Savory Breakfast Cups

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I am sad to admit that I am not a planner.  I don’t usually have my meals planned a week in advance, I don’t keep a list of to-do’s on my bedside table.  I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants, starting a million tasks but finishing none because, well, that’s just how my mommy brain rolls.

Usually, when I wake up in the mornings, I stumble downstairs to the kitchen, make a coffee and a breakfast sandwich or some other quick breakfast for my hubby (occasionally, if I press snooze enough, this might entail ripping a banana from the bunch and serving it next to his coffee 🙂 ). Now, time to wake my little monsters (10 year old Wyatt and an 8 year old Henry).  There is usually a fair amount of scrambling to find this or that (i.e. searching for matching socks, because among the things I rock at as a mother, sock matching is definitely not one of them).  Couple all of this with some brotherly banter before the boys settle down with something that suites their simple tastes for breakfast that morning – usually a bowl full of mom-guilt (you know the kind, cold cereal, oatmeal packets, etc).

BUT, every once in a while, the stars align and I actually PLAN – pre-making our breakfasts BEFORE our week begins.  Such a novel idea.  SERIOUSLY!!! PURE BLISS! I am almost excited (I said almost) to wake up and pop something in the microwave for 30 seconds and have a delicious, protein filled breakfast for my family.

These breakfast cups are so delicious.  I created this recipe while my husband and I were on the Whole 30 diet. They tasted so naughty when we were accustomed to eating so healthy, but they aren’t, at all! They are packed with vitamins and protein. My husband always gets so excited when I make them and if I happen to make them on a day he is home from work, he will eat one or two for every meal.  He can not stay out of them.  I also made them for a catered brunch at our church for the community youth pastors and got RAVE reviews.   They are savory with a tiny touch of sweetness from the potatoes (which might seem a little odd, but its pretty fabulous).  I would highly suggest making a double batch of these if you have any big eaters in your family and are planning to have some leftovers for the week.

 

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes (the kind with light brown skin and white flesh)

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 package prosciutto (If you are wanting to stay Whole 30 compliant, be sure to check your ingredients -we found ours at Costco and Trader Joe’s with just pork and salt).

8-12 eggs (one egg per cup – most packs come with 8-12 slices of prosciutto)

1/4 cup milk (omit for Whole 30/Paleo)

Salt

Black Pepper

Garlic Salt

 

Directions:

 

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Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Peel sweet potatoes.  Using a food processor, shred potatoes.  If you don’t have a food processor, chop the potatoes into small pieces.  Heat 2 tbsp. your favorite cooking oil (I LOVE avocado oil) in a large heavy-bottomed pan on Medium-high heat.

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Do a sizzle test to make sure that the oil is hot enough.  Add potatoes, peppers, garlic onions and seasonings. Wait for several minutes before checking the bottom of the potatoes to see if they are golden brown.  Once they are crisp and brown, go ahead and turn them.  The potatoes will not take too long to cook thoroughly.  You don’t want them to get mushy.  Be sure to taste them at this point. Season them until you feel like they would taste great alone.  Continue to stir the potatoes every few minutes until they have a good brown color mixed throughout.

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Next you will want to pull the prosciutto apart.  It is pretty hard to separate without tearing but if it does tear, now worries.  Lay one piece of prosciutto in each cup of your cupcake pan (I could not live without my Demarle silicone cupcake pan.  NOTHING will stick to it.  If you are using a regular metal pan, be sure to use  non-stick cooking spray or cupcake liners or those babies will never come out.)

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Place your cooked hashbrowns inside the cups on top of the prosciutto.  Fill the cup but don’t pack it down.

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Beat an egg for each cup you are planning to fill.  Add about 1/4 cup of milk (again omit for Whoke 30/Paleo) and a little salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, fill each cup almost to the top with egg.  The egg will sink down under the hashbrowns so you may have to come back and top them off.

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Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  Check to see if the centers of the egg cups are firm and not still runny .  If they are still runny, cook for 2 minutes at a time until they are firm (unless they are considerably runny, then add several minutes.)  Mine took 26 minutes total this last time but it will vary based on slight differences in oven temps and pan material so just keep your eye on it toward the end.

Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes until they are cool enough to handle.  Remove from pan and serve warm.  I usually put the leftovers in a big gallon Ziploc and then reheat them in the microwave for a fast, delicious breakfast.

 

Savory Breakfast Cups (Whole 30 Friendly)

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes (the kind with light brown skin and white flesh)

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 package prosciutto (If you are wanting to stay Whole 30 compliant, be sure to check your ingredients -we found ours at Costco and Trader Joe’s with just pork and salt).

8-12 eggs (one egg per cup – most packs come with 8-12 slices of prosciutto)

1/4 cup milk (omit for Whole 30/Paleo)

Salt

Black Pepper

Garlic Salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Peel sweet potatoes.  Using a food processor, shred potatoes.  If you don’t have a food processor, chop the potatoes into small pieces.  Heat 2 tbsp. your favorite cooking oil (I LOVE avocado oil) in a large heavy-bottomed pan on Medium-high heat.
  2. Do a sizzle test to make sure that the oil is hot enough.  Add potatoes, peppers, garlic onions and seasonings. Wait for several minutes before checking the bottom of the potatoes to see if they are golden brown.  Once they are crisp and brown, go ahead and turn them.  The potatoes will not take too long to cook thoroughly.  You don’t want them to get mushy.  You will want to taste them at this point. Season them until you feel like they would taste great alone.  Continue to stir the potatoes every few minutes until they have a good brown color mixed throughout.
  3. Next you will want to pull the prosciutto apart.  It is pretty hard to separate without tearing but if it does tear, now worries.  Lay one piece of prosciutto in each cup of your cupcake pan (I could not live without my Demarle silicone cupcake pan.  NOTHING will stick to it.  If you are using a regular metal pan, be sure to use a good amount of non-stick cooking spray or cupcake liners or those babies will never come out.)
  4. Place your cooked hashbrowns inside the cups on top of the prosciutto.  Fill the cup but don’t pack it down.
  5. Beat an egg for each cup you are planning to fill.  Add about 1/4 cup of milk and a little salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, fill each cup almost to the top with egg.  The egg will sink down under the hashbrowns so you may have to come back and top them off.
  6. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  Check to see if the centers of the egg cups are firm and not still runny .  If they are still runny, cook for 2 minutes at a time until they are firm (unless they are considerably runny, then add several minutes.)  Mine took 26 minutes total this last time but it will vary based on slight differences in oven temps and pan material so just keep your eye on it toward the end.
  7. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes until they are cool enough to handle.  Remove from pan and serve warm.  I usually put the leftovers in a big gallon Ziploc and then reheat them in the microwave for a fast, delicious, hot breakfast.

 

Ground Turkey and Rice Bake – Low Fat

How many of you are ready for tank tops and shorts, and heaven forbid bathing suits?…NOT ME! I am going to attempt to make one or two lower fat recipes every week.  Not only do I want to offer a variety of recipes for my wonderful followers but I would really love feel comfortable in my summer clothes.  Now people who know me know I’m not the diet type because I LOVE food way too much.  So my diets consist of trying to make some better choices and adding some fun exercise in when I get the chance.  This recipe came from my sister’s collection and quickly became a staple in our house.  Not only do my hubby and I like it but the kids devour it.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey breast (ground beef is also yummy in the “not so low-fat” version :))

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion (red, white or yellow)

1 cup long grain white rice

1-14 1/2 oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup sliced olives

1-4 oz can diced chili’s, drained

1 and 1/2 tsp beef base

1 and 1/4 cups water (feel free to use 1 and 1/4 cups beef broth in place of water and beef base)

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (of course it’s always better with regular cheddar but low-fat does the trick)

fat-free or low-fat sour cream if desired for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In an oven-safe skillet, brown ground turkey (or beef) with celery and onion.  Drain fat if there is any.  Add rice, tomatoes, olives, green chiles, beef base, water, chili powder, Worcestershire and pepper (everything except the cheese and sour cream). Bring to a boil.  Cover and bake for one hour.  Remove from oven and top with cheese.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Steamed Artichokes

I have talked to so many people who have either never tried artichokes or love them but have never attempted to cook them.  They do appear to be intimidating but they are really, really easy to cook and fun to eat.  If you can cook broccoli, you can cook an artichoke. These vegetables are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods (high in fiber and antioxidants among many other health benefits) but they are so delicious and fun to eat at the same time.

I have been a huge fan of artichokes since I was about 8 years old.  They were always a treat in our house growing up.  When one of my parents came home from the store with a bag of the green beauties, we were giddy all day, waiting for what seemed like an eternity for dinner time. I am proud to have two little artichoke lovers of my own.  I am going to seriously have to figure out how to grow them in my garden this year because the prices can be outrageous for these gems.  I almost always purchase mine at …. you guessed it, Costco.  They sell a four pack of large artichokes for somewhere around $5-7 which is WAY less than you can generally buy them in other stores these days.

Let’s start by picking out our artichokes.  There are several different ways to ensure you pick a good artichoke.  First of all, you want your artichoke to be heavy, which means it is dense and has a lot of moisture in it.  If you have ever had a dry, rubbery artichoke, you know why this is so important.  You want your artichoke to look fresh and bright and give a little squeak when you squeeze it.  If they don’t squeak, chances are, they are getting a little wilted.  I also make sure to pick out the artichokes with the fattest stems.  This will ensure a nice big heart which is my favorite part.  I have heard that a good artichoke should have the thorn at the top of the leaves.  I don’t know if this one is true or not but I try to find them anyways.

Ok, let’s get to preppin’.

Start by cutting the stem completely off at the base of the artichoke.  Some people leave on a little of the stem on but I prefer to have it flat because it is much easier to cook and plate.  Next you are going to trim the top inch or so off of the artichoke.  Be sure you have a sharp knife for this – those leaves are tough to get through.  Next, you want to use your kitchen shears and cut off all of the little thorns atop each leaf.  Not only does this make your artichoke really pretty, it saves your fingers.  I was poked by many an artichoke as a kid because my parents skipped this step 🙂

Place the artichokes in a large pot, stem-side down.  Put enough water in your pan to cover about 1/3 of the way up on the artichoke.  If you have a fresh lemon, cut it in half and rub the lemon onto the cut tops of the leaves.  If you don’t happen to have a lemon handy, just squirt a little lemon juice on each artichoke after it is in the pan.  Now it’s time for some garlic! I use 1 large clove of chopped (or sliced) garlic per artichoke.  You can either take the time to place the garlic down between the leaves, or you can just pile it on top.  As they cook, the garlic will fall down into the nooks and crannies.

Cover and cook over high heat until your water boils.  Reduce to medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour.

You will know when your artichoke is done because the leaves will be easy to pull out and if you are anything like me, you have taste-tested about 26 leaves by now just to make sure they are cooked to perfection.  The “meat” of the artichoke leaf should come off easily when you bite the leaf between your teeth about 1/2- 2/3 of the way up and pull out the leaf while biting.  If you find that you have to pull pretty hard or it doesn’t come off in one smooth pull, keep cookin’.

Once your artichokes are perfectly cooked, use tongs to remove them at the bases and place them into individual bowls.  This is where many people differ in artichoke eating.  I personally sprinkle a little garlic salt on mine and call it good.  Growing up, we drizzled a little vegetable oil over them with the garlic salt, also a yummy choice.  I have had them dipped in butter which is really delicious but also takes a little bit of the healthy feeling away.  Then there are those people out there that dip them in mayonnaise.  I have never tried it and because of my distaste for mayo, I probably never will.  If you like mayo, you might find this appealing.  I know there are a lot of recipes for mayo dips.

Once you have eaten all of the leaves with substance, you will be left with some really thin leaves in the center of the artichoke.  You will know when to stop eating these as they start to taste bitter (fyi the leaves in my artichoke were beautiful and purple but that is not common, usually they are just pale green.)  Remove these leaves and place them in your “discard bowl.” Now you have the “choke” exposed.  All you need to do to remove this is place your knife toward the edge and press down and drag toward the center.  You will notice it releasing from the heart.  Once you have it all released, just pinch the top with your fingers and remove the choke.  You may need to scrape the top of the heart with a knife to remove them completely.

Now you are down to the best part.  Again, I sprinkle mine with a little garlic salt but season as you wish and enjoy the last few bites of heaven.

I hope you are a little less intimidated now.  Please stop by and leave a comment if you give them a try.  I would love to know all about it.

By the way, this might be common sense to some but don’t put your discarded artichoke leaves in the garbage disposal.  My husband did this once when we were dating way back when…. not a pretty sight.

 

 

Breakfast Smoothies

I make these almost every morning for my boys for breakfast.  I usually wake up with a light tapping on my shoulder and two little voices asking me if I will make them a smoothie.  They are so healthy and delicious. Just like my boys, I look forward to my smoothie every morning.  You can add so many different variations to this recipe.  This is just the basic recipe, then you can add whatever your heart desires.

Ingredients:

2 cups sliced – or about 10 large frozen strawberries (If you use frozen berries, you don’t have to worry about diluting your smoothie with ice.  I buy the big bag from Costco.  They are such nice berries and by far the best price you can find unless you are picking them from your own garden.)

1 vanilla yogurt (My favorite is Yoplait.  I feel like it has the smoothest, non-tangy flavor)

1 ripe bananas (the riper the banana, the sweeter the smoothie – just don’t use the rotten ones.  Ripe bananas will eliminate any need for added sugar, sometimes I add 2 bananas if I am needing to get rid of them)

2 cups apple juice (you can use any kind of juice, I just find the apple to be the sweetest)

I have also added ground flax-seed, spinach, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or whatever seasonal fruit I have in my fridge or freezer.

Directions:

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until completely smooth.

If I do happen to make extra smoothie, I put it in popsicle molds and make smoothie-pops.  This is really fun because in the summer-time, the boys can have a popsicle for breakfast, which they think is so cool!

Turkey Chili

I have made this easy chili for years and always have requests for the recipe.  Sometimes I make it with beef, sometimes with ground turkey, sometimes with sirloin (simmered all day), just depends on what I have going on in my freezer.  I almost always add a little sausage but if you are trying to keep it super healthy, feel free to omit the sausage.

Ingredients:

1 lb of meat – I use 1/2 lb ground turkey or ground beef and 1/2 lb sausage

2/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped

2/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped

2/3 cup onion, chopped

4 cloves crushed garlic

6 cans of beans, drained (I use 2 kidney, 2 pinto, 1 black and 1 great northern but feel free to use whatever kind you prefer)

2 cans tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

2 tsp beef base (you could substitute beef broth here but it will make your chili a bit thinner)

1 cup water (omit if you are using broth)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp onion powder

1-2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Chop all of your veggies (remember to freeze your leftovers).

Add veggies and garlic to a large pre-heated pot with ground turkey (or beef) and sausage.  If you are using ground turkey breast, add a little oil to the pan before you add your ingredients.  Cook meat thoroughly.  Drain off fat (as I have mentioned before I move meat over to one side of pan and put a couple of paper towels into the pot on the other side to catch the grease.  Tilt pan toward paper towel and press on paper towel with spatula.  Remove paper towel and discard being careful not to burn your fingers.)

Drain off beans (don’t worry about getting it all, just the majority). Add to pot with meat.  Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water and beef base.  Add spices, adding the salty ones last so you can taste as you go.  Also be sure to taste as you go with your chili powder.  Add as much as you’d like depending on how spicy you like your chili. Simmer over low heat for as little as 30 minutes or as long as you’d like (the longer it simmers, the better the flavor, you just might need to add a little more water as you cook depending on how much it cooks down).  You can also cook the meat and throw everything in a crock pot in the morning and let cook on low heat all day long.

Top with shredded cheddar, sour cream, onions, bacon, whatever your little heart desires.

Use leftovers in chili omelets or on top of baked potatoes.