Breakfast For Dinner

Growing up, breakfast for dinner was always a special treat! My mom often made it when my dad was away on business (I don’t think it was enough food for him!) and my sister and I loved it. Usually, it consisted of scrambled eggs, toast, and some sort of vegetable. (If you want to see what we looked like then, take a look at my other source of internet fame…yes, seriously. I’m the one with the bowl cut!)

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a breakfast for dinner kick as well. It’s an easy way to throw together a satisfying and relatively guilt-free meal. Tonight, I’ve got two of my “grown-up” breakfast for dinner favorites. One has no pictures and one has no real recipe, so bear with me. We’ll go for the no-recipe version first. Of course, both of these meals are great for breakfast or lunch, too.

Easy Eggs Florentine-ish

This is such an easy meal. It literally took me 15 minutes, fridge to table. Not bad for a yummy dinner!

Take a bunch of spinach (like a whole bunch, spinach cooks down SO much) and wash it thoroughly. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the spinach and cook down over medium heat.

It will quickly go from this:

To this:

Once it looks about like this, add a splash of half & half and continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, fry up an egg to your liking in a tiny bit of olive oil and toast a delicious slice of multigrain bread. To finish the spinach, add a scant tablespoon of cream cheese and a bit of pepper. Cook until the cream cheese melts and serve it up!

And there you’ve got breakfast for dinner! I love that this serving here has an entire bag of spinach in it and I ate it in about 5 minutes. Yum! (In the background, you can see my current reading material, The Lotus Eaters. Has anyone else read it? I’m really enjoying it so far.)

And now for the recipe portion. My husband and I made this on Sunday night, but I didn’t get any pictures, you we’ll just have to make do with the recipe. This is the second time we’ve made it this month, so it’s definitely in our regular rotation. This is from the same great cookbook as this meal from earlier this month.

Sweet Potato and Barley Hash

Adapted from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool

  • one large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 in cubes
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper
  • as many eggs as you want (at least 1 per person)

In a medium saucepan (I used the one in the pictures above), toast the barley dry over medium heat, tossing frequently, for about 5 minutes. They’ll start to brown and smell delicious and nutty when they’re ready. Remove from the heat and put the barley aside. Wipe out the saucepan, and put it back over medium heat with the two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sweet potato and onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the barley and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for about 40 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is soft enough. I’d check it after 30 minutes just in case. Meanwhile, cook up one or two eggs per person any way you prefer. I like to cook them over-medium so the yolk can seep into the hash and make it even more delicious. Serve it up with eggs on top and a salad on the side.

Do you have any favorite childhood meals that you’ve recreated?

~CM

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Squash Party

So, I went a bit crazy on Friday night and Saturday morning. The fall produce was calling my name and I went for it. {In recovery mode last night, I had a simple dinner of pasta with olive oil and pecorino romano and a side of sauteed Brussels sprouts. Perfect easy-on-the-belly dinner.} How crazy did I go, you ask? I’ll let you be the judge of that! On Friday night, we had a couple of friends over for dinner and I was so excited to put together a delicious fall meal.

Here is the set table, just awaiting the main course!

I managed to make the meal using all veggies from our CSA share (except for sage and thyme) and everyone was quite satisfied. The menu was:

  • Salad: Romaine lettuce and thinly sliced radishes tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Bread: Pumpernickel Rye from Bread & Circus
  • Main Course: Butternut squash and pancetta risotto (recipe below)
  • Drink: Hot apple cider spiked with bourbon and served with a cinnamon stick
  • Dessert: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (recipe below)

It was quite the meal! My husband and I woke up the next morning still feeling inspired (despite the war-zone in the kitchen) and made pumpkin pancakes (recipe below) with the remainder of our pumpkin puree.

With apple cider and maple syrup, these became the breakfast of champions!

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Today’s Recipes

Butternut Squash and Pancetta Risotto

{I’m not sure where this recipe is from…it’s written down in my handwriting from several years ago}

Serves 4 to 6

Butternut Squash:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium butternut squash; peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4 in cubes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Risotto:

  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 lb pancetta, small dice
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped roughly

Spiced Butter:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roasted
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of dried ginger

Start by cooking the squash. In a large cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the squash and cook for about 6 minutes, until golden on all sides. Add brown sugar and cook until squash is caramelized and tender. Set aside and keep warm.

Your finished squash will look like these lovelies.

While the squash is cooking, prepare the spiced butter. In a bowl, crush roasted garlic with a fork. {I roast my garlic cloves by making a little tin foil packet, drizzling them with olive oil, wrapping them up, and cooking them in the toaster oven at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they are nice and soft.} Mix in 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter, marjoram, cinnamon, and ginger and set aside.

Now it’s time to start the main event! Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and saute until lightly browned. Add onion and cook until softened. Stir in rice, sage, and thyme. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring until well coated. Turn heat to medium-high and add wine. Simmer until mostly absorbed. Add hot stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until mostly absorbed. Continue until the rice is al dente or cooked to your liking. Stir in parsley, salt & pepper, and 3/4 of the spiced butter. Gently fold in squash. Finish with the remaining butter and mix gently until combined.

Isn’t it pretty?

Ready to dig in!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

{Adapted from an old Real Simple recipe}

Cookies:

  • 3 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Frosting:

  • 2/3 cup cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth (I use my hand mixer for this). Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and egg and beat until combined.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until fully mixed.

Spoon onto a silicon-mat-lined baking sheet (or parchment lined) using a tablespoon. Bake for about 10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

While the cookies are baking and cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. I used my immersion blender for this thinking it would make it easier. It did, but it also made runny icing, so use a hand mixer or your hand for this one.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together all the frosting ingredients until spreadable.

Make sandwiches on the flat side of the cookies. Only make as many sandwiches as you are going to eat right then. Otherwise store the cookies and frosting separately. These are messy and delicious!

I think I’ll go have one right now!

Pumpkin Pancakes

{Adapted from this recipe on AllRecipes.com}

Serves 4

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix together all the wet ingredients in a bowl. Separately, mix together the dry ingredients. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix because these will be nice and light. Also, the batter is much more dry than a normal pancake batter…that is ok. They puff up nicely and are plenty moist when cooked.

Heat a griddle or pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and cook for about 3 minutes per side (or until lightly browned).

Look how puffy these are!!

Be sure to serve these with real maple syrup as they are completely unsweetened. They also freeze well if you are cooking for just one or two!

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If you are craving yet more pumpkin, check out this recipe that I’m hoping to try tonight!

~CM

A Great Meal for Dinner, Brunch, and Lunch!

I got an email from a good friend with a link to a recipe that I’ve been dying to try. At first, I didn’t think there was going to be any connection to my CSA share, but when I got home from the grocery store, my husband let me know that there were two onions in the crate. So it’s a rather paltry relationship, but, there you go!

As I may have mentioned once (or twenty) times, it has been too darn hot for me lately, but this meal seemed like the perfect light summer treat: Mango and Black Bean Tacos, yum.

the finished product

These turned out delicious, more tropical tasting than Mexican, but totally delicious none the less! As indicated by the title, they were also delicious for lunch the next day. But how did they work for breakfast? Well, really the sauce was the only part we used for breakfast. When I tasted the tacos, I thought the sauce would be tasty on French toast. I made a loaf of white bread in the bread maker and, in the morning, made some seriously good French toast.

One slice was all either my husband or I could eat…so hearty!

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Tonight’s Recipes

Mango and Black Bean Tacos

Adapted from Pinch of Yum 

Serves 4

2/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon sugar

2 mangos, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

juice from 1 lime

1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped {I am a spice wimp and used a Fresno pepper, which is about as hot as a jalapeño…use whatever pepper you want to get the heat you prefer!}

20 oz black beans (about a can and a half), drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small white onion, chopped

corn tortillas

First, heat olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add the black beans, pepper, and all but 1 tablespoon of the chopped onion. Gently saute until the peppers and onions have softened (about 5-7 minutes).

Meanwhile, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of onion, the mangoes, cilantro, and lime juice in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, coconut milk, and sugar.

To assemble the tacos, heat the corn tortillas, top with about 1/4 cup each of the bean mixture and the mango mixture and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the sauce over the top.

Coconut and Rum French Toast

My own original recipe

Serves 4

4 thick slices of dense bread (challah or French bread would both be quite good)

4 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons dark rum

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

Coconut milk & Sour cream sauce from tacos

maple syrup

In a pie plate or square casserole dish, whisk together the eggs and milk until well blended. Add the vanilla, rum, cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk until combined.

Soak each piece of bread for about 15 seconds per side and place onto a griddle or frying pan. Cook each side until golden brown.

Man, I love this griddle!

Top with the coconut milk sauce and plenty of maple syrup.

Berries or bananas would also taste great on this French toast.  Ooo, or pineapples…pretend it’s a piña colada!

Enjoy pretending you are in the Caribbean…shouldn’t be too hard in this weather!

~CM

Sunday Brunch

Today is a big cooking and experimentation day (check back tomorrow for the exciting reveal!) so this will be a quick one. Once again, we are nearing the CSA date and we still have SO much produce. Getting used to this schedule has been a bit of a challenge. As much as I love being experimental and cooking delicious things, yesterday all I wanted to do was eat Annie’s Mac & Cheese. Instead I ate leftovers, but didn’t cook anything new.

This morning, my husband and I realized we were out of cereal so we decided to make a scramble. We still had all the spinach and arugula from this week’s share, so I decided to saute that all down and mix it in with eggs and Muenster cheese. It always amazes me how much roughage I can eat once it’s been cooked.


This is what we started with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the time we were ready to stir it in to the five eggs we scrambled, it had reduced to about a quarter of the size! And between the two of us, we ate all those greens in one sitting. Talk about efficient!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the eggs were just about cooked, I added in the greens mixture, straining out as much liquid as possible, and about a half cup of grated Muenster. We toasted up some marble rye and had a very enjoyable brunch!

I hope you’re having a delightful weekend. I’m off to finish my big food projects!

~CM