Easy dinner recipes: Pancakes for dinner? You bet!

Pancakes for dinner? Oh, yeah! Sometimes nothing beats a classic breakfast comfort food at the end of the day. Pancakes are simple to make, but rich and hearty with flavor. And they're fun. Here are three possibilities:

Savory green pancakes from Yotam Ottolenghi get their flavor from a colorful blend of spinach, green onions, cumin and serrano chile. Round out the harmony with a pat of lime butter spiced with cilantro, garlic and chile flakes and you can call it a meal any time of the day. The whole dish comes together in less than an hour.

Apple pancakes are made with generous chunks of apple folded into a light batter, fragrant with a hint of cinnamon. The pancakes, lightly sweet, are a natural on the breakfast table, though they also make a pretty simple dinner after a long day. Topped with a scoop of ice cream, they make a rather good dessert too!

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

Olive oil pancakes, light and fluffy, have that perfect buttermilk tang. But what sets them apart is a touch of olive oil -- rich and fruity. A good olive oil adds wonderful fragrant notes. And chopped dark chocolate adds pure magic to every bite (doesn't chopped dark chocolate add a little magic to just about anything?). Drizzle the pancakes with a little honey and fresh mint -- or garnish however you'd like -- and dig in.

You can find all three recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

GREEN PANCAKES WITH LIME BUTTER

Total time: 45 minutes, plus chilling time for the butter

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Lime butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

Grated zest of 1 lime

1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

Put the butter in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it turns soft and creamy. Stir in the lime zest, lime juice, salt, white pepper, chopped cilantro, garlic and chile flakes. Spoon onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends of the wrap to seal the flavored butter. Chill until firm. This makes a generous one-half cup butter, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the butter will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to three days.

Green pancakes and assembly

1/2 pound spinach, washed

3/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 egg

1/4 cup (½ stick) butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2/3 cup milk

6 green onions, finely sliced

1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

1 egg white

Olive oil for frying

1. Wilt the spinach in a pan with a splash of water. Drain in a sieve and, when cool, squeeze hard with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Roughly chop and put aside.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, whole egg, melted butter, salt, cumin and milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the green onions, chile and spinach, and mix with a fork. Beat the egg white to soft peaks and gently fold it into the batter.

3. Pour a small amount of olive oil into a heavy frying pan and place on medium-high heat. For each pancake, ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and press down gently. You should get smallish pancakes, about 3 inches in diameter and three-eighths-inch thick. Cook until you get a good golden-green color, about 2 minutes to a side. Transfer to paper towels and keep warm. Continue making pancakes, adding oil to the pan as needed, until the batter is used up.

4. To serve, pile up 3 warm pancakes per person and place a pat of flavored butter on top to melt.

Each serving: 427 calories; 8 grams protein; 25 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 34 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 96 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 780 mg sodium.

CHUNKY APPLE PANCAKES

Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from A.P.P.L.E. (Apple Publicity Promotion Ladies Effort), published in "Sebastopol Gravenstein Apples: Sweet & Savory Recipes."

Cinnamon butter

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl using a whisk, beat together the butter, powdered sugar and cinnamon until blended. Cover and chill until needed.

Pancakes and assembly

2 medium apples, peeled and cored

1 cup (4.25 ounces) flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

2 teaspoons melted butter or oil

Cinnamon butter

1. Cut the apples into thin slices, then cut each slice into one-half-inch lengths.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a small bowl, beat together the egg, milk and melted butter or oil. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth, then stir in the apple pieces.

3. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly grease the griddle and spoon about one-half cup of batter onto the griddle, spreading it into a 4-inch round. Cook until the bottom is browned, then flip and cook until the other side is browned and the pancake is cooked through. This makes about 6 to 8 pancakes, depending on size and thickness. Serve with the cinnamon butter.

Each of 6 servings: 284 calories; 4 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 10 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 56 mg cholesterol; 28 grams sugar; 570 mg sodium.

OLIVE OIL PANCAKES

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Note: To make lemon honey, combine one-fourth cup honey with one-half teaspoon lemon zest in a small saucepan. Steep the honey for several minutes over low heat and strain before using. Spanish chocolate is available at select grocery stores and specialty markets.

1 3/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

4 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish, plus more for frying

1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate, preferably Spanish

1/4 cup honey, preferably lemon

Fresh mint leaves

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in the egg, buttermilk and 2 tablespoons olive oil until the batter is smooth, then stir in the chocolate pieces.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Ladle one-fourth cup of the pancake batter into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the second side, 1 to 2 more minutes. Place the pancakes in a warm oven until all are cooked and ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.

3. To serve, drizzle the pancakes with honey and garnish with mint.

Each of 4 servings: 540 calories; 11 grams protein; 79 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 58 mg. cholesterol; 663 mg. sodium.

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