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.


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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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Crockpot Calico Beans

Crockpot Tailgater Beans4
Crockpot Calico Beans A Pinch of Joy

Perfect for a summer barbecue or an autumn tailgate party, this dish is also known also as Trucker, Cowboy or Prairie Beans. This recipe is foolproof and flexible and quick to make!  Gather your crockpot and all the ingredients.  Pour, stir and cook on low for 3-6 hours.  Make it a main dish with a tossed salad for a perfect meal.  Take it to a gathering and you won’t be bringing home leftovers because it’s always a hit.

 Chips* contributed the recipe to a Quasquicentennial community cookbook where I found it.   I have tweaked it — of course!– many different ways and it always turns out tasty!    Chips’ family prefers the deeper flavor that comes from baking in a 9x 13 pan for about an hour at 350 F.   Chips adds  1 tablespoon mustard and 1 teaspoon chili powder, though she warns against using beans or BBQ sauce with chili flavor.   She also uses Splenda brown sugar and has used ham instead of bacon.

 My sister Bee  uses Campbell’s pork n beans from the original recipe, but I like Bush’s baked beans because they are “thicker”.  (We finally brought her over to Bush’s side as you can tell from the comment below — now we are going to work on the attitude toward onions :-)  ) Kidney beans, dark or light, it doesn’t matter, but do pick up the low sodium version on your grocery shelf.  (Less salt = good for you.)  Lima Beans  bring a texture, size and color variation to the mix.  I sometimes substitute a can of black beans — still tasty!  And so are Great Northern Beans.  I have also made it with 2 cans of kidney beans.  This is a very forgiving combination!     You can get about 12 servings if you use this for a main dish.  Take it to a gathering  and the serving size is more likely to be around 1/2 cup since people are generally also “sampling”  other things so you can count on about 25 servings.

If you are looking for the recipe so you can get going and get to the party on time, scroll on down.  You already know that this is a great dish for crowds because it will fill your crockpot.  And then your family.

But, if you gasped when you saw the picture of the ingredients and thought “does she know how many carbs are in those beans?”, then read on.   Legumes, which is what these beans are called, are in a special class.  Yes, they are higher in carbs – but they also have a built in protein and plenty of fiber.  Legumes  tend to be absorbed more slowly into the blood stream.  The slower absorption keeps blood sugar levels more even and keeps you feeling full and satisfied longer than more quickly digested foods.  Eating healthy for the long term requires a balanced diet that takes into account all your nutritional needs.  The soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and keep you regular.  Protein is necessary for energy and strong muscles.  Good– and good for you.

* Full Disclosure:  Chips’  brother  married my sister Kay.  Millions of beans were consumed in the evolution of this recipe with no harm done. 

** Full Disclosure #2 — reposted from the archives as part of A Pinch of Joy  Second Anniversary celebration! 

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Crockpot Calico Beans
A hearty, healthy and filling main dish perfect for a summer picnic or an autumn tailgating party!
Serves: 12 servings
  • 2 cans baked beans, 28 oz each
  • 1 16 ounce can red kidney beans, drained (dark or light)
  • 1 16 ounce can lima beans, drained (or Great Northern beans, drained)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
  • 8 slices bacon, crisped and cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup catsup
  • ¼ c Barbecue sauce
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder, optional
  • 1 tbsp. mustard, optional
  1. Spray crockpot
  2. Brown and drain ground beef and bacon.
  3. While they are cooking, put all other ingredients into crockpot, turned on low.
  4. Add cooked meats and stir gently until blended.
  5. Cook on low for about 3 hours and up to 6 hours.
  6. OR can also bake at 350 in 9x13 pan, uncovered for 1 hour
Charlene @ A Pinch of Joy
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup

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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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