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.

 

Flavor-Packed Taco Salad (It’s healthy too!)

I love taco salad!  I always forget how much I love it until I take that first bite.  It is one of those meals, if prepared correctly, really satisfies your hunger without making you feel an ounce of guilt. The best part is the crunchy tortilla bowl.  It takes the place of crumbling greasy tortilla chips on top of your salad and in my opinion tastes surprisingly fabulous!

Ingredients:

4 flour tortillas (We use the raw Tortilla Land tortillas, cooked)

1 can black beans, drained

1 lb ground turkey breast, or lean ground beef cooked and seasoned with your favorite taco seasoning

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 can sliced olives

1 tomato, diced

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1 cup of your favorite salsa (Ours is Emerald Valley – generally found with refrigerated salsa in your local grocery store)

1/4 cup low-fat or fat-free sour cream

1 avocado, sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brown your ground turkey or beef, drain if needed.  Add taco seasoning as directed on packaging.  Set aside.

Prepare lettuce – firmly hold head of lettuce, core side down, slam head down onto counter then turn lettuce over and pull out core.  Next, I like to break off all of the thick, white bases of the lettuce leaves. Fill head with water then turn over and shake to drain.  Remove top two outer leaves and discard.  Slice/chop/break lettuce into bite-sized pieces.

Prepare tomato, avocado, olives, and cheese.  (We always buy the cans of whole olives and use our egg slicer to slice the olives.  My boys love this job partly because they love helping mommy in the kitchen but mostly because they always get to load up one hand with a full set of olive tips.)

Spray one side of tortilla with a small amount of non-stick spray.  Place tortillas, greased side down, onto ramekins.  Pinch edges vertically in a clockwise (or counter-clockwise) direction (see picture) to form your “bowl.” Place in preheated oven on a baking tray for 7 minutes.  Carefully remove ramekins from underside of tortillas.  Place tortilla bowls with flat side down on baking tray and return to oven for 3-4 minutes or until crisp. Set aside.

For dressing, mix salsa and sour cream together.

Place ground turkey or beef and cold black beans in the bottom of bowl.  Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese, olives avocado and dressing.

As you eat, crumble your bowl to give you that “tortilla chip” taste and texture without having to eat greasy chips.

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.

 

Asparagus, Tomato and Avocado Salad

This is such a beautiful, fresh, delicious salad.  I love the creaminess of the avocados mixed with the acidity of the tomatoes and the nuttiness of the asparagus, all with a tangy Dijon mustard dressing… mmmm…. so so good.

Ingredients:

1/2-1  lb asparagus (I only use 1/2 but original recipe calls for 1 lb)

1 large Haas avocado

1 pint cherry tomatoes (or any other small, colorful tomato, original recipe calls for 6 cups which is a little much for me.  I found 1 pt to be perfect but it’s up to you.  Maybe if they were fresh from my garden I would increase that amount)

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

a dash of red wine vinegar (optional, I like the tanginess)

Directions:

Asparagus – Start by washing. Hold one spear of asparagus. Starting at the cut end, bend slightly until it snaps (should be about 2 inches or so above the cut).  This will eliminate the tough, woody section of the asparagus and leave you with the most tender part.  Now, lay your snapped asparagus alongside the rest of the bunch.  Cut the bunch even with your 1 snapped spear.

Place enough water  in a medium skillet to slightly coat the bottom of the pan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Place spears in water and cover again.  Steam for 3-5 minutes or until your spears are tender but still firm.  I used very small spears and 3 minutes was perfect.  If you use the thicker spears you will need to increase that time.

Afer they reach the desired tenderness, drain and immediately submerge in cold water to stop the cooking process. Once chilled, drain on paper towels until dry.  Cut into bite-sized chunks (I quartered each spear).

Wash your tomatoes, drain thoroughly and place in medium-sized bowl with asparagus.

Mix all ingredients for dressing with a whisk or a small food processor. Pour over asparagus and tomatoes and toss.

Cut open avocado and de-seed (If you need tips on this, see 7-layer dip recipe). Run knife through avocado all the way to the peel making 1/2 inch squares (see picture above).  Run a large spoon between peel and flesh to remove the avocado.

Add avocado right before serving because it will be at its brightest color and flavor. Separate cubes with your fingers then toss slightly into salad.  The avocados break up very easily so you don’t want to be stirring very much.

This recipe does not fare well for left overs due to the avocado’s speedy oxidation, so if you don’t think you will be eating it all in one sitting, you may want to only mix  half the tomatoes and asparagus with half of the avocado and seal the other half of the avocado (with seed in tact) in a plastic bag. This way your avocado will still be fresh the next day for leftovers. 

Asparagus, Tomato and Avocado Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1/2-1  lb asparagus (I only use 1/2 but original recipe calls for 1 lb)

1 large Haas avocado

1 pint cherry tomatoes (or any other small, colorful tomato, original recipe calls for 6 cups which is a little much for me.  I found 1 pt to be perfect but it’s up to you.  Maybe if they were fresh from my garden I would increase that amount)

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

a dash of red wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Rinse asparagus.  Bend one spear slightly starting at the cut end until the asparagus snaps.  This will be a good indicator of where the woodiness ends and the tender asparagus begins. Line the other asparagus up and cut even with snapped spear.  Cut into bite sized pieces.
  2. Place enough water  in a medium skillet to slightly coat the bottom of the pan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Place spears in water and cover again.  Steam for 3-5 minutes or until your spears are tender but still firm. Drain and drop into ice water to stop cooking process.  Drain well.
  3. Add tomatoes. (Do not add avocado until ready to serve)
  4. Combine dressing ingredients and blend in a food-processor or  blend well with a wisk.
  5. Pour dressing over asparagus and tomatoes.  Toss.
  6. Before serving, slice avocado in half, remove seed.  Slice lightly with a butter knife inside the peel into small squares.  Scoop out with a large spoon into salad. Toss gently.
  7. Serve

Spinach Salad

This salad is so tasty! You can make it as a side salad or add some chicken and have it as a main course.  It is such a tasty treat and for the most part, really healthy.

Ingredients:

Spinach leaves.  It is also very good with Arugula, which is a spicy leaf lettuce or pretty much any kind of lettuce that suits your fancy.  I like spinach leaves because they are packed with vitamins and my boys love eating them and showing me how much their muscles have grown since the last bite. Just be sure to wash your lettuce or spinach well.

Ripe pears (slice right before serving since they brown quickly)

Candied pecans.  I make my own.  I tried a new recipe for this particular salad and wasn’t as crazy about them as my original recipe and it was about 10x more complicated. (I will include the old recipe below.)

Feta cheese crumbles

Craisins

Ken’s Steak House Low Fat Raspberry-Walnut Vinegarette or your favorite vinegarette

Directions:

I would recommend assembling each salad plate separately so you can make them pretty.  This is such a beautiful salad and it would be a shame to mix it all up in a bowl (plus the Craisins seem to always fall to the bottom).

Candied Pecans

Heat 1/4 cup sugar and 1 cup of nuts (I like pecans and almonds) in a stainless skillet over medium heat until the sugar starts to liquify. Stir until the nuts are completely covered in melted sugar.  Remove from heat and pour onto parchment paper or foil. Let cool completely before trying to separate. Speaking from experience, you do not want a burn from molten hot sugar.