August 28, 2012

French Toast Bake

Last night while I was getting dinner ready I decided to prep breakfast. I have seen this recipe on Pinterest repinned many times and after going through my saved recipes on my computer, guess what I found!? Yep, a recipe for a French Toast Bake! To make this unplanned breakfast I even had a loaf of day old white bread, granted it was already cut and the slices were thin but it will still do the job.

I prepped everything last night and shoved it covered into the fridge.....morning can't come soon enough.

French Toast Bake

1/2 cup butter or 1 stick
1 cup brown sugar
1 loaf Texas toast (I used about 10 slices of thin cut bread)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk (I used lactose free milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

**powdered sugar for sprinkling after baking**

In a small saucepan melt butter and brown sugar, stir to make sure the butter is melted. After the butter is melted remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile whisk eggs, milk and vanilla extract until incorporated and frothy.
Now pour the butter and brown sugar mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.

**I used a 2 1/2 quart sized Pyrex....but from what I understood out of the original recipe is that this recipe does NOT make enough for a 13x9, you would have to double for that size**

Spread one layer of toast over the sugar mixture and then pour half of the egg mixture on top of the toast. Repeat, you should have two layers of bread and egg mixture over the sugar mixture. Now cover the baking dish and store it in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350F and bake for 35 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle with powered sugar before serving.

My whole family LOVED it!!! My only complaint is that the brown sugar & butter mixture was just a tad bit too sweet for my taste, next time I make this I am going to try it with a little less brown sugar and maybe I will sprinkle a little cinnamon between the bread and egg layers.

August 24, 2012

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Fresh out of the oven
This is my second attempt to make "Mini Corn Dog Muffins". The first batch I made (which I don't have pictures of) were a complete flop. My kids HATED them!! I don't know if it was the cornbread mix from scratch that they didn't like or if it was the hot dogs cut up into itty bitty chunks. Either way it was a no go.

I don't give up that easy though.......

Batch # 2:
-Box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
-Hot Dogs cut into 1" chunks

First thing I have to say about making them this way compared to attempt #1 is that attempt #2 was WAY faster!!!
What did the kids say: "Mom can I have more?" I am pretty sure that means they like them.
I did have to trim a few of my chunks so they would fit.
Before going in the oven

Here is my simple & fast recipe for my winner "Mini Corn Dog Muffins:

1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
5 hot dogs, cut into 1"chunk
1 egg
1/3 cup milk (I used lactose free milk)

Preheat oven to 400F and grease your mini muffin pan.

Whisk together the egg and milk before adding the muffin mix. Stir by hand until the muffin mix is incorporated, batter may be lumpy after stirring.

Spoon 1 teaspoon of the batter into each muffin cup, top with a piece of hotdog and then cover with another teaspoon of batter (did I mention how easy this recipe was?).

Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden. Cool 5 minutes in pan before removing.

Now you can either eat these right away or save them for later. I popped mine in the microwave for about 10 seconds just to warm them up a bit before my kids ate them.

Don't forget to dip them in ketchup or mustard!!!

August 19, 2012

Brats & Peppers

Wow, I can't believe how fast my weekend came and went!! I don't think my schedule was just a tad bit over-scheduled this past cleaning, trying out new recipes, book club, homework and finally getting to go to the pool again (monsoon has made it nearly impossible these last weeks). I finally got to watch the movie The Hunger Games,  I loved the book MUCH better. Don't get me wrong the movie was good but it was missing so much from the book.

The only thing I didn't have time to squeeze in was this post!! But hey better now then never, right?

I want to share a recipe with you that I found while searching for recipes to add to my meal planning. It is such an easy and fast recipe to prep.

Here is the recipe I use:

Brats & Peppers

6 plain bratwurst, sliced (these are not flavored but you could probably use italian sausages too)
2 green bell peppers, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
4 tsp of minced garlic (or 4 cloves minced)
2 cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
1 TBS italian seasoning
2 TBS olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat.

If you are prepping this to freeze for later, divide the mixture into 2 freezer safe ziploc bags or containers. Then to serve just thaw for 30-45 minutes on the counter, this should be enough time to get the mixture out of your bag or container. Then dump into your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

If you are cooking right away, add the mixture to your slow cooker and set on low for 6 hours. If you cook all of the mixture at once you should have leftovers since we make two meals out of this recipe.

We love making this and eating it either with pasta or even just some slices of french bread.

August 18, 2012

Greek Cheese Spread

I love having friends over to chat and snack on yummy foods. Appetizers  & finger foods are always so much to make and try. Appetizers have such a wide range of variety so there are so many different options to try.

This recipe has been my go-to appetizer when I am lacking inspiration (or time) to try something new since every time I have made this I am always left wishing I would have kept half of it hidden away in the fridge for later.

I got this recipe from my time as a Pampered Chef consultant and now that I have lactose free cream cheese to use, I don't just get to serve it to others I get to indulge on it too!!

Layered Cheese Spread

2 packages cream cheese, room temp
1 container crumbled feta cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & juices squeezed out
1 jar of roasted red peppers, drain & dry off with a paper towel
1 TBS italian seasoning
French bread, for serving

Chop the roasted red peppers.
In a bowl mix together the cream cheese, feta and spinach. (Use a spatula to do this)
Then start layering your ingredients.....cream cheese mixture first, press down lightly after scooping half of the mixture into your prepped bowl. Next add a layer of your chopped roasted red peppers and finishing it with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge at least 2 hour before serving. You could also make this the night before.

***For easy clean up, line your bowl that you will be using to shape your spread with plastic wrap. This will not only help with clean up but it will also help with keeping its shape and getting out of your bowl. You can use what ever shape you want big or small, round or square!***

To remove and serve, remove plastic wrap from the top of your spread and put your serving plate to the rim of the bowl. Turn up-side down and remove bowl, your plastic wrap should be sticking to the cheese spread. Slowly pull off plastic wrap to reveal your pyramid of goodness!

Mis-lucked Cake Batter Fudge......

I am kind of disappointed about the turn out of my attempt to make Cake Batter Fudge. I don't make a lot of fudge because it is usually only me that ends up eating it in my house but this past weekend I had some friends over and thought this would be a perfect time to make fudge!

The problem with the attempted fudge wasn't the flavor but the consistency. It never got hard enough for me to cut, it was still soft and sticky even after letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight. So needless to say no fudge was eaten with my friends....good thing they brought over some really yummy desserts to share :-)

Here is the recipe I used....if you give it a try, please do share your results....I did use lactose free milk so that may have been the problem.

1 cup yellow cake mix (dry not prepared for cake baking)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup milk

Combine all the ingredients in a microwave safe dish. DO NOT STIR before putting into the microwave. Microwave for 2 minutes then stir.

Pour into a square pan (this dish/pan should be smaller then a 8x8 to make sure it is thick enough). Then chill for 1 hour before cutting. 

**rainbow sprinkles could be stirred into batter BUT let it cool for a few minutes otherwise the candies will bleed**

August 8, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day especially on the weekends when I get to take my time preparing yummy food but on those mornings where I just have enough time to pour my coffee I need something quick, easy but yet healthy. Some morning cereal will do it but I really have to be in the mood for it, maybe its because I rather have something warm to eat. So I am also on the hunt for breakfast ideas that can be made ahead and reheated without losing their flavor or texture. I usually have a bag of home-made breakfast burritos in the freezer, zap them and they are ready to eat when I get the kids buckled in the car.

I saw this recipe for a pre- baked oatmeal that you can store in the fridge and possibly eat all week and thought....yum...strawberries, chocolate, bananas, walnuts and oatmeal....this better be good!

Doesn't look too bad, huh? This smelled so delish while it was baking in the oven, it even lured my kids out of their rooms asking what I was baking.

I made a few changes to the original recipe....I used lactose free milk, chopped almonds instead of the walnuts and I didn't have regular sized chocolate chips, I only had mini ones.

Baked Oatmeal
serves 6


  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 10-1/2 by 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the nuts, half the strawberries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of strawberries, nuts and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal). In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining strawberries, nuts and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
  4. Bake 35 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the egg mixture has set.

Verdict: DELISH!! After it cooled I covered it and stashed it in the fridge. The past 3 mornings I have reheated a portion in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes (give or take depending on the size). I will definitely be making this time with blueberries & bananas or peaches & white chocolate chips with chopped pecans. YUM I can't wait!!

August 5, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I saw this recipe for Cinnamon Roll Pancakes and thought "why haven't I thought of trying this before"!? Well this morning I did!

VERY important: make sure its a nonstick!! It does say this in the picture above but not why, as you can see in the picture below even though I clearly did not get too close to the edges of the pancake the  butter & sugar mixture still melted off the pancake batter and it turned into caramel pretty fast.......this is where the nonstick is very much needed! Also it WILL stick to your spatula!!

There was a recipe to make your own pancakes from scratch but I decided to make mine from a pancake mix, which works just as good and is a tad bit faster. If you want to avoid the bagged pancake mix, you could premix the dry ingredients for the recipe and then put pre-measured mixture into ziploc baggies with instructions on how to complete these you could save time that way too.

The finished product is not very pretty and they are pretty sticky but don't get me wrong they really do taste like a cinnamon roll. The reason I say they don't look very pretty is because the butter & sugar mixture makes craters in the pancake but this probably is great for that cream cheese frosting. I didn't have cream cheese on hand, so I served them without the frosting but they were good enough without it. Next time I will be making the frosting to get the full effect and sugar buzz!

Verdict: The kids loved them and I will keep this recipe to add to our "special breakfast" days. I almost forgot, they do not reheat well so eat them while they are hot.

UPDATE: We made these pancakes again but this time I didn't make the cinnamon, butter and brown sugar mixture, instead I added cinnamon to the batter and sprinkled brown sugar over the pancake while it was cooking before I flipped them. 
My kids couldn't tell the difference!

cinnamon roll pancakes

Yield: Eight 4-inch pancakes
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 10 min

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil


Prepare the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside (see *Tips below).
Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.
Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it's golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.