Frozen Pancakes

frozen pancakesLooks like I’m on a breakfast roll, as my last two posts have been about the meal that starts your day. No recipe today, but just a little tip to make one of your upcoming mornings a little simpler.

My kids love breakfast. They literally gorge themselves before heading off to school. I completely don’t get this since I’m not a breakfast person! They usually eat cereal on the weekdays because getting three girls and myself ready, can get a little hectic in the mornings. Maybe I just need to get up earlier! Anyways, sometimes, I’ll make a big batch of pancakes over the weekend (or on a weekday morning if I’m feeling ambitious) and freeze whatever’s left.

Yes, you can freeze pancakes! They reheat so well, it’s like you just cooked them up!! After the first initial cooking, I let them cool and place them in freezer bags, zip and in the freezer they go. They’re super easy to pull apart for individual servings (not necessary in my house since my kids will eat the whole bag) and reheat in the microwave. I usually heat 2-3 pancakes for about 1 minute, and voila! Breakfast is served.

As for my kids’ favorite pancake recipe? Well, I’ve tried MANY. And the winner for them? The recipe on the Bisquik box! I almost always have the Heart Smart Bisquik in the pantry and for some reason, they always want those pancakes. If I had to choose my favorite pancake recipe? Cornmeal pancakes. OK, so there, you did get a recipe out of it! Just not one created by me.

So the next time you’re whipping up a batch of pancakes, double it! And freeze the rest. It will definitely make for a quicker start one day!

Baked French Toast Casserole

baked french toast 8This happened today. This morning. On a school day! Uh-huh….. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now. Let’s hope my “super on top of things” morning, turns into a “super on top of things” afternoon and evening. One can hope, right?

Well, I made this recipe two weekends ago because my daughter happens to have softball practice at 7:30am. On Saturday morning. Ouch! So early!!! But she and “DeDe” (this is what she calls her dad) happen to be early risers so this works out well for them. Yeah, just them. Me and the other little ones stay home and try to sleep in. So the whole point of me telling you all of that is that when they get home, I try to have a nice breakfast ready for them. And I saw this on Pioneer Woman and thought my family (especially my hungry little softball player) would love it. And they loved it so much that I made it again. Today!

I did alter some quantities (to cut down on fat) but head over and check out PW’s original recipe if you so please.

Baked French Toast Casserole (inspired by & adapted from Pioneer Woman)

  • 1 loaf French bread, torn into pieces
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk (I use 1%)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350. In a 13×9 casserole dish, generously spray with cooking spray. Tear the bread into pieces and place in dish. In a large bowl, add eggs, milk, vanilla and sugars. Whisk until combined. Pour over the bread evenly.

In a medium bowl, add the topping ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, mix until coarse crumbs form. Evenly spread over the bread mixture. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (I did 50 minutes).

baked french toastbaked french toast 3baked french toast 4baked french toast 2baked french toast 5baked french toast 6baked french toast 7baked french toast 9PW insists on adding MORE butter (I didn’t) and syrup all over the top (I didn’t do this either). But totally up to you! Enjoy everyone!!!

Cheese Danish

danishOne of my weaknesses are canned biscuit products. Yep, you read that right. The sometimes scary pop of that can goes far back into my childhood. And I still love them. In particular, the buttermilk biscuits. I don’t want to know what’s in them! I’ve never even looked at the ingredients because there’s no way I’m giving them up. They’re a quick breakfast that I love drizzling honey on and although I usually stop myself after inhaling two, I could easily eat three no problem!

I also really like crescent rolls. Uh-huh. I do. I really, really do. My kids like ’em too. Sometimes I put some chocolate chips on them, roll them up and voila, chocolate “croissants”! But I recently made cheese danishes out of them and Hallelujah! They’re easy, cheesy (cream cheesy) and a nice little breakfast treat.

Cheese Danish (makes 8)

  • 2 tubes crescent rolls, separated and rolled to 8 rectangles
  • 1/2 of an 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Just under 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a stand mixer or if you don’t have one, a large bowl and use a hand mixer, add all the ingredients, except obviously the crescent rolls. Whip until combined. Add a large spoonful of the cheese mixture to each rectangle and fold the sides up toward the center, pinching together. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the danishes because the dough tends to burn on the bottom. When done cooking, remove from oven and let cool. Delish with a cup of coffee!!danish 2danish 3

Breakfast Quesadillas

bq 10What can I say about these breakfast quesadillas? My kids like them! My husband likes them! I like them! Therefore, I hope you like them too! These for me are definitely a weekend breakfast, but if you’re an early riser and a go getter, have at ’em on a weekday morning. I love that these quesadillas have the traditional breakfast flavors but with that little Mexican spin. Ole!

Breakfast Quesadillas (makes 2 large quesadillas)

  • 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 eggs plus 1 tbsp. milk, beaten together in a bowl
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked
  • 4 flour tortillas

In a skillet (preferably non stick) over medium heat, add butter. Let melt and swirl to coat the pan. Add the beaten egg mixture and a pinch of salt & pepper and let cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the eggs set and are just no longer runny. Turn off heat and set to the side.

On a large skillet, add two tortillas. Spread 1/4 c. of cheese on each tortilla, then dividing the eggs evenly, spread across the cheese. Next top each quesadilla with 3 bacon strips and then add the remaining cheese to the top. Cover each with an additional tortilla. Turn heat on medium and let cook for about 4 minutes, or until the underside is browned and crisp. Carefully flip over and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on a cutting board, cutting the quesadillas into half, and then in half again. Serve with your favorite salsa.

bqbq 2bq 3bq 4bq 5bq 6bq 7bq 8bq 9*If you like things spicy, you can add pickled jalapeno slices like I did on one of my quesadillas. Other great additions would be cilantro, green onions, even sautéed mushrooms. Quesadilla possibilities seem endless!

Cinnamon Zucchini Cakies

zucchini cakies 6Dare I call these breakfast cakies? Well, they remind me of zucchini bread. Scrumptious bite sized morsels of zucchini bread. Which is very appropriate to eat at breakfast time. I know one thing for sure. I ate these for breakfast and I also ate them for dessert. So I guess they’re versatile cakies.

I’ve been doing some baking experimenting and I’ll tell you this. It for once, hasn’t ended in disaster. Which is amazing considering my track record. I’m not saying I’m going to open up a bake shop or anything but still, it’s a small victory for me! And these cakies were one of my experiments that ended with a full tummy. Because I stuffed my face when these things cooled off.

Breakfast? Dessert? A snack when your kids aren’t looking? It doesn’t really matter because these things are purty darn good ANY time of day! And they can’t be too bad for you, right? I mean, they have vegetables in them! So have at it!!

P.S. They’re delicious with a cup of coffee.

Cinnamon Zucchini Cakies (makes approximately 3 dozen)

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 c. shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar + 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon, mixed together

Preheat your oven to 350. In a stand mixer, add the butter and sugar and mix until fully combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix together. Then add the baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing just until combined. Add in the shredded zucchini and mix again until combined. Using a cookie scooper, scoop the dough and place the cakie dough balls onto a baking sheet. (If you have old baking sheets like I used to, I’d recommend spraying them with cooking spray. But if you’ve got nice new ones, leave them ungreased.) Using a spoon, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of each cakie. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or just until the underside of the cakie turns slightly golden. These cakies do not get golden on top.  Leave on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. When cakies are completely cooled, place in an airtight container.

So after these had all cooled off, my youngest daughter got the first taste since the other girls were at school. She liked them so much that she told my other kids this when they got home. “Mommy made something with disgusting green stuff in it but they’re really good!” She has a way with words, that little girl of mine.

 

zucchini cakieszucchini cakies 2zucchini cakies 3zucchini cakies 4zucchini cakies 5

Chilaquiles

chilaquiles 2What’s your Saturday morning breakfast like? Well in my house, my husband wants something hearty and that typically involves meat. Unfortunately for him, we’ve had a couple of recent weekends that didn’t include breakfast meat. But I promised him I would make a delicious breakfast that would wipe out all longings for bacon or sausage or whatever his carnivore loving heart desired. Enter…….. Chilaquiles! A Mexican breakfast that doesn’t include meat but that is filling, hearty and full of flavor. And I promise this will curb your Saturday morning bacon craving. Impossible you say?!?! Make this recipe and see for yourself!

Chilaquiles

  • 1 c. canola or vegetable oil
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into strips*
  • 1/2 of a large onion, sliced or 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1, 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes with chilies, drained
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (optional, but I really encourage you to use them)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. water

*Tortilla chips can be substituted. If using chips, skip the first step of frying tortillas.

In a large sauté pan, add oil and heat on medium high. When oil is nice and hot, add tortilla strips and fry for about 3 minutes or until crisp (like a chip). With a large slotted spoon, remove fried tortilla strips to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Next, add the sliced onions into the still hot oil. Fry for approximately 30 seconds. Remove onions with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel lined plate. Remove sauté pan from heat.

Crack eggs into a bowl and with a fork or whisk, beat/scramble the eggs. Set aside.

Let oil cool down and then drain off all oil, except 2-3 tbsp. Turn the heat back on to medium. Add eggs and tortilla strips (or chips). Let cook for a minute, stirring. Then add in all of the rest of the ingredients, except for cheese. Cook for a few more minutes or until eggs are set. Turn off heat, stir in cheese and serve immediately.

chilaquiles 4chilaquiles 8chilaquiles 5chilaquiles 7chilaquiles 6chilaquiles 3chilaquilesOK, I have to tell you that my two favorite components to this dish are the fried onions and tortilla strips. The fried onions have a great flavor. I mean, they were fried in oil. And usually anything fried in oil is good. Second, the tortilla strips get a little soggy from all the liquid in the recipe but still retain this unique texture. And I love it!

So I think you can tell that I really liked this breakfast. But what did my husband think? Well of course he loved it or else I wouldn’t be putting it on my blog! So if you’ve got a Saturday morning, carnivore loving spouse like me, give them something new to try. I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.

Choco-Coffee Shake

choco coffee shake 2Sometimes you just have those mornings when you don’t have time to enjoy a cup of coffee and a protein shake. And I love my coffee!! Especially with my favorite creamer (Bailey’s Chocolatini, to die for!). But there are days when I’m rushed. Or it’s already hot out and I feel like I’ve missed my window of opportunity to drink a hot cuppa joe. On those types of days, I turn to this shake to incorporate my favorite morning beverage.

I’ve made this recipe a protein shake simply because if I’ve been a good girl, then that means I got up and worked out in the morning. I’m also not the biggest breakfast person so if I can throw everything into a blender and drink my brekkie, I’m happy to do so. If you prefer to not have a protein shake, then the protein powder can easily be substituted with something yummy like Ovaltine. But I have a favorite protein powder that’s specifically geared towards women and I think it’s great tasting. Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solutions Complete Protein & Vitamin Shake Mix in Naturally Flavored Decadent Chocolate.

protein powderI also threw in Spectrum Decadent Blend Chia & Flax Seed with Coconut & Cocoa that gives it that extra healthy kick. I really like this product but if you don’t have it, just omit that ingredient.

chia & flax

Choco-Coffee Protein Shake (makes one 16 ounce shake)

  • 1 c. almond milk
  • 1/2 c. coffee
  • 1 banana, frozen (a fresh banana works too, just add a few ice cubes)
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (or Ovaltine)
  • 1 tbsp. chia & flax coconut/cocoa blend

Put all items in a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Drink up!choco coffee shake 3

 

Vanilla Bean Croissant French Toast

croissant french toast 2Yes, that vanilla bean paste is back in action again. I truly love that stuff. But the story of how this French toast came to be? Well, I bought some of the smaller European style croissants so that I could make sandwiches for my kids with my previously posted Almond Chicken Salad. They love croissants, as do I. I mean, come on! Buttery, fattening bread. YUM. I can almost eat an entire baguette so don’t be surprised by my love of carbs! Anyhow, we had leftover croissants and I thought they would make a delectable French toast. And of course, I had to throw in the vanilla bean paste to make it extra yummy.

And speaking of croissants, I just have to mention this. I literally cannot see a croissant without thinking of the episode of Shahs of Sunset. The one where MJ really wanted a chocolate croissant and Mike told her she shouldn’t eat it? Yeah, that one. Well, if you aren’t a fan of that show, they happened to pronounce the word “croissant” incredibly funny. Sounded something like “cwuh-saunt”. And they said it over and over again in that funny way. Either way you say it, you can’t deny that croissants are delish.

Vanilla Bean Croissant French Toast (makes 8-10 pieces)

  • 4-6 European style croissants, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil (or coconut oil cooking spray)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk (or half & half)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • Maple syrup, warmed
  • Strawberries & whipped cream, optional

Mix the eggs through the sugar in a shallow bowl, beating with a fork to combine. Then heat a non stick skillet or griddle over medium to medium low heat and add the coconut oil. Let melt. (If you use the cooking spray, spray first, then turn on the heat. No fires please!) Make sure to give your egg mixture a quick stir before dipping your bread because the vanilla beans specks will sink to the bottom and you want those specks on your bread. Dip each piece of croissant (both sides) into the egg mixture and place on the heated grill. Cook for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve immediately with some warm maple syrup. Add sliced strawberries and whipped cream if your heart so desires.

croissant french toast 3croissant french toastSo I missed taking a picture of the step where it’s actually cooking. Oops. But French toast is easy. You get the idea! Hopefully…

And here it is WITHOUT whipped cream. Optional yes. But who in their right mind eats French toast without whipped cream?!?!?

And here it is WITHOUT whipped cream. Optional yes. But who in their right mind eats French toast without whipped cream?!?!?

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Smoothie

oatmeal banana smoothie 2I’m going to start off by saying it’s the first day of my kids’ summer vacation. Yay! And with the morning sun streaming in through the windows and me sweaty after my morning exercise, I do not want to cook breakfast. My kids are typically happy with cereal, oatmeal, you know, that kind of stuff. But if I’ve worked out, I prefer to have a protein shake for breakfast. Unfortunately, I had recently run out of protein powder and I just could not gag down the alternative (yogurt). Yes, I’ve talked about yogurt quite a few times recently and I’m disappointed to say I bought a different brand, and I highly DO NOT recommend it.

Gag me with a spoon!

Gag me with a spoon!

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I thought I could disguise this yogurt if I could put it in a smoothie. And luckily, it worked pretty well. But if you use yogurt you actually like to eat, then this smoothie should be even more yummy than mine was.

As you should all know by now, if you’re following my blog, I make an assortment of food. Ranging from pretty okay for you, to downright sinful. This is a “pretty okay” for you recipe. Look out for my upcoming artery clogger coming up. But like I said, with this being the first day of summer vacation, I thought this was a good one to share to start your summer off right!

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Smoothie (makes a 16 ounce smoothie)

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 c. Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 2 heaping tbsp. quick cooking oats
  • 1 tbsp. flax meal
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 3 ice cubes, if you like it especially cold (I do not)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. *A dash of cinnamon would really kick this up a notch!

oatmeal banana smoothieDrink quickly or else your 4 year old child will notice you have something that you specifically made for yourself. Which will make her want it more. Which means you will have to share. So again, I insist you drink quickly and quietly. Enjoy!

Fake-on (aka Perfect, Fake Looking, BACON)

baconI’m a creature of habit. If you know me, then this is no surprise. So if I’m on schedule, I clean my house on Friday. That means that my stove should be sparkly clean come Saturday morning. My problem? I always make bacon on Saturday mornings. And every time, I ask my husband why I cleaned the stove the day before just to cook bacon and spatter grease EVERYWHERE. So I decided to not make the same mistake once again, and I popped that bacon in the oven. End result? Perfect, fake looking bacon. Fake-on. And a clean stovetop.

bacon 3So here’s how it goes. I used a jelly roll pan and took a long sheet of foil and slightly crumpled it. This is to get ridges so when you lay the bacon on the foil, it doesn’t just sit in a pool of fat. With the ridges, the fat sits in that and the bacon slightly sits on top. Lay your bacon on the foil, making sure the strips are not on top of each other. Place your bacon into a cold oven. Then turn the heat onto 400 degrees and bake away. I used thick cut bacon so mine took about 30 minutes. If you use regular sliced bacon, 15-20 minutes will probably do. When it’s all done, set bacon aside on some paper towels to absorb the grease.

bacon 2

A couple things I liked about cooking my bacon in the oven? Obviously, no grease spatters on the stovetop. If the oven had any, I didn’t notice and the inside of my oven isn’t my biggest concern. Second, by putting it in a cold oven, the strips didn’t curl up! Third, I was able to pick up that foil and pour my precious bacon drippings into a jar I keep in the fridge. AND it was a pretty clean process.

That’s it! Now you’ve got some oven cooked, perfect looking fake-on strips. Time to PIG out 🙂