Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

I love making breakfast for my guys. Usually during the week it’s something quick – like oatmeal, or Nutella toast and yogurt. But on the weekends I like to do something special like biscuits and gravy, waffles , or these pancakes.

They’re absolutely perfect – basic ingredients (if you don’t consider buttermilk a basic ingredient – you should) that come together quickly in one bowl. The batter pours well and cooks up beautifully. It makes quite a few pancakes, but leftover pancakes can be frozen and reheated in a warm oven or the toaster for a quick, homemade breakfast.

Deliciously light, moist, and fluffy. Blueberries or bananas can easily be tossed into the batter for a fruity twist. Or, two words: chocolate chips. It’s easily one of our favorite breakfasts, and something that I think we all look forward to on the weekends. I know your family will too!

Source: adapted from Allrecipes.com

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

Can you guys believe it’s already Memorial Day weekend? I am so thankful that summer is here! We spend a majority of our free time on the boat or at the beach in the summer months – a perk of be being sandwiched between the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. We also love to cook and enjoy meals outside when it’s warm, a tradition that the boys have loved. They’re always so excited to hear we’re going to have a “picnic dinner” in the backyard.

One dish that I find myself making again and again over the summer is this classic potato salad. It’s old school, but it’s the perfect balance of textures and flavors. Starchy potatoes, hard boiled egg, celery, and crunchy onions tossed in a dressing made of mayo, Dijon, and celery seed. Then, for my signature twist I like to add a bit of Old Bay on the top. Honestly, that’s actually my mom’s signature twist – this is her potato salad. And, her mom’s potato salad. But, I’ve adopted it as my own. The seafood seasoning mixture kicks plain old paprika to the curb!

Great to enjoy for a cookout, a potluck, a beach lunch, or a random picnic…anywhere, really. I love to enjoy leftovers for lunch as well. Try this one for your Memorial Day get together this year, and you won’t be sorry!

Source: adapted from my mom’s family recipe

 

Homemade Potato Chips

We don’t eat that much junk food in our house, but one thing I do enjoy once in a while is a good kettle-cooked potato chip. There’s just something about that salty crunch that I love with a good hot dog or cheeseburger! I’m surprised it took me this long to make them at home – as they were so easy and so much better than the stuff from the bag.

I used my mandoline to slice the potatoes, but you could certainly thinly slice them using a knife. The slicing attachment on your food processor would also be another great option. I used the technique that I do with my oven fries, and soaked the sliced potatoes in a bit of salted water first – to remove some of the starch, as well as add a bit of flavor. Then made sure to dry them really well before adding them to the hot oil – you don’t want a splatter scenario!

After a quick fry and then drain on paper towels to remove the excess grease, I season them with some sea salt and a bit of cajun seasoning for a little kick. I also frequently do Old Bay to make a homemade version of a Maryland favorite – crab chips! Salt and vinegar is another one of my favorites, so a version of those is definitely next on my hit list.

If you’ve never made your own potato chips at home, these warm weather months are the perfect time to do it. It makes that outdoor lunch or dinner a little bit more special – and the flavor and crunch is unparalleled. Give it a try!

Cheese Manicotti

I’ve been making this version of cheese manicotti for so many years, it’s hard to believe I haven’t gotten around to sharing it with you guys! While many baked pasta dishes can take all day long to prepare – between making the sauce, cooking the pasta, and layering the pasta before baking – this one only takes a few minutes. And the flavor is unparalleled.

The key is using no-bake lasagna noodles to make the manicotti. No stuffing tubes required! The cheese mixture is simply spread on some lasagna noodles that have been softened using a bit of boiling water, rolled up and placed in the baking dish, then topped with a simple tomato sauce that takes just a few moments to bring together. With the addition of fresh basil, the sauce is really delicious too – light and bright in flavor.

This was the first time I’d made it using homemade ricotta, and it really took it to the next level. So, if you have an extra few minutes – I’d highly recommend taking the time to make your own, but it’s certainly not required. I like to serve with a nice green salad and some crunchy garlic bread for a traditional Italian meal that the whole family loves. It’s a favorite in our home, and I know it will be in yours as well!

Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, January 2007