April 20, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

During the week breakfast is usually rushed and consists of cereal, yogurt, bagels or toast. 

Breakfast or brunch on the weekend, however, is often filled with foods like pancakes, eggs, bacon or potatoes.  In order to capture this leisurely feeling during the week and have a gentle reminder to slow down and relax, I sometimes make this type of breakfast food for dinner in the middle of the week.  

Of course chocolate added to the menu makes everything even better.
 Chocolate chips are a perfect addition to pancakes and chocolate chip pancakes make a really fast late evening dinner.  

Pancakes served with fresh fruit, bacon or even a potato egg casserole (recipe follows) are also the beginning of a wonderful weekend brunch.  The casserole can be made ahead of time and then refrigerated until ready to bake.  

This is super convenient comfort food for a lazy weekend or a relaxing evening at home.  The food is simple to make and it would also be perfect for a Mother's Day brunch!

Enjoy this time with family and friends.  

RECIPE #11 (from 10 Pounds of Chocolate Chips)  

Chocolate Chip Pancakes
I've found that pancake mixes can be extremely useful.  When I am rushed I use Aunt Jemima's original pancake mix, but there are many good mixes available.  Prepare the pancake mix as directed on the box.  Pour the pancakes onto the griddle.  When bubbles just begin to form, scatter a few chocolate chips on top of each pancake.  Flip the pancakes over and cook until done.

If you have extra time, try one of the following pancake recipes.

Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or substitute regular milk)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
4 Tablespoons butter

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Whisk eggs into the milk and then add to the dry ingredients.  Stir in the melted butter.  Pour the pancake batter onto the griddle.  Cook and add chocolate chips as directed above.
Serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup

Ricotta Pancakes
1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

In a bowl whisk egg whites until stiff.  

In a separate bowl mix ricotta cheese, milk and egg yolks.  

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  

Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta cheese mixture.  Pour the pancake batter onto the griddle and cook as directed above.  Serve with sliced bananas, maple syrup and toasted walnuts.  For a more substantial meal, add the potato egg casserole.

Potato Egg Casserole 
(inspired by ourbestbites.com)

1 bag of O'Brien frozen potatoes (about 4 cups) These are the frozen cubed potatoes with added red bell peppers and onions (regular country-style hash browns would work as well.)  
1 3/4 cups shredded cheese (whatever you have on hand: sharp cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack.  Combine several kinds if desired)
10 slices of bacon (cooked crisp and crumbled)
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
fresh mushrooms, 1/2 cup sliced (optional)

Fry potatoes until partially done.  Place into a 9x13 inch casserole dish.  Layer cheese and bacon pieces on top.  In a separate bowl whisk eggs with milk.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper.  Pour egg mixture over the potatoes and cheese.  If you are using plain frozen potatoes, add 1/2 of a medium onion (chopped and fried in olive oil until soft)  You could also add fresh chopped mushrooms that have been fried in olive oil and black pepper.  (Once assembled, casserole can be baked immediately, or stored in the refrigerator overnight in preparation for breakfast)

Bake casserole uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes.