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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Well here it is! Mega Breakfast II. The menu:
Scrambled Eggs
Sausage Patties
Sausage Links
Baked Grits
Hashbrown Casserole
Sausage Gravy
Chocolate Chip Pancakes

This is us about to devour this massive amont of food. Look how happy and smiley everyone is....before we all began to hurt! The guy in the green is my hubs, Christopher. Then my BFF Kathryn and her husband Eric. Christopher said he loved the sausage gravy the most. Kathryn and Eric, for the most part, will eat anything!

This is the rest of my crew. Allison, part of my BFF crew and that's her husband Brett. All the way in the back is Matthew, Allison's brother. The three of them live next door to us. Matthew is a griller and I'm slowly, but surely, getting better at manin' the grill. Matthew lets me grill sometimes. Brett has been home for a year now, but he was stationed over in Afganistan (I think) so Allison would come over and be my tester. Matthew is awesome to cook for because he very delicately critizes, but also tells me what he thinks would correct it or make it better....but when he tells me it's great, I believe him. My husband is less constructive, but he tries. I still love him!

So, here is my plate, pretty full eh? It was soo delicious! I haven't made sausage gravy in yeeaarrss, but it turned out great. In fact, I'm about to go heat up the left overs and eat them for breakfast right now. I think I'll take a break and do that.

So I did it all in about an hour and a half. I got up at 7:30 (but I spent about 45 minutes cleaning my house!) Here's the process, recipes to follow...that is if Allison will ever give me the receipe for the chocolate chip pancakes! She makes great pancakes so I outsource those! Everything else I made.

Preheat oven to 375 and line your biggest sheet pan w/ bacon. They can over lap a little, but try to have them as flat as possible (I had to do 2 pans....lots of bacon!) Throw it in the oven and forget about it for about 1/2 hour or so. Actually, don't forget about it- Keep checking it because I over crisp'ed the first batch.

Start the water for the grits and bring to a boil. Meanwhile start the hashbrown casserole. I left the hashbrowns out in the fridge so they would cook faster, assemble the hashbrown casserole and set aside. Grits should be done now, finish assembling that and set aside.

You should be taking out the second set of bacon about now. Turn the oven down to 350 and throw both in the oven. Now take a quick break (I unloaded the dishwasher, but its your break do what you want!)

The two casseroles take about 45 minutes so I made sure they got in the oven by 9:45. Now all you have left is the meats, gravy, biscuits and eggs. Now start your sausage gravy. While I was making that I was going to make real biscuits, but my friends insisted that we just open a can (I know, they're a little lame sometimes) So we opted for canned biscuits (don't tell any one!) Start the other 2 sausages in a pan, they finish about the same time. Pop the biscuits in the oven and make your eggs. That was my process and it all came together right about 10am. So I supposed you want recipes...

Hashbrown Casserole:

1 bag frozen hash browns (leave um in the fridge over night)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2-3/4 cup of sour cream
1 1/2 cups of cheese
2/3 cup of cooked diced ham
garlic powder
onion powder
1-1/2 TBS of hidden valley ranch (they make a big canister now of the packets, I put it on everything!)
salt and peppa!

I browned the ham in a skillet for a few minutes. In a bowl mix potatoes and spices.
Add soup cheese (save about 1/2 cup), and sour cream.
Throw in the ham and mix well. Fits nicely in a 13x9 in pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes

******This was the favorite.

Sausage Gravy
This is soooo ridiculasly easy!

1 tube of Jimmy Dean sage sauage
4 TBS of flour
3-4 cups of milk

Brown sausage and break apart. We like small pieces of sausage, but if you like it big then go for the big (thats what she said!)
Once it's brown sprinkle, one at at time, a tbs of flour and stir. Make sure the flour is cooked long enough to brown, don't burn it, but cook it for a bit so it doesn't taste like flour!
Add milk slowly and whisk into the sausage/flour pastey stuff. I used 3 cups of milk, but it was really really think. I'd probably go for the 4th cup next time...but thats just me. Let it simmer while you make the eggs.

***close 2nd, but not the favorite.

I love NYC, baby!

 My cousin, Melody, lives in the NYC area and we go stay with her to visit and add to the tourism of that fine city.  Melody, owns her own business and normally isn't able to spend much time with us.  When I grow up, I wanna be like her.  She's a bad ass who doesn't take shit from anyone, but has such a caring side.  She's truly a wonderful person. 

Anyways, we have been there a few times so we did some different things we haven't had the extra time to do.  We were there the first week of December, I know....I'm way behind. 

The food in NYC is unbelievable.  We went to Chelsea Market, which for a foodie, is like Disney World. 

We wanted to sit down for lunch so we stumbled into this restaurant, Old Homestead, I think was the name of it.  It was a high end type place, which we didn't know.  She asked for the name my reservation was under.....uh, well I'm here.

 I had this beast of a burger.
It was delicious, don't get me wrong, but when you see what my Husband had, you will realize I was cheated. 

Christopher had this little stack here.  I know you think that the filet is really small, but the shrimp is really THAT big.  The bottom is a potato cake, topped w a filet and then topped with the biggest shrimp I have ever seen!  It was as big as a baby's arm!  He ate it with a knife and fork, true story!
This is me in Melody's condo in Hoboken, NJ.  I did my hair, it's rare, but it does happen. 

We took a cooking class in Manhattan at Sur La Table.  It was remedial, but we had a great time, nonetheless.  Christopher can't make a pop tart, so it was perfect for him.  We were paired with another couple to help prep and take turns at the stove.  This is Christopher, cooking us up some scallops.  He did a fabulous job, as they were amazing! 

He was not too sure about what to do, he kept look at me asking if he needed to flip them yet. 
He was zesting a lemon and stopped for a pose.  This is too easy! 
It was my turn, I made the sauce for the scallops.  We had a really good time.  The instructors did a good job helping us. 
The finished product.  We made green beans with a vinaigrette, seared scallops with a finishing sauce, baked salmon with garbanzo beans and tomatoes. 

We would do it again! 

Well hello!

This is the potato soup I made, it wasn't anything special, but I took a picture and thought you should see it.  I need to play w the recipe a little before it goes live!

This is my Cheesy Chicken and Corn Chowder.  It was better than the potato soup, but still not a winner.  I feel like it needs a little recognition, as I ate it for 2 days.  Good, not great.  I'll get back to you on this one.

On a side note, I had a total "me" day and it was wonderful.  My hubs was working and everyone had things going on.  I needed a day.  I ate lunch at one of my favorite Thai restaurants and then headed over to Riverside to hit a few antique stores.  Riverside, for those of you who don't live here, has a lot of character.  Old, beautiful, historical homes, parks, trendy stores, cool restaurants.  There is a Starbucks and a Wendy's that is totally out of place, but whatever.  I went shopping for hours and hours in these 2 little antique stores.  I had such a great time.  After, I grabbed a drink and some frozen yogurt and sat by the river in Memorial Park.  I met the cutest little Dalmatian puppy, named Noah.  He was such a doll and wanted to play so badly.  His owner, couldn't pick him out of a line up, nor do I remember his name.  But Noah, I remember him.   There's me, post yogurt!
That's the sun behind me, I'm not really an angel!

Creamy Chicken and Rice

I just sort of threw this together one night as a quick dinner.  The chicken was very tender and moist and my husband really liked it.  He's a bit of a tough critic.  I am guessing at the measurements.  

4 BLSL chicken breasts
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 TBS olive oil

The Sauce:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup of sour cream
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2-3 TBS chicken broth

Heat 2 TBS of olive oil in a pan on high heat.  Meanwhile, pat chicken dry and season with cayenne, garlic, salt and pepper.  I go generous with the cayenne, we like spicy!  Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, except the chicken broth and mustard.

Lay chicken pretty side down in the hot oil and fry until the sides start to turn white, then flip and repeat.  It probably took 3-4 mins per side.  They don't have to be done, just very brown.  Not burnt, there's a difference.

Remove chicken and set aside for a hot minute.  Add chicken broth.  I added just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan.  It should sizzle a bit, scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan, reduce heat to low and add sauce mixture.  Stir to combine with the chicken broth, add the mustard.  Can you add the mustard in the big bowl w the other stuff?  I don't know, maybe, but I didn't.  Add your chicken back to the pan, put a lid on it and let'er go for about 15-20 minutes to finish cooking.  Grab a glass of wine, make some bread, yell at  your husband, do what you want.  This is your 15-20 minutes. 

Serve over rice, you could do pasta if that tickles your fancy. I forgot to make bread, but he didn't even notice. 

Next time, I think I might add some mushrooms or peas.   

Chicken Enchilada Soup

This was amazing.  I am a genius!  Just kidding, but seriously!

2 TBS olive oil
4 BLSL chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 sausage links (cut into small pieces, I use Johnsonville New Orleans)
1/4 cup of yellow onion, minced
1 1/2 TSB garlic powder (I didn't have fresh)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp parsley'1/2 tsp cayenne
Sprinkle of crushed red pepper (I used a healthy sprinkle)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 c masa flour
8 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
3/4 cup of enchilada sauce
salt and pepper to taste

in a dutch oven, cook sausage util browned, set aside.  Add 1 TSB of olive oil, add chicken and cook until no longer pink, set aside. 
Heat another TSB of olive oil and sauté onion over medium heat until cooked to hell and almost not there.
Add chicken broth and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. 
combine masa with 1 cup of water, whisky to combine.  Add to broth.
Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, chicken and sausage and remaining spices, bring to a boil.
Add cheese about 20 minutes prior to serving.
Garnish with with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips and sour cream. 

My husband told me this was the best soup ever.  That the soup man (from Seinfeld) would want the recipe.  I thought it was delicious, maybe not Soup Man quality, but it was good.  I should know, it made a giant pot and I ate it for days.  The hubs, who hates left overs, ate it again, too.