Lemon Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches

These are very easy to make and even easier to devour. Just stir everything in a small bowl and freeze overnight, then cut into bars, sandwiched between graham crackers. With the fat-free yogurt and large dose of fruit, these could be a healthy snack, a healthy dessert, or even a treat at breakfast. You can skip the graham crackers and eat the bars on their own, too — though your fingers will get cold and you won’t get the fun crunch of the crackers.

I adapted the recipe from this one at WW. I used a larger pan, because it made for thinner pieces that were easier to bite into. I added the graham crackers on a whim.

Makes 6 sandwiches

1 lemon
1 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (I have used both Greek yogurt and a mixture of Greek with regular yogurt)
1 Tbsp. agave syrup
1 cup fresh blueberries
13-14 graham cracker rectangles

Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper that hangs off the sides, so you can easily lift the yogurt out later.

Zest and juice the lemon. You need 1/2 tsp. of zest and 1/2 tsp. of juice. Mix the zest and juice into the yogurt with the agave syrup and blueberries.

Crush 1-2 graham cracker rectangles (amount depends on your preference). Spread half the crumbs onto the parchment, then spread the yogurt mixture evenly on top. Scatter the rest of the crumbs over the yogurt, pressing down gently, if possible, to make sure it all adheres.

Freeze overnight. When ready, lift it out of the pan and cut into six bars. Sandwich each bar between two graham cracker rectangles. Enjoy.

Cinnamon Rolls

“Yummy and tasty and good for the mornings,” says my daughter, and that’s the perfect way to describe these cinnamon rolls!

The yeast dough is easy to make, even for someone who may not be used to working with yeast dough. The recipe uses the equivalent of two packets of active dry yeast to shorten the rising time to just 30 minutes. That makes this a great brunch recipe, because you have just enough time after you wake up to prepare the rolls and have them ready for the eager people at the table who have smelled that cinnamon and rushed in to have some. I measure the ingredients and lay them out the night before to save myself time in the morning.

I clipped the recipe from the newspaper years ago. It came from a person named Pat Rising in Lawrenceville, Georgia, who said their father’s parents owned a hotel called the Rising House on New York’s Lake George — and their grandmother’s specialty was these cinnamon rolls.

As my son says, “It’s a great start for a good day.”

1 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
2 packages (0.25 oz. each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
5 1/4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour, unsifted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. cinnamon

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
3 Tbsp. milk
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over medium heat, scald the milk. Remove from heat and add the sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the butter, and mix until melted. Cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add milk mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour, and beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead 8-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. (The dough may stick to your fingers at first, but as it picks up the flour on the board, it will stick less and less. As you knead, scatter a bit of flour on the board to replace what the dough picks up.)

Grease a large bowl with a small amount of canola oil or cooking spray and place dough inside. Turn the dough to grease the top, then cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Yes, those are crayons to mark the dimensions of the rectangle. Use whatever works for you!
Place the rolls in the pan and make sure they are touching but not squeezed together.

Heat the oven to 375F/190C degrees. Melt the remaining butter. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and punch it down to remove air bubbles. Roll it into a rectangle 12×24 inches. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture — all the way to the short sides of the rectangle — and drizzle with melted butter. Roll up jellyroll style into a 24-inch log. Cut into 1 1/2-inch slices and place in a 9×13-inch ungreased baking pan with rolls touching (don’t squeeze them in; just make sure they touch).

Bake 20 minutes. When the rolls are nearly done, mix the confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Pour over the rolls when they come out of the oven and serve immediately.

Eggs Goldenrod

Not everyone likes eggs with runny yolks, but I love them, like in my poached eggs recipe. Sprinkled with salt and freshly ground pepper, soaking slightly into slices of toast, I think they are heavenly.

This classic recipe is another way to have eggs atop toast that has a similar taste without the runny yolks. I’ve had it in my cookbook since the beginning, taped to the first page of the section on breakfast food. It uses hard-boiled eggs, so it requires planning ahead, and a simple white sauce. Serve this to impress guests at a brunch or just for yourself when you’re looking for a different take on your breakfast eggs.

Serves 4

4 slices toast (any type of bread will do, but a darker one will look especially nice)
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 cup white sauce (recipe follows)
Dried parsley for garnish

Make the white sauce.
Cut the slices of toast in half lengthwise. Separate cooked egg yolks from egg whites. Chop egg whites finely, add to the white sauce and pour over toast.
Force yolks through a strainer or potato ricer and sprinkle over the sauce, then sprinkle with dried parsley.

WHITE SAUCE
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
White pepper
1 cup milk

In small saucepan, melt butter. Add flour, salt, and pepper and stir with a whisk until well blended. Pour in milk a little at a time, stirring constantly.
Bring to a boil and boil for about 2 minutes, continuing to stir. The sauce will be somewhat thin.

Blueberry Mascarpone French Toast Casserole

This is an overnight recipe that makes wonderful use of fresh blueberries. Slices of French bread are stuffed with the blueberries, smeared with sweetened mascarpone, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Make this the night before and let it soak up the milk and eggs, and after baking in the morning, it comes out crispy on top and deliciously gooey inside.

I have this recipe for classic French toast, and I have another recipe for French toast casserole that involves chunks of brioche soaked overnight. It’s wonderfully messy and served in big scoops. (I’m happy to share that by request.)

For this recipe, you lay the sliced and stuffed French bread in loaves in the pan. After baking, you just cut a couple of slices and lay them on the plate.

It calls for three loaves and serves 12. I made the whole thing so I could test it out, but also to have as breakfasts for several days to come. I’m sure you could easily scale it down.

This comes from a Better Homes & Gardens book of 13×9-inch one-pan meals. But I had to use a much bigger pan to accommodate the size of the loaves — a 15×12-inch roasting pan. So use whatever size works with the loaves you buy.

3 8-oz. French baguettes
8 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups fresh blueberries
6 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

Grease the baking pan and set aside. Cut each loaf into 1-inch slices, cutting to but not through the bottom of the loaf.

For the filling, in a medium bowl mix the mascarpone with 1 teaspoon vanilla until well blended and smooth. Mix in powdered sugar. Fold in blueberries. Spoon filling between bread slices (I found it easiest to lift up the bread with one hand and smear a spoonful into the open slice with the other). Arrange the loaves side by side in prepared baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over loaves, cover the pan, and chill overnight.

Heat oven to 350F/175C degrees. In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over loaves.

Bake 45 minutes or until egg mixture is set, covering with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Ham and Egg Cups

This recipe is just two ingredients, but it’s how it looks that makes it special. It’s easy to serve and it leaves room on your plate for other yummy things. We had this as part of breakfast for dinner with homemade hash browns, breakfast sausage, and fruit salad. (The hash browns, though tasty, were an utter failure. They will not be homemade next time.)

8 slices good-quality deli ham
8 eggs

Heat oven to 400F/200C degrees. Use cooking spray or butter to grease 8 cups of a muffin tin. Put a slice of ham in each cup, then carefully break an egg into each one. Bake 15 minutes, then lift them out individually and serve.

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Homemade Granola Bars

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Granola bars are my latest breakfast. They’re also one of my children’s favorite snacks, so we go through a lot of them. I wanted to try to make some myself so I didn’t have to keep buying them all the time, and so I could make a slightly healthier alternative than the sugary processed kind. But it’s not easy to replicate the chewy texture that still sticks together as a proper granola bar. I’ve tried making them before and they either fall apart or they’re more like a dessert.

Finally I found this recipe, which has great ingredients such as whole oats, nuts, honey, and healthy add-ins like shredded coconut. It uses a little butter and sugar, which is not ideal for a totally healthy granola bar, but it helps to make it all stick together. And it does stick together.

Thanks to the blog with the great name Bless This Mess Please for the recipe (which I only slightly adjusted).

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cups total extra mix-ins (such as coconut flakes)

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees. Line a 9- or 8-inch square baking dish with lightly greased parchment or foil.

Place the oats and nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Place the nuts and oats in a large bowl.

While the oats are toasting, put the honey, butter, and brown sugar to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. When butter mixture is ready, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.

Pour this mixture over the oats and nuts and stir to combine. Add any extra ingredients and stir to combine. Make sure none of the oats are dry.

Place in prepared pan and use a rubber spatula or the back of a greased spoon to press mixture into the pan. Put in refrigerator for at least two hours, then cut into bars.

Other suggested mix-ins include dried fruit, miniature chocolate chips, and sunflower seeds, but you can play around with ingredients and add whatever you’d like.

Nutella Pancakes

Nutella is supposedly made for breakfast, but fans of the hazelnut-cocoa spread know it’s soooo much better than just a topping for toast. It’s more of a dessert ingredient, like in Nutella brownies, or just a secret, delicious spoonful (um, not that I’ve ever had it that way).

But this recipe takes Nutella back to the breakfast table, this time as a gooey filling for pancakes. And it’s easy.

The night before you make this, put small circles of Nutella on a piece of parchment paper and place in the freezer.

Make this recipe for pancakes, and just before you’re ready to ladle the batter onto the pan, take the Nutella circles out of the freezer. Ladle a little batter onto the pan, place a Nutella circle on top, then cover with more batter. Cook the pancakes as normal.

The Nutella circles never freeze solid, so as soon as you start cooking the first batch of pancakes, return the Nutella to the freezer. Take them back out right before you make the next batch, otherwise the Nutella will be too soft to pop off the parchment and use quickly.

Microwave Poached Eggs

20190201_121915The easiest cooking you’ll ever do, and the simplest way to cook an egg. Finally, eggs can be poached without all the fuss!

Put 8 oz. of water in a glass measuring cup or coffee mug. Break open an egg and quickly pour it in the water. Microwave for 1 minute, then remove the egg with a slotted spoon.

The reason you need to do it individually is to help the egg keep a compact shape. That’s often tricky when trying to poach eggs in a pot of water. A coffee mug or small measuring cup will do that.

Enjoy it on toast with a sprinkling of salt and pepper on top. Heavenly.

Moroccan Orange Salad with Cinnamon

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This recipe is originally from Mourad Mazouz, the owner of the London restaurant Momo. It’s a wonderful, easy, and elegant way to serve oranges as part of a meal. Bonus: It can be plated up and made ahead.

We had a “breakfast for dinner” night and this was on the table with homemade pancakes and breakfast sausage. Everyone finished their plate, including my children, who devoured it. My son even enjoyed the garnish of fresh mint!

I have changed the recipe a little from the original, which I got at some point while we were in London. His calls for regular oranges that are seedless, which I couldn’t find at this time of year, so I used mandarins. His recipe said to slice the peeled oranges, which is difficult with mandarins, so I broke them up into sections and cut the sections into small pieces. That was more accessible for my children anyway.

Serves 4

5 mandarin oranges, peeled with pith removed
2 Tbsp. powdered (icing) sugar
2 Tbsp. orange juice (best if freshly squeezed)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 sprigs of mint leaves

Separate mandarins into sections, then cut each section into four pieces and divide them evenly onto plates. Sprinkle with sugar (depending on your preference, you may not want to use it all), then orange juice, then cinnamon. Put a sprig of mint on each plate. Serve chilled.

Hard-boiled Eggs

There isn’t much to say about this recipe, but it’s a basic one that ought to be in your cookbook somewhere. I’ve been making more of these lately so we can dye them for Easter eggs.

1. Wash eggs to be hard-cooked in warm soap and water.

2. Place eggs in a single layer in an enamel, glass, or steel pan.

3. Add enough tap water to come at least 1 inch above the eggs.

4. Cover the pan and rapidly bring the water to a boil. Then turn off the heat. If you’re using an electric range, take the pan off the burner.

5. Leave the cover on the pan. Let large eggs sit for 15-17 minutes; medium eggs about 3 minutes less; extra-large about 3 minutes more.

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6. Heat retained in the water will continue to cook them, so remove eggs with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Cooling helps prevent the green rings that sometimes form around the yolks.

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Notes:
Don’t worry if the eggs crack a little during boiling, because they are still cooked and perfectly edible. If you dye them, part of the egg underneath the shell will be colored, but since most egg dyes are food-safe it won’t matter.

To eat them, tap the eggs gently on a hard surface to make cracks, then gently peel off the shell.

Slice or cut them into chunks, sprinkled with a little salt. Chop them for an egg salad sandwich or crumble them for a salad. Or make them into deviled eggs — see my recipe here.