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.

 

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Meaty Lasagna

I created this recipe when I was cooking for a golf course in college.  Since then, this recipe has become a staple at big family gatherings and is always a huge hit.  It is rich and extremely flavorful.

Ingredients:

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1- 16 ounce container cottage cheese

1/3 cup fresh parsley

1 medium onion, chopped

3 large cloves garlic

1 lb ground beef

1 lb italian sausage

3-14 oz cans tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes if you want a little more texture

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp onion powder

1/2-1 tsp garlic salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1-16 oz pkg mozzarella cheese, grated

1 package lasagna noodles

2 cups chopped spinach leaves.

Directions:

Get your water started for your noodles.  (You can also use the “no-cook” lasagna noodles, which actually work pretty well because they end up absorbing a lot of excess moisture in the lasagna (do not add extra water if the noodles call for it).  If you are boiling your noodles, cook until tender but still a little firm (al dente). They will continue to cook in the oven. Drain.  If you still have a while before you are ready to assemble the lasagna, rinse noodles with cold water to keep from sticking together.

Place cottage cheese in a mesh strainer for several minutes.  Stir occasionally until a good majority of the moisture is removed.  Moisture is not your friend when it comes to lasagna because it will turn your beautiful dish into soup.

Prepare cheeses, spinach, and parsley.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook hamburger and sausage with garlic and onion over medium-high to high heat in a large skillet or stock pot. This is a lot of meat to cook at one time so be sure your pan starts off very hot and stays hot so you don’t end up loosing all of the juice from the meat and onions.  If you find that your meat starts to boil, crank up the heat and drain as you go if you have to.  Drain grease thoroughly.

Add tomato sauce, garlic salt, onion powder, pepper, oregano,and  basil. Be sure to taste and adjust spices if needed.  It is ok if the sauce is a little salty at this point because that salt is going to be spread out over a lot of other ingredients.  Let your sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow some of the moisture from the tomato sauce to cook out.

Mix together cottage cheese , parmesan, and fresh parsley in a medium bowl.

Spray 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over bottom of pan.  Place a layer of noodles on sauce.  Layer 1/3 of your cottage cheese mixture on noodles.  Top with 1/3 of the chopped spinach (forgot to take pic of this step) . Add 1/3 of remaining meat sauce. Top with 1/3 mozzarella cheese. Again, add a layer of noodles, then cottage cheese, spinach, meat sauce, mozzarella cheese.  Do this one more time adding remainder of ingredients.  Spray a large piece of aluminum foil with non-stick spray (if you forget this step, all of your cheese will stick to the foil..speaking from experience here).  Cover lasagna with foil.

Place a pice of aluminum foil on bottom oven rack (the juices from the lasagna might over-flow a little so prepare before-hand to prevent lots of smoke and a dirty oven).

Bake lasagna for 45 minutes, remove foil and continue cooking an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.  This will allow the lasagna set up. If you serve it immediately, it will be very runny.  If there is any liquid standing on the cheese, I usually drain it off with a spoon or paper towel immediately before it has a chance to soak back in.  After it has had time to rest, serve with warm crusty french bread and a ceasar salad…. mmmm. makes my mouth water.

Garlic Rice

This is a recipe that I have grown up on and have always absolutely loved.

Ingredients:

1 cup long-grain white rice

2 Tbsp butter

2 cups chicken broth (or 2 tsp chicken base with 2 cups hot water mixed together)

3 large cloves of garlic, minced or crushed

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp chopped parsley (this is totally optional, I only add it if I’m trying to make it pretty)

Directions:

Soak rice in water for one hour. To be honest, I have no clue what this does to the rice but I have tried it without soaking the rice and it just isn’t the same.  Strain with a mesh strainer.

Heat butter in large skillet, add rice.

Cook rice until most of the grains are toasted a nice golden color, some a little darker.  You will need to stir occasionally to keep from burning.

Meanwhile in a medium-sized casserole dish, add 2 cups chicken broth, garlic, and garlic salt.

When rice is finished browning, add to casserole dish with broth mix.

Cover. Place in microwave.  Microwave on high for 7 minutes then for an additional 15-20 minutes on medium power. You may not know this, but you can set your microwave to do this all in one step.  For example, on my microwave, I push “time cook” “7-0-0”, “timecook” “1-5-0-0” “power” “5” and it will run the whole 22 minutes without me having to adjust the power level after the first 7 minutes.   Check at the end of 15 minutes to determine whether or not there is still moisture in your rice and needs to be cooked further. Fluff with fork.  Stir in parsley (if desired).

Savory Pork Chops

These pork chops have so much flavor.  They might seem a little bit intimidating, but I promise you, as long as you get the ingredients you need and get a good seer on your meat (I will explain how), you are on your way to a very fancy tasting meal.

Ingredients:

4 pork loin chops – Make sure you buy pork chops that are firm and pink.  Try to avoid the chops that are soft and dark in color or have any blemishes or brown spots. Also be sure that the pork chops are not pumped with water or any other additives. Many times, grocery stores will plump up your meat (chicken, pork, seafood, etc) with water to beef up the weight, and therefore be able to charge you  more for less product.  It is a good idea to try to avoid the meats that say “may contain xx% water.”  This can alter your cooking because once heated, you may be dealing with a lot of water escaping the meat into your pan, which can hinder your ability to get a good sear.  It is harder to get a good end result. SO, try to buy meats that appear to be somewhat dry and not soaking in a pool (Read your frozen packaging too). Whew… moving right along…

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (or more if needed)

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup white wine (I am not a wine connoisseur, so I generally go with what is on the lower end of the price scale since it generally only goes in my cooking rather than in my glass).

1 Tbsp capers

1 Tbsp butter

Directions:

Start by coating the pork chops with mustard. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Get it hot enough so that when you lay your chops in, you hear a good, loud sizzle.

Cook the pork chops (depending on thickness) for 4-5 minutes per side, making sure to get a good dark color on each side.  The mustard will turn a darker color, almost black (see picture) but don’t panic because all of that is going to be mixed in with some liquids when you de-glaze your pan and it is just going to kick up the flavor. 

Once your chops do not appear to have any pink left on the outside (check the edges) and you have a really good seer, deglaze pan by adding the Worcestershire sauce and turn heat to medium. Scoot your chops around the pan to coat in the Worcestershire sauce, turning them to coat both sides.  Cook for a few more minutes (just don’t let the sauce evaporate fully or burn). 

Add white wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half then add butter.  The butter will thicken the sauce and make it rich.  Turn meat to coat both sides.  Add capers. Cook until your chops reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.  Since the thickness of chops vary so much, it will have to be up to you and your thermometer to decide exactly how long the pork will cook.  Also, always be sure that you are inserting your thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.  For most thermometers, you will need a good inch to inch and a half of the end of the thermometer penetrated into the meat to get a proper read. For a pork chop, this may mean inserting it horizontally into the side of the chop.

Remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes.  During this time, the juices will redistribute themselves throughout the meat since they tend to gather in the center during cooking.  If you cut into the meat before it has had a chance to rest, you will end up losing half of the juices.  The temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees during this resting time. 

Remove the chops and plate, then pour sauce and capers over the top. 

Pairing suggestion: Garlic Rice.