Hootenanny Pancakes

I would love to be able to tell you that my sweet ol Appalachian granny from West Virginia made this wonderful dish, but that would be lying.  I have no Appalachian grandma.  But we can pretend, right?  I have yet to really determine their origins.  Most of what I am finding is that they are German - but then again, I could claim my wonderful German grandma used to make these.... shoot, can't do that either, unless any of my cousins will back me up???   Anyhow, I made these wonderful things for the first time this morning.   They are sort of a yorkshire pudding but sweet instead of savory.   They were just delicious!  I thought that they would go well for when all the kids are home and we have a house full of company.  Easy to mix up, 20 or so minutes in the oven.  You can be making bacon/sausage and setting a table while it cooks.  Cheap, easy and oh so good.  My kind of food!  SIDE NOTE:  The traditional recipe does not have cinnamon and sugar in it.  Those are my additions that I found made it even more yummy!

Hootenanny Pancakes

1 c milk
1 c flour
6 eggs
1 T cinnamon
1 T sugar
dash of salt
1/2 stick of melted butter

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Generously butter a 9 x 13 pan.

Whisk your eggs in a medium bowl.  To the egg mix, add flour milk, cinnamon, sugar and salt.  Mix until well combined, leaving no lumps.

Pour the mix into your prepared pan, then gently pour the melted butter over your batter.  DO NOT MIX.

Put into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.  The Hottenanny will rise well above the pan.  Do not open the door until you are ready to remove.

Remove from the oven, cut and serve immediately.  Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar and fruit, or whatever your heart desires over these scrumptious pancakes.



Arlene's Chicken and Rice Casserole - well sort of...

My mother, dear Arlene, made this chicken and rice casserole often, and I mean often.  I swear we had it once a week, at least.   It wasn't until I was a single parent that I really understood why it was such a staple.  It was easy, it fed a lot of people (and there were a lot of us) and it tasted pretty good.   It was one of her signature dishes - well signature casseroles.  She even included it a family cookbook put together many years ago by my cousin Todd.   However, the recipe in the family cookbook, just never was right.   Something was off.   Night before last, my daughter called and wanted me to remind her how to make the casserole.  I rattled off the process and thought, ya know, I need to work this all out, cause it just doesn't work that way and here I am perpetuating a not so very good recipe.  Last night, I went to work on figuring out what the issue was with this recipe and what I could do to make it really good.

Mind you, this is a casserole.  It is easy and it can feed a lot of people.  The recipe below is an adaptation from the original and it is in a smaller quantity.  You can double it easily!  In the original recipe, there was Lipton Onion Soup Mix.   I eliminated that ingredient.  Kept most of the other "make it easy" ingredients and then added a few for taste.  Let us know what you think.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

4 chicken thighs or breasts (I use thighs with bone and skin)
1-1/2 c uncooked rice (short grain or sticky rice works the best)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c half and half (can use milk)
salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder
Lawry's seasoning salt
Fresh cracked pepper
4 T melted butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix the soups, milk, uncooked rice, salt and pepper and 2T of melted butter.  Blend thoroughly.   Pour into baking casserole or baking pan.   Clean and pat dry the chicken thighs.  Place on top of rice mixture.  Brush with remaining melted butter.  Season with seasoning salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Cover casserole with lid or tight fitting sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil.

Place in oven and cook for 2 hours.  Leave the lid/aluminum foil alone!   It needs the 2 hours to absorb the liquid into the rice, so that your rice will be tender and soft.



Swedish Meatballs with homemade smashed potatoes

Yesterday was one of those days. No, this week has been one of those weeks, where I just haven't had time or energy to cook. I have lots of ideas, lots of recipes out, but I am not even in the mood to go to the grocery store, let alone cook. That being said, I decided to pull some meats out of the freezer.  I had handy a recent delivery of pork products from my favorite local organic farm.  I had grabbed some of his homemade italian sausage and some ground pork.   I let it thaw and in the meantime, was trying to figure out what I should do with it.  I wasn't interested in anything Italian.  We have had too much of that lately.   I had these great farmers market mushrooms I needed to use up as well and then the idea came.  Meatballs - but then I didn't want Italian.  How about Swedish meatballs.  They have that nice creamy mushroom sauce/gravy.   It all clicked.  Now remember, I am still not in the mood to really cook a gravy from scratch.   So now what, Cream of Mushroom soup.  So tacky, I know, but go with me on this one.... it really worked out and it was really good.

Swedish Meatballs - the quick and easy kind

1 lb bulk italian sausage
1 lb ground pork (can use ground beef as well)
1/2 onion finely chopped
5 slices of white bread crumbled
1 egg
3 T Brown sauce (you can use worcestershire sauce, but I like the thickness of the brown sauce)
1 T salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T garlic powder

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl.  Form into balls, about 2 inches in diameter.   Heat frying pan until hot.  Add 1 T olive oil.  When oil is hot, add meatballs (only put in enough meatballs to cover the bottom and leave room for turning.  Brown in batches).  Turn the meatballs as they brown, so all sides are browned nicely.  Do not worry about cooking the meatball all the way through at this point.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.   Brown the rest of the meatballs, in batches, removing from the pan when complete.  Remove any excess oil/grease from the pan, keeping all the yummy bits that are still there.  Don't remove too much, as you will sauté some mushrooms next and need a bit of the fat for that process.

1 carton fresh mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1 T butter
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 c half and half or heavy cream (do NOT use skim, 1% or 2% milk - it thins out the sauce too much)
2 t cumin
2 t smoky paprika
salt and papper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix the soup, cream, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.  Whisk thoroughly, until a creamy texture is achieved.  In the same frying pan that the meatballs were browned in,  heat remaining oil in pan and add butter.  When melted, add the sliced mushrooms.  Saute until nicely brown.  Add the meatballs back to the pan.  Cover the entire mixture with the sauce, spreading it out evenly over all the meatballs.  Turn burner down to low and cover the pan.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes.   Serve over homemade smashed potatoes or a nice wide Amish egg noodle.