Monthly Archives: February 2012

Breakfast Pizza

Pizza is always a good choice for breakfast, no?  I love it when there’s leftover pizza in the fridge.  Sometimes I even heat it up.  But what to do when there is no (gasp!) pizza and you’ve got a pizza kind of cravin’ in the morning?  Make this super easy, fairly fast and yum-yum-yummy pizza with traditional breakfast-y flavors!  (This recipe is adapted from one featured on a package of Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage once upon a time.)

  • 1 tube crescent rolls
  • 1 pound browned sausage–breakfast sausage or Italian or whatever you like!
  • 1/2 can diced green chiles (optional)
  • 2 0r 3 handfuls frozen hashbrowns
  • 2 0r 3 handfuls shredded cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • splash of milk
  • salt and pepper
  • a sprinkling of parmesan

Preheat oven to 375F.

Open the crescents, separate them, lay them equally spaced on a regular pizza pan and smoosh them into a crust, complete with a lip on the edge. (This will keep your eggs from oozing over the side.  Do NOT use a pizza stone for this, unless you enjoy cleaning oozed, burned eggs from the bottom of your oven.  Trust me.  🙂 )

Brown sausage.

Drain sausage and spread evenly over the crust.

Add green chiles if desired.  This was the first time I’d used green chiles in this recipe; they are a nice flavor addition.  However, I used a whole can and it made the crust a bit soggy, so go with just the half-can if you choose to use them.

Sprinkle hashbrown shreds over the top–they can be frozen still.

Then layer on some cheese.

Beat eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper.

Pour eggs evenly over pizza, being careful near the edges.

Top with a sprinkle of parmesan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes; until eggs are done, cheese is melted and crust is golden.

Cut with a pizza cutter and enjoy!

Yummy!  Experiment with the idea: meat free, bacon instead of sausage, mushrooms, jalapeno slices, huevos-style with a sprinkling of black beans, top with avocado slices…..mmmmmm!

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Nina’s Groutburgers

Yup, “groutburgers.”  Mr17’s granny, Nina, got this recipe from friends, and we think the name derives from “kraut burgers” because of the cabbage in the filling.  Savory filling wrapped in a soft bun, mmmmm–yummy! 

Nina always makes jillions of these, I cut her recipe in half–enough for dinner and leftovers for the three of us. double the recipe for a potluck!

For the bread:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 pkg dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2-4 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 1 pound ground meat (Nina always used beef, I used chicken, ’cause that’s what I had–surprisingly yummy!)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, grated
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, or any other seasonings you like to taste

Start the bread first.  Dissolve the yeast in warm water.  

Mix in milk, sugar, butter, salt, egg and 2 cup of the flour. 

Beat until smooth and add enough of the remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface.

Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl; turn greased side up.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until double; about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough, cover and let rise a bit more while you make the filling.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Brown the ground meat and onions together.

Add the cabbage and cook until cabbage is tender.  Add seasonings and let it sit while you prepare the dough.

Divide dough in half.  Roll out each half and cut into 5″ (ish) squares. 

Divide the filling in half and place evenly onto dough squares.  Use the rest of the filling with the second half of the dough.

For each square, pull up two sides and pinch them together along the seam.  Pull up another side and pinch it to the others, and finally pull up the last side to make a little packet.  You may need to get creative with the “squares” from the corners of your rolled-out dough.  Mine ended up kind of triangular.

Place the groutburgers on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet.  I needed two sheets for all of my little burgers. 

Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Brush with butter if you like.

Serve ’em up at least two per person.  Plenty for me, but the guys had seconds! 

Eat as is or cut them in half.  Dip in whatever you like–mustard (my fav), catsup (Mr17’s fav), or some sort of combo (Michael liked mustard and hot sauce).

You might be thinking that this is a complicated way to have a burger.  Well, it kinda is, but the result is so WAY better than a burger!  Tender-soft dough with a savory meat and veggie filling all wrapped up in a one-handed meal.  Yummy!  I make them when I have time to dink around with a yeast dough; not a recipe for an in-a-hurry week night!  Groutburgers are a perfect grab-and-go lunch.  Mr17 takes them to school and eats them cold.  I like to nuke them for a few seconds. 

Once you have the technique, play with the fillings….how ’bout a mushroom-swiss burger this way?!  BTW, this dough is also fabulous to use as a base for cinnamon rolls….mmmm!

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Sweet-Tooth Saturday: Heavenly Banana-Chocolate Bread

Heavenly.  This adjective will occur to you, sniffing the air while this bread is baking.  And again when you sample a warm, melty slice.  And again when you wake up in the middle of the night and realize your house still smells of sweet banana bread and chocolate….and the rest of the loaf is calling to you from the refrigerator.

Even if you think you don’t like the combination of banana and chocolate (like me), you’ve gotta try this recipe next time you have bananas going past their prime.  The recipe is adapted from Everyday Food Magazine.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (You can microwave a stick for 20 seconds to achieve softness.)
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp table salt (NOT kosher.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed banana (3-4 bananas)
  • 2 TBSP plain yogurt–I used Greek yogurt (can substitute sour cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter and flour a 5×9″ loaf pan, set aside.

Chop up chocolate, even if you’re using chocolate chips like me.  This will create the magic that makes this bread so amazing–the tiny shards will blend into the loaf and the larger pieces will make melty puddles of yumminess.  Chop the nuts as well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, 3 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, scraping down the bowl if necessary.

Beat in bananas, yogurt, and vanilla.

Beat in flour mixture.

Stir in nuts and chocolate.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a skewer comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it; 1 hour-1 hour and 20 minutes.

The top will be dark, but aside from the melty bits, this is my favorite part.  Crispity-crunchity mmmm-mmmm-yummy!

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove.  The original recipe says to cool completely on a wire rack, wrap tightly in plastic and store in the refrigerator or freeze, up to 3 months.  Really?  I say slice and enjoy right away!  While it’s all warm and melty! 

Then later, if you want to store or freeze the rest, go ahead.  This treat doesn’t last long around here.  Yummy by itself, yummy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream….just sayin’.

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Kris’ New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

The quarterly pick-up parties at one of our favorite wineries, Reeder Mesa Winery, are fabulous events with great food, entertainment and of course, great wine!  The party that falls in February always has a Mardi Gras theme.  Last year, one of the owners made this recipe, and sent each of us home with the recipe card.  I finally made it this week.  So, so yummy!

Not many ingredients, but BIG flavor!

  • 1 pound dried red beans (Kris swears by ordering them from New Orleans, I am a last-second sort of gal and got these at the local grocery.)
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced (or any other smoked, spicy sausage)
  • 2 cups onions, chopped (1 large onion)
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled (these will melt into the beans while they cook)
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning to taste, if you have it
  • 3 cups cooked rice

Wash and pick over beans.  Place in a 4-qt casserole or pan with 8 cups water.  Cover and soak overnight.

Pour off water, replace with 4 cups fresh water.  Add sausage, onion, celery, garlic, green onions and parsley.  Cook in crockpot on low for 8 hours, or simmer on stovetop til beans are tender.

Look how rich and yummy!  Add salt, red and black pepper and Tony Chachere’s.

Mash up 1 cup of the beans and stir back into the pot to thicken.

Serve over cooked rice!  Yummy!

I like to mix mine all together.

The spices in this recipe are just-right spicy for me.  Michael added additional hot sauce–he loves his food WAY hotter than I do!  However spicy you like, red beans and rice makes for a warm and yummy comfort food meal!

Here’s a picture of a couple revelers from the pick-up party!  Laissez les bons temps rouler, girls!

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Sweetheart Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate.  Waffles.  Oh, yeah!  When I first saw these in the recent “Chocolate Issue” of the Food Network Magazine, I thought how perfect they’d be, made up in my cute little heart waffle iron, for Valentine’s breakfast.  But then, if I waited, none of you would have the recipe in time.  So, I sucked it up and made them this morning.  How I sacrifice for this blog.  😉

No more trouble than any waffle, and not overly chocolatey or overly sweet; I’ll be making more of these!

  • 6 TBSP butter, melted
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • toppings of your choice, such as powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, berries, …..!

Melt the butter and set aside to cool a bit.

Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl or large measuring cup (which I like for the pouring part!), whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter together.

Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture.  The batter will be thick.

Heat a waffle iron, ladle batter in and cook until done.  These waffles smell uh-maze-ing while they cook!  It’s a bit tricky to see if they’re done or not, since they’re already brown, but they do get a little browner. 

Serve up topped however you like.  I loved the way the powdered sugar played against the crispy chocolatey waffles.  Mmmmmm-yummy!

Michael liked them like he likes any waffle–topped with a bit of butter melting in….but this is way prettier, don’t you think?

AND THEN!  I got this idea that the little hearts could be separated, and two of them could be the outside of a cute little ice cream sandwich, with hot fudge and whipped cream. 

Oh but these were yummy–the Sweetheart Sundae!  I toasted the waffles I made this morning in the toaster for perfect crispy warmness.  Yum-yum-yummy!

Have a sweet Valentine’s Day!

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Sweet-Tooth Saturday: Easy Chocolate Truffles

Let’s start this post with a picture, shall we?!

I am so patting myself on the back for making these uber-rich, chocolatey, beautiful and EASY little truffles today.  Lucky for me, I am a woman of a “certain age,” because I found the recipe in the February/March AARP Magazine–just the thing for Valentine’s Day!  Make the truffles classic and simple by rolling them in cocoa powder, or go wild with coatings! 

  • 10 ounces of semi- or bitter-sweet chocolate, finely chopped  (I used semi-sweet chips.)
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 TBSP light corn syrup
  • about 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for coating, or a combination of coatings!  (I used cocoa powder, espresso powder, powdered sugar, coconut and a variety of pink sugars and sprinkles.)

Line an 8×8 pan with plastic wrap, leaving some up over the sides.

Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring every 30 seconds until mostly melted.

Bring cream just to a boil in a sauce pan.  (Watch VERY closely, it doesn’t take much time between starting to boil and a huge mess all over your stove!) 

Remove from heat and pour over chocolate.

Stir until the mixture is thick, smooth and shiny.  It will seem to not be combining at first, but keep stirring, it will get shiny!

Stir in butter, 1 TBSP at a time.  When all butter is incorporated, stir in the corn syrup.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan.

Fold plastic over the top, and gently press against the chocolate.  Refrigerate 2-3 hours, until firm.

Lift truffles out, plastic and all, to a cutting board.  Carefully cut into 36 pieces, using a long, cold chef’s knife.  You may need to clean your knife in between cuts.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and assemble your coatings in bowls large enough to roll the truffles in.

One by one, roll the pieces between your hands to make balls.  This is super-uber messy.  Truffles are supposed to melt in your mouth, and will melt on your hands while you roll them.  Roll each ball in the coating of your choice.  I learned to not switch back and forth between coatings–the coatings will stick to your chocolatey fingers and contaminate the look of the next truffle.  (Eat any “mistakes.”  I won’t tell.)  Place rolled truffles on wax paper.  I also learned to wash my hands between coatings, rinsing with cold water to try to keep my hands colder.

Continue until all truffles are coated and placed on the sheet.  Refrigerate until firm again.  Serve cold.

I had some little mini-muffin liners–I just used the pink ones; and found some Valentine-y ones at the store, along with these cute little heart tins! 

I just love-love-love how pretty these look! 

I think my Valentines are going to love the different coatings and the rich, melty chocolate.  Yummy!

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Green Chile and Cheese Strata

The grocery store I shop most often has a couple of clearance areas.  One has dented cannned goods and seasonal leftovers, the other has baked goods nearing their expiration date.  I just can’t resist half-price artisan breads; so wonderful to have them on hand for soups and such.  Sometimes this results in leftover partial loaves, which are perfect for yummy breakfast stratas!

Stratas are super easy to make and are super flexible ingredient-wise, but must be put together the night before you plan to serve them.

For an 8×8 strata:

  • approximately 1/2 loaf leftover bread 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 can chopped green chiles (I’d use two cans if you don’t use pepper jack cheese.) 
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used pepper jack–yum!)

Start by thinly slicing the bread.

Layer half of the bread, tearing it to fill in holes, in a buttered 8×8 pan.

Saute the onions in a bit of oil until translucent.

Stir in green chiles.

Spread half of the green chile mixture over the bread.

Next, spread half of the shredded cheese.

Follow with another bread layer, then chiles, then cheese.

Whisk together eggs and half and half.  Pour over the layers as evenly as possible.

Cover with plastic wrap.  The wrap needs to touch the surface of the strata.

Place another 8×8 pan on the plastic wrapped surface of the strata and weight with a couple cans of veggies or dried beans.  This allows the bread to become thoroughly saturated with the custard.  Refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake strata 50-60 minutes, or until puffed, pulling away from the edges and golden.

Cut into squares and enjoy the melty, yummy wonderfulness.

Oh yeah.  The perfect breakfast bite. 

Stratas are great for overnight guests, great to take for a potluck brunch, and awesome left over.  Microwave cold pieces of baked strata for a quick breakfast the next day!

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