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.
Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos add fiber, nutrients, and unique flavor to this classic appetizer!
I’m sorry/not sorry about how many sweet potato recipes I have here on the blog. I’ve got Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Galette, Sweet Potato Kale Curry, and even Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins. And you can add one more to the list: these delicious Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos.
What can I say? I’m crazy about tubers. They’re chock-full of potassium, fiber, and vitamin A–and it doesn’t hurt that they’re virtually fool-proof for roasting, mashing, and sautéing. They’re starchy but not too starchy, with an earthy, sweet taste that goes with everything from Mexican to Indian cuisine. What’s not to like?
I’ve (obviously) used these veggies in lots of recipes already, but have been wanting to sub sweet potato medallions for chips in nachos for literally years. Back when I worked at the American Heart Association’s children’s museum and did their social media, I’d post AHA recipes to the museum’s Facebook page every few days. One that always caught my eye was their heart-healthy sweet potato nachos. I have nothing against regular tortilla chips in nachos, but this seemed like an interesting twist.
Since then, I’ve seen nachos done with thin, super crispy sweet potato chips, but I far prefer tender over crispy. This version of loaded sweet potato nachos doesn’t cut the veggies too thin, allowing them to retain their starchy tenderness (but still hold up to lots of toppings). Twenty minutes’ baking time is all it takes to get them just right.
Once your sweet potato coins have softened in the oven, it’s time to top them with all your favorite nacho fixin’s! I used cheddar, salsa, avocado, and sour cream, but you could try jalapeños, shredded chicken, or fresh tomatoes.
Final verdict: Major noms! I’d never give up regular nachos entirely, but this more nutritious variation is going on my regular menu!
Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos
- 4 medium, narrow sweet potatoes
- olive oil cooking spray
- salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
- 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed
- 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
- 1 1/2 shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 c. salsa
- 1 small avocado, diced
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with olive oil cooking spray. Peel sweet potatoes and slice into 1/4-inch-thick medallions. Spread in a single layer across both baking sheets. Spray tops of potatoes with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Bake 20 minutes or until tender.
- Transfer all sweet potato slices to a single baking sheet. Distribute kidney beans and black beans evenly over them, then sprinkle with the cheddar.
- Broil 5 inches from heat about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Top with salsa, avocado, and sour cream.
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!
Nowhere is the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention” truer than in recipe development. And, for me, at no time is it truer than during Lent. These Espresso Sugar Cookies were born out of a little bit of culinary and spiritual necessity.
Let me explain.
In the 40 days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving that we Catholics observe this time of year, it’s customary to make sacrifices that unite us with the sufferings of Jesus in some small way. It may sound lame or insignificant, but this year one of my sacrifices is giving up chocolate.
But mannnnn I want chocolate so. bad. every. day. I’ve had a few Reese’s pieces, which technically don’t contain any chocolate, but my husband claims that’s cheating. And hey, maybe having any sweets might be considered cheating, but for me, relinquishing chocolate for six weeks is sacrifice enough. I’m okay continuing to eat other, non-chocolatey dessert foods here and there.
That said, it’s kinda tough to find desserts I actually like that aren’t chocolate. In my efforts to scare up something a little bit like chocolate, but not chocolate, in the last nine days since Ash Wednesday, I thought I might turn to the flavor of coffee. After all, chocolate and coffee often pair together, and according to The Flavor Bible, they’re complementary tastes.
Plus, I happened to have some espresso powder hanging around from when I recently made this totally indulgent, craaaaazzy layer cake for a friend’s husband’s birthday. Why not give espresso powder a spin in non-chocolatey cookies?
Trouble is, almost every baked goods recipe on the internet that uses coffee also calls for chocolate. I mean, mocha is KING in cookies, pies, cakes, cheesecakes, and more. So it was up to me to create my own espresso sugar cookies! I’m so glad I did!
These cookies are chewy and light, with just a hint of crispiness around the edges. They taste like coffee, of course, but not in an overpowering way. They’re the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon or after-dinner cup of joe. Leaving chocolate out of the equation actually allows the espresso flavor to shine through all on its own.
So, believe it or not, I kinda love that these cookies don’t include any chocolate! Who’da thunk?
Espresso Sugar Cookies
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1 1/4 c. white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3-4 Tbsp. milk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add vanilla and egg and mix.
- Mix in flour, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add milk, t tablespoon at a time, and mix until the batter holds together but isn't visibly wet.
- Drop cookies by the tablespoonful onto the greased cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes or until set. Store in an airtight container.
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.