Hash Brown Nests Stuffed with Ham and Cheese

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I made a bunch of these with my sister for a family brunch the other day and we had so much fun making them. This recipe puts a creative spin on your traditional, ordinary breakfast and is sure to make everyone’s belly very happy.

The potato nests are tender but crispy and stuffed with ham, aged white cheddar and  topped with an over easy egg.

I originally started making these years ago by trying out a similar recipe by Ree Drummond, a Food Network chef. Her recipe is even more simple than mine, but the tradeoff is that the flavours are not as bold.

Here’s what you will need:

  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups hash browns, thawed
  • 2 ham slices, cut into cubes (ask deli at grocery store to cut 1/4 inch thick)
  • 3 tbsp shredded aged white cheddar
  • 6 eggs

*this recipe yields 6 servings

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Place hash browns on a plate and season with salt and pepper, tossing them to evenly coat.

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2. Scoop about 2 tbsp of the hash browns into each muffin tin, pressing down and making sure the bottom and sides are evenly lined. Make sure the hash browns are all the way up the sides of the muffin tray because the nests shrink in the oven. Then, bake for 15-20 minutes

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3.  Switch oven to 350 degrees F. Add some ham and cheese and then top with a cracked egg. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes until the eggs whites are firm but yolk is still soft.

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4. Once they cool a bit, scoop the nests out with a knife and you’re ready to eat perfect mini breakfast muffins.

You can put your own spin on this recipe by adding whatever else you think would be tasty: onions, bacon, sausage chunks, hot sauce, maybe some garlic. Get creative and have fun!

Maybe I can make a recipe that is a cool spin off one of your favourite breakfasts. Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Quick and Delicious Butternut Squash Snack

Butternut squash is packed with nutrients and all the good stuff for your body, but also tastes delicious when cooked. That’s why I want to show you this quick way of roasting the veggie so you can enjoy it as a snack or side with a meal.

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Whenever, I am watching a show or studying for a test, I will just pop these in the oven and voila, tasty treat  to curb my cravings for chocolate and other things my body will not thank me for.

Here is what you will need:
(did I mention it’s cost efficient)

  • Butternut squash
  • 2- 3 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Set your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut your butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. I buy pre-cut butternut squash, but if you are brave enough to take on a whole squash, I commend you.
  2. Place squash on baking tray and toss in the oil, garlic, salt and pepper.19970489_10156035963952565_356877146_n.jpg
  3. Roast in oven until tender and lightly browned, 25-30 minutes.

I’d love to hear what you think of the recipe and what your favourite vegetable to roast is in the comments!

 

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

If you didn’t know yet, I LOVE soup. Even better is soup that can be cooked from a slow cooker. C’mmon, who always has time for the effort it takes to make a meal?

I was feeling a little under the weather this past week so my mother sent me this chicken noodle soup recipe. Moms always know best so I gave it a go and fell in love. I actually think it tastes better after it has been refrigerated and sits overnight. The flavours emerge even more the next day.

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This recipe does have several ingredients, but it is so simple to make.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups noodles (your choice)
  • parsley

Directions:

  1. In a 6-quart crockpot, place the whole chicken breasts on the bottom.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 4.52.05 PM.png
  2. Top with carrots, celery, onion, garlic, olive oil, thyme and bay leaf.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 4.53.49 PM.png
  3. Next, add chicken broth, water and season with salt and pepper to taste Cook and cover on low heat for 6-7 hours.20187682_10156035963432565_1306947052_n.jpg
  4. Remove chicken breasts and cut up into small pieces. Add the noodles and parsley. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 4.43.13 PM.png

Tell me what you think in the comments! Have any other soups that are great for when you aren’t feeling too well?

Lovable Lemon Loaf

This is my favourite lemon loaf recipe from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook. The loaf is light and fluffy, with the perfect combination of sweet and tartiness. It is the perfect little snack or dessert. I love anything lemon and the top of this loaf is so moist and flavourful because of the lemon sugar that gets drizzled over it. I can guarantee you will not be able to stop at one piece.

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Note: The end pieces have a lot of lemon sugar absorbed in them because the sweet liquid collects in the corners of the pan where it drains down (my family fights over who gets those pieces).

What you will need:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel (I used 3 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (I used 1 1/2 tbsp)

Glaze:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bread loaf pan (8x4x2). In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2. In another medium bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil, lemon peel and lemon juice. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. The batter will be lumpy.

3. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

4. For the final step, mix the lemon and sugar until dissolved and brush over the loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Mmmm, mmmm, moist, lemon-y goodness.

What’s your favourite lemon-y treat? Lemon Tarts, squares, lemon meringue pie, or loaf?

Best Sloppy Joes Around

This is a classic dish that everyone loves, even kids (so moms can actually get their children to eat something healthy). This flavourful meat sauce can easily be doubled. I sometimes make a big batch and then freeze smaller portions that I can bring with me throughout the work week. It saves time and money!

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This recipe takes about 30 minutes and you can eat it for lunch or dinner.

Here is what you will need:

  • Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced small
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced small
  • 2 tsp minces garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 5 hamburger buns

Directions:

1. You will need to add the oil to a large skillet and sauté your onion, celery stalk, and bell pepper. I like to add some salt and pepper for flavour. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Add the beef, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, tomato sauce and stock and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Simmering allows the flavours to be released and really shine. I also like to add Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or Siracha to my dish. It gives it a nice kick.

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4. I like to toast the buns, so you can either throw them in the toaster or throw them on the grill for  few minutes until they crisp up.

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Once this is all done, you can generously spoon the beef mixture onto the hamburger buns.

Don’t be afraid to let your fingers get messy, you can just lick off the deliciousness.

Enjoy this super scrumptious sloppy sandwich and tell me what you think in the comments.

Traditional Bruschetta Appetizer

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Bruschetta is one of my favourite appetizers because the flavours are so fresh and it is really easy to make (I’m also obsessed with all things covered in balsamic). The most important thing you will need for this recipe is a fresh baguette from your local bakery or grocery store. Bad bread= bad bruschetta.

I stole this great recipe last year from fellow blogger, Ahead of Thyme.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Basil leaves (4-6)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 1/2 loaf baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch slices- (I buy from Fortinos bakery section)
  • aged white cheddar, shredded

*Note: you do not use balsamic dressing for this recipe. You need a balsamic glaze/reduction. You can make on your own or simply buy from the store.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, about 1 tbsp of the olive oil and some salt and pepper. If you store the mixture in the fridge and let it sit for an hour or two, the flavours will really emerge!

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2. Line you baguette slices on a lined cooking tray and brush with the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes.

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3. Line the slices up on a plate and scoop generous amounts of the tomato mixture onto each piece. Sprinkle with the aged white cheddar and balsamic glaze to finish of this amazing appetizer.

Tell me what you think in the comments!

 

 

Perfect Pizza Poppers

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These two-bite balls of dough are stuffed with pepperoni and cheese, and then coated with fresh garlic and herbs to make the flavours sing. They work great as an appetizer or snack and are really fun to prepare, so you can get friends and family involved.

Keep in mind, you can get creative with the pizza bites by stuffing them with any of your favourite pizza toppings, not just what I call for in my recipe. Hone your inner chef!

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 cans buttermilk biscuits
  • 56 slices pepperoni
  • 1 block cheese (I use cheddar or marble)
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Extra pizza sauce for, for dipping

Instructions:

1. Set oven to 425 degrees F and lightly grease a 9X13 baking pan. Then cut the block of cheese into 28 1 inch squares. Flatten a biscuit and place a slice of pepperoni, cheddar and then another slice of pepperoni.

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2. Gather up the edges of the biscuit and close by gently squeezing.

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3.  Do this with all of the biscuits and line them up in your greased tray. Brush the tops with the egg and then sprinkle Italian seasoning and garlic powder overtop.

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4. Pop them in the oven for 18-24 minutes and serve them with some warm pizza sauce to dip. (I also always grab some caesar dressing mmm…).

Hope you love them as much as I do! Tell me what toppings you would stuff in your bites in the comments!

 

 

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Yes, I said smashed, not mashed. Everyone has tried mashed potatoes and baked potatoes, but have you tried smashed potatoes?

I love to make this with my dinners. I normally pair it with a meat and some sort of vegetable. They are crispy, flavourful, bite-sized pieces of heaven.

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Here is what you will need:

  • 1 package small/ baby potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Thyme or green onions (optional)

I don’t think it is even possible to use less ingredients, making these tasty potatoes even more delicious for how cost efficient they are! The cherry on top is how quickly you can make them.

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Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees ferenheit. First you want to boil the potatoes to cook and moisten them. Boil for about 13 minutes, or JUST until they become tender (don’t cook too long because they still have to go in the oven).

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  1. Drain and transfer to a baking tray. Make sure to line your tray with tinfoil. Place your potatoes on the tray and use the palm of your hand to press down on them (this is where they get the name, “smashed potatoes”). Break them open by squishing them so they look like cracked patties. You should also let the potato cool before doing this, so they do not crumble apart.Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 5.43.03 PM.png
  2. Drizzle the oil on them with a bit of salt and pepper (along with your choice of fresh herb if desired). Pop them in the oven for 35 minutes and finito, delicious smashed potatoes. The crispiness is what makes them for me because the skin becomes chip-like.

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**You can add bacon, sour cream, salsa, green onion or whatever toppings you would like to amp up that flavour. I can’t promise they will still be considered healthy though.

What toppings or herbs do you think would be tasty on the smashed potatoes?

 

Italian Style Slow Cooker Soup

This is a soup composed of pasta, beans, beef and vegetables. The bold flavours of fresh thyme and basil float through your kitchen while the slow cooker works it’s magic.

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I can’t take credit for this recipe, but it’s definitely one of my favourites. The author is Ricardo Larrivee, an Italian food network star. You should definitely check out some of his slow cooker recipes, they are delish.

I need to point out that if you don’t already have a slow cooker… you need to stop reading this and get to the mall!!! The slow cooker is my best friend and has saved me countless hours of time. If you love eating delicious food that’s simply made, the slow cooker will be a key ingredient in your life. This is the one I have:

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Here is what you will need for this recipe:
-A 6 quart slow cooker (if you have 4 quart just reduce ingredients accordingly)
-2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
-1  lb (454 g) lean ground beef
-1 onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-2 stalks celery, diced
-2 carrots, diced
-1 can diced tomatoes
-1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
-6 cups chicken broth
-1 sprig fresh thyme
-1 sprig fresh basil (use dry herbs if you don’t want to spend the money on fresh ones- they do the same trick)
-1/2 cup tubetti or other short pasta (shells, macaroni, etc.)

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, brown the meat, onion and garlic, breaking up the meat and seasoning with pepper and salt. Transfer to slow cooker.19206137_10155903706507565_32455000_n.jpg
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to slow cooker, except for the pasta. Mix, cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours.
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  3. Set the slow cooker to high, add the pasta and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper accordingly.All done! Try to tell me that wasn’t easy-peasy?Anyone else have a go-to slow cooker recipe? If you exclude soup, I would say sloppy joes and pulled pork are my next favourites to make in my Crock-Pot!

 

 

Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is great for four main reasons. The first is that it doesn’t use many ingredients, making it very inexpensive. The second is that you can make it as a soup or use it as a pasta sauce. The third is that this recipe is vegan, making it something almost anyone can eat. The fourth is that you feel like you’re indulging because of the creaminess of the butternut squash, but, it is all healthy!

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Here is what you will need:
-2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
-4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 cups)
*You can buy pre-cut butternut squash in packages, which is what I do because peeling squash is the bane to my existence 
-2 medium yellow onions, chopped
-4 garlic cloves, diced
-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
*Alternatively you could add a splash of hot sauce like siracha or Franks
-4 cups vegetable broth
-salt and pepper

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  1. Pour the oil in a large warmed skillet, adding the butternut squash, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes (if you wanted a bit of a kick in your soup). Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent.

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2. Add the broth, bringing the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, until squash is soft, about 15 minutes. At this point, I sometimes add a little more vegetable broth if it has reduced by more than half.

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3. Once the squash mixture is done cooking, remove from heat and let cool a little. Add the contents to a blender and puree until smooth. Add some salt and pepper until the flavours sing to you. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more vegetable broth and if it is not thick enough, cook it a little longer on the skillet.

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This is my favourite soup, what’s yours?