Real Maple Syrup

IMG_1190This 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. img_1186.jpgWe 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 IMG_1187the 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.

IMG_1157The 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 IMG_1154state 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
FullSizeRender (16)1 package of Grands biscuits
1 package of frozen hash brown
1 lb. of ground sausage
8 eggs
¼ c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
maple syrup

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.

Note:

  • 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.
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Sausage Bombs

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
IMG_06401 package of Grands biscuits
6 eggs
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.

Notes:

  • 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.

Breakfast Bubble Pizza

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
img_0537.jpg½ c. milk
5 eggs
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.

Ham and Cheese Hash Brown Casserole

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

IMG_02161 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.

Note:

  • 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.

You Had Me at Potatoes

Valentine’s Day is the one-time Jeremiah and I stay in. We hate the crowds and waiting past your reservation time for a table. We eat out enough so we don’t feel like we need to mess with it on Valentine’s Day. Instead, it’s the one night we prepare an all-out meal and sit down at the dinner table to eat it.

This year, the plan was for spaghetti. In fact, I’ve turned Jeremiah into someone who prefers to eat my Great Grandma Reith’s spaghetti sauce over anything you can get from a jar or at a restaurant. That was the plan.

On our way home, we stopped at Sprouts to grab some bread. Unfortunately, finding bakery bread has turned into a nightmare because everything in that area seems to have barley. Since I’m allergic, it’s getting way harder to make garlic bread ourselves.

While in the store, Jeremiah spotted some lobster tails on sale for $4.90 each. That’s crazy ridiculously cheap! We know from our trip to Maine why they are so expensive. A change of dinner plans occurred. “Why don’t we have lobster tails?” said Jeremiah. I said, “We’ve never made them. Do you know how to cook them?” Jeremiah used his phone to research a recipe. It looked simple and quick enough. Then, the next question was what we would eat with them? That’s when I throughout this recipe from our wedding cookbook for cheesy potatoes. Needless to say, what should have taken less than 20 minutes to make for dinner, turned into a late-night Valentine’s Day dinner. We even grabbed something in the McDonald’s drive-thru, which we never eat, to hold us over.

Jeremiah goes way back with the Fox boys (brothers – Kelly and Travis). Kelly and Travis grew up with the Slater clan. From what I understand, I think their dads met through work and became good friends. I also learned that Jeremiah’s mom used to babysit the boys when she did home daycare. The Fox’s grandma told me at our wedding that she considers Jeremiah almost be like a grandson because he spent so much time with her when they were kids.

According to Erin, these potatoes are the reason her husband Kelly married her. Jeremiah says Kelly was smitten on her from the moment he met Erin.

This recipe is similar to my mom’s cheesy potatoes. I like Erin’s recipe through because it feels a little less rich and just the right amount of cheesy to make this side dish a little more often. My biggest pet peeve is when someone says they made cheesy potatoes and you can barely taste the cheese. Not the case with this cheesy potato dish at all.

And on a side note, we probably ate a lobster dinner complete with cheesy potatoes, garlic bread, and monster cookie cheesecake for less than $8 a serving. If you add in a glass of local vineyard wine, it probably came out to $12 a serving. In fact, that’s cheaper than we spent on a fast-casual dinner at Chipotle of nights ago. And it’s definitely cheaper than if we had gone to one of our favorite steakhouses.

fullsizerender-12Cheesy Potatoes by Erin & Kelly Fox
1 stick of butter
1 can of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
2 c. cheddar cheese
1 – 1lb. package of shredded hash browns
Garlic salt and black pepper to taste

Melt butter. Add cream of chicken and sour cream. Add garlic salt and pepper. In an extra-large bowl, pour mixture over hash browns. Add cheese and combine. Pour into sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes at 400 degrees.

Hash Brown Lasagna

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
img_00341/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
shredded hash brown potatoes
salt and pepper
sausage crumbles
bacon
cheddar cheese
mozzarella cheese
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.

Notes:

  • 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. 

 

 

Sausage Breakfast Bombs

I love breakfast recipes. I am a bit of a breakfast snob though because I only like to eat it at breakfast time. My dad made fried eggs way too much for dinner in my childhood. I hope you enjoy this super easy peasy recipe.

fullsizerender-10Sausage Crescents from Pinterest
4 sausage patties
1 package of refrigerator crescent rolls
3 eggs
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Microwave sausage patties according to package directions. Cut each patty in half. Cook eggs to a scramble. In a sprayed muffin tin, place a crescent roll in each cup leaving half hanging out. Top each with a half sausage, eggs, and cheese. Take excess crescent roll and cover ingredients. Bake for 11 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used turkey sausage. It’s healthier for you.
  • I used reduced fat crescent rolls.
  • I added a little skim milk to my eggs to make them fluffier.
  • I used 2% cheese – it’s healthier.
  • If you prefer ham and cheese, check out this oldie but goody recipe.

Breakfast Sliders

Last Christmas, my mother-in-law made the Hawaiian Ham & Swiss Sliders for Jeremiah and I to take on the road. At the holidays, we alternate between our parents’ homes. That means a 5 ½ hour Christmas afternoon road trip between Kansas City and Wayne. These little sandwiches were definitely tasty snack along the way. She also whipped up a Gluten-free, dairy free version for her grandson. (Just substitute with Gluten-free rolls and dairy-free fake butter.)

Recently, I ran across this slightly sweeter breakfast variation on Pinterest. I cooked up a batch for Jeremiah and I on Tuesday morning. Delicious and filled us up until lunch time. Perhaps you could cook up a batch for your family over the Christmas break.

Breakfast Sliders from Pinterest
img_01671 package of King Hawaiian rolls
1 stick of butter
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. maple syrup
6 slice of ham
6 scrambled eggs
6 slices of cheese
1-2 T. poppy seeds

Cook scrambled eggs and sit to the side. In a pan or microwave dish, melt the butter, Worcestershire sauce, and syrup together. Meanwhile, slice rolls in half. Spray a 11 x 7 pan with non-stick spray. Place the bottom halves of rolls in dish. Top with half of butter mixture. Cover with ham, cooked scrambled eggs, and cheese slice. Top with remaining bun tops and press down into pan. Brush remaining butter on top of buns and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

When my husband was out of town a few weeks ago, I was cooking up a storm. This is a recipe I found on Pinterest. The pin generated several re-pins from a few of my friends and family. Jeremiah asked if it was like my mom’s Hamburger Casserole but I said it reminded me more of Crockpot Chicken Casserole.

IMG_1133Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole from Plain Chicken
1 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked
3 oz. pre-cooked bacon
2 c. cheddar cheese
1 package of tater tots
1 can cheddar cheese
16 oz. sour cream

Mix ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Notes:

  • I halfed the recipe and cooked it in a 9 x 9 baking dish. I halfed all the ingredients except I used 1 lb. of ground beef, full serving of bacon, and a full can of soup. I cooked it at the same temp and time.
  • I used light sour cream, 2% cheddar cheese, and real bacon.
  • I think you could cook some onions in the beef and it would be good. 

 

 

Breakfast Burrito

I got this recipe from Harvesters’ Nutrition Department. This is a recipe that Jeremiah and I had originally planned to make for the week of the SNAP Challenge. We had to pass because it was too much for our budget. That’s too bad because they are healthy and super filling.

PicoHarvesters’ homemade pico de gallo
3 medium tomatoes, diced
2/3 c. cilantro, minced
½ small onion, diced
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno

Breakfast BurritoBreakfast Burrito
1 T. canola oil
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium russet potatoes, diced
8 eggs, beaten
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
8 (10 inch) whole wheat lower sodium tortillas
1 c. low fat Cheddar cheese, shredded (4 oz.)

Mix all ingredients to make pico de gallo.

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add pepper, onion, and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 8 minutes).

Spread potato mixture to the edge of the skillet and cook eggs in the middle.

Spread egg mixture into tortillas. Top with cheese and pico. Roll up like a burrito.

Nutritional Facts: 288 calories, 11 g. fat, 15 g. protein, 35 g. carbs, 6 g. fiber, and 193 mg. sodium.

Notes:

  • Nutrition says this recipe serves 8 at a cost of $1.35 per serving. I was able to make 12 burritos by using a smaller tortilla. Plus, we had a little pico de gallo left for homemade tortilla chips.
  • I omitted the jalapeno from the pico.
  • I froze some of the burritos. If you do this, please add more seasoning to your eggs/potato mixture.
  • We used a high fiber tortilla shell.