Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’

Ham & Vegetable Breakfast Strata

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Throwing brunches is one of my favorite entertaining tricks for staying ahead on food preparation and staying under budget. A breakfast strata happens to be one of my favorite brunch dishes to prepare because all of the work can be done ahead of time, allowing me the chance to really be in the moment and visit with our guests.

Breakfast strata is nice and frugal because you can use what is in season and on sale to create this elegant dish. Better yet, you can use the leftover Easter ham and leftover vegetables in a fun and creative way. Even the bread can be stale or leftover from your Easter feasting. If you don’t have any bread to dig into, don’t forget my super awesome resource for day old bread. Between that and your Easter leftovers, you have the makings of a meal for mere pennies.

This strata is unlike my usual meat and cheese strata because it is filled with delicious fresh vegetables. I used zuchinni, mushrooms, and green peppers in mine, but you can mix up whatever variety of vegetables you love or have on hand. Leave the meat out to keep it vegetarian or add your favorite meat to add another dimension of flavor.

The creaminess in this comes from a tiny bit of half-and-half and a whole lot of cream cheese.

In my grandmother’s words, “Cream cheese just makes everything better.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Breakfast Strata
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
A breakfast strata that you can assemble the night before. This is a winner for any brunch or when entertaining. This makes two. Cut your recipe in half for just one strata.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • 1½ cups chopped green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup half-and-half cream
  • 12 eggs
  • 4 cups cubed day-old bread
  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, zucchini, ham, green peppers and garlic in oil until vegetables are tender. Drain and pat dry; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and cream until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs.
  4. Stir in the bread, cheese, salt, pepper and vegetable mixture.
  5. Pour into two greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dishes.
  6. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  7. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


We wanted to share with you a few of our favorite pictures from our Easter celebration. We hope you all had a wonderful Easter with your families!

What is your favorite way to use up those Easter dinner leftovers?

 

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Banana Crumb Muffins

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

I had a rainy day with nothing to do on the horizon. I put on a little Ella Fitzgerald on my laptop and headed into kitchen to spend the morning baking and thinking. I always do my best thinking in the kitchen, don’t you?  There is something about the mindless concentration of measuring, scooping, leveling, and mixing that appeals to me. With ripe bananas sitting on the counter, I knew these Banana Crumb Muffins would be the ideal treat for a sweet snack for my kids. Everyone has a favorite recipe for bananas and these Banana Crumb Muffins happen to be my favorite for putting those bananas to good use.

If you are looking for a bakery-worthy recipe, these muffins would be right at home in any bakery. The cinnamon and sugar streusel topping is really what makes these rather ordinary banana muffins stand out. The crunch from the topping with the moist cake makes these a winner in our family.

I love to double the crumb topping on these and keep this in my freezer. It is a fun addition to any of your favorite muffin recipes and makes the process of creating these just a little bit easier the second time around. When you want to use the crumb topping, just use a fork to break the topping up a bit and add as you normally would to your muffins.

Serve these delicious muffins with big glasses of ice cold milk for an easy and satisfying snack.

5.0 from 2 reviews

Banana Crumb Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
A light & fluffy banana muffin with a delicious cinnamon and brown sugar struesel topping.
Ingredients
  • Banana Crumb Muffins
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cups white sugar
  • 1 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅛ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • 1 T butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Lightly grease ten muffin cups or line with muffin papers.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter.
  5. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut the butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  8. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for eighteen to twenty minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.

 

Looking for other delicious muffin recipes? I love these Healthy Banana & Blueberry Muffins, these Apple Pie Muffins, and my Lemony Blueberry Muffins for some other fun muffin alternatives!

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Baked Snickerdoodle Doughnuts

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Baked donuts have become our family’s new way of celebrating all of the special occasions in our life and I couldn’t wait to share with you my snickerdoodle donut creation I made this week. These baked snickerdoodle donuts are a fun & frugal family treat that are easy to create with a simple nonstick donut pan ( we have two of these Norpro 6-count Nonstick Donut Pans) and pantry ingredients.

My husband celebrated his birthday this past weekend and I wanted to create something special for his birthday morning. Every year I try to find a snickerdoodle treat for him since it is his favorite cookie in the whole world. We have enjoyed everything from the cookies to snickerdoodle cupcakes to snickerdoodle biscotti in our house. It seems no matter what version of snickerdoodles we are creating, we love them no matter what. Who could resist that cinnamon flavor?

I will admit the first batch of these was a giant fail, although they photographed beautifully. I played with different leavening agents that yielded gummy and heavy donuts.  I ended up baking a second round later in the week using cake flour and it helped to yield a much lighter donut and more the consistency I was after. It is proof that sometimes it takes a couple of tries before you get it right when baking.

Each donut was dipped in butter and then dipped in a bowl filled with sugar and cinnamon. The coating adds that crunch and more cinnamon flavor that remind me so much of our favorite snickerdoodle cookie. We all agreed, that these donuts were heavenly and there was not a single one left once I perfected the batch.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Baked Snickerdoodle Donuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These baked cake donuts are full of cinnamon flavor with a crunchy cinnamon & sugar topping that you are sure to love!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cake flour (or 1¾ cup all-purpose flour + ¼ cup cornstarch)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon & Sugar Topping: ¼ cup of butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the cake flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Pour in the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Gently mix the ingredients together. Be careful not to over-mix the batter.
  5. Lightly grease a doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Carefully spoon the batter into the doughnut pan, filling each one halfway (you should get twelve donuts total)
  7. Bake the doughnuts at 400 F for eight minutes. The donuts will remain light in color, but should spring back when pressed.
  8. Allow to cool for five minutes.
  9. Unmold each donut gently and lightly brush each with the 4 tablespoons of melted butter.
  10. Dunk in a bowl with the sugar and cinnamon mixed in.
  11. Shake off excess sugar and serve immediately.

 

Emily & Ethan presented their Dad with these fabulous donuts for his birthday treat. We all sang to him and Emily presented just one more gift for her dad…

Her front tooth.

It is too adorable for words.

Looking for really great baked donut recipes? I have you covered!

1. Baked Apple Pie Donuts

2. Baked Blueberry Donuts with a Lemon Glaze

3. Fluffy Cake Donuts with a Simple Glaze

4. Fluffy Baked Chocolate Donuts

5. Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Syrup Frosting

6. Baked Glazed Gingerbread Donuts

What are your favorite ways to celebrate birthdays in your family? We would love to hear your family’s traditions for celebrating!

 

Submitted to Mouthwatering Mondays at A Southern Fairytale.

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“Save Your Green” Green Smoothie

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Everywhere I turn, I am seeing green smoothie recipes. Green smoothies have filled my blog reader and my Pinterest wall. My girlfriend first jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon and I shortly followed behind her. We would chat in the mornings, trying different fruits, different ratios, and then deciding the order that everything should go into the blender for the perfectly blended drink. Yes, our conversations tend to be quite fascinating only to us. That being said, I became hooked on green smoothies and I feel so much better about my day if I have had one of these in the morning.

That being said,  I did not want to spend our entire grocery budget on green smoothie ingredients or run from store to store to get ingredients that I couldn’t find at my usual store. Sure, I want to be healthy, but I also like to stay under my grocery budget. I decided to create my own version of this smoothie using ingredients I could find at ALDI Supermarket.

I always hate to list prices for items because they can become out-of-date by tomorrow, but I do want to share with you the rough cost of the items I found at the store.

Flat Leaf Spinach (9 ounces)- $1.69

Vanilla Soy Milk (half gallon)- $2.39

Mandarin Oranges (3 pounds)- $2.49

Fage Greek Yogurt (17.6 ounces)- $1.99

Bananas- $.45 per pound

Frozen Strawberries (2 pounds)- $3.49

It is hard to estimate the price per smoothie because items like the yogurt go quickly while other ingredients (like the fruit) can last for a couple of weeks for me. Regardless, I love that I can make one of these green smoothie creations on my budget and not have to shop for more obscure or expensive ingredients.

Why would anyone ever want to drink a green smoothie? It is packed full of fruits and vegetables that can be the perfect workout treat or a fun way to start your day. I worried that the smoothies would taste like spinach, but the spinach blends right into the fruits and I can’t taste it all once it has been blended well. As a busy mom trying to get my kids on the bus every morning, I don’t make eating breakfast a priority. Doesn’t coffee count as a healthy breakfast? This smoothie is helping me do better about putting good things in my body while we are getting ready for the day.

 

A few years ago, I decided to make the investment into a blender that would really last after burning up my blender every summer making the kids slushies and other frozen treats. My Krups blender is going on its third year with me and has been one of the wisest investments for smoothie creations in my kitchen. If you use your blender often, I encourage you to get one that has some power behind it especially when blending ice and frozen fruits like this smoothie.

After trying different variations of layering, I find the spinach pulls in the best when it rests in the middle. On the bottom I pour my soy milk, my Greek yogurt, my frozen strawberries, and my ice. Next I put in my layer of spinach. I add a banana and a segmented orange or clementine to the top. This seems to be the best technique for smooth spinach blending for me. You may want to experiment in your own blender and see what works best for you.

This smoothie makes a really giant smoothie for me and one small smoothie for my daughter for our breakfast in the morning. When my daughter brought home her, “sh” words from her kindergarten class, my husband handed it to me and proclaimed that I have officially brainwashed my children. She thinks her green smoothie is a “sh…ake.”

I love this child.

You will love this smoothie. I hope it transforms your morning as much as it has transformed mine!

4.0 from 1 reviews

“Save Your Green” Green Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Drink
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A green smoothie made from inexpensive ingredients to jump start your day!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  • ½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ a banana
  • 1 orange or clementine, peeled and segmented
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional, but can help add sweetness)
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients in your blender as listed.
  2. Pulse or use the ice crush feature on your blender to break down the ice and frozen fruit.
  3. Blend well.

Have you jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon? What are your tricks and ingredients for making your signature green smoothie?

Linking up to Mouthwatering Mondays on A Southern Fairytale

 

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Deliciously Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Deliciously Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter; beat well. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Spoon in about 3/4 cup of batter into the waffle iron. Cook each waffle for 4-5 minutes. This recipe makes approximately 5 waffles on my waffle iron.

Additional Notes- I double this recipe to make an extra batch to freeze or when entertaining. Make sure to spray your waffle iron well with nonstick spray or these will stick to the waffle iron and make a big mess. Also, be sure to leave these on at least four to five minutes. If you try to take them off sooner than that, they will not taste as good or set up as nicely.

Fresh Blueberry Pancake Syrup

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Fresh Blueberry Pancake Syrup

1 pint (or two cups) fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Allow it to cook for 12-15 minutes and give the berries a little smash with your wooden spoon to break them up into the syrup. This syrup can be served warm over The Best Waffles Ever or you can serve the syrup cooled.

Bread Machine Monkey Bread

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Bread Machine Monkey Bread

1/4 cup water, warm (100-110F)
2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup milk, warm (100-110F)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg (beaten)
3 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (.25-oz)

Sugar Mixture:
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup butter, melted

Lightly grease a standard 10-in bundt pan with vegetable oil or any cake-shaped pan. Set aside.
In a microwavable bowl, combine the water, milk, and butter and microwave it for one minute (or just until warm). Pour this into the bottom of your bread machine. Add the egg and vanilla next. Add the flour, salt, sugar, and then finally the yeast. Run the Dough cycle on your bread machine and let it run through the entire cycle until it beeps.

Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and gently deflate so that dough is relatively flat (maybe 1/2-3/4 inch thick) Using a knife or a bench scraper, cut off small pieces of dough to form 1/2 to 1-inch balls. As you cut each piece of dough, roll it into a ball in the palms of your hands. Dunk each ball in butter, use the fork to remove it and transfer it to the sugar mixture to be thoroughly coated. Place all coated dough balls into prepared bundt pan.

Once all balls have been coated and places in the pan, cover the pan lightly with plastic wrap and let bread rise for 60 minutes, until almost doubled in size. I covered this with plastic wrap and then popped it in the fridge overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350F when you are ready to bake it. If it is in the refrigerator, pull it out a half hour before and let it rise on the kitchen counter before baking. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Bread will spring back when lightly pressed. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a serving platter. Eat immediately (or reheat leftovers), as the bread is best served warm and gooey.