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Category Archives: Brunch

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

So, among my newly discovered food sensitivities are MSG and nitrates, both of which are ubiquitous in even many “all-natural” products. I did find that the poultry counter at our Amish market has MSG-free sausage links, but I don’t care for it so much. The casings they use are rather slimy.

This week I decided to make my own sausage. I bought a pound of mixed white- and dark-meat ground turkey and did some recipe-searching yesterday. I settled on this one, though I was missing a couple of the ingredients (namely the white pepper and onion powder).

I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter. I didn’t miss the white pepper or onion powder in the final result. The seasoning is very reminiscent of that used in pork sausage, so if you choose to make your own using ground pork, I wouldn’t hesitate to use this spice combination. You wouldn’t need to add the olive oil to the ground pork though. Turkey tends to dry out, which is why adding the oil to the meat and herbs produces a good texture for the patties. I would also cook this sausage loose and add it to pasta sauce or other dishes.

The Haul: In Two Parts Edition

I walked to the open-air farmer’s market this morning and had my hands quite full on the way back with:

  • 2 quarts strawberries
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • white onions
  • scallions
  • a white lavender plant
  • 2 pints honey yogurt
  • spinach
  • caramel rolls (for breakfast tomorrow)

After putting all of that away, I headed back out to the Amish market and got:

  • milk
  • lemonade
  • kettle corn (for a friend, I still can’t eat this anymore, after overdosing on it last year)
  • snack mix
  • more halloumi cheese
  • goat cheese
  • oatmeal
  • apple cider vinegar

Stay tuned for another post on how I used some of these goodies!

Savory Snack: Fried Halloumi and Spinach Bruschetta


I have some halloumi cheese and spinach leftover, so I went searching for recipes. I didn’t want to grill the cheese again because it was so hard to clean the pan. I found this recipe for Fried Halloumi Cheese Toast. Sold!

I fried the cheese slices for a few minutes on each side until they were golden. Then, I placed the cheese on piles of spinach, which I put back in the hot pan, to wilt the spinach a bit. Once that was done, I placed each pile onto a slice of baguette I thawed in the toaster oven.

So good! I could eat fried halloumi for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Very Berry Oatmeal Pancakes on a Rainy Morning

Hello, Freezer-Fulligans! I’m back! My aunt was lamenting the lack of recent posts (the result of a foot injury that’s been keeping me off my feet). One does not like to make one’s aunt unhappy, so here is a post to get you all by.

The weather sucks this morning and my normal cold oatmeal breakfast wasn’t going to cut it. But I needed to do penance for dinner last night (deep-fried veggies and a chicken cheesesteak [and possibly tiramisu]). So I decided to make pancakes incorporating the oatmeal and ground flaxseed that I normally eat for breakfast.

Also? It’s March! I’ve made it almost all the way through winter without tapping too much into my frozen fruit stash. I decided to incorporate some blueberries and blackberries into my pancakes as well.

Here’s the recipe:

1 1/3 c. skim milk
1/2 c. oatmeal
2 tbsp. ground flaxseed*
1/2 c. frozen blueberries, rinsed (remember, it’s best to freeze them without rinsing them first so they hold their shape and texture)
3/4 c. frozen blackberries
1 large egg
2 c. Bisquick mix (I used the kind that is trans-fat free)

I poured the milk, oatmeal and flaxseed into a 4-cup measuring cup to let those dry ingredients soak a bit while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. After that mixture had sat for a few moments, I mixed in everything else and stirred until well incorporated.

Then, I ladled the batter onto a hot pan (one ladleful at a time; each made for a large pancake) and cooked as usual.

As you can see, the batter made for quite a few large pancakes! I smeared mine with butter and poured on hot real maple syrup.

* Don’t buy already ground flaxseed — it won’t have nearly as much of the health benefit as if you grind it yourself. I buy the whole seeds and freeze them, grinding them in a coffee grinder by the half-pint and freezing that too. Ground flaxseed needs to be kept away from light and freezing it keeps it as fresh as possible.

My Only Slightly Tipsy Kitchen*: Cranberry-Zucchini Muffins

When left to my own devices on a Friday night, I often bake. And drink wine.

Recently, I had some extra cranberries about to go bad and so I froze them, thinking they would look awesome alongside shredded zucchini in muffins. You know who else had that idea? Martha, as stated in the recipe that I used here (thank you, Ms. Food Librarian).

I made a few changes. Firstly, I didn’t have enough all-purpose flour, so I substituted 3/4 c. whole-wheat flour. While I was inadvertently healthifying these muffins, I threw in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed. Sip of wine. I only halved my cranberries where the Food Librarian had quartered hers. I have to be different, right?

Sip of wine.

I mixed the wet ingredients with the dry and started filling my muffin cups. And then I realized I forgot to add the cranberries. So, I finished ladling one spoonful of batter into each of 11 of the muffin cups on my tray, sprinkled in the cranberries, spooned the rest of the batter pretty unevenly among the cups and then stirred. And prayed. And sprinkled on some turbinado sugar. And put the tray in the oven.

Sip of wine. Rinsed the dishes. Ran the dishwasher.

Waited while the muffins baked. Precariously stacked pots on one half of the stove to make room for hot muffin tray on the other half.

Sip of wine.

Et, voila:

So good!

*Paying homage to My Drunk Kitchen (check out the Taco Episode).

Chocolate Chip-Banana Bread

I remember my mom making this a few times and when I went through her recipes after college, I was sure to write it down. It’s a very dense bread. This latest loaf needed 65 minutes to bake instead of 50.

I didn’t have 12 oz. of regular chocolate chips, so I added enough mini chocolate chips to make up the difference.

Ingredients:

Two sizes of chocolate chips went into my batter.

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. nuts (optional)
3/4 c. sugar
12 oz. chocolate chips
1/2 c. veg. oil
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine first five ingredients in large bowl; mix well and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in container of electric mixer (I used a hand mixer) and process at medium speed for 20 seconds; stir into flour mixture. Pour into a greased 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Bake 50 minutes (or until toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean).

Have a little banana bread with your chocolate chips.

Submitted to Sweet as Sugar Cookie‘s Link Party!

Stuffing Pancake with Bacon and Egg

Inspiration came from this blog. Pretty self-explanatory — I added an egg to the stuffing and mushed it up into balls that I then pressed into a hot pan with melted butter and fried until golden brown. The pancakes didn’t hold their shape that well — I probably should have added another egg. Set two slices of bacon and a fried egg on top — good for any meal of the day. I had it with some leftover Sweet Potato Crunch.

Baking Extravaganza

My oven has been broken for more than two weeks. Until today. The part finally arrived and I finally had a chance to stay home and wait for the repairman. I’ve been making sure the oven works almost since the moment he left.

First, I reheated a spinach lasagna that I bought at Piazza Italian Market while I was there to buy lunch today. That came out perfectly, though I can’t take any credit for it. Lunch was their new mushroom panini, by the way, and it was dee-lish.

Next, I made Bacon Cheddar Corn Muffins. I’d been eying this recipe for months and finally had all the ingredients on-hand to make it. I fried up a pound of bacon that I’d bought from Black Bottom Farms several weeks ago (reserving the rest for another recipe I’ll make later this weekend). The pieces were quite thick and tasty (ok, I ate one). The muffins taste really good. I substituted the remainder of the spicy jack cheese I had on hand for the cheddar and jalapeno. The cumin is just short of overpowering — I may reduce it a smidge next time, but it’s a nice touch overall. My only complaint is that the muffin cups have been sticking to the muffins, tearing the sides of the muffins off when I try to remove them. Will have to spray them more carefully next time…

Finally, I made this recipe for Brown Sugar and Spice Cookies. The recipe has promise, but is missing something. Even the color of the cookies is kind of bland. Not sure what else is needed. I might actually try adding pepper, if I make these again.

The Easiest App/Tailgate Food/Brunch Staple/Snack You’ll Ever Make

Bisquick, sausage, cheese. That's all you need.

This dish is impossible to screw up. Trust me. It has a grand total of three ingredients (well, four, if you include a splash of water). The proportions hardly matter. And it is a hit with everyone.

These cheese-and-sausage balls have been a staple at gatherings of my family (especially in the fall) ever since I can remember. I started bringing them to potlucks and parties many years ago. Now, I am not allowed at many of my friends’ parties unless I bring these with me.

I prepared this batch in advance of tailgating next weekend and have popped them in the freezer until then. The only ingredients are Bisquick*, sausage (I usually buy spicy Italian sausage) and cheddar cheese, plus a little water to make it all stick together.

*I know. Processed food and in no way local. I am usually too lazy to make my own mix, but was pleased to find this box with no trans fats. To make up for it, the sausage is from a local farm.

Here’s how it works:

Shred your cheese (if that's not done already), add the sausage, throw in the Bisquick.

Then, you just add some water and mix it all together until it forms a nice sticky dough (yes, this step is rather messy):

Then, pull up bits of the dough and roll it into small balls — 1-2 inches in diameter. Bake.

Et, voila:

Crunch, gooey, spicy goodness.

Here is a recipe to get you started, but really, the proportions are completely up to you. The less Bisquick you use, the less biscuit-y they’ll be. If you add too much Bisquick, you’ll end up with cheese-and-sausage biscuits — just pretend that was your goal all along!

Cheese-and-Sausage Balls
(makes about 3 dozen)

Ingredients:

1 lb. sharp cheddar, shredded
1 lb. bulk sausage (hot, turkey, veggie, any kind will do)
1-1 1/2 c. Bisquick
1/2-3/4 c. water

Mix everything together with your hands. If the dough is too sticky, add more Bisquick. If it’s too dry, add more water, a splash at a time. Roll into balls of 1-2 inches. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees (until the balls turn golden).

The cheese will cause the bottom of the balls to be crispy. This is normal and tasty.

Arugula Pesto Omelet

This was actually last night’s dinner. The pesto came out of my freezer. Dessert was a piece of baguette leftover from dinner at Panera the night before, smeared with lots of Nutella.

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