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Granola

February 9, 2014 Leave a comment
Granola

Granola

It’s snowing again as I write this and I though maybe I would write about the weather (again) but I think at this point, if you’re in the states, especially the Midwest, you get it.  So lets just move on.

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I love granola.  Problem is that store bought granola is often loaded with calories.  Even if you buy the healthy versions they typically cost a small fortune.

So I scoured the world wide web to see if I could find a good recipe that would be both economical and waist line friendly. The results were overwhelming.

So what does any experimental cook do?  I experimented by taking bits and pieces from a few recipes I researched.

The first batch I tried was too sweet.  The second was too sticky.  The third was not sweet enough. Finally, after some tweaking I ultimately settled  on the one below and just like Goldilocks, this one was just right.

While the upfront cost is probably more than a box of store bought granola, I was able to make 4 or 5 batches for under $10.  Most of all, I controlled the ingredients making it as healthy as I possibly could.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Rolled Oats (such as Bob’s Red Mill) (do not use quick cooking oats)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts (use any kind – pecans, almonds etc)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (wildflower if possible but any good quality honey will do)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (no Mrs. Butterworth)
  • 1 teaspoon of canola oil
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of dried fruit, chopped (I use blend of cranberries, cherries, blueberries)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (except fruit), mix well.
  3. Add in all wet ingredients and gently stir to combine.
  4. Pour contents of bowl on to a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper (or silicon baking mat)
  5. Bake 15 minutes.
  6. Stir gently with a spatula and bake additional 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle the dried fruit on the cooked oats.
  8. Cool completely and transfer to an airtight container.
  9. Serve with Greek Yogurt and Berries, or milk, or just snack right from the jar.

The best part is you can add anything you want to the granola. Be adventurous.

Granola with Greek Yogurt and Berries

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Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

September 30, 2012 2 comments
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Bacon is everywhere.  Bacon candy, bacon cupcakes, bacon beer…the list goes on.   But what about the other porky breakfast meat?  When does sausage start showing up with regularity on Pinterest?

I’m here to help out by blogging about my favorite way to prepare sausage.  Sausage gravy and biscuits.

I must state, if you’re looking for something low in calories, I suggest you stop reading now.  This ain’t it.  This my friends is full fat on fat, topped pretty much with more fat.

But where there is fat there is flavor.  These have lots of flavor.

Luckily these are filling so one portion should do it.

With just a few simple ingredients, it’s a cinch to put together also.

This presentation is nice when having friends over for breakfast/brunch, but feel free to crumble the cooked sausage and toss it right in with the gravy.  No rules here.

For best flavors, make the sausage mix the night before and cook the following morning. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (plus more for the gravy)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk (you can use 2%, 1% or skim but why)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme (for garnish)
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the pork, sage, garlic salt, red pepper and black pepper.  Cover and refrigerate 4 hours (or overnight).
  2. Once chilled, form the mix in to patties and cook over medium heat until cooked through.
  3. Remove from pan (to plate lined with paper towels) and cover to keep warm.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low.
  5. Using the pan that was used to cook the sausage, add the butter and melt.
  6. Add flour and mix (with a whisk) to begin making a roux, picking up all of the brown bits from the sausage.  Cook 2 minutes.
  7. While stirring, mix in the milk, salt, and a few turns of fresh cracked pepper.
  8. Stir until thick.
  9. Cut open a freshly made biscuit (I used this recipe), top each half with a sausage patty, spoon gravy over each half, top with thyme and serve.

 

Biscuits

Alton Brown’s Biscuits

Cast Iron Potato-Onion Gratin

August 18, 2012 2 comments
Potato Gratin

Potato and Onion Gratin

Work has been absolutely nuts recently.   Because of the craziness, 12-hour days have been the norm and I haven’t really had much time enjoy dinner with my family.

So it was nice to just wake up this morning and ease in to Saturday.  Without plans other than a few errands, I could take my time and make a nice breakfast.

I looked around the kitchen and realized I didn’t have much to go on.  A couple of potatoes, an onion, some cheese and a cast iron skillet.

Sounds like a gratin.

I happen to like the cast iron because it retains heat well, gets food nice and crisp, is oven safe, easy to clean, and makes for a cool presentation.

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, fear not.  This can be made in any skillet you have as long as its oven safe.

I made eggs and toast and breakfast was served.  You could also make it for brunch or even dinner.  Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thin. (Rinsed and dried well)
  • 1 medium vidalia or red onion, sliced medium (keep in rounds)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup Gorgonzola
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Add potatoes to a large bowl, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to combine. Set aside.

Meanwhile, over medium-high heat, melt butter.

Add garlic and saute’ for 30 seconds.

Next, arrange onions in circle around the pan. Cook, without moving for 2 minutes.

Then, layer potatoes in a circular pattern around the pan to slightly overlapping.

You should end up with around 3 layers of potatoes on top of the onions in a circle that covers the entire diameter of the pan.

Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Top with cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until potoates are cooked and crisp (but not potato chip crisp) and cheese is melted and golden brown.

Cut in to wedges.  Serve immediately.

Breakfast

Breakfast – I think I need a new toaster

Belgian Waffle with Blueberry Compote

July 29, 2012 2 comments
Belgian Waffle

Belgian Waffle with Blueberry Compote

Despite my love affair with the grill and all things charred, seared, and smoked, my favorite meal of the day is actually breakfast.  It is the one meal I never skip.  And even though my weekdays start early (I’m in the office most days by 6am) I always make time for breakfast. To me, starting the day right is important and typically sets the tone for my eating habits throughout the day.

My work-day breakfasts are quick hitters: typically cereals, oats, fruit, and yogurts. All of which which can be quite repetitive and boring.

The weekends, well that’s another story altogether.

On a Saturday or Sunday, I like to make big breakfasts.  Pancakes, omelettes, corned beef hash, home fries, biscuits, sausage gravy, and of course, bacon.  Granted, not all at once…….although.

The weekend is all about lots of ingredients and making a mess of the kitchen.  What better way to do that than by breaking out the waffle maker.

Ok, you’re probably thinking “Do I really need to read a blog entry about waffles?”  The short answer is yes!  Because after trying this waffle you will throw all other waffle recipes away.  That is, of course, your waffle is better than this one.  If it is, please share it.

This waffle recipe has just the right crispy exterior, combined with a soft, airy interior.  It has a nice a sweet flavor to it. You can eat it without any toppings and it would be delicious.

Personally, I like to top a good waffle with a blueberry compote.  For those unfamiliar, a compote is nothing more than a fruit cooked in a sugar syrup.  I enjoy blueberry, but any fruit will work using the same recipe.

The next time you’re making waffles, give this a try and let me know what you think.  I promise you’ll love it.  If not, your kids, (or your dogs) will.

Ingredients:

For the Waffles

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1 Stick of butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

For the Blueberry Compote

  • 2 Cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

To make the waffles, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine yolks, butter, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest.  Mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. (Do not over mix)

Cook waffles according to your waffle iron directions.

Serve immediately or place cooked waffles in a oven heated to 225 degrees to keep warm while you make remaining waffles.

Waffle

Hot off the press

To make the compote, add blueberries, water, lemon juice, zest, and sugar to a saucepan.   Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10-12 minutes.

Blueberry Compote

Blueberry Compote

Pour compote over waffle, dust with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

Waffle with a side of bacon

Don’t forget the bacon