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.

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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.

 

Miryam’s Amazing Strudel

I have to say I was a little intimidated when Victoria gave me this recipe. I once saw strudel being made and they had stretched this piece of dough until it was as big as a dining room table and thin enough to read the newspaper through. However, her mom’s method had the dough being divided into four pieces, so it didn’t have to be stretched so much. I found stretching it 18 by 12 inches was sufficient to make thin layers. And, because, I was dividing it into fourths, I decided to add a classic apple filling to half of them (leaving the others with her mom’s classic cinnamon raisin nut version).

Most recipes I read recommended using a high gluten bread flour, so I did that, as the original recipe only specified flour. I also soaked the raisins to soften them for about 5 minutes in hot water before draining them and patting them dry. As I’m allergic to walnuts, I used pecans instead but left walnuts in the recipe.

I used a food processor to make the dough, although you can mix everything together in a bowl and knead until a smooth dough forms. I also divided my dough in half before resting – I did half the dough after the four hour rest and the rest for brunch the next morning.

Sesame coated cinnamon raisin nut strudel

Miryam’s Amazing Strudel

Strudel Dough

4 cups bread flour
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons white vinegar

 

Cinnamon Raisin Nut Filling (makes two)

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup plumped, well drained raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter (half a stick), melted

  

Apple Nut Filling (makes two)

3 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup plumped, well-drained raisins (optional)
1/4 cup butter (half a stick), melted

  

Strudel base

1 stick butter, melted

  

Toppings

1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
1 egg

  

Place butter, water and vinegar in a bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the flour and and process until the dough is smooth. Remove to a well buttered bowl and cover. Let rest in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. If you let it rest overnight, let it warm on the counter for an hour or two before attempting to roll out.  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

For Cinnamon Raisin Nut Filling: Combine all the filling ingredients together.  

For Apple Filling: Toss the prepared apples with the lemon juice. Stir together with the rest of the ingredients. If it is super liquidy, add 1 tablespoon corn starch and stir well.

Divide each filling into two portions and set aside while you prepare the dough.

Divide dough into 4 parts. Take off any rings, bracelets and watches and have your arms bare to the elbow. Pat the dough into the shape of a rectangle. Set the piece of dough on the center of your work surface and roll out in each direction with a rolling pin. Let the dough rest for a few minutes. Lifting up a section, gently stretch the dough out on the sides, using the back of your hands and working your way around the entire rectangle. It should be semi-translucent in some places, but be careful not to tear it. Don’t worry too much if you do, though, as the many layers will hide the rips.  

Drip butter onto the dough – it is too delicate to brush with butter. Place dollops of one portion of filling on the buttered dough and gently spread out, being careful not to tear the dough. Brush exposed ends with melted butter, fold in sides of dough, then gently roll dough into a cylinder. Seam should be on the bottom.

Score the top of the strudel in portion-sized sections before you put it in the oven. The knife marks will make a clean slice easier after the strudel is baked.

Brush an egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water on top of the cylinders. Sprinkle with sesame seeds on the cinnamon raisin nut filled ones and with cinnamon sugar for the apple filling.

Bake on a greased baking pan for 30 minutes, rotating once midway through baking. Begin rolling out the dough for the next strudel while one is cooking. Follow above directions for filling and rolling and baking.

Slice when hot. Serve with ice cream or with coffee/tea and it is even better served cold the next day.

 

Cinnamon sugar coated apple strudel

Quesadillas con Huevos

Wanting something different for breakfast, I decided to try to make a breakfast quesadilla. I’ve done breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs but I wanted my eggs soft cooked this time. I love black beans, so I knew those were going on it and I could use them to corral the egg. I used part of a drained can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilis instead of salsa, so the final result had the added benefit of helping my girlfriend, who woke up with a congested head, open up her sinuses.

Quesadillas con Huevos

4 flour tortillas
1 can black beans
1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup salsa, drained
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Lightly toast tortillas over the stove burner. Warm the black beans in a saucepan.

Place two tortillas down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle on a layer of pepper jack cheese. Make a ring with some drained black beans. Sprinkle over the ring the salsa. Carefully break one egg in each of the rings. Sprinkle on a little more cheese.

Put the baking sheet in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove long enough to sprinkle on more cheese and place the remaining tortillas on top of the filled side. Bake for 3-5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for up to two minutes more to make the top tortilla crunchy. If you want your eggs runny, instead of just soft, reduce the second bake time to 3 minutes.

Place onto large plates and cut into quarters. Serve with sour cream and additional salsa, if desired.