Brunch, anyone?

Wikipedia says: “Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, and regularly has some form of alcoholic drink served with it. It is usually served anytime before 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The word is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch.”

I’ll just say that a weekend brunch is one of my favorite things to do. It’s fun to mix it up a bit and get family and friends together to enjoy a meal during the day, rather than a later dinner.

This recipe is my version of a pretty basic breakfast casserole that my Mom used to make. It’s eggy, bready, cheesy and the best part is, you can pretty much throw as many add-ins as you want and it still turns out delicious!

Breakfast Casserole | Serves 6

Start to finish: about an hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf white bread, chopped
  • 9 large eggs
  • 6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 3 Cups milk (I used 1%)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 package frozen Brown & Serve breakfast sausages
  • Additional add-ins (if desired): frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry), cooked sliced mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, or cooked chopped bacon or ham.
  • Serve with maple syrup or ketchup.

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Mix up eggs, milk, salt, pepper and melted butter in a bowl.
  3. Place a layer of chopped bread into your baking dish. Top with meat and cheese, repeat until your ingredients are used up and your casserole is piled high.
  4. Gently pour egg mixture over bread/cheese/meat. Let sit 15 mins to soak in.
  5. Bake for 45-55 mins or until casserole is golden brown and puffed.
  6. Top with maple syrup or ketchup and serve.

Oven (or grill!) Potato Pouches 🥔

This is one of those throw-it-in-and-forget-about-it kind of sides! The end result is a creamy/crispy/flavorful side dish that goes with just about anything (we had ours with steaks). Feel free to experiment with the spices and pouch contents! Some ideas using the same process:

  • Sweet Potatoes with cinnamon & brown sugar
  • Yukon gold potatoes with parsley
  • Russets with bacon in the pouch!

Potato Pouches – serves 4

  • 4-5 Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves freshly crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp each dried herbs – rosemary, thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Aluminum foil
  • How to:
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
    2. Slice potatoes about 1/4″ thick.
    3. Line a sheet pan with a full sheet of foil, spray with cooking spray.
    4. Place potatoes and garlic in the center of the foil and sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper.
    5. Cut up butter and place on top of potatoes.
    6. Tear a second piece of foil and place on top of potatoes. Bring up sides and cinch together to make a sealed pouch.
    7. Bake for 35 minutes (or 20-30 mins, flipping every 15 mins, on a hot grill).

    Crispy Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks

    Getting right to the recipe with this one because you need to add these drumsticks to your meal rotation stat! Super easy, and all done in about 30 mins. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside!

    Crispy Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks

    Serves: 3-4

    Start to finish: 35 mins

    What you’ll need:

    • 6 chicken drumsticks
    • Seasoning of choice (I use Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning on everything)
    • Nonstick spray

    How to:

    1. Spray fryer basket with nonstick spray.
    2. Place chicken in basket, season, and cook at 400°F for 15 minutes (I also hit the chicken button on my Cosori air fryer).
    3. Flip and cook another 15 minutes or until crispy and internal temp reaches 165°F.
    4. Remove at coat with with your favorite sauce – we did buffalo and bbq!

    Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

    This is literally a “set it and forget it” meal! What’s better than cooking an entire meal all at once and having it ready before you even get home??

    The best part about beef stew in the slow cooker is that it’s very forgiving. You can add more or less of the meat and veggies, and even throw in some extras like mushrooms or celery. Follow my steps below for a great beef stew.

    This little packet is my go-to secret when I make beef stew or pot roast. I use the same flavor pack for both because the pot roast version just has a great meaty, savory flavor that I haven’t been able to replicate with my own blend of herbs and broth, so don’t judge! 

    Prep veggies and place into the pot. Add the meat and mix together. Then, pour seasoning mix over the top – that’s seriously it!

    Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

    Serves 4-6 (more if you serve a side like egg noodles or bread. To make less, just cut down on the quantity of ingredients, same cooking time).

    Start to Finish: 8.5 hours

    What you’ll need:

    • 2-3 lbs stew beef
    • 2 large russet potatoes (or 3-4 red potatoes), chopped into even chunks
    • 3-4 carrots peeled and chopped
    • 1 large onion, sliced
    • 1 cup water
    • Crock Pot seasoning (or herbs/spices of choice)

    How to:

    1. Clean and prep veggies, place in empty slow cooker.
    2. Add stew meat to the slow cooker.
    3. Pour water/herb/spice mixture over meat and veggies, stir well.
    4. Set slow cooker to 8 hours on low and give it a good stir when done. Enjoy!

    I’m back!

    Hello everyone!

    I’ve resurrected my blog! I even bought the domain to make it legit.

    I’ve been gathering inspiration from my new cooking gadgets for some time now, so I thought, why not? I cook all the time and have a lot of great recipes, reviews and tips to share, so I hope you’ll stick around and follow along. Comments are welcome and encouraged!

    Hit the About Me tab to learn more about who I am and what I do, and stay tuned for some great posts!

    Double Duty: 2 Days, 2 Quick and Easy Crock Pot Dinners

    The summer is just beginning here in New jersey, and that means looking forward to a couple of months of cold salads, sandwiches and take out for dinner, right? WRONG! Instead of turning on the oven and heating up my kitchen, I whip out the trusty Crock Pot and let my dinner cook away while I’m at work.

    This week, I made two deliciously simple meals, that only need a quick side dish to make them complete. Yesterday, it was pot roast with carrots, steamed green beans and a quick sweet potato hash (recipe for that below too).

    Admittedly, I ran out of EVERYTHING I usually use in this recipe, but oddly enough, the meat came out just fine. It seems that it’s really difficult to ruin a pot roast!

    ImageIngredients for Pot Roast (serves 4):

    • 2-3lb bottom round beef roast
    • 2/3 cup beef broth (or water)
    • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thick chunks
    • Seasonings of your choice – I used a store-bought “steakhouse” seasoning blend, but salt, pepper and some garlic powder work just fine
    • 1 onion – normally, I would put onion in this, but I found mine rotted last night, so left it out. If you use an onion, cut that up into thick chunks

    How to: Season meat on all sides with your blend of spices. Add broth (or water) to crock pot and then onions and carrots. Place meat on top of veggies and cover. Cook 10 hours on low. Meat will fall apart when done. Pull out veggies and serve on the side. To keep meat moist at the table, add about a TBS of flour to the pot and whisk juices to make a gravy. Pour over meat. Want something yummy (and lower-carb) than mashed potatoes to serve with this? Try my quick and easy sweet potato hash!

    Sweet Potato Hash (serves 4):

    • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
    • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste (or, use the spice blend you used on your pot roast!)
    • Pinch of ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

    Heat oil in a large saute or fry pan and add potatoes. When they start to brown, add seasonings and spices and continue to cook until soft enough to pierce easily with a fork (about 10 mins). Once cooked, turn heat to low and add spinach leaves. Continue cooking until spinach is wilted and soft, drizzling additional oil if mixture becomes dry. Use tongs to mix thoroughly. Serve with pot roast, or eat alone – easy and delicious!

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    In the pot today: chicken legs and BBQ Sauce. That’s it. When I get home, these things will fall off the bone. Pick up some coleslaw and cornbread on the way home and dinner is done. Enjoy!

    Image

    Back with Two Recipes!

    I’ve been away for a while, busy at my day job and even fitting in a much-needed (and well-deserved) vacation. But now that things have settled down at home, it’s back to cooking in my crock pot! Over the last few weeks, I’ve made two really yummy things.

    First up, BRISKET!

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    Super simple and easy, the flavor is a cross between a Swiss steak and a beef stew. Very tomatoey and sweet, yet savory. You can easily shred this for sandwiches- I sliced mine into thin strips and served over plain white rice with a simple veggie.

    You will need:
    1 3-4lb brisket (I eyeballed the size based on the size of my crock pot)
    2 24oz cans crushed tomatoes (with liquid)
    2 teaspoons tomato paste
    1 head of garlic (open and peel each clove – you’ll need about 8)
    Salt and pepper

    How to: Salt and pepper all sides of brisket. With a paring knife, cut 8 small slits into the beef and insert one whole clove of garlic into each.In the crock pot, add one can crushed tomatoes + tomato paste and stir until paste dissolves. Insert brisket into pot and pour remaining can of crushed tomatoes over it. Liquid should almost cover the beef. Cook on low for 10 hours. Remove beef when done, slice or shred and pour liquid over the top to keep moist.

    Recipe #2: PULLED PORK!
    A complete cheat, but who cares, really. Look at those shreds!

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    I have never, ever been a fan of the other white meat, but at a family gathering, I tasted what I thought was beef and fell in love. Once I got over the “OMG I just ate PORK?” phase, I investigated ways to make this myself, and in a way to incorporate this healthier-than-beef alternative into my weekly dinner rotation. Admittedly, I completely cheated and this recipe contains only TWO ingredients.

    You will need:
    1 jar of your most favorite BBQ Sauce
    2-3lb pork butt roast

    How to: I know, I know… is it really a “recipe” if I use a JAR of someone else’s sauce? Probably not, but I for one do not have time to sit and create my own masterful sauce. As a working, single mom and one who’s always trying to find new things for my child to eat (and enjoy), I think using a jar of sauce that you (and the kid) really, really like is just as good as making your own. With less time wasted tweaking flavors, consistency, blah blah blah. Long story short, use a sauce you like and it’ll taste even better slow cooking over a pork butt for 10 hours on low. We ate this 3lb roast for about 3 days on nice potato rolls with a side of coleslaw. Comfort food at its best.

    ENJOY!