Stuffed Breakfast Loaf

Breakfast-Loaf-End edit

I honestly have no idea if other people are as into making serious breakfasts on the weekends like I am. If it’s a Saturday or Sunday in our home you can bet eggs, bacon, and any combination of onions, peppers, pancakes, potatoes, potato pancakes or waffles will be flying around. With as often as we make breakfast feasts, I’m always looking for fun ways to break out of our usual patterns. I ran across this recipe and decided to try my own variation.

Loaf-Hollowed-Out

Holy breakfast! This is crispy, crunchy, gooey, flavor-packed and just downright fun. It’s all of the delicious parts of breakfast foods rolled… (or boated?) into one.

StuffedBreakfastLoaf

I would be lying if I said that this experiment went totally according to plan. I had trouble finding a crusty loaf of bread that would work for this, and the second I poured the egg mixture into the bread, the egg immediately started leaking through the bread in a few different spots. So, bonus! In addition to the recipe you will get a troubleshoot of what happens if this fails for you too! All will not be lost.

Breakfast-Loaf-Baked

Ingredients:

1 baguette-style loaf of bread, 10-12 inches long
5 eggs
5 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
4 oz. medium cheddar cheese grated (I used marbled)
1/3 cup milk
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

Boat-sliced2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Hollow out loaf of bread using a bread knife and set on a baking tray. It’s best to cut a V shape first then go from there. Try to leave 3/4 in of bread at the bottom and on the sides. Whisk milk and eggs together and stir in remaining ingredients, reserving a bit of cheese for the top. Add desired amount of salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into bread boat,* top with remaining cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes until egg mixture is fully cooked.

*If the bread starts leaking, it’s ok!! Unless you have a gaping hole, the eggs will create a sort of suction between the bread and the pan and won’t all leak out. Once the egg in the bottom has started to set in the oven, about 10 minutes, whip up a few more eggs (2-3 depending on how much leaked out and will need to be replaced) with salt and pepper and quickly scramble them in a pan until 3/4 of the way cooked. Remove sheet pan with loaf, scrape off the egg that leaked (or it will burn) and add scrambled eggs into boat and mix with existing fillings.

Inside-Loaf

Once it’s out of the oven, let rest for five minutes and cut into slices. All you need is a slice or two to get a full, hearty breakfast that’s something fun and out of the ordinary. Yum! Bonus: this reheats very well in a toaster oven.

Boat-sliced

Happy weekend!

Advertisements

Pizza Monkey Bread


MonkeyBread
A wild thing has happened over the past week. The Cheesy Mexican Pull-apart Bread I posted a few months ago has apparently gone viral on Pinterest and the traffic on little blog has blown up exponentially in the last few days. So, if people are excited about savory monkey bread, I’ll keep pushing the limits! And now I give to you: pizza monkey bread. (Important side note: If this photo below does not make you want to drool, you are probably in the wrong place.)

PullApartMonkeyBread1

Andy and I planned to make this then sit down and attack it during the Grammys this past weekend. The attacking-it part we accomplished. The Grammys part we did not. We recently canceled our cable, and who knew you could only stream backstage interviews and ridiculous commentary, but not the actual thing? Do some people have two TVs going simultaneously to catch the hot backstage action, or does anyone actually watch just the backstage part (besides other sad cable-cancelers, of course)? The mysteries of life. We’re only glad we didn’t invite people over to watch them as we’d originally thought about. So, unfortunately, we were left with the entire loaf of this bread to ourselves. Which was dangerous. And insanely delicious.

pepperoni

Each little piece of this bread is perfectly crusty with crispy Parmesan on the outside and gooey and soft on the inside. It’s part stuffed crust pizza, part actual pizza and part something-more-delicious-than-pizza, even. More delicious than pizza? I know, I know, but that statement was not uttered lightly and I stand by it. You really have to try it for yourself. Mere words will not be able to describe the cheesy, gooey magnificence properly. This would make a perfect party appetizer… or dinner for 2 (before you call a doctor, no, we did not even come close to eating the whole loaf in one sitting, don’t worry). Now, let’s stop drooling and get to it!

PepperoniFilling

Ingredients

For the dough*:

3 7/8 cups white bread flour
2 T course semolina flour
1 package Fleischmann’s active dry yeast
2 heaping tsp. fine grain salt
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups water

For the rest:

12 oz. Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 T Italian seasoning (add dashes of red pepper flakes if they are not included in the seasoning)
1/2 stick butter melted
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce, for dipping

You can really use whatever pizza fillings you like, but we used the following. Just be sure to completely drain and pat dry whatever ingredients you use.

Pepperoni
Black Olives
Sauteed mushrooms
Sauteed spinach

*If you are in a real time crunch or if making homemade dough scares the living bejeezus out of you, you can use biscuit dough or something similar that’s pre-made.

VeggieFilling

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Dough likes warm kitchens. Combine dry ingredients (flour, yeast, semolina, salt) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a bread hook, turn stand mixer onto its lowest setting. Slowly add oil and water. After liquid has been added, continue to mix at lowest speed for two minutes. Turn mixer to next highest speed and continue mixing for six minutes or until dough becomes firm and barely sticky.

DoughBalls

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead for two minutes. Form dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest for one hour. While dough is rising, whisk together butter, oil and Italian spices.

RisenDough

Once dough has nearly doubled in size, lightly punch it down in the bowl. Pull off small pieces of dough from dough ball (slightly less than a tablespoon if you were to measure it), flatten the piece out into a circle and place toppings with mozzarella cube in the center. Pull edges of the dough around the toppings like a package and pinch together. Lightly roll with palm, so a more uniform sphere is created. Dip each piece in butter and spice mixture and drop into a bundt pan. (Sprinkle a little Parmesan into the bundt pan before you begin.) Once the bottom of the pan is covered with a layer of dough, sprinkle with 1/3 of the remaining cheese. Continue this process two more times (you will end with 1/3 of the cheese for the top once baked).

SaucePiece

Cover pan with a towel and let rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, once the dough nearly reaches the top of the pan. Place into the oven and reduce heat to 425. Bake for 20-30 minutes until top is dark golden brown and crispy. Let cool for 15 minutes and turn out bread onto serving platter. Top with remaining cheese and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

PullApartMonkeyBread2

Eat this and you won’t even be slightly bummed that you canceled cable and missed the Grammys.

MonkeyBread2

 


Cheesy Mexican Pull-apart Bread

My husband makes this insanely good garlic and herb pull apart bread, based loosely on the recipe found here. He gets all kinds of requests to make it and when we take it to parties and it’s always a hit. Gooey, cheesy, dipped in marinara. Like savory monkey bread. Yuuuum.

But, in trying to think of ways to mix it up a little (even the best foods you can’t eat for every dinner party), we had a brainstorming session with our friends and the suggestion to try it Mexican-style and dip in in salsa and queso came up. Challenge accepted.

I don’t want to say this turned out better than the garlic Parmesan, but it was at least a tie. The sheer fact that it’s different than the usual cheesy breads out there definitely gives it an edge. The aromatic cumin with the earthiness and kick of the jalapenos mixed with the cheese and the crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-in-the-middle bread is just so pleasantly surprising. Why has no one made this bread before? (For the record, all similar recipes I found used refrigerated biscuit dough, so if you aren’t up to the task of making dough from scratch, you can still give this a whirl.) And then you dunk it in more cheese and salsa and the flavors are magnified, if that’s possible. Enough of my rambling. You’ll just have to try it for yourself and then you, too, can sit and wonder why this bread is not already a thing.

For the bread :

3 7/8 cups white bread flour
2 T course semolina flour
1 package Fleischmann’s active dry yeast
2 heaping tsp. fine grain salt
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups water

Spice Mixture:

1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. onion flakes
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper

For layering:

3 T jalapeno pepper, diced
3/4 cup finely grated pepperjack cheese
3/4 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Dough likes warm kitchens. Combine dry ingredients (flour, yeast, semolina, salt) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a bread hook, turn stand mixer onto its lowest setting. Slowly add oil and water. After liquid has been added, continue to mix at lowest speed for two minutes. Turn mixer to next highest speed and continue mixing for six minutes or until dough becomes firm and barely sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead for two minutes. Form dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest for one hour. While dough is rising, whisk together butter, oil and next eight ingredients in a small bowl.

Once dough has nearly doubled in size, lightly punch it down in the bowl. Pull off small pieces of dough from dough ball (roughly a tablespoon if you were to measure it), dip each piece in spice mixture and drop into a bundt pan. Once the bottom of the pan is covered with a layer of dough, sprinkle with 1/3 cup of mixed cheeses and 1 T jalapenos. Continue this process two more times (reserving a little cheese for the top once baked).

Cover pan and let rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, once the dough nearly reaches the top of the pan. Place into the oven and reduce heat to 425. Bake for 16- 20 minutes until top is dark golden brown and crispy. Let cool for 30 minutes and turn out bread onto serving platter. Top with remaining cheese and serve with salsa and queso for dipping. (As a chef’s note, next time, we think it would be good to dice and saute red pepper and onions and jalapenos for the layering, too.)

We are currently taking requests for other out-of-the-box breads! Any suggestions?


Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

It’s a squash. No, it’s a bowl. No, it’s a squash bowl! And a mighty delicious one at that. Really, who doesn’t like to eat things out of edible bowls? Bread bowls, waffle bowls, and now, behold the acorn squash bowl.

I picked up an acorn squash knowing that I wanted to make it into a bowl for a cute little one-dish-meal. However, I didn’t find any recipes that: a.) were savory dinner recipes; b.) sounded wonderful; and c.) I had all the ingredients for on hand. The saga of my life. And thus, this delicious flavor-packed baby was born. It is so moist and savory and complex, I can’t get over it. I may just make it again next week.

And as if the incredible developed flavors and healthiness were not enough for me to talk you into making these, I would like to emphasize how quick and easy they are to make as well. I got home from work, prepped the squash and was putting it in the oven when my husband got home and I explained to him what my plan was. I wanted to get in a quick 30-minute workout, so he decided to take over chopping and sauteing and by the time I was done, I walked in the kitchen as he was stirring the veggies into the quinoa and loading up the bowls. (He’s quite the cook anyway, I’m just emphasizing the speed element here.) So, let’s get to it.

You’ll need:

one acorn squash
1 lb Italian seasoned ground turkey
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large carrot, finely diced
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 T minced garlic
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (1/4 tsp. if using dried)
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup Monterrey Jack or other mild white cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
1 T butter
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the acorn squash long ways (stem up). For ease of cutting, microwave for 30 seconds first. Scoop out pulp and seeds. Lightly oil, salt and pepper the inside of the squash and place on a baking sheet flesh side up. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tender.

While the squash is baking, brown the turkey in a skillet with a little oil. In another pan, saute vegetables, garlic and thyme in butter until tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, start cooking quinoa according to directions on box.

Once quinoa, vegetables and meat are cooked, stir vegetables, meat and both cheeses into quinoa, reserving 1/4 cup of Monterrey Jack for topping. Evenly mix the ingredients, then scoop and press spoonfuls of the quinoa mixture into the acorn squash.

Top bowls with remaining cheese and place under broiler for 2-3 minutes, until brown and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes and serve.

I must warn you: quinoa makes for a very filling dish. Neither Andy or I could get through more than half of a serving. This ended up feeding us for six meals, which was just fine by both of us since it was so delicious. And this is one of those dishes that is honestly just as good leftover. A bonus is that the quinoa mixture can easily stand alone, too. Now, go throw together this dish in the amount of time it took you to read this. Enjoy!


Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Oh, squash season, how I love thee. I take any chance I can get to squeeze squash into dishes this time of year. And this was opening day for the butternut squash in our home. I am honestly somewhat shocked I didn’t eat the entire thing straight off of the roasting pan and there was some left to make this. Ah, willpower not to inhale a multi-pound vegetable all at once.

Though I love the mix of sweet and savory dishes, Andy doesn’t quite as much, so I did my best to minimize the inherent sweetness of the butternut squash by also adding its much less sweet cousin, the pumpkin. I threw in onions and bacon too (because when should you NOT use them, really?), which have sweet undertones that don’t clash with the squash, but make the dish heartier and more savory. And, if I do say so myself, (and I do) I really knocked this one out of the park. Holy squashcheesygoodness.


This is so creamy and cheesy, you don’t even realize all the vitamins it’s packed with. Vegetables are tricky like that. And, a bonus with really creamy sauces is that you can pair it whole grain pasta and you can’t tell a difference. Now, I’m not a hater on the whole grain pasta, but it is always noticeably slightly weird (for lack of a better term) with light tomato sauces. Or maybe it’s just me.

In my experience, shells hold onto hearty sauces better than macaroni, which why the title is “mac and cheese” not the full “macaroni and cheese.” Like when fast food places use “beef-y” or “chick-n” so as not to mislead you into thinking it’s real beef or chicken. This is “mac,” not actual macaroni and now you can’t turn me in for misleading you.

You’ll need:

1 small butternut squash
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
6 strips bacon (I used turkey bacon)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese*
1/3 cup grated Mozzarella cheese*
1/3 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese*
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese*
2 2/3 cup milk (2% or whole)
2 T butter
3 T flour
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 15-oz box whole wheat pasta shells
Extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper

*Any cheese you may have on hand would work, as long as you end up with 2 cups total, but it would be best with a mix of mild and sharp cheeses.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice butternut squash vertically with a large knife. A good trick for ease of cutting is to microwave the squash for 30 seconds before slicing. Spoon out seeds and pulp and discard. Lightly coat with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place skin side up on a large baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the center is tender. Once it has cooled enough to handle, scoop out squash and mash to a puree with a spoon. Set aside 2 cups of puree for recipe (if any remains, eat as a side dish with another meal: “mashed squash”—yum!) Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

While squash is roasting, prepare pasta according to directions on box and set aside. Cook bacon in a small pan, crumble and set aside. Then, in the same pan, saute onions over medium-low heat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper using 1 T of the bacon grease to cook them in. Set aside.

Then, it’s time to get the sauce going! Heat butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Slowly whisk in flour. Once it is mixed, slowly stir in the milk. Once all milk is added, turn heat to high and continue to whisk for about two more minutes until sauce thickens. Add all cheeses, reserving 1/2 cup cheese mixture for the top. Once cheese is melted, stir in both pumpkin and squash puree, onions and bacon. Salt and pepper to taste, then pour over cooked pasta and stir to combine. Transfer into 9X13 baking dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and center is very warm.

Now enjoy the amazingly creamy, cheesy, vibrantly-colored mess of deliciousness that also happens to be good for you. Which, of course, is always justification for an extra helping.


Savory Sausage and Cheese Waffles

We recently got a waffle maker and this may be the beginning of a long line of experimental waffle recipes. Don’t worry, I’ll only share the ones that work out. This is one of them.

I absolutely love a good mix of sweet and savory and these waffles hit all of those notes. These guys were cheesy and hearty with just enough sweet and salty. This is the perfect weekend brunch that will keep you filled up until late in the afternoon…or evening.

I must admit, we took a bit of a shortcut by using pancake mix instead of making them from scratch. Judge if you must, but I promise I won’t always cheat in the future.  Since running to the grocery store on a Saturday morning is not the most fun task in the world and we had no buttermilk, this seemed the most logical option. So, feel free to make this with your favorite basic waffle recipe or make one batch of waffles according to your pancake mix.

To make waffles from buttermilk pancake batter, combine 2 cups pancake mix, 1 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1 egg.

In addition to the batter, you’ll only need:

1 cup cooked maple sausage crumbles
3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Syrup or gravy for topping

Preheat waffle iron. Cook 6 oz. sausage (half of a roll) in a skillet. I use Jimmy Dean maple sausage, because I cannot get enough of items that combine sweet and savory. And the smell is heavenly. But you could use whatever kind of sausage you like. Then grate cheddar cheese. Stir sausage and cheese into waffle mix and prepare waffles according to waffle maker. See, you hardly needed directions for that, it’s so simple!

This will make six waffles. Now, I had planned to go the syrup route all along, to ultimately marry the sweet-salty profiles. At the last minute, Andy wanted gravy on his, so he whipped some up from a packet. I must say, it was not a bad call.

P.S.- We cut leftover waffles into four strips each and baked them 200 degrees in the toaster oven until crispy on the outside and used as waffle dipping sticks like you would see in a hokey commercial. Yum-wow-za!


Cheesy Tomato, Garlic and Spinach Bread

After a weekend away (which inevitably means eating out for every meal), I cannot think of a better thing to come home to than Andy in the process of baking fresh bread. And that is exactly what happened when I came home after my long weekend! A kind he’s never tried before too, which is always fun. I have to admit that it was time consuming, but completely worth it.

These tomato, garlic and spinach loaves knocked our socks off and will most definitely be making an appearance in our home again. One of the really nice things about these loaves are the wonderful, flavor-filled ingredients. It is almost magic how much flavor is packed into these babies. To the original recipe, he also added a handful of spinach, which I tend to add to just about any dish I make (he just knows me that well).

We also thought the addition of cheese was a no-brainer and we went with Asiago. The recipe we used is adapted from the book Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads, (which is a really excellent book on baking that includes an in-depth how-to DVD if you’re on the lookout for baking books).

The loaf is made with a basic olive oil dough, like the one found here and is filled with oven-dried tomatoes, spinach, roasted garlic and cheese.

The roasted cherry tomatoes develop their flavor as they are baked low and slow with a hearty dose of salt, pepper and sugar. The whole garlic cloves are cooked on the stovetop in a good amount of extra virgin olive oil with salt and sugar until caramelized.

After the fillings were ready and the dough had risen, we spread the dough like a thick crust pizza, loaded up the fillings and then folded it over into thirds. This loaf was cut into four pieces.

We took one section at a time and turned it on its side and pinched the bottom together of each to create dough boats with the fillings inside.

All that’s left is to bake the loaves. And there you have it. So much of the flavor was due to the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Next time we make a batch of oven-dried tomatoes, I’ll plan to reserve quite a few for salads, spreads and anything else in need of a dose of concentrated flavor.

Any fillings could be used for this bread: olives and feta cheese, pine nuts, caramelized onions… the possibilities are endless. Next time, we talked about adding chicken and pesto, which would make it a full meal in itself.

P.S.- Today for lunch, we cut a loaf in half and then sliced it horizontally. We used pesto Parmesan ham and Provolone cheese to make what may have been the most delicious sandwich I’ve ever had. I seriously cannot describe how good this bread is, so you’ll just have to make some filled loaves for yourself!