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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Breakfast category.

Almost like my Granny

I’ve been craving me some biscuits and gravy! Mmm there’s nothing like a plate of gravy to fill your soul with warmth…or remind you that times are low. Poor man’s food at it’s finest without breaking out the Ramen. Actually, gravy reminds me of my Granny. She made gravy and biscuits, gravy and toast- whatever was on hand- all the time growing up. I remember standing by the stove as a little girl as she showed me to make the stuff. Melt the butter. Add the flour. Stir the roux. Finally add the milk and season to taste. Since she’s a vegetarian she always made a simple white gravy and that’s how I’ve always preferred mine. But today I’m feeling a little adventurous. Sausage, anyone?

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Aside from fond memories with my Granny (I really should go up for a visit!), biscuits and gravy is a cheap meal. I fed three people dinner and had some leftover for breakfast the next morning all for $4.65. Can’t beat that!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • Butter/oil if needed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Seasoned salt to taste

The first thing you need to do is brown your sausage. I personally prefer to do this in a pot, but you can use a deep skillet or I know lots of people that prefer to use a cast iron skillet. To each their own

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Make sure to break it up!

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Once your sausage is all browned up, you may need to add some extra fat. This sausage was pretty lean so I added about a tablespoon of oil. I prefer to use butter, but oil works just as well. Now that you have the needed fat, stir in the flour

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If you like, you can remove the meat and make a roux, but I’m lazy and find adding the flour directly to the sausage to be more convenient. Make sure to stir the flour in really well.

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Let it cook for a minute. This will make a nice thick gravy!

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Add the milk. I only like to use 3 cups, but if you prefer a thinner gravy you can add more. Bring to a little boil, stirring constantly. If you don’t stir, it’ll stick to the bottom, the milk will scorch, and all that bad stuff. So keep stirring. Once you get that boil going, turn the heat down to low.

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Season with salt and pepper. Go light on the salt because the sausage is usually pretty salty. If your tastes are anything like mine, go heavy on the pepper. I like my gravy nice and peppery. You can add some seasoned salt too (aka Red Robin Seasoning)

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Taste as you go!

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Allow to simmer until the gravy reaches your desired thickness, maybe 10 minutes. It’s usually done by the time the biscuits are ready. Don’t forget to put them in the oven!

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Oh yes, this is what I’m talking about! Plate up and serve!

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Not quite like Granny, but still pretty darn good!

 

 

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Puppy Training

Today was so much fun! Recently, a friend of mine adopted a Bernese Mountain dog. Ohmygoshsocute! He’s only 11 weeks old and he’s the most adorable thing ever. I wish I had a decent picture of him, but every time I whipped out my phone, he would move, leaving me with blurry photos. Today we took him to puppy training. I never thought I would be interested in attending something like that, but honestly I had a blast with it. Today’s class was about loose-leash training and greeting, which means we walked the dogs around the store, luring them forward with treats. Little Max is not much of a walker. He gets tired so quickly! But he was a really good boy.

Ah, makes me want a dog of my own! Hmmm maybe I’ll consider it as summer approaches. By then I should be nicely settled in here.

Enough about pups, let’s get to the other good stuff. I would like you all to meet Laura. She is another recent Youtube discovery. I really enjoy her videos and thought it was about time I tested one out. Because it’s Sunday and Sundays are about brunch, I chose to make her hash brown recipe. I can’t say my attempt was A+ successful – practice makes perfect mind you- but they were pretty good all things considered. I did, of course, make a few alterations.

Recipe courtesy Laura Vitale

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Ingredients:
1 large russet potato, peeled (I used three Idaho potatoes)
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons grated onion or shallot (I only had onion powder on hand- season to taste!)
1 egg white
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil (I used canola)

Find some potatoes

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And peel them!

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Using a box grater, go ahead and grate them up. I only have a little hand grater so I grated the potatoes directly into a bowl of cold water. This helps to remove some of the extra starch

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Look at that murky water! Let sit for about 5 minutes while you clean up your work space -ahem- stuff everything down your dish disposal

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Now comes the fun part. If you have a potato ricer, you’re in luck. If not, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way like me. Take your shredded potato and place it in a cloth. Now twist the cloth into a ball around the potatoes and squeeze squeeze squeeze squeeze squeeze until you get as much water out as your hands can muster

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Bravo!

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Put into a bowl and add all other ingredients except the oil: flour, egg, onion, salt, pepper. I took the liberty of adding parmesan-romano as well. To each their own!

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In a skillet, preheat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan on medium-high. Fill 1/3 of a cup with the shredded potato mixture

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Carefully place the potato mixture into the hot oil. Then using the bottom of the measuring cup, flatten out the hash brown

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These are supposed to take 5-7 minutes on one side, but I felt like mine were burning slightly. Adjust heat accordingly if you must. Once golden brown, flip and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden brown again. Remove from oil and continue cooking up the hash browns until there’s no more to be cooked. My batch made six (I ate a couple while cooking).

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As you can see, mine aren’t quite as pretty as Laura’s but they were tasty enough for my first go at hash browns. Next time I think I will add some more cheese…and perhaps some garlic. They tasted fine on their own, but if you had a couple burnt edges, a dollop of sour cream does the trick!

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By the way, no turkey recipe for us today- it’s still slightly frozen so maybe tomorrow. I sure hope it’s thawed out by then. I definitely plan on using it for dinner all week long. Turkey salad, turkey noodle soup, roast turkey sandwiches…

I tell you one thing, though. The downside to cooking here is the smell fills up the whole apartment and can last for a couple days. I’m not even going to tell you how sensitive the smoke alarm is. Pouring a bowl of cereal could make it go off!


Nothing like it

I never liked sausage all that much. I didn’t care for hot dogs. I didn’t eat kielbasi. I hated brats. In fact, I remember the first time someone offered me a brat. I was at a barbecue and brats were the only thing on the grill. I remember they looked good. They smelled good. So I plopped one onto a bun, squeezed on some spicy mustard, took a bite…and tried my hardest not to spit it back out. It was terrible. I don’t know if it was the grill master or the brat itself, but I swore them off for a couple years, categorizing them with all the other sausage products I didn’t eat.

Of course, my tastes have expanded now. Kielbasi? Yes please! Italian sausages? I’ll have seconds! Brats, you say? Bring them to mama! Since that terrible brat moment, I’ve since learned that brats are my friend. Especially the beer brats. Mmm mmm mmm! Seriously, I could eat a whole pack by myself. There’s no such thing as leftovers. So I only make them when I know I’ll be sharing. Otherwise I’d surely go into a brat coma and never recover…

My preferred method of cooking brats? Well, as you all know I am a devoted advocate of the broiler. It’s December. I am not standing outside by the grill (though recently you would think it was May rather than December the weather’s been so nice). Besides, broiling is a pretty quick cooking method and now that I’m working that 9-6 schedule, quick dinners are something to be desired. And for brats, all you need is a pan and the meat and your good to go!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package beer brats (or any brat of your choosing. Or kielbasi. Or Italian sausage- the possibilities are endless)

This is so easy, I’m inclined to write it down in steps. A little change in pace if you will

Step 1– Preheat broiler. Mine is 500 degrees. Make sure your oven rack is about 7 inches below the broiler

Step 2– Pull out your broiler pan and line it with your sausages. If you want those pretty grill marks, lay them horizontally so you can tell everyone they’re hot from the grill

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Step 3– Place pan in oven. Cook for about 8 minutes. Throw some pierogies in the oven while you’re at it

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Step 4– When your timer goes off, flip those brats! See? Grill marks! Mission accomplished

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Step 5– Cook for another 8 minutes or so and Voila! All done. So go get your grub on. Wasn’t that easy? Dinner ready in under 20

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I don’t know about you guys, but I would totally cook these up for a quick breakfast, too. It’s sausage, right? Enjoy!

Tijuana


Split the Big One

I’m supposed to be posting about the long hours I spent preparing Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday with my friends…but it seems the doughnuts I made tonight are taking precedent. I mean, hello! We’re talking about doughnuts here. As wonderful as my new cranberry sauce recipe is, I’m just way to excited about eating some fried dough to dwell on last week. Sure, these doughnuts aren’t 100% made from scratch. I admit the only reason these babies made it into existence is because I opened the fridge and saw a can of biscuits just begging to be made into something greater. But when you have a sudden doughnut craving, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and accept a little help from Pillsbury. I’ll make them from scratch next time…

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of biscuits
  • 7-8 cups canola oil

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
  • Pinch salt

Apologies (using the mighty voice of Spartacus), but I didn’t start taking photos until halfway through. It seems I’ve become so accustomed to my camera being out of commission I keep forgetting that it actually works now. Oh well. Heat the oil on medium high heat in a dutch oven or some sort of pot/pan with high sides. The oil should be over an inch deep and reach 350-375 degrees.

Meanwhile, pop that can of biscuits open and find something to start cutting holes in them with like a salad dressing bottle!

Now that your oil is nice and hot, carefully drop the doughnuts in 3-4 at a time. You don’t want to overcrowd them. My tongs were in the wash, so I used chopsticks. I really love how versatile chopsticks can be!

 

 

They cook really quickly, so flip them over after 30 seconds or so when they are golden brown. When both sides reach the desired color, carefully use your chopsticks to pull the doughnuts out and drain on some paper towels. Or some paper bags. Whatever you have handy!

 

Don’t forget to fry up the doughnut holes!

 

Once all your doughnuts are fried, you can start glazing them. Yum! Mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, salt, and milk until the glaze reaches a gooey consistency. It shouldn’t be too too thick, but it’s your glaze. You have artistic license to do as you will!

Once again, don’t forget the doughnut holes!

 

Aren’t they beautiful? All that’s missing is a tall glass of milk

 

Yes please. Thank you!

 

Enjoy!

Tijuana


Separation

I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise! Though, the way I’ve been updating lately y’all might have forgotten all about me. But things have been happenings, things that have taken up my time. For instance, with my current unemployed situation, I’ve been applying for jobs like crazy…and finally finally got an interview! Actually, it was more like a string of interviews over a month’s course for the same position. I’ll hopefully know by next week if I got it or not. I sure hope so! I need to buy a new camera so I can get back to sharing my tested recipes with everyone. It’s just so depressing without the photos, don’t you agree?

All that aside, I made my first cheese danish the other day. It was so much easier than I would’ve thought. Piece of cake (or rather danish haha). Since my camera is still out of service, I don’t have step-by-step pictures, but the boyfriend was kind enough to take a snapshot of the finished product when he got home from work. Since it was my first time working with a recipe like this, I didn’t make any tweaks so I’ll send you straight on to the original source here at Little House Living. It was delcious! And the dough was easy to make, which is saying something considering my track record with dough recipes


I prefer the old kitchen before the remodel

Granny with Memaw (right)

Today I stumbled on a post here that reminded me of my great grandmother. Most of us call her Granny, though there is a small section of the family that calls her Old Granny for some old reason. For the most past, I find it annoying, but that’s neither here nor there. In January, that magnificent woman will be 90. Maybe 91. I don’t think anyone knows the actual year of her birth. 1922 seems to work for her so we’ll cross our fingers and say she’ll be 90. I should really make an effort to visit her this year on her birthday. I don’t visit nearly as often as I should.

One of the most frequent memories I have of my Granny is her making biscuits and gravy. Like the guy in the post above, it took me a long time to finally try biscuits and gravy. I won’t deny that I was a picky child and let’s be real- gravy doesn’t look all that appetizing. Plus, my Granny is a vegetarian so in my eyes her plain white gravy looked like nasty white goop designed to ruin a perfectly good biscuit. I’m not sure what I ate for breakfast on those days…

Granny and Gramps

Usually, I remember my first bite of most foods. I’ve said it before, I remember my first taste of crab legs, muscles, sausage, lo mein, egg rolls, Indian tacos, etc. The same doesn’t go for biscuits and gravy. For the life of me, I cannot remember how that stuff got on my plate and in my belly. But I remember not liking it one day and then loving it the next day. It became one of my comfort foods and it’s so easy to prepare. I do remember standing next to Granny’s ancient gas stove and watching her every move in making the gravy. Even back then I wasn’t so great at making dough. But I sure could replicate her gravy, which has served me greatly on many poor-girl dinner nights.

I don’t think I even knew that gravy came in carnivore form until I went to college. My friends and I used to host “Family Dinner Nights” and one night the theme was breakfast. Sarah made sausage gravy. Needless to say, my mind was blown. A new door was opened. Why hadn’t I ever discovered such a thing before!

But I still love my Granny’s plain gravy with heaping amounts of black pepper.

 


Browsing the web

I’m in love. Her name is Kay. She’s a Dutch girl and after a few days of browsing, I think her blog is amazing. It’s called Kayotic Kay and I can’t wait to make her Pink Peppercorn Hot Chocolate or Breakfast Pasta Bake. I’m all about some pasta bakes! I’ve already set up a link under my Foodies page, but here’s another link right here for your convenience.

Whoa, I really was in a linking mood, wasn’t I?


Sparkle

Today is a special day. Not my special day, no, but it might as well be as excited as I’ve been, counting down the days and suffering from fits of enthusiasm. But it is not my special day. Today belongs to the boyfriend. It’s his birthday! I love birthdays. I love everything about birthdays. I love the cake. I love the ice cream. I love the special dinner. I love the presents. Oh how I love the presents. I don’t think there is anything more fun than planning out a gift, of searching for just the right fit and then wrapping it up to give away. Of course, this year has been a little tight for my post graduate self, but that’s okay. It just means I’m going to have to have some kitchen adventures! I can pour just as much love into a dish as I can into a gift. Probably even more love. And it’s all for love, right?

I’m thinking Alfredo. Rich, decadent, creamy Alfredo. With bacon. And peas. And lemon. Delicious! If I asked the boyfriend what his favorite meal was, I’m pretty sure he would give me some noncommittal answer. I can’t blame him really. Even I have the hardest time with that question. But from several observations, I think Alfredo might be at the top of his list. I’d bet money on it. Plus, it’s just a great celebration dish in general. It’s not like you can eat this Alfredo everyday. No ma’am. We are going big. That means real cream. Of the heavy variety. And let’s not forget about the real butter. Did I mention the cheese?

But that’s only half of it. We also need a special cake. Something homemade. I don’t even want to get into a discussion about those store bought concoctions. Bleh! I really wanted to make a German Chocolate cake. I was ready to take on the challenge. Then I discovered something called a sparkle cake. How could I pass on something with a name like that? Sparkle! Like the sparkling flames of birthday candles. Like the sparkling magic of celebrating your birthday. I just like the imagery that comes with a word like sparkle. So, my German chocolate recipe has been set aside for future use and we’re going to make a light, refreshing cake instead, which is probably more suited for a hot July day anyway

As much as I would love to fill this post with excruciating detail on how I prepared the cake, today I’d rather just show you the result and send you on over to the Pioneer Woman’s site. It was her recipe I used after all. But let me tell you a few things. I’ve never made an angel food cake before and I’m not sure I’m inclined to make one again. The batter was sticky and finicky and I didn’t even want to lick the bowl afterwards. But the cake was exactly what I was looking for and everyone enjoyed it.

Strawberry Sparkle Cake recipe courtesy Ree Drummond

The batter got really big. Whoa!

If you don’t have an angel food cake pan, a bundt pan will have to do. Ungreased.

I really thought it was going to overflow all over my oven

I tried the best I could to dig the cake out of the pan. I heard a rubber spatula works wonders

I resorted to a butter knife

The filling was my favorite part. Strawberry jello with whole strawberries!

Whipped cream smeared all over = heaven

The cake was a bugger success than I hoped. Woo hoo! But dinner…dinner was a great hit! In fact, it was such a great hit I’m going to give the Alfredo it’s own post. Stay tuned!


When the going gets tough

There are times in the early evening when you both arrive home, hungry and tired, and realize that there is very little in the pantry to eat. This is because you’ve neglected to go to the market. But there are other reasons your pantry seems so bare. The first is the mere simple fact that you don’t feel like cooking. After being on your feet all day (or sitting in an office), the last thing you want to do is stand some more in the kitchen. Any prospect of cooking turns into life or death battle where raiding the food in your cupboards will lead to a certain and untimely end. You’re brain is just too fried to plan a decent meal. The second reason falls to the fact that you accidentally somehow forgot to eat lunch. Now you’re so hungry not only can you not think properly, but nothing can be cooked fast enough to sooth your roaring tummy. Pasta takes too long. Casseroles take too long. There’s no way you’re even going to consider thawing out the pork hidden in the back of the freezer. You need food now!  Also, take-out is not an option because you’re trying to cut back on spending and eating out all in one go. What to do, what to do?!

You make waffles. Unlike pancakes, you can accomplish this task with relative finesse. You make waffles like champion! Or you have your assistant, who is equally as hungry and exasperated as you, make waffles like a champion. The best part is you can easily have them prepare the whole meal without them realizing they’re doing all the work. That is the joy of having an assistant. You can even call them your little sous chef. You’d be surprised how far a title can get someone and their willingness to crack an egg. Seriously, you love your sous chef.

And no, we are not making waffles from a box. We do things from scratch in this household. But today we did decide to try someone else’s recipe as opposed to following our own. Remember how not so long ago I said I was steadily going through the Pioneer Woman’s recipes? Well, the same goes for Joy the Baker. Today’s waffles were borrowed from her. Boy, did they sound good. I mean, who would dare say no to brown sugar bacon waffles? Not I, that’s for sure. I was sold as soon as I saw the word bacon. So, one can imagine the ghastly horror I felt at discovering I had used the last of my bacon up earlier that morning. Guess that’s what happens when you unexpectedly decide to have breakfast for dinner. Oh, bother.  The only thing to do was omit the bacon and lament. Then EAT!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk (milk with 2 tbs lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Joy’s recipe also calls for 2/3 cup oil, but somehow in our dash to get food into our bellies…we managed to leave it out. The waffles turned out fine if you decide to follow our mistakes. Also, when omitting the bacon she recommends using cinnamon and nutmeg. I don’t much care for nutmeg, so I bumped up the amount of cinnamon. No worries!

In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients

Find yourself an assistant/sous chef. Have them use their lovely muscles to whip together the wet ingredients. If you are making your own buttermilk, let the milk and lemon juice stand aside in a bowl for 5 minutes. This allows for the chemistry to take place. Grraaawwwwl

(What a lovely hand and forearm)

Now mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. When you’re all done, it’s okay if there are lumps in your batter. You just want to mix it, now kill it with the power of your wrist. Over mixing= no no

 You see that? That is my trusty waffle iron. His name is Olav, and if he didn’t exist I’d be cursed with making pancakes all the time. We’re going to plug him in and wait for him to heat up

Olav, as dear as he is, can be a little picky. Sometimes you try to cook some waffles and he just botches them all up in his mouth. So we’re going to feed him some PAM first. If Olav was a penguin and if our batter was a penguin, PAM would be the engagement pebble to unite the two together in holy lifelong monogamy. Random penguin fact for ya!

 Now that all parties are happy, take over for your wonderful sous chef and pour the batter onto your greased waffle iron. Close him up and wait as patiently as possible. Dinner will be served momentarily

In the meantime, giggle wholeheartedly as your boyfriend sous chef attempts to crack eggs one-handed into a skillet. He witnessed your amazing skills earlier and is determined to master you

Hehe

Haha

Hahahaha

Ahahahahahahaha

Laughter aside, feel free to frown when your assistant decides to take charge and declares he shall be serving cheeseless scrambled eggs. Say what?! Fervently ask what planet he hails from and when he refuses to hear your arguments against a plain scramble, begin plotting against him. Discretely chop up some of your leftover baby asparagus. You’re in enemy territory now…

Subtly, set asparagus aside and continue cooking waffles. When the waffles are done, plate ’em up and butter as generously as you please. Oh, look! One is missing a bite

Time for operation scrambled eggs! When your sous chef, who is trying to work their way up to head chef, exits the kitchen, quickly drizzle some olive oil in a pan and add asparagus. Don’t forget a spoonful of garlic. Salt and pepper everything

Sauteing the asparagus will take no more time than 2 minutes. Maybe even one. Throw in your plain eggs and cook until warm

Pour your yummy scrambled eggs into a bowl and top with a little bit of parm and mozzarella. Waltz on into the other room with your eggs and waffles and try not to look too snooty. Not everyone has as refined tastes as yourself

Hello dinnnaaaaaaaar! Leftover waffles make a lovely snack for later. Just toast and butter. Or you could put some fruit jam on them. Yummm

Tijuana


Sleeping in after a long night

Ah, there’s nothing like sleeping in on a Saturday morning. The sun is shining, the weather is breezy, and you aren’t obligated to leave the comfort of your chambers for nothing. Except, perhaps, your grumbling tummy. After all, you haven’t eaten in a good 17 hours. But it’s too late to make breakfast (in some opinions) and you’re not quite awake enough for something heavy. There, my friends, is the beauty of brunch. Not breakfast, not lunch, but a magical combination of both.   In college, brunch was probably my favorite meal…and I was always sad when I had to go into work and miss out on the yogurt bar which was only served on Sundays. It was a conspiracy, I tell ya!

Aside from a brunch bar with tangy yogurt, fresh fruit, and crunchy granola, I can’t think of anything more perfect to feast on for brunch than a yummy quiche. With a glass of milk. And a ripe peach on the side that smells impeccably of summer. Yes, we are about to die and go to heaven. Might as well write your wills out right now.

I must admit I had my doubts about quiche. You see, I’ve never tasted a quiche before. Souffles, yes. Quiche, no. So I was quite surprised when I padded to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, noticed the bacon and asparagus, and then pulled out the eggs, milk, and cheese. I knew exactly what to do with all these ingredients. It’s like I was possessed! With such a delightful outcome, I’d happily become possessed again. I’d volunteer!

Perhaps you’ve never had quiche before either. Maybe you’re not much of an egg person and would rather move on to the cereal cabinet or see if there’s any deli meat left in the fridge. I promise you will not want to miss this. The quiche is divine, not eggy like one would expect, and if I had known how good it would turn out, I would’ve been making it for years.

Ingredient:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 package bacon
  • 1/2 tbs garlic
  • 1 handful baby asparagus
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (but I bet fontina would be a star in this dish)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Let’s start with the bacon! We’re only going to use half a package. We’ll save the rest for some BLTs. Go ahead and take your half package of bacon and cut it into bite size chunks. Place it in a skillet over medium heat and fry it up! Hello, love!

Set bacon aside. Next, drain the majority of the bacon grease from your skillet. Seriously, we aren’t cooking with it today, though a hint of flavor won’t hurt

Return skillet to heat and melt a pat of butter. Throw in your asparagus! On a whim, add the garlic. And a sprinkling of lemon juice. It’s habit! I can’t help it…

Oh yeah, and make sure you cut off the ends of your asparagus stalks. Oh, and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Phew, that was close!

Now that your bacon and asparagus is all nice and cooked, whisk together milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Shake in your salt and pepper

Stir in bacon and asparagus. It would probably help if you chopped up the asparagus (this should probably be done in step 2). Stir in cheese as well

Your batter is ready. Spray a pie pan with nonstick spray (like PAM) and slowly pour in your quiche batter. I emphasize the slow part. No sloshing, please!

Pop her in that hot oven for 35 minutes. Our goal is for the center to be set…and for the top to be a Mediterranean golden brown! Ta-da!

Oh, baby! It was so good I had to have seconds. I probably could have eaten the whole thing by myself. No joke. Talk about scrumptious! You may want to pat your asparagus dry before mixing it into the batter. It makes the bottom of the quiche a little soupy, otherwise. Enjoy!

Tijuana