Welcome Back

Oh my goodness, it feels like forever since I last wrote a blog post. Perhaps because it was a long time ago. This month has been just crazy. Work budgets, illness, much needed time with friends, and the loss of my Grandpa Fletcher. But now it is time to buckle down and share some of the new recipes I’ve been cooking up in my kitchen. Today, I am going to share a new breakfast recipe that I thought turned our pretty good. Perhaps you will enjoy it for a Sunday Easter Brunch.

Breakfast CasseroleBreakfast Casserole from Pinterest

Two packages of sausage links
Six eggs
1 c. of milk
salt & pepper to taste
½ a bag of tater tots
2 1/2 c. of cheddar cheese

Cook sausage according to package. Then, slice into bite sized pieces and sprinkle along the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. In a bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Pour over sausage. Sprinkle with a cup of cheese. Top with tater tots. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used turkey sausage, skim milk, and 2% cheese to make it a little healthier. I think you could also reduce the number of eggs by using egg substitute.
  • I used the mini-tater tots so I could reduce the amount of cheese in the recipe by a ¾ of a cup. This way, the lower cheese amount melted together better.

Goodbye 2013

Looking back at 2013, I thought I would share a few of my favorite new recipes. In no particular order, here are my top 13:
Breakfast QuicheBreakfast recipes:

Dinner recipes:

Dessert recipes:

Tater Tot Muffins

I work seven days a week so it is always a present surprise to get two un-requested days off from my part-time job. When I didn’t request it, the welcomed days off allow me to cook up a few new recipes. I loved this recipe so much that I had to put the leftover immediately in the fridge to prevent me from eating too many.

Tater Tot Omelet CupsTater Tot Omelet Cups from Pinterest
36 Tater Tots
8 eggs
1/4 c. milk
Your choice of breakfast meat
Cheddar cheese

Thaw tater tots in the microwave. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray and place three in tots per cup. Smash down with a fork or glass bottom. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with breakfast meat. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Pour eggs over each cup. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes and run a knife around the edge of each cup.

Notes:

  • I lined each of muffin cup with a silicone muffin cup. My muffins popped right out and no messy clean-up.
  • I used mini-tots. If you do that, make sure you put four in the bottom of each muffin cup.
  • I used pre-cooked bacon and Carl Budding ham in my muffins. But you could easily use diced peppers, sausage, spinich, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, etc.
  • I used skim milk and regular eggs. Again, you can make it healthier using egg substitute or egg whites.
  • I used 2% cheese but you could probably use fat-free cheese and not have any weird melting issues.
  • I halved the recipe and only made six cups.

Crock Pot Chicken Casserole

In the last month, I have become a more active user of Pinterest. Part of the reason I because I am helping a great animal shelter called Wayside Waifs try to win the ASPCA/Rachael Ray 100K Challenge.

Wayside Waifs is Kansas City’s largest no-kill animal shelter. Each year, they find loving homes for near 6,500 abused, neglected, and abandoned animals in our community. Through the ASPCA/Rachael Ray Challenge, they are trying to increase their pet adoptions by the greatest percentage over last year. Since they run entirely on donations, their goal is to win the $100,000 grand prize so they can continue providing shelter for Kansas City’s most vulnerable animals.

One way I am helping achieve their social media goals designed to increase adoptions is by helping them with Pinterest. (I’m amazed I haven’t adopted one of these adorable little furry friends – they are so cute!) Spending a lot of time Pinning for them has increased my personal interest in Pinterest. With all the Pins of yummy food, I may never have to buy another recipe book/magazine again. This particular recipe came from a personal three hour binge pinning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It kind of reminded me of Hamburger Casserole expect with chicken.

Crock Pot Chicken CasseroleCrock Pot Chicken Casserole
1 (32 oz.) bag of tater tots
1 package (2 cups) cheddar cheese
3 oz. of cooked bacon or bacon bits
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, diced and raw

Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in half a bag of tater tots. Layer with a 1/3 of cheese and bacon. Cover with diced pieces of chicken. Top with a 1/3 of cheese and bacon. Top with remaining tater tots. Finally top with remaining cheese and bacon. Bake on low for 4 – 4 1/2 hours (up to 6 hours if you have an older slow cooker.)

Breakfast Potato Bites

Some people dream of winning the lottery. I dream of winning the Pillsbury Bake-off, something most of my friends have never even heard of. Top prize is $1 million paid out in $50K increments for 20 years. Wouldn’t that be perfect? I could work, get out of student loan debt, and maybe even fulfill another dream to start my own foundation. That said, my co-worker Theresa has told me that giving away money is harder than you think. When the need is greater than the amount of money that you have, it’s hard to tell people who wrote wonderful proposals “no”.

If you have been following my blog, then you know that this blog is a labor of love. I love cooking and I’m a pretty good storyteller. Viola! I share my recipes because over the years people have asked 1) What are you eating? 2) Can I get the recipe? or 3) call me saying “Help! I need to make “x” for an upcoming occasion. Any suggestions?” I started this blog to help my friends/family (as well as strangers) with some of my favorite recipes, to organize my recipes in a easily searchable way, and to make myself start trying recipes that I saved for years because I thought “that looks good” or “I’d eat that”. I don’t always love the new recipes but I put them out there for others who might. Consider my blog a long-winded recipe review.

And sometimes I mess up really bad. A few weeks ago I found a picture on my friend Melissa’s pinterest page I wanted to make. I clicked to original recipe and printed it out. It was for baked seasoned red roasted potatoes with chicken, cheese, scallions, and bacon on the top. Sounds good, right? Well, I decided to change it up a little and use melted Gouda cheese and omit the chicken. I would be like my own version of Blanc Burgers cheesy fries. Let’s just say, sometimes it is easier to pay a professional chef to enjoy a favorite dish.

As I read through the recipe, I noticed it cooked at 475 degrees. That’s high! I hate cooking recipes higher than 400 degrees because the second I open my oven door, the smoke detector closest to the kitchen goes off. As I looked at the recipe even closer, it said to cook the diced potatoes for 45-60 minutes, stirring even 15-20 minutes. Wow, that seemed way to long at that high a heat. I cooked for 15 minutes and they were a little toasty. The hallway smoke detector went off. I turned them and returned to the oven for another 10 minutes thinking – they would be done then. When I opened the oven this time, they were complete charred. Now all three of the smoke detectors in my one bedroom apartment were going off. One even saying “Carbon Monoxide detected, please exit immediately.” Really, it wasn’t that bad. Yes, the potatoes were burned but nothing was on fire. But I opened my front door and threw the pan outside. Eventually, all the smoke detectors stopped.

I later noticed that I had frozen diced red roasted potatoes in my freezer. Upon reading the directions, I learned you bake the frozen kind for 20-30 minutes at 450 degrees. So I’m pretty sure the person who posted that recipe meant to write 375 degrees or 45-60 minutes. I guess no blogger is perfect.

I know this recipe is different then the one I was just talking about but it turned out perfectly. Plus, it is a Pillsbury recipe. Quick, easy, and delicious. Consider making this recipe for breakfast. They turned out very puffy.

Bacon-Egg Breakfast BitesBacon-Egg Breakfast Bites by Pillsbury
24 tater-tots
12 slices of pre-cooked bacon, cut in half
1 pkg. round crescent rolls, each slice cut into thirds
5 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Spray 24 mini-muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap a tater-tot with bacon. Place on piece on portion of crescent roll and tighten around tot. Place standing up in mini-muffin cup. Complete remaining 23 bites. Pour approximately 1 T. of egg around crescent roll to fill each mini-muffin cup. Bake 13-20 minutes until golden brown/egg cooked.

Nutrition: (12 servings – 2 bites each) 180 calories (100 calories from fat), 11 g. fat (3.5 g. saturated fat, 1.5 g. trans fat, 95 mg. cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 12 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, 2 g. sugar, and 7 g. protein.

Notes:

  • I cooked for 13 minutes and they were perfect.
  • I would suggest maybe 4 eggs. I had a little extra at the end. Better yet, use an egg substitute to make it healthier.
  • I used both mini and regular tater-tots. Both worked but you can cut some calories with the smaller tot.
  • If you don’t want to use bacon, I’m sure you could substitute turkey or ham.