Orange Ricotta Pancakes

Welcome to #EasterWeek! I'm still a little thrown off by how early Easter is this year, and to be honest, I haven't finalized my menu yet.   My son has become the typical teenager who likes to sleep til noon, so I've been focusing my search on brunch type recipes.

We all love pancakes, and when I saw this recipe from Taste of Home, I knew I had to test it out.
The only change I made to the recipe was to use whole milk instead of 2%, it's what we always have on hand.  I used a large cooke scoop for portioning the batter, it made it so easy to keep them uniform, and I got exactly 12 pancakes.  The ricotta gives them a great texture, and they are filling without being heavy.  These froze and reheated great, next time I will definitely double the batch, adding blueberries to some.  Thank you Brehan K for sharing the recipe!

Thank you so much to Christie for hosting Easter Week, and to all the other #FestiveFoodies for sharing their #EasterRecipes! Be sure to check out the …

Upside Down Apple Pie

One of my cooking goals for 2018 is to master pie crust, and what better reason to give it a go than #PiDay? My grandmother tried to teach me when I was growing up, but I just couldn't get the hang of it.   I've relied on boxed crust, but they lack that beautiful, flaky texture of a homemade crust.  I think I did pretty well, though I did roll them out a bit too thinly.   I wouldn't say that I'm a pie crust pro, but I'm definitely less intimidated by the process.

I used granny smith apples, and my Pampered Chef peeler/corer/slicer made prepping them super fast. I had to omit the pecans due to allergies, but that was the only change I made.   Half the pie disappeared the first day, the rest is going fast.  I'm really looking forward to making it again with local apples.

Thanks so much to Coleen for hosting #PiDay, and to all the other #FestiveFoodies for sharing their recipes!  Be sure to check them all out by following the links at the bottom of the post.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies- Taste of Home Tuesday

A little while back I inventoried my freezer and pantry and discovered that I had lots of duplicate items, among them, large cannisters of quick cooking oats.   I searched out recipes to use them on the Taste of Home site, and these cookies had amazing reviews.

My only change to the recipe was to omit the nuts due to allergies in the family. I found the dough to be a little on the dry side and ended up adding a tablespoon or two of water. I used a medium cookie scoop, next time I might even go up one more size.  I baked them at 350º (convection setting) for 10 minutes.   The cookies didn't flatten out much, so I lightly pressed on them with a spatula after I took them out of the oven.

We loved these, they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, perfect for dunking.  I think they would be amazing with chocolate pudding or cheesecake pudding too.  I also think that because they're made with oats, that makes them perfectly fine to eat for breakfast, right?  :)  Thank y…

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

I talk a lot about my Italian ancestry and the food that surrounds it, but I also have Irish in there from my Mom's side.   We didn't eat any Irish food growing up that I can recall, so I went on a recipe search.  Irish soda bread kept catching my eye.  Even though I've mostly worked through my fear of yeast, I loved that baking soda is used as a leavening agent instead.   I found these on the Taste of Home site, and since muffins are always a huge hit here, I put the ingredients on the shopping list.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the currants, I substituted dried cranberries instead. I sprinkled the tops with raw sugar instead of regular, I just love the crunch it gives.  I was hesitant about the caraway.  I've had resistance in the past from my guys when I've made things with anise,  which is a similar flavor profile. These were a huge hit with everyone.   The caraway isn't overwhelming, and I love the texture of the muffins.

Thank you so much to Carlee …

New England Hot Chocolate

I'm a New England girl, through and through.  Even during the snowiest of winters, I cannot imagine living anywhere else.   Sure, there are days when it's so cold the air hurts your face, but that's why hot chocolate was invented!  I've been making this recipe for more than 10 years, and it disappears so quickly I've never gotten a chance to take pictures of it.  This time around, I set up my surrounding shot, including the glass so that I was prepared. I made the hot chocolate, poured it, took my pictures.

 I went to edit the pictures, and came back to this:

The kid strikes again. It's good stuff.  Try it.  It's not overly sweet, which I love. I use the real NH maple syrup, but you can use maple flavoring if you can't get your hands on any.  If you live in a state that produces maple syrup, I highly recommend going for a tour during sugaring season.  It's such an amazing process, so much work to yield that amber goodness!  We look forward to Maple …

Garlic Lover's Chicken - Taste of Home Tuesday

I was putting groceries away when I realized that my freezer and pantry were getting a bit out of control. I've got an upright freezer in the basement that I love, but it sometimes can fall into the "out of sight, out of mind" trap. I decided I needed to get organized and make an inventory and start clearing some things out.  To make it a little more fun, I issued a challenge to the members of a Taste of Home fans Facebook group to do the same.

I had four packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts, so I went to my Taste of Home board on Pinterest and browsed the Poultry section.   The Garlic Lover's Chicken caught my eye because I had most of the ingredients on hand.   Instead of regular breadcrumbs, I used panko, and I used dried parsley.  I omitted lemon because I didn't have one.  The recipe calls for 4oz chicken breasts and the ones I had were much larger than that, closer to 8oz. I baked them on convection at 400º for 35 minutes. I like to use a probe the…

Best Ever Banana Bread- Taste of Home Tuesday

I've mentioned before my family's odd banana eating habits.  No matter how many I buy, they always seem to leave 2 or 3 behind, and I've surmised it's because they want me to make something with them.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes I peel them and stick them into the freezer for use at a later time.   Sometimes the bags of frozen bananas start piling up, so I head to the Taste of Home site to find a recipe.

No major changes to this one.  I omitted the walnuts due to allergies, if I'd had them on hand I might have added some mini chocolate chips or cinnamon chips.  I sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar before baking, we just love the crunch it gives.  One loaf was definitely not enough, next time I will definitely double the recipe and freeze one of the loaves.  Thank you to Gert K. for sharing her recipe.

Be sure to check what my fellow Volunteer Field Editors are cooking up this week using the links at the bottom of the post. Do you have an amazing recipe you&#…