Stellar Brunch Muffins

These family favorite muffins come in handy anytime we have company for brunch or need a quick something to take to a Breakfast event. My daughter often has a breakfast even with her Mary Kay ladies and these Muffins are a HIT every time. She never brings home left overs!

Pancetta Frittata Muffins

(Makes 12 Muffins)

8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup Romano cheese
6 ounces diced pancetta
5 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese diced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh, italian, flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic minced
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a standard sized 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray
Add the eggs, milk, cream, and mascarpone to a blender and blend until well combined. Pour the mixture to a large bowl. Add the Romano, pancetta, smoked mozzarella, grated Parmigiano, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, Stir the ingredients to combine.

Using a small ladle, divide the mixture evenly into each of the 12 muffin cups filling to the top with the liquid. It’s a little messy filling the cups, but don’t worry it’s worth it!

Bake until firm and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and remove from tin.

Make ahead tip: To freeze, allow muffins to cool completely on a wire rack then wrap individually in saran and place in a freezer baggie for up to 2 weeks. To serve, place frozen muffins on a cookie sheet and place in 350F oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through.

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Irish Smashers

If you’re looking for a show stopper for Sunday noon, or a holiday dinner, I have one right here.

Irish Smashers

1 lb small red potatoes cut in half – put on to boil in just enough water to cover (about 15 minutes).
1 large red onion sliced thin and cut in quarters
6 cups or 1/2 head of cabbage finely sliced and slightly chopped
1/4 cup of butter
Melt butter in cast iron skillet, simmer onion until soft, add cabbage and cover. Continue cooking until cabbage is tender.
Add 1 cup milk, salt and pepper to taste, and continue simmering until cabbage is cooked.

In large bowl combine potatoes and cabbage mixture, mash with potato masher or large fork until desired consistency. May add a bit of fresh ground pepper to top for appearance.

This is a family favorite. We often include Irish Smashers at Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years dinners, because there’s such a big pot of it. It feeds a crowd!

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

It isn’t fall yet if you haven’t come home to chocolate chip pumpkin bread baking in the oven. In fact, we often make this as a dessert or after dinner treat. It’s also popular with the ladies who come for Friday morning Tea and Books. In fact, there’s a nice batch sitting in the pantry waiting to be mixed up for tomorrow’s event, now that all the autumn decorating is done!

Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Mini-Loaves for giftsJan’s Spicy Nut Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil (we prefer olive oil)
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions -
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Spray three 9×5 inch clay loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
3. Whisk together first 7 ingredients and set aside.
4. In mixer bowl, cream sugars, pumpkin, oil, water, vanilla and eggs. Blend until smooth, scraping down sides often.
5. Carefully blend in flour mixture.
6. Add in chocolate chips and nuts.
7. Divide batter between three loaf pans.
8. Bake for 60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
9. Allow pans to rest on wire rack for 15 minutes.
10. Go around edge of pan with knife and remove loaves from pan.
11. Cool completely before slicing.

This bread is spectacular wrapped and chilled or frozen as gifts for the holidays. You’ll LOVE these loaves! Don’t forget to share!

For gift giving, I like to sprinkle the top of loaves liberally with cinnamon and sugar before baking. I often bake these into 9 small loaf pans instead of three regular size loaf pans for giving away.

If you’re into the trendy – add bacon to everything. This is the perfect recipe to add a cup of fried, broken and drained bacon bits to. Just make sure there’s no oil left on your bacon and add it to the batter before you bake these loaves. There’s an intense flavor change when you add bacon to these substantial loaves.

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Apricot Glazed Chicken and Rice Dinner

Here’s a family favorite, takes about twenty minutes to prepare from start to finish, and you’re sitting down to dinner.

Put water on for rice – enough for 4 – 5 servings. Bring to a boil while you start chicken. Once boiling, add rice, cover and remove from heat.

In a cast iron skillet, sizzle chicken strips 3/4 per person in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil until white through. Add 1 – 6 ounce jar Smuckers Apricot Preserves (unless you have homemade preserves – then use those). Toss lightly. (Less or more depending on how many you’re cooking for.)

Steam Broccoli Spears on top of stove while everything else is cooking.

If you’re having company, or just want to serve dessert, our favorite with this meal is a cherry pie or quick cherry compote with real whipped cream. You can always have one ready and in the freezer, or whip one up while you’re putting together the rest of the meal. Definitely worth waiting for is this Cherry Dessert!
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Pasta Meal for Pot Luck

Everyone always asks what to take for a pot luck dinner at church, and this favorite keeps coming back year after year. We always enjoy revisiting the old favorites, because we know they are well loved.

Cook fresh pasta – any kind – a BIG Pot of it.

Add in all your favorite pasta veggies – chopped up bite size – fresh.
We add onion, bell pepper, tomato, corn (unusual – but delicious), grated carrots, celery, Zucchini, cucumber, chopped up chicken and some drained and rinsed black beans.

Drizzle on a bottle of Italian Salad dressing and toss lightly to coat all the pasta.

Season with salt and pepper if desired. Add in some fresh chopped basil and parsley and you’ve got a meal fit for a king!

Everyone at the pot luck is going to rave over this salad and it’s so easy, they’ll NEVER know, unless you tell them that you put it all together while the kids finished getting ready for church this morning. Talk about your soul saving, baptism type meal – this is it!

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Alvin’s Sombrero Surprises

Wrap your stetson around these apples, cowboys!

Alvin Grover was my cousin, I suppose he still is, although he’s been gone a long time. I don’t remember him ever fixing this dish, but it’s a favorite of ours, and I’d forgotten where it came from, until I received a copy of this family cookbook from Sharon Fleming of California. The recipe comes from Genevieve Grover (former post mistress from Springfield, CO) where she still resides. So, I’m not real sure if Alvin ever prepared it, or if it was just one of his favorite meals… If I were a betting woman, I’d be banking he never prepared it himself.

But, here is Alvin’s Sombrero Surprises

3/4 lb ground beef
1 tsp seasoned salt
dash of seasoned pepper
1 (10) package refrigerator biscuits (brand don’t matter, but we like Pillsbury ohhhooohooho)
prepared mustard
5 very thin onion slices
1/2 cup torn or shredded lettuce
5 slices American Cheese

Combine ground beef, seasoned salt and pepper. Shape into 5 patties about 3 inches around. In cast iron skillet, brown patties on both sides, drain off fat. On lightly floured board, roll out each biscuit to a five inch circle. Spread half the circles with catsup and mustard, place beef patty on each of these. Add an onion slice cover with lettuce. Cover with the other half of the circles of dough. Moisten edges with a bit of water and press together with a fork to seal. Prick top of each sandwich with a fork three times. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet, about 10 – 12 minutes until golden. Place a cheese slice on top of each and melt in oven about 3 minutes.

Refrigerator biscuits are wrapped around burgers and salad then baked and topped with cheese. Extra cheese is required for delicious results!

Whether or not Alvin made these for himself, I’m betting he enjoyed them frequently. I know my kids love ‘em. My grandkids have decided I’m the PERFECT Gramma because I remembered how to cook… Lucky me! I often make these in patterns the kids love – flowers, cars, boats, etc. and change up the fillings. I’ve been known to add pickles, and other healthy veggies to the Sombrero – which gives them even greater Surprise.

If Alvin’s watching, I know he’s proud of me for thinking about that little option!

Eggplant Lasagna anyone?

Okay – I really have to get a camera ready for cook nights.

This recipe came out extra spectacular and I am going to share it (even without a good picture) because it just turned out so great.

Slice eggplant, paper thin, with a super sharp knife.

Slice a tomato just as thin and set them aside.

Slice an onion super thin, too.

(I cheated and bought a loaf of whole wheat bread from the store unsliced.) Slice a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread into super thin slices.

Layer the eggplant, tomato slices and bread slices in a bake dish with your favorite bottled tomato sauce – we really like a sundried tomato and basil one for this purpose.

In the middle, layer in ricotta and mozzarella cheese combined (about a half inch layer).

Top with more layers of eggplant, tomato, onion slices and bread slices topped with your bottled tomato sauce.

Finish off with a thick layer of mozzarella cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with salad and bread sticks. You’re going to LOVE this summer fresh veggie dish. It’s definitely one you’ll be pulling out for company too. YUM!

World Series 2011 – Famous Jan’s Ball Park Franks

These are only famous this year, because I deemed them famous. HA

In reality, they’ve been famous for MANY years, as everyone comes from miles around for a taste of my INCREDIBLY delicious Ball Park Franks.

Start out with a HIGH quality ALL Beef Hot Dog, we tend to like Jewish Franks the best, because they cut like a steak. YUMMM Can y’all say that? “They cut like a steak. YUMMM!”

Then run on out to the local grocery and pick up some good hefty sourdough buns, the kind you cut up for Hoagies, but don’t cut ‘em up yet. Those individual ones are just about the right size for a good Ball Park Frank if you’cut ‘em in half and spoon out some of the bread. (Just whir the spooned out bread in the blender for a moment and you’ve got bread crumbs for a delicious meat loaf later, but for now, bag ‘em up and save ‘em for later.) Be sure you have enough buns for everyone, because EVERY one will want their own Ball Park Frank.

Tournament Photos Available
Call ahead for group photos, appointments and fundraiser photo shoots for your team!

Now here’s the good part.

Grill up a bunch of those ball park franks and while they’re on the grill, chop up the veggies you’ll want on your World Series 2011 Ball Park Frank. These take a heavy load of veggies and keep on rockin’ the good flavor, so let’s try about 1 cup of each of these to make salsa to spoon on your Ball Park Frank eaters.

Onion – chop it good’n fine.
Hot peppers (go ahead and dice up those chilies and jalepenoes).
Pickles (we just chop up whole dill pickles and mix it all into the salsa)
Cilantro or Parsley

Chop these all up pretty fine, and mix them all together – ratio is about a cup of each one, little more tomato and onion if you like it more “salsa like” or a little more pepper if you like it hotter.

Be sure you warm up the sour kraut and get out all those required condiments (mustard, catsup etc.) We like a little barbecue sauce on ours.

Pull out the dogs and put them in the center of the bun (in the hole you dug out), add condiments, spoon over some warm sour kraut, a good hefty spoonful of salsa and eat it up. You’re going to LOVE these Dogs. Be sure to serve them with plenty of potato salad and baked beans! YUMMMM! That’s delicious!

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