Cottage Pancakes

Cottage Pancake A Pinch of Joy

Cottage Pancakes  A Pinch of Joy

‘Wow, this is good’  is the universal verdict when these are served.  They are full of protein and other goodness  and are a low carbers dream!   Delicious and healthy equals win-win!   The main ingredients are a little “out of the carton”  (heh, heh!)  without being weird or tasting strange.  They taste just like you expect pancakes to taste.  Only better. 

 On this recipe I measure the flour when I first start, add the salt and baking powder to the half cup full of flour and set aside until needed.  That way I don’t need to stop and measure but can just keep the mixture light and moving toward the skillet.  I use regular cottage cheese – small curd, large curd doesn’t matter.  Smooth it by pulsing it in the food processor or blender until the lumps are gone.  I also — and most frequently — use a hand mixer because it is more convenient in my kitchen — leaves the batter a little lumpier, but not noticeable in the final results.  Whisk the eggs until light and continue whisking to incorporate the cottage cheese.  Stir in the dry ingredients gently until just mixed well.  We’re trying to keep the eggs light and airy so the less beating and stirring with dry ingredients the better.  You won’t have an inedible product if you don’t do this, but it does help make a more tender pancake. Tenderness is good :-)

Patience is NOT one of my virtues.  I want things done without a lot of fuss or waiting.  Pancakes are no exception.  I’ve always made large pancakes reasoning the more I fill the skillet the faster I’ll get done and can move away from this boring chore.  Then – after zillions of pancakes and many hours drumming on the stove waiting and WAITING for them to cook – it dawned on me.  The reason it takes me so long to make pancakes:   five or six inches in diameter guarantees it will take longer for the middle to set up.  Make smaller pancakes no bigger than three inches in diameter.  You can put more in the skillet and still have room to flip them. 

More importantly they will cook faster. Less time drumming on the stove.   I can’t believe it took me this long to figure that out.


Cottage Pancakes
Light and filling with a surprise ingredient!
  • • 6 eggs, medium to large
  • • 1½ cups cottage cheese
  • • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • • 1/2 cup flour
  • • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  1. 1. Beat eggs until light.
  2. 2. Puree cottage cheese until smooth
  3. 3. Stir cottage cheese into beaten eggs until well mixed.
  4. 4. Add flour, salt and baking soda, until just mixed.
  5. 5. In large skillet, heat two tablespoons oil until a bit of batter sizzles when dropped into oil.
  6. 6. Pour egg and cottage cheese mixture into skillet to form three inch pancakes.
  7. 7. Cook over medium heat until bubbles begin to burst and center is set. Turn and cook through until brown on other side.
  8. 8. Top with maple syrup or fresh fruit, as desired.
  9. 9. Makes about 2 dozen small pancakes.

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Mushroom Swiss Burgers

Mushroom Swiss Burger - A Pinch of Joy

Mushroom Swiss Burger - A Pinch of Joy

Mushroom Swiss Burgers evolved when I picked up some burgers from a supermarket deli after work one night. We all liked it so well, that I just had to come up with a copy cat version.  The grocery store version may have it on speed – just heat the cooking surface and 10 minutes later you have burgers.  But the home made version is less expensive and only takes a couple of minutes to mix — plus the ability to plan ahead far enough to also buy mushrooms and swiss cheese when you find the meat on sale.  You get that picture, I’m sure – no need to say more!

I usually buy 90% lean or higher if I am going to use the ground beef in a dish, but 85% lean works well when the meat does a solo appearance. If you are going to grill or fry ground beef patties, a bit of fat is necessary to keep the burger together and to give it flavor.  Much of it will cook off so it is not eaten. The store version had small chunks of Swiss cheese right in the mix but the taste comes through with a slice or two on top of the cooked meat.  The buns in the photo are thin buns.  Several companies now make these available nationwide, including Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats, Arnold Sandwich Thins, Sara Lee Thin Buns.   I do buy certain brands of regular buns, too, because what we eat at any given time often depends on which store I shop for groceries that week – not endorsing any particular product.  If you are concerned about nutrition and health, it pays to read the labels on all bread products  as there can be quite a variation in carbs, calories and nutrition available.  It’s time well invested and you’ll only have to do it once, if you keep a list of what brands and types meet your criteria.

Mushroom Swiss Burgers
  • 1 pound ground beef, 85% lean
  • 1 egg white OR 2 tablespoons egg substitute
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about ⅓ cup)
  • 4 ounces mushroom, chopped
  • ½ to 1 tsp salt, depending on your taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 -6 slices Swiss Cheese
  • 4 -6 buns
  1. Mix first six ingredients together in large bowl.
  2. Form equal sized patties. Makes four large or six medium patties.
  3. Patties will be somewhat soft because of the egg so place on cooking surface carefully and turn by slipping spatula under entire burger and then lifting all at once.
  4. Grill to desired doneness – about 3-5 minutes per side, turning carefully. OR
  5. Alternatively, Cook in skillet over medium heat until done, about 3 minutes per side, plus an additional 3 minutes on first side while pan is covered to make sure interior of meat reaches even temperature.
  6. Add a slice of Swiss cheese and slip into a bun.

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Sweet Pepper Fiesta Salad

Orange, red, yellow sweet pepper salad

Orange, red, yellow sweet pepper salad

I love the bright colors of this salad.  It just sings party!  You can slice the peppers and onion into rings before marinating for a fun party look.  Or slice the peppers lengthwise and dice the onion for a side salad.   Or you can slice the peppers lengthwise and then cut them into pieces about an inch long, as I did, and used diced onion.   With the smaller pieces, you can add the marinated peppers to a tossed salad, put a spoonful on top of a burger or use it to flavor another dish – besides eating it as a salad.  Besides its colorful versatility, this combination has several “good for you” benefits!

Discovered by Christopher Columbus in the “new world”, the sunshine colors give a hint to the nutrional punch packed by bell peppers,  One small red, yellow or orange pepper has three times the daily required amount of Vitamin C.  They contain Vitamin A which helps night vision and other compounds which help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.  These two vitamins boost immunity and guard again heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.  They are a good source of Vitamin B6 and folic acid.  Lycopene is found in red peppers and helps protect against certain cancers.  Peppers are a good source of fiber, with its associated benefits.  That’s a lot packed into a pretty pepper!

The dressing has a lot of health benefits as well.  Continuing studies, in particular at Arizona State University and Lund University in Sweden and Tokyo University in Japan, verify the benefits of acetic acid found in vinegar.  Vinegar decreases blood glucose levels.  According to Dr. Carol Johnston of ASU,   “[Vinegar] in inexpensive and can be easily incorporated into the diet. Used in combination with diet and exercise, it can help many people with type 2 diabetes.”

Other studies have shown regular consumption of as little as 2 teaspoons of vinegar a day  will help with metabolic syndrome ( pre diabetes) and produce moderate weight loss.  Dr. Johnston recommends an easy way to consume vinegar is through dressings on salads and cooked vegetables with a mix of 50-75% of vinegar to oil.  Our dressing is 75% vinegar.  If you are using this recipe for that purpose, you can eliminate the sugar or choose a sugar substitute.

Who knew healthy food could look so festive and taste so good???

Sweet Pepper Fiesta Salad
  • 1 each red, yellow and orange bell peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar or equivalent sweetener
  • 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley – optional
  1. Wash, seed and slice the peppers.
  2. Prepare the onion – diced finely or sliced thinly into rings.
  3. Whisk together oil, vinegar and sugar.
  4. Place peppers and onion into bowl and pour the dressing over them.
  5. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  6. 6 servings

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