy space!
The flavor of these muffins is not overly sweet, with the maple syrup adding its signature depth. As for texture, they’re slightly dense with pops of crunch from pecans. I’d recommend them for those times when you want a tasty baked good for breakfast but don’t have much to dress it up with.
Despite my torn-up kitchen, when I made these maple oatmeal muffins, it felt so good to sit down to my favorite type of breakfast once again. Not only were they wholesome, hearty, and perfect with a smear of butter, they helped me feel just a little more normal. (And, kitchen remodel or no kitchen remodel, couldn’t we all use anything that helps us feel more normal these days?)
Maple Oatmeal Muffins
- 1 c. quick-cooking oats
- 1/2 c. milk, any type
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- scant 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2/3 c. maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 c. butter, melted
- 1/3 c. chopped pecan pieces
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats and milk. Let stand about 5 minutes to soften the oats. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and stir to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the batter and add maple syrup, egg, and melted butter, mixing to combine. Fold in pecans.
- Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake 15-18 minutes. Store in an airtight container.