Eat your breakfast

They do say it is the most important meal of the day, and I guess they are right. I am so tempted to use the infamous air quotes when I refer to they, but how would you see that? I’m also trying to trick you into thinking I’m one of the cool kids, I don’t think the cool kids do air quotes…, do they?

Breakfast. I don’t eat it as often as I should. I probably only have breakfast on the weekends, more like brunch. On weekday mornings, I have coffee and by the time that’s settled in, its time for lunch, so no breakfast. But on weekends, The Hubbz and I will partake on a morning-ish meal. There’s never a real plan, we just stumble on to the fridge and pull stuff out. Not too long ago, I came up with these.

I don’t really know what they are. A cross between a quesadilla and a tostada, some cheese and sausage and a nicely bright sunny-side-up egg to top it all off. This was perfection. We had the crunch of the corn tortilla against the creamy melted cheese and the yolk. Very easy, very quick, very good. No recipe here, just pull stuff together and make happy.

Sausage & Egg Tostadas
Corn tortillas
Sausage, thinly sliced
Queso Oaxaca or other melting cheese, grated
Eggs
Oil
Salt & black pepper

Layer tortillas with cheese and sausage. Top with another tortilla and toast it in a skillet with some oil. Crisp both sides.

Fry the eggs to your preferred doneness, you could also poach them.

Drain the tostadas, top with the egg and more of the sliced sausage.

Eat. Come. Mangia. And if you’d like more reasons to lick that screen, click here.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

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Party foods – Mexican Cornbread

This one is so easy and so delicious, it feels like cheating. But I won’t tell anyone. I use Jiffy mix for this, but you can use your favorite prepackaged cornbread mix or family recipe. And, if you’d rather not mess with cupcakes, you can bake it in regular pan. I’m easy.

Mexican Cornbread
2 pkgs Jiffy Cornbread mix
1 cp breakfast sausage
1 serrano chile, diced
3/4 cp cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375°. Cook the sausage in a frying pan, making sure to break it apart to avoid big chunks. When it begins to brown, add the chopped serrano (you can use jalapeño if you can’t find serranos). Cook the sausage completely. In the meantime, prepare the cornbread according to the directions.

To get the muffin pan ready, you can either use the little baking cups, which is what I did OR you can grease and flour it OR use Pam. Your call.

To the cornbread batter add the sausage and 1/2 cp of the cheese. Mix just until incorporated, then fill the muffins with batter to about 3/4 of the way. Bake it for about 12 minutes, just until the batter has risen. Pull it out and quickly add the cheese and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

Serve!

Autumn in a puff

It’s possible I’m addicted to contests now. I know, I went for years without entertaining the thought of participating in one, to signing up for 2 recipe contests and 3 just throw in your name ones in a 2 week period. Yikes! This might be serious.

In any case, I submitted this entry to Pepperidge Farms. I *literally* threw these ingredients together just so I would have something to submit. That aside, these turned out AWESOME! I wasn’t completely sure of the gorgonzola, I thought I might need something more pungent, but it worked beautifully. There’s something about the sweetness of the potato, combined with depth of the cheese and the meatiness of the sausage that just works.

 

2 sheets puff pastry
2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 lb sage breakfast sausage
1/3 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 cp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove pastry sheets from freezer or fridge and allow to thaw.

Cook the breakfast sausage as directed, making sure it is a fine crumble. Allow it to cool. In the same pan, add the mashed sweet potatoes and cheese, taste your seasonings and adjust as necessary. Now add the yolk and stir it into the mash. Set aside.

I used a 2-inch biscuit cutter, but a smaller one will yield more of these puffs. Lay out the pastry sheets and cut out using the cutter. Moisten the edges of each circle with a bit of water, then drop about 1 tablespoon of filling onto the center of half of the circles.

Now top the filled circles with one of the other halves. Press the edges together and flutter them out or crimp them with a fork.

Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep them about an inch apart. Now brush the tops with the heavy cream. Using a fork or paring knife, pierce the tops of each puff, this will allow the steam to come out and will keep the puffs intact, otherwise they will burst. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Note: If you don’t have a cutter, simply use a knife and follow the folds on the sheets. You will end up with 9 squares per sheet.

 

Italian Meat Sauce

This is my basic meat sauce. It is a wonderful base to lasagna, goes superbly over any kind of pasta. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Meat Sauce Ingredients
2 lbs ground chuck
1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cps onions, chopped (about 2 medium)
1 tbsp sea salt
1 cp carrots, finely diced (about 2 medium)
1 cp celery, finely diced (about 3 stalks)
2 cps button mushrooms, diced
1 cp red bell pepper (about 2 medium)
5 Roma tomatoes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed (about 2 tsp puree)
1 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1-1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tsps sugar
3 bay leaves
1/2 cp parsley, chopped
2 cps red wine or beer
1 cp water
3 tbsp tomato paste

Process:
Roast the reds (optional) – You can roast the bell peppers and tomatoes over a stove burner. Get the skins scorched all the way around, then dunk in a bowl with cool water and peel. Remove the seeds from both, the tomatoes and peppers before dicing.

Heat up a large saucepan and add the ground beef, sausage and salt. Stir the salt in and make sure you break the meats apart, you want it to resemble coarse meal.  The moisture in the beef will come out, so initially it will cook in its own liquid. Once the liquid evaporates, you will be able to begin browning the meats.

As the meat browns over medium high heat, add the onions, carrots and celery, cook it until the onions begin to look translucent. Then add the mushrooms, garlic, black pepper, Italian seasoning, pepper flakes, basil and bay leaves. Mix all the herbs in before adding all the tomatoes, bell peppers and parsley. Stir it all very well, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any drippings that may be stuck. Now you can add the wine, water, sugar and paste; stir everything well and allow it to come to a boil.

Once this comes to a boil, bring temperature to low and cover it with a lid. Allow it to simmer stirring it occasionally. It will need to simmer for about an hour. Remove from the heat and let it cool.