Cheesy Egg & Potato Breakfast Bake

We had company over Easter and I wanted to make a hearty breakfast before all of the festivities began but I didn't want to be cooking all morning so after some searching, I found the basis of this recipe on a blog I read and it looked good so I did it. It was good and most of us ate two helpings. The recipe suggested making it the morning of, but instead I prepped everything, including beating the eggs with the milk and seasoning and just threw it all together in the morning and baked it. It worked great. I served it with homemade salsa on the side and fresh fruit.

Cheesy Egg & Potato Breakfast Bake
adapted from Deep South Dish

4-6 medium baking potatoes (depending on how big--you decide how many)
seasoned salt & granulated garlic
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 lb pork chorizo sausage, cooked & drained (feel free to sub 1 1/2 lb of your favorite breakfast meat instead of sausage)
1 14 oz package pre-cooked sausage links, sliced
1/4 cup minced onion
8 eggs
2 1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp seasoned salt

The night before--bake or microwave the potatoes until they are still firm, but almost cooked. Chop the potatoes and season with seasoning salt and granulated garlic. The morning of: preheat oven to 350. Layer potatoes, cheese, sausages and onions in a 9x13'' pan. In a bowl beat eggs, milk and other seasoning together and pour over the top of the pan. Bake one hour or until well set.

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Hallelujah Potato Salad

I saw this recipe on a blog and it looked so yummy that I ordered the Peace Love and Barbecue book that it was originally found in. I have read the cookbook like a novel and dog-eared almost every recipe page. This potato salad is super yummy, I made it for Easter and it went great with the grilled flank steak we also had.

The original recipe calls for yukon gold potatoes, which I happen to love, they have such a creamy texture. However, the week of Easter Fry's had 5 lb bags of potatoes on sale for $.66 and I just couldn't spend $5.99 on a 5 lb bag of yukon golds...turned out great with plain old russet potatoes--so whatever floats your boat. I'm sure red potatoes would be great with this too.

Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad
originally from Peace Love and Barbecue cookbook

5 lbs potatoes
6 hard boiled eggs
heaping 1/2 c. chopped onion (red, white or yellow)
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1 c. diced sweet pickles (Don't sub pickle relish. Actually get some sweet pickles and dice them, the work will pay off)
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
4 oz jar pimentos, drained well
1 c. plus 2 Tb mayo
1/4 c. yellow mustard
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 Tb olive oil
2-3 drops hot sauce
salt and pepper

Scrub the potatoes and boil them until fork tender. Let them cool and then pull the peels off and cube the potatoes. Peel the hardboiled eggs and dice them. Combine all ingredients and combine well with your hands. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle the top of the completed salad with paprika, if you like it.

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Chicken Picatta

Yum. I love the Pioneer Woman. She is my culinary hero. I really wanted to make chicken scallopini...but the recipe I have calls for several sticks of butter and it is SO super delicious but I really am trying to watch what I eat this pregnancy (kind of) so I looked for an alternative. THIS chicken picatta is super yummy, not difficult and really rivals a good restaurant. So for an "on a dime" date night, try this. Put your kids to bed and eat with your honey. A big fat glass of chardonnay would be great with this...but of course I didn't get to have that so you should definitely do it.

Chicken Picatta
adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 lb chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts)
2-3 Tb flour
salt & pepper

5 Tb butter
4 Tb olive oil
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 lemons
1 c. white wine
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tb capers

1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat linguini)

Cut your chicken breasts in half through the middle, so you have two big thin pieces. Pound them in between two pieces of plastic wrap until they are slightly flattened and even in thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour.
While your sauce is cooking, boil water for your pasta. Melt half the butter and oil in a large saucepan cook half the chicken 3 minutes on each side until browned and remove to a plate. Cook the rest of the chicken and add that to the plate. Wipe the pan with a paper towel and melt the rest of the butter and oil in the pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add in the wine, chicken stock and juice the lemons. Whisk the sauce together and allow to cook until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and add in the cream and parsley. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper. If the lemon flavor is too strong add a bit more stock or another splash of cream. Add the chicken back in coating with the sauce and toss in the capers. Serve hot pasta topped with chicken and sauce. YUM.
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Apricot Brie

I love brie. I would eat it cold. I remember when Rob and I were first dating someone threw a birthday party for him and made brie with strawberry jam...I was a little skeptical, but it was so good! My friend is a Pampered Chef consultant and she had a recipe really similar to this and I just adapted it to make it a little bit easier, cheaper. It's yummy.

I usually get my brie rounds at Sam's Club or Costco for a great price. Also, there's jalapeno in this but don't be afraid it just gives a tiny kick, you can hardly taste it. If you like more spice, add more jalapeno.

Apricot Brie

1 lb brie round

1/3 cup apricot preserves
3 Tb minced jalapeno
1 baguette or other dipping options
olive oil
Preheat oven to 425. Mix together the brie and jalapeno. Slice the brie in half lengthwise. Spread half the apricot mixture on the bottom half, place the other half of the brie on top and spread the rest of the apricot mixture on the top of that. Place the brie on a baking sheet or stone and surround with baguette slices. Drizzle the baguette with olive oil. Bake 10-12 minutes or until bread is toasted and the brie is soft.
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Peanut Butter Buckeyes

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of these, but I bet you've all seen a peanut butter buckeye and ...they looked like that. These were super easy to put together and then they flew off the plate at my girls get together. I will definitely be making these again!

Peanut Butter Buckeyes
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 Tb butter, melted
2 c. powdered sugar

6 oz chocolate chips plus 1 Tb vegetable oil

Mix together the peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar. Roll the peanut butter mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. Freeze the peanut butter balls on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. In the meantime melt the chocolate in the microwave, making sure not to overheat. Partially dip each ball in the chocolate, return to the baking sheet and refrigerate until firm.

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Broccoli Salad

Mmm. I love this salad.
Growing up we had loads of family get togethers and everyone on my moms side would bring a dish. My Aunt Terri started bringing this broccoli salad one year and I would eat it until I was bloated like a floater. Gross, that's a little descriptive, but seriously. This is a yummy salad, great for picnics or barbecues.

You should make this. At Sam's Club and Costco they sell giant bags of broccoli florettes for a great price.

Also--I would like to take this opportunity to plug reduced fat/calorie mayo. You can absolutely use Best Foods or Kraft mayo that is made with olive oil or canola oil and it is reduced fat/calorie and it tastes good!! Really. BUT I am all for using store brand produces, but mayo is not one of those things. Spring for the good stuff!

Broccoli Salad
4-5 c. broccoli florettes (depending on how dressing-y you like it)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
8 strips bacon crisply cooked and crumbled
1/2 c. coarsely shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. golden raisins
2 Tb sunflower seeds
1 c mayo
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar
salt and pepper
Toss all the salad ingredients into a bowl. In a small bowl mix together the dressing and pour over the broccoli mixture. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
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Crash Hot Potatoes

I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman...surprise surprise. I have a food crush on Pioneer Woman. She is so amazing. Her food is so amazing.

I made these to go with a big beef tenderloin and some roasted asparagus and it was all a hit. Seriously. A hit. The picture is of the last two potatoes which I ate for lunch the next day. The original recipe calls for new potatoes, but I was too cheap to spend the extra money on them so I just used regular red potatoes and they worked great.

Crash Hot Potatoes
Red potatoes, however many you want. I used 4 lbs red potatoes
olive oil
sea salt
cracked black pepper

Boil the potatoes until done. Preheat your oven to 450. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet and place the boiled potatoes on the sheet with a little space in between. Smash them down with a potato masher. Drizzle more oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, they should be nicely browned. YUM
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Refrigerator Pickles

So I've told you many times about the produce co-op I use. A few weeks ago I got a bunch of little pickling cucumbers that lookedl ike they came straight from someone's garden. I knew I couldn't use that many cucumbers dipping into hummus or tossed in a salad so I looked for a recipe to use them up and this is what I ended up doing. I found the base recipe on Allrecipes.com which is coincidentally my favorite recipe website.

The pickles turned out well and I felt pretty accomplished. Next--I will be sewing my children's clothes. (First I just have to learn to sew on a button.)

Refrigerator Pickles
6-7 small cucumbers (equalling 6 cups sliced cucumbers)
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. vinegar
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a few whole peppercorns
6 cloves garlic
Slice all the cucumbers and onions and pack them tightly into jars (or one big jar as I did). Pack them super full because once the liquid is poured on they will shrink up and you'll be able to fit the lid on. Cook the rest of the ingredients in a sauce pan until boiling and all of the sugar has dissolved. Pour liquid over the cucumbers. There may not be enough liquid to completely cover the pickles but that's ok, they'll shrink up. Put the lid on the container and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours...then they're ready.

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Pineapple Cupcakes

I love pineapple. I saw a recipe for a cupcake like this on a blog and I can NOT find the original blog post mostly because I can't remember which food blog I found it on--so my apologies! I will continue to look for it.

Anyway, I love pineapple. It's so sweet and juicy and yummy. Fresh pineapple is like no other. But I'll always settle for canned too. These cupcakes turned out really moist and delicious.

Pineapple Cupcakes:

1 16 0z can crushed pineapple divided, juice reserved
1 box white cake mix, mixed as directed1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 c. crushed pineapple (from the drained can of crushed pineapple)


1 8 oz block cream cheese
the remainder of pineapple
1 stick butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. cool whip or freshly whipped cream

Preheat your oven. Drain the can of pineapple, reserving the juice. Mix the cake mix as directed substituting the reserved pineapple juice for some of the water. Stir in the pudding mix and 1 c. pineapple. Bake as directed.

While the cupcakes are cooling prepare the frosting. Puree the remainder of the pineapple in a small food processer or blender. Cream together cream cheese and pineapple and butter. Mix in sugar 1 c. at a time. Gently fold in whipped cream or cool whip. Frost the cupcakes with a generous amount of frosting and refrigerate until serving.

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Chicken and Dumplings AND Chicken Stock

I need to post this recipe real quick before it gets too hot to even think about this kind of meal! I was just craving some chicken and dumplings so here's what I did. It turned out really great and I even have a couple friends to vouch for it. Don't be afraid of the canned biscuits which you'll use as "dumplings". It's super yummy and you don't have to deal with flour at all.

I have to say that usually I don't make my own stock....but I've decided that I will from now on because it is SO good. You just can't buy this quality in a box or can. (I included the stock recipe at the end of the post.)

Chicken and Dumplings:
1 3-5 lb chicken (yielding at least 4 cups shredded chicken)
1 Tb olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves
1 c. frozen peas
2 tsp dried parsley (or 3 Tb fresh parsley)
4-5 cups cooked chicken
8-10 c. chicken stock
1 can cream of chicken soup
pepper to taste
2 cans refrigerator biscuits
1 Tb cornstarch

Boil your whole chicken 30 mins or until cooked through. Pull all of the chicken off and set aside and save the carcass for making stock. In a soup pot heat the olive oil and saute the onion, carrots and celery until they begin to soften--about five minutes. Toss in the chopped garlic and cook another minute. Add in parsley, pepper, chicken, stock, chicken soup. Mix well and bring to a bubble. Taste the soup and adjust salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and open up the cans of biscuits, cut them into quarters and drop them into the boiling soup. Cook, stirring occasionally until the "dumplings" start sinking--that's when they're done. Add in the peas. Mix the cornstarch with 1 Tb of the broth from the soup in a small bowl, slowly pour it into the soup to allow it to thicken. Serve it up in bowls and enjoy!

Chicken (or turkey) Stock
1 chicken or turkey carcass (carcass is such a great word)
2 onions, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, washed well and cut in half
6 celery stalks, cut in half
1 Tb salt
1 1/2 Tb granulated garlic (or 6 whole garlic cloves)
1 1/2 Tb italian seasoning (although parsley would probably suffice)
15 peppercorns
1 gallon water-ish

Put everything into a stock pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 30-40 minutes. Drain off the stock into a separate bowl and discard all the veggies. Freezes very well.

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Tortellini Salad

I found the base of this recipe in a Paula Deen magazine--and if Paula says it's good, who am I to argue with her? I did make a couple adjustments mostly because I'm trying not to gain 100 lbs during this pregnancy and I had to spice up the dressing a bit. It turned out great--a super compliment to burgers or any picnic.

You can absolutely use frozen or fresh tortellini at the grocery store but I found some dried stuff at Trader Joe's and it was inexpensive and really good.

Tortellini Salad

2- 12 oz packages dried tortellini (or 1 20 oz package refrigerated)
1 can canellini beans, drained
3 plum or Roma tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 c. chopped artichoke hearts
1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup sliced green olives
20 slices pepperoni, quartered

1 c. Sun dried tomato vinaigrette
1 c. Italian dressing

Prepare the tortellini as directed. Cool completely. Toss all ingredients together and pour the dressing over, tossing to coat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. You may need to add extra dressing before serving so adjust accordingly.

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Money Saving Monday: Make your own...Potatoes

I'm all for time-savers, really. When you have children, laundry, cooking, cleaning, .... you need a time saver here and there. But I'm also all for saving money so sometimes it's a give and take.

This week at Fry's a 5-lb bag of russet potatoes was $.59. You just can't beat that. So--instead of using Yukon Gold's in my potato salad, I used those. I also used some whole potatoes to make shredded potatoes for a breakfast casserole instead of buying a frozen bag of pre-shredded potatoes. Then I used some for mashed potatoes on top of my Shepherd's Pie tonight and I'll bake a few and dice them for breakfast burritos later on this week. Over all I'm sure I have saved over $7 just by taking the time to make my own potatoes, or subbing a more grainy Russet potato for the creamier yukons.

So--all this to say that you can really save money by making your own sometimes--and it pays off!

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Barbecued Chili

I saw this recipe on the Rachael Ray show and it looked good and I love chili so I tried it out and it was really good. I even made it for a friend who had just had a baby and I felt like it was appropriate because it isn't spicy.

I made a few changes to the original recipe because there was no beans and I like beans, I also used ground turkey because I had gotten some on sale that needed to be used up but ground beef would work great too.

Barbecued Chili
2 1/2 - 3 lbs ground beef or turkey
6 strips bacon, crisply cooked (I used turkey bacon)
1/3 c. worcestershire sauce
1 onion
6 cloves garlic, minced black pepper
3 T chili powder
1 1/2 T paprika
1 bottle beer
3 c. beef stock
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/3 c. brown sugar
4 c. tomato sauce (2 14.5 oz cans)
2 cans Bush's baked beans, undrained

Brown the beef or turkey in a soup pot, drain well. Add in worcestershire sauce, onion,
and garlic.
Cook for 5 minutes or until onions and garlic are cooked through.
Add in pepper, chili powder, paprikaand stir well.
Pour in the beer and reduce a minute then add in the stock.
In a small bowl combine the vinegar, brown sugar
and tomato sauce.
Pour in the sauce mixture, the two cans of beans,
and the bacon.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a while....as long as feels good to you.

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