Sometimes my grocery shopping isn’t as organized as I’d like it to be. I have a general idea of what I need, but acknowledge that I didn’t actually sit down to plan out the week’s meals. So, okay, I’m winging it. On the one hand, this strategy leaves me room to be flexible if, say, I watch a fantastic episode of Cook’s Country (we got rid of our satellite TV so I only get local stations now) and decide that we simply must have smothered pork chops or Chinese barbecue spare ribs for dinner TOnight, I have an excuse to run out to “pick up a couple things” from the store.
On the other hand, my lack of meal-planning organization leaves me coming home with things that I know I needed (the list says “cheese” and “apples”), but baffled in the store as to what kind of food item I should be coming home with.That is to say, I apologize if my grocery cart and I were blocking your way yesterday in the gourmet cheese section at Whole Foods while I spaced out and balked about whether I should buy sharp yellow cheddar, mild white cheddar, or something else entirely.
(For what it’s worth, unless I know I need a specific type for a specific recipe, if my list says “cheese,” I usually allow myself one “normal” cheese like cheddar, monterey jack, or parmesan, and one “crazy” cheese like goat, parrano, gouda – ha, yeah cuh-razy! – or yesterday’s selection “mushroom and leek monterey.”)
But lest I come across sounding too “woe-is-me” about my oft-indecisive shopping habits, let me share that I sometimes enjoy challenging myself to “eat from the pantry” (or fridge or whatever I already have lying about). This forces me to save a little bit of moolah on gas and grocery money by waiting to make that dish I was craving until I actually have the time have forethought to do it well. What a novel idea, right?
I will neither confirm nor deny that I just gave myself a pat on the back for cooking tonight’s dinner, rather than calling up my favorite Thai takeout spot. If you think making breakfast for dinner is a cop-out, then you should stop reading now.
And so were born these savory apple cheddar pancakes with maple bacon sauce. I mean, can you say hel-LO, fall!
Savory Apple Cheddar Pancakes with Maple Bacon Sauce
For the pancakes:
– 1 cup flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 cup grated apple (about 1 McIntosh apple)
– 1/4 – 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
– spoonful chopped, fresh chives
– small spoonful Dijon mustard (optional; I like mustard, but these were also great without it)
– 1 cup milk
– 1 egg
Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Add apples and cheese and toss to help absorb moisture from the apples. Add the chives. Whisk the egg, milk, and mustard (if using), then pour into dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Cook on griddle over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
For the sauce:
– a few slices of bacon
– a tiny handful finely chopped onion
– splash of bourbon (optional)
– about 1/3 cup real maple syrup
– cinnamon, to taste
Finely chop the bacon. Cook in skillet over medium-low heat until crisp. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Leave bacon on paper towels to drain. Put the pan back on the heat and add the onion and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Cook until onions soften and cinnamon has toasted slightly. Deglaze pan with bourbon (or apple juice). Let reduce slightly, then add the maple syrup and turn the heat down to low. Stir gently until syrup has heated through. Add the bacon back to the sauce and keep warm until ready to use.
I’m curious – how specific are you with your grocery lists? Do you keep it all in your head or use one of those fancy shmancy apps? Do you write general terms like me (“apples”) or are you more specific (“6, firm, medium-sized McIntosh apples”)? Do you stick to the list or do you come home with things that were decidedly not on the list? (That tends to happen to someone in our household, and it’s not me, Nero, nor Rogue). Do tell.