Breakfast Casserole

When Amanda was kind enough to come and visit me this summer, I knew we’d have a weekend with plenty of kitchen time, and lots of wine. Since I wasn’t sure how energetic we’d be feeling in the mornings, I wanted to have something easily prepped ahead of time and low maintenance for breakfast just in case all we wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch Netflix.

The beauty of this casserole, which is my go-to dish for any brunch hosting occasion, is in both its potential for customization as well as its ability to be assembled the night previous, minus the egg mixture. Then, even on the groggiest of mornings you can whisk up those eggs and pour over everything else, stick it in the oven and take a nap until the timer buzzes. You will be rewarded with a delicious and low maintenance crowd pleaser!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of shredded cheese (I like to go 4 oz of velveeta and 8 oz of sharp cheddar but you do you)
  • 2 cups frozen homestyle hashbrown potatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 10 oz ground turkey or pork sausage meat
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the seasoned ground meat. Use your spatula to make sure it cooks into sausage crumbles. When fully cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (can be done in advance).
  3. In a 9″x9″ pan, add 8oz of the cheese, potatoes, bell pepper, onion, (cooled) sausage meat, and 1 tsp of salt (you can also add extra pepper if you’d like). Mix all these items together so there is an even distribution. If you do this with your hands, this is where the sausage meat being cool is kind of important.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder together until combined.
  5. Pour egg mixture over your other ingredients in the baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 45-55 minutes until the eggs are set. For browning, remove the foil in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

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Wine pairing: Well, I mean you’re probably eating this before noon right? I’d stick with a mimosa to be “socially acceptable” but again, you do you. Also, stay tuned for Amanda’s Bellini recipe if you’re not feeling the orange juice!

 

 

 

Go-Back-to-Sleep Baked Oatmeal

Merideth and I are both runners, and that means getting back from early morning races having to prioritize going back to sleep or having a nutritious breakfast. This quick prep oatmeal solves both of these problems (eventually). Also handy for, let’s face it, mornings you just want to go back to bed for just a little bit longer.

Like some of our other recipes, this oatmeal is flexible to your preferred ingredients. In this case, I used the blueberries and almonds I had on hand, but granola, walnuts, and/or strawberries (or chocolate chips…) would be good too!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2-3 bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries or raisins
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbs honey or agave
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut

    Instructions

    1. Arrange sliced bananas on bottom of slow cooker. Top with raisins or other preferred fruit.
    2. In separate bowl, combine oats, nuts (if using), cinnamon, and salt. Add milk, honey and vanilla and stir.
    3. Pour oatmeal mixture over bananas. Top with any remaining ingredients and coconut.
    4. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, or until oatmeal is cooked through.

    Wine Pairing: Mimosas, of course!

    Vindaloo Spiced Breakfast Tacos

    As you know, Amanda and I recently took a little run-cation to Nashville where we enjoyed the best experiences the city had to offer and of course the best food. I quite enjoy researching a new town and seeing what restaurant I would be sorry to miss while visiting. When I came across the Chauhan Ale & Masala House in my research I knew I was in love. If you’ve seen these posts, you definitely know that we both have a favorite place in our hearts for both Indian cuisine as well as brunch, and this place does….BOTH!? I had to go. Not even realizing this restaurant is co-owned by the James Beard Award winner Maneet Chauhan, we made our reservation as soon as we could for a nice, lazy Sunday brunch to help our legs heal from the beating the previous morning. While choosing just one thing from the menu was difficult, I chose the Breakfast Parantha Taco and it was absolutely wonderful. It was a flaky Malaysian paratha flatbread with vindaloo sausage, scrambled eggs, provel cheese, kachumber and mango-mint chutney. My only regret is that I could not enjoy more dishes from this restaurant but I knew I wanted to take this idea of a dish home with me.

    Paratha/Parantha is an Indian flatbread that does seem some variation across regions. I did make my own for this recipe since I like to go as little store-bought as possible for these posts at least in initial tests. I used a recipe from my favorite cookbook, Hot Bread Kitchen (check them out–they’re pretty cool), and let me tell you–these were unbelievably delicious. However, making them involved a lot of brushing with butter (see previous sentence about deliciousness), folding, rolling, and more brushing, then folding, rolling, then brushing, then cooking–it was a lot. I was pretty exhausted when i finished the batch. So, if you’re a flatbread expert, have at it (I mean, I don’t regret the results)! Otherwise, grab some tortillas.

    You’ll notice I did not make my own mango-mint chutney but I have included recipes below for Kachumber (which is delicious on its own) as well as an Indian spiced sausage, which I found to be the real star. Now, there are scrambled eggs involved with this one but I have not included a recipe. While I prefer my scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay style, not everyone does (much to my embarrassment when I tried to make Amanda these style eggs while visiting). It seems as though every chef has a slightly different technique for “perfect scrambled eggs” so you go with the technique most suited to you whether that be creamy, fluffy or any texture in between. Once you have all these elements ready, you can’t go wrong with a delicious taco and an extremely enjoyable brunch. Enjoy!

    Kachumber Salad Topping:

    • 1/2 medium cucumber, seeded
    • 1/2 beefsteak tomato, seeded
    • 1/2 medium red onion
    • 1-2 small green Serrano chiles, seeded
    • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
    • 1 tbsp vinegar
    • salt & pepper to taste

    To Make:

    • Dice the cucumber, tomato, onion and chiles as evenly as possible. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves.
    • Combine all ingredients including everything you just chopped so beautifully into a small bowl and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
    • Then this is ready to serve on its own as a salad, but also the delicious topping for our breakfast.

    Vindaloo Breakfast Sausage Crumbles

    • 1 lb ground sausage meat of your choice
    • 1 tbsp garam masala
    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • 1sp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp coriander
    • Salt & pepper to taste

    To make: 

    • Combine all spices except for salt and pepper in a small bowl so it is easier to add to the meat.
    • Place meat into a small skillet/saucepan and pour in spice mix. Brown the meat and ensure the spices are well combined while cooking (your kitchen will smell amazing).
    • Salt and pepper to your liking and once everything is evenly browned the sausage is ready to top your taco!

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    Other Taco Fixin’s:

    • Scrambled Eggs to your liking (seems like every chef has an opinion these days on the perfect way to cook)
    • Flour tortillas (or paratha if you can get/make it)
    • Crumbled feta or shredded sharp cheddar cheese

    Assembly: 

    • Although I think this part probably self-explanatory and customizable, here’s what I like: I like to add about 2 eggs worth of scrambled eggs on top of my tortilla, top with about 2 tablespoons of sausage, 2 big tablespoons of kachumber and top with cheese.
    • You will have leftover toppings unless you’re cooking for a brunch party (jealous!), so I’d recommend looking into making some freezer burritos for later enjoyment. It’s pretty easy–assemble, roll, wrap well with plastic wrap in a freezer bag and freeze. To reheat, remove plastic wrap and wrap in a paper towel. Then, microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.

    Wine pairing: Well, if we’re doing brunch, have a mimosa! Although any aromatic white wine would also be good–and what I had when I had this for dinner.

    Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

    Amanda and I promise the new year will bring fresh and healthy recipes, but late December is when the sweet treat rules the day. With just a short time before Christmas Day, families are gathering to decorate the tree, gorgeous light displays illuminate the neighborhoods and there is a feeling of joy in the air. Like Thanksgiving, every family has its own traditions to make the holiday season extra special and mine is no different. For me, the Christmas season is when “tradition” truly makes an appearance, whether I decorate the house with my nutcracker collection, my mother *ahem* I mean Santa gifting me a new Holiday Barbie ornament to add to my growing collection, or blasting Christmas music throughout the house subjecting all inhabitants to my singing along.No tradition in my family though, is more iconic or more anticipated than the annual Christmas morning cinnamon rolls.

    As we would excitedly rip through our bursting stockings each Christmas morning I remember the smell of those cinnamon rolls cooking and waiting for the timer to signal their completion; they are a once a year treat. Now, in our family, the canned cinnamon rolls are our tradition and certainly do not disappoint. However, that would not make for a very interesting post, for one, and I’m an adult now and ready to make my own way in traditional recipes. So, while I did not want to just copycat the original, I did want to share this gingerbready spin on our classic with the Distance Dishes family and I’m sure they will be appearing on our Christmas morning menu for years to come. They are more work than the canned option, but they can be made in advance and freeze extremely well. We recently celebrated an early Christmas since my family is spread across the county and these were served. They did not disappoint.

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    Gingerbread Rolls:

    • 4 large egg yolks at room temperature
    • 1 large whole egg at room temperature
    • 1/3 cup molasses
    • 6 tbsp melted butter
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (may need up to 1/2 cup more)
    • 1 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
    • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
    • 1/2 tsp star anise, ground
    • Cooking spray or vegetable oil

    Cinnamon filling

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 sp ground cloves
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 4 tbsp melted butter for brushing

    Icing:

    • 1/3 cup cream cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 tbsp milk

    Instructions:

    • Whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs, molasses, sugar and milk.
    • Transfer this mixture to a stand mixer with a dough hook and add flour, yeast, salt, yeast (not over the salt), butter, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and star anise. Mix on low to combine for 1-2 minutes.
    • Turn the mixer speed to medium and allow to knead for about 5-6 minutes until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be fairly wet but not sticky; add more flour if necessary and knead until this consistency.
    • Transfer dough to a large buttered or greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to sit and rise for 2.5 hours.
    • While you are waiting for your dough to rise, mix together the cinnamon filling by stirring together the brown sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to roll out the dough.
    • Once the dough has risen and rested, transfer to a large piece of greased parchment paper on a flat surface. Shape the dough into a general rectangle shape and roll out with a rolling-pin (or you can get creative with a wine bottle-life hack!). to a rectangle about 18″ by 14″.
    • Brush the rectangle with the 4 tbsp of the melted butter leaving about 1″ strip at the top unbuttered. Distribute the sugar mixture over the buttered portion of the dough evenly.
    • Starting opposite the unbuttered end, and using the parchment paper to assist, roll the cinnamon roll into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seams closed along the cylinder for a secure roll and turn to seam side down.
    • Using a serrated knife, cut the cylinder into 12 identical slices, about 1.5″ thickness.
    • Butter either  9″ by 13″ baking dish or two 8″ round baking dishes and place in the cinnamon rolls, cut side down, so that they are each just barely touching.
    • Place in the fridge to rest overnight or about 6-18 hours if you’re timing it.*
    • The next morning, place the rolls into a cool oven with a pan of boiling water to create steam and allow for one last rise for 30 minutes.
    • Then, remove both the water and the rolls while you pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
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    After their steam bath in the oven
    • Bake the cinnamon rolls for 30 minutes, and while they are baking make the icing (can also be made ahead of time).
    • Using a mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer, mix together the cream cheese, milk and powdered sugar until combined. Set aside or refrigerate until rolls are baked.
    • Once the rolls are out of the oven, spread the icing evenly over the rolls and serve warm. Enjoy!

    *If you’re looking to make these ahead of time, this is an excellent time to freeze. Tightly wrap the dish and freeze until ready (will keep for about 6 weeks). Once ready, thaw overnight in a cool oven and then resume the steps above starting with adding the pan with boiling water to the oven for 30 minutes. I would not recommend freezing the icing though, but it is fairly easy to assemble. 

    Wine Pairing: Since we typically have this for breakfast, I’d recommend your mimosa of choice to go with this one! Enjoy!

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    yummy yummy!

    French Toast Casserole

    Breakfast is my favorite meal! Add some mimosas and some good friends, and brunch is the highlight of any day. Merideth and I made this on our beach weekend, and I served it again for a rainy Netflix marathon when Hurricane Hermine pushed us inside on Labor Day Weekend. Both times, this was a hit! Quick prep means that you can get the casserole in the oven and, if you’re like us, push play on your Saturday morning cartoons!

    This recipe uses peanut butter, banana, and chocolate chips, but could allow for other combinations as long as the milk/egg mixture is maintained. Next time, I’m thinking blueberries, or maybe some seasonal pumpkin spice!

    Ingredients

    1 loaf day-old challah bread, cubed

    3 bananas, sliced

    3/4 cups chocolate chips

    Milk/Egg Mixture

    1/4-1/2 cup milk of your choice (I have used almond and traditional milk, both good!).

    1 tsp cinnamon

    3/4 cup peanut butter

    6-7 eggs

    Salt

    Depending on how large the loaf is, you may need additional milk/egg mixture to saturate the bread.

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease 9×13 pan.
    2. Combine chocolate chips, bananas, and bread. Don’t worry if the chocolate chips settle on the bottom!
    3. Blend milk, peanut butter, eggs, and cinnamon until smooth. I recommend using a blender, but a whisk can work if one is unavailable.
    4. Pour egg and milk into bread, and fold until well coated.
    5. Bake all ingredients in 9×13 pan for approximately 35 minutes, and serve with powdered sugar or syrup, if desired.

     

    Chorizo and Egg Breakfast Sub

     

    Amanda and I recently had a girls getaway weekend at the beach, and did all the things we love together. Which is to say, there was a lot of show bingeing, pajamas, wine, and cooking involved that weekend. There was also an unfinished puzzle and some incriminating pictures taken of us in face masques, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m currently having the luxury of living within driving distance of Amanda temporarily, and one of the things I missed living so far away from her was my brunch buddy. Weekend morning breakfast indulgences with friends is one of my favorite things (makes me feel like a true millennial) so I knew I wanted to make us both a hearty breakfast to start our weekend of netflix….must stay energized for such a grueling day.

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    This sandwich’s deliciousness is in it’s customization. It is a fluid recipe and you could change out the vegetables or cheeses to your preferences. However the version pictured, which was made for two, involves:

    2 sub rolls from your favorite bakery

    4 eggs, scrambled

    1/2 red bell pepper

    1/2 onion

    1/2 lb of ground chorizo

    1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

    Salt & Pepper to taste

    • Grate Parmesan cheese, amount to your preference, although I would also recommend a sharp cheddar
    • Slice the sub rolls longways,3/4 of the way through if not pre-sliced.
    • Heat the chorizo in a pan over medium heat and season with salt and pepper until starts to dissipate and chorizo is almost cooked through.
    • Add the pepper and onions and cook the mixture until onions are slightly translucent and peppers are cooked.
    • Spoon chorizo mixture onto the inside of each sandwich roll and spread on one side. Top with half of your cheese.
    • Top the chorizo mixture with half the scrambled eggs on each sandwich and add more cheese to the top.
    • You may need a napkin when eating this as it is a bit messy, but the heat from the chorizo is quite tasty!

     

    Wine pairing: We happened to have some sangria on hand (recipe to come), however a mimosa could certainly never go wrong.