This year, I really wanted to go to Vermont on vacation. I wanted to visit Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory and to tap a Maple tree to get syrup. I learned though that you can’t really just tap a tree to get syrup. During our trip, we visited a visited a Sugar House. We learned that getting sap from a tree requires a very extensive string of plastic tubing to be drilled to the trees. When the temperatures in the spring first reach above freezing, the sap drips from the tree as the temperature drops below freezing at night. This usually happens in late March or early April. The sap runs through the tubes to a giant collection container. Those containers are then transported to process the sap through a boiling process to produce maple syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap and about 45 minutes of boiling sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Wow, now you know why really Vermont Maple Syrup cost so much. We also learned that Maple Creemes (soft serve ice cream with maple syrup swirled in) is very popular…and delicious. It’s actually pretty cool to meet the families who run these Sugar Houses.
The syrup excursion was part of our Maple and Wine Tour with Greg. Following our visit to the Sugar House, we went to Boyden Valley Winery. This family farm has people producing maple, grass feed beef, and wine. In addition to ice and maple wines, Vermont’s oldest winery produces maple syrup aged in oak barrels. I learned I like oak ages syrup better than I like oak aged wine.
The state of Vermont only has a population of around 620,000 in the whole state. Despite a drought, this 14th state to the union lives up to its name which mean green mountains. The state is very proud of local business. In fact, this is the only state in the country to not currently have a Target store. One lady at the airport was telling us that she traveled via fairy boat to New York with her daughter to return an item to Target. (Now that’s dedication to Target shopping.) Vermont is also home to the Green Mountain Coffee (Keurig maker), the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, and Cabot Cheese.
For this morning breakfast, I wanted to use a little of our new real maple syrup.
Sausage Breakfast Casserole from Pinterest
1 package of Grands biscuits
1 package of frozen hash brown
1 lb. of ground sausage
¼ c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Bake biscuits on a baking sheet for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, cook hash browns until golden brown on the stove top. At the same time, brown sausage on the stove top. You’ll also need to cook the scrambled eggs and milk in that skillet. Place hash browns in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with ½ c. of cheese. Sprinkle with sausage. Top with scrambled eggs and remaining cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Plate and drizzle with maple syrup.
- I did not overly cook the hash browns. I’d suggest maybe cooking them in the 13 x 9 plan for make 10 minutes before added other ingredients or removing them from the recipe. I don’t really think the hash browns are necessary ingredient in this recipe.
- If you can get it, Cabot cheese would have been a great addition. Perhaps, even a Vermont White Cheddar.
- I think the biscuits might have also been delicious with some Maple sugar sprinkled on top. We are still waiting for ours to be delivered.
When I first met Jeremiah, I learned very quickly that he loves biscuits and gravy. He’s very particular though – no one does it like his mother. I soon learned the whole family feels this way.
When Jeremiah and I were planning the menu for our wedding day brunch, our Sales Manager suggest biscuits and gravy. I said, “No, his family will just compare it to his mother’s recipe and be disappointed.” Sorry Chef – no offense.
Every year, the whole family gathers at his parent’s house for Christmas. It is practically a requirement that my mother-in-law Lynn make biscuits and gravy when EVERYONE is there. On Christmas Eve morning though, Lynn made a Biscuits and Gravy Casserole recipe a friend had shared with her. Lynn let me in on a little secret. Occasionally, she uses the Pioneer brand packet gravy. This I can do. Although this isn’t the exact recipe my mother-in-law made that morning, my husband does like this dish. He also likes it when I use sausage from our local butcher shop – The Peculiar Meat Company.
Biscuits & Gravy Breakfast Casserole from Pinterest
2 cans (16 oz.) Grands biscuits
1 lb. ground breakfast sausage
1 package of Pioneer Country Sausage Flavor Gravy Mix
Cut one can of biscuits into quarters. Sprinkle in a sprayed 13 x 9 baking dish and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then, cut the second package of biscuits the same way. Meanwhile, cook and drain sausage. Also prepare gravy according to packet. Mix sausage and gravy together and pour over biscuits. Top with remaining biscuits and cook for 15-20 minutes. (Optional – top biscuits with melted butter to make them shine.)
- I’d suggest maybe making it in a 9 x 9 pan and using only one can of Grands biscuits (half on bottom/half on top) if you want more gravy to biscuit ratio. You could also use regular sized biscuits and still make it in a 9 x 13 pan.
- Another option to to make a second envelope of gravy to pour on top of finished dish. That’s what Lynn did for her family.
Last year, Jeremiah and I went strawberry picking for the first time. I had always wanted to do it but hadn’t been able to fit it into my schedule. We loved it so much, we decided to do it again this spring. The weather was a little hotter this year as we went from winter straight to summer. When you pick a flat of berries, you need to come up with a few recipes to use them in. I ran across the recipe and cooked it up on a day when Jeremiah was working from home. We both agreed, this recipe was a winner. Great flavor and bonus it’s a skinny recipe.
Skinny Strawberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast by Savory Nothings
- 4 T. One-third less fat cream cheese
- 1 T. honey or maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- ¼ c. skim milk
- 4 T. whole grain bread crumbs
- 1 T. sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 8 strawberries sliced
- 8 slices of whole wheat bread
- 2 T. oil
Mix honey and cream cheese. In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk. On a large plate, combine bread crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover four slices of bread with cream cheese mixture and top with strawberry slices. Top each slice of bread with a second slice of bread. Dip in egg mixture to coat each side, dripping off excess. Then, repeat in bread crumb mixture. Cook in a pan coated with oil and flip half-way through cooking.
We love breakfast foods. I’m always pinning new recipes to try. My original plan on the morning I made these was to make a biscuit and gravy casserole. When I realized I was missing one of the ingredients I needed to make that recipe, I made this recipe with some of the ingredients instead. Jeremiah has already asked me to make these delicious filling breakfast treats once again.
Sausage Egg & Cheese Stuffed Breakfast Biscuits by So Fab Food
1 package of Grands biscuits
8 sausage patties
8 slices of cheese
Make scrambled eggs and season with salt and pepper. Cook sausages according to packaging. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flatten biscuits to about 5-6 inches wide. Break cheese slices into four pieces. Stack on top of biscuit. Top with scoop of scrambled eggs. Place sausage patty on top. Pull biscuit from opposite directions to cover entirely. Place wrapped side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with butter and top with favorite seasonings. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning pan halfway through baking. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- I added a little milk to my eggs to make them fluffier. I’d also suggest maybe 5 eggs would be enough.
- I used turkey sausage and Cheddar cheese.
- I topped mine with fennel seed to bring out the flavor of the sausage.
My nephew doesn’t like breakfast foods. This is a kid who didn’t put milk on his cereal and never ate eggs (often an evening dish in my house growing up). Probably the only thing he does like to eat that’s breakfast food is pork products and pancakes. While they were visiting, I made pancakes and bacon.
Brown Butter Pancakes by Grandbaby Cakes
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
6 T. brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 ¼ c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
½ c. milk
6 T. melted salted butter
1 T. vanilla extract
Bacon Maple Butter (optional)
6 T. butter
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
3 slices of cooked bacon
Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs with sour cream, milk, melted butter, and extract. Pour into dry ingredients and mix. The result will be slightly lumpy. Cook pancakes. Recipe makes 12 pancakes.
Melt butter and syrup together. Add bacon and pour over pancakes.
My family has always made a Danish fruit braid at the holidays. Typically, they are ones my sister has purchased from a student’s fundraiser. Since I was hosting Christmas (for the first time and in my brand-new home), I saw this recipe on Facebook and decided to make it for the day after Christmas. It’s a pretty easy braid. I tried to replicate the candy cane design online. Mine wasn’t as pretty as the pros at Pillsbury made but I’m sure it tasted just as good.
Raspberry Cream Cheese Danish by Pillsbury
1 package of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
4 oz. cream cheese
2 T. sugar
2 T. raspberry preserves
¾ c. fresh raspberries
1 T. butter, melted
sprinkle with sugar
¼ c. powder sugar
½ T. milk
Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper. Open crescent rolls and separate into eight triangles. Cut each triangle in half. Lay on cookie sheet in a line, slightly overlapping. Press together. Mix softened cream cheese with sugar. Spread on crescent rolls where they connect. Mix raspberry preserves with fresh raspberries. Top cream cheese mixture with it. Fold small part of triangles over fruit mixture. (Curve with you want to make a candy cane. )Top with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 16-20 minutes. Mix powder sugar and milk together. Pour over warm braid.
- You could substitute strawberries and strawberry preserves. If you like blueberries more, I think it would be fine without the preserved. It reminds me of this crescent roll recipe.
It’s New Year’s weekend and I have three consecutive days off. It’s also the coldest its been in years with wind chills temps of -15 so staying in seems like a great plan. That means I’m also cooking up a storm. This morning, I created a breakfast quiche that would use up more of that leftover holiday ham. Very tasty.
Ham and Swiss Quiche from Pinterest
1 Pillsbury pie crust
½ c. onion
1 T. butter
½ lb. ham
6 oz. Swiss cheese
2 c. light cream
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
Remove pie crust from fridge. Let it sit 15 minutes before unrolling. Place crust in sprayed pie pan. Pinch up corners of crust and over with parchment paper and metal beads. Cook at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Sauté onions in butter until translucent. Let cool slightly. Dice ham into small pieces. Cover crust with onions, ham, and cheese.
In a bowl, mix eggs, milk, and seasoning. Pour over mixture in crust. Sprinkle with chives.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before cutting quiche and serving.
- I don’t have those beads for baking pies so I improvised by placing a spoon on top of the parchment paper. It worked.
- I used one shallot instead of a regular onion. I sautéed it in Wildtree Basil Pesto Grapeseed Oil.
- I used probably 1 ½ cups of ham. As a result, I only ended up using half the egg/milk mixture.
- I had some leftover Gouda and Fontine cheeses from Christmas. I shredded probably 2 oz. of these cheeses and combined with 4 oz. of Swiss cheese. The result was a very cheesy quiche. You could also do a Cheddar cheese if you prefer.
- I messed up and bought buttermilk instead of half and half. I ended up using Skim Milk. It worked just fine. However, I was only able to get about half half the egg mixture into the quiche. I decided to cook the leftover mixture on the stove top. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able those to get that egg mixture to cook on the stove top – too runny.
- I didn’t have any chives so I sprinkled with parsley instead.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I love Bubble Pizzas. The beauty is you mix everything in a bowl and dump into a pan. Who doesn’t love less dishes? I’ve made traditional Bubble Pizza (first made for me by my Uncle Tom and Aunt Annette) and Mexican Bubble Pizza.
This morning, I was trying to use up some of our leftover Christmas ham. Jeremiah and I bought a Smithfield ham (my favorite brand – local and support my favorite charity with donations of product to feed hungry people) at Sam’s Club. The ham was the most delicious ham I’ve eaten in a long time but we had way too much left – even with my nephew whose favorite meat is all pork products didn’t finish it off. You’ll love this super easy, five ingredient breakfast casserole. Plus, it looks beautiful. It turned my day around that started with a smoke detector we couldn’t get to stop beeping and a tv that was frozen on an infomercial.
Incredible Breakfast Bake by Key Ingredient Recipes
½ c. milk
1 c. ham
1 package (8 oz./2 c.) cheddar cheese
1 package of Grands biscuits
Salt & pepper
Beat eggs in a large bowl and top with salt and pepper. Add milk, ham, and cheese to bowl. Cut biscuits in fourths and fold into egg mixture. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish and pour mixture into dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Jeremiah and I had some extra ham and a half bag of hash browns. I found this breakfast dish but I think you could very easily use it as a meal you make with Christmas leftovers. Not as cheesy as your traditional cheesy hash browns but still good.
Ham and Cheese Hash Brown Casserole by Plain Chicken
1 bag of frozen hash browns
1 lb. diced ham
2 cans condensed cream of potato soup
1 – 16 oz. container of sour cream
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 ½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
Spray a 13 x 9 pan with non-stick spray. In a large mixing bowl, mix everything but Parmesan cheese. Pour into dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cook for one hour at 375 degrees.
- I halved the recipe and baked in a smaller baking dish for the same time.
- I added a little salt and pepper.
- I think you could easily add some onion or garlic salt to this recipe.
- You could use Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream. I think you could also skip the Parmesan cheese and still enjoy this recipe with less fat.
My mother-in-law is the queen of biscuits and gravy. Nobody can even compete with her recipe. It sounds like she has been perfecting it over the last 30 years. I saw this recipe and wasn’t sure how my husband would feel about it. I made this delicious Biscuits and Gravy Casserole dish from an old coworker. He told me the jar country gravy was “too salty”. For this recipe, I made the McCormick Country Gravy. I think he was ok with this gravy in a dish that is very different than his mother’s original. We did like this dish but I think I like a few other breakfast recipes better like Breakfast Sliders, Weight Watchers Breakfast Quiche, Mini Maple Bacon Rolls, Creamy Biscuits, or Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Ring.
Hash Brown Lasagna from Pinterest
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
shredded hash brown potatoes
salt and pepper
McCormick Country Gravy packet prepared
1 Tsp. butter, melted
Bake bacon in the over at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cook sausage according to package.
In the meantime, pour gravy packet into a medium pan. Slowly pour two cups of milk over mix while whisking. Cook over a medium heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Then, reduce your to low and simmer for 1 minute.
Spray 8 x 8 pan. In a bowl, mix hash browns, Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and eggs. Pour half of mixture into pan and even out. Top with a layer of cheese, gravy, and meats. Repeat with other cheese, gravy, and meats. Top with remaining remaining hash browns. Pour melted butter on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting.
- I used a 13 x 9 pan because it appeared to be too much for the pan.
- I used skim milk to prepare my gravy mix. It cut the fat and salt in country gravy.
- I thawed the hash browns slightly in the microwave. This helped them break-up easier. Looking back, I wish I had baked the bottom layer for 10 minutes before topping to give me a slightly cruncher crust.
- I used turkey sausage.
- I only used four slices of bacon. I really couldn’t taste it so you either need to use more bacon or opt it out. Sausage can be an overwhelming meat flavor.
- The recipe suggested both mozzarella and cheddar. They suggested a prosciutto wrapped mozzarella and Velveeta cheese slices. I used shredded cheese. I’d suggest just mozzarella because I think it matches the flavors of the country gravy better.
- Make sure you have a lot of time to cook this recipe. I think I took me a good 40 minutes to prepare before backing.
- If I made it again, I think I might create a crust with something different like crescent rolls.
- Jar gravy and precooked meats can save you time.