Loaded Breakfast Sandwich

loaded breakfast sandwichI usually make a big breakfast for my family on Saturday mornings. My family likes bacon, eggs, hash browns and biscuits. But what to do with the leftover hash browns and bacon? To use up the leftovers I make loaded breakfast bagels. This is a super easy and fast breakfast!

Ingredients:

Makes 4 servings

4 Bagels

6 Eggs

2 tsp water

2 tsp butter

8 strips bacon, cooked

4 slices cheddar cheese

2 cups hash browns, cooked

4 TBSP mayonnaise

Directions:

  1. Toast the bagels.
  2. Beat eggs with water until fluffy. Over medium heat melt butter in a skillet then add eggs. Cook and scramble eggs until desired doneness.
  3. Heat leftover hash browns and bacon in the microwave.
  4. Spread mayonnaise on bagels and top with egg, bacon, sliced cheese and hash browns. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Serve hot.

 

Roasting a Turkey

Whole roasted turkey

Are you nervous about cooking a whole turkey? It’s OK, I was too, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s really very easy! Honestly, I don’t know what all the fuss is about cooking turkey for Thanksgiving. If you want an easy and quick way to cook a medium-sized turkey, this is a great method:

Ingredients:

1 whole turkey, defrosted (13-15 pounds)

2 cups of chicken broth or 2 cups water plus 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

1 lemon, cut in half

1 head of garlic, top cut off to expose all the cloves

3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

salt & pepper

olive oil

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F
  2. Remove the turkey from the package. Remove bag containing neck and organ meats. If making gravy, place them in a small pot and cover with water, set to a low simmer. Directions for gravy at the end of this post.
  3. Rinse turkey and allow to drain a few minutes. Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan with rack.
  4. Place cut lemon, garlic and rosemary inside the cavity of the turkey.
  5. Drizzle turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. It is not necessary to truss (tie up) the legs.
  6. Add chicken broth or water to the bottom of the roasting pan.
  7. Place turkey in the oven on a rack that allows equal space above and below the bird.
  8. Cook for 2-2½ hours. After 1 hour pour some of the liquid from the pan over the breast and legs with a baster or a ladle. Check turkey at two hours, if the skin is brown enough but the meat is not up to temperature, cover the turkey with foil to prevent the skin from burning.
  9. Use a meat thermometer to check for proper temperature of 180° in the thickest part of the thigh meat and at least 165° in the thickest part of the breast – be sure you are not touching the bone at either point or you may get a false reading.
  10. Remove turkey from roasting pan and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Reserve liquid from roasting pan for gravy if desired, see below.

 

Directions for Homemade Gravy

  1. Simmer the neck and organ meats in a small pot  with water and 1 tsp of chicken bullion paste or one cube of bouillon while the turkey roasts in the oven.
  2. While turkey is resting, place roasting pan drippings into a gravy separator, or a tall narrow vessel (measuring cup or pint drinking glass) and  skim off as much of the excess fat as possible. Some will be olive oil from rubbing the turkey, so don’t worry too much!
  3. After excess fat has been removed, pour pan drippings into a medium skillet over medium heat.
  4. Remove turkey neck that has been simmering and shred the meat, add to skillet. Discard organ meats.
  5. Mix 2 TBSP of cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water until well blended, add half to the drippings to start with and allow to simmer until it begins to thicken. Add additional cornstarch mix to thicken further if desired.
  6. Season to taste with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. I used about 1/2 tsp each.

Cherry Pineapple Cobbler (Dump Cake)

cherry pineapple cobbler dump cakeThis is a super easy dessert that is perfect for potlucks or quick family dinners. I usually have all of the ingredients in my pantry so I can throw it together at a moment’s notice.

I’m redoing an earlier post of this recipe because I could never get any good photos of the dessert – it was always gone before I remembered to take a picture! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cans crushed pineapple

2 cans cherry pie filling

1 box yellow cake mix

2 stick of butter

1 cup chopped pecans or sliced almonds

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Pour both cans of crushed pineapple with juice into a 9 x 13″ baking pan.  Pour cherry pie filling over the top, distributing it as evenly as possible.
  2. Open the bag of dry cake mix and pour it over the fruit. Try to spread it evenly so the crust will be the same thickness throughout. Sprinkle the nuts over the top.
  3. Slice the butter into thin pats, and place on top of the dry cake mix. It may take 1 1/2 – 2 cubes of butter depending on how thick you cut the slices. It will work either way.
  4. Place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and set in the middle. The fruit  should be bubbling up around edge of the dish.
  5. Serve warm or serve at room temperature; it’s nice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  Refrigerate leftover portions.
Family size pan of cherry pineapple cobbler

Baked to golden perfection and ready to serve hot with vanilla ice cream. Delish!

 

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

My husband had some great beef barbacoa while traveling for work and requested that I try to make it at home. I’m always up for a cooking challenge, but not having tasted this dish before I wasn’t sure what I was making or how it was supposed to taste.

I searched the internet and read MANY barbacoa recipes. What I found was that beef barbacoa looked a lot like pulled pork (something I’ve made for years), and all the recipes had a few things in common: slow cooked, shredded beef; chilies (usually chipoltle chilies in adobo); onions; and acids like vinegar or lime juice. I’m a big fan of slow cookers so I decided to use my 6 Quart Crock Pot for this dish.

Yield: 8-10 servings for adults

Ingredients:

4-5 lbs of beef chuck roast (I used two 2.5 lb roasts)

1 cup beef stock

1/2 yellow or white onion, rough chopped

5 whole garlic cloves

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 TBSP fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)

4-5 chipoltle chilies in adobo sauce, plus extra sauce from the can

4 tsp cumin

2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 small can tomato paste

Directions:

  1. Place beef roast(s) and stock in the slow cooker.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except tomato paste) to a blender and puree until ingredients are finely chopped.
  3. Pour sauce over roast and cook for 6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
  4. Leave slow cooker on high, remove meat from liquid and shred, removing any excess fat. Return meat to crock pot, add tomato paste and mix well. Allow to heat through and thicken, about 15 minutes.
  5. Serve warm in tacos or burritos.

Tips:

  • If using more than one roast you may need to cut them to fit the slow cooker better.
  • Slow cooker sizes and temperatures vary. Check the slow cooker towards the end of cooking time. The goal is for the meat to be shredded, but not mush. Nobody wants meat paste tacos!
  • Canned chipoltle chilies vary in heat. After making the sauce in the blender taste it before adding to the meat. If you like it hotter add more; if you like mild, start with only 3 chilies.
  • This is a very flavorful meat with a spicy, tangy sauce. Simple taco toppings which compliment the flavor include chopped onion, sour cream, fresh cilantro or chopped cabbage.
  • My Corn and Jalapeno Saute makes a great side dish for this meal.
beef barbacoa sauce

Taste the sauce before adding it to the beef. You can add more chipoltle chilies if you like it hotter!

slow cooker beef barbacoa

Beef is finished cooking. I like to remove the excess fat while shredding it, then return to the pot.

Corn & Jalapeño Saute

This simple side dish was included in one of my eMeals Simple Gourmet dinners months ago. It became an instant favorite and is now one of my go-to side dishes for Mexican food.

Ingredients:

16 oz bag of frozen corn

1 -2 jalapeños, stem and seeds removed, diced

2 TBSP butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Defrost corn in the microwave.
  2. Add butter and chopped jalapeno to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the pepper pieces are tender.
  3. Add corn and cook for several minutes until excess moisture is evaporated and corn kernels begin to brown.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Olallieberry (Blackberry) Freezer Jam

fresh OlallieberriesHooray for summer and all the tasty fresh fruits that come along with it! The season for Olallieberries here in California is June and it usually only lasts a few weeks. If you are not familiar with Olallieberries they are a cross between two blackberry hybrids.

We like to go to a local farm and pick our own berries. It’s a fun day out with the kids and I can get beautiful fresh berries for around $2 a pound.

Picking olallieberries

Picking olallieberries has become a traditional summer kick-off activity.

So what am I making with the 10 pounds of tart-sweet berries we picked?  This year I’m making freezer jam.

If you are a little intimidated by making jam,  freezer jam is a great way to start. It is much faster and easier than canning. No special equipment is required. You just need instant pectin, plastic or glass jars and freezer space to store your finished jam. And the best part is freezer jam tastes more like fresh fruit than cooked jam!

For 6 half pint jars (=3 pints)

Ingredients

2 cups white sugar
6 TBSP instant pectin
5 cups mashed olallieberries or blackberries (8-10 cups whole berries)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mix together the sugar and pectin. Set aside.
  2. Place berries in a colander and rinse with cold water. Allow to drain then gently spread out on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to allow any remaining water to drain.
  3. Place 1/3 of the berries in a bowl and begin smashing with a potato masher or similar tool. When they are mostly broken down add more berries and continue mashing until you have 5 cups of mashed fruit.
  4. Pour mashed berries into the bowl with sugar and pectin. Stir for 3 minutes.
  5. Ladle jam into freezer-safe containers, leaving 1/4″ space at the top. Let stand 30 minutes.
  6. Place in freezer. Take jam out as needed and place in refrigerator to defrost. Jam can be stored frozen up to a year.

Tips:

  • I made strawberry freezer jam last summer and it was great. The same process can be used with fresh blueberries, raspberries or cherries.
  • Peaches require the addition of lemon juice and slightly different method, see the pectin jar label for details.
  • Do not double this recipe. Six half pints (3 pints) is the maximum recommended batch size when using instant pectin. Any more and your jam may not thicken properly.
  • You can freeze in glass canning jars or in plastic containers. Most new glass canning jars are freezer-safe, but check the label on the box to be sure. (The glass jars are not sealed.) When I made the second batch I used pint size plastic Ziploc Twist N Loc containers with a screw on lid.
  • Ball sells special plastic freezer jam jars, but any small clean freezer-safe container with straight sides will work.

Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats

Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats #StPatrick'sDay #rainbow

I whipped up a batch of these treats for my kids this afternoon and they were a hit. This is a very simple recipe and a fun twist on the regular rice krispie treats. I think these would be perfect for a little girl’s slumber party or birthday snack for school.

Ingredients:

1 bag (16 oz.) mini marshmallows

1 stick of butter

3 cups Fruity Pebbles or store-brand fruity rice cereal

5 cups Rice Krispies

Directions:

  1. Butter a rimmed cookie sheet or 9 x 13″ casserole dish and set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat melt the cube of butter.
  3. Add the marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted, no lumps. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour in the rice cereals and mix well.
  5. Spread coated cereal onto the cookie sheet. Pat down with the back of a spatula, or with buttered hands.
  6. When completely cooled, cut into bars and store in an air-tight container to keep fresh for a few days–if they last that long!

Tips:

  • This recipe makes chewy rice krispie treats. If you like them stiffer, add additional cereal, up to 2 cups more and allow to cook for a minute before removing from heat.
  • I recommend keeping the ratio of fruity cereal to plain at 50% or less. The fruit flavor is not overwhelming and the result is prettier than trying to use 100% fruity rice cereal.
  • For an extra pop of color and fun, press Skittles candies into the top of the coated cereal after it spread in the pan and cooling.
  • This would also be a great treat for St. Patrick’s Day!
Rainbow rice krispie squares

These went fast! The kids loved them. The fruity flavor was not overwhelming, so they were great for kids and adults.