Breakfast Skillet for Hungry Gals

I burned a huge pile of debris from Michelle’s yard on Saturday and was utterly wiped out afterwards. It isn’t June yet but Mississippi’s heat index was well into the 90’s. I woke up starving the next morning and decided to make a hearty meal for us to start the day.

I used Michelle’s 8 inch cast iron skillet. It gave us two hearty slices for breakfast plus two for eating the next day. If you have more people, double things and use a 12 inch skillet instead.

For the bulk sausage, I cut the tube in half and sliced one of the halves. I browned those sausage patties first and set them aside to serve with biscuits later in the week. I then browned the rest of the sausage.

I didn’t add salt to the recipe. The potatoes are cooked in salted water and the cheddar cheese and sausage are salty but definitely taste for seasoning.

Breakfast Skillet

1/2 lb bulk breakfast sausage
2 medium potatoes, diced (or 1 1/2 cup frozen hashbrowns)
1/2 small onion, sliced
1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
5 large eggs
1/2 cup 2 % milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
On the stove top in a 8-inch cast iron, brown the sausage. Remove from the skillet to paper towels to drain, reserving the drippings in the pan. Meanwhile, place diced potatoes in a saucepan with cold water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the onion to the drippings and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes or until softened. Season with black pepper to taste.
Add the parboiled potatoes or shredded hash brown potatoes to the pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring periodically until lightly browned and heated through.
Spread the potato mixture evenly across the bottom of the skillet, then sprinkle the browned sausage over the top.
Whisk the eggs with the milk. Stir in 3/4 cups of the cheddar cheese. Pour on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the eggs have set. Put under the broiler for just a minute or two to brown the top.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Bacon Cornmeal Waffles

I’m still on a cornmeal kick and have been craving waffles, too. I went to the Joy of Cooking I inherited from my paternal grandmother, circa 1953. They have a variety of waffle recipes that looked promising, although most needed a little updating.

The original recipe called for 5 tablespoons of melted bacon fat. That would have made them too greasy, so I used mostly melted butter instead with a single tablespoon of bacon fat for flavor. Like most good Southern girls, I keep a jar of bacon fat in my fridge for just a use. I also bake the entire package of bacon (on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F) and then freeze what I don’t eat. This way, I usually always have bacon ready to eat and it was easy to pull some out and chop it for this use.

The cornmeal gave the waffles a bit of nutty taste, with bacon in every tender bite. Definitely a recipe to repeat. Good thing I have extras to freeze and just pop in the toaster oven for a quick meal.

Bacon Cornmeal Waffles

2 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon bacon fat, melted
4-6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces

Beat the eggs in the milk.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk together with the cornmeal. Stir in the milk. Mix in the melted butter and bacon fat. Stir in the bacon pieces. There will still be some lumps but everything should be incorporated.

Let batter stand while the waffle iron heats up. Brush lightly with vegetable oil. Add batter in 1/3 cup measures to each side of the waffle iron. Wait two minutes after most of the steam has escaped to check for doneness. You’re looking for even golden color and crispy to the touch. Place finished waffles in a 200 degree F oven while cooking the rest.

Breakfast Egg Muffins

My sister introduced me to the concept of these when she and her husband were here for the first weekend of Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. They are a healthy, hearty breakfast (or snack) for anyone on the go.

The world is yours when deciding how to fill these – we had both ham and bacon in the one’s Kathy made and Michelle craved spinach so we added that to hers. Feel free to add diced bell pepper or sautéed sliced mushroom (about 1/2 cup each) or even different cheeses. Because we were primarily working with regular size muffin tins, we had to cut back on the additions.

Best part is, they freeze beautifully for almost two week’s worth of breakfasts at a time.

Breakfast Egg Muffins

24 or 36 tater tots, thawed
12 rashers bacon
12 eggs
1/2 milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup baby spinach, finely shredded
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon to almost done on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven. Set aside to cool slightly, leaving the oven on.

Really well oil the cups of a 12 hole muffin tin. Seriously – if you want these to come out, oil the cups well. Mash the thawed tater tots in the bottom – if you have regular size muffin tins, use 2 tater tots per cup. Otherwise, use three per. You want a layer of potato covering the bottom, so press them well.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add in remaining ingredients and mix together.

Break up bacon into pieces and set around the sides of muffin cup. Scoop about a 1/3 cup of the egg mixture into each regular sized muffin cup. If using larger cups, use 1/2 cup egg mixture per.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the muffin is completely cooked.

Let cool slightly before removing from pan. You can serve these immediately or save for quick meals.

If going to store them, let them cool completely before individually wrapping each in plastic wrap and place in a zip top bag. Store in the freezer until ready to use. Microwave for 30 seconds and then for 10-15 second intervals until warm all the way through.

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.

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.