Friday, March 30, 2012

Breakfast For Dinner?

I've always loved hearty breakfasts, though I never actually have the opportunity to eat them, generally breaking my fast with oatmeal or toast and tea instead. Who has the time to make big family breakfasts in the morning--pancakes, waffles, French toast, ham, eggs? When my kids were younger, even on the weekends someone always had some practice or other that made it impossible to have a leisurely breakfast. Plus, family members often get up at different times, so the early birds (usually me) end up waiting hours for the late risers to be ready to eat. So to be able to enjoy those breakfast foods I love, I started making "Breakfast For Dinner" one day a week, usually Friday night.

When my kids were teens and often had friends over after school, the rule of thumb was that whoever was still at our house at dinner time got an invite. This custom was especially appreciated by my son's friends who, as always hungry young men, frequently went from house to house to house, sometimes eating as many as three dinners in one evening! I remember the first time that I served "Breakfast For Dinner" to them....they thought I'd gone off the deep end! How strange! How weird! But to me it makes perfect sense. 

I vary the menu for excitement; buttermilk pancakes, of course, but also delicate corn meal pancakes, low fat and delicious apple pancakes, spiced squash pancakes, crispy French toast. Many of these recipes can also be made as waffles. When accompanied by some lean grilled ham and scrambled eggs, it makes a delicious and hearty meal, enough food to fill even teen boys!

Below is my recipe for classic Buttermilk Pancakes. I'll provide the recipes for the other varieties in future posts.

Buttermilk Waffles or Pancakes
Serves: 6 to 8
Oven Temperature: 250° (to keep them warm)

3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 cups low fat buttermilk
2/3 cup canola oil
4 eggs

Blend all the dry ingredients together with flat beater in a mixer bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat just until everything is wet. It's OK for there to be some lumps in the batter. To cook waffles, barely cover well greased grids with batter. Cook according to waffle iron directions, usually until steam no longer escapes. For pancakes, heat a large non-stick frying pan or griddle, add a dab of butter and pour in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter (depending on how good you are at flipping pancakes!). Cook over low to medium heat until bubbles form (but not burst) on the top of the pancake. Flip it over and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter.

Notes & Pointers:
This batter is very thick, so cook over lower heat than regular pancakes and be sure that they're cooked may want to cut into one or two of them to be sure. If the outside browns before the inside is cooked, lower the heat. BTW, when I make scrambled eggs, I always make three egg whites plus one whole egg per person. The single yolk makes the eggs still look and taste like eggs, but significantly reduces the fat and cholesterol.

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