Riyenu ~ Chamorro Stuffing

Chamorro stuffing, or Riyenu, is a delicious side dish usually served during special holiday meals, alongside baked turkey, ham, or roast pig.

My mom taught me how to make this a very long time ago, when I was a very young girl.  In fact, this recipe is one of the few I added to a recipe book that I made when I was perhaps 8 or 9 years old.  I remember stacking small pieces of paper and gluing one side to make a spine, then creating a cover out of stiff cardboard and gluing a piece of scrap fabric with blue polka dots on it to make the cover soft and pretty.  Even at that young age, I loved to cook, and I made my very own recipe book, which I still have to this day.

I’ve been asked what makes this a Chamorro stuffing.  Well, I guess it’s the addition of potatoes, pimento and olives, kind of like our Chamorro Potato Salad.

A few optional ingredients that my mom sometimes puts in her Riyenu are finely diced celery and a small jar of sweet pickle relish.  I prefer my stuffing without those two ingredients, so I leave them out.

You don’t need to wait for a holiday to make this yummy stuffing.  Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Riyenu ~ Chamorro Stuffing

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 box Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Turkey
  • 2 small jars diced pimento, drained
  • 1 small can chopped black olives, drained
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Peel and dice the potatoes into small pieces, about 1/4 inch square.

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Place the vegetable oil in a shallow frying pan over medium heat.

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Fry the diced potatoes in batches; cook until the potatoes are a very light golden brown and cooked through (use a fork to test for doneness).

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Drain the cooked potatoes on a paper towel-lined plate.  Set aside.

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Brown the ground beef in a medium sized pot.

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Add the contents of the stuffing mix (dried bread pieces and seasoning), the cooked potatoes and onions to the pot.  Stir to combine.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

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Add the pimentos and olives to the pot.

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Stir to combine.  Continue to cook over medium heat for a minute or so, stirring occasionally.

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Add the raisins.  I actually like lots of raisins in my stuffing so I tend to add more than a cup.

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Pour in the evaporated milk.  You can also use vegetable or chicken stock instead of milk.

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Add the melted butter.  Cook for another minute or two.  Taste, then add salt and pepper if needed (the seasoning packet from the stuffing is already quite salty, so you might not need to add more salt).

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Place the stuffing into an oven-safe baking dish.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

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Serve and ENJOY!

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This makes a wonderful side dish, served alongside my smoked/grilled turkey and brown sugar glazed ham.

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ENJOY!

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Smoked & Grilled Turkey

Turkey doesn’t have to be served only during Thanksgiving or other holiday meal.  Chamorros love to BBQ, but occasionally, we like to smoke and grill a turkey instead of the traditional BBQ fare of ribs and chicken.

Whether baking, frying, grilling or smoking a turkey, I recommend brining the turkey at least 24 hours prior to cooking.  Brining not only adds flavor to the turkey, but it seals in the juices during the cooking process, yielding an incredibly moist, juicy, tasty turkey.

Smoked & Grilled Turkey

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Ingredients:

  • 1 turkey, about 12-15 pounds
  For the Brine:
  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary-garlic mix (or 1 tablespoon rosemary, 1 tablespoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons good quality honey
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered chicken bouillon
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 gallon ice cubes
   Stuffing:
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, cut into wedges
  • 1 whole head of garlic

Directions:

1.  Make the brine.

Place one gallon of water into a large pot.

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Add the sea salt to the pot of water.

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Add the herbs/spices and bay leaves to the pot.

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Add the honey.

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Add the brown sugar.

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Add the chicken seasoning.

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Give it a stir then bring the mixture to a boil.

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Pour the brine into a clean bucket (we bought a PBA-free bucket at Lowe’s).

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Add the sliced limes, orange and onion to the bucket.  My daughter was being funny and called this “turkey punch”. 😉

Let the brine cool completely before adding the turkey.

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Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity of the turkey.  Rinse well then add the turkey to the cooled brine.  I don’t think there’s a “wrong way” to place the turkey into the bucket, but I like to place it with the legs pointing up so that most of the turkey meat is submerged in the brine.  Of course, you could just add more water to the bucket until the bird is completely drowned. 😉

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Pour in the two gallons of ice cubes — about 2 pitcherfuls.

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Place the lid on the bucket (if yours doesn’t come with a lid, use aluminum foil to cover it) then place the bucket in the refrigerator.  Let the turkey soak in the brine for at least 24 hours.

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2.  Smoke/Grill the turkey.

After 24 hours, remove the turkey from the brine.  Chop up 2 apples and 1 onion, and peel the skin/paper off each clove in an entire head of garlic.

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Stuff the apple, onion and garlic mixture into the cavity of the turkey.

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Place the turkey in the smoker/grill.  Follow the smoking/grilling directions for your smoker.  I have a Traeger smoker/grill that has automatic temperature settings.  Here are the procedures for using a grill (like a Traeger) that has automatic temperature settings.

After turning on the grill, set it to 450 degrees; let the heat build up for about 15 minutes.  Turn the heat back down to the Smoke setting then place the turkey on the grill, smoking it for approximately 9 hours.

NOTE:  If you want to cut down the cooking time, do NOT stuff the turkey until about one hour from being done.  An un-stuffed turkey cooks faster than a cooked one.  If you decide NOT to stuff the turkey, smoke it for 6 hours instead of 9.

This is what the turkey looked like after 3 hours of smoking.

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After 8 hours of smoking, turn the heat up to 275 degrees and grill the turkey for one more hour or until the skin turns a nice dark brown color.

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If you don’t own a smoker/grill, bake the turkey at 325 degrees using the chart below as a basic guide.

TURKEY ROASTING TIMES
Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight (Pounds)Cooking Time (Hours)
6 - 83 - 3 1/2
8 - 123 1/2 - 4 1/2
12 - 164 1/2 - 5 1/2
16 - 205 1/2 - 6
20 - 246 - 6 1/2
Un-Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight (Pounds)Cooking Time (Hours)
6 - 82 1/2 - 3
8 - 123 - 4
12 - 164 - 5
16 - 205 - 5 1/2
20 - 245 1/2 - 6

Serve with your favorite side dishes.  I recommend Chamorro Red Rice, Chamorro Stuffing (Riyenu) and Fina’denne’.
ENJOY!
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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin turnovers, pumpkin muffins, and now, Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls–with chocolate chips too!  If I didn’t already have you at “cinnamon rolls”, you must surely be hooked now that I mentioned these yummilicious rolls have the added indulgence of Chocolate Chips!

I may have mentioned this in previous posts, but it’s worth repeating–I love anything made with pumpkin! 😀

These rolls are perfect for breakfast, or as an added dessert item on your Thanksgiving menu.

Wait…I forgot that not only are these PUMPKIN cinnamon rolls with CHOCOLATE, these are laced with orange inside and out.  I added orange zest to the filling; I also used orange juice to the glaze (I learned this one from my friend, Vikki Z.).  I have a daughter that doesn’t care for the addition of orange zest in the filling, but I think it takes these rolls over the top and sets it apart from the average cinnamon roll.  You can leave it out, of course, but I like it “in”.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Chips

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Ingredients:

  Yeast mixture:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 packets active dry yeast
  Dough:
  • 1 can (15-oz) pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons good quality honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups all purpose flour
  Filling:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • Optional:  1 teaspoon orange zest (or use 1 teaspoon orange extract)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips, about 1 cup
  Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

Directions:

1.  Prepare the yeast mixture.

Place the water in a microwave-safe cup.  Stir in the brown sugar.

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Heat the water-sugar mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  The liquid must be between 98-105 degrees.  I find it best to use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the liquid is the right temperature.  Too cool and the yeast won’t proof properly.  Too hot and it will kill the yeast.  101 degrees–or somewhere between 98 and 105 degrees–is perfect.

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Once the liquid is at the right temperature, add the yeast.  I’m often asked what a “packet” of yeast looks like.  The photo below shows three packets, which is how they are commonly sold, in a set of three packets.

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Pour the yeast into the warm liquid.  Stir the mixture to dissolve the yeast.

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Let the yeast mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes.  It should get very frothy, like what’s pictured below.

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2.  Prepare the dough.  I suggest measuring out all of your ingredients beforehand.  The yeast will proof quickly on you, so you’ll want all of the ingredients measured out before you start to proof the yeast (in step 1 above).

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, place the pumpkin purée.  You can also do this by hand, but I prefer to use a heavy-duty stand mixer, like a KitchenAid, which is what I have.

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Add the eggs to the bowl.

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Melt the butter.  Let it cool for a couple of minutes then add it to the mixing bowl.

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Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, mix the ingredients together for a few seconds.

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Add the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt to the bowl.  Mix again for a few seconds.

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By now the yeast should be very foamy — pour the yeast mixture into the mixing bowl; mix to combine.

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Mix in 3 cups of flour.

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After mixing in the flour, take off the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook.

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Mix in the remaining flour, a half cup at a time.  You might not need all 6 cups of flour.

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Stop adding flour when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.  Depending on how humid it is where you live, you might actually need to add more flour (up to a cup more–7 cups total).  The higher the humidity level,  the more flour you may need since flour absorbs liquid in the air (depending on how you store your flour, that is).  Anyhow, 6 cups of flour is about the norm.  If you’re mixing this by hand, do not use more than 7 cups of flour.  The dough will be slightly sticky, but that’s normal.  Too much flour and your bread will be very tough.

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After you’ve mixed in all the flour, set your mixer to low speed.  This begins the kneading process; continue mixing for 5 minutes.  If you’re kneading by hand, knead for 8-10 minutes (resist adding flour while hand-kneading–if the dough is sticking to your hands, lightly oil your hands or spray your hands with cooking spray to prevent sticking).

This is what the dough looks like after 5 minutes of kneading.

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It’s now time to let the dough rise.  Place the dough into a glass bowl that’s been buttered or sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray.  I also lightly spray the top of the dough (so the plastic wrap won’t stick to it–see below).

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Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap then place a clean dish towel on top of the bowl.  Place the bowl in a dry, warm place to rise until doubled in size.  The time it takes to rise depends on how warm your rising spot is.  It could take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour.  Patience is key.

I usually turn my oven to the Warm setting right when I begin my kneading process.  After 3 minutes of warming up, I turn the oven heat off and turn the oven light on.  This makes the perfect warm place for rising.  It takes about 30 minutes for my dough to rise in this setting.

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3.  While the dough is rising, make your filling.

In a small bowl, place the softened butter, brown sugar, and optional orange zest.  If you decide to add orange zest, make sure you don’t get any of the white pith–it will make your filling bitter.  Mix to combine.

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Mix in the cinnamon.  Set the filling aside until the dough is ready.

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4.  Fill and roll the dough.

This is what the dough looks like after it’s doubled in size.

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Generously flour a clean work surface.  Place the dough onto the floured surface — do NOT punch down the dough or knead it again.

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Roll out the dough into a rectangle.

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Gently spread the butter-cinnamon-orange mixture over the entire surface of the dough, stopping about a half inch from the edge.

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Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the butter-cinnamon-orange mixture.

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Starting at the long edge, carefully roll up the dough, jelly-roll style.

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Using a sharp knife (dental floss works well too), slice pieces of dough, about the width of your finger.  Place the slices into a buttered pan (you can use butter-flavored cooking spray too).  I recommend placing the slices about 1/2-1 inch apart to allow the dough to rise evenly.

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Spray the top of the sliced dough with cooking spray then cover with plastic wrap.  Place the pan in a warm place to rise again, until the slices are touching.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven; let the rolls cool slightly while you prepare the glaze.

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5.  Make the glaze.

In a small mixing bowl, place the powdered sugar.

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Add the milk, maple syrup and orange juice.  Whisk to combine.

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6.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the warm rolls.  Serve immediately and ENJOY!!

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Corned Beef with Corn and Tomato Sauce

Chamorros love canned corned beef!  It’s called Latan Kåtne (canned meat) in Chamorro. Corned beef can be prepared many different ways, depending on the ingredients you have on hand.

I love to gisa (in Chamorro, this means to stir fry) corned beef with onions, garlic, and eggplant.  For another variation, try adding cabbage or fresh green beans.  My dad used to grow winged beans–this is delicious with corned beef too.  The options are virtually endless!

This is a photo of winged beans, in case you’ve never heard of them before.  Just slice them into small pieces and saute them with a can or two of corned beef; add some onions and garlic and you’ve got yourself a yummy meal.  Serve with hot white rice, of course. 🙂

winged beans

My recipe below calls for canned corn with tomato sauce.  A slight variation to this is to omit the tomato sauce entirely (follow the directions below, and omit the part where you pour in the tomato sauce).  My husband actually prefers it this way, without the tomato sauce.

Either way you make it–with or without tomato sauce–it’s delicious.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Corned Beef with Corn and Tomato Sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cans corned beef
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn (15.25 oz. each), drained
  • 2 small cans tomato sauce (8 oz. each)

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Directions:

To make it easier to open, pierce the top of the corned beef can.  *Make sure to rinse the top of the can first — there can be lots of dirt or dust on it from sitting on the grocery store shelf.

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Place the corned beef into a medium sized skillet; sauté over medium high heat.

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Add the onions to the skillet.

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Add the garlic powder and black pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

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Add the corn.  Stir to combine.

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Pour in the tomato sauce.

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Stir to combine, then cook for a couple of minutes, just to heat the sauce and corn.

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Serve with hot white rice.  ENJOY!

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Fluffy Vanilla Pancakes

Hi!  I’m Alyssa, Annie’s youngest daughter. My mom let me be a guest blogger today.

It’s my turn to make breakfast for my family. I chose to make fluffy vanilla pancakes.

It’s really very easy to make. In fact, it’s so easy that when my older sister, Hannah, was about 3 years old, she had this recipe memorized and she’d always ask our mom to help her make it for breakfast.  The only thing I changed to my mom’s original recipe was to add vanilla extract and I used butter instead of vegetable oil.  (I love butter!)

If my sister (when she was 3) could help do it, and if I can make this all by myself, then maybe your kids can make this too. It’s a fun way to get kids in the kitchen.

Try making my fluffy vanilla pancakes, and please let me know how you like it. 🙂

Here’s how I did it. After you view all of my photos, you can find my recipe all the way at the bottom of this post.

Oh, one more thing.  This made 2 regular sized (big) pancakes and about 7 smaller pancakes (they were small, and a little bigger than dollar pancakes).

My Fluffy Vanilla Pancakes 🙂

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First, crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. You might not be able to tell, but the bowl I’m using is a Tupperware bowl with Minnie Mouse on it. My mom got it for me when I was around 3 or 4 years old, the same age my older sister was when she started helping my mom make pancakes.

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Next, measure out your milk. Pour the milk into the bowl with the egg. Use a whisk to mix it together.

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Add the vanilla to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together again.

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Next, melt the butter. Pour the melted butter into the mixing bowl. The milk was really cold, so if you look carefully, you can see that the melted butter started to solidify again after I poured it into the bowl. If that happens to you, that’s okay. It will all get mixed together in the end.

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Now the dry ingredients gets mix in. First, add the salt. I usually measure out the salt over the counter in case I pour out too much. Salty pancakes would taste horrible.

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Add the sugar next.

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Add the flour to the bowl. Whisk again to mix the flour into the batter.

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Add the baking powder last. The baking powder reacts as soon as it’s mixed with liquid. As soon as you mix in the baking powder, get ready to cook up the pancakes.

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Oh, I forgot to mention that before you add the baking powder, you should start to heat up your pan. We like using this cast iron skillet.

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This is what the batter looks like. It should be very thick, not thin and runny.  It’s almost as thick as cake batter.

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When the skillet is hot, spray lightly with butter cooking spray. You don’t have to use cooking spray. You can use regular butter or you don’t have to use anything at all if you have a non-stick pan. I just like the way the pancakes taste when you use butter to cook them.

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One of my favorite kitchen tools is a small cookie scoop. I use a 2-tablespoon scoop to scoop out pancake batter. It’s easier than trying to pour out even amounts of batter each time. Plus, it doesn’t make a mess. For big pancakes, scoop out two scoops of batter. You might have to use the back of the cookie scoop to sort of spread out the batter since it’s rather thick. But don’t spread it out too much! This thick batter is what makes the pancakes really tall and fluffy!

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I like to add chocolate chips to my pancakes. If you want to, sprinkle some semisweet chocolate chips over the pancake.  I would have added more chocolate chips but my mom made me stop.  That and I kept eating them. 😉

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You have to use your finger to press the chips into the batter.

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After a couple of minutes, use a spatula to check if the bottom of the pancake is turning golden brown. When it’s a nice golden brown, it’s time to flip the pancake. It took a bit of practice to learn to flip pancakes, but it’s really easy. If you’re going to teach your kids to flip pancakes without actually doing it on real pancakes, I recommend using a slice of bread to practice. Practice makes perfect. This reminds me–after practicing and practicing, I now know how to crack an egg with ONE hand and NOT get any shells into the bowl!

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Okay, back to my pancakes. After the pancake is golden brown on both sides, it’s done. I also press down on the middle of the pancake to test if it’s done–if it feels sort of firm and not squishy, it’s done.  Look on the sides of the pancake too.  If the side still looks wet, cook it a bit longer.

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I don’t put any syrup on my pancake when I add chocolate chips, but you can if you want to.

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My sister likes plain pancakes (without chocolate chips). Today she wanted dollar pancakes. To make small pancakes, just use one scoop of batter. Our skillet can fit three small pancakes. Flip them over when the bottoms are golden brown.

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Serve with butter and syrup and ENJOY!!

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Here is my recipe, with the ingredients written out.  I hope you give my recipe a try. 🙂

Alyssa’s Fluffy Vanilla Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Optional: semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Mix the egg, milk, butter and vanilla in a small mixing bowl.

2. Whisk in the salt, flour and baking powder.

3. Cook on a heated skillet until golden brown on both sides. Optional: sprinkle chocolate chips on one side of the pancake before flipping it over.

4. Serve with butter and syrup. Enjoy! 🙂

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