Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baked Acorn Squash


Baked acorn squash served up with some Herb-Roasted Chicken and Stove Top Stuffing. Damn, that's good stuff.

I've never prepared acorn squash before. My squash repertoire is quite limited. I guess I felt the need to expand my squash horizons when I bought this one as I had no plan for it.

After checking out my handy-dandy Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I saw it was possible to simply bake this joker. So I did.

My acorn squash:


Washed and halved.


Seeds and pulpy stuff removed.


Placed cut-side down in an 8x11 clean, but water-spotty 8x11 baking dish, and baked in a preheated 375°F oven.


Done 35-45 minutes later, a fork was easily stuck in it. And it was surprisingly shiny.



Wow, an acorn squash is just as easy to cook as, well, a butternut squash. I found this type to be more bland than a butternut. Almost dry in comparison.  Rodney told me he had acorn squash before and didn't care for it because it was boring and sort of dry.  At least he doesn't hate it, he ate his quarter.

Load it up with butter, sprinkle some salt and pepper on it. Good to go. Next time, I'll be sure to jazz it up somehow.

Cost:  $1.44 for the 1.82 lb squash.


Herb-Roasted Chicken


Dark crispy skin on a super moist chicken breast!

I scored $0.59/lb chickens today...4 of them. While I figured out what to do with all those birds, I thought it would be a good idea to throw a whole one in the oven. It's fast prep and smells so good while it roasts.

I've made this recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook plenty of times. And I've learned to change it a little bit:

  • The original recipe calls for melted butter which is supposed to get brushed onto the bird. Garlic is supposed to get rubbed onto the buttery skin and then the herbs go on. Sure, brushing warm butter onto a cold chicken works great! For about 0.1 second. That butter gets cold fast, which means you'll have flaking butter in some spots and gobs in others.  Most of it will wind up stuck to your brush. If you can manage to get the garlic to stick to that patchy butter, good for you. Good luck getting the spices rubbed on evenly.
  • Original recipe doesn't say anything about rubbing the spices under the skin. That's a crime. Period.
  • BHG also says to cook the bird at 375­°F the entire time. I've found that the skin just doesn't get as crispy as I like it that way and it drags out the cooking time, and sorta dries out the bird.
Check out what I did. Or click the link to view the recipe at BH&G.


1 5-lb whole chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning or ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken including the cavity; dry with paper towels.


In a small bowl stir basil, sage, thyme, salt, and lemon-pepper seasoning into olive oil and garlic, making a saucy paste.


Loosen the skin over the breasts and pour some of the herb mixture in the pocket. Massage the skin to allow the mixture to get spread over the breasts. Spread the mixture all over the exterior of the bird and if any remains, pour it into the cavity. Twist wing tips under back. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

Oil and spices all over the back...


and the front...


And what's left goes in the cavity.

Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 425°F. Reduce temperature to 375°F and continue roasting for 45-60 minutes or until drumsticks move easily in their sockets and chicken is no longer pink (165°F).

Remove chicken from oven. Loosely cover; let stand for 10 minutes before carving.  The temperature will rise while standing up to 170°F.


If you have a cutting board with a juice-catching trough built in, use it. The juices from my bird always wind up all over the counter and this time was no exception. What I need is something like this from Epicurious.


This has been a reliable recipe and turned out well again. Roast chickens also give me an excuse to eat Stove Top stuffing. Mmm! I love that stuff!

Cost: chicken, which, at $0.59/lb was probably just over $3. I'll round up to $4 and assume that covers the oil, garlic and herbs. That means each serving of chicken is $1. One single dollar.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Chili-Pasta Skillet


Mmm...cheese, pasta, chili...how much more comforting could it be?

This is a quick one from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, opted for because I didn't have a food plan this week and the recipe consists (mostly) of things we had, eliminating a trip to the store. I skipped a gotta-buy-green-chiles trip to the store for the sake of Rodney's gut. Other than that, the recipe wasn't changed.

Chili-Pasta Skillet

1 lb lean ground beef
3/4 c chopped onion
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, black beans, or red beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 c dried elbow macaroni (2 ounces)
2 to 3 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 c shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

In a large skillet cook meat and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat.
 

Meanwhile, mix together beans, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, uncooked macaroni, chili powder, and garlic salt. Combine drained beef and bean mixture in skillet.
 

Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring often.
 

Remove skillet from heat; sprinkle mixture with cheese. Cover and let stand about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.



It's fast, cheap and easy.  It doesn't taste too bad either.  I wouldn't want to have it regularly as it would get boring quite quickly, but it works in a pinch.  A good go-to for nights when you have no idea what the hell is for dinner.

Cost: let's assume $3 for beef, $1 for beans, and $1 for everything else.  That makes the total $5 or $1.67 per serving.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Food plan 092709

Here's another week -- 2 in a row -- where I don't have a plan.

This time though, I have an excuse.  My nephew was over all weekend and I didn't have time Sunday to do as I usually do: make the weekly plan and shop for it.  I know parents all over manage to complete this task even while keeping the kid(s) entertained and behaved, but since I don't exercise that muscle regularly, it would mean sticking Kane in the closet for 2 hours while I browsed recipes.  I can't fake "seeking" for that long! So kick me in the face and call me crazy, but I seriously prefer spending time with Kane and visiting with his DaddyO than figure out what I want to eat.  

All week long I did hopeful searches through Google, my limited number of cookbooks and Cooking Pleasures in order to find stuff to make on the fly and then going to multiple stores to get the goods. Maybe my blog should be called "Sometimes Cheap But Not Always Fast Renegade Cooking On The Fly" since that is how I seem to end up operating.

As you all now know, I post-date my posts. It's a shame, but I do. Looking back through my receipts, this is what I bought for this week and the number of stops I made each day:

9-27 (2 stops, the first at 7-11 for breakfast eggs and the second for CA roll fixin's on the way home)
  • eggs: $2.99/dozen
  • radish kimchi: $1.99
  • seasoned kimchi: $3.99
  • imitation crab meat: $2.99
  • sushi white shrimp: $5.49
  • cucumber: $0.79
  • roasted seaweed: $1.49
  • TOTAL: $19.73
9-28 (1 stop to get eggs.  Hey, my nephew was over and we ate almost all of them so needed more, for baking.  Ok, really it's because I feel naked without eggs in the fridge):
  • eggs: $1.59/18
  • flour: $2.69/5 lb
  • linguine: 2 @ $0.99/lb
  • elbow macaroni: $4.79/5 lb
  • salt: $0.50/lb
  • sugar: $1.99/4 lb
  • TOTAL: $13.54
9-29 (2 stops, one to get chickens and the other to get worm bins and neato other stuff, like Peri Peri sauce I'd never seen before)
  • Swiss cheese, sliced: $3/12 oz
  • oats: $2.49/42 oz aka 2 lb 10 oz
  • sourdough bread: $3.49
  • whole chicken: @ $0.59/lb = $3.11
  • whole chicken: @ $0.59/lb = $3.20
  • whole chicken: @ $0.59/lb = $2.97
  • whole chicken: @ $0.59/lb = $3.09
  • Stove-Top, chicken flavor: $1
  • La Victoria, red taco sauce, medium hot, 2 =$2
  • Nando, peri-peri sauce, 4.7 oz: $1
  • TOTAL: $25.35
10-3 (1 stop at Costco for stuff we manage to plow through)
  • albacore tuna, $11.99/8 7-oz cans
  • salsa: $5.89
  • organic garlic, minced: $3.49
  • tortillas, 8": $3.25
  • chocolate chips: $8.99
  • tortilla chips: $3.29
  • TOTAL: $36.90
Grand Total: $95.52.

I wonder how much my bill for groceries would be if I didn't make 6 trips. And that grand total didn't include the cost of my time, fuel, etc. to get to each store each time.

What sucks even more is that I didn't bring lunch to work this entire week, so that's another $25-50, which I haven't been calculating into the grocery/food bill thus far, though I should have been.

Ultimately, I need to be better. Period.

Shrimp-Topped California Rolls...and Tantrum Rolls


Ah, so much prettier with the added shrimp colors than a simple California roll . Rainbow rolls must not be too far off.

My nephew was over to run, ride bikes, hang out in the garage with the guys, play with the cat, ask an impossible number of questions, admire/inquire about the snakes, ham it up for photos (don't try to turn me in, they weren't the perv kind), sleep, and eat this weekend. We ate cheesy crunchy chicken breasts with macaroni and cheese Friday; pancakes with butter and maple syrup along with scrambled eggs and bacon followed by spaghetti Saturday; and then another huge pancake/eggs/bacon breakfast Sunday.

Rodney and I decided to give California Rolls another stab on the way home after dropping Kaner off. You know, to get a break from all the starch. We swung by a nearby Korean market to re-up on Nori, crab meat, cucumber, some kimchi and a tray of sushi-grade shrimp.

I made the sushi rice just like I did last time, except I used all of the sushi vinegar...no playin' around. I made the rolls just like last time too, for the most part. A couple times I forgot to flip the rice-topped seaweed and simply loaded everything on one side, making an inside-out Cali roll.

This time though, I placed shrimp on some of the rolls, alternating skinny shrimp end, fat shrimp end, skinny shrimp end etc to maximize roll area coverage. Rodney's not (yet) a fan of wasabi, so I didn't use any to stick my shrimp to the rolls. Maybe next time. It's a work in progress.

Sooo good!!

Rodney made his first rolls ever. He managed to cram a whole ton of crab meat in them which resulted in not-so-easy-to-roll rolls. Hence, the Tantrum Rolls, which are quite similar to the first ones I made.

While they didn't look especially pretty (or symmetrical), they tasted good. These were huge, finger-lickin' good sort of rolls.



Cost:

  • imitation crab meat: $2.99/12 oz
  • white shrimp: $5.49
  • cucumber: $0.79
  • seaweed/Nori: $1.49
Total: $10.76. Yield: 6 or 7 rolls, 2-3 with shrimps on them. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cheesy Crunchy Chicken Breasts


What would go well with Spiderman macaroni and cheese?  Cheesy chicken, of course!  And the meal wasn't ruined with some yucky vegetable.

Tonight I picked up my 4-year-old nephew after work to spend the night and hadn't a clue what to make for dinner. The kid wants pancakes or spaghetti for every meal.  It's insane. I know he'll eat other stuff but I believe he thinks I don't know how to make anything else or he thinks he won't be able to help me if we don't have the pancakes or spaghetti.

Kaner and I stopped at the store on the way home and to get some cheap whole chickens (at $0.59/lb!!) but since they were out of those, scored some Randall Farms* boneless skinless chicken breasts (on sale) and milk.  I was hopeful about being able to prepare something kid friendly that would go with the Kraft Spiderman Macaroni and Cheese I had at home.

Remembering that Kaner's Mom made something quite similar in the past, I opted to make some Cheesy Crunchy Chicken Breasts with a side of Spiderman mac' 'n' cheese, even though the Kanerator insisted he didn't like chicken. After cutting half a giant cooked breast into bite-sized pieces and serving it with the mac' 'n' cheese, I told Kaner to taste it and if he decided he didn't like it, he could just eat spiderwebs (and whatever other pasta shapes come in Spiderman macaroni). 

Due to necessity, I switched up some ingredients (didn't have parmesan or cheddar cheese).  Otherwise, I think I stuck to the original recipe.  Click the link to see the original:

Cheesy Crunchy Chicken Breasts

1 c cornflakes, crushed
1 c Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/4 c butter, melted
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix cornflakes and cheese in a 9x5" loaf pan.


Dip chicken breasts in the melted butter and roll them in the cornflake/cheese mixture.

Didn't I say the breasts were humongous?

Place breaded breasts in a lightly greased 9x13" baking dish.

Monster breaded breasts in a 9x13" dish.

Bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.


*Randall Farms provides the most freakishly huge chicken breasts I've ever seen. I breaded 3 breasts using the same amount of flakes and cheese that was supposed to bread 8 breasts according to the original recipe!  Maybe the recipe was first written when chickens were 2 lbs each.  Realistically, there's probably enough breading for 4 normal breasts.  Keep this in mind if you make this.  I hate when I run out of breading and have to prep more right in the middle of the breading stage.  The ratio worked out perfectly for me this time.  


The Kanerator ate all of his 1/2 breast as well as a big scoop of mac' 'n' cheese. If I'd known it would go so well, I'd have steamed some broccoli "trees".  Rodney and I thought it was fun eating "kid food" too.

Rodney actually had a revelation about macaroni and cheese. He thought he didn't like it from a box. As it turns out, he'd been overcooking it for years. The spiderman box said to boil the pasta for 11-13 minutes. I boiled the pasta in salted water for 6. Texture is key in good food, man. Always feel (or taste) as you go along.

Cost:
  • milk, 1/2 gal: $2.50
  • chicken breasts, boneless, skinless: @ $1.97/lb = $8.69
There were five breasts in the package, 3 I cooked (and 2 I froze) which makes this meal about $7.71 which was enough for 3 people with a cooked breast leftover.  We ate all of the Spiderman pasta.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oven-Baked Yam Fries, Take 2


Fries to accompany a BLT sandwich with avocado and swiss.  Yummy!

Since these were so good the first time, I thought I'd repeat it. Except this time, I cut the bigger yams (more is better, right?) into larger pieces in hopes that blackening would be prevented.

Oven-Baked Yam Fries

2 large yams, washed, peeled and cut into 1/4" wedges
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a big, crappy baking sheet with foil and place it in the oven to get it hot.

Toss cut yams with oil, salt and pepper until all yam surfaces are coated evenly-ish.

Remove hot baking sheet from oven; arrange yam pieces on it in a single layer if you can manage it.

Place baking sheet with yams in oven and roast about 12-13 minutes. Flip the yams to allow even browning.

Return yams to oven and continue roasting another 15-20 minutes until they are brown and crispy on the outside.



Uh, bigger isn't always better. These were cut too large and there were just too many. I couldn't get them to fit in an even layer at first, which caused uneven cooking right from the git-go. They tasted good, they just weren't crispy.

Next time, I'll cut them into smaller pieces, maybe 1/8".

At least the avocado BLT's were good and made up for the lack of crisp in the yams.


Cost:

  • yams: 2.03 lb @ $1.29/lb = $2.62
For the total, let's say $3 with enough for 3. A buck a serving.

BLT with Swiss Cheese and Avocado Slices


Avocados on sandwiches are always a good option.  Especially when bacon and cheese are in play.

BLT's with Avocado Slices
  • sourdough bread slices, 2 per sandwich
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • butter
  • tomato, sliced, 2-4 slices per sandwich, depending on size
  • bacon, 4 (or more) slices per sandwich, cooked the way you like (I like mine chewier than crispy)
  • mayo
  • avocado, sliced
  • lettuce, we had iceburg
Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Butter each bread slice on one side.  Place the bread, buttered side down in skillet. Situate a slice of Swiss on one bread slice.  Cook until toasty brown and immediately remove from heat.

Layer your mayo, lettuce, tomato, avocado and bacon slices.
 


Cost:
  • bread: $0.40
  • swiss:  $0.42
  • bacon: $1.20
  • avocado: $0.33
Total:  $2.35 or $3 with SWAG tomato, mayo and lettuce prices in.  Per sandwich, $1.50.  See if you can get that at your local sandwich dealer.

Rodney and I both enjoyed these, a definite repeat in the future.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Food Plan 092009

This week, I don't have a plan. Not even the start of one. I'm sure I said so previously, but if I haven't, let it be absolutely clear right now that I'm lazy. And I have this insane idea about myself: I work best under pressure.

Pressure regarding this blog since I don't have a time-defined goal, challenges, give-aways or even a regular posting schedule involves only one thing: getting to the local produce store before closing Sunday evenings.

Before I continue, let me say that this store is like a farmer's market, ok? But wait, get this, with normal hours. No Thursdays between 2:45 and 4:20 p.m., no Mondays 9-11 a.m. It's a real live store in a brick-and-mortar building with electronic doors. Which means people with first-shift jobs can actually shop without having to use precious Personal Time Off. And get this: the produce is dirt cheap!

Back to where I was...

That means I need to have a meal plan and itemized grocery list put together by 6:30 p.m. Sundays as it takes me 5 minutes to get there, 20 minutes to shop, and 5-10 minutes to check out -- I'm out the door before right when they close. I detest having to grocery shop during the week, though as often as I do it, you probably can't tell. And since I don't start making the list until, oh, say 3:51 Sunday afternoon, that's a lot of pressure!

Long story short: I'm wingin' it this week.

All I can tell you is that avocados are on a crazy sale everywhere.  Yep, really poor, didn't-do-so-great-under-pressure planning this week.

Tonight we're having tacos or maybe just chips and guac.
Tomorrow we're having BLT's with avocado and a side of yam fries.
The rest of the week is a SWAG right now and likely stuff I've already posted about.
Stuff we bought for dinner:

  • tomatoes on the vine: 4 lb/$5 = $1.68
  • avocados: 6 @ 3/$1 = $2
  • yams: 2.03 lb @ $1.29/lb = $2.62
Total: $6.30 with tax.


092509
2% milk, 1/2 gal: $2.50
garlic bread, frozen, Mama Bella: $3.49
mayo, Stater Bros brand: $1.99
chicken breasts, boneless, skinless: $8.69
lemon: $0.69
Total: $17.36

Grand total: $23.36.

Cheesy Mushroom and Onion Omelet


Not exactly a work of art, but definitely edible.

I had some mushrooms; for what, I can't remember. It's time to make an omelet.

One thing about omelets is that the interior can be a little bit too uh, creamy (raw) for me, so I try to make sure the eggs get completely cooked, but not overcooked. And I don't like it when the stuff in my omelet is crunchy -- unless the crunch is from something like peppers or asparagus or broccoli. Hard mushrooms and onions aren't a good thing in my omelets. So I prep them a little.

Also, since omelets cook so fast, you don't have time to play around. No wiggle room at all. Prep everthing before you start and have all of your equipment out at the ready.

Cheesy Mushroom and Onion Omelet

3 eggs, beaten
4 oz button mushrooms, coursely chopped
2 tbsp diced onions
4 tbsp butter
2 oz shredded cheese

Over medium heat, warm 1 tbsp butter in a small skillet. Saute onions 1-2 minutes, add mushrooms and saute another minute or until warmed and slightly less firm. Remove vegetables from skillet.


In the same skillet, warm 3 tbsp butter until hot and foamy, nearly brown, but not quite.


Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet and move the skillet rapidly back and forth to get those eggs moving around. Turn the skillet side to side occasionally to get the uncooked eggs to the edges of the skillet. When nearly set, add the mushrooms and onions to the eggs and sprinkle in some cheese.


Slide the omelet out of the pan onto a warm plate and flip it so it's folded in half. Sprinkle on a little more cheese.


This omelet tasted great! Unfortunately, I goofed with the camera too long to get the image of the mushrooms on the eggs and they wound up overcooked. You can see they are brown right at the fold in the first photo. Browned eggs have a rubbery texture, so that sucked.

I wish I had enough dexterity to flip the omelet into a pretty, even fold, rather than a wrinkly off-center mess. Ah well. Just a reason to have omelets more often -- for practice, you see?


Strawberry Pancakes


Pile of strawberry hotcakes.

There were some strawberries left from breakfast yesterday, so I thought I'd give these pancakes another spin. I did everything the same except I made the batter a little thinner by adding a couple tbsp of soymilk.

Strawberry Pancakes

1 c flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 c + 2 tbs vanilla-flavored soymilk
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pint strawberries, hulled and mushy parts cut off, then chopped

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center.

Combine the egg, milk and oil.
 
Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened -- it will be lumpy.

For standard-size pancakes, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet. For dollar-size pancakes, pour about 1 tablespoon batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet.

Sprinkle/spoon berries into pancake batter immediately after it's poured into skillet. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side or till pancakes are golden brown, turning to second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry.
 


Thinning out the batter definitely helped reduce the sticking strawberry problem.

Today I tried a couple of these, buttered and drizzled with some maple syrup. It was like eating candy!!

.................................................................................................
092709
My nephew was over and we had pancakes for breakfast, per his request, as usual.  As he does when we have spaghetti, Kane helps me make pancakes; his forte is batter prep.  Kane's a great stirrer/mixer.  We had some blueberries; Rodney and I expressed interest in having blueberry pancakes for breakfast.  Kane was confident he didn't like blueberry pancakes and resolutely said so repeatedly. 

I cooked two 'cakes without blueberries specifically for Kane all while he eyed my progress from his stepstool perch.  The remaining pancakes I made were with blueberries.

 I sprinkled blueberries onto the batter immediately after it was poured into the skillet and Kane counted the blueberries in each flapjack before they were flipped.  

Wouldn't you know it, Kane wanted to eat only the blueberry pancakes.  After eating, Kane was so proud of having counted the blueberries in each of the pancakes as well as his blue-toothed grin.

As for those two plain flapjacks, don't worry, they didn't go to waste.  Rodney ate them in addition to his portion of blueberry pancakes.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fried Rosemary and Sea Salt New Potatoes


Crispy, golden, fried, leftover skin-on red potatoes.

About half the potatoes from dinner the other day were leftover. One of my favorite things is fried potatoes and onions. So...

Fried Rosemary and Sea Salted New Potatoes

0.75 lb leftover cooked red potatoes
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp diced onions

Cut the potatoes into pieces about 1/2".


Heat a tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium heat until foamy.


Throw the potatoes and diced onions into the skillet.


Stir potatoes and onions occasionally over 15 minutes until hot, golden and the edges are crispy.


I knew the salt content would still be a little much, but what I didn't expect was how the rosemary flavor was so prevalent. It was really subtle when we had the potatoes for dinner, or at least I thought it was.  Quite possibly the French Onion Steak flavors were overriding them that day. Had I anticipated that, I would have prepared eggs too. As it was, I ate a plate of salty rosemary potatoes.

Cost:
  • None, these were leftover potatoes.  Ok, so maybe the butter and onions were 20 and 10 cents, respectively.  Total: $0.30. 
Now that I did that SWAG, as I've SWAGged so many times before, should I figure the cost of each tbsp of butter and onion?  I'm already OCD-ish, will that make me feel better or simply drive me insane? Or should I just shut up and be happy to have had a warm, comforting meal?


Strawberry Pancakes


While I think they could be prettier, Rodney said they tasted great.

Saturdays mean sleeping in and eating a nice, late breakfasty lunch. Or dinner, depending on when I wake from my slumber and get movin'.

Strawberries left from a salad I'd intended to make but didn't meant Rodney got some strawberry pancakes!


I made the typical pancake fare from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but this time added chopped strawberries. Click the link to see what Rodney usually gets for breakfast; continue on to see what he got today.

Strawberry Pancakes

1 c flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 c vanilla-flavored soymilk
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pint strawberries, hulled and mushy parts cut off, then chopped

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center.


Combine the egg, milk and oil.

Note: You can measure the milk, add the egg and oil, then beat. Save a dish from being dirtied.

Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened -- it will be lumpy.
 

For standard-size pancakes, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet. For dollar-size pancakes, pour about 1 tablespoon batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet.

Sprinkle/spoon berries into pancake batter immediately after it's poured into skillet. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side or till pancakes are golden brown, turning to second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry.
 


These didn't turn out too bad. The first one (pictured just above) always comes out browned weird. Maybe I don't let my skillet get up to full temp when I start. The rest of them, as usual, browned evenly. One thing that was annoying was the strawberries would stick to the pan. Next time, I'll make the batter a little thinner so the berries sink faster, minimizing strawberry-skillet interface, and I'll chop the berries into smaller pieces. That'll help, I bet.

Cost:

  • berries: $0.99/pint
Total: let's say $1 for a stack of cakes.  All the other stuff I have anyway. 

Next time we have strawberries hangin' around, I'll try this again.