Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce

A thick sauce, somewhere in between jam & jelly, this Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce is a delicious addition to your holiday meals. Keep any extras on hand to slather on bread or toast for a simple breakfast or snack that’s bursting with fresh sweet berry flavor and a hint of wine.

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Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

Folks always talk about how patience is a virtue, well I think impatience is every bit the virtue patience is and then some, because impatience gets supper, or in this case breakfast, on the table a whole heck of a lot faster.

The holidays are upon us once again, and as usual, I’m struggling to keep up. While I love that the sons’ are so active, it’s been hard to keep up, and we’re just at the beginning. The hubs lost his job a month ago and, THANKFULLY, was back to work one week later, but for a staffing company. That means that, while after 480 hours, this job will probably become permanent, there’s no guarantee of 40 hours a week right now, or even a guarantee of what hours he’ll be working a week, or if it will even be locally. We had gotten comfy with the whole 9-5 thing. Now he’s stuck with calling a number each night and showing up on site at whatever time is told. Recently, that’s meant he’s had to get up at 4 am to drive for two hours to meet on the job. I just have to say that I’m so proud of him. Even if it’s meant he pulled a 12+ hour day, to turn around tomorrow and drive an hour to work on fumes of sleep to do it all again. When it comes to our family, he gets it done!

I know I’ve said it before, but I really don’t do breakfast. I am SO not a morning person. The sons know, don’t wake Mom up unless there’s a problem. The hubs learned that lesson the hard way. BUT, that doesn’t meant I always want them to be stuck in the land of cold cereal or a mushy bowl of unappetizing instant oatmeal. I don’t want to do that to the sons all the time, and I definitely don’t want to do that to him.

And that’s why we have these little breakfast stars. Just think of them as the healthy version of McDonalds McMuffins, except they taste 10000x better.

Perfectly portioned breakfast sandwiches, ready for a quick re-heat.

Aaaannnnd … let’s DO this!

Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

 Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

6 large eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
6 English muffins, split
12 slices deli-sliced ham
6 slices cheddar cheese

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a cupcake pan, or coat it with nonstick spray.
2. Add one egg to 6 different ‘cups’, beating slightly. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Place the pan into the oven and bake until the eggs are cooked through, about 12-14 minutes.
3. Place 2 slices ham and 1 slice cheese on the muffin bottom, top with one baked egg, and then cover with another muffin top to create a sandwich. Repeat with remaining English muffins to make 6 sandwiches. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
4. To reheat, remove plastic wrap from the frozen sandwich and wrap in a paper towel. Place into microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through completely.
5. Serve immediately.

For those of you who either don’t have, or prefer not to use, a microwave, no worries. These re-heat just fine in a toaster oven 🙂

Caramel Apple Stuffed Waffles

Apple picking seems to be the quintessential start to all things fall. I just can’t help but think about it anytime I remotely think about the season. We’ve gone as a family every fall since Son # 4 was born (I’m big on traditions), and he gets more excited about participating each year. I love the fresh mountain air, the beautiful views, and snapping tons of pics of all the sons in all their boyish glory. The hubs is all about their fresh-from–the-fryer apple cider doughnuts, fresh pressed apple cider, and sitting among the rows of apple trees, and using his pocket knife to cut slices of apple for the kids to enjoy. We always end up with at least one bushel, at most two, of fresh picked fruit to take home. I set aside some fruit for the kids for snacks, and then it’s time to get down to business with what’s left. What better excuse could I have to be making messes and being up to no good in the kitchen? I can’t have perfectly good apples being ignored and going unused. While we all have our favorite ways to enjoy them, each year I love find new favorites and experimenting with different ways to use them all up. This year we discovered not only this recipe, but the stuffed waffle.

What if I told you that this year I took waffles to the next level and stuffed them with caramel coated, sauteed apples and then drizzled them with homemade caramel sauce before topping with another heaping spoonful of cooked apples? That’s right, a double caramel apple whammy! The sons topped there’s with a little bit of pancake syrup or a dollop of butter, and washed it down with a cold class of milk and you know what? They all managed to start the day with a smile!

Caramel Apple Stuffed Waffles

 Caramel Apple Stuffed Waffles

recipe originally from Happy Food, Healthy Life

1 envelope of active yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup of warm milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup of melted butter
3 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw sugar

For the Caramel Apple Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and diced

Directions

1. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm milk in a small bowl. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. The yeast should be foamy at this point.
2. Whisk together the eggs and butter.
3. Add in the milk.
4. In a large bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, and salt
5. Make a well in the center of the flour, and add the liquid ingredients.
6. Whisk until everything is well incorporated. The dough should form into a ball.
7. Cover and let rise until doubled, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
8. Gently stir in the raw sugar.
9. Divide into 8 individual baseball sized balls and let rest about 15 minutes.
10. Prepare the filling: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
11. In a medium bowl, combine diced apples and caramel sauce, leaving about 1/2-3/4 cup of caramel aside to pour over the waffles.
12. Heat waffle iron, and brush with oil or melted butter.
13. Stretch the ball of dough out a bit and place it on the waffle iron so it covers the majority of it. Quickly place about a large spoonful or two of apple filling in the middle of the dough. Top with a second ball of stretched out waffle dough.
14. Gently close the waffle iron and flip per the manufacturers instructions. All the toppings will meld into the dough.
15. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until your waffle is browned.
16. Very carefully, with a fork or two, remove the waffle from the iron. Continue with the remaining waffles.
17. To serve, top with a spoonful of apple filling and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
18. If you’re really in the mood for dessert, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Loaded Maple Bacon Doughnut Fries

Ohhhh, I’m going to be such a bad influence right now.  I mean, if you are trying to eat super healthy or stick to light salads for dinner you might want to look away.  Except don’t!  Because we all need a little cheat now and then, right?  And this one is totally (and I mean TOTALLY) worth the splurge.  Delicious, rich, doughnutty, sweet, and with just the right amount of crunchy bacon bits…. Loaded Maple Bacon Doughnut Fries.  On the stove top. In about 5 minutes.

This was our splurge breakfast to bid adieu to the boys summer break on the morning of their last day before the start of a new school year. I’m totally not a morning person, and with 3 babies getting dropped off in quick succession while trying to get the sons organized and out the door (not a single one of whom is a morning person either) there’s not much chance of a home-cooked, hot-meal. I keep make ahead’s on hand in the freezer, like breakfast biscuits, breakfast wraps, and even frozen omelet ‘cups’, but it’s not always the same as something Mom’s made fresh. Then there’s always the good ol’ fashioned bowl of cereal with milk. So, needless to say, we needed one last BIG hoo-rah before we’re all back in the land of re-heated breakfast bites. This was perfect. Full of decadence. Just a little bit naughty. Almost like sneaking dessert before the rest of the world had even had their first sip of coffee.

Thought you had to have a fancy doughnut pan to make homemade doughnuts? NOPE. Thought you’d have to make batter from scratch? NOPE. Thought it probably just had to be complicated to reach that level of pastry delight? NOPE.

One can of store-bought, refrigerated biscuits and 5 minutes and you’re in business.

Loaded Maple Bacon Doughnut Fries

Loaded Maple Bacon Doughnut Fries

recipe adapted from Beyond Frosting

vegetable oil, for frying
6-8 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 large can of buttermilk or regular refrigerated biscuits (48oz)
 
For the glaze
 
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup unsalted butter, browned
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp milk
Hot Fudge sauce, or chocolate syrup, for drizzling
 
Directions
 
1. In a medium sized skillet, heat two inches of vegetable oil, over medium heat, to 350 degrees You can use a candy thermometer to monitor the temp. Turn your heat down slightly to prevent the oil from getting too hot.
2. While oil is heating, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove biscuits from container, press into flattened, wider circles and cut into strips lengthwise.  Now, using your hands, roll each cutting into a long string, about the thickness of a pencil. Cut in half if necessary.
3. Once the oil is ready, slowly drop biscuits into oil. Bake for about 20-30 second on each side until the dough has turned a golden brown. Using a pair of tongs, remove the ‘doughnut’ from the skillet and set on some paper towels to drain off the excess oil. When finished deep frying, leave your candy thermometer in the oil until it is completely cooled. When cooled it will be safe to dispose of the oil.
 
To make the glaze & Assembly

4. Sift the powered sugar (this will ensure a smoother glaze). It’s recommended, but not absolutely necessary. Set aside.
5. Melt the butter in a small pot. Once melted, stir continuously until it turns a golden brown. Immediately remove the pot from heat.
6. Pour the browned butter, maple syrup, and milk over the sifted powdered sugar.
7. Vigorously, whisk until smooth.
8. For a thicker glaze, add only 1 tablespoon of milk instead of two. Or add additional powered sugar. To make glaze thinner, add additional milk.
9. If using Hot Fudge sauce, heat it briefly in the microwave to make it easier to drizzle over the fries.
10. To assemble the fries, put a bottom layer of doughnut fries on a plate and drizzle maple glaze and chocolate syrup over-top of them. Sprinkle with some of the crumbled bacon. Repeat for as many layers, and/or plates as you want to make.

Strawberry Bread with a Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze

Umm banana bread what?!

Look out kids there is a new snack food on the block and its kicking that old fashioned banana bread to the curb!

Boom.

The old timer’s going down!

Seriously, this strawberry bread is beyond delicious.

We all know I’m not one to exaggerate (much) and although it may seem like I say that every new recipe I post is the newest bestest thing to hit your tastes buds this bread . . . ohmywordthisstrawberrybread!

You need it in your life!

Today!

See this spring I made my first strawberry bread and since then it’s quickly become a summer staple, which I’m sure we’ll see continue to return year after year. This time I thought I’d jazz it up a bit by adding a a little something extra. I ended up adding a sweet strawberry glaze (or if I’m being honest– icing), because go big or go home – amiright?

Fresh strawberries meet an almost cake-like bread. You could forgo the glaze and just spread each slice with butter or strawberry flavored cream cheese and it would be just as delicious!

Like I said, you need this in your life.

ASAP.

Glazed Strawberry Bread

 Glazed Strawberry Bread

recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups 

1 cup chopped strawberries
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cups flour

Glaze

1/4 cup strawberry jam or preserves
1/4 cup (2 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions

1. Put the chopped strawberries in a small bowl. Add flour and stir/toss making sure they’re coated well. Set aside.
2. In a mixer, or by hand, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes of vigorous mixing. Next, add the eggs and vanilla mixing until fully incorporated, scraping the sides, as necessary.
3. Add in the baking powder and salt and mix to completely combine.
4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly begin adding in the flour and milk, beginning and ending with flour, but alternating between the two.
5. Continue mixing until batter is smooth and evenly combined.
6. Using a spatula, fold in the strawberries until they’re fully incorporated, evenly, into the batter. Pour the batter into a greased 9×5 in. pan.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick or knife that’s inserted into your loaf comes out clean.
8. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Glaze

Beat the strawberry jam/preserves, cream cheese, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Spread over the cooled bread, allowing it to drip down the sides. Wait about 10 minutes to allow the glaze to ‘set’ before slicing and serving.

Sausage & Grits Chowder

A bowl of steaming grits is a Southern wake-up call in many homes, mine included.

While I love grits, I’ve been a bit jaded with the same ol’, same ol’ breakfasty/brunchy blend. A lot of recipes for a pairing of grits and anything incorporate TONS of butter, cheese and eggs. My version is somewhat conservative when it comes to making a typical meal of it. For example, there’s no butter, or eggs, and the cheese was only a garnish. It’s going against the grain, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, Grandma’s grits aren’t only for breakfast or brunch anymore.

Move over shrimp & grits. We’ve upgraded. Sausage & Grits are an award winning combo, and while a chowder may not be a ‘typical’ use for grits in my neck of the woods, one bite and you might be calling it Southern Heaven.

Sausage & Grits Chowder

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sausage & Grits Chowder 2

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

1 lb sausage
2 cans Cream of Potato soup
1 (14.75 oz) can cream corn
3 cups milk
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup quick grits
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

4 Sons 'R' Us: sausage & grits chowder

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of broth to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup of quick grits. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, until grits are done, stirring often.
2. Brown sausage over medium-high heat in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven. Stir in Cream of Potato soup, cream corn, 2 1/2 cups milk and cajun seasoning. Stir in cooked grits. If soup is too thick, add more milk. Simmer over low heat until heated through, approximately 10 minutes.
3. Serve with toast & shredded cheddar cheese for garnishing.

Sous Chef Sunday: Cinnamon Roll Waffles with Cream Cheese Glaze

These a without a doubt the easiest waffles ever. They literally take 5 minutes to make/bake. So, break open a tube of cinnamon rolls!  That’s all you need for an amazing cinnamon roll waffle breakfast.  Well, that and a waffle maker. 

The sons loved these! And by loved, I mean asked for them for breakfast every morning for 7 days in a row. I loved that they’re so simple, they can make them themselves. (Of course, the younger ones would need supervision around a hot waffle iron.) Monday morning, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… well, you get the idea. Mama does not cook breakfast. At least not in the morning. I value every last second of my sleep. Often I will have prepared something ahead of time that the older sons can pull out of the chest freezer and pop in the toaster oven. Sometimes not. And then your options are a) yogurt, b) a bowl of cereal or c) go hungry. So again, we all love simple, but yummy breakfast recipes! This is the sons favorite, BY FAR.

Cinnamon Roll Waffles with Cream Cheese Glaze

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cinnamon Roll Waffles

1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

1. Heat waffle maker; spray with cooking spray. Remove cinnamon rolls from can; set icing aside.
2. For each waffle, place 1 cinnamon roll in center of waffle maker; close. Bake 3 to 4 minutes or until waffle is thoroughly cooked and golden brown. Make sure to spray the waffle iron in between each waffle since the sugars in the roll will make them more likely to stick.
3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together reserved icing, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until glaze is smooth.
4. Serve glaze over hot waffles. The sons love these with yogurt, and/or some fresh fruit.

For those of you early birds who actually like to cook breakfast, or if you’re a breakfast for dinner kind of person, check out our breakfast enchiladas. They don’t disappoint.

Sous Chef Sunday: Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Mmm. Chicken, and waffles. Two seemingly unrelated things, but when put together make a food-gasmic combination. The sons, yet again, were skeptical. Four identical sets of little arched eye-brows as I got out just 3 ingredients. When, oh when, will they learn to trust me in the kitchen?! The sons followed the super simple recipe all by themselves, although with supervision since they were using the oven. The older sons can handle it, but Son # 4 gets so excited to be involved in the process, I worry he might forget hot things lead to burned fingers. Each son, in turn, took one tentative bite, and then proceeded to scarf them down. They looked like squirrels packing away food for winter. There was even a brief skirmish over the last two and who deserved them MOST. A chicken and waffle combo may have sounded weird to the more traditional tastes of the Sons, but they all agreed UNANIMOUSLY (might I point out this almost never happens!), that these little suckers are finger-lickin’ good.

Chicken & Waffle Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken & Waffle Sliders

frozen mini waffles, fully toasted
chicken tenders, cooked
{real} maple syrup
toothpicks

Directions

1. Slice your cooked chicken tenders in half. Break your toasted waffles apart.
2. Sandwich one piece of chicken between two cooked waffles. Secure with a toothpick.
3. When all the tenders have been ‘sandwiched’, drizzle them with maple syrup and serve warm.

Spinach And Cheddar Egg Bake

I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about breakfast, and breakfast foods in general, that has all my guys (husband included) running for the table. They like breakfast for breakfast, for brunch, or even for ‘brinner’ (what they’ve dubbed breakfast for dinner). I, naturally, have to be the odd man out. I like breakfast as much as the next person, but I hate going all out, making multiple complicated things, etc. If I’m making breakfast, regardless of which meal time it’s for, I like to keep it simple. Most likely, because I spend half my life in the kitchen, but who knows. That’s why this breakfast-y bake is perfect for people like me. This egg-bake is easy to throw together, and delicious. I’ve found that sometimes simple just tastes better. Oh, and I also live for those little moments in life, those little victories, like successfully sneaking spinach into my boys’ bellies.

Spinach & Cheddar Egg Bake

4 Sons 'R' Us: Spinach and Cheddar Egg Casserole

  •  5 oz fresh spinach (4 cups packed), organic is best
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, a mexican blend or mozzarella are also delicious
  • 1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced (or diced white onion)
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add all the spinach and stir until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the spinach to the casserole dish, spreading out so that the bottom is covered.
  4. Layer the shredded cheese and onion on top of the spinach.
  5. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach, cheese, and onions.
  7. Use a fork to gently ‘stir’ so everything is evenly combined.
  8. Bake about 35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to slightly brown.
  9. Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting and serving to allow everything to settle.