Scrumptious Sweet Potato Pancakes.

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

Today I’m sharing my second recipe for the ALDI Summer Road Trip. Have you been following along? You really must check out the recipes that have been shared on the previous Summer Road Trip stops… they look amazing! Hop on over to the ALDI blog and take a look.

Summer is one of my favorite seasons for so many reasons. It’s not just the relaxed pace, it’s road trips to visit family, the sunshine, being outdoors, playing, and the fact that some of my favorite foods are in season during the summertime. Sweet potatoes are one of those foods, and one of my favorite meals is breakfast…I know I’m not alone! Why not combine the two by cooking up some Sweet Potato Pancakes?

Breakfast is one of those meals that all of the members of our family can agree on. I have some picky eaters, but one thing that they can all agree on is that they LOVE these Sweet Potato Pancakes. It may sound strange, but I assure you that this is a legitimate pancake flavor! I first tasted sweet potato pancakes many years ago at the famous Pancake Pantry here in Nashville, Tennessee, and I believe they are still a staple on the menu there. My recipe was inspired by those pancakes, made with real sweet potatoes. They are delicious and a fun way to get some fresh root veggies into your diet.

Here’s what you’ll need…

ALDI Summer Road Trip:Nashville

For the pancakes:
1 cup Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baker’s Corner Baking Powder*
1/2 tsp Stonemill Essentials Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Stonemill Essentials Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Stonemill Essentials Iodized Table Salt
1 Goldhen Large Egg
1 to 1-1/4 cup SimplyNature Reduced Fat 2% Organic Milk
1 tbsp SimplyNature Organic Coconut Oil
1/3 cup mashed sweet potatoes

For the mashed sweet potatoes:
1 sweet potato
1 tbsp softened Countryside Creamery Sweet Cream butter
1 tbsp Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup

*Ingredients are available while quantities last. All products may not be available in all ALDI stores.

Prep Time Mashed Sweet Potatoes: 15 minutes (can be made ahead of time)
Prep Time Pancake Mix: 10 minutes
Cooktime: 15 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Start by making the mashed sweet potatoes.
Peel and cube the sweet potato. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash with a fork. Add softened butter and maple syrup, combining well. Set aside.

To make the pancakes, start by whisking together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients. Gradually add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients and combine.

Heat skillet over low to medium heat and coat with oil or butter. I like to use coconut oil whenever I cook in a skillet. Actually I use it as a replacement for cooking oil anytime it is called for in a recipe. Coconut oil has so many health benefits, and ALDI has organic coconut oil for $4.99**, which is the best price that I’ve seen anywhere!

Pour batter onto hot griddle and cook on one side until bubbles form. Flip those pancakes over and cook on the second side until golden brown (just a minute or two).

Serve the sweet potato pancakes hot with butter and pure maple syrup. Nothing else is needed. The aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg makes these pancakes feel like a treat… they are absolutely scrumptious! My kids gobbled them up and then asked for them for breakfast the next morning. (And I didn’t even have to hide the fact that they were made with sweet potatoes!)

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

I experience a strange phenomenon every single time I make pancakes. My first pancakes off the griddle are ALWAYS flat! I have no idea why. I might as well just plan on it because it’s a given. The second batch that I pour turns out perfectly fluffy and golden brown, but that first batch never quite meets my standard of pancake perfection. Does that happen to you too? I’m so curious!!! Yours are most likely perfect every time. Let me know in the comments.

You can freeze and store your leftover pancakes for busy school mornings by creating stacks of three pancakes (a perfect serving for one person) and placing them in between freezer paper. Put them into a freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and close tightly. Place in the freezer to keep until you are ready to warm them up. To reheat, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Separate the stack of three pancakes and lay on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and they will be hot and ready to eat!

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**Prices may vary by location
This post was sponsored by ALDI

Southern Fried Pickles with Chipotle Ranch.

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Fried Pickles

I was born and raised a yankee. Did you know that? Here I am, a native of the Chicago area, blogging at The Southern Institute. How did that happen, you might ask? Pretty typical, really… college. I moved to Nashville in 1993 and, except for the occasional holiday spent at home, I never left. Here I am twenty-two years later, my children are born southerners (which is really strange for me to hear myself say), and I can’t really imagine our family anywhere else. I absolutely LOVE Nashville! Apparently so do a whole lot of other people because it has been chosen by ALDI fans as a stop on their Summer Road Trip! I’m so excited to be the official ambassador for Nashville on ALDI’s Summer Road Trip. It means that I get to share some of my favorite things to do in Nashville with you, as well as share a couple of custom recipes that say “Nashville” to me!

Nashville has a local paper called the Nashville Scene, and each year they have a “You are so Nashville if…” contest where readers can complete the sentence and send it in to the paper. If yours is one of the chosen entries it gets published.

Here’s my unofficial entry: “You are so Nashville if… you have eaten Fried Pickles!”

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

If you haven’t tried fried pickles, fear not, I have you covered! I am about to share my very own recipe for Fried Pickles with you, and after you make these you can call yourself an honorary Nashvillian!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 jar of Great Gherkins Kosher Baby Dill pickles
1 cup of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour
1 Goldhen Large Egg
1 cup of Friendly Farms Buttermilk (I used fat-free)
salt and pepper to season
Pure Sunflower oil for frying (Carlini Canola Oil or Carlini Pure Olive Oil can be substituted for Pure Sunflower Oil)

For the Chipotle Ranch Dip
1 packet Stonemill Essentials Ranch Salad Dressing and Dip Mix
8 oz. Friendly Farms Sour Cream
1-2 tsp. Benita Whole Chipotle Peppers* (sauce only)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes per batch to fry (approx. two whole pickles total per batch)
Servings: varies

* Ingredients are available while quantities last. All products may not be available in all ALDI stores.

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

The ingredients are simple and so is the process. Frying pickles isn’t rocket science, but it takes patience to get that crispy fried coating that makes them taste so amazing.

Start by heating the sunflower oil in a deep saucepan over medium to high heat. You’ll need the oil to be at least 3″ deep, and you’ll want to have a candy/frying thermometer to measure the temperature. While your oil is heating to about 350 degrees, slice several pickles into 3/8″ pieces. You don’t want them to be thinner than that because you need them to keep a bit of their crunch. Use a paper towel to absorb the excess pickle juice.

One thing that I noticed about the Great Gherkin’s Kosher Baby Dills sold at ALDI is that they have no dyes added to them! It’s hard to find a pickle on the market that does not use yellow 5 to color their pickles, but ALDI uses all natural turmeric extract for color and I LOVE THAT! It’s just one more reason for me to shop at ALDI. If you’re not familiar with them, get to know them on Facebook and Twitter!

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

Combine the egg with the buttermilk in a bowl. Place flour in a Ziploc freezer bag and season with salt and pepper. Dip the pickles in the buttermilk mixture then drop them into the bag of flour. Close bag tightly and give them a good shake, making sure to coat the pickle slices well. Remove the pickles from the bag and set them on a plate or cutting board. Repeat the process of dipping the pickle slices in the egg mixture and coating them in flour, shaking well and coating them well. This gets pretty messy, but it’s worth it, trust me!

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

When the oil reaches a temperature of 350 degrees you can start frying. Gently lower the pickle slices into the oil in small batches and allow to cook until they are a golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and allow to dry on paper towels.

While the next batch is cooking you can be mixing up the Chipotle Ranch, which will only take a couple of minutes to prepare. In a bowl, combine the sour cream and 1/2 of one packet of ranch salad dressing mix. Add 1-2 tsp of chipotle pepper sauce for some kick!

When your pickles are done frying it’s time to dig in! They make a great side to a BBQ sandwich and a cold glass of lemonade, I can vouch for that. There’s nothing more southern than frying pickles. It takes me back to my first year in Nashville as a college student. I had fried pickles for the first time at Melrose Lanes, while bowling with friends. I could not believe how good they were then and I still love them now. So give them a try this week…your family will love them!

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

This post is sponsored by ALDI.

Chai Oatmeal with Spiced Pears

Chai Oatmeal with Spiced Pears www.thesoutherninstitute.com

There’s not much that I love more than a hot chai tea made with almond milk from our local coffee shop, Sam and Zoe’s. One look at my debit card statement would quickly give me away. I love a good chai, so when I saw a recipe for chai oatmeal made with almond milk I knew I had to give it a try. I found it on a blog called Healthy Aperture and I could not resist, especially when said oatmeal is also gluten free and is topped with warm, spicy, buttered pears. Oh my goodness, is your mouth watering imagining it?

I’m not one to spend a lot of time making breakfast because our mornings are pretty busy trying to get the boys out the door for school in the morning, but since Abby is home schooled, I decided to make this for our breakfast one morning after the boys had left for school. It was a bit time consuming but the end product was so worth it. It is wonderfully spiced, just like my favorite winter drink, and the pears add a sweet (but not too sweet) fruity flavor that completes the dish perfectly. Click over to Healthy Aperture for the recipe and try this one while we still have cold mornings that call for warm comforting breakfasts.