Monday, May 7, 2012

Rainy Sundays and Applesauce Pancakes

I apologize for such a long hiatus. I know how much everyone looks forward to learning awesome new recipes, but it has been a long and tired couple of weeks. Hopefully the nicer weather and our impending change of scenery prompt an increase in energy as well. Luckily, even though I wasn't posting, I was still trying new things in the kitchen so I have a whole slew of goodies to present in the coming days. First up is a quick and easy recipe for Oatmeal and Applesauce Pancakes that I found on

Cook Time:

Active: 20 min.
Total: 40 min.


about 10 pancakes, depending on how big you make 'em


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk


  1. Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-low heat.
  2. In a bowl, mix the four, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix applesauce, sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Stir applesauce mixture and milk into the flour mixture until evenly moist and thick.
  3. Scoop about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto the prepared griddle, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.


These made a fantastic breakfast for a rainy Sunday! They are more dense than regular pancakes, but I found they stuck with me longer too. I had two stacks, one topped with syrup and one topped with honey, and both tasted great. I thought the pancakes themselves could have been sweeter, but Megan thought they were just right, and I guess the syrup and/or honey adds sweetness as well. 


Difficulty: 1 out 5
Taste: 5 out of 5
Will I make it again? You bet!

So warm up your griddles, whip up some pancakes, and stay tuned for some exciting new treats such as Megan's Strawberry Shortcake, Aunt Amy's Lemon Blueberry Poundcake, and another installment of Philly Phavorites featuring the Japanese restaurant Tampopo.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mandarin Pork and Wild Rice

After the time-consuming failure of the last recipe I tried, I decided to present one of our regular favorites with a tried-and-true track record: Mandarin Pork and Wild Rice. This delicious meal comes from the Taste of Home's 2009 Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes. It is easy to make, requires very little prep work, and is ready to eat in just 25 minutes.

Cook Time:

Active: 10 min.
Total: 25 min.


4 servings


4 boneless pork loin chops (3/4 inch thick and 5 ounces each), cut into strips or cubes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges
1 1/2 cups water
1 package long grain and wild rice mix
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions


  1. Sprinkle pork with pepper and salt. In a large skillet, brown pork in oil. Meanwhile, drain oranges, reserving juice; set oranges aside.
  2. Add the water, rice mix with contents of seasoning packet, onions, and reserved juice to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and the liquid is absorbed. Stir in oranges; heat through.


Delicious as always. We have made this as a quick weeknight meal numerous times in the past couple of years and it never disappoints. I always use a larger can of mandarin oranges (because honestly, you can never have enough mandarin oranges), and you could also add more pork to the recipe because there is plenty of the rice mixture to go around. This recipe would also work nicely with chicken, were you so inclined. 

Happy Eating!
~ Jason

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cake, Ice Cream, and Disappointment

So my intention was to make another Food Network Magazine recipe, this time for some amazing looking ice cream sandwich cakes, but alas, the best laid plans of mice and cooks. First, the cake recipe called for dutch-process cocoa powder and I could only find natural unsweetened cocoa (I tried to make the cake anyway with what I had, but the result was less than appetizing). So instead, I tried a shortcut, making a box cake.  It took me all day, with multiple trips to the grocery store (not to mention all day daddy duty) and the result was simply cake and ice cream, which, while still classically nice, was nothing worth blogging about.

Perhaps there is something special about the ice cream sandwiches if you actually follow the recipe and use the dutch-process cocoa, but even taking that into consideration, I don't see how there could be much difference. Anyway, I very rarely have a recipe go wrong for me (I think because I tend to only pick recipes that I can tell will be awesome) and I found that, quite frankly, I don't much care for it.

As a consolation, I offer you a pretty quick dessert alternative: Cream Cheese-filled Strawberries. Simply whip up a serving of the cream cheese filling that goes along with the Banana-Cream Cheese Breakfast Cakes I posted a few days ago and stuff it into some hulled strawberries. The result is quick, elegant, and oh-so-delicious!


Coming up next is one of our regulars, Mandarin Pork and Wild Rice. You do not want to miss that!

Happy Eating!
~ Jason

Monday, April 16, 2012

Philly Phavorites, Vol. 1: Ten Stone

Since our little family will be moving back to the Harrisburg area in just over a month, we have to try and squeeze in trips to all our favorite Philly eateries before time runs out (they have Chili's in Harrisburg so I guess we don't have to worry about that one). First up on our list was Ten Stone, a bar and restaurant on South Street.

We have been to Ten Stone a number of times over the past few years, usually on days with great weather because the restaurant's outdoor seating and airy dining area make for delightfully fresh eating. Their menu features quite a few tasty items like a Hot Crab Dip appetizer, a Grilled Flank Steak Salad (my wife Megan's favorite), Grilled Ham & Cheese on a soft pretzel, and a Chicken Brie Melt (which I can attest as being cheesy and gooey and delicious). This time, I tried the Flank Steak Panini, which features grilled steak, tomatoes, bacon, gruyere cheese, and a horseradish mayo. If you can't already tell from the photo below, it was pretty amazing. The gruyere was nicely melted, the horseradish mayo had a strong bite, and the bread was buttery and toasted. Paired with a tall, cool glass of hard cider, this panini made for a fantastic afternoon meal on a warm day.


Obviously you could make this at home yourself, but Ten Stone provides a great atmosphere and dining experience (they have plenty of TVs at the bar in case you're worried about missing one of those sporting events that people seem to care so much about) and they have a vast selection of beers available to make your meal even more delicious. 

Stay tuned for more Philly Phavorites before we leave the city for good, and tomorrow I will be trying a recipe for homemade ice cream sandwiches, which, if they turn out anything like the photos, should be nothing short of mind-blowing. I can't wait.

Happy Eating!
~ Jason

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cocoa-Rubbed Steak with Bacon-Whiskey Gravy and Crispy Baked Potatoes

Saturday after work, I gathered up the wife and child and headed to the Giant and the liquor store to get the ingredients for another Food Network Magazine recipe (who doesn't love pushing a baby stroller through the liquor store?). This one comes from page 107 of the March 2012 issue, which is devoted to all manner of chocolate dishes.

Cook Time:

Active: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour, 5 min.

For the Steak:

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
2 1-pound New York strip steaks (about 1 1/2 inches thick)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the Gravy:

4 strips bacon, diced
1 leek (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whiskey
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Potatoes:

2 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper


  1. Make the potatoes: Mix oil, salt, and pepper. Pierce potatoes with a fork; rub with oil mixture. Bake on the top oven rack at 375 degrees (put a baking sheet below to catch drippings) until tender, 50 minutes. Slice open and top with butter, salt, pepper, and chives.
  2. Make the steak: Mix the cocoa powder, both paprikas, brown sugar, cayenne and 2 teaspoons salt; rub on the steak and bring to room temperature, 30 minutes.
  3. Make the gravy: Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add the leek to the drippings and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the whiskey, then return to medium heat; if the alcohol ignites, let the flames die out. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture is reduced by one-quarter, about 8 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the gravy coats a spoon, about 7 minutes. Stir in the butter, reserved bacon, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  5. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter; when it melts, add the steak and sear until a dark crust forms, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Season with salt. Slice and serve with the gravy.


Perfect potatoes, great gravy, so-so steak. 

You can't really go wrong with potatoes that have been coated in oil and salt. We added butter and sour cream, of course, but used chopped green onion instead of chives (largely because we couldn't locate chives in the store), and the green onion on the potatoes were a nice compliment to the leek in the gravy. I will definitely use this technique for baked potatoes in the future.

I found the gravy sweet from the whiskey and smokey from the bacon, which was a delicious combination. I would have liked it to be a little thicker, but that may have been some fault of my own. I also found that I liked the gravy more as it cooled off; it might make a pretty tasty salad dressing or sauce on a sandwich. 

With the steak, we couldn't taste much of the cocoa. There was no pink on the inside, so maybe I had them on a little longer than necessary, but even so, I doubt it would have tasted much different. Obviously the steak was still delicious (steak is steak), but the cocoa didn't add anything special; I would recommend something with a stronger flavor, like Montreal Steak Seasoning or a similar rub. 


Difficulty: 3 out of 5  (mostly from having lots of things going at once)
Taste: 4 out of 5 (brought down by the lack of flavor on the steak)
Will I make this again? Potatoes and Gravy most certainly.

Two down, who knows how many more to go. I can't believe I made a meal without any cheese...this is an anomaly, I assure you. I've already had two reader requests, one for my mother's special-occasion egg strata and one for some chicken empanadas (which I'll need to make sure I still have the recipe for) so stay tuned for some exciting things!

Thanks for stopping by,
~ Jason

Friday, April 13, 2012

Banana-Cream Cheese Breakfast Cakes

My inaugural recipe can be found in the May 2012 Food Network Magazine, but is apparently a recipe served by Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco. 

Cook Time:

Active: about 45 min.
Total: about 65 min.


about 15-20 cupcakes

For the Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

For the Cakes:

1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 very ripe bananas, mashed


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth; transfer to a bowl. Clean out the mixer. Add the egg whites to the mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the sugar, then increase the mixer speed to high and beat until shiny, stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add half of the cream cheese mixture and beat until just combined. Add the remaining cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip; set aside.
  2. Make the cakes: Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. 
  3. Clean out the mixer. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla with the paddle attachment on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the mashed bananas until combined. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until almost combined, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined (do not overmix).
  4. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Insert the pastry tip halfway into each and pipe about 1 tablespoon filling into the middle of the batter. (The cups should be about three-quarters full.) Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake (not the filling) comes out clean, 20-35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool about 15 minutes, then remove the cakes to the rack to cool completely.


Delicious! My wife loved them, and even my sister-in-law (who isn't a huge fan of banana) had more than one. The banana and cream cheese compliment each other very well (sort of like carrot cake) without either one being too strong of a flavor. The cake part is super moist, and you can see and taste the chunks of banana in each bite. You could also add nuts to the recipe to make it a bit more like banana bread. 

Having to clean out the mixer between each mixture was a little annoying, but not too much of a hassle, and the rest of the recipe is pretty darn easy. Also, I don't have a pastry bag, so I simply used a spoon to put the filling in the batter; this resulted in the filling being more of a topping, but taste-wise I can't imagine there is much of a difference.


Difficulty: 1 out of 5 
Taste: 5 out of 5
Will I make this again? Absolutely.

Well there you go, recipe numero uno! Does it sound good? Does it make you want to strap on an apron and mix up a batch right now? I certainly hope so. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out. 

Also, tell me what you think about this and/or the blog in general, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

~ Jason

Starting Out

Hello there! Welcome to One Sleepy Chef, a blog about food, cooking, and narcolepsy.

My name is Jason. I am a father, a husband, an amateur cook, and a professional narcoleptic. It's not easy keeping up with work, marriage, and a baby when you barely have the energy to crawl out of bed every morning, but somehow I manage (most days). One thing that keeps me going is finding delicious new recipes to make and share with everyone I know.

This is my first blog ever. Unlike millions of other people out there who blog and tweet excessively about the mind-bogglingly inane minutae of their day, I have never felt that my inner thoughts and daily routines warranted hourly updates. The delicious food I make, on the other hand, deserves to be shared with the world! Hence this blog.

The best part of cooking is sharing your work with others. For that reason, I plan to use this space to showcase pictures and recipes, meal suggestions, and maybe some cooking how-tos. You will see Yinger family favorites, new trial runs from places like Food Network Magazine and, and perhaps some reader requests. Hopefully my kitchen exploits will inspire you to be a little more adventurous with your own cooking or, at the very least, give you a few wonderful dishes to serve to your hungry family.

Let's get cooking!

~ Jason