Tag Archives: simple

Breakfast Hack: Microwave Poached Egg

1 May

Yep. You read that title right. A poached egg. In the MICROWAVE!

I need to eat breakfast during the week. If I don’t, I have a serious crash and get mega hangry. Or I want to eat lunch at 11:00 am. Which doesn’t really work for me when I won’t be eating dinner until 6 or 7 on a weeknight. Getting up for work, I’m not ready to eat breakfast at 7 or 8. I like to eat it later on, because it keeps me satiated and allows me to eat lunch a little later.

I was making up scrambled eggs at home since the chickens are officially back into the habit of producing, but reheating them in the microwave left them a bit dry and rubbery. I found a post over at The Kitchn, which talked about poaching an egg in the microwave. I love me some poached eggs, so this news was amazing to me! Saves me some calories by not having to use butter to cook them, and I can have freshly made eggs for breakfast – on demand!

On the third attempt, I got a perfectly poached egg to smear over my multi-grain toast. Seriously. This egg poached better than the ones I make on the stove top. The trick I discovered is using already hot water, then microwave the egg for 60 seconds. If you read the post over at The Kitchn, they say to put the microwave at 50% power. Our work microwave lacks power, so I don’t do any adjustments and it works out great. If you have a newer microwave, I’d suggest starting at 50% power for 60 seconds and see where that gets you on the egg front. If it looks like it needs more cooking, give it another 30 second burst. I like a slightly runny yolk but a set white. The hot water sets the white without overcooking the center.

I think this is a great option for people who work in an office, or at any job where a microwave is available to heat up meals. Even college kids would benefit from this little trick!

image

Microwave Poached Egg

Tools:

Coffee mug

Small plate/saucer

1 egg

1/3 cup hot water

Put a splash of hot water in the bottom of the coffee mug. Crack your egg into the cup. Add in the rest of the water.

Put your egg filled mug into the microwave, and cover the top of the mug with the saucer – do NOT skip this part! It helps to steam the egg and prevents a hot mess if your egg explodes! ( I only had one incidence where the egg had a mini explosion, and it was before I was doing hot water and have started the microwave for another 30 seconds.)

Microwave for 60 seconds at normal power for older microwaves, 50% power for newer.

Once your egg is cooked to your liking, enjoy! I eat mine over a piece of multi-grain toast with some pepper and garlic salt. Add in some precooked bacon, and you’ve got a protein filled breakfast!

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German Pancakes with Wine-y Strawberries

18 Mar

Have I ever mentioned that I am a big fan of dessert? No? Well let me clear the air – I am a big fan of dessert. I feel so liberated now. Whew. So, on to the german pancake. I have been eyeballing this treat for some time, but never gotten around to making it.There are SO many recipes out there. Some that are super simple with few ingredients, others that are multi-layered, therefore making something that should be simplistic complicated. It’s called a pancake for goodness sakes! I had a hankering for dessert one day and figured what better time to try one out than right now? But wait. I would totally need a topping of some sort. What a surprise – I had frozen chopped strawberries portioned out into 2 cup servings from when they were fresh and on sale. Ta-da! And I wanted them to be juicy and warm on my warm german pancake. So Wine-y Strawberries were born!

I found the german pancake recipe in one of the old church cookbooks from my Bubba’s collection that were saved and given to me. It was as simple sounding as I was looking for and fairly quick to whip up. I cheated and didn’t sift the flour or really measure out any of the other ingredients. It turned out to be delicous as is. I don’t know the name of the cookbook since the cover has long since been MIA. But it’s got some good old fashioned recipes in it. Along with some weird sounding ones that I wouldn’t feed to an enemy. The recipe makes 2 pancakes, but hubs and split one because I didn’t want to force myself to eat a whole one. He had the other one the next morning for breakfast. Said it tasted great all by itself at room temp and a day old.

This pancake is a nice canvas to add anything you want as a topping, from the sweet to the savory. Just omit the vanilla for a savory dish. It would be good topped with some goat cheese, spinach and artichokes. Mmmm.

German Pancake

Serves 2

adapted from an old church cookbook

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon sugar

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons butter, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor or blender, add the eggs, salt and sugar and process/blend until a light yellow color. Add the milk, vanilla and flour and process/blend again until combined.

Grease 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans and divide the batter in between them. Add a tablespoon of butter to the center of the pancake.

Cook for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, rotate your cake pans and turn down the oven to 350 degrees, cooking another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and plate up, topping with Wine-y Strawberries. You could also top these with some jam or preserves, fresh berries and whipped cream, or just eat them like a pancake and douse it in maple syrup.

Wine-y Strawberry Topping

2 cups frozen strawberries, chopped (if using fresh, see note)

2 tablespoons sweet read wine

1 tablespoon sugar

In a small saucepan, place the berries, wine and sugar, stirring to combine everything together. Over medium-high heat, cook the berries until the are bubbling and the juices & wine start to cook off and thicken a little. Turn off heat and place the hot berries on top of your german pancake. These would also be a good topping for regular pancakes or even a chocolate sheet cake. Yum!

Note: if using fresh berries, chop them and place them in a small bowl. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar, stirring your berries to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes. This will get the juices in your berries to come out, helping you increase your sauce to berry ratio. Then just add the juicy berries to your pan with your wine and cook as directed above.

Lighter Snack & Lunch Idea – Lightly Pickled Shrimp!

4 Mar

Every time a new year arrives, the gyms flood with people trying to set new goals with their brand new good intentions. The produce aisle and whole grain sections at the grocery stores are cleared of all things healthy as people embark on a quest for better eating habits. Then it dies off, at the latest, in early February and most people go back to their bad food choices and lazy ways. I never make healthy eating or fitness a new years resolution because it’s like setting yourself up for failure. Healthy eating, fitness, lifestyle changes – you can’t give them deadlines. You’ve got to be mentally ready for the challenge. YOU have to want to do it. I think I’m mentally ready to start getting back into shape again after too much good food & beer. I’m cutting back on the good beer, but not cutting it out. Cutting things out leads to binging on those things because you feel deprived. I need REAL life changes and choices, not a quick fix to drop some weight right now, just to gain it back when I get back to normal.

So for the first week I started getting a little more creative with my lunch choices. I wanted meals that would keep me full and give me the most bang for my buck calorie and nutrition wise. That’s why I started eating Spinach & Cheese Toasts – and I wanted to add in something that had some more protein than the mushrooms I was eating with it and it to be light, healthy & flavorful. So I decided to do a quick, light pickling of some medium sized shrimp. Don’t turn your nose up at the thought of “pickled” shrimp. These aren’t anything like eating a kosher dill pickle. These are brightly flavored without being too “pickled” tasting. They have zing from the apple cider vinegar and fresh lemon juice. There is a hint of spice from the red pepper flakes and garlic. They are just layered with flavor and I love it! I think these will be a great snack and lunch addition, as well as be a great option to take to a summertime picnic or BBQ as an appetizer to share! And the brine? Don’t let it go to waste. It’s lovely smeared on some crusty, whole grain french bread with a couple of the shrimp on top. I think it would also be great as a pasta salad, brining the shrimp overnight and then tossing the jar of ingredients into some pasta. Or quinoa. Next time I make this, I’m going to add in a couple extra shakes of the pepper flakes for a little more zing!

Feel free to double this recipe if you are making it for a group. I made this small batch because I wanted to only have what I would consume over a few days for lunches.

pickled shrimp

Lightly Pickled Shrimp

1/2 lb peeled and deveined shrimp, raw, tails off

1 tbsp old bay seasoning

1/2 tsp mustard seed

1/4 tsp celery seed

1/2 – 1 tsp kosher salt

1 whole lemon, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil

2-3 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar

couple shakes of red pepper flakes

2 pinches parsley flakes

2 cloves garlic, mashed and minced

1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into half moons

Fill a small pot halfway with tap water and add the old bay seasoning. Bring to a boil and add shrimp, cooking until pink – about 2 minutes. Dump your shrimp into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water until no longer hot. (you are using the mesh strainer so that you don’t lose much of the old bay seasoning!)

Take your mustard seed, celery seed & the couple shakes of red pepper flakes and pulse them through a food mill or grinder  a couple of times just to break them up a bit and release their flavors. Add your salt, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and garlic, stirring well to combine. Give it a taste and add more salt or vinegar to get the desired tang and flavor you are looking for.

In a mason jar, put a layer of shrimp, then a layer of onions, and keep layering until you run out of shrimp and onions. Pour the marinade mixture over your shrimp and onions, top with a lid, and put in the fridge overnight to let all the flavors melt together.

Before serving, let the jar sit out for at least 30 minutes. This will let the olive oil easily mix back in with the vinegar and lemon juices. Right before eating, give the jar a good shake to get everything mixed back together. Enjoy as an appetizer, alongside a sandwich, add to pasta, quinoa, rice – whatever your heart desires! Consume within a few days.

Breakfast Idea: Bacon Egg & Cheese Mix/Spread

28 Jan

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I LOVE BREAKFAST! I can’t help it. It’s the best meal of the day in my opinion, and breakfast for dinner is really a treat. But back to this spread. It’s cheesy, it’s got some zing from the mustard powder, smokiness from the bacon, and the mayo helps bind it all together and up the creamy quotient. Another plus is on it’s own it’s Gluten Free (obviously you’ll have to put it on GF bread or crackers to keep it that way)! It’s yummy, quick, and can be used in a variety of ways listed below.

egg spread broiled

Bacon Egg & Cheese Mix/Spread

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

12 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

2 cups freshly grated cheese ( I used Colby Jack)

1/2 cup Hellman’s Light Olive Oil Mayo

1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

6 slices bread of choice

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined. Refrigerate 1 hour to let flavors meld. (If freezing, skip this step)

egg spread premixeggspread mixed

I have used this recipe 4 different ways, all with great results:

1. Frozen – Top english muffins with mixture and freeze individually. Remove from freezer letting thaw overnight for use the following day. Place under broiler for roughly 5 minutes, until golden brown and warmed through.

2. Microwaved – for 30-60 seconds and topped on crackers.

3. Traditional – top a toasted piece of bread or english muffin with the mix, and place under broiler for about 5 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

4. Appetizer – follow original directions, but chop the egg and bacon a bit finer. Heat is a small crock pot and serve with crackers, melba toast, or slices of baguette bread. Yum!

With breakfast being the most important meal of the day, I feel that you need variety! A cold bowl of cereal just won’t cut it to cover 7 days a week! I hope you guys enjoy this breakfast treat as much as we do!

Double your fun dessert: Strawberry Cake Pie

5 Sep

Nope. You aren’t seeing things. The title of this dessert is in fact Strawberry Cake Pie. The bottom layer is cake which you bake in a pie pan. You then top it with strawberries that have been coated in sugar and let to sit and get juicy for a bit. Then…wait for it…you top it with lattice patterned pie crust. YES! It’s a delicious trick. Because it LOOKS like a strawberry pie. But cut into it and you’ve got that yummy cake layer that has soaked up the juices from the strawberries during round 2 of baking. Bliss.

Now, my crust job doesn’t look that fabulous…and I could totally try to blame it on the fact that I was making this dessert at 7am on the 4th of July. But I won’t. Because when it comes down to it, I don’t put a whole lot of time into making things look bakery quality fantastic. I don’t want to fuss and fret that I’ve made the fork pressed edges of the crust perfectly even and didn’t overlap the fork at all on the way around. So what if it doesn’t look like it’s ready for its glossy magazine cover spread. If it looks decent enough and tastes good, I’m a happy girl. I did use boxed cake mix and *gasp* store-bought pie crust due to time constraints. Next time, I’ll double the strawberries and do homemade pie crust. Skip the lattice top and just use mini cookie cutters to let the berries show through. Whether you make it with from scratch ingredients or punk out and use store bought, it’s still a crowd pleasing dessert. I can see making it with apples in the future…or a blackberry top. Yum.

Strawberry Cake Pie

adapted from Food Network Magazine  July/August 2012

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1lb strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1-2 teaspoons for sprinkling crust
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 rolls of refrigerated pie dough (or homemade)
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9in pie plate. In a medium bowl, add cake mix, eggs, water, oil & vanilla. Beat for 2-3 minutes until all ingredients are combined and no large lumps remain. Pour all of the batter into your greased pie plate (or ¾ full) and bake for 25 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is slightly wobbly. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

While your cake is baking, make the strawberry filling – in a small bowl combine the strawberries, ¼ cup sugar and pinch of salt. Stir to coat and let sit for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle cutting board with flour. Unroll your pie dough and slice into 1in strips and set aside.

Drain your strawberries and top your slightly cooled cake with them, pressing into the cake as you add them. Increase your oven temp to 450 degrees.

You will now top your strawberries with the strips of pie dough, spacing 1in apart. To create a lattice design, lift every other horizontal strip and place a strip of crust vertically. Lay down lifted strips and continue in an alternating pattern. To make the edges of the crust, use the leftover pieces, pressing the ends together to bind them. Use a fork to press the edges. Brush crust with the butter and sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes in your 450 degree oven.

Let cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Simple Meal Idea – Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

9 Jul

I love dumplings – and these ones are fantastically simple and delicious. Spinach, ricotta, parmesan – wow. They are quick and easy to make. You can make them on a weeknight. Yes, homemade pasta for a weeknight dinner. So many people feel that from scratch cooking has to be fussy and time-consuming. It really doesn’t. This meal from start to finish was at 30 minutes or less. While the dumplings were boiling, I was pan frying some strips of thin steak that I seasoned with nothing more than roasted garlic seasoning and some A-1. Hubs LOVED this meal. Thought it was amazing. Simple ingredients + minimal time in the kitchen means I get to have extra time to relax and enjoy the hubsters company. It’s lovely.

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

adapted from The Daily Meal

¾ cup frozen spinach – thawed and drained

¾ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

½ cup shaved parmesan cheese

2 large egg yolks

small pinch of nutmeg

pinch of kosher salt

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups pasta sauce of your choice

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add all of your ingredients but the flour to a medium bowl. Using a fork or your hands, stir to combine everything together. Add the flour. Stir until just combined. Using a small cookie scoop or 2 spoons, shape the dumplings into ovals and place on a plate or cookie sheet.

Heat your pasta sauce until piping hot.

Drop dumplings 1 at a time into the salted boiling water. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until dumplings float to the top. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, gently remove the dumplings from the water. Place a layer of sauce on a plate or in a bowl and top with dumplings. Serve as a main dish with some crusty bread and a salad or as a side with some pan seared steak or chicken and salad.