Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

Blueberry Muffins

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins have always been one of my favorite breakfast foods, but like many other things, I’m particular about these, too.  I don’t need anything fancy, and I think that having a streusel top is just extra calories to get between me and the blueberries.  For me, there is no such thing as too many blueberries, so I cram as many into the batter as I can.  In fact, it looks pretty much like blueberries just glued together. Then, I throw a few more blueberries on top after spooning the batter into the muffin cups.  Every bite should be full of blueberries, and if you take this approach, it will be.

If you do like a crumble topping, you can add that on.  Just mix a little softened butter with some brown sugar, and put it on top just before putting the pan into the oven.

Blueberry Muffin

Blueberry Muffins Recipe  Makes 12 large muffins.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 1/2 cups blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in large bowl.
  3. Combine buttermilk, oil, and egg in small bowl.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and very gently combine. Having a few lumps and streaks of unmixed flour is ok.
  5. Gently fold in blueberries.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups or muffin pan.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan for five minutes.  Then move muffins to cooling rack and allow to cool for an additional five minutes.  Serve warm.

Cheese Potato Casserole

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Cheese Potato Casserole

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.  I have served this to many people, both kids and adults.  It is a standby for an easy side, a last minute dish to take to work parties, a barbecue, or a potluck.  There is never a bite left.  People rave over it.  One avid cook/eater even declared this “the best hash-browns I have ever eaten.”

Cheese Potato Casserole

It is hard to go wrong with cheese and potatoes, especially when the recipe is basically throw a few ingredients in a dish and bake.  The beauty of this dish is that it is customizable.  I have made many variations including adding ham or bacon, but my favorite is to add mushrooms.  Just sauté a few with the onions and this can be a one-dish meal.  AND, this can be served as any meal or part of a meal.  Breakfast?  Yes.  Lunch?  It is great to take to work and just re-heat in the microwave.  Dinner?  As is, this makes a great side, especially with barbecue, but if you throw in some mushrooms, ham, or bacon there is no reason this can be the entrée.

Cheese Potato Casserole

Cheese Potato Casserole Recipe  Makes 5-6 servings

adapted from my mom’s family cookbook Secret Ingredients

1 lb frozen hash-brown shredded potatoes
1 C sour cream
3 T butter
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 small onion, diced

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sauté  onion in butter over medium heat.  Then combine onions with hash-browns in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine cheddar cheese and sour cream.  Fold mixture into hash-browns.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Garnish with paprika.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

We had a baby!  More accurately, my brother and sister-in-law had a baby, but why get caught up in the details.  Madelyn was born January 17th, a whopping 8 lbs 3.9 ounces, but she looks so tiny compared to the pictures of her sister as a newborn, who was over 10 lbs at birth.


We knew Madelyn was coming that Monday, and I couldn’t wait to meet her.  How was I to pass the time in the morning before I could visit her in the hospital in the afternoon?  I knew I had to cook something.  I had a hankering for scones, I had some fresh lemons, so lemon scones it was.

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

Just as we sat at the table to eat them, it occurred to me that this was only the second time I had made lemon scones, the first being for the baby shower last month.  Coincidence, or does little Maddie just scream lemons somehow?

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze Recipe  Makes 8 scones

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps.
  4. Stir in all the lemon zest and the juice of 1 1/2 lemons.
  5. Stir in heavy cream.
  6. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball.
  7. Shape and press the dough into an approximately 8″ circle, like a pizza.  Then cut into eight wedges.
  8. Place wedges on ungreased cookie sheet and bake until tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes before eating.
  10. Combine powdered sugar and juice from 1/2 lemon to make glaze.
  11. Drizzle scones with lemon glaze.

Zucchini Bread

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Zucchini Bread

The weather outside may be frightful, but the zucchini bread is so delightful.  Zucchini bread is great anytime, and I’ve never met a person who didn’t love it.  I like to serve a nice warm loaf to guests for breakfast. The leftovers, if you have any, are great for snack or dessert.

I felt inspired on Christmas to head out to Nashville’s Room in the Inn to volunteer to serve and celebrate with the homeless.  I decided against it, thinking that many others had the same idea and wouldn’t it be better to wait a week or so until the holidays are over and there isn’t a storm of volunteers.  So today, I made zucchini bread, miniature loaves to warm the souls of the homeless who surely would benefit to ending the old year and starting the new year with a little homemade treat.  I hope that sometime in 2011 that you will do the same.

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread Recipe  Makes 1 loaf, or 7 miniature loaves

3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9 X 5 loaf pan.
  2. In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the sugar.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy.
  4. Mix oil and sugar into the eggs.
  5. Mix zucchini and vanilla extract into the egg mixture.
  6. Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture.
  7. Pour batter into pan and bake about 1 hour, until toothpick comes out clean.

Frozen Mocha Shake

Monday, September 27th, 2010


Why does it still feel like July in late September?  Living in the South in the summer has become all but unbearable.  If not for the fabulous straight-from-the-garden summer vegetables, I would seriously have no need for the season.  Could we just get to fall already?  Please, do what you can to reverse global warming because I just can’t see myself fleeing the South in search of cooler ground.  And in the meantime, cool off with a frozen mocha shake.


I don’t know how people drink coffee in the summer.  Yeah, I know, they say it makes them sweat, which cools them off.  But seriously, I’m sweating already.  Please nothing hot for me.  Frozen mocha shake?  Yes, thank you.  Breakfast?  Dessert?  Both.  Life is too short to only have dessert after dinner.  I’m usually too full for dessert anyway.  So why not jump-start the day with one of these cool babies.  Chocolate, coffee, ice cream.  Delightful.  It just might make your Southern summer bearable.

Frozen Mocha Shake Recipe

4 scoops chocolate ice cream
2 cups hazelnut flavored coffee
1 tablespoon sugar
dash of vanilla extract
chocolate shavings

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
  • Pour into glass and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings
  • *Mint variation–Use mint chocolate chip ice cream, a dash of mint flavoring, then top with whipped cream, and Andes mint shavings.

    Mushroom Crêpe Cake

    Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

    Mushroom Crêpe Cake

    The flavor of mushroom soup without the liquid.  The decadence of cake without the sugar.  Similar to quiche but without the eggs.  Yes, sounds crazy, but you’ll know what I mean once you try it.

    This one is good any time for any meal, main dish or side dish.  The first time I made it, I served it at a brunch party.  The second time was for dinner.  And it is great for guests.  It cooks up so pretty and fancy looking, but there is nothing hard about it.  The most time-consuming part is slicing a pound of mushrooms, which is really no big deal.

    Mushroom Crêpe Cake

    You may be tempted to be lazy and use store-bought crêpes, but there is really no reason to because these are really easy, and making them from scratch makes the whole dish more rewarding, and others will be more impressed.  I had never even made crêpes before trying this recipe, and I’m glad I didn’t go with my initial thought to skip the step and use pre-made.

    If you like mushrooms, you will love this.  And if you’re like me, it will become your new favorite staple.

    Mushroom Crêpe Cake

    Mushroom Crêpe Cake Recipe  Makes 6 to 8 servings

    adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s adaptation of Alton Brown’s recipe

    1 cup yellow onion, diced
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 pound baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1 teaspoon flour
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
    1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded

    1. In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt one tablespoon of butter and begin to cook the onion so that it sweats.
    2. Turn the heat to medium-high, add all of the mushrooms and remaining two tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until mushrooms are soft.
    3. Stir in the flour, then drizzle in the milk while you stir. Reduce the liquid in the pan by half. Add the mozzarella and let it melt. Immediately take filling off the heat.
    4. Layer two crêpes on a buttered sheet pan. Spread a thin layer of the filling onto the crêpe. Top with another crêpe and spread more filling. Repeat this process until you are out of filling.
    5. Top with a final crêpe and sprinkle on the Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Put under broiler until cheese melts.

    Savory Crêpes:
    2 large eggs
    3/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup flour
    3 tablespoons butter, melted
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Butter, for coating the pan

    1. Mix the flour and salt.
    2. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk, water, and butter.
    3. Slowly whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients.
    4. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for one hour, or up to 48 hours.
    5. Heat a small non-stick pan. Add a tiny amount of butter to barely coat. Pour a couple tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds.  (The first one is always a dud, so trash it. Sometimes the second too.)   Lay the crêpe flat on a large cutting board to the cutting board to cool; continue cooking until all of the batter is gone.

    Do ahead: Crêpe batter can be made up to two days in advance, stored in the fridge. Cooked, cooled and well-wrapped, crêpes can be stored for several days in the fridge or up to two months in the freezer. Frozen crêpes can be thawed on a rack; gently peel them as you need. Filling can be made a day in advance; reheat slowly, over a low flame.

    Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

    Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

    Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

    Perhaps you heard that Nashville flooded.  No?  News to you?  Well, that’s because the city didn’t get the media attention it rightly deserved, but it was a real disaster.  We’ve been in a state of emergency, people lost their homes, some people lost their lives, and infrastructure was destroyed, not to mention the devastation to the country music scene in loss of instruments and gear.  Nashvillians don’t have flood insurance, and a lot of people are desperate for help, so please consider contributing what you can.

    That is exactly why I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks.  I’ve been dealing with my own flood damage and cleanup, which I can assure you is something you’d be happy never to have to do.  One of the water treatment plants was flooded, so Nashville has been on restricted water use, which means no fun cooking for me, not that I’ve had time for it.

    Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

    It’s been a long, wet couple of weeks, and I have really wanted to make a nice treat to take our minds off the water.  Something refreshing and spring-y.  This lemon poppy seed bread did the trick.  I started with a recipe from The Joy of Baking and kicked it up a bit, using extra lemon zest for more intense flavor, adding almond extract for more complex flavor, and substituting buttermilk for regular milk for a lighter texture.  I also changed up the lemon syrup a bit, adding some almond there, too, and using powdered sugar instead of granulated.  I was more than happy with the results.  I think you will be, too.

    Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

    Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Recipe  Makes 1 loaf.

    adapted from The Joy of Baking

    3 large eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon almond extract
    1/4 cup buttermilk
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
    3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    lemon zest of 2 lemons
    3 tablespoons poppy seeds
    13 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    2 teaspoons almond extract

    Lemon Syrup
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon almond extract
    1/3 cup powdered sugar

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Spray the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
    2. Whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and buttermilk.
    3. With a mixer, beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds until combined. Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about one minute. (This aerates and develops the cake’s structure.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating about 30 seconds after each addition. (This will strengthen the structure of the batter.)
    4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You may have to cover the bread with foil after about 30 minutes if you find the bread over-browning.

    Meanwhile, make lemon syrup.

    1. Combine sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract.

    Add syrup to warm bread.

    1. When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with about half the hot lemon syrup.
    2. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 10 minutes then invert onto a greased wire rack. Brush the remaining syrup onto the bottom and the sides of the loaf.
    3. Re-invert the bread so it is right side up and then cool the bread completely before wrapping.

    Cinnamon Rolls

    Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

    Cinnamon Rolls

    What breakfast could possible be more special than homemade cinnamon rolls?  I can’t think of one, partly because these are so good and partly because they should only be enjoyed on rare occasions, which is no problem once you realize the investment of time (about three hours) required for these little babies.  Yep, you read correctly, three hours!

    Cinnamon Rolls

    But most of that time you aren’t actually working, just sitting around waiting on the dough to rise, and I discovered that you can do most of the work and waiting the night before, and just pop them in the oven in the morning. Otherwise I would never have made these–I don’t care if the pope is coming over, I will not get up three hours early to make breakfast (even if I were Catholic).

    Cinnamon Rolls

    Another up side is that these freeze beautifully.  I baked half of them and saved the other half in the freezer for a couple of weeks, and they still tasted just as good.  So, do the work once, and you get the pleasure twice.  And if I still haven’t convinced you that you really should try these, then take another look and imagine that these could be yours, um, in a few hours.

    Cinnamon Rolls

    Cinnamon Rolls Recipe  Makes 18 cinnamon rolls

    adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s adaptation of Bon Appétit

    1 cup milk
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 large egg
    2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise or instant yeast (from 1 envelope yeast)
    1 teaspoon salt
    Nonstick vegetable oil spray

    3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    Pinch of salt

    4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Make dough first:

    1. Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, about 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
    2. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.
    3. Add additional 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl.
    4. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl.
    5. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. (You may also use a KitchenAid’s dough hook for this process.) Form into ball.
    6. Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel.
    7. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

    Make filling while dough rises:

    1. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt in medium bowl.

    Once dough has risen:

    1. Press down dough. Transfer to floured work surface.
    2. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture evenly over butter.
    3. Starting at the longer side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up.
    4. With seam side down, trim ends straight if they are uneven.  Cut remaining dough crosswise with thin sharp knife (I used a bread knife) into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).
    5. Spray two 8 or 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel.
    6. Let dough rise in refrigerator over night, or in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

    Make glaze in the meantime and bake:

    1. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth.
    2. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes.
    3. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up and glaze.

    Ginger Scones

    Sunday, February 14th, 2010

    Don’t you love those dry, crumbly scones that lack flavor and are hard as a rock?  Me neither, yet that seems to be the status quo.  I had pretty much decided that scones were one of those boring foods that the Brits ate, but I couldn’t really figure out why.  So it isn’t too surprising that I was not particularly excited about my friend Jay offering to bake me some ginger scones, even though I knew he was a great baker.  I thought scones were just one of those foods on which we’d have to agree to disagree.  I began to doubt myself when I smelled the wonders emanating from his oven, but it wasn’t until I took a bite of this delicacy sent from heaven via Jay that I converted and begged him for the recipe.  He probably didn’t realize at the time that I would hand over just about anything to get my hands on that recipe, or if he were anything like me, he would have taken advantage of my new found love.  Fortunately for me, Jay is as wonderful as these scones, so he gladly shared the recipe.

    Ginger Scones Recipe  Makes 8 scones

    adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

    2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
    1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
    1 cup heavy cream

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
    3. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps.
    4. Stir in ginger.
    5. Stir in heavy cream.
    6. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball.
    7. Shape and press the dough into an approximately 8″ circle, like a pizza.  Then cut into eight wedges.
    8. Place wedges on ungreased cookie sheet and bake until tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
    9. Cool for 10 minutes before eating.