CHICKEN WITH CREAMY LEMON SAUCE (Mediterranean Style Friendly)

Chicken with Creamy Lemon Sauce

Dinner was out of this world and it was simple to make!  It’s been nearly two weeks since we began the Mediterranean style of eating.  This was the first new recipe I created and it is definitely a keeper!  I used my Greek Style Seasoning, dredged the chicken in flour, and made up this delicious lemon sauce.  I’ll be making it again soon.  The recipe calls for chicken breasts, but Bob prefers thighs, so I did some of them also.

INGREDIENTS:  (4 Servings)

2 whole skinless, chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half

Homemade Greek seasoning (recipe below)

1/3 cup AP flour, divided

Olive oil

4 TBSP butter, divided

½ an onion sliced

¼ cup Marsala wine

2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 TBSP garlic, minced or chopped

OPTIONAL: Parsley, basil or finely chopped spinach for garnish

 

PREPARATION:

Season both sides of chicken with Greek seasoning. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle 2 – 3 TBSP olive oil in bottom of pan.  Add 2 TBSP butter.  When hot, add floured chicken and onion slices.  Cook until lightly browned.  Flip and cook the other side.  Remove to a platter.

Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup Marsala wine, scraping up any browned bits which will add a lot of additional flavor.  Add chicken broth, lemon juice, garlic, and approximately 2 TBSP AP flour.  Cook until slightly thickened.  Add remaining 2 TBSP butter.

Return chicken to pan and let simmer for about five minutes, flipping over once.  Taste the sauce, and adjust if necessary.

Place chicken back on the serving platter and pour the sauce on top.  Add any garnishes you choose.

GREEK SEASONING by Tika

     I started using this seasoning years ago for when we grilled vegetables.  Dummy me!  I should have been using it on everything.  Make some and put it in an empty seasoning jar.  You’ll find that you will use it often!

6 TBSP garlic powder

1 TBSP sea salt

4 ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 ½ tsp basil

1 ½ tsp parsley

1 ½ tsp oregano

1 TBSP black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Add to an empty seasoning jar, label and use it on almost everything. (Fish, chicken, pork, lamb, vegetables).

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2018

Chicken with Creamy Lemon Sauce

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Whole Grain Pita

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 I found this recipe on epicurious and I must say that they were easy and great fun to make!  We loved them.  Another bonus!  Note that the preparation and final photos are by Chew Wanna Eat?  

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/whole-wheat-pita-bread-108122

Why make your own pita when it’s readily available at supermarkets? One bite of these, fresh and warm from the oven, will tell you exactly why. The dough is simple to make, and because the dough rounds are thin, they bake in less than 5 minutes. But if you don’t have time to make your own, store-bought pita can be warmed, wrapped in foil, in a preheated 350°F oven.

Yield Makes 8 (6-inch) pita loaves

Ingredients

    • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 1/4 cups warm water (105–115°F)
    • 2 cups bread flour or high-gluten flour, plus additional for kneading
    • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets
    1. Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
    2. While yeast mixture stands, stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.
    3. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
    4. Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with 2 clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
    5. Set oven rack in lower third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500°F.
    6. Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner. Serve warm.
Cooks’ note:
Pitas can be baked 1 week ahead and cooled completely, then frozen, wrapped well in foil in a sealed plastic bag. Thaw before reheating, wrapped in foil, 10 to 12 minutes in a 350°F oven.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2018

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All About the Mediterranean Diet

Fruits and Vegetables

If you’ve heard about the Mediterranean diet, let me first tell you that this is NOT a diet per se.  The options are endless and there is no calorie counting, weighing of food, or feeling hungry.  It’s more of a healthy life-style change, a way of healthier eating that Westerners need to learn more about.  Unbeknownst to me, the Mediterranean diet is not just based on Greece.  It also includes Spain, Italy, Morocco, Turkey, and more.  This style of eating is all about plant-based foods.  Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, mixed nuts, pasta, rice, and leaner sources of protein such as chicken and fish rather than red meat.  It’s ok to have red meat once or twice a month, just limit your portions.  The good news for wine drinkers is that red wine is included in moderate amounts.

Research proves that the Mediterranean way of eating reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, as well as lowers cholesterol.  It is also said to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s, and diabetes.  It’s also a brain-friendly way of eating, rich in anti-oxidants.  It is being called the healthiest diet in the world by millions.

Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Cooking with olive oil or canola oil is something we’re all familiar with, so don’t change anything there.  According to the Mayo Clinic, extra-virgin olive oil is the least processed form provides the highest levels of the protective plant compounds that provide antioxidant effects.  Canola oil contains a type of omega-3 fatty acid which is beneficial in lowering triglycerides, decreasing blood clotting, lowers your risk of sudden heart attack, improves your blood vessels, as well as moderating blood pressure.

Many of us have greatly reduced our salt intake.  Keep up the good work.  Instead, use spices and fresh herbs to season your food.  Replace your salt with flavorful cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, coriander, basil, cilantro, garlic, and pepper.  If you reduce your salt consumption little by little, you won’t miss it after a while.  Read labels!  When you are buying canned goods, beware of the added salt.  Rinsing canned vegetables helps reduce the salt.  Fresh or frozen is always best.

Avoid processed foods.  They are usually loaded with fats, chemical preservatives, artificial ingredients, and salt.  Avoid sugar.  Avoid junk food.  Avoid fast food joints.

If you need a snack, a handful of mixed nuts, olives, Feta cheese, a whole grain pita dipped in hummus or olive oil

You can have your bread, but look for whole grain which contains more protein and minerals.

Eat slower.  You’ll eat less while enjoying your food more.

Stay tuned for recipes that we’ve tried!

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2018

 

Barley and Vegetables (Mediterranean Diet Friendly)

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      What is barley?  It’s delicious, for one thing.  Even before I knew how healthy it was, I’ve always loved it.  I never did much other than add it to soups, but now that we are eating healthier, I’m discovering all sorts of ways to use it.    Barley is another whole grain and very high in fiber.  I love the chewy texture which you don’t get with pasta.  You can substitute barley for couscous, rice, quinoa, orzo, or farro.  Barley is available as pearlized or quick-cooking.  The next time you’re making soup or stew, add a handful of barley.

     What are the benefits of eating barley? Other than the fact that it’s versatile and flavorful, Barley is another food that lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and can lower cholesterol.  The high fiber reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.  Barley is nearly fat-free and totally cholesterol-free.

INGREDIENTS: Yields 4 servings

½ cup barley

1 ½ cups chicken or beef broth

½ cup sliced mushrooms

¼ cup onion, sliced or chopped

1 TBSP fresh garlic

ADDITIONAL VEGETABLE SUGGESTIONS:  Carrots, kale, spinach, peas

PREPARATION:

In a large skillet, bring broth to boil.  Add barley with a little salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer 45-50 minutes.  (If using quick-cooking barley, cook only 10 minutes).  If a little liquid remains, don’t worry.  Remove barley and liquid to a small bowl.  Cover.

In same skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil.  Sautee mushrooms and onions until tender.  Replace barley and if you want kale or spinach, add it now.  Cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender.

Learn more about Barley at https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whole-grains-101-orphan-pages-found/types-barley

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Pumpkin Pie Squares with a Crunchy Topping

 

I am not a fan of making pie crust.  It always comes out great, I just don’t like rolling and trying to place it properly in the pie plate. It irritates me, and I try to avoid getting irritated when I’m cooking.  So . . . if I can make some changes, and still have a crust, I’m all for it.  Bob doesn’t care for pumpkin pie.  There’s always too much ginger and other spices for his palate.  This dessert has a crust, but not a pastry crust.  Easy!  I lightened up on the spices and Bob was happy!  The crunchy pecan topping is SO GOOD!  It’s a keeper.  (Feel free to add extra spices if you prefer.  Either way, you’ll love it).  And there’s a bonus.  It serves a lot more people than a pie.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup AP flour

½ cup Old Fashioned Oats

½ cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup butter (chilled, but not cold)

One 15 oz can pumpkin puree (without spices)

12 oz can evaporated milk

2 egg whites

¾ cup white sugar

½ tsp salt

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ cup pecans (or walnuts), chopped

½ cup brown sugar, packed

2 TBSP chilled butter

 

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray or grease one 9×13 inch pan.
  2. Mix together the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and butter or margarine. Press into pan; bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. In a large deep metal bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  4. Blend together the pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg whites, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and clove. Pour custard into baked crust; bake for 30 minutes or until firm.
  5. Mix together the chopped nuts, brown sugar and butter. Sprinkle topping on custard and bake additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut into squares and top with whipped cream if desired.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2018

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Pumpkin Pie Squares

CRISPY HONEY ORANGE SHRIMP

Crispy Honey Orange Shrimp

     We were invited to our neighbor’s home for drinks and appetizers.  I asked what I could bring and was told to bring myself and my husband.  How rude!  Lol  Let me just say that there were two reasons that wasn’t gonna happen.  It goes against my grain to show up anywhere empty handed, plus, I never do what I’m told.  I wracked my brain trying to think of what to bring.  I’m not big on making appetizers for some reason, so I had to make something up in a hurry.  This was the end result.  I made them spicy, but there is no need to add Chipotle if you want mild shrimp.    We were running late, and I didn’t get a chance to pop one in my mouth before we left.  I got lucky.  They were a big hit and I think the recipe is a keeper.

     Here’s how I did it:

INGREDIENTS:

Two 12 oz bags extra-large peeled shrimp (raw)

Salt for brining

1 Orange (You’ll use the juice and the zest)

Marinade:

3 TBSP low sodium soy sauce

1 TBSP fresh ginger root, minced

1 TBSP fresh garlic, minced

Juice and zest of half the orange

Shrimp Coating:  Note that there are three choices

1 cup corn starch -OR – 1 cup AP flour – OR 1 cup Panko bread crumbs (or mix it up)

Salt and pepper

OPTIONAL:  ¼ – ½ tsp Chipotle powder

Frying:

1/3 – ½ cup canola oil

Sauce:

1 cup local honey

Juice and zest from ½ orange

2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

½ tsp Chipotle powder

 

PREPARATION:

Rinse shrimp well.  Soak for 30 min in salted water. (The salt will make the shrimp juicier and tastier.  Just like when you brine chicken).

Drain shrimp, rinse bowl and return shrimp to empty bowl.  Add juice of ½ an orange, 1 TBSP orange zest, soy sauce, ginger root, and garlic.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Drain well.

In medium bowl, add corn starch, (or flour or Panko bread crumbs), salt, black pepper, and ½ tsp Chipotle chili powder.  Give it a quick mix with a whisk or a fork.  Add a handful of drained shrimp, cover bowl and shake until shrimp is coated.  Using a Japanese skimmer or a small strainer, and shake excess flour mixture from the shrimp and place in a dish or large platter.  Continue until all shrimp is coated.

Heat a heavy skillet and add enough canola oil to cover bottom well.  When oil is hot, add shrimp about a handful at a time (never crowd the pan).  Cook until brown and crispy (2 ½ – 3 min per side).   Drain on paper toweling. Drain skillet and wipe with a paper towel.

In same skillet, add honey, juice from the other half of orange, orange zest, lemon juice, and chipotle powder.  Bring to boil and reduce mixture by about half. You want to create a syrupy sauce.

Arrange cooked shrimp on a serving platter and pour sauce over the top.  You can garnish with parsley, sesame seeds, and/or a handful of green onions with stems.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017

Crispy Honey Orange Shrimp

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Crispy Honey Orange Shrimp

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS W/BLACK BEANS

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (11)

We love enchiladas.  You can use raw chicken (which you will cook before filling the shells), or leftover chicken or turkey.  Simple, simple, simple.

INGREDIENTS

2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks or slices

3 mini sweet peppers, sliced

3-5 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium sized onion, sliced

½ can green chilis (remainder goes into Enchilada sauce)

½ – ¾ can black beans, drained and rinsed (or your choice)

Juice of 1 lime

Olive oil to drizzle in pan

Seasonings:  Black pepper, Chili powder, Chili powder with Chipotle, Cumin, dash cinnamon, Coriander

Mexican cheese blend

 

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

Drippings from cooking chicken and veggies

15 oz diced tomatoes with juice

½ can green chilis

2 TBSP flour

½ can chicken broth

Seasonings:  Black pepper, Chili powder, Chili powder with Chipotle, Cumin, Garlic powder, Coriander

1 handful grated Mexican cheese blend

 

PREPARATION 

In large heavy skillet, drizzle olive oil in the bottom.  Add chicken, sweet peppers, garlic, and onion.  Sauté until chicken is tender.  At any time while cooking, add the lime juice and seasonings.  Add beans and chilis until heated through.  With slotted spoon, remove meat and veggies to a bowl.

To drippings, add tomatoes, ½ can green chilis, flour, chicken broth, and seasonings.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add a handful of Mexican grated cheese and simmer another 5 minutes.

While Enchilada sauce is cooking, begin rolling the tortillas with filling and place in a 13” x 9” baking dish.  Pour hot sauce over the top, sprinkle on more grated cheese.  Bake at 350° F for 20-30 min.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (5)

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We normally make our own tortilla shells.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (12)Pico de Gallo is made in a small electric chopper and consists of fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion, mini sweet pepper, and jalapeno.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (10)

I use a can of refried beans with chilis, and add a bit of jalapenos, a touch of garlic, and heat through.  I top with grated cheese just before serving and let it melt without stirring.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (6)

We never, ever buy store bought guacamole.  It’s so easy to make and SO much better.  Simply use a potato masher (or small chopper) and blend fresh avocado, garlic, a smidge of onion, a smidge of fresh tomato, and jalapenos to taste.  Add some lime juice, salt and pepper.  Serve.

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Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

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Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (9)

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (11)

Hydroponic Garden

Most of you probably don’t know, but Bob bought me a gorgeous bird for my birthday. Since my Prissy died about 6 years ago, I’ve been birdless. I am posting a few pictures of Kiwi (Green Cheeked Conure) because I want to show you what my son Cory gave me! He has been using Aerogardens for years and just loves them. I will now have fresh herbs right next to the stove. And since birds need their herbs and fresh greens this is doubly valuable to me. Love you, Cory! (Note: Kiwi looks a little ratty right now because she is just beginning her first molt. She is 6 months old).

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Kiwi, 6 months

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Pulled Beef with our Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Sauce (In Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)

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Bob said they don’t called it pulled when it’s beef, but that’s what it is, so that’s what I’m calling it. We made it in our Instant Pot, but a crock pot would work just as well.

Prep: We cooked the beef in a tiny bit of water, removed the water when the meat was cooked. Then Bob shredded the meat and it was returned to the cooker with my Kentucky Bourbon BBQ sauce. SOOOOOOOO good!

I think I’m going to keep bugging you until every single one of you has made this BBQ sauce. You do NOT have to use the expensive bourbon. I’ve used the outrageously priced bourbon, as well as Jim Beam, and nobody knew the difference.

Yield: Approximately 2 cups. Keeps well in the refrigerator, so feel free to make it ahead.

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup ketchup
1 TBSP tomato paste
1/3 cup fine Kentucky bourbon
4 TBSP brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP low sodium soy sauce
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp minced onion flakes or onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp Chipotle chili pepper
½ tsp pepper
Dash salt

PREPARATION:

In 1 ½ qt saucepan, whisk all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it becomes a rich color and thickens up to your liking.

NOTE: ½ tsp Chipotle chili powder will make a hot sauce. If you want medium, cut Chipotle down to ¼ tsp. If you like really hot, go for ¾ tsp. Atomic? Add 1 full tsp.

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Pulled Beef with Kentucky Bourbon Sauce

 

 

BACON BLUEBERRY WAFFLES

Blueberry Bacon Waffles

     Breakfast.  It was what was for dinner at the Westover house.  Yummy!  I use both AP flour and bread flour in my waffles, but you don’t have to.  I think it makes them a little crispier on the outside and a little lighter on the inside. 

INGREDIENTS: YIELDS 5 LARGE WAFFLES (8” x 8”)

1 stick butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

1 ¾ cups buttermilk

2 TBSP sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup AP flour

¾ cup bread flour

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup blueberries

 

PREPARATION:

In  a large bowl, use a whisk and beat the eggs quickly.  Add cooled butter, buttermilk, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla extract.  Continue whisking until well blended.  Add half the flour and whisk again.  Reserve 3 or 4 flour TBSP flour in a small bowl to coat the blueberries in.  Add remaining flour and crumbled bacon.  Mix only until flour is incorporated.  Don’t over-mix.  Fold the flour coated blueberries and whatever flour remains in the bottom of the bowl.

Using a silicone brush, coat the waffle iron with oil (top and bottom plates). Preheat the iron.  Add batter and cook until steam is no longer escaping from the sides of the iron.  It takes about 3 – 5 minutes, I’d guess, depending on how crispy you like them.  If you aren’t sure, take a quick peek.  The blueberries will sink to the bottom so you’ll need to give it a quick stir between batches.  You can keep waffles warm in the oven until they are all cooked.

Warm up leftovers in the toaster oven.  Waffles can be wrapped and frozen.

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