Kitchen Concoctions: December 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Black-Eyed Pea Tradition

Ever wonder how that tradition of eating black-eyed peas for New Year's got it's start? Well check out this article I wrote for Food on the Table which was posted over on Tiny Green Mom.

I also shared a recipe for yummy New Year's Day Black-Eyed Pea Soup, that you must make on New Year's Day to bring you luck throughout the year 2011!!!!

Hope you all have a safe and happy New Year! See ya next year! (haha I love being able to say that about everything!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas, More Breakfast, And Giveaway Winners

It was a sad day yesterday for me. I woke up and realized Christmas was already over. : ( Boo! I love this time of year and all the excitement, all the anticipation, all the counting down and it is all over. Sniffle... Now don't get me wrong the last two three months have been pure exhaustion, but I am sad none the less. I am happy though to have been able to spend the holidays with both Eric and I's family and keep many scared traditions going! And I am happy that since life will slow down a bit I will have more time for this blog (some fun changes coming soon) and for other exciting things (can't wait to share)!

But first (I know you all are waiting) I must announce the winners of my recent giveaways (randomly chosen by! Hip! Hip! Hooray!

First, the winner of the $10 Wendy's gift card (drum roll please):

True Random Number Generator Min: Max: Result: 6

Comment number 6 is from mami2jcn who says she is a Facebook fan!

Congrats mami2jcn! Thank you for entering the giveaway and being a Facebook fan. Please email me at kitchen_concoctions at hotmail dot com with your mailing address and I will get the gift card sent right out to you!

And the winner of the Chex giveaway (please hold your applause):

True Random Number Generator Min: Max: Result: 1

Comment number 1 is Dana who likes to use Chex cereal to make "Puppy Chow"!

Congrats Dana! Thank you for entering the giveaway. Please email me at kitchen_concoctions at hotmail dot com with your mailing address and I will get the Chex prize pack sent right out to you!


There's more....

In case you missed any of the Kitchen Concoctions Days of Christmas, here are all the breakfast/brunch recipes I featured:

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and enjoyed these 12 days of breakfast recipes

Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm not ready...

So the other day I asked who was ready (or not) for Christmas. I have to admit that I am not! I have been so busy with work that the past month literally just flew by. I mean I finally get days off and it is THE week of Christmas. I still had Christmas shopping to do, a blanket to make (yes make, like actually sew) for a Christmas present, 3 Christmas get togethers to go to (in which I was bringing 2 sides, 1 appetizer, and 2 desserts). Plus I was trying my darndest to keep up with Kitchen Concoctions count down to Christmas: breakfast style. Wel needless to say time got away from me!

My whole inspiration for doing 12 days of breakfast recipes was the cookbook I choose for the cookbook of the month for December: Paua Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook. And while this is not solely a breakfast/brunch cookbook, the majority of the recipes I wanted to make from it were. So the idea came for 12 days of breakfast recipes. Now usually I do 5 recipes from the cookbooks I feature and then a 'recap' of all 5 recipes and the overall book. BUT the holidays and lack of time got the best of me and unfortunately I ran out of time. So the last day of the 12 days of Christmas here on Kitchen Concoctions is going to be a recap and overview of December's CBOM.

I had a good time making the breakfast recipes I featured from The Deen Family Cookbook however, there are so many more recipes from that cookbook that I want to try. There is everything from appetizers to desserts. Just like the cookbook I shared earlier this month (Down Home with the Neeley's) I loved how Paula shares personal stories that relate with each recipe in this cookbook.

Pictures? A few but not many.
Cook time listed? No, you have to read through the entire recipe to get this information.
Servings listed? Yes!
Readily available ingredients? Yes!
Easy to read and follow recipes? Yes!

Overall this cookbook is a keeper! I wish I had time to make a fifth recipe to share with you today, but like I said that didn't happen, maybe another time. And there are several other recipes from this cookbook that will have to wait but must be visited soon!

A self declared hot chocolate lover, I am. A love reaffirmed by this The Bald Man's Workaholic's Hot Chocolate.

A coffee cake made with real coffee? Something I never knew existed until I stumbled upon this Rise and Shine Coffee Cake.

Um, HELLO... Banana Fosters French Toast. Need I say more than make this stat!


And while I completely made this Heather's Huevos my own and totally rocked it, the initial inspiration came from this book.

I hope you all enjoyed these past two weeks full of breakfast/brunch recipes! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I am constantly teased about the way I speak. Not about my Texas accent (because I do have one) but for mispronouncing words, getting tongue tied, or just completely saying things wrong! Most of the time I just laugh along with others at my mistakes but sometimes it is just plain embarrassing. Like after 3 years of being friends with someone learning that I said his name wrong the whole time (and he just let me say it that way...  it was Eric who finally corrected me 3 years later!)

And don't get me started on the word cinnamon.! I know it sounds silly but for the longest time I couldn't say it correctly! LOL!!!

Here in Texas if you go anywhere for breakfast or brunch you are bound to find Huevos Rancheros on the menu. It is basically an open faced breakfast taco. Yummers! And even though I have lived in Texas almost my whole life, surrounded by Mexican/Tex-Mex food, I still have trouble saying Spanish words (of course I have trouble speaking Spanish, I have trouble speaking my native English)!

And even though I grew up eating Mexican food, I had never had Hevos Rancheros. Eric always talks about them and how good they are and when I saw them in this month's CBOM I knew I had to make them. The only problem? I couldn't pronounce them correctly. Of course Eric teased me about this. He then sounded it out for me and I still had trouble saying it. So he then waves his and says to pronounce it 'waveos'. I finally got it!

So one morning we went over to Eric's parents house and I made these for brunch. Everyone loved them!!! And raved about them (all day long). But because I was cooking in someone else's kitchen (which can sometimes be a hard task) I had to change up the original recipe quite a bit to use what I had on hand. That is where the name Heather's Huevos came from. Eric decided that since I pretty much completely disregarded the original recipe and had such a hard time saying 'Huevos' that I should name this recipe after myself. So I did!

(it is also very hard to get good picures of food at my in-laws)

Heather's Huevos
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 5

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper (seeded if desired), diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound smoked breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons butter
5 eggs
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced,
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook and crumble the sausage until browned. Drain and add cooked meat back into the pan. Stir in the onion and serrano pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Set sausage mixture aside and keep warm.

Add butter to skillet and melt. Working in batches, crack the eggs into the pan. Cook until the bottoms are set and the edges golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until set, about 1 minute more.

Heat the refried beans. Spread the beans on the tostados. Top beans with cheese, prepared sausage mixture, avocado slices and then egg. Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Are You Ready?

Don't forget about the 2 giveaways going on:

Christmas is just days away (4 in fact)! Are you ready?!? Still doing last minute shopping? Don't lie I know you are because I went to one store to get one thing and the entire parking lot was full and every register was open and there was still a horrendous line!

Are you still planning your Christmas Day menu? Well I have totally bombarded you with breakfast recipes the last week and a half and if you still haven't found something you want to make today is the day! Who doesn't love French Toast? Obviously I do because I already brought you one French toast recipe as part of my count down. And here is another.

Ever heard of Bananas Foster? In case you haven't it is a delightful little dessert that got it's start at the famous Brennan's restaurant in New Orleans. It is caramelized bananas cooked in a brown sugar/rum sauce then poured over ice cream. Yum!!!

This is Paula Deen's version for breakfast and instead of ice cream these divine bananas go over French toast. Um, is it just as good. YES! I tell ya, YES! This is so easy and kicks the traditional French toast up a notch (or 2 or 3 notches!). And even better you probably have all the ingredients already in your pantry (so no special grocery store run required)! Show your family you care this Christmas morning at make them THIS French Toast!

Bananas Foster French Toast
Printable Version
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Serves: 8 servings

4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons butter, divided
12 slices of bread
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup pancake/waffle syrup
6 ripe bananas, halved crosswise and lengthwise
1 teaspoon rum extract
extra cinnamon for topping

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, cream, and cinnamon. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Dip 4 bread slices in egg mixture to coat both sides. Using a fork, remove bread from egg mixture, letting excess mixture drip off. Place bread in hot skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining butter and bread slices. Set aside and keep warm.

In a large skillet, combine corn syrup, brown sugar and pancake syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add banana halves and rum extract. Coat with the syrup mixture, and simmer 1 minute. Spoon over French toast. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve immediately.

adapted from The Deen Family Cookbook

One Year Ago: Almond Macaroon Brownie Bars

The incase you missed it, A GIVEAWAY!

So as hard as I tried I got behind in my 12 days of Christmas count down and posted a few days late. Did you notice? Did you see those recipes? In case you missed them here are the last few days:

Day 4: Rise and Shine Coffee Cake
Day 5: The Bald Man's Workaholic's Hot Chocolate
Day 6: Eggnog Latte
Day 7: Cereal French Toast
Day 8: Make-Ahead Muffin Melts

They are all so tasty and festive and are perfect for Christmas!

And you know what else is festive and great for a Christmas party? Chex cereal! For decades, savvy home cooks have been using crunchy Chex® cereal as the starting point for their family-favorite party mix recipes. Many Chex® Party Mix recipes can be made in the microwave in just 15 minutes and call for ingredients you already have in your pantry. From holiday gatherings to impromptu get-togethers, Chex® Party Mix provides a snack idea that will impress your guests in no time.

Whether you´re looking for sweet or salty, Chex® Party Mix has something to offer every taste bud, making it the perfect go-to snack for entertaining this holiday season. Four gluten-free varieties of Chex cereal help ensure that even party guests with gluten restrictions can enjoy Chex® Party Mix recipes like the NEW Chex Lemon Buddies! Remember Multi-Bran and Wheat Chex are not gluten-free.

Visit your local Walmart to find free recipe cards for Chex Lemon Buddies as well as the new Chex Apple Pie Snack Mix and Tex Chex® Party Mix recipes! The blend of flavors in the new homemade mixes will help you create irresistible new favorites and wow your crowd!

I’ve shared with you several times my favorite way to use Chex cereal to make my Chocolate Chex Mix but what is your favorite Chex recipe?

Today’s giveaway is for a Chex gift pack which includes 1 box of Rice Chex, a measuring cup set and a Chex® Party Mix tote bag.

You have FOUR separate ways to enter to win the Chex gift pack (NOTE: Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each response below):

1. Leave a comment on this post sharing what your favorite way to eat/use Chex cereal? I would love to see your favorite Chex recipes, so please share!!

2. Become a follower of this blog and come back to this post and leave a comment letting me know. And if you are already a follower leave a separate comment letting me know that too.

3. Tell someone about this giveaway, whether it be on a blog, Facebook or Twitter. Then come back here and leave a new comment letting me know.

4. And finally, if you have not noticed Kitchen Concoctions is now on Facebook! For a fourth entry to this giveaway, head over to Kitchen Concoction’s Facebook page and click ”Like”. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did. (And if you are already a Facebook fan leave a comment letting me know!)

This is a QUICK give-away which closes Monday, December 27, 2010 at 1 pm CST. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced sometime shortly after the give-away ends.

Disclaimer: Chex and Walmart provided me with the information and gift pack for the giveaway as well as myself through My Blog Spark.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A 'REAL' Coffee Cake

One early memory I have as a child of learning about food is learning about coffee cake. One time when I was a young girl and I spent the night at a friend's house her Mom asked if I wanted some coffee cake for breakfast. I politely refused, because my family did not drink coffee. I later told my Mom about this and she explained that there was no actual coffee in the coffee cake, that coffee cake is just a breakfast cake that a lot of people eat while they drink coffee. I learned something new that day and have enjoyed coffee cake ever since. In fact, I even discovered a coffee cake recipe a few years later that I started making for my own family.

Over the years I have seen, baked, and eaten many a coffee cake and none of them were made with coffee (like my Momma said). That is until now. When flipping through December's CBOM I saw a coffee cake made with REAL coffee. Imagine my shock! Well I decided I had to make this 'real' coffee cake (and of course share the recipe with you).

This coffee cake was fluffy and crumbly (like most coffee cakes are). The actual cake part is not that sweet, however, with the streusel topping and the coffee glaze it makes for just the right amount of sweetness. There may seem like a lot of steps went into making this but it really was easy (way easier than trying to make cinnamon rolls). This cake tasted great with the hot chocolate from yesterday and would also be nice with an eggnog latte. This was just as good the next day as it was fresh from the oven!

Rise and Shine Coffee Cake
Printable Version
Prep Time: 20 minutes Bake Time: 20-25 minutes Serves 6-8

Streusel Topping:
2/3 cup baking mix, such as Bisquick
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 tablespoons butter, chilled and diced

2 cups baking mix, such as Bisquick
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup brewed coffee
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan.

To make topping, combine the baking mix, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. With a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter until mixture resembles large crumbles. Set aside until needed.

To make cake, combine baking mix and granulated sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, coffee, egg, and melted butter. Using an electric mixer, mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.

Fold 1/4 cup of the streusel topping into the cake batter. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and top with remaining streusel topping. Bake until cake is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 20-25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before removing the pan sides and sliding the cake onto a plate.

While the cake is cooling, make glaze. Whisk together the confectioners sugar and coffee until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and let set before serving, about 15 minutes.

adapted from The Deen Family Cookbook

Monday, December 20, 2010

My kind of hot drink

Like I mentioned yesterday, I am not a big coffee drinker, but I love me a big cup of hot chocolate. It is my favorite part of having colder cooler weather... Waking on a cold morning and warming up with some hot chocolate. I love it! I love drinking it at home as I read a good book cuddled up on the couch. And drinking it after being out and about in the crisp, cool air Christmas shopping.

So when I was flipping through Paula Dean's cookbook: The Deen Family Cookbook, and saw this hot chocolate recipe I knew I had to make it. I then saw about 6 other breakfast/brunch recipes that I knew I had to make. That's when I knew I wanted to feature this cookbook as the CBOM for December and feature breakfast recipes in my count down to Christmas. And while I normally review the CBOM at when I share the first recipe I am going to share the recipes first this week and do the review at the end with the recap.

So back to this hot chocolate. It is absolutely amazing. Rich and decadent. Smooth and creamy. And of course chocolaty heaven!

The Bald Man's Workaholic's Hot Chocolate
Printable Version
Prep Time: 8 minutes Cook time: 8 minutes Serves 4

Vanilla Custard:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Hot Chocolate:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk

In a small bowl, sprinkle the cornstarch over 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk to dissolve. Add the sugar and egg yolks and whisk well.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the remaining 2 cups of milk to a simmer. Pour one third of the hot milk into the yolk mixture and whisk well. Pour the yolk mixture back into the hot milk. Bring it to a full boil, whisking constantly, and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sleeve into a large bowl.

To make hot chocolate, heat milk in microwave in a small microwavable bowl for 45 seconds. Remove milk from microwave and stir in chocolate chips. Stir until all chocolate chips are melted. Pour the hot chocolate into the vanilla custard and whisk together. Divide mixture among four mugs and serve hot. Any leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated.

adapted from The Deen Family Cookbook

One Year Ago: Almond Macaroon Brownie Bars

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A holiday breakfast drink

For most a big cup of coffee for breakfast is what it is all about. That cup of coffee is essential. Is routine. But not for me. Unlike many I am not a big coffee drinker. Sometimes I wish I was so that I can go meet friends for an afternoon coffee. But that just doesn't happen.

But Eric loves having a big ole cup of coffee. So I decided to make him an extra special Holiday flavored coffee, an eggnog latte.

Eric loved this. But I knew he would because he loves eggnog and of course coffee. He said the flavors were perfect and that it tastes like Christmas in a cup! Lol! Oh and another plus is that this made my house smell so good!

Eggnog Latte
Printable Version
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Servings: 1

2 shots espresso or 1/2 cup of strong concentrated coffee
1/3 cup eggnog
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons sugar or sweetener, to taste
dash of nutmeg
dash of cinnamon
optional whipped topping

Brew coffee or espresso.

Heat eggnog and combine with milk. Use frothing wand slowly up and down, side to side until eggnog and milk is thick and foamed. (Or put in blender if you don't have a frothing wand).

Pour coffee or espresso into mug, sweeten to taste and pour hot eggnog mixture over the top. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Enjoy!

adapted from Gina's Skinny Recipes

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cereal For Breakfast

By far my favorite 'breakfast' food is definitely cereal. I whole heart cereal. It makes me happy. I love to eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon snacks, midnight snacks (you get the point).

Well Christmas morning breakfast is certainly not the morning for 'plain old cereal'. But what about cereal crusted french toast. Now that sounds amazing! And fun! And unique!

I first saw this idea in the Rachael Ray magazine. I then saw it on one of my favorite food blogs Lick the Bowl Good. The concept was the same: a basic french toast but after dipping the bread in the egg mixture you dip the bread in the crushed cereal and cook as normal. The cereal adds a nice crunch and flavor. Rachael Ray used granola in her version and Monica (from Lick The Bowl Good) used Cap'n Crunch. But the possibilities are endless. A chocolate lover? Use Cocoa Puffs. Love cinnamon toast for breakfast make Cinnamon Toast Crunch french toast. Use what cereal you love and what you have on hand. Anything will work! Just have fun with it, kids will love this too.

I did use granola for mine because it is what I had on hand. But the egg mixture is my standard french toast recipe. I also made a strawberry syrup to top my Granola French Toast and included that recipe below. 

Cereal French Toast
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves 4

3 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups cereal of your choice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Eight 1-inch-thick slices of bread
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Using a food processor, grind the cereal into fine crumbs; transfer to a wide, shallow bowl and mix in the cinnamon. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla, and half-and-half. Add the bread and soak until saturated. In batches, transfer the bread to the cereal crumbs, heavily coating each slice.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt 2-1/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Working in batches, add the cereal-coated bread and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining butter and bread slices. Serve warm topped with strawberry syrup and whipped cream topping.

recipe inspired by Lick the Bowl Good and Everyday with Racheal Ray

Strawberry Syrup
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15-20 minutes Makes 1 cup

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine sliced strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Let strawberries cook for 15 to 20 minutes, breaking up/mashing the strawberries with a wooden spoon as they cook. Serve over pancakes, waffles, french toast, or even ice cream! : )

One Year Ago: Fun Gifts For The Foodie In Your Life

Friday, December 17, 2010

Who loves Wendy's?

Today I have an exciting post for you! Don't worry I still have a breakfast recipe to share in a little bit as part of the Kitchen Concoctions count down to Christmas but I thought I would have an additional post today.

Several weeks ago I was asked by the peeps at FoodBuzz if I was interested in attending a special tasting at Wendy's to specifically try their new natural-cut fries. Now I am not a big fast food eater but every once in awhile after a long day or while I am out running errands or when I am traveling, I treat myself to some. And honestly Wendy's has always been one of my top picks, because of their convenient locations and affordable prices. They also always seemed to have better quality food than some of those other fast food chains.

And while Wendy's has always pride it's self on having 'real' food and fresh ingredients, recently they have decided to raise the bar even higher. Like, have you tried their new salads? I love the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad and their new Cesar Salad. Both are always fresh when I order them.

And now Wendy's has natural -cut fries. And since I had the opportunity to try them I can personally attest to their deliciousness. They are hot, crispy and perfectly seasoned with sea salt. A fast food fry made with 100% Russet potatoes, cooked with the skin on for more flavor and so they cook up crispier and stay hotter longer. Who knew a fast food giant had us, the consumer, in mind and is striving to provide fresher, natural, tastier food!

And here's the good news! Foodbuzz and Wendy's wanted to give one of you, the opportunity to try Wendy's natural-cut fries (and maybe one of their new salads) too! I have a $10 gift certificate to giveaway to one of you.

You have FOUR separate ways to enter to win the Wendy's $10 gift certificate (NOTE: Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each response below):

1. Leave a comment on this post sharing what your favorite Wendy's treat is. Have you already tried their new fries? Do you just ove their new salads?

2. Become a follower of this blog and come back to this post and leave a comment letting me know. And if you are already a follower leave a separate comment letting me know that too.

3. Tell someone about this giveaway, whether it be on a blog, Facebook or Twitter. Then come back here and leave a new comment letting me know.

4. And finally, if you have not noticed Kitchen Concoctions is now on Facebook! For a fourth entry to this giveaway, head over to Kitchen Concoction’s Facebook page and click ”Like”. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did. (And if you are already a Facebook fan leave a comment letting me know!)

This give-away closes Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 10 pm CST. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced sometime shortly after the give-away ends.

Oh and one more thing. Even if you don't win the gift certificate you can still try Wendy's new natural-cut fries for free. Find out by clicking here!

Disclaimer: Foodbuzz and Wendy's provided me with the information and gift cards for the giveaway as well as myself.

The Count Down Continues

The count down to Christmas continues today with another easy breakfast recipe! I saw these Make-Ahead Muffin Melts awhile back on The Pioneer Woman website and knew I wanted to try them.
These were so easy to make. You are supposed to mix the topping mixture and let it refrigerate over night. This makes them great for Christmas morning since the topping is premade assembly is quick and cook time is minimal. Now with a breakfast that easy these would be great on a busy weekday morning too!

Notes: PW used bacon in her topping, however I had some of these sausage patties left over which were so flavorful that I just used them and crumbled them up. These were so yummy. They reminded me of an egg salad sandwich but with more flavor! Oh and one more thing, these cook under the broiler. Which is convenient because they cook fast but make sure and keep an eye on them and don't leave the kitchen to answer the phone like I did or they might get a little too brown!

Make-Ahead Muffin Melts
Printable Version
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cook Time: 5 Minutes Servings: 6

12 whole Hard-boiled Eggs, Peeled And Chopped
2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
6 precooked sausage patties
1 tablespoon Stone Ground Mustard
3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
6 whole English Muffins Split

Combine eggs with all other ingredients. Fold together gently. Cover and store in the fridge overnight.

Spread on English muffin halves, then broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly. (Don’t set them too close to the heating element or leave under the broiler for too long!)
Serve immediately!
recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Because it's winter...

Since I have some very sweet breakfast treats planned to share with you over the next several days. And because I wanted to share several different types of breakfast recipes with you all. I have a simple fruit salad for you today (man those were some poorly written sentences).

While this may be a simple salad  I thought it is great for breakfast. Sometimes simple is necessary, especially on a day when other things are priority. This salad can be made in advance and refrigerated (it holds we'll because of the lemon and orange juice) and is a great salad for this time of year because it uses winter fruit.

I loved this salad with breakfast, lunch and as a healthy midnight snack.!

Winter Fruit Salad
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves 8-10

2 medium red apples, diced
2 medium green apples, diced
2 medium navel oranges, peeled, sectioned and chopped
1 cup green grapes
1 cup red grapes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice

Place all fruit in a large bowl. Pour lemon juice over fruit and toss to coat. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, combine orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 a cup. Pour orange juice reduction over fruit and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

adapted from Taste of Home

One Year Ago: Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 10

I am so exhausted (between work and the holidays) so just a quick post today! I originally saw the recipe for these homemade sausage patties on The Food Network ages ago and have been wanting to make them ever since. They sounded wonderful and breakfast sausage and eggs are Eric's and I go to breakfast (and dinner, lol!). However I have been wanting to change things up. So, I thought I would finally give these homemade sausage patties a try for my count down to Christmas. And I have to tell you that I am so mad at myself for not trying these sooner! They are WONDERFUL! All the flavors totally work together and complement each other. Even if you don't make these for Christmas morning breakfast you MUST make these sausage patties. They are easy peasy and delish!

To take them up a notch and to make them a full meal I decided to make them into Breakfast Sliders. I made the patties so small that they were perfect slider size. My breakfast sliders served with fruit made the perfect breakfast! Lovely for Christmas morning or any morning year round!

Breakfast Sliders
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4-6 servings

Sausage Patties:
3 slices bacon, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

English muffins
American cheese

Sausage Patties:
In a small saute pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until for about 3 minutes. Add onions, and cook until the onions are soft and begin to turn golden in color, about 3 more minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional 1 minute, or until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to mix together the bread crumbs, brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Add the ground pork sausage, egg, and bacon and onion mixture to the bread crumbs, and gently mix with your hands until just combined. Do not over mix. Divide the mixture into 8 even portions and form into patties, pressing a small thumb indentation in the middle of each so they stay flat when they cook. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage patties and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add a tablespoon of water and cover the pan for 3 minutes, or until the sausage is fully cooked.

Toast English muffins. Fry egg to desired doneness. Top one half of muffin with cheese, egg, and sausage pattie. Top with other half of muffin.

sausage patties adapted from The Food Network, turning them into Breakfast Sliders, my own idea

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Breakfast: Texas Style

Here in Texas our food/cooking is all our own. We have our own style of 'southern cooking' our own style of BBQ, authentic Mexican food that you can't get any where else. And of course the all encompassing 'Tex-mex'.

Of course I love it all. But the Mexican/Tex-mex is what most people want and the thing they rave about when they come to visit. One thing that we all love here n Texas is Breakfast Tacos. Never heard of them? Well you aren't the only one! When Eric first moved here he was perplexed by these things everyone called breakfast tacos. HAHAHA! He says in Georgia (where he's from) they don't have them. I was astonished and immediately had to introduce the two of them!

Breakfast tacos are so easy and I have never meet anyone who didn't like them! You totally make them your own by adding your favorite breakfast mixings to a tortilla (kinda like an omelet). Potatoes and eggs, bacon and eggs, veggies and eggs. You get the point. Eric and I love to do sausage, eggs, and potatoes. Tasty, filling, and again easy!

Texas Style Breakfast Burritos
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Printable Version
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Serves 8

1 pound ground breakfast sausage
8 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 cup cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
1 teaspoon paprika
3 large Russet potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon season salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon herbs de provence

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and brown, breaking meat apart as you cook. Drain grease and set aside.

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover entirely with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes (note: you do not want them to be too soft or they will fall apart). When they are ready, place the potatoes on a cutting board and dice them into 1-inch pieces (be careful because they are hot).

In a large skillet heat oil over medium-low heat. Next, throw in the diced potatoes. Stir well. Add the seasoned salt and herbs de provence. Cook the potatoes until they are golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes.

While potatoes cook crack eggs into a large bowl. Add water and paprika. Whisk eggs until the yolks are broken. Stir in the precooked sausage and cheese. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add egg mixture. Cook eggs until they are light and fluffy.

Serve eggs/sausage mixture with cooked potatoes in warm flour tortillas. Top with additional cheese and your favorite salsa!

Monday, December 13, 2010

And the count down begins!!!

Raise your hand if you can't believe Christmas is only 12 days away (my hand is so high in the air it is touching the ceiling)! Where does the time go?!? Who else still has some all of their Christmas shopping to? And who is still trying to decided what treats to make to bring to friends and what dishes to bring to some up coming Christmas parties (my hand is in the air again).

Well I thought it would be fun to have a Kitchen Concoctions count down to Christmas! Some of my other favorite blogs have been doing a 12 days of Christmas of different sorts, Christy did 12 days of Christmas cookies and Mel has been having a sugar rush over at her blog with assorted treats. But I wanted to do a true count down to Christmas/12 Days of Christmas. But since a lot of blogs are featuring a ton of sweets right now I decided I wanted to do something different. I originally had one idea floating around in my head but then I was looking through some cookbooks to feature as the CBOM for December and it hit me. I wanted to do 12 days of breakfast/brunch recipes! Since for me besides the big Christmas dinner Christmas morning breakfast is the most important meal of this special day. In fact since I love breakfast foods so much I might have to declare this my favorite meal! Since December 13th is the 1st day in the 12 days of Christmas I am sharing the first recipe today. So over the next 12 days expect me to share a breakfast/bruch recipe everyday right up to Christmas! I know what you are thinking, that I don't have the best tract record with blogging daily but please have faith in me and wish me luck in this little challenge I have set for myself. AND not only am I guaranteeing at least one breakfast/brunch recipe every day for the next 12 days, but several days I have multiple posts planned to share because I have several giveaways and other fun things planned. So check back daily, in fact check back multiple times a day! It will be a fun (and for me exhausting, lol!) next 12 days!

The first breakfast recipe I have for you today is pumpkin muffins with streusel topping (what is it with my obsession with streusel topping lately). I know for most of you pumpkin recipes are a October/November only thing. But I like to enjoy them during the fall AND winter months (and honestly I did make these awhile back but never got around to blogging about them). But these muffins would be great for Christmas morning because they are so easy to make and can be made several days in advance for an even easier and delicious Christmas morning breakfast. There are several recipes out there to make muffins from a box cake mix but this is my version. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Streusel Topping
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 18-20 minutes Makes approximately 16-18 minutes

Pumpkin muffin:
1 box (18.25 oz) butter pecan or spice cake mix
1-15 oz. can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup apple cider

Streusel topping:
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the muffin ingredients: the dry cake mix, the pumpkin puree and the apple cider in a bowl and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, using a fork or pastry blender, mix the streusel topping ingredients until they become coarse and crumbly.

Scoop batter into lined muffins pan and fill 3/4 of the way full. Top with prepared streusel topping.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 18-20 minutes.

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