Pancake Bites

Breakfast for dinner, and weekend brunches, are some of my favorite meals to cook. These pancake bites are a favorite way to mix it up. They are the perfect breakfast finger food; very toddler-friendly.

The idea for these came from Bakerella and are inspired by her mini maple pancake muffins.  Of course, Bakerella makes her from scratch. I don’t usually have time for scratch. The first time I made these, I used low calorie pancake mix and followed those directions for regular pancakes. Then added sugar & vanilla (for lighter/fluffier pancakes according to the box). Like the recipe I added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. I overfilled my muffin pan so mine required slightly longer (about 12 minutes to bake). They were superb. I took loads of pictures.

This is yet another recipe that allows for a bit of flexibility. Use any mix you want, or make it from scratch. (I can’t wait to try this high protein kodiak mix). Use apple sauce in place of all or some of the butter. Use blue berries in place of chocolate chips. Add banana chunks, and nuts. Dip in syrup, agave syrup, or take a page from Jamie Oliver and dip in yogurt and honey! Bakerella currently has a post with a blueberry and oat version. I have this pan and highly recommend using pam for baking so these babies pop right out – trust me, you don’t want to be scraping out a mini muffin pan.

Advertisements

Baked Oatmeal – Quick and Easy Breakfast

Most of us face challenges when we try to get out the door in the morning, especially when trying to eat something at least reasonably healthy and filling.  This works well, especially if you make it in advance so all you have to do is heat it briefly or eat it out of hand like a muffin.  I usually bake this, let it cool and then package individual servings in baggies and freeze. This recipe is adapted from Budget Bytes.
Baked Oatmeal
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (about 3 medium) mashed banana
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ¾ tsp baking powder 
  • 2 cups coconut milk (or regular milk)
  • 2½ cups old fashioned oats 
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries*
Instructions
  1. Mash the bananas and combine in a large bowl with the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Add the coconut milk and whisk again until smooth.
  2. Stir in the dry old-fashioned oats. Fold in the blueberries.Pour into greased 8″x 8″ baking dish.
  3. Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is no longer wet to the touch.
  4. This can be served warm with or without milk, or eat as is.  Makes a great breakfast on the go.  It also freezes well.
*I used dried blueberries, reconstituted by soaking in boiling water for about 30 minutes, then draining.  You could also use other types of fruit such as raisins, craisins, chopped apples, berries, dates, etc. 

Spinach, Mushrooms, and Onions – Pt 3

The first post last week was about a delicious spinach, onion and mushroom recipe. I used this recipe to make a chicken bowtie pasta. In the second post, I talked about how I used this recipe to make a delicious pizza, in just a few minutes. Believe it or not, I have TWO more uses for that scrumptious blend. The second time I made this recipe (only a week later, I might add) – I also doubled it, then split it in half.

First up is this delicious egg scramble we made for a weekend brunch with the left overs. I intended it to be an omelette, but I am impatient, and just plain awful at making them – omelettes usually turn into a scramble. Same ingredients, same textures, different presentation – still delicious. I added mozzarella cheese, and some breakfast sausage. 
Next up is another bowl of pasta! I think we used linguine – the noodle doesn’t really matter. A friend had forwarded me a delicious looking recipe for a spicy smoked sausage alfredo bake. I purchased the smoked sausage, but forgot the remaining ingredients. We always keep a few jars of different types of pasta sauce on hand in the pantry, so I sliced the sausage and threw it in a pan for a few minutes. I added the spinach,onions, and mushrooms, just for long enough that everything was warm, and then I poured in the Alfredo sauce. It was so delicious, and it may be my husband’s new favorite! 

Banana Muffins

Mmmmmm  Yummy

Have you ever purchased bananas from Costco? Its less than $2 for a bunch, and usually there is 6-8 in a bunch. I mean 6-8 big bananas. Costco has spoiled me. I can’t buy my bananas anywhere else. As happens to me occasionally though, I totally underestimated the ripeness of my banana bunch. In a day or two I ended up with 6 huge brown bananas. I already have a few loaves of traditional banana bread in the fridge, so I wanted to find something a bit different.

Pretty Little Muffin

Using foodgawker (one of my favorite food sites), I found these Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins from Creme de la Crumb. Let me tell you – these are divine. This will probably be my go to banana recipe.

They are fluffy and moist, and the greek yogurt provides a bit of a protein boost. The chocolate chips are noted to be optional, but I threw in plenty.

My favorite greek yogurt (for cooking)

Breakfast Tacos

Some years ago, we spent several winters and one summer living in Mexico in our travel trailer, staying in a small village way off the beaten tourist path.  We became close with several Mexican families, literally being “adopted” as family members.  We were included in their family celebrations – baptisms, weddings, and funerals as well as the normal holidays.  Our youngest children were still small, and they attended the local schools where no English was spoken.  Needless to say, they quickly become fluent in Spanish, far more so than my husband and myself.  One of my favorite memories is of my youngest son, about 5 years old, sitting up on the counter of a hardware store and attempting to translate for my husband, who wanted to buy some PVC pipe and fittings.  After much back and forth, the mission was accomplished.

Our Mexican friends were astounded by the variety of foods we ate – and we were eating simply, using only ingredients we could buy there.  They ate basically the same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner – beans and tortillas, maybe some peppers and queso fresca to go along with them. Other dishes, such as rice, soups, tacos, etc. were for special occasions, and one chicken would feed a large family (usually as soup).  Meat was sparse and used mostly as a flavoring, and was not a part of daily meals.
Most families did not own a complete set of silverware as we know it.  A sharp knife or two, and some spoons for soup.  Everything else, including the beans, were scooped up with a piece of a tortilla and then eaten together.  (For years, my kids loved to eat beans using a torn-off piece of a tortilla to scoop them up.)  One day, I made cole slaw, and I sent some over to one of our friends so he could try it.  Sure enough, he immediately wrapped it in a tortilla, ate it and pronounced it delicious.
The only bread we had was what I made. One day I was out of bread at breakfast time and only had eggs and bacon available to fix.  We always had corn tortillas on hand that we bought from a local tortillaria, so I briefly fried several tortillas, cooked an egg and a couple of pieces of bacon, and folded them inside the tortillas, along with some crumbled queso fresca.  Oh, my word!  That was one of the best things I had ever put in my mouth!  Since then, I have added a few more ingredients (shredded cheddar, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cabbage or alfalfa sprouts) and this is still one of my favorite breakfasts.  Needless to say, my kids love them, too.

Breakfast Tacos (one generous meal)
  • 4 corn tortillas*
  • 2 strips bacon, cut in half
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese** (or queso fresca)
  • 1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, cabbage or alfalfa sprouts
To Assemble:

Cook bacon until crisp, then set aside. Briefly fry each tortilla in a skillet with a little oil or butter, flipping over halfway, just until it starts to brown (I like to use the grease from the bacon).  Remove from skillet, put on plate and immediately sprinkle with 1/4 of the shredded cheddar down the center, then fold in half.  Repeat the process with the rest of the tortillas.  Quickly scramble the egg in the hot skillet, and then divide evenly between the tortillas.  Add 1/2 piece of bacon to each.  At this point, I like to put the folded tortillas back into the hot skillet (off the burner) for a minute or two to be sure the cheese is melted, but it isn’t necessary.  Once the tortillas are back on the plate, carefully open each one and add chopped tomato, chopped onion, feta cheese and shredded greens.  Fold back up and prepare to feast!
This is a meal that really sticks to your ribs, and you will find that you aren’t hungry again for hours. I also often fix this for myself for lunch or dinner when I don’t have anything else handy and don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking.
*You can use flour tortillas, but the combination of flavors just isn’t as good.

** I have always been disappointed in the queso fresca that you can buy here.  Feta cheese is much closer in taste and texture to what we bought in Mexico, and is easier to find.

Pork, Pork, and More Pork

I ended last week by throwing a gigantic 8-lb Pork roast into the slow cooker. I put the other one in the freezer for later. Pulled Pork is a staple in this house. Once done it practically falls apart, but it can still be shredded with a mixer. Considering how much pork I made, I’m glad I shredded it with the mixer! That still leaves one question, what does a family of three, do with this much pork!?

We ate pork all week, and didn’t get bored. It addition to the usual pork quesadillas, and BBQ pulled pork, we made a variety of dishes, including BBQ pork grilled cheese, green chili enchiladas, BBQ-Ranch Salad, Pulled Pork Philly Cheese Steaks, and Pork & black bean chili. So many different delicious recipes, they are not going to fit in one blog post, so you’ll have to check back!

One of the first *new* dishes I made with the pork, was a breakfast pork skillet. We’ve gone to a few brunches, as this amazing restaurant, called Egg Harbor. They make the most delicious skillet breakfast. I’ll have to try my hand at a few other copy cats. I found this recipe, from the The Black Peppercorn, but modified it for our dinner.

Pulled Pork Skillet

Ingredients: 

  • 3 Tbl Oil
  • 2+ cloves garlic
  • 1 Bag Ore Ida Potatoes O’Brien
  • 2 Cups Pulled Pork
  • 1/2 Cup BBQ Sauce
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1/4 Cup Cheese (Pepper Jack, Mexican, Monteray Jack)
  • Eggs*
*We used two eggs per person. This recipe yielded a total of four large servings, for a total of 8 eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in pan. Add garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  2. Add frozen hash browns. Cook for approx 10-15 minutes until the hashbrowns are cooked through, and begin to crisp on the outside
  3. Add pork, BBQ sauce, and salt & Pepper. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes. 
  4. While cooking, fry eggs over easy (or to preference) in a separate pan
  5. Add cheese to skillet, stir and allow to melt.
  6. Serve pork on plate with 1-2 eggs on top.
The left over pork skillet reheated great, I just cooked fresh eggs.