Breakfast Casseroles are a Girl’s Best Friend

Yes, it was the last Sunday of the month – and yes, we ate at Sunday School again.   I made a Mexican Breakfast Casserole and decided it need to be “kicked up a notch” so I used my taco seasoning mix.  I hope they are ok today! HA

This is so versatile – add, change, delete, do whatever you want.  Just make it – man, it smelled like we had a Mexican restaurant in to our class!  It smelled incredible.  And was so easy to make.   This can be put together the night before, bring out the next morning, let sit for about 20 minutes, and bake.

Try it with my homemade taco seasoning mix (recipe is in the sauce section).  It adds so much more flavor than the store bought kind you buy.

Mexican Breakfast Casserole

1 bag (shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed (either a 16-ounce or 20 ounce bag will work)

2 packages taco seasoning mix or about 3 Tbsp my homemade taco season mix

1 lb of either bulk turkey or pork breakfast sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

12 eggs

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I like to use sharp cheddar cheese)

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups (from a 16 oz jar) Old El Paso Thick ‘n chunky Medium heat Salsa

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place hash browns in a bowl with 1 Tbsp of taco seasoning mix.  Stir to combine well.  Pat the hash browns into bottom of dish.

Brown sausage and onion until sausage is cooked. I like to add about 1 tsp of taco seasoning to the sausage mix also to flavor all layers of this casserole so go ahead and throw in some in to this while cooking; drain.

Beat the dozen eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and another 1 1/2 Tbsp of taco seasoning mix in another bowl until well mixed.  Stir in sausage mixture and 1 1/2 cups salsa.   Slowly pour over hash browns in baking dish. Here it is before it is baked:

casserole

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until eggs are set in center.  This will start to set from outside to the middle so just start to watch after about 40 minutes.  Time varies with ovens.  Let stand about 10 minutes before cutting to serve.  And because I am an idiot (yes I admit it) i have no picture of it after it came out of the oven cooked, browned, and looking good.  So you will have to use your imagination and smell-o-vision.  But whatever you do, make this one.
Just ask the next door neighbor’s dog.  (I didn’t do it …. paw paw, shame on you!  I hope Aldo’s ok….he sure loved the stuff!)

Serving suggestions:   Additional salsa, Diced avocados, diced jalapenos, additional shredded cheese, sour cream.

Have a great Monday!

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A Give-a-way like no other

Shianne Mann has a heart for God.  She loves her classmates, she cares for others before herself.   If you saw the article recently either on WSFA or on line regarding Shianne, you already know the story.  But if you haven’t, here it is in short form.

Shianne saw a need, a need among her friends whose parents either couldn’t afford or wasn’t working and could not provide new backpacks (some were in such poor shape, according to Shianne, that they were barely able to hold the school supplies) for the new school year last year for her classmates.   During the summer, Shianne set out to make this happen.  She raised approximately $800 for this project through local businesses and her church and purchased 33 new backpacks for the kids at school for the new school year.  Her principal was surprised, to say the least.  Her mother was proud.  But no one is more proud of what she has done than her Lord and Savior.   She has a heart for God, and a heart for others.

The give-a-way?   This week’s giveaway goes to Shianne Mann, hands down.   Shianne, look for an envelope coming your way (by way of John Hann, a fellow employee of mine and a fellow church goer of yours and a delivery guy extraordinaire) with funds to kick off your new year of collections for “Backpacks for Shianne’s Project”!   You keep this starter envelope to add to your already beginning funds and keep on doing what you are doing….helping others!

I hope you all have a very blessed weekend!!!

Patsy, you have an extraordinary little girl there!  Congratulations!

Bacon Jalapeno Turkey Popper Meatballs

How good does that sound?  Man, oh man.  Serve these with sides for dipping, like salsa, or pico de gallo, guacamole, a dab of sour cream.   Yummy!

AND, a great ahead of time prep to take to tailgate, place in the “basket” grilling pan, and grill!  You get the smokey taste in them along with the heat of the jalapenos, and they are healthy!  Make these ahead of time, freeze and take out what you need. A winner all around.

Bacon Jalapeno Turkey Popper Meatballs

1 lb lean ground turkey

1/4 cup of 1/3 less fat cream cheese

2 egg whites

3 slices turkey bacon, cooked and minced (you can use real bacon if you prefer)

3 jalapenos, minced (leave the seeds out if you want less heat – but mine will have seeds left in!)

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced fine (I will use 2 garlic cloves, as we don’t like a strong garlic flavor)

1/2 cup of 2% Mexican Cheese Blend

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 tsp Mexican chili powder (i am adding 1/2 tsp of cumin to mine also for added mexican flavor)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Remember not to over mix or you will have tough meatballs.  Using a 1 tbsp scoop, (or whatever size you want them to be) scoop out meat and place on baking sheet.   After you have scooped all of them, roll into balls, with slightly moistened hands (moistening hands with water will help meatballs form better and crack less).  Bake for 20-22 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.   (cooking time may change if meatballs are larger)

If you want to freeze, you can then cool completely, place on tray and “quick freeze” for 30 minutes to an hour before bagging and placing in freezer.  By doing this, it will keep them from sticking together in bag and will allow you to take out only what you need.

This recipe is very versatile.  You can add or alter the spices to your liking!   Have fun wit this one!

Collard Green Dip – As Southern As You Get

Football and Collard Green dip – yep!   Sounds yummy, right?   Well, you don’t know until you give it a try!   I have noticed of late that the restaurants (or some locally) have collard Green Dip on their menu. I have wanted to try it but know the contents will be deadly in calories.

I have found a recipe that I have lightened up and one that I know I have have (no real bacon! HA) I will certainly be made this weekend and will be on our tailgate grill heating up when BeeBee comes over (get ready BeeBee!)

The recipe is below – if there is an ingredient out to the side in parenthesis (), that will be the original ingredient that you may insert if you wish to make it the original full-blown way (in other words, with the real bacon stuff – knockyourselfout version).

Serve it with Fritos, Crackers, and if you take it to tailgate, make it up before you go, put it in one of those aluminum cake pans (I always double layer mine) and stick on the grill to heat up!

Collard Green Dip

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 bunches fresh collard greens rinsed and chopped

(I will use the bagged greens, and probably use 1/2 of the bag for this

recipe with the large stem pieces removed)

5 slices of Turkey bacon, chopped     ( or -5 real slices of bacon, chopped)

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar OR 1/4 cup apple juice         ( or 1/4 cup dry white wine)

12 ounces light cream cheese, cut into pieces                (or 12 oz. regular cream cheese, cut into pieces)

1 -8-0z). container fat free sour cream                            (or 8 oz. container regular sour cream)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more for more heat

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup light or fat free Parmesan cheese – the kind used to shake on pizza or spaghetti  (OR 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese)

1.  Heat olive oil in in Dutch oven at medium heat.  Add collard greens and cover, allowing to wilt for about 10-15 minutes, stirring as necessary.  Remove to another bowl.

2.  Cook Bacon in same dutch oven over medium high heat until crisp; remove bacon, and drain; (if using real bacon, reserve 1 Tbsp in pan; if using turkey bacon, may need to add a little more olive oil.)

3.  Saute onions in drippings/oil until tender, about 5 minutes and add chopped garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.  Pour in liquid (either the cider vinegar, the apple juice or wine, stirring to loosen the bits in the bottom of pan.  (get all that flavor up).  Stir in the greens, cream cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring often, 6-8 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thoroughly heated.

4.  Spray pan with cooking spray, and transfer mixture to pan.  sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  broil for about 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.   Sprinkle with bacon pieces (the bacon you browned earlier).

I will also be serving mine with some veggie strips – bell pepper strips, celery strips, carrot strips, – yes, I know it won’t be as good as if I eat it with the Fritos, (which will be on hand for any who want those) but I really am trying to be good on what I eat.

So…..Give this a try for you true Southern raised football fans.   I think you will like this.  Happy Friday!

“Baked” Fried Okra

Yep. You read right. Baked, not fried, but with all the flavor and crunch of fried okra – minus the grease, minus the calories from the fat. Man, were these good.

Here’s what you need;

Fresh okra, sliced (I used about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
plain bread crumbs (make sure it isn’t the italian flavored kind as shown in the photo)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
cayenne pepper
creole seasoning (forgot to leave out so it is not in the picture because I am a dunce)
1 egg white, beaten or one whole egg beaten = I normally use just the egg white but went ahead and used the whole egg – I was feeling wreckless today)

ingredients
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place sliced okra in a bowl and put about 2/3 of the beaten egg (if you are using the whole egg) and all of the slightly beaten egg white (if you are using just the egg white in with the okra and mix.

In another small bowl mix about 3/4 cup bread crumbs, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp creole seasoning and mix in the bread crumbs. Pour bread crumbs into the okra bowl and mix until the okra is thoroughly coated and no longer sticky. You may need to add a little more bread crumbs or you may have some excess bread crumbs in the bowl. Place okra on a pan that has been sprayed with pam spray in a single layer. Spray the top of the okra with pam also as this helps it to get crispy. Trust me on this!
oven ready

Bake in a single layer for 20 minutes; stir okra so that it basically gets turned over so all sides gets crispy. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Enjoy! If needed, sprinkle with a bit more of salt.
finished okra
This was so good – We will be making this from now on – we didn’t miss the “fried” factor at all. Try and see what you think. Play with the spices and add/subtract with the amount you would like in yours.

Peach Dumplings

We have all seen the Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings floating around the net and we’ve probably all made these at one time or another.  My peeps love them and one of their aunts make them for the crowd when requested.

These are along the same lines but just a tad different – using fresh peaches.   One of the sons-in-law loves peach anything – especially peach ice cream so I know he would love these.  I just may have to make him a batch and send them his way!  Especially while the peaches are still in season.

Peach Dumplings

4 medium size peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 4 slices each (each peach will equal 4 pieces for a total of 16)

2 (8 oz) cans crescent rolls

2 sticks butter, melted

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1 can mountain dew or sprite will work just as well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Separate the crescent rolls into triangle.  Roll ne peach slice in each crescent roll covering as much of the peach as possible and place in a 9’x13′ baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.   Melt the butter and mix in the sugar and vanilla.  pour evenly over the cute little crescent bundles.  Then sprinkle them evenly with the cinnamon.  Pour the soda around the edges of the rolls, not over the tops so the cinnamon remains on top.  You could reverse this process by pouring the soda on first then sprinkling on the cinnamon, I guess.  Makes more sense to me!

Bake, uncovered, for approx. 40 minutes until golden brown.  These would be so good served with a scoop of homemade peach ice cream.  Would that be considered peach overload??   Or you could just stick with a good old vanilla ice cream. Never go wrong with vanilla.  

 

See how you like these with peaches.   Or will the apple still be your favorite?   Have a great and blessed day!

 

Mardi Gras Wings from Publix

Ask Publix for their secret rub mix contents to their Mardi Gras Wings and you won’t get it.   It is apparently a rub made especially for them, by them, or by a company for them.   But if you have ever had their Mardi Gras wings, you know they are unique, and good, and savory, and different.   

I have thought and thought on these wings, and knew several ingredients that they contained.   I was missing two that I didn’t think about when I found this recipe that another blogger (Lemonythyme.com) had played around with and this combination almost hits it dead on.   I still feel there is a little something we are not hitting on, but this rub is so close, I may not worry about it or it just may “click” one day and then, there you go.  Perfect!

We made some wings with this rub on it and they were so good, and moist, and flavorful.  I can’t wait to roast a whole chicken with this rub on it.  (If you roast a whole chicken, don’t forget to rub the inside of the cavity, and under the skin with the rub also).  

Give it a try and see just how close you think this comes to the original “Publix Marti Gras Wings” – and if you have never had those, you have missed out on some good Football Food!  Or anytime food, for that matter!

Mardi Gras Wings Seasoning Mix

2 Tbls. dried rosemary

2 Tbls. chili powder

1 Tbls. kosher salt

1 Tbls. garlic powder

1 Tbls. dried ground oregano (I think it may need 1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano and will add this amount next time as a tester)

1 Tbsp Tony’s Creole seasoning

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp. dry ground mustard

1 tsp. black pepper

Mix all ingredients above and store in an air tight container.

To use, Place wingettes on sheet pan; coat with canola oil and stir to coat; liberally sprinkle seasoning on wings and stir with hands to mix coating on wings.  Bake at 375 degrees until desired doneness (we like ours crispy done).  Stir several times during cooking.   

These could also be grilled on your grill once you have coated them in the canola oil and then mixed with the seasoning.

Some of the comments said it had a tad too much rosemary and may need just a pinch of fennel seeds.  I experimented by backing off a 1/2 tbsp of rosemary and adding a pinch of fennel seed but next time I will not do that.   When you eat the wings from Publix there is no fennel flavor and there is a rosemary flavor.   I will keep the amount of rosemary above in the mix and nix the idea of adding any fennel at all.  

Like I said, play around with it.  It would also work well on a pork tenderloin, or now that deer season is almost here, on a back strap or tenderloin. This seasoning is great just as it is.  Hope you like it!