It is Time for BRINNER!

“Brinner”,¬†Breakfast-For-Dinner, or¬†BFD is a fun option for last-minute dinner change-up and it is also very economical.

Sweet, savory, or both, Brinner options are simple, nutritious, and filling. Many recipes can be altered based on what you have available in your fridge and pantry: Just swap meat, veggies, fruit, cheeses, and herbs to make it work for you.

Eggs are one of the staples in my home kitchen pantry.

Baked Eggs with Italian Sausage and Two Kinds of Potatoes Hash Browns

Makes 4-6 servings

Baked Eggs with an Italian Sausage and 2 Potatoes Hash Browns

Baked Eggs with an Italian Sausage and 2 Potatoes Hash Browns

Ingredients

Pan Fried Sweet Potatoes

Pan Fried Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 2 Sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 of Sweet Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 pkg. of Sweet Italian sausage, ground
  • 1/2 cubanelle pepper, finely chopped
  • chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of baby parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tomato, concass√©¬†*
  • 4-6 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Frank’s Red Hot¬†¬ģ for dipping

Tip: I used one large cast iron pot for this recipe. 

In a hot cast iron skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and diced sweet potatoes. Let cook for about 5 minutes until slightly browned. Add onions and cook for an additional 4 minutes till soft. Add pinches of salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 or so minutes until potatoes are soft.

Remove sweet potatoes from pan and set aside, now cook the Yukon gold in the same manner.

Remove and set aside.

Wipe out the hot pan with a paper towel, and add the ground italian sausage. Cook until the sausage is browned and then add the finely chopped cubanelle peppers. Return the 2 potato hash browns to the pan. 

Using the back of a spoon, make wells (slight depressions) for the eggs in the hash browns. Crack an egg into each well, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of each egg. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for approximately 6 minutes until the whites are firm and the yolks are still runny.

Sprinkle with more cheese, chives and dice tomato concass√©¬†and¬†serve immediately with Frank’s Red Hot¬†¬ģ¬†for dipping.

Baked Eggs with Italian Sausage and Hash Browns

Baked Eggs with Italian Sausage and Hash Browns

*Tomato concass√© (pronounced “conk-a-SAY”) refers to tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded and roughly chopped. I skipped the peeling step and just seeded and chopped the tomatoes.

 

 

 

Let’s Cook Chicken in Milk! Really?

As I spent the weekend browsing through the food blogs and Instagram accounts that I follow, I came across the mention of Jamie Oliver’s infamous recipe for “Chicken in Milk” as the best chicken dish they had ever tasted.

Chicken cooked in Milk!? Really?

When you look at the components of the recipe it is quite a peculiar combination. Lemons, cinnamon, sage and milk.

OK Lets do this….

Chicken in Milk Recipe

Prep: approx. 15 min
Cook: 1 hr 40 min

Adapted from Chicken in Milk | Chicken Recipes | Jamie Oliver Recipes
Chicken in Milk served with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach

Chicken in Milk served with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach

Ingredients

Assembling the ingredients

Assembling the ingredients

  • 1 (3 pound/ 1.5 kilogram) whole chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of ¬†butter or 4 tbsp of EV olive oil
  • 1/2 of chopped Sweet Vidalia onion
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 good handful fresh sage, leaves picked
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 10+ garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 1/2 cups of skim milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and find a snug-fitting covered pot for the chicken. (I used my Oval French Oven | Le Creuset Canada )

Season the chicken very generously all over with salt and pepper, and fry it in the butter/olive oil, turning it to get an even colour all over, until golden.

The tasty goodness at the bottom of the pan can be used to lightly saute the onions.

Add the remaining ingredients and place your chicken back in the pot, and cook covered in the preheated oven for 1 hour.

Braised Chicken

Braised Chicken

Baste with the cooking juice when you remember. Cook under covered for the last 40 minutes of cooking.

The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, leaving little curds bathed in chicken juices, and not homogenized; this appearance is less appealing. Remove the cinnamon sticks, and used an immersion hand blender to make sauce infused with lemon and balanced with an aromatic flavour from the cinnamon and sage.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it on to your plates. Spoon over plenty of the lemony sauce over the chicken.

Serve with wilted spinach and some mashed potatoes. And a crusty baguette would be great to sop up the delicious sauce.

 

 

 

Chicken in Milk with sauteed Spinach, grilled Asparagus, smashed potatoes in a Lemony Corn Sauce

Chicken in Milk with sauteed Spinach, grilled Asparagus, smashed potatoes in a Lemony Corn Sauce

Tip: Make sure that you season the chicken very generously. Any extra time that you take to brown the chicken on ALL sides will embark more flavour in the end product. Try to achieve a deep golden colour on the skin.

The next time I make this I will also add the juice of 1 lemon for an added kick. ;)

St. Patrick’s Day Lighter Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

One of my favourite shows on daytime TV is “The Chew”. The¬†ABC Daytime‚Äôs lifestyle series ‚ÄúThe Chew”,¬†centres on food¬†related and lifestyle topics. It¬†is a hosted by Mario Batali, one of the most recognized and respected chefs in America today, alongside fellow restaurateur and ‚ÄúIron Chef America‚ÄĚ star Michael Symon, ‚ÄúTop Chef‚ÄĚ alum Carla Hall, entertaining expert Clinton Kelly and health and wellness enthusiast Daphne Oz.¬†

The show consistently inspires me for my daily dinner solutions. On St. Patrick’s Day this year, Mario Batali composed a shepherd’s pie in one pot cast iron skillet with piped mashed potatoes. Brilliant! One pot and cast iron to boot.

A cast iron skillet/pan Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillet – 12 Inch – Consiglio’s Kitchenware and Gift¬†is like the LBD (little black dress) of the kitchen. It is my most used kitchen “gadget”, next to my chef knife.

Since I had all the components for this recipe either in my fridge/freezer, I ventured to make my version. I didn’t have to make the mashed potatoes; sweet or Yukon so dinner came together relatively quick.

Tip: Whenever you make mashed potatoes for large holiday events double the amount, and flat pack the extra/leftovers in Ziploc bags, labeled and freeze. Once thaw the potatoes will be a little watery so add some milk and whip up until the right consistency.

St. Patrick’s Day Lighter Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

¬†Adapted from¬†Shepherd’s Pie Recipe | Michael Symon – The Chew
St. Patrick's Turkey Shepherd's Pie

St. Patrick’s Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

 

Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients:

Browning the ground turkey and vegetables

Browning the ground turkey and vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 pkg. of ground turkey
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2 moons
  • 2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can of beer, any brand preferably full flavoured
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup Peas (fresh or frozen)
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes (peeled)
  • 3 sweet potatoes (peeled)
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • fresh chopped italian parsley
  • 1 cup Olive Oil

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and ground turkey and cook until brown. Add the minced garlic, celery and onions.

Add the carrots, cooking until the vegetables have softened. Deglaze the pan with beer.
Add the flour and cook until the flour has integrated and a wet sand texture. Add the peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sauce comes together and thickens, about 10 minutes.
Simmer for 10 Minutes

Simmer for 10 Minutes

Pipe alternating between mashed sweet potatoes and the mashed potatoes over the top of the filling. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese evenly over the top. Place on a baking pan and transfer to the oven.
Pipe sweet and yukon mashed potatoes on top

Piped Sweet and Yukon Mashed Potatoes on top

Broil for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Let cool and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
Let Cool

Broiled Goodness!

For Both Sweet and Yukon Mashed Potatoes: Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 3 inches. (Cook the 2 kinds of potatoes in separate pots) Bring to a boil and season with salt. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Press the potatoes through a ricer. Whisk in about 1 cup of olive oil. Transfer to a piping bag.

Baked “Fried” Chicken & Pumpkin Cheddar Herbed Waffles with A Maple Gravy

I love my¬†CUISINART CANADA Breakfast Central‚ĄĘ Waffle/Omelette Maker WAF-600C¬† so I was searching for a savoury recipe for waffles that would put it to use. Chicken and waffles is a great southern classic and is a dinner I always wanted to try it on the family. ;)

There are many versions of this classic available on the web. My search began with a chicken that had the attributes of being “fried” but did not involve a molten pot of oil on my stove. ¬†And there are many recipes to cook chicken with a crispy crunchy skin that didn’t involve a deep fryer. But the thought of a Maple Gravy in this recipe that I adapted below had my taste buds curious.

Baked Fried ;) Chicken & Pumpkin Cheddar Herbed Waffles with a Maple Gravy

 Adapted from Oven Fried Chicken & Waffles with Maple Gravy
Baked Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Herbed Cheddar Waffles with Maple Gravy

Baked Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Herbed Cheddar Waffles with Maple Gravy

 

Baked “Fried” Chicken Ingredients:

    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 whole chicken, cut into 6 pieces (breasts, thighs, legs)
    • 1¬†cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup cornmeal
    • 1/2¬†teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
    • Cooking spray

      Battered Chicken Pieces on baking rack

Place chicken and buttermilk in a container, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425¬įF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Place this flour mixture in a paper bag or large sealable plastic bag. Place one piece of chicken in the bag and toss to coat. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken on the prepared rack. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Discard any leftover flour mixture and buttermilk marinade. Lightly coat chicken with cooking spray.

Bake at 425¬įF for 30 minutes; turn the pan and bake 20 minutes longer, or until chicken is brown and crispy. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender.

Pumpkin Cheddar Herbed Waffle Ingredients:

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2¬†tablespoons sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1¬†teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2¬†cups buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
    • chopped fresh chives
    • 2 large eggs
    • Cooking spray, for waffle iron

      Mmmm Waffles

      Mmmm Waffles

Preheat the waffle iron to medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, grated cheddar cheese, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, pumpkin puree, chives and eggs; add the flour mixture, and mix until batter is combined. Do not over mix ‚Äď there should still be some lumps.
Spray preheated waffle iron with cooking spray. Spoon a ladle full of batter approx.1/4 cup into the waffle iron and close the lid. Cook until golden brown about 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low heated oven.

 

Maple Gravy Ingredients:

    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3¬†tablespoons all-purpose flour or Robin Hood¬†¬ģ Easy Blend
    • 1-3/4 cups chicken stock made from bones from chicken carcass
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Make a roux.

Start by melting the 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat.

When the butter melts and turns frothy, stir in the 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. You can use either a wooden spoon or a whisk.

As you continue to stir flour into the butter, you’ll see that a thick paste is forming stir constantly 2-3 minutes until flour turns golden brown. Slowly whisk in heated stock. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly until gravy thickens (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in syrup. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve.

TO ASSEMBLE CHICKEN & WAFFLES: Cut waffles into halves or fourths. Stack waffle sections and top with chicken pieces then drizzle with copious amounts of maple gravy. Garnish with fresh chopped thyme and/or chives, if desired.

Finished dinner

Assembled Chicken and Waffles dinner

 

 

 

 

The Recipe for a Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto garnished with saute cremini mushrooms, toasted pinenuts and finely chopped sage leaves.

Butternut Squash Risotto garnished with saute cremini mushrooms, toasted pinenuts and finely chopped sage leaves.

Risotto is a dish that is easy to prepare and it really is about developing the technique.  The rice is cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and olive oil this is to coat each grain in fat. I added finely chopped fennel or finocchio , garlic and shallots to my soffritto.  Once the onions are translucent and the rice is toasted add a cup or more of white wine to be absorbed by the rice.  You can turned the heat up to a medium high heat and gradually add a couple ladles of very hot stock. I used a low sodium vegetable stock. The process of making risotto is to gradually add the stock in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly. This develops the starch and creates that smooth creamy textured liquid. I account that the completed risotto should be 18-20 minutes.  So in the remaining minutes, I added the roasted butternut squash then it is finished with a finely grated cheese either Parmesan or a Pecorino Romano. I prefer the Romano. Some cooks will add small pats of cubed butter but I feel that if you have cooked the risotto properly you will not need this to create creamy texture. Make sure adjust the flavour with salt and pepper.  The risotto will be rich and creamy but still with some resistance or bite: al dente, and with separate grains.  I garnished my finished Butternut Squash Risotto with saute cremini mushrooms, toasted pinenuts and finely chopped sage.

3 cups of roasted butternut squash, cubed

3 tbsp. of olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1/4 cup of fennel, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely minced

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

7 1/2 – 8 cups of low sodium vegetable stock

1/4 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

season with salt and white pepper

garnish with saute cremini mushrooms, toasted pinenuts and finely chopped sage

Makes approx. 6 servings

Enjoy! :)

Carrot Sweet Potato Apple Muffins from Juicing Pulp

Juicing is a new adventure in my household. It is time-consuming but well worth it. But sooooo much waste. I was thinking of how I could use the excess to incorporate in other recipes. In cooked recipes such as soups, sauces and stews or baked goods such as cakes, muffins breads.

A sweet and pleasantly spicy carrot-sweet potato-apple-ginger juice will leave you with two to three cups of very usable pulp. Since the ingredients used here are relatively sweet, muffins seemed like a good choice for using what was left of the produce after juicing.

Please note that it is not necessary to peel, trim, or core fruits and veggies in order for them to juice properly. But to incorporate into other recipes it ensures that all the pulp is edible and ready to use. And this is a lesson learned as I had to pass my pulp through a food mill in search of apple seeds! ;)

Carrot Sweet Potato Apple Muffins

2 cups carrot/sweet potato/apple/ginger pulp

1¬Ĺ cups flour (all-purpose or whole wheat pastry, or a combination)

¬Ĺ cup of large rolled oatsMuffins

¬ľ cup of ground flax-seed

2 teaspoons baking soda

¬Ĺ teaspoons each of cinnamon and ground nutmeg

¬ľ cup brown sugar

¬Ĺ teaspoon salt

1¬ľ cups milk or rice/soy milk

¬ľ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

chocolate chips (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 400¬įF, and line a 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Combine the flour, oats, ground flax seed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground nutmeg and brown sugar in a large bowl and stir with a whisk or a fork. In a smaller bowl, combine oil, milk and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently combine, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the pulp and chocolate chips, if using.
  • Scoop into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, before removing muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.

The muffins are very moist and satisfying.

 

Pan Roasted Turkey Breast with Sweet Potato and Steamed Baby Spinach

Preheat the oven to 400‚ĄČ.¬†Wash, pierce and roast the sweet potatoes on a foil lined pan in the oven for approx. 45 min.

I seasoned the turkey breast liberally¬†with kosher salt and Rickard Ultimate Chicken Seasoning. My cast iron was smoking hot with a tablespoon of canola oil. Place the turkey breast in the pan. Season the other side of the breast. Be patient before your flip it over, once the breast no longer “sticks” flip it over. Place the pan in a 400 degree oven. The turkey breast I had purchased was very large (no bone or filet attached). I checked and flipped it again at 10-12 minutes. An internal cooking temperature of 165¬†‚ĄČ (74¬†‚ĄÉ). Remember that it will continue to cook as the breast rests.¬†

While the turkey breast is roasting, place washed baby spinach in a large frying pan on high. It is not necessary to add any liquid to the pan for spinach, there is plenty naturally. Steam cover until “almost” cooked and shut off to finish. Don’t over cook.

Rested and Sliced

Once the turkey breast is done and has rested slice and serve with drained buttered spinach and roasted sweet potato.

Pan Roasted Turkey Breast with sweet potato and steamed baby spinach

Pan Roasted Turkey Breast with sweet potato and steamed baby spinach