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Green Smoothie Bar - The Brunch Starter Course

Green Smoothie Bar - The Brunch Starter Course

This what happen when you forget you are hosting brunch until its 15 minutes before the first guest arrives....

Ah !!!!!!!

I know - that is exactly how I felt but then the idea for a smoothie bar came to me and let's just say that unless my friends read this post they will be clueless to the fact that I rolled out of bed 25 minutes before they arrived. Today's recipe is all about healthy delicious goodness in a glass topped with even more healthy, delicious things.  

This is one of my favorites and since my epiphany moment , this has become the perfect brunch starter course.  I will typically make a pitcher of the smoothie and then give 3 to 5 options for topping. I like to do it this way because there are folks who may like chai seed but no so much the dried fruit - so I set out the toppings and my guests can decide what they want. I have guest sip on this while the table is getting set or the last of the brunch buffet is getting cooked.

When I make this for myself, I tend to just chuck in the dried fruit, chai seed and the seed and blend it all up , but when I have guests - you want to make sure they have options/variety - hence the smoothie bar

This is also a healhy alternative to a cheese spread or a sweets table. If you have a larger party with a variety of taste - then I will usually do 2 to 3 three different smoothies and about 5 to 7 topping options.

However way you choose to go, this is a good one, especially if you are looking to get back to healthier eating habits.

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Ingredients

Smoothie

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt

Toppings

  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Chai Seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Flax Seed

How To:

Scoop avocado into blender. Add in the other ingredients and blend until you have desired consistency. 

Serve. Sprinkle topping of choice and enjoy !

GRITS WITH ROASTED VEGTABLES AND EGG

GRITS WITH ROASTED VEGTABLES AND EGG

I love Southern cooking and I loved shrimp and grits. It is probably my favorite southern dish. Last weekend, I had a huge craving for Shrimp and Grits, but I did not have the patience to make the cream just right and I did not have shrimps at home so the idea of Shrimps and grits was tossed out the window. BUT I really wanted grits - so a quick rummage through the contents of my fridge and pantry and this is where we ended up for dinner. This recipe checks all my favorite boxes when it come to a recipe -

  • Hearty Breakfast - Check
  • Perfect for Breakfast for Dinner - Check
  • Easy to Make - Check
  • Ah-mazingly Delicious - Check

My favorite part of this recipe is the roasted vegetable - which you can substitute for your favorite veg. I have used spinacj and tomatoes here, but you can add in mushrooms, kale, celery - whatever floats your boar. Serve the veggies on a serving of grits and place a fried (or poached) egg on top. Dinner  (or breakfast /lunch) is served. 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grits
  • salt and pepper

HOW TO:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Toss tomato with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Set on an oven safe tray and roast in oven for 12 to 15 minutes. 
  • While tomato is roasting,  sautee spinach with olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium skillet over medium low heat until spinach is wilted. 
  • Cook grits according to package directions.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium low heat. Crack egg into a small bowl*.
  • When oil is hot, add to heated oil gently. 
  •  Season with salt and pepper. Cook till you have your preferred consistency.
  • Plate the grits, top with half the tomatoes, layer spinach over it and the remainder tomato. Drizzle with the dripping of the roasted tomato.
  • Plate egg over it. Serve. 

Recipe Tip. When frying or poaching an egg, I recommend breaking the egg into a bowl to make sure there are no egg shells in the egg before preparation. 

Spinach and Roasted Tomato Scrambled Egg on Bacon and Cream Cheese Bagel

Spinach and Roasted Tomato Scrambled Egg on Bacon and Cream Cheese Bagel

I am still on a high from my return to the Kitchen (and food blogging). It has been too long and I have missed sharing my recipes. I got a revised role at work at the start of the year and that has kept me very busy, but with very limited kitchen time. Dinners have been a combination frozen dinner, take out leftovers and three minute ramen (reminds me of my college days).

My favorite part of this recipe - I got all my favorite breakfast items , but at dinner time. Nothing beat breakfast for dinner and this recipe delivers. This is easy to prepare (under 30 minutes) and it has everything I love.  Roasted veggies, anyone ? 

This recipe calls for smearing cream cheese. Please smear away - DO NOT hold back. Stick with plain cream cheese because you already have a ton of flavor from the bacon and scrambled egg with veggies and flavored cream cheese may throw that off balance. If you must use flavored cream cheese, I recommend the jalapeño cream cheese. Now, talk about a burst of flavor.

WHAT YOU NEED.

  • 3 strips of bacon
  • handfull (1/2 cup) spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove shallot, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Bagel , toasted
  • cream cheese

HOW TO:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • In an oven safe pan, toss onions, shallot, tomato with a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Line bacon on baking tray and place in oven to crisp. leave in for 5 to 8 minutes depending on how crispy you want it. .
  • Whisk egg, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Heat one tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium skillet.
  • When butter is melted, stir in spinach till it is welted (about 3 minutes), then add roasted vegetable and cook for 2 minute. Stir in the egg into the mixture and keep stirring until you have desired consistency.
  • Place toasted bagel on clean surface and smear both sides with cream cheese.
  • Cut bacon strips in half, layer half the strips on one side of the smeared bagel, pile on the scrambled spinach and roasted vegetable egg on the bacon.
  • Place the other side of the bagel over the bacon and enjoy.

Recipe Tip: Let me let you in on a secret. If you want to add big flavor with minimal effort - try roasting your vegetables with drizzle of olive oil and seasoning of choice. Toss it in with your pasta , sauce or scrambled egg like I have done here and major flavor to your meal.

Mushroom, Spinach and Carrot Frittata

Mushroom, Spinach and Carrot Frittata

A.K.A  Everything in my fridge frittata

A lot of my favorite recipes start out with a need to create something based on the contents of my fridge or pantry. This recipe is no difference.

Back when Dallas (TX) finally caught up with the rest of the Country and had a few snow days - I could not be bothered braving the roads to get to a grocery store, so I basically tossed the content of my fridde with some eggs and got myself a recipe I have been making for brunch parties and recommending to friends. It's full of veggies and I have other version with just eggs white for a healthier version. Bare in mind the version with just egg whites is not as fluffy, but still as delish - so win win.

A quick tip -watch the egg as it bakes, make sure to take it out before it browns around the edges. I made that mistake.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 oregano
  • 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup diced mushroom
  • 2 tablespoon parmesean cheese, sheredded
  • 2 tablespoon diced scallion

How to:

Preheat oven to 400 F

Combine eggs, scallion, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl and beat lightly.

In a oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Once butter is fully melted. add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, add carrot and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently.   Add in spinach, stir and cook for a minute.

Stir the ingredients to make sure it is evenly distributed in skillet, reduce heat to low, then pour in the egg mixture to evenly cover the skillet and sprinkle with cheese. Let it sit for 45 seconds to a minute. Then place skillet in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until eggs set.

Take out of oven and let it rest for a few minutes, then slide onto a cutting board and slice into wedges. Serve with toast, biscuits, scones or fruit and garnish with remainder cheese.

Serves 3 / 25 minutes

The Breakfast Pizza

The Breakfast Pizza

This is one of my favorite things to make - it is so uncomplicated and when I have had a long week - this is one of those quick to throw together meals.

Pull out your favorite contents from your fridge, scrambled some eggs and layer it on your favorite flat bread type stuff. I chose naan - I had some leftover from a recent curry binge. Oh, then there is the mozarella cheese - it just melts all over the flat bread.

Depending on the size of your flat bread - you may not need to use up all the veg. For the size of Naan I was working with, I only used 1/2 cup of onion, 1/2 cup tomato and 1/2 cup spinach.

Ingredients

  • 1 flat bread - I used Naan
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablesppon butter
  • half an onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomato, halved
  • 1/2 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 to 8 oz sausage, diced
  • Salt and pepper

How To

In a bowl, combine onion, tomato, spinach, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper, toss together and set aside

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with milk, pinch of salt and pepper together and set aside. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium low heat, once butter is melted and starts to bubble up, pour in the egg mixture. Once the egg starts to set, use whisk to scramble it. Let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes (or until it's at desired consistency)

Line baking tray with parchment paper, place naan on the baking tray. Spread half cheese on the naan, then sprinkle the onion, tomato and spinach mixture over it, then layer with half the sausage, then add the scrambled eggs over top and the remainder sausage and cheese.

Place in oven to bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Take out of oven , let it cool down and cut diagnonally. Serve and Enjoy.

Jalapeno and Cheddar Biscuit

Jalapeno and Cheddar Biscuit

Something about jalapeno and cheddar - match made in food heaven !!! So I made jalapeno and cheddar biscuits.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper , finely diced
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

How To

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, jalapeño, cheddar and salt. Add the cold butter pieces to the flour and use your hands to mix it until you have tiny crumbles (about 5 to 7 minutes). You can also use a pastry blender to mix it.  Make a well in center and pour in the milk. Stir together with a spoon (wooden spoon is best) until it is combined. Use your hands to bring dough together , if needed.

Form the dough into a circle about 11/2 to 2 inches thick. USe a biscuit cutter to cut the dough into rounds. Place on a nonstick baking sheet (you can also use spoon to drop batter onto the baking sheet - this will make drop biscuits). Whisk egg with 2 to 3 tablespoon water. Brush top of bisciut will egg wash to give the top of the bicuits a golden top.

For a less spicy option - de-vein the peppers and take out the seed.

Place baking sheet in oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Take out of oven and let it cool slightly.

Serve with honey or butter. I also like to serve this with soup instead of toast.

Baked French Toast with Crumble Topping

Baked French Toast with Crumble Topping

It's all about the french toast on the blog today - One of my favorite things to make for a weekend brunch at home.

If you cannot tell by now, I am obsessed with brunch and breakfast - this is surprising for most people that know me because my weekday breakfast menu is limited to breakfast bars or yogurt and a cup of tea, but on weekends I go all out with brunch. I prefer making a spread at home and few times I go out - it's always to my favorite place - here

One of my favorite things to make for brunch is this baked french toast - it is seriously good stuff. It's super easy to make, but your guests will think you spent hours prepping and cooking. Last weekend, I had some friends driving through Dallas - so we agreed to meet up for brunch at mi casa. Baked french toast was the menu, a drizzle of honey, mounds of whip cream and you have got an amazing meal. 

Great food; Great Friends = Perfect start to my weekend.

The French Toast

  • 10 slices of bread (cut into cubes)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • butter

For the crumble

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (plus 1 tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 stick of cold butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Garnish

  • Cinnamon sugar
  • whipped cream

Coat baking pan with butter. Layer the cubed bread into the baking pan. In a seperate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and milk. Pour egg mixture over the bread. Cover the baking pan and put it in the fridge to rest for 1 hour (overnight is best). 

For the crumble: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Mix together till combined. Add in cubed butter and mix till you have a crumble texture (coarse texture). Cover and store in fridge until you are ready to bake.

When you are ready to cook this, sprinkle crumble over top and place in over at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream and/or sprinkling of cinnamon sugar

Prep time: 1 hour 15 mins / Serves 4 to 6

Banana Granola Muffins

Banana Granola Muffins

This year - I am trying to do better with what I stock in my pantry and fridge.

Less of the chips, cookies and sodas ;  more fruit, nuts and overall health-ish stuff. One of the biggest hurdles in health-ish eating for me is getting hungry and not having anything remotely healthy to eat - so I go to the chips and cookies and just down the rabbit hole of unhealthy stuff.

I made these banana granola muffins to have as a healthy-ish alternative to the cookies for when  the hungers pangs hit and between the hunger pangs hitting and deciding what to make for dinner. It's got bananas, granola and greek yougurt - that is healthy-ish , right ?

They have also become a great breakfast alternative on days I a running late. I make a batch on the weekend, pop it in a zip lock back and refrigerate. On those longer days (like the one I had this week), It's come in as a great dinner alternative. I pop one of this in the microwave for a few seconds with a cup of tea and I am set for dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour, all flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder 
  • ¾ tsp baking soda 
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 5 tbs butter, melted
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup greek yogurt or plain nonfat yogurt 
  • ½ tsp of vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granola
  • 2 large egg

How to

Preheat oven to 350 F

Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a mixing bowl. Add in sugar, vanilla extract, melted butter and egg.  Mix together.

Then add in milk, yogurt and granola in thirds -  fold in ¼ cup of granola into mixture, then ¼ cup milk, then another ¼ cup granola, greek yogurt and the remainder granola.

Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes. Then scoop into muffin pan and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. 

10 to 12 muffins / 30 minutes

Greek Salad Fritatta

Greek Salad Fritatta

I love making frittata. Like fritters, there is an endless possibility of frittata recipe you can create. Start with a base recipe and add in just about anything you like. This recipe was inspired by the ingredients of Greek salad. I am having a yawning for summer at the moment - I know if's only been gone 3 weeks or a month and half (depending on where you live). To cure my longing for the summer, I decided to make fritatta inspired by a Greek salad. Oh my gosh , this is so simple and so so good. Grab the basic ingredients of a Greek salad - onions, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese - I skipped the cucumber. Add spinach, eggs and spices and you have a very delicious "i want to make this every weekend" frittata.

greek salad fritatta
greek salad fritatta

What you need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup red onions
  • 1/2 cup pitted olives
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup spinach

How to:

Preheat oven to 375 F

Combine eggs, garlic, 3/4th of the cheese, oregano and cayenne pepper; then beat lightly.

In a oven-safe skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add olives and onions and cook until onoin is soft, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and stir to cook with onion and olive for 1 to 2 minutes. Add in spinach, stir and cook for a minute.

Stir the ingredients to make sure it is evenly distributed in skillet, reduce heat to low, then pour in the egg mixture to evenly cover the skillet. Let it sit for 45 seconds to a minute. Then place skillet in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until eggs set.

Take out of oven and let it rest for a few minutes, then slide onto a cutting board and slice into wedges. Serve with toast, biscuits or fruit and garnish with remainder feta cheese.

Note: Watch the egg as it bakes, make sure to take it out before it browns onto.

Serves 3 / 25 minutes

Cranberry Oatmeal

Cranberry Oatmeal

I have the testing recipes for christmas breakfast - I have a few friends and family coming my way for Christmas and each one has different taste in food - so I am trying to get ahead with a menu plan. Lunch and Dinner menu is already set - but breakfast is wide open. We have a few oatmeal lovers - so I thought I would add oatmeal to the menu (along with some baked goods - to be decided on later or maybe I will go the lazy route and pick up a few things from whole foods. There will be fresh toast - I am thinking it will be this Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast with Strawberry Sauce (or maybe I will try to create something different).

Anyways - the one thing that is sure for on the breakfast menu is this cranberry oatmeal - it is so good. I like to make my own cranberry sauce, but you can use store bought to save some time. Once you have the cranberry - its really very simple to throw together. Also, I have used almond milk here for a healthier version, but you can use any milk you have at home.

So why cranberry oatmeal ? - Well, cos its Christmas and regular ole oat meal just won't do.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 allspice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • diced diced, for garnish (optional)
  • shave almonds, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Over medium heat, heat 1/4 cup water, spice and cranberry sauce in a medium sauce pan. Once it starts to simmer, stir in salt, milk and water and bring to boil.

Once boiling, stir in oats, sugar, vanilla and almond extract, reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes until it thickens to you liking, remove from heat. 

Top with desired topping, freshly diced apples, splash of milk, almond. Serve immediately.