Crepes

Last week, I was helping my undergraduate alma mater recruit students. Talking about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with students reminded me of my college days. I was what you would call a residence hall geek. As a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, I must educate you never to use the word “dorm”.

During my college days, I served on the Residence Hall Association, acted as a summer conference assistant, worked at the front desk for Harper-Schramm-Smith, cleaned windows for maintenance, and even did kitchen prep work in the dining halls one summer. As a resident hall student, I think breakfast was my favorite meal. I would get up at 7AM, pick-up a Daily Nebraskan, and head up for breakfast before my 8:30 class. One of my favorite breakfast recipes they served was Strawberry Crepes. Until now, I have never cooked crepes myself. I’m so bad at flipping pancakes that I made my mother buy me for Christmas one year a pancake cooker (like a waffle maker) that doesn’t make you flip them.

While hosting a Wildtree fundraiser for work last summer, I decided to buy a mix to make crepes. Recently, I printed off a recipe for Spiced Crepes with Strawberry Filling from Betty Crocker’s website. After my reminiscing about my college days, I decided to finally make this recipe – substituting the Wildtree mix for the Betty Crocker crepes recipe. I have to tell you, they tasted just as good as I remember.

100_0933Spiced Crepes with Strawberry Filling by Betty Crocker

Crepes
3/4 c. instant flour
1 T. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
3 eggs
3 T. butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Filling
2 T. butter
2 & 1/2 c. strawberry halves
2 T. packed brown sugar
2 T. orange juice
1 T. red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt

Topping
2 T. powder sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, nutmeg, and salt. In another bowl, beat together milk, eggs, butter, and almond extract with a wire whisk. Pour into center of dry ingredients and mix together. Pour about 1 T. oil into 6-8 in skillet and heat on a medium heat. Wipe out when hot and add 3 T. of batter. Swirl in pan and even out batter. Cook 30 seconds, flip, and cook 30 seconds more. Place cooked crepes on a plate seperating with waxed paper. When you have finished with crepes, move onto filling.

In a 10 inch skillet, melt 2 T. butter over a medium heat. Add strawberries and brown sugar. Cook until they start getting soft. Then, add orange juice, vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add 2 T. of strawberry filling to the inside of each crepe. Roll up and drizzle with a little more strawberry sauce. Top with powdered sugar.

Nutritional Information: (Makes six servings – two crepes per serving) 270 calories (130 calories from fat), 14 g. fat (6 g. saturated fat, 1/2 g. trans fat), 135 mg. cholesterol, 220 mg. sodium, 29 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 16 g. sugar, and 7 g. protein.

Notes:

  • This recipe does take about an hour from start to finish. I did the prep work on my strawberries before I made the crepes to literally go straight from cooking crepes to making filling.
  • The Wildtree recipe for crepes is easier and healthier. Just add water to mix and whisk. The first couple weren’t pretty but they got better the hotter the pan was. I also used a touch of butter instead of oil between cooking each crepe.
  • I used red wine vinegar in my filling. The might help with the smell when you first heat vinegar.
  • I used fat free Cool Whip instead of powdered sugar on my crepes.

Breakfast Potato Bites

Some people dream of winning the lottery. I dream of winning the Pillsbury Bake-off, something most of my friends have never even heard of. Top prize is $1 million paid out in $50K increments for 20 years. Wouldn’t that be perfect? I could work, get out of student loan debt, and maybe even fulfill another dream to start my own foundation. That said, my co-worker Theresa has told me that giving away money is harder than you think. When the need is greater than the amount of money that you have, it’s hard to tell people who wrote wonderful proposals “no”.

If you have been following my blog, then you know that this blog is a labor of love. I love cooking and I’m a pretty good storyteller. Viola! I share my recipes because over the years people have asked 1) What are you eating? 2) Can I get the recipe? or 3) call me saying “Help! I need to make “x” for an upcoming occasion. Any suggestions?” I started this blog to help my friends/family (as well as strangers) with some of my favorite recipes, to organize my recipes in a easily searchable way, and to make myself start trying recipes that I saved for years because I thought “that looks good” or “I’d eat that”. I don’t always love the new recipes but I put them out there for others who might. Consider my blog a long-winded recipe review.

And sometimes I mess up really bad. A few weeks ago I found a picture on my friend Melissa’s pinterest page I wanted to make. I clicked to original recipe and printed it out. It was for baked seasoned red roasted potatoes with chicken, cheese, scallions, and bacon on the top. Sounds good, right? Well, I decided to change it up a little and use melted Gouda cheese and omit the chicken. I would be like my own version of Blanc Burgers cheesy fries. Let’s just say, sometimes it is easier to pay a professional chef to enjoy a favorite dish.

As I read through the recipe, I noticed it cooked at 475 degrees. That’s high! I hate cooking recipes higher than 400 degrees because the second I open my oven door, the smoke detector closest to the kitchen goes off. As I looked at the recipe even closer, it said to cook the diced potatoes for 45-60 minutes, stirring even 15-20 minutes. Wow, that seemed way to long at that high a heat. I cooked for 15 minutes and they were a little toasty. The hallway smoke detector went off. I turned them and returned to the oven for another 10 minutes thinking – they would be done then. When I opened the oven this time, they were complete charred. Now all three of the smoke detectors in my one bedroom apartment were going off. One even saying “Carbon Monoxide detected, please exit immediately.” Really, it wasn’t that bad. Yes, the potatoes were burned but nothing was on fire. But I opened my front door and threw the pan outside. Eventually, all the smoke detectors stopped.

I later noticed that I had frozen diced red roasted potatoes in my freezer. Upon reading the directions, I learned you bake the frozen kind for 20-30 minutes at 450 degrees. So I’m pretty sure the person who posted that recipe meant to write 375 degrees or 45-60 minutes. I guess no blogger is perfect.

I know this recipe is different then the one I was just talking about but it turned out perfectly. Plus, it is a Pillsbury recipe. Quick, easy, and delicious. Consider making this recipe for breakfast. They turned out very puffy.

Bacon-Egg Breakfast BitesBacon-Egg Breakfast Bites by Pillsbury
24 tater-tots
12 slices of pre-cooked bacon, cut in half
1 pkg. round crescent rolls, each slice cut into thirds
5 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Spray 24 mini-muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap a tater-tot with bacon. Place on piece on portion of crescent roll and tighten around tot. Place standing up in mini-muffin cup. Complete remaining 23 bites. Pour approximately 1 T. of egg around crescent roll to fill each mini-muffin cup. Bake 13-20 minutes until golden brown/egg cooked.

Nutrition: (12 servings – 2 bites each) 180 calories (100 calories from fat), 11 g. fat (3.5 g. saturated fat, 1.5 g. trans fat, 95 mg. cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 12 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, 2 g. sugar, and 7 g. protein.

Notes:

  • I cooked for 13 minutes and they were perfect.
  • I would suggest maybe 4 eggs. I had a little extra at the end. Better yet, use an egg substitute to make it healthier.
  • I used both mini and regular tater-tots. Both worked but you can cut some calories with the smaller tot.
  • If you don’t want to use bacon, I’m sure you could substitute turkey or ham.

Overnight Caramel French Toast

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my blog. I had the best of intentions to post but got caught up watching the Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong. As a celebration of one year sharing my favorites and testing new recipes, I thought I would share one of the best new recipes I’ve made in 2013.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from “Favorite Recipes – MS Forward.” I got this cookbook from my aunt Linda. Two of her daughters (Jenny and Jeanna) battle MS every day. Jeanna was one of the people who helped put this fundraising cookbook together. You know what I say, the best recipes come from cookbooks like this because people only share their best recipes. Hope you make this for your family on this long holiday weekend.

Caramel French ToastOvernight Caramel French Toast by Carol Hendrix
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1 c. brown sugar
12 slices of bread
6 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

In a saucepan, combine corn syrup, butter, and brown sugar. Simmer til syrupy. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 sprayed glass baking dish. Layer with six slices of bread. Stack second layer of bread on top. In a bowl, beat together eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Pour over bread. Cover pan and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Uncover pan and bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Notes: This reheats well and doesn’t leave a messy pan.

Spring Salad

This recipe comes from the Summer 2008 issue of Cooking for Two. Taste of Home no longer makes this magazine but I always loved that I didn’t have to halve recipes.

This recipe makes me think of a little bed and breakfast in Columbus, NE called Traditions. It’s an older home with colonial decor, glass dishes, and a limited menu featuring things like Homemade Chicken Salad. It’s the type of place my sister Stephanie and I go when my nephew Brock isn’t with us.

It’s a great dish for workday lunch or a night you don’t want to turn on the stove.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad by Renee Glowe

2/3 c. uncooked spiral pasta
1/2 c. cubed cooked chicken breast
1/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted
3 T. chopped onion
2 T. dried cranberries
2 T. chopped celery
1/4 c. poppy seed salad dressing (fat-free preferred)

Cook pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, grill chicken. When pasta and chicken are done, mix with all remaining ingredients. Chill until serving. Makes two servings.

Nutritional facts: 315 calories, 8 g. fat, 1 g. saturated fat, 32 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 42 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, 18 g. protein

Recipe modifications:

  • I usually make it without nuts. I’ve also made it without onion.
  • If you omit the noodles and increase the other ingredients accept the dressing, you can serve this in a tortilla with fresh romaine lettuce.