breakfast burritos w/ chicken sausage and kale

I'll be the first person to say, I'm not a morning person.  My boyfriend wakes up, hops out of bed, and can start the day immediately.  I need to get up, get my coffee, sit in bed, sip the coffee slowly, and ease into my day.  When I first started my current job, I would wake up at 5:30am and not leave the house until 7:20am.  Now I look back at all that sleep I lost, and I'm actually a little sad about it.

All that being said, I need quick breakfasts during the work week.  I can settle for smoothie kits and overnight oats, but I don't love sweet breakfasts.  Insert the breakfast burrito.  I make a batch of these on the weekend and freeze them for the coming week.  It's so easy to throw them in the microwave and eat them at home, on the go, or at work.

I love Stop & Shop's Nature's Promise Sweet Italian Sausage with Kale.  It's not necessarily breakfast sausage, but that's kind of what I like about it.  It doesn't make the burritos taste weird, just a different flavor than your standard breakfast sausage.  I like to use fresh sausage because it breaks up easier than cooked sausage.  I run my knife down the length of the sausage, then pull off the casing.

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I know this probably looks gross to most people, but I find this process oddly satisfying.

Taking that casing off really makes it much easier to break up the sausage.

I learned to fold burritos by lovingly admiring the employees at Chipotle.  But they usually don't have to do it with one hand.

After I make them, I wrap them in Saran Wrap and foil, then put them in a gallon Ziploc bag in the freezer.   To cook them, I just take the foil off and nuke the burrito for a few minutes (usually 2-4 depending on if it thawed slightly or not).

I also usually add beans and/or Trader Joe's roasted corn, but I honestly just forgot.  The beans add a bit of heartiness and the corn adds a pop of sweetness to the spicy burrito. But I really didn't miss either of them! 

Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 10

 

Ingredients

4 chicken sausage links
1 red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 brussels sprouts
1Smallonion, diced
6 eggs
6 tortillas
¾ cup cheese (I used cheddar)
a few tbs ghee, olive oil, or butter
your favorite salsa and/or hot sauce

 

Preparation

Cut casing off of sausage links, cook in a little ghee, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. Add diced vegetables, season with salt, pepper, and chili powder and cook until tender. Transfer to a plate while cooking the eggs.

Whisk the eggs with some salt and pepper. Add a little ghee to the pan then add the eggs. Scramble to desired degree of doneness.

Layer tortillas with cheese, sausage and veggies mixture, eggs and salsa. Fold into a burrito.  Enjoy!

eggs benedict with scallion latkes and prosciutto

The first time I had classic eggs Benedict, I was beyond underwhelmed.  Everyone raves about it like it's such a great brunch choice, but I find it super bland and boring.  I'm not a huge English muffin lover and Canadian bacon is probably my least favorite breakfast meat, so it's not surprising that I wouldn't be a huge fan. 

I CAN say that I really enjoy variations on this brekkie standby.  It's like how "Killing My Softly" is so much better by the Fugees, the song was ok when Lori Lieberman sang it, but that flavor you get from Lauryn Hill is a complete game changer.  Anything that puts a unique spin on the classic is something I can get behind.  Smoked salmon, crab cakes, I've even had eggs benny atop cornbread (which is going to be on here soon).  So I figured I'd put together some of my favorite things to make an eggs Benedict that I could actually get excited to eat.

I had to transport the potatoes to my boyfriend’s apartment and he doesn't have a food processor.  I'm pretty happy with my current arm workout routine, so I didn't really want to grate two cups of potatoes by hand, and I figured out a great way to do some of the work ahead of time.  Besides, you'll get enough of a workout with all the egg whisking for the hollandaise sauce.

The actual instructions are below, but if you're grating the potatoes ahead of time, you basically blanch them, flash freeze, and put them in a ziplock in the freezer.  This is great because you can keep the grated potatoes in your freezer for things like quick breakfast hash or hash browns.  Of course, if you're making these the same day you can just grate and throw them into the mixture, you don't have to boil them or pre-cook them in any way. 

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Ingredients

For the Latkes:
3 cups grated russet potatoes
2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions
1 small-medium onion, grated
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 egg
2 tbs flour (or matzo meal)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil (for pan)

For Poached Eggs:
4 eggs
1 tbs vinegar
a pinch of salt

For the Hollandaise Sauce:
2 egg yolks
¼ cup (½ stick) melted and cooled butter
1 tbs lemon juice
Few dashes of hot sauce (I used cholula)

For Eggs Benedict Assembly:
4 slices prosciutto
1 cup arugula

Make the Latkes:
To grate potatoes ahead of time:  Bring a pot of water to a gently boil.  Grate the taters, put them in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes then pour the contents of the pot into a colander.  Next, spread the potatoes onto a kitchen towel and ring out all of the extra moisture.  Spread them on a baking sheet and freeze for 10-15 to flash freeze them.  Put potatoes into a Ziploc and throw them into the freezer.  When you're ready to make the latkes, take the potatoes out of the freezer, let them slightly or fully thaw, spread them on a kitchen towel towel and squeeze out excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees or “warm” function.  Line a plate with paper towels.  Grate potatoes using a food processor or hand grater.  Lay potatoes on a kitchen towel and squeeze out excess moisture.  Combine potatoes, scallions, onion, garlic powder, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Make little potato pancake patties out of two heaping tablespoons of the mixture, by rolling into a rough ball and flattening to ½ inch.  Heat oil over medium-high heat, don’t let oil get too hot or the latkes will burn.  Place latkes in pan, let cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until golden on the outside.  Transfer latkes to a paper towel lined plate when finished, crack a little salt on top, and put the plate into the warm oven. 

Poach the eggs:
In a medium sauce pan or a shallow deep pan, bring a few inches of water and 2 tbs vinegar to boil.  Crack eggs into ramekins, then gently pour eggs into boiling water.  Turn off the heat, put the lid on, set a timer for 6 minutes and leave the eggs alone.  After 6 minutes, use a slotted spoon to gently take the eggs out of the water.

Hollandaise:
In a medium sized saucepan, heat water until simmering.  Place a stainless steel or glass bowl on top of the saucepan (or use an actual double boiler) and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Drizzle in melted butter and continue to whisk until mixture doubles in volume and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Add in a few dashes of hot sauce, salt and pepper and mix until combined.

To assemble:
Layer ¼ cup arugula, prosciutto, poached egg, then top with hollandaise and chopped scallions for garnish.  Serve immediately.

black strap molasses cookies

One day last summer, I went to a nearby farmer's market to buy some fresh produce.  While there, I stopped at a beekeeper's table, he sold all kinds of bee related things.   I bought some local bee pollen, and he proceeded to sell me on all of the benefits of black strap molasses.  I bought a jar from him, mostly to shut him up, but slightly to see what the fuss was all about.  Fast forward almost a year later and I have not once thought about this molasses since buying it.

This weekend I wanted to bake something, but didn't want to have to leave my house.  So I looked through the cabinets, but couldn't really think of anything to bake with what I had.  Finally, I remembered that god damn black strap molasses!  Life handed me molasses so I made molasses cookies!

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Black strap molasses is molasses that has been boiled down more, therefore making it more bitter and thicker in texture.  True molasses might yield sweeter cookies that spread a little more than these did.  I had black strap, so I used what I had.  If you happen to have regular ole molasses, just taste the dough before baking, and make sure to add more sugar if they're too bitter.

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit's Chewy Molasses Cookie Recipe!

Ingredients:
makes 2 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ black strap molasses
Turbinado sugar (for rolling)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  In a medium bowl, whisk egg, butter, sugars, and molasses.  Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix until incorporated. 

Put turbinado sugar in a bowl.  Spoon out tablespoon sized chucks of dough and roll them into balls.  Roll the cookie dough balls in turbinado sugar and place 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, rotating baking sheets at halfway mark.  Cookies should be just set around edges and cracked, but do not overbake!

 

I'd love to know how these turn out with regular molasses.  If you make them, let me know in the comments!

how to cut leeks

Like most other plants in the onion family, a good portion of the leek plant grows underground in sandy soil  This means that you'll usually encounter a lot of dirt when you cut into leeks.  But a little dirt never hurt anyone!

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Cut the leek in half lengthwise

Turn it 90 degrees and cut horizontally, moving toward the root

After cutting to the desired size, fill a bowl with cold water and dump the leeks in, let it sit for a minute or two.

Take the leeks out with a slotted spoon, or with your hands.  Don't drain the water with the leeks still in the bowl because all of the gross dirt settled at the bottom will just pour over the leeks.  Dry them with paper towel and use in your fave recipe!

how to dice a shallot

Ever confused a shallot for a red onion?  I have.  I thought they were the same thing for a while. Shallots are the onion's milder, slightly peppery cousin.  Its flavor doesn't punch you in the face, it subtly mingles with the flavors of whatever you add it to.  

Anyway, this wasn't supposed to be an ode to the perfectly understated flavor of the shallot, it's a guide to dicing a shallot.  Shall we begin?

chop the shallot in half lengthwise, through the root

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chop off the end opposite the root, this is usually the thinner, pointier end

after you take a second to marvel at my ability to do this with one hand, peel off the outer skin 

cut thin vertical strips, close to the root, but not through the root

cut horizontally

you did it!  now throw these into something delicious!

cauliflower pizza crust

My mom made us cauliflower pizzas wayyyyy before it was cool.  She was trying to find a way to health up one of our favorites at a time when my dad and I weren't too interested in health-ing anything up.  She'd tell us "instead of [insert unhealthy food] I've found a recipe for [insert healthy alternative]!!!"  In all honesty, cauliflower pizza crust is actually a really delicious healthy alternative to traditional pizza crust.  I mean, in no way does it replace REAL, crunchy, carb-y pizza crust, but when you want to brag to your friends about the low carb and delicious pizza you had last night, cauliflower can help you out.  I also want you to know that I KNOW this is cheese heavy and uses fatty, greasy meats, but I didn't say this was completely clean.  Just a little lower in carbs and calories and less guilt inducing than normal pizza.

I adapted my recipe for the pizza crust from (my fave) Katie Lee's recipe.  I changed around some of the ingredients, but also made it a little easier.  I put the soppressata and ricotta underneath the cheese, which made the soppressata easier to bite into.

 

How I made it easier/faster:
1.  I bought pre-riced cauliflower.  My grocery story has it for basically the same price as a head of cauliflower, which makes it a pretty easy decision for me!
2.  I didn't pre cook the cauliflower.  I found this to be an unnecessary step.  The cauliflower cooks evenly in the oven, it doesn't need to be steamed or pre-cooked before the oven.


Ingredients:
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/3 cup ricotta
Soppressata, pepperoni, or your favorite pizza toppings

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat
2. Use dish towel or paper towels to squeeze water out from cauliflower
3. Transfer cauliflower to a medium sized bowl and add 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan, italian seasoning, onion and garlic powders, and eggs.  Add salt, pepper and a pinch or two of chili flakes to taste.  Stir until combined.
4. Transfer "dough" to baking sheet.  Form into a circle, until "dough" is about 1/3 inch tall
5. Bake for 20 minutes
6. Spread pizza sauce on crust, layer soppressata on top of sauce, dot quarter sized drops of ricotta on top of soppressata, then layer on the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and top with pepperoni (if using).
7. Bake for 10 more minutes.

huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros is one of my favorite hangover breakfasts (or let's be honest, lunch).  Loaded with protein, good fats, fiber and some carbs, it fills me up without weighing me down toooo much.  I’m considering replacing the fried eggs with poached eggs next time, just to make it a little lighter.

This was actually my first time making huevos rancheros, and it came out great!  I’m sure my recipe could use some tweaks, and I will tweak as I make it more, but my first time it came out so good that I just had to share!  Depending on who’s eating, this can make up to 4 servings.  I was a little ambitious thinking I would finish two loaded tortillas.

Makes 2 servings

For salsa ranchera:

  •  1 (28 oz.) can of tomatoes (I used Glen Muir Fire Roasted)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion or shallot (I used half a shallot)
  • 2 chilies (jalapenos or serranos) 
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • ½ tsp fresh pepper
  • Salt to taste

For huevos rancheros:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup refried beans (canned or homemade)
  • Avocado, sour cream, salsa optional for sides,  Queso fresco or your favorite cheese on top

To roast jalapenos: 
Place jalapenos right on the open medium flame turning with tongs as it is charred (black and wrinkly).  This should take about 5 minutes.  You can immediately place into a closed paper bag or put an upside down bowl on top to steam while preparing other ingredients.  Or, just scrape off the char with a knife.  If you don’t like too much heat, scrape out seeds (and wear gloves).

To make the salsa ranchera:
Saute onion in oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until tender and almost translucent.  Add in garlic and cook for one more minute. Put tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers and cilantro into blender or food processor and blend until it reaches your desired thickness.  If you want it chunky, roughly chop jalapeno, cilantro, before adding them, then just pulse a few times.  Once all ingredients are combined, throw the salsa into the pan and add spices.  Cook for a few minutes to let flavors meld.  Simmer while cooking eggs.

Assembly:
There are lots of different ways you can assemble, but here’s my favorite.  I spread the refried beans on the tortilla, place the egg on top of the beans, then pour salsa ranchera all over the egg (leaving the yolk visible, if possible), then sprinkle a little queso fresco (or whatever cheese you have on hand) on top.

pi day brown butter apple pie

pi day brown butter apple pie

In high school, math was one of my favorite subjects.  I loved the finality of finding the solution to a math problem.  To this day, math and analytical thinking are basically my entire job.  This is why pi day is so near and dear to my heart.  Well, that and the fact that I get to make delicious pies and claim it's in the name of nerdiness instead of just pure gluttony.  

lemon lime pound cake

lemon lime pound cake

The jubilee bundt pan is absolutely a marvel of bakeware.  It makes for one of the most stunning, crowd pleasing cakes I've ever made.  It's geometric design makes it pretty confusing to most people.  A few of my friends asked me how I shaped such a unique cake, they didn't understand that it's as simple as a cool pan.  When I got it, I looked up bundt pan recipes just to make beautiful cakes. 

brown butter toffee nut blondies

brown butter toffee nut blondies

Although I like to pretend that I'm not a chocolate person, I really really enjoy a good brownie.  I never really thought I'd be the kind of girl who would love a blondie.  Brownies are so rich and thick and chocolate-y, I always assumed blondies were just brownies' overly sweet, vanilla counterpart.  Boy was I wrong.  I mean, that's really what a blondie is if you don't put in any work.  The brown butter in this recipe gives this blondie a perfectly complex flavor, while still staying true to the blondie name.  Below is the brown butter toffee recipe that that I used, it is from Martha Stewart's website!