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Huevos Rancheros Tortilla Cups with Salsa Verde

30 Aug

Huevos Rancheros Cups for Breakfast!

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So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Laura doesn’t love eggs. I’d dare say she hates them when they are all by their lonesome on the plate. Scrambled, over-easy, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, etc… she won’t touch them. Add a little (read: a LOT) of cheese or wrap them in a burrito with sausage and/or hash browns and salsa and did I mention cheese? and then she might consider it. Due to this little egg aversion, I went on a mission to find an egg filled breakfast that even Laura would enjoy. After much searching, and a few vetoes from Laura, I found these huevos rancheros tortilla cups with salsa verde by In Sock Monkey Slippers. I’m pretty certain she was skeptical but it was something quick and easy to throw together and the presentation unique enough.

So Meredith (of In Sock Monkey Slippers) actually used uncooked tortillas in the recipe. When I went to the store to get the ingredients I couldn’t find these things anywhere. And Laura, despite her best efforts, couldn’t find them either. So, like we tend to do, Laura and I made the recipe our own. We used some regular small burrito size tortillas and folded them into muffin cups. We scooped in some vegetarian refried beans (yep, the ones straight out of the can). Then we scrambled together some eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper and chopped green peppers and poured that mixture into the cups. And then we topped it off with shredded cheddar cheese. We popped them into the oven for 12-15 minutes until the edges of the tortillas were golden brown and crispy. Then, my favorite part of this whole dish, we spooned some spicy salsa verde onto a plate and then placed the tortilla cup right in the center.

The huevos rancheros breakfast cups were a huge hit with our Friday morning friends. They looked impressive on the plate but they took us all of 10 minutes to put together with common pantry ingredients. They were quite delicious and a unique egg-y breakfast treat that even the toughest critics would enjoy!

Huevos Rancheros Tortilla Cups with Salsa Verde

  • Small burrito size tortillas
  • Refried beans (1 can should be enough, even for a large group)
  • Eggs (1-2 per tortilla)
  • Green Peppers (or other veggies of your choosing)
  • Heavy cream or half and half (a splash or two, depending on how many eggs you use)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Salsa Verde (you can make your own or use your favorite jar variety)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place tortillas in an ungreased muffin tin. Press into the cups, allowing the excess tortillas to hang over the sides.

2. Spoon the refried beans in the bottom of the tortilla cup. Scramble eggs, cream or half and half, green peppers, salt and pepper together. Divide evenly between tortilla cups. Top with cheese.

3. Place in the oven. Bake until the eggs are set and edges or tortilla are golden brown and crispy. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

4. Spoon a few tablespoons of salsa verde onto plate and top with a piping hot huevos rancheros cup.

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

28 Aug

Pumpkin Spice Granola

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I love fall. The weather, the changing of the leaves, the flavors. I’ll blame my fondness (read: obsession) with fall on the fact that I grew up in Florida where we had two seasons: hot and hotter. The tastes of fall weren’t so easily appreciated in the 90+ degree, humid days. It doesn’t exactly lend itself to warm, spiced comfort foods. But now I get to enjoy all the wonders of fall, including foods full of spiced pumpkin-y goodness. Unfortunately the weather is still quite warm and fall is a little ways off but I thought a pumpkin spice granola would be just the thing to satiate my food craving while still being a suitable breakfast food for warm days. A little homemade granola and some greek yogurt are the perfect way to start the day!

I found this tasty low-fat pumpkin granola recipe from one of the blogs I frequent, Baking Bites. I liked that it didn’t use any oil and that it added some puffed rice to supplement the rolled oats for a slightly different taste and texture. But, like any recipe I make, I usually end up making some changes to make it my own. The spices are just a guide as I generally never measure them; I just add them “to taste” which is usually twice as much as what is called for in any recipe. So here’s my take on the granola:

Pumpkin Spice Granola
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or you can use 1/4 cup more pumpkin if you don’t have applesauce)
1/4 cup honey (maple syrup is also good, but I don’t often have it on hand)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup cashews (I prefer salted)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried fruit (I like the Sun Maid “fruit bits” mix which is Raisins, Golden Raisins, Dried Apples, Dried Apricots, Dried Peaches, Dried Plums, Dried Cherries)

Preheat the oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together spices, salt, sugar, applesauce (if using), pumpkin, honey (or maple syrup) and vanilla. Whisk until very smooth.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or large spoon until mixture is evenly coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula. Sprinkle the nuts/seeds onto the granola, then bake everything for additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10-15 minutes until done.
Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack.
Break granola up as desired, add dried fruit and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 8-10 servings.

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Spiced Orange Maple Cream Cheese Icing

25 Aug

Some days I am conceited enough to doubt others’ taste preferences. This cinnamon roll is the case in point. Jess and I were talking about what we should create for breakfast this week. She was being the creative force of the week tossing out tons of ideas. I was struggling to be human that day, so when Jess brought up a fall-ish cinnamon roll with an orange cream cheese icing I doubted her. I had just made Orange Cream Cheese Muffins (post to come), and the glaze was refreshingly citrusy. I had in my mind that glaze, and could not see it on a cinnamon roll. Jess being the gracious friend that she is, found various icing recipes and I finally came to my senses.

Please note- this is not your typical cinnamon roll dough. Jess found a Quick Cinnamon Roll recipe that does not use any yeast (aka no need to make it the night before aka we can just mix it quickly in the morning and still have a tasty breakfast). So we started there. The idea of cottage cheese in the dough was intriguing and since we use our Friday Breakfasts to try out our crazy ideas, it fit the bill nicely. We wanted to change the recipe up a bit. So we thought (note- Jess thought… I wasn’t using the creative side of my brain yet) why not give it a pumpkin filling! Here is where my laziness.. ahem I mean creativity came in… I had a lonely sweet potato in my pantry begging for use. I asked my partner in crime her thoughts on that and we came to the agreement that here they could be used interchangeably. So Jess browsed some recipes and came up with a tasty spiced sweet potato maple mixture for the filling! Mmmm!

We didn’t use a food processor to make the dough because mine is a mini one, but used an immersion blender to process the dough. Random, yes, but it did a great job and once the dough was tacky, I hand mixed it the rest of the way. There is something so satisfying about getting your hands in dough and mixing it. Note- it is meant to be a wetter dough so don’t over mix. I used a glass (because I cannot find my rolling pin….) to roll out the very tasty dough (yes, we tasted it.. and it was good). Jess was preparing the sweet potato mixture. She spread the orange goodness on the dough. We decided it still needed more spices… so we liberally sprinkled cinnamon over the whole thing. Then Jess rolled it up because I lack the skills necessary to roll up dough without squishing the filling out all over the counter. We sliced the dough in half, and then made 8 slices per roll to fill two 9 inch round pans. After baking for 25 minutes they looked quite perfect and they were ready for the icing I had previously been doubting… don’t worry, I saw the light.

Jess had found THIS recipe for pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls with orange maple icing. We started with that recipe and then, as we usually do, added a bit here, tasted a bit there, added a little more and came up with an adapted version that tasted like Christmas Morning! We think it largely had to do with the addition of ground cloves. There is something about orange and clove that is reminiscent of the holidays isn’t there? We had created a spiced orange maple cream cheese icing that we could eat with a spoon! Luckily it was needed on our rolls, otherwise Jess and I might have made our selves sick with continued “tasting” of the delicious concoction. We iced the rolls and served our guests and thankfully- everyone was pleased (even our two and four year old guests who we knew might be our toughest critics!). We decided this was a keeper.

Jess made the smart executive decision not to ice the second pan that we didn’t eat Friday. The icing was stored in the fridge separate from the rolls. Reason being that the rolls would reheat better un-iced. They could be iced after and that way the icing would not be zapped and become super thin. It was definitely the right choice. I heated them this morning in fact and then iced them and enjoyed myself all over again!

Here is the “how to” of our tasty little rolls:

Quick Sweet Rolls with Sweet Potato or Pumpkin

For the dough:
3/4 cup cottage cheese (4% milk fat)
1/3 cup buttermilk (or milk/lemon juice)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 Tbs real butter, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
9 oz. (2 cups) flour; more for rolling
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • Process wet ingredients in a bowl (use a food processor if you have one big enough). Once combined add in dry ingredients and process until combined. Do not over mix. The dough will be soft. Knead a few times until the dough forms a ball.
  • Roll out dough on floured surface (12×15).
  • Note- you need to use the 4% cottage cheese- the fat helps with the texture of the dough.
For the filling:
3/4 cup sweet potato or pumpkin (if using fresh, it will need to be cooked first)
spices to taste (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp room temperature butter
  • Mash sweet potato (or pumpkin), butter and maple syrup together. Add in brown sugar and spices. Mix well.
  • Spread mixture on rolled dough
  • Roll dough, slice log in half. Slice each half in 8 and fill two 9 inch round pans.
  • Bake in oven preheated to 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
For the icing:
2 tbsp room temperature butter
1/2 cup room temperature cream cheese (4 oz)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp grated orange zest (the zest of an entire navel orange)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4-1 cup sifted powdered sugar
ground cloves (to taste)
  • Mix together butter and cream cheese. Add maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Add powdered sugar until it is desired consistency. Add cloves to taste.
  • Once the rolls are out of the oven try to let them cool for a minute or so. Then, once you can’t wait any longer spread icing on and enjoy!

Veggie and Cheese Scramble with Sweet Potato Hash

25 Jun

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I promise we don’t only make sweet treats for breakfast! I’m going to blame the sweets on Laura since she actually wasn’t here for this healthier spread. Maybe it’s more that she doesn’t actually love eggs and since she was going to be out of town we thought we’d take advantage and make omelets full of fresh veggies! This meal was comprised of all those leftover veggies in the fridge that are about to go bad. Be honest, you know we all have them. And what started out as omelets turned into us being too hungry to wait on individual omelets. Thus the veggie egg scramble was born.

Veggie and Cheese Scramble

We chopped up red and poblano peppers, red onion, zucchini and yellow squash. We sautéed the veggies in a pan with some olive oil. Once tender (about 3-5 mins) we added a few lightly beaten eggs. I think we used one egg per person since we had a sweet potato hash to accompany the eggs. Once the eggs were set we added some shredded cheddar cheese and fresh spinach. Just let it cook until the cheese is melty and the spinach has wilted.

Sweet Potato Hash

The other yummy addition to the meal was the sweet potato hash. I happen to love sweet potatoes and they work just as well as regular potatoes do for breakfast. This recipe is also super simple. Start by chopping about 1/4 of a red or white onion (whichever you have in the fridge), 1 red or green pepper (both work well) and about a pound of potatoes (3-4 small to medium potatoes peeled and chopped into small cubes). We ended up using red onion and pepper and 3 sweet potatoes because that’s what we had. Heat some olive oil on medium heat in a cast iron skillet and sauté the veggies for 2-3 minutes. Then add the sweet potatoes. Throw in some dried thyme and rosemary plus some salt and pepper to taste. The potatoes will begin to soften and brown. I find it helps cook the potatoes evenly if you cover the skillet and essentially steam the hash. It’s done when the sweet potatoes are fork tender.

All in all, it’s a really simple meal. The hash reheats well if you have leftovers and honestly I think it pairs well with chicken or turkey or bacon. If you’ve got bacon laying around (and you aren’t cooking with a vegetarian as we were) go ahead and throw that in with the veggies you sauté. It can’t hurt!

Breakfast doesn’t always have to be sugar laden to be tasty. And it might even end up being healthy for you!

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Pancakes with Berry Compote and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

18 Jun

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So, before you think that all of our baking endeavors are successful I wanted to showcase a wonderful kitchen disaster! We set out to make waffles and top them with a berry compote (recipe here) and homemade cinnamon whipped cream (heavy cream whipped until stiff with cinnamon added, to taste). As you can see by the picture waffles = disaster. The batter was light and apparently really sticky. We also did not thoroughly spray the waffle iron with non-stick spray prior to adding the batter. We ended up with a gooey mess all over the waffle iron. The upside: the batter tasted good. In our effort to salvage breakfast we quickly regrouped, pulled out a frying pan and started making pancakes! Fortunately there isn’t too much difference between pancake and waffle batter. And I think it’s easier to turn waffles into pancakes especially when you “waffle” batter is already a little runny. Our waffle fail turned into a pancake win! Add some delicious berries and cinnamon whipped cream and you have a breakfast win that everyone enjoyed.

Whole Wheat Waffles turned Pancake Recipe

The Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs (separated)
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp milk (may not need all the milk)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

The Method:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Whisk egg yolks, milk and vanilla.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff and then add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots; don’t over-mix.
  5. Fold in egg whites.
  6. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter onto hot griddle or pan. When they begin to bubble flip them and cook until golden.

Strawberry-Blueberry Compote

14 Jun

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I was at the grocery store the other day and noticed that berries are on sale which means they are back in season and I couldn’t be more excited! To accompany waffles we decided to make a berry compote. The waffles didn’t turn out as planned (more on that later) but the compote came together well minus a little hiccup with cornstarch.

Strawberry-Blueberry Compote

The Ingredients:

  • 1 container strawberries
  • 1 container blueberries
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water (or rum or brandy if it weren’t for breakfast)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

The Method:

  1. Dissolve the cornstarch into the liquid.
  2. Combine everything in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The blueberries will begin to plump. Use a wooden spoon to pop the berries. If sauce isn’t sweet enough add more sugar. Compote is ready when sauce is syrupy but still pourable.

What we learned: We would have used confectioners sugar instead of sugar and cornstarch to help thicken the compote however we did not have any available. Confectioners sugar has cornstarch added to prevent clumping. Our sauce wasn’t as thick as we wanted so we added more cornstarch. Unfortunately halfway trough the cooking process when we added more there apparently wasn’t enough liquid to dissolve the cornstarch so it just clumped throughout the compote. Good thing it doesn’t really have a taste! Our suggestion (as noted above) is to dissolve the cornstarch in water before adding to the fruit mixture or to use confectioners sugar. If your compute isn’t as thick as you’d like, you can definitely add more during the cooking process just make sure it’s dissolved first.

The berry compote was quick, easy and absolutely delightful over some pancakes and mixed into oatmeal!

Red Velvet Crepes with Raspberry Preserves and Sweetened Cream Cheese

11 Jun

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Red Velvet Crepes with Raspberry Preserves and Sweetened Cream Cheese Filling

Growing up Red Velvet cake has been in my top three cake choices for birthdays (Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Pound Cake are my other two- my mom makes all three of these ridiculously well). Because of this passionate love for Red Velvet (developed over 26 years of “needing” to taste the batter and lick the bowl therefore covering myself in red batter), I have found that many places offering Red Velvet cake have the recipe, well, not quite right. A chocolate cake with red food coloring is NOT Red Velvet. And in my personal opinion, any frosting other than cream cheese just misses the mark. Momma’s red velvet gets its velvety texture from the buttermilk and oil in the recipe. The buttermilk along with a couple tablespoons of vinegar give the cake its trademark taste. There IS cocoa, but it is only a measly two tablespoons (some recipes call for almost a cup! Aye yie yie). Throw all those together with some eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt AND an entire 1 oz bottle of red food coloring and VOILA! you have a deliciously moist red velvety cake.

Now, it has come to my attention over the past year that Red Velvet is a trending flavor. I am seeing such things as Red Velvet Whoopie Pies (Starbucks has them, but I prefer my mom’s recipe and my Williams Sonoma whoopie pie pan), Red Velvet fudge, cookies, pancakes (post coming soon!), and even crepes! I tend to shy away from other people’s recipes due to my Red Velvet snobbery (I promise, it is only because my mom set a high standard!!), but while on Pinterest (yes, BOTH J and I are terribly addicted for baking and craft ideas) I saw this tempting recipe for Valentine’s Day.

This past Friday we made our first crepes. J’s mom made them growing up, so she was a huge asset as I attempted to man the skillet for a bit. My mom was a pancake lady-we also had men folk that demanded a heartier breakfast than the delicate crepe so I missed out. But- all that is behind me now. Friday, Red Velvet crepes with raspberry preserves and sweetened cream cheese filling debuted in my kitchen. It was surprisingly successful.

There were a few things I learned. The recipe we found told you to sift the cocoa before adding it to the dry ingredients. I did not do that and ended up with more lumps than was good for the batter. Also- crepe batter should be very thin. You will use the entire two cups of buttermilk and the cup and a fourth of sweet milk. I had issues with the lumps in the batter NOT working themselves out, so I tried to break up lumps without over stirring the batter. You can use a regular skillet, our crepes turned out beautifully, but a crepe pan ($24.95 at Williams Sonoma) will make the job much easier. The swirling motion is very important to making a uniformly thin crepe and not ending up with a weird pancake. If you do not let the crepe cook the full two minutes on one side (or if you make too thick of a crepe) and you try to flip the bad boy, things can go downhill quickly (I made these again today for my parents and husband and threw away four broken and torn crepes due to my hasty flippage!) And lastly, you may have leftover crepes. The recipe we followed yielded more crepes than cream cheese filling (or perhaps we REALLY like cream cheese filling……), so lay the unfilled crepes on a cooling rack to cool completely and dry out and then you can wrap them up and freeze for a week or two.

Hope this gives you confidence to try something new with confidence. Or just an excuse to indulge in yummy crepes.