Category Archives: Breakfast & Brunch

Spinach Bread Pudding with Lemon and Feta

I’ve been making sourdough bread quite a bit recently, and I needed to find some interesting things to do with the leftover bread. I’ve been making this recipe for years, and I knew the sourdough would work well. This is always a breakfast hit – whether we have overnight guests or not. Everything is prepped the night before, and I just pop it in the oven in the morning. And extra servings freeze and reheat well! Enjoy!

Spinach Bread Pudding with Lemon and Feta

Adapted from Heidi Swanson (101 Cookbooks), published in Food & Wine
Serves 6

2 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz sourdough bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese (about 2 oz)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 large eggs, beaten
2 cups skim milk
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper (1/4 tsp each)
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano

1.Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray non-stick spray on a medium baking dish. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until dry but not browned. Let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the spinach and 1/4 cup of the feta.

2.In another bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the mustard, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir until they are evenly moistened. Transfer the bread mixture to the baking dish and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.

3.Sprinkle the remaining feta on the bread pudding and bake at 350°in the center of the oven until risen and set, about 40 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and broil until the bread pudding is golden and crispy on top, about 1-2 minutes. Scatter the oregano on top, cut into squares and serve.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 223.1
Total Fat: 10.2 g
Cholesterol: 186.6 mg
Sodium: 560.1 mg
Total Carbs: 19.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g
Protein: 15.9 g


Scrambled Egg Muffins

In addition to all of the cookbooks I have and cooking magazines I subscribe to, I am also signed up for several food-related emails (shocking, I know!). Upon opening a recent food email, it led me down a rabbit-hole of links, which led me to the original recipe for these scrambled egg muffins. I liked most of the recipe, but decided to change a few things to suit our tastes a bit better. I wasn’t sure how these would turn out, and I was a little nervous, as I ended up filling 16 muffins-worth with the batter (that original recipe had only made 12, but I couldn’t fit the batter into 12 spots). Luckily, these turned out amazingly well! And because there were so many, I can safely say that they reheat well and even freeze well for eating later! Enjoy!

Scrambled Egg Muffins
Adapted from savorthis, Food52blog, Nov 2013
Makes 16 servings

8 oz lean ground pork
1/2 Tbsp breakfast sausage seasoning (I use Penzey’s)
1 Tbsp whipped butter, divided
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp maple syrup
6 large eggs, divided
1 cup white whole wheat flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Ivory Wheat Organic Flour)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat free shredded cheddar
1 large roasted poblano chile, skins removed and diced
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Cook ground pork with sausage seasoning in a skillet until browned, then crumble and set aside.

2. Melt a 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the same skillet over medium heat, add red pepper and cook until brown. Remove and to bowl with sausage, set aside. Stir syrup into sausage/peppers.

3. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of butter to pan and scramble 4 of the eggs with salt/pepper to taste until just barely cooked through. Add to bowl with sausage and peppers.

4. Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and black pepper. In another bowl, whisk milk, remaining 2 eggs, and 1/4 cup applesauce.

5. Stir dry and wet mixtures together then fold in cheese, sausage, bell pepper, eggs, and poblano chiles. Spray muffin tins (or use liners) and add batter. Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

**Note** These freeze and reheat well.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 109.6
Total Fat: 2.7 g
Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 71.0 mg
Sodium: 298.2 mg
Potassium: 117.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 13.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.7 g
Sugars: 2.2 g
Protein: 8.3 g

Crustless Smoked Salmon Quiche with Dill

This is one of my absolute favorite brunch recipes! We’ve been making this recipe for years, and it is always a hit. We even made these for a friend’s baby shower a few years ago, and the guests *loved* them! Enjoy!

Crustless Smoked Salmon Quiche with Dill
Adapted from Cooking Light, July 2002
Serves 12

1 1/4 cups fat-free half & half
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream (I use Lilly brand or Trader Joe’s brand)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gouda cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup thinly sliced wild smoked salmon, chopped (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in cheese, onions, salmon, dill, and pepper. Pour egg mixture into a muffin tin (12) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 66.6
Total Fat: 3.4 g
Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 57.4 mg
Sodium: 159.0 mg
Potassium: 99.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 3.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Sugars: 2.0 g
Protein: 4.9 g

Glazed Carrot Cake Muffins

I was looking for something different to make for breakfast last weekend. As I was looking through recipes, I found this one from the Weight Watchers website, and it looked really good. So – I thought – why not? That morning, John was still sleeping, so I had time to work on making these muffins. By the time he woke up, these were baking in the oven, and he was surprised with a fun breakfast of freshly-baked muffins. These were *really* tasty, and I can’t wait to make them again! Enjoy!

Glazed Carrot Cake Muffins

From WW website
makes 12 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour (I use Ultragrain all-purpose)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup uncooked carrot, finely grated

1 1/2 oz Neufchatel cheese, softened
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp light unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 tsp orange zest, grated

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners (or coat muffin pan with cooking spray).

2. In a large bowl, combine both types flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, 1 c coconut milk, brown sugar, oil and vanilla until blended; stir in carrots.

4. Stir carrot mixture into flour mixture just until blended.

5. Divide batter among prepared muffin-pan cups (a rounded 1/4 cup in each). Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of each muffin comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, to make glaze, whisk together cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tsp coconut milk and orange zest in a small bowl until smooth; spread glaze evenly on tops of cooled muffins.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 154.2
Total Fat: 6.4 g
Saturated Fat: 2.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.5 g
Cholesterol: 18.2 mg
Sodium: 216.9 mg
Potassium: 55.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 21.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
Sugars: 7.6 g
Protein: 3.6 g

Buttermilk Biscuits

I love buttermilk biscuits, and I finally came across this recipe a few years ago. This recipe is soooo simple, but absolutely fantastic! These biscuits are great for brunch with homemade jam, or just for a lazy weekend breakfast! Enjoy!

Buttermilk Biscuits

From Bon Appetit, Oct 2000
Makes 12 biscuits

3 cups all purpose flour (I use ultragrain all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Using fingertips, rub 3/4 cup chilled butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal (or combine in food processor). Add buttermilk and stir until evenly moistened.

Pat dough into a rough square, using a rolling pin to even it out, then cut into 12 square biscuits.

Place on parchment-lined making sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 232.5
Total Fat: 12.0 g
Saturated Fat: 7.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.4 g
Cholesterol: 31.9 mg
Sodium: 484.9 mg
Potassium: 68.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 27.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Sugars: 3.2 g
Protein: 4.0 g

Blueberry sour cream muffins

Sometimes, I just crave a great blueberry muffin.  I thought I had tried the best blueberry muffins, until I had this one.  My college roommate made these when we visited her family a few years ago, and she was nice enough to tell me that the recipe came from the package of King Arthur flour!

As I’ve mentioned before, I collect recipes from *everywhere*, so I will gladly take a recipe from King Arthur via my college roommate, for sure!  Enjoy!

Blueberry Muffins with Sour Cream

From King Arthur Flour
Makes 12 muffins

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with papers, and grease the papers.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then set aside.

3) In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand-held or stand mixer, until light, fluffy, and almost white in color. Start the mixer at low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, then gradually increase speed to medium-high until the desired color and texture are reached.

4) Scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is incorporated, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5) Add the vanilla and sour cream or yogurt, and mix until incorporated.

6) Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until the batter is smooth. It will be thick.

7) Fold in the berries by hand.

8) Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, using a heaping 1/4-cup for each. Sprinkle with regular granulated or coarse white sugar, if desired.

9) Bake the muffins for 18 to 24 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling on a rack.

Nutritional Info Per Serving:
Calories: 205.1
Total Fat: 5.7 g
Saturated Fat: 3.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 44.5 mg
Sodium: 232.4 mg
Potassium: 55.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 33.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Sugars: 15.2 g
Protein: 4.3 g

Spicy Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

When I was thinking of how I should describe this recipe, the only thing I could think of was… Delicious! We first had this while we were visiting our friends Cheryl & Troy, and Troy whipped these up for breakfast one day. From then on, we’ve been hooked, and we obviously had to figure out how to make these at home. So, enjoy our version of Troy’s spicy breakfast sandwiches!

Spicy Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Inspired by Troy
Serves 2

2 ciabatta rolls (we use the Trader Joe’s brand)
3 eggs
2 slices bacon, cooked
2 Tbsp light mayo
2 tsp sriracha or chile garlic sauce

Optional: cheese or avocado slices

Cook bacon until crisp, drain and set aside. Crumble when cool.

Mix mayo and sriracha or chile garlic sauce in a small dish. Set aside.

Slice ciabatta rolls, toast (in toaster or toaster oven). Meanwhile, whisk eggs and scramble in a skillet until cooked.

Spread mayo mixture on cut sides of toasted ciabatta rolls. On each half, add bacon crumbles, then add eggs to bottom halves. Top each with top half, and serve warm.

Optional (not included in nutritional info): Add cheese or sliced avocado before the top half.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 364.8
Total Fat: 11.2 g
Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 279.0 mg
Sodium: 763.7 mg
Potassium: 103.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 3.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
Sugars: 1.3 g
Protein: 16.5 g

Buttermilk Pancakes

We love pancakes at our house. But we’re particular. We recently tried a recipe from a popular recipe blog, and I have to say – we were not impressed. But we keep coming back to this recipe, and it is always fantastic! In fact, my nephew recently asked which “mix” I use for these pancakes. When I told him they were homemade, he was blown away – he said they were better than any mix he’d had. I’ll take that compliment!

This recipe goes back several years for me. It actually first appeared in Cooking Light as a savory dinner recipe – Green Onion pancakes with Tomato-Avocado salsa. That recipe was great, but to be honest, I haven’t made it in years! But – what I loved were the actual pancakes. I knew there must be a way to tweak the recipe just slightly to make them from a savory pancake into a sweet breakfast pancake, and that’s exactly what I did! Ever since then, I’ve actually kept this recipe (the dry ingredients) in quart-sized ziplock bags in my pantry for my own homemade mix. I just write the remaining ingredients and instructions on the outside, and that way these pancakes are super-easy for my coffee-deprived brain to make on a weekend morning. Enjoy!

Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from Cooking Light, April 2003 (originally Green Onion pancakes with Tomato-Avocado salsa)
Makes 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk and egg in a bowl; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist. Let stand 10 minutes.

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked (about 3 minutes). Serve with maple syrup.

**Note** These are great with blueberries, too. Just add 1 cup blueberries to batter, and cook as directed.

** Another note** For quicker preparation, the dry ingredients can be made up ahead of time and stored in the pantry (can be stored for 3-4 months). Just add the buttermilk and egg (and fresh or frozen blueberries, if desired) to the dry mix and make as directed.

Nutritional info (per pancake):
Calories: 77.9
Total Fat: 0.8 g
Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 16.7 mg
Sodium: 280.9 mg
Potassium: 69.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 14.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Sugars: 2.2 g
Protein: 3.1 g

Nutritional info With Blueberries (per pancake):
Calories: 84.8
Total Fat: 0.8 g
Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 16.7 mg
Sodium: 281.5 mg
Potassium: 79.6 mg
Total Carbohydrat: 15.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Sugars: 3.5 g
Protein: 3.2 g

Multigrain French Toast

For the first time in a long time, I was in the mood for French Toast this weekend. So – I took a quick inventory of what we had on-hand in the pantry and fridge, and made some fantastic French Toast. I’ve always made it this way (give or take a few ingredients), but I thought I’d make it into a formal “recipe” and share it with you. Enjoy!

Multigrain French Toast
A Karen original recipe
Serves 2

6 slices Alpine Valley Organic 12-grain bread with Omega-3 (45 cal/slice)
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup skim milk
dash salt
dash cinnamon
dash cardamom
dash freshly grated nutmeg

1. Place bread into shallow casserole dish (I use a 13×9 pyrex dish).

2. Whisk eggs, milk, and seasonings in a bowl. Pour over bread.

3. Let bread soak in the egg/milk mixture, turning once.

4. Cook French toast on a non-stick griddle pan set to 325 degrees. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until browned and puffy. Repeat with any remaining pieces. 

5. Serve hot, with fresh fruit and maple syrup, if desired.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 286.6
Total Fat: 7.6 g
Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.9 g
Cholesterol: 292.1 mg
Sodium: 418.8 mg
Potassium: 259.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 33.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.4 g
Sugars: 8.4 g
Protein: 19.3 g

Multigrain Pancakes with Blueberries

I love pancakes on a Saturday morning. And so does John! So, several years ago, I sought out the best pancake recipes I could find, and I started making them. Then I realized that I’m lazy on weekend mornings, so I figured out that I could package the dry ingredients ahead-of-time, then just assemble the pancakes right before cooking (see Note below). Perfect!

The original recipe was for plain multigrain pancakes (which you can certainly make, if you’re not a fan of adding fruit!), but we love to add bluberries (either fresh or frozen) to this for a fantastic blueberry pancake! Either way, they are delicious!

Multigrain Pancakes with Blueberries
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 1997
Serves 4 (4 pancakes each for blubeberry, 3 pancakes each for plain)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large egg
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Combine first 7 ingredients; stir well. Combine remaining ingredients (except blueberries); stir well. Add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.

Gently fold in blueberries (if using).

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Serve with maple syrup and low-fat granola, if desired.

*Note* I like to keep the dry ingredients in a jar or a zip-top bag in the pantry, ready-to-go. I label the bag and write the additional ingredients & amounts on it (egg, milk, yogurt, & oil). Then, I just add the wet ingredients, mix, and it’s ready to go!

Nutritional info (for 4 blueberry pancakes):
Calories 266.6
Total Fat 8.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.8 g
Cholesterol 47.8 mg
Sodium 540.1 mg
Potassium 203.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 48.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Sugars 17.1 g
Protein 8.5 g

Nutritional info (for 3 plain pancakes):
Calories: 246.1
Total Fat: 8.4 g
Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 48.1 mg
Sodium: 532.1 mg
Potassium: 165.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 43.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Sugars: 13.5 g
Protein: 8.2 g