Gingerbread Waffles with all the Fixin’s

Gingerbread Waffles

Our Christmas morning brunch consisted of bacon, mimosas and homemade waffles—gingerbread waffles! For me, it really couldn’t get much better than that.

When the big seester brought up waffles for our menu, I quickly suggested a gingerbread spin since the flavors were perfect for the season and well, because I’m obsessed with everything gingerbread.

I turned to good ol’ Martha Stewart as I had read some great feedback on her version of gingerbread waffles. The batter came together quickly and isn’t the least bit fussy. Once we ladled the batter onto the griddle, you could instantly smell the delicious spices mixed with molasses. And because we were going the extra mile for Christmas, we added some awesome fixin’s that went with the crispy, spiced waffles – Grand Marnier whipped cream and a tart cranberry compote. YUM!

These waffles definitely celebrate the flavors of the holiday but are so darn good, I intend to have them year round–particularly since they freeze beautifully. And I’m all about stocking up on my freezer meals.

Have a great weekend, Folks!

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Gingerbread Waffles with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream and Cranberry Compote
Makes approximately 8-10 waffles

Ingredients:

Cranberry Compote:
1 12-ounce bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier Whipped Cream:
2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Waffle Batter (From Martha Stewart)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

Prepare the compote. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir and simmer the ingredients for 20 – 25 minutes until the berries have broken down and the sauce has thickened. Set aside.

Prepare the whipped cream. Using a standing mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment, whip the chilled heavy cream on high until it just holds soft peaks. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar and whisk until you reach stiff peaks. Slowly pour in the Grand Marnier and whip until combined. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Heat the waffle iron.

Prepare the waffle batter. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, butter, milk, sour cream, and molasses in a medium bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and whisk until smooth.

Grease the waffle iron as needed and ladle in the batter. Cook until golden brown and serve with the whipped cream and a dollop of compote.

Easy and Cheesy Breakfast Enchiladas

Breakfast Enchiladas

Y’all may recall how much I sing the praises of breakfast dishes. But when you’re someone who hits the snooze button several times a morning–every morning, spending a lot of time in the kitchen in the AM is the last thing I ever want to do.

So what’s a breakfast lovin’ gal to do?

Easy….

Breakfast Enchiladas

Create recipes that you can make the night before!

Yup. Dishes that can be prepped hours before cooking that are no fuss- no muss but don’t sacrifice on the flavor.

These super easy, super cheesy Breakfast Enchiladas fit the bill. They’re filled with tons of spices, eggs, sausage & cheeses and then rolled up in corn tortillas before being smothered with more enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. At this point, you can either bake the enchiladas or throw them in the fridge overnight.

Breakfast Enchiladas

I often choose the latter option so that when my first alarm goes off in the morning, I can roll out of bed to preheat the oven….and then roll back in until it reaches temp. After a quick snooze, I throw the dish of enchiladas in and bake for about 20 minutes.

Which just so happens to be enough time for another quick snooze session.

Yea–I’ve got issues. But by the time the timer goes off, the enchiladas are ooey-gooey perfect! I dress them with some diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, avocado, salsa and sour cream–Delicioso!

Now if I could only teach my puggle how to make coffee….
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Easy and Cheesy Breakfast Enchiladas
Serves 6- 8

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
½ tablespoon taco seasonings
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ pound breakfast sausage
½ cup diced yellow onion
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt and pepper
15-ounce can enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese
1 scallion, diced
½ cup finely diced tomatoes
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 small avocado, diced or thinly sliced
sour cream and salsa, optional

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, taco seasonings, red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons cilantro.

In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil to medium and add the breakfast sausage. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage and break into small pieces. Cook the sausage until browned and transfer to a plate.

Add the onions, jalapeno and garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the eggs. Continue cooking, gently stirring the eggs with a rubber spatula until the eggs have almost set. Fold in the cooked sausage and cook for an additional minute. Season with additional salt and pepper and remove the skillet from the stove to allow the mixture to slightly cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish with a few spoonfuls of the enchilada sauce. Pour the remaining sauce into a shallow dish. Wrap the tortillas in a kitchen towel and microwave for 30 seconds so that they become more pliable. Dip each tortilla into the dish of enchilada sauce to coat both sides. Place a few spoonfuls of the egg/sausage mixture in the center of each tortilla. Top with shredded cheese and roll the tortilla, securing all the fillings inside. Place the filled tortilla, seam side down into the casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, placing each enchilada snuggly against each other.

Pour the leftover sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has fully melted. Remove from the oven and top the enchiladas with scallions, tomatoes, bell pepper, avocado and the remaining cilantro. Serve warm with salsa and sour cream.

Blame it on the Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

I’ve been a bit behind on posting these past few weeks. Well…you know. I’ve been training for a triathalon, saving baby elephants, walking 150 miles in the snow for groceries, mining crystals for a new lightsaber and baking monkey bread. Oh-and the dog ate my homework.

Alright…that’s not totally true. I only walked 100 miles in the snow. But I think you’ll forgive me if you make this Monkey Bread. Easy and decadently delicious. The recipe isn’t cutting edge or new but it’s definitely one you need to have in your back pocket.

I start off by cutting up canned biscuit dough. Yup, the store bought kind. You can definitely make your own dough but this gal likes to live life on the edge.

Monkey Bread

Then toss the dough into a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.

Shake, shake, shake…..

Monkey Bread

Pile the dough into a greased bundt pan or an angel food pan.

Monkey Bread

Next I melt just a tad of butter and brown sugar together. After the sugar dissolves, I whisk in a few splashes of vanilla extract and a pinch or two of kosher salt.

Monkey Bread

Then I drizzle the caramel-like sauce over the dough and bake it for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Monkey Bread

After the Monkey Bread cools for a bit, carefully invert it onto a plate.

Bada-Bing! Bada-Boom!

The most delish donut/cinnamon roll/breakfast bun magic you’ll ever taste! Super ooey-gooey from the glaze with little crunchy, sugar bits.

Swoon.

Monkey Bread

Forgive me for now? :)

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Monkey Bread

Ingredients:

3 16-ounce cans biscuit dough
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2-3 pinches ground cloves
2-3 pinches ground allspice
cooking spray
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pinches kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut each biscuit into quarters. In a large plastic resealable bag, add in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Seal the bag and gently shake so the ingredients are well mixed.

Open the bag and add the biscuit dough. Seal the bag again and carefully shake until all of the dough has been well covered. *You may need to do this in two separate bags to fit all of the dough.

Spray the inside of a bundt pan or angel food pan with cooking spray. If using an angel food pan, be sure to cover the bottom with aluminum foil. Layer the sugared dough into the pan. Sprinkle any of the remaining sugar mixture from the plastic bag on top of the dough.

In a small sauce pan, melt together the butter and brown sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat. Whisk in the salt and vanilla extract.

Pour the sauce over the dough and gently rap the pan on the counter a few times. Place the pan on a baking sheet (in case the sauce bubbles over) and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the top becomes a deep golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before inverting onto a large plate. Serve immediately.

Breakfast Biscuit Casserole

Breakfast Biscuit Casserole

The last Friday of every month, my team does a gluttonous but delicious Breakfast Potluck.  With 15 people on the team bringing in all types of goodies, you can imagine what kind of extensive spread we have.

Sure, some may think it’s not so productive to gorge ourselves so early in the morning. And yes, I’m usually in a food coma for the better part of the day—but it’s just so darn tasty.

Breakfast Biscuit Casserole

At our last go around, I decided to make an easy but hearty breakfast casserole— a Breakfast Biscuit Casserole to be exact. And you want to know my shortcut? I use a can of ready-to-bake biscuits. Yup, the same type you use in monkey bread—–mmmmm, monkey bread.

Breakfast Biscuit Casserole

The end results in something fluffy, eggy, cheesy and just plain über delish! The prep time is nothing at all and by the time your morning coffee is ready, you’ll have the casserole in the oven.

Easy. Peasy.

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Breakfast Biscuit Casserole
Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ pound breakfast sausage
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
3 eggs
½ cup milk
2 heaping tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
kosher salt
black pepper
1 can ready-to-bake biscuits (1 pound)
cooking spray
1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar
2 scallions, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil to medium and add the breakfast sausage. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage and break into small pieces. Cook the sausage until browned and transfer to a plate. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until just tender. Transfer to the plate with the sausage.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Take each biscuit and cut them into quarters. Grease a 10-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread the biscuit pieces evenly in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Pour the egg mixture over the biscuits and sprinkle the sausage and mushrooms over the top. Top the casserole with the cheese and scallions. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Bacon Egg Cups—Oh Me, Oh My!

Bacon Egg Cups

I absolutely ADORE breakfast foods but I am the grumpiest person in the morning. Which is why brunch is so fantabulous!

Check out my guest post here for our friends at Safest Choice® Eggs where I sing the praises of easy Brunch Entertaining. And the bonus? I share this delicious and no-fuss recipe for Bacon Egg Cups.

Trust me. Your guests will love you.

Happy Brunching!

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

I could eat breakfast all day long. Savory items, sweet items….so many options! And what other meal can you order a dessert for your main entree? (French toast, pancakes and all other types of sweet goodness…)

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

My only problem is that I can rarely eat breakfast first thing in the morning. At most I’ll have coffee or a smoothie because it takes a few hours for my tummy to wake up.

But that is why Brunch is so brilliant!

You get the chance to enjoy all the delish breakfast-like dishes hours after you manage to roll out of bed. And the icing on the cake? It’s totally acceptable to start sipping on cocktails way before noon!

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

At brunches, I tend to gravitate towards any and all types of Eggs Benedict dishes. Rich and decadent hollandaise sauce with an ooey-gooey poached egg—how could you go wrong with that?!

This wonderful offering is a nod to my beloved Eggs Benedict with an attempt to make a slightly figure-friendly version by swapping out the hollandaise for pesto. Now before you start getting all worked up, I realize pesto isn’t totally healthy but it’s a tad lighter than the (mouthwatering) egg yolk and butter laden sauce. The bright herbaceous flavor also helps balance the rich egg yolk. And since I had some great veggies on hand, I thought they would make a wonderful base in lieu of the muffin.

The next time you host brunch, consider making this rustic beauty! It’s quite simple but really is a showstopper that will definitely impress your guests.

And of course, Mimosas are a MUST. Or a Bloody Mary. Or an Irish Coffee. Well…you get my drift.

Happy Friday Friends…and make time for Brunch this weekend!

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Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Arugula Pesto
2 Packed Cups Fresh Arugula Leaves
1/2 Cup Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Vegetable Medley
1 Shallot, finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1 Ripe Avocado, diced
Lemon Juice
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Poached Eggs
1 Teaspoon White Vinegar
2 Fresh Eggs

Prepare the pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and pine nuts. Add arugula, basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

Bring a heavy saucepan that has been filled with a few inches of water to a rolling boil. Add in the vinegar and slightly lower the heat. Crack an egg into a small bowl. Take a spoon and swirl it around quickly in the saucepan to make a whirlpool of the water. Slowly pour the egg into the middle of the whirlpool. The movement of the whirlpool will help the egg form but you can also use a spoon to help it along. After about 3-4 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the other egg. Cover the saucepan and turn the heat down to low to keep the water warm.

In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the shallots and garlic over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and continuing cooking for an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in the avocado and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and a few squeezes of lemon. Toss to incorporate.

To serve, add a few spoonfuls of the vegetable medley to a plate. Using the slotted spoon, dip one of the poached eggs into the hot water to warm the egg and blot dry. Place the egg on top of the vegetables and generously spoon the pesto on top. Repeat with the 2nd dish. Enjoy!