breakfast

Breakfast Brunch

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and if you haven’t yet determined what you’ll be serving for breakfast, might I make a suggestion? This recipe for Breakfast Brunch is the best! It was shared with me from a dear friend many years ago and I’ve since made it a tradition to serve every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It’s quick to pull together and quick to cook. And it includes all your favorite breakfast items – eggs, sausage, cheese, and crescent rolls! Oh, and a little milk! You just can’t go wrong.

If you have left overs, yes, I said IF, you can portion and freeze. Take out from the freezer, as needed, and pop into the microwave for a couple of minutes. Wha la! Breakfast is served!

And if you don’t yet have any holiday breakfast traditions, well, it’s a fine time to start one! Now, get to the grocery store and get the needed supplies. In the morning, comment back and let me know how your family enjoyed your Breakfast Brunch.

Bon appétit!

Breakfast Brunch
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beginnings
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Pillsbury Crescent rolls
  • 16 ounces Jimmy Dean Pork sausage
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray bottom of 9 x 13 pan with vegetable cooking spray. Press crescent rolls into bottom and up sides about one-quarter inch of pan. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over crescent rolls. Cook sausage. Drain. Crumble sausage over cheese. Mix milk and eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over cheese and sausage layer. Bake 12-15 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 230 Fat: 15g Saturated fat: 7g Unsaturated fat: 6.5g Trans fat: .6g Carbohydrates: 9.6g Sugar: 8.9g Sodium: 385mg Fiber: .7g Protein: 11.7g Cholesterol: 44mg

 

Apple Fritters

Don’t those look just awesome?!! Let me tell you a secret – they were!! It’s funny, I’ve baked, I’ve cooked, and I’ve made made many dishes, desserts, sides, etc. You name it, I’ve done it! Except for the ever elusive Apple Fritter. At least until a few months back when I came across this recipe and decided to give it a go.

Oh my, I don’t know what took me so long! They were just wonderful – light and airy, flavorful with just the right amount of apples and then to top it off, that wonderful sugar/cinnamon coating. The only thing I might do differently next time is add a bit of cinnamon to the dough and then use a confectioners’ sugar glaze on top instead of the sugar/cinnamon coating.

One thing to remember, these are best devoured the morning you make them. They tend to get a bit soggy after they sit around overnight. You could crisp them back up in the oven, I suppose, but more than likely you won’t have any left over at your house.

Bon appétit!

Apple Fritters
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beginnings
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 quart Vegetable oil; for frying
  • 1½ cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup Milk
  • 2 whole Eggs; beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 3 cups Apples; peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup Cinnamon Sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or electric skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in the milk, eggs and oil and stir until well blended. Mix in apples until they are evenly distributed.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes depending on the size. Fry in smaller batches so they are not crowded. Remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon sugar while still warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 339 Fat: 28.9g Saturated fat: 2.5g Unsaturated fat: 17.9g Trans fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 18.8g Sugar: 18.1g Sodium: 167.2mg Fiber: .7g Protein: 2.3g Cholesterol: 36.2mg

 

Special Brunch

For years I’ve made a Breakfast Brunch casserole for Christmas morning and other special occasions.  That is until now . . . I think this Buttery Breakfast Casserole will have to be the “go to” breakfast casserole for all holidays and special occasions going forward.

This version you make the night before.  It’s very much like a savory bread pudding.  It is delicious, decadent,and satisfying.  As Emeril Lagasse might say, this casserole definitely kicks it up a notch. 

Add a glass of Prosecco to complete the decadence of this meal.

Bon appétit!

Special Brunch
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beginnings
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 package Hot ground pork sausage Jimmy Dean's
  • 1¼ cup Parmesan shredded
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Green onion white and light green parts, sliced
  • 1 pound Croissants about 5-7
  • 3 cups Whole milk
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 8 Eggs
  • 2 cups Gruyere shredded
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Spread croissants on a large baking sheet and toast, cut side up, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes (watch carefully to see that they do not burn). Let cool, then tear into large bite-size pieces.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage until brown and crumbly. Drain. Toss together sausage, Parmesan, and next three ingredients.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, and 1½ cups Gruyere cheese.
  4. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Turn croissant mixture into pan, spreading it out evenly over the bottom. Pour custard into pan, pressing croissants down gently to help absorb the liquid. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. When you’re ready to bake the casserole, heat oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole. Transfer to oven and bake until casserole is golden brown and firm to the touch, 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced scallion tops before serving.
Notes
You can substitute Swiss cheese for Gruyere cheese.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 522 Fat: 33g Saturated fat: 18g Unsaturated fat: 3g Trans fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 28g Sugar: 10g Sodium: 1177mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 27g Cholesterol: 290mg

 

Sourdough English Muffins

A while back we made some sourdough starter whom I named Fred.  It’s time we use Fred, wouldn’t you say?  There are many things you can make with sourdough starter including bread, pancakes, muffins and rolls and probably many other items I just don’t know about yet.  Suffice it to say, after your starter is ready, I doubt you’ll be at a loss as to what to do with it.

And so it was one weekend morning I decided to make some English Muffins with some of my Fred.  I fed him the night before so he was ready for the task at hand.

Below is the recipe and it is the best.  As I always say if it’s made from scratch, it will be well worth the effort and time. These muffins are no exception.  I doubt you’ll buy them at the store ever again!

Bon appétit!

Sourdough English Muffins
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breads
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups warm water (110°F-115°F)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 1 cup sourdough starter, fed
  • 7 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup nonfat dry milk
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • cornmeal for dusting
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients, except the cornmeal, in a large bowl.
  2. Mix and knead — by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine — to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and elastic, but not particularly sticky; add additional flour if necessary.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set it aside to rise for about 1½ hours, or until it's noticeably puffy. For most pronounced sour flavor, cover the bowl, and immediately place it in the refrigerator (without rising first). Let the dough chill for 24 hours; this will develop its flavor.
  4. Gently deflate the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, cover it, and let it sit for a few minutes, to relax the gluten. Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll ½" thick, and cut in 3" rounds. Re-roll and cut any remaining scraps. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.
  5. Alternatively, divide the dough into 24 pieces (total). Shape each piece into a round ball, then flatten each ball into a 3" round. For a somewhat more even rise as the muffins cook, flatten each ball slightly larger than 3", and trim edges with a 3" cutter (or trim all around the edge with a pair of scissors). Muffins with cut (rather than flattened) sides will rise more evenly.
  6. Place the rounds, evenly spaced, onto cornmeal sprinkled baking sheets (12 per sheet). Sprinkle them with additional cornmeal, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise until light and puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated overnight, the rise time will be about 2 hours.
  7. Carefully transfer the rounds (as many as a time that will fit without crowding) right-side up to a large electric griddle preheated to 350°F, or to an ungreased frying pan that has been preheated over medium-low heat.
  8. Cook the muffins for about 10 to 12 minutes on each side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a muffin registers 190°F. The edges may feel a bit soft; that's OK.
  9. Remove the muffins from the griddle, and cool on a rack. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature for 4 or 5 days; freeze for longer storage.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 171 Fat: 2.3g Carbohydrates: 32g Sugar: 1g Sodium: 270mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 5g Cholesterol: 6mg

Sunday Brunch

Last Sunday I decided to make waffles, for some odd reason.  Call it a need for comfort food or perhaps I was bored with the usual breakfast of an egg, a piece of bacon and a piece of toast.  Whatever the reason, it was a great choice!

I just happened to have some waffle mix on hand, which I would not customarily have but bought it on a whim a few months back.  I saw the mix in my cupboard and decided that is what I would make for brunch (by that time, it WAS brunch).  I even had some whipped cream and a few frozen blueberries.  Alas, a wonderful waffle brunch was born.  You can’t beat that for planning, now can you?

I obviously made several waffles which are in the freezer for future Sunday brunches.  And why not?  It’ll be so nice to just take one out, heat it up, and slather with some maple syrup and fresh fruit and be done with it!

Sometimes it’s nice to cut those corners and just enjoy your meal!

Bon appétit!

Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch?

Oh my – I absolutely love this quiche!  I crave it – yes, I do!  And when I make it, I’ll have it for breakfast, brunch, lunch or I’ve been known to eat it for dinner. That’s the beauty of quiche, it’s very versatile. I’ll often take it to work for lunch.  Add a tossed salad and you’re set!

Obviously you can customize your quiche to satisfy your tastes. You can use a multitude of combinations such as – bacon and cheddar, broccoli and Swiss, tomato, bacon and Swiss, etc. You get the idea. The variations are endless.

Quite frankly, I love the Swiss and ham and I rarely deviate from it. It’s part of the craving, I guess. Try it, you’ll see!

Bon appétit!

Swiss and Ham Quiche
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
  • 6 ounces ham diced
  • 1 pie crust (9 inch)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle cheese and ham over bottom of pie shell. In a mixing bowl, beat remaining ingredients together. Pour over cheese and ham in pie shell. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 391 Fat: 29g Saturated fat: 13g Unsaturated fat: 4g Trans fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 18g Sugar: 2g Sodium: 817mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 16g Cholesterol: 108mg

 

Twist on French Toast

French Toast Medallions

Doesn’t that look scrumptious?  Well, trust me, it is.  And what a beautiful thing to do for your honey for a nice leisure Sunday brunch or any morning for that matter.  But Sunday mornings most definitely speak French Toast Medallions to me.  Sundays are meant to be a leisure breakfast or brunch where you take your time, you drink a Mimosa, you savor a wonderful breakfast, and you probably read the Sunday paper.  Wait . . . does anyone actually read the Sunday paper anymore?  I used to, I admit, but no longer have the time.  It has been many moons since I was able to do that but not so many that I don’t remember the enjoyment I received from doing so.  It was a weekly ritual that proved both interesting, satisfying, educational, and relaxing.  I look forward to a day when I’ll be able to enjoy the paper again and the leisure Sunday morning it warrants.

Serving these French Toast Medallions will most certainly spice up your breakfast on any given day. You can’t go wrong here!  Let me know how you like them!

Bon appétit!

French Toast Medallions
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beginnings
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • ½ cup Whole milk
  • 2 tablespoon Brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 loaf French Baguette cut into 1-inch rounds
  • Fresh Blueberries
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract and milk.
  2. Pour the mix into a shallow dish and place the bread medallions in it. Toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes. Turn medallions over midway so both sides get good and soaked.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Place a few medallions at a time in the skillet and fry on both sides until golden brown. Place on paper towel lined plate to drain. Continue with remaining medallions.
  4. Serve with real maple syrup, fresh blueberries and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 rounds Calories: 105 Fat: 3g Saturated fat: 1g Unsaturated fat: 0g Trans fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 5g Sugar: 9g Sodium: 91mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 4g Cholesterol: 85mg

 

Breakfast in a Hurry!

 Baked EggsIn a hurry but still want a filling and hot breakfast? Then this is the recipe for you. You just make your grits, as normal, add a bit of cheese and spinach, fill individual custard cups, add your egg and bacon bits and bake until the egg is set.

This can also be served to guests because, as you can see, it’s quite pleasing to the eye.  Add some fruit on the side and perhaps some link sausage, and you’ve satisfied everyone in your home.  Surely this recipe will bring a smile to your family – anytime of the week.

Bon appétit!

Baked Eggs and Grits
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beginnings
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup instant grits
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup grated cheddar, divided
  • 4 teaspoons bacon bits
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray four 8-ounce ramekins with PAM. Prepare grits according to package directions. Stir in spinach and 2 tablespoons cheddar. Cook until cheddar melts, about 30 seconds.
  2. Divide grits among dishes. Make a well in each, then crack an egg into each well. Top with bacon bits.
  3. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 20 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.
  4. To serve, top with remaining 2 tablespoons cheddar and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 180 Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 4g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 7g Sugar: 1g Sodium: 323mg Fiber: 0g Protein: 12g Cholesterol: 261mg

Lazy Weekend Breakfast

Blueberry Pancakes

It’s Sunday morning and who doesn’t love blueberry pancakes for that special lazy Sunday breakfast with the family?  I can definitely deal with both!  That’s what weekends are for!

As a child growing up, I don’t recall having pancakes that often but I do remember we did have them and, as you can imagine, they were quite a treat.  We’d load ours with pecans not blueberries!  And then we’d pile on the butter and of course, syrup.  Not any ole syrup, mind you, but pure cane syrup.  It was called Daddy Buck’s.  I just Googled it and much to my surprise, it was made daddybuckslocally in the Florida panhandle in a town called Graceville by a company called Barker Syrup Company. Who knew?  I had no idea.  I assumed Mom picked it up at the grocery store, which she may have, but I didn’t know it was as local as Graceville.  Unfortunately, I can’t find any confirmation that the Barker Syrup Company is still in business or that you can still purchase Daddy Buck’s.  If anyone out there knows, please post a comment.

Anyway, as I said, I was raised on cane syrup and never even tasted maple syrup until my adult years. I do love pure maple syrup though – it is definitely the choice I make these days.  It’s expensive, but it is oh so good and well worth it.  I always have some in the fridge.  Pure maple syrup.  No Mrs. Butterworth’s or Aunt Jemima for this girl!  Only the good stuff!

You may have heard that maple syrup has many redeeming health qualities (read about them here) and is said to be better for you than local honey.  It’s true!  So, with that being said, why not have pancakes more often?  And not just any pancakes, but some loaded with blueberries, butter, and that wonderful, pure maple syrup.  You can’t go wrong with that combination!

Bon appétit!

Blueberry Pancakes
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon Baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Sour cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 3 tablespoon Unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon Vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with a few streaks of flour). Do not overmix. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using a paper towel, carefully wipe out oil, leaving a thin film of oil on the bottom of the pan. Using ¼ cup measure, portion batter into pan in 4 places. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as needed.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 pancakes Calories: 241 Fat: 9g Saturated fat: 5g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 25g Sugar: 86g Sodium: 360mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 7g Cholesterol: 79mg

 

Perfection!

Buttermilk Biscuit

Is there really a biscuit that can be classified as “perfect”?  Sure, there is and you’re looking at it.  Why do you think it’s sitting on a pedestal?  Because it IS perfect.  It’s perfectly layered, soft, and flavorful.  The key, I have found through years and years of making biscuits, is all in the technique.

Most biscuit recipes call for the same ingredients – flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and buttermilk (or milk).  There are few variations. With this recipe, however, I substitute lard for the unsalted butter (you can use the butter if you prefer).  The nutritional analysis is exactly the same except there are 6 more calories in each biscuit with the lard version.  When it comes to the final result, it’s well worth using the lard and dealing with those 6 calories, believe me. The texture is softer, more billowy, and they rise higher.  At least that’s been my experience.

The technique – well that can make or break your beautiful biscuit.  I no longer use a pastry blender to blend the lard/butter into the dry ingredients.  This revelation came to me while watching an episode of Bobby Flay’s Grill It some time ago.  He used his fingers, rubbing the butter/lard with the flour mixture until it resembled green peas.  It takes about the same amount of time but, again, results in a better texture and higher biscuit. I also knead it, folding the dough back over itself, about ten times.  The dough should no longer be sticky.  I also no longer roll out the dough but pat it out to the desired thickness, again, resulting in a better texture and higher biscuit.

When cutting your biscuits, don’t twist the cutter. If the dough is the right consistency, your cookie cutter should release the dough back onto the surface for you to pick up and place the biscuit onto the cookie sheet for baking.

Again, technique can mean the difference in a soft, delicious, mile high biscuit or a flat, overworked, hockey puck biscuit.  I’ve made both and I’ve had both – I much prefer the mile high, soft, delicious biscuit.  I think you will too!

Bon appétit!

Perfection!
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Breads
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 4 cups All-Purpose flour (White Lily)
  • 2 tablespoons Baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 8 tablespoons Lard (or unsalted butter)
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 500°. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. With your hands, cut lard into the flour mixture by rubbing the lard and flour between your fingers until it resembles coarse meal. Pour in buttermilk, and gently mix until just combined. Put dough on floured surface, kneading it until no longer sticky.
  2. With your hands, gently pat the mixture into ½” high square. Cut biscuits out with large round cookie cutter. Place in the center of a cookie sheet butting the biscuits up to each other.
  3. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool to the touch, and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 164 Fat: 6g Saturated fat: 2g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 23g Sugar: 1g Sodium: 410mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 4g Cholesterol: 6mg

 

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