Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

None of us really wanted to cook breakfast, so we started the breakfast casserole the night before by thawing the tater tots. Hash browns would work as well, as we were trying to create a potato crust.

Adding a few eggs, milk, salsa, cheese, bacon and seasonings and putting it all to bake first thing in the morning, had a lovely casserole by the time everyone was up and about.

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

about 30 tater tots, enough to cover the bottom of a pie plate
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup (about 6 slices) bacon, diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

The night before, butter a deep dish pie plate. Place a layer of tater tots to cover the bottom of the plate. Put the plate in the fridge for them to thaw overnight.

In the morning, mash the tater tots with a fork to form a bottom crust.

Scramble the eggs together with the seasonings, milk and salsa. Sprinkle half the bacon over the tater tots and pour half the egg mixture over. Sprinkle on half the cheese. Pour the rest of the eggs into pie plate and then sprinkle over remaining bacon and cheese. Let sit while the oven comes to 325 degrees F.

Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until top is golden and bubbly.

Serves 6.

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Putting All Your Eggs In One Steamer Basket

I’m always looking at other ways to get perfect soft boiled eggs. After trying this method, I can attest that the eggs were easier to peel and I didn’t lose any from cracks. Plus their interiors were exactly as I wanted, whether hard or soft boiled.

The only difference is cook time. Just cook the eggs for longer in the steam and you’ll have perfect hard boiled, easily peeled eggs and pretty yellows. Cook for less and you’ll have soft but solid whites and runny yolks.

Steamer Basket Eggs

Place 1 inch of water in a pot. Place in your steamer basket or insert, put on the lid and bring the water to a boil. Using tongs put the number of eggs you want into the basket and put the lid back on. Cook as follows:

Soft boiled – 6 1/2 minutes for runny yolks but fully cooked whites

Hard boiled – 12 minutes for perfectly done and creamy yolks.

Cool eggs under running water. Peel gently, if soft boiled as the eggs will still be soft.

Blueberry Muffins

I tried a new blueberry muffin recipe and they were pretty good. I usually make this Double Blueberry Muffins recipe, where you mash part of the blueberries. With less smashed fruit, the muffins in this recipe aren’t a strange grey from the blueberry juices, which was a plus as I brought them for the Forum for Equality Candidate Interviews for the upcoming election. Only problem was they didn’t want to come out of the muffin tins, so I ended up with a lot of muffin tops (which is frankly the best part). Next time, I’ll put these in cupcake papers, though.

Blueberry Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 – 12 cup muffin tins

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the extracts and mix to combine. Scrape down the bowl and then add the eggs one at a time.

Add in one third of the dry ingredients. Pour in half the milk. Add in half of the remaining dry ingredients and then the rest of the milk. Add the final bit of dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin tins with batter. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate and switch the pans midway through baking.

Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Breakfast Corn Muffins

I wanted something different for breakfast and I had been thinking about corn muffins recently. I decided to make a mash up that would have a hit of protein but still have corn flavor. These ended up tasting a little like cornbread stuffing (not a bad thing at all). They also freeze really well and can be rewarmed in a microwave.

Breakfast Corn Muffins

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
1 small onion (1 cup)
2 ribs celery (1 cup)
½ green bell pepper (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon sage
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/4 cup corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Brown sausage over medium heat. Add celery, onion and bell pepper and sauté until softened. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in sage.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together corn meal, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, chicken broth, sour cream, eggs and corn kernels. Add to the corn meal mix and stir to combine. Fold in meat mixture.

Using a ¼ cup measure, fill buttered muffin tins with the mix. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yummy Waffles

I love breakfast foods for dinner, especially when I’m having one of my favorite combos – fried chicken and waffles! This recipe makes six regular waffles or 4 Belgium style. We added toasted pecans to ours for an additional bump of flavor.

Waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)

Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.

Lightly beat the egg in another medium bowl. Add the sugar, butter, and shortening and mix well with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the milk, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture while beating. Mix only briefly. Leave the small lumps in the batter since over beating could produce waffles that are too tough.

 Rest the batter for 15 minutes (or overnight for even better batter).

Rub a light coating of vegetable oil on the waffle iron or use a non-stick oil spray. Preheat the waffle iron. If you put the batter away overnight, pull it out of the refrigerator to warm up a bit as the waffle iron is preheating. Gently fold in the chopped pecans.

Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter into the waffle iron and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the waffles are brown.

Serve with softened butter and maple or cane syrup. Can also be served with fried chicken.

Sausage Scramble Bowl

This item is popular on fast food menus and in the freezer section of grocery stores because it is full of yummy goodness. My version is scaled down for a breakfast for two but you can easily scale it up it to ensure you have portions for on-the-go meals later in week.

Sausage Scramble Bowl

1 medium russet potato
1/2 lb bulk breakfast sausage
1 bell pepper, diced
4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and cut potato into a small dice. Place in a saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occassionally, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and let sit in the hot saucepan until needed.

Brown sausage in a medium skillet. Break it into small pieces and cook until no longer pink. Remove from skillet to a paper towel covered plate.

Place the potatoes in the skillet and brown slightly. Once they’ve gained some color, add in the diced bell pepper and cook until just tender. Remove from skillet.

If necessary, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan. Scramble the eggs with the milk and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the skillet and then scatter the grated cheese over the top. Gently stir the eggs to keep them soft. When done, add in the sausage, potatoes and bell pepper. Stir to combine and then distribute to bowls for devouring.

 

To store and reheat: Place in an airtight container. Cool in the refrigerator before moving to the freezer. Place a portion (about 1 1/2 cups) in a microwave safe bowl. Defrost on half power for a minute before moving to full power for a minute to a minute and a half to heat through.

Baked Brunch Bombshell

We started the morning with some Monkey Bread (from the freezer section of most grocery stores) but that was way too much sugar to satisfy us for long. I made up a terrific skillet dish for brunch – filled with sausage, grits, cheese and eggs, it is very satisfying and delicious. If you wanted a nicer presentation, you could cook it in a 9×13 casserole dish.

Grits Sausage Brunch Casserole

1 lb bulk sausage
1 cup grits – not instant!
3 cups water (or, for a more savory casserole use chicken broth, I did 2 cups chicken broth plus one cup water)
2 cups milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
4-6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Brown the sausage in a large, 12 inch cast iron skillet. Drain off the grease.

Bring water, broth and 1 cup milk to a boil – with one cup of grits, you will need 4 cups total liquid to boil it in. Whisk in the grits and the salt. Stir regularly until grits are cooked.

Slowly add in the cheddar cheese by the handful until it is all melted together. Beat the eggs with the remaining cup of milk and the black pepper. Slowly stir egg mixture into the grits. Stir in the sausage and the transfer the casserole back to the cast iron skillet.

Slide the skillet into a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.