Food, recipe

Chicken Caprese Brunch

The other night I made a delicious Caprese Chicken Bake and we had a couple of leftover breasts. Not enough for a full meal and I already dinner plans for the next couple of days. So I decided to turn them into brunch. Lloyd and I firmly believe that you can turn anything into brunch with a side of bacon and eggs.

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They looked pretty good at dinner time. But by the next time and a night spent in the fridge they were decidedly unappetizing. The challenge was going to be heating them up without drying out the breasts. The oven would have dried them out so I just put them in a non-stick pan and covered them.

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See, not particularly pretty. But stay with me, it does get better! While the chicken was being reheated I put the last of my delicious Woodbury Farms bacon in the oven. I prefer to cook bacon in the oven because it’s a no muss, no fuss situation this way.

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Another little trick I like to use when making a meal with a couple of different items coming off the stove/oven at different times is heating my plates in the microwave and storing food in their while the next item is being prepared.

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Once the chicken was heated through I put that in the microwave and checked on my bacon. Poor little lonely guy all alone. Don’t worry buddy, your friends are coming.

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When it was about five minutes from being ready I started making eggs. I used my Woodbury Farms eggs. Don’t mind the straw, not washing them keeps them fresh on the counter for much longer than washed eggs will hold up in the fridge.

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Now I had bacon, eggs and a reheated chicken breast. But I still had this plate of soggy chicken juice leftover from the pan the night before. It was tasty if gooey-looking but what was I going to do with it?

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I decided to reduce it down with a healthy splash of white balsamic vinegar and use it as a sauce over my eggs. The balsamic also balances out your caprese flavors. I cranked the heat right up in my pan and added the vinegar. I use Figone’s white balsamic vinegar. If you ever find yourself in Sonoma, CA I would head to their tasting room and check them out!

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I stirred constantly because I didn’t want this to burn and in about a minute it had thickened up and was nicely sticky. Once you see these great big bubbles and your sauce has achieved a uniform color you know it’s ready.

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Now take your plate with the chicken, bacon and eggs and just spoon it on!

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To make a long story short, anything can be brunch as long as you add bacon and eggs. Remember that.

Ingredients:

  1. Last night’s chicken breasts
  2. Last night’s chicken sauce
  3. Bacon
  4. Eggs
  5. White balsamic vinegar

Recipe:

  1. Place bacon on a rack and put in cold oven set to 400 degrees fahrenheit. As the oven heats, so does the bacon given you a perfect cook on your bacon. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Heat chicken breasts (covered) in a non stick pan and then place on heated plates in the microwave.
  3. Cook eggs in same pan and place on plates in microwave.
  4. Reduce chicken sauce down with some white balsamic vinegar. Try to use a ratio of 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 of your sauce.
  5. Once sauce is bubbling spoon onto the eggs and add your bacon to the plate.
  6. Serve with salt, pepper and hot sauce if that’s how you roll.
Food, recipe

Savory Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

We are absolutely a savory over sweet breakfast family in the Gallinaik house. You may have read my post on Savory Brunch Oatmeal which is perfect for one or two people. But if you have to feed a crowd than it’s time to bust out that crockpot!

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This is so amazingly easy. I poured in oats, unsalted chicken stock and some butternut squash to give it some extra texture/flavor. Next I added in some leftover seasonings I had lying around the kitchen. I tossed in some italian seasoning as well as the usual salt, pepper and garlic.

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I shaved up the last of the gruyere cheese I had and added in some smoked sun dried tomatoes for color and flavor.

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All that was left to cover and let cook on low for five hours. My crockpot automatically switches to warm so we were all set for delicious aromas come the next morning. This is what I came down to, the butternut squash was fully cooked but not very well incorporated.

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After some brisk stirring I got it all smoothed out. It took a little elbow grease and I scraped down the slightly charred sides and stirred that in as well. I did add in some extra unsalted chicken stock to help loosen things up.

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We had a special treat for topping this time around. Lloyd’s best friend and best man, Steve, makes his own honey and sugar smoked bacon so he fried some up for us. As well as some home made sausage and fresh chicken eggs. In fact his family have a little farm where these amazing things are for sale. Check out Woodbury Farms if you ever get a chance.

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We laid out the breakfast meat next to the crockpot and let people help themselves. It was a great way to serve a large group breakfast with very little effort.

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All in all it was a yummy and simple way to break our fast. It’s very easy to make this sweet if that’s what you prefer. Sub the squash for apples/pears. And the spices I used for cinnamon and sugar. I would switch out the cheese for a little maple syrup as well. And definitely avoid the chicken stock, water and milk will do you just fine. Enjoy! And as usual, please tell me how you would make this your way!

Ingredients (serves 8):

  1. 2. cups of rolled oats
  2. 1 box of unsalted or low sodium chicken stock
  3. 2 cups of cubed butternut squash
  4. 8 oz sun-dried tomatoes
  5. 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  6. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  7. Eggs and breakfast meats as wanted

Recipe:

  1. Add all ingredients to a crockpot and give it a good stir. Don’t be afraid to taste for salt. Crockpots are notorious for producing under salted meals so don’t be worried if it tastes a little salty.
  2. Set on low and let cook for five hours. If your crockpot switches to warm that’s great. Otherwise plan to get up 20 minutes early to turn it back on ad let it heat up before serving.
  3. Serve with eggs, breakfast meats. Feel free to top with chopped cherry tomatoes, avocado or anything else for garnish.

 

Food, recipe

Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches

I had to feed a troupe of hungry adults breakfast before we headed out to Gettysburg National Park. But I didn’t want to have to get up and cook so I made these make ahead breakfast sandwiches and they were a huge hit. Claire helped me with the heating and serving of these little bits of yum. And also served as sandwich model!

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I used frozen whole grain waffles as my base and piled on eggs, pimento cheese and chicken sausage  from there. But honestly you could use any combination of meat/cheese/egg. And could even substitute waffles for english muffins, crumpets or any carb your heart desires.

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The only thing that is remotely time consuming is making the individual eggs. But I have a little trick up my sleeve that makes it slightly less onerous. I microwave my eggs in a wide based soup cup. Put a splash of olive oil in the cup, crack your egg in, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and microwave. Depending on how done you want your eggs your time will range form 30 seconds to a full minute. I did these for about 45 seconds each.

 

I had to make 8 sandwiches but my cutting board isn’t big enough for all the so I did them in two batches. I then bagged them up and put them in the freezer until it was time to take them up to our Gettysburg AirBnB.

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We popped them in the oven heated to 375 degrees for about twenty minutes and they were ready to go. I also put out some fancy mustards and mayos so that people could jazz up their sandwiches.

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As you can see freezing and reheating didn’t harm that at all. And the time in the oven got the pimento cheese all lovely and melty while the waffles crisped up. This would be an excellent thing to make on a Sunday and pull out of the freezer/fridge on a weekday morning and reheat in the microwave or toaster oven before work.

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Let me know in the comments what you would put on your sandwich! I love hearing new ideas!

Ingredients, serves 8:

  1. 2 packages of frozen whole grain waffles
  2. 1 package of chicken sausage with four sausages
  3. 8 eggs
  4. 1 tub pimento cheese

Recipe:

  1. Pull waffles out of freezer, do not defrost or warm up.
  2. Apply thin layer of pimento cheese to two waffles
  3. Cut sausage in half length wise and then again crosswise to leave you with four pieces.
  4. Place two pieces of sausage on top of one waffle
  5. Cook individual eggs in mug for 45 seconds after seasoning with salt and pepper
  6. Place egg on top of other waffle
  7. Close sandwich and put in paper bag and freeze or refrigerate.
  8. Once ready to eat place on microwave safe dish and microwave for 1 minute if from fridge and three minutes if from freezer
  9. If baking place in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes if from fridge and 40 minutes if frozen
Food

Crisper Raid Quiche

Do you hate having to throw away food that you bought and never got around to using before it hit the expiration date or just got plain gross? Me too! I usually end up pulling everything that’s about to go bad out of the fridge and staring at it until I come with a way to throw it all together. Today I was slightly more prepared though and had a couple of pie shells in the freezer so I could make quiche with whatever was left in the crisper. And because pie shells come in pairs I made a second quiche that I could freeze and eat next weekend.

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After today’s crisper raid I had half a red onion, a smallish red bell pepper and a box of sliced mushrooms. Plus some assorted herbs that were on their very last leg; basil, chive, and parsley. I chopped everything up and added it to the pan starting with the onions. I then added the bell pepper, mushrooms, some mince garlic and the herbs. And of course I added the mandatory trifecta of salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Once things were cooked down I added in some chicken sausage that I recently discovered. I like this one because it isn’t maple flavored or apple flavored or some other sweet nonsense. It’s actually a pretty nice replacement to the fattier pork country sausage.

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I chopped up the sausage and added it to the pan and gave it good stir to coat everything and then added it to the waiting pie shells.

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It actually looks pretty good right now. My fiancé, Lloyd, would probably love it if I just turned it into a massive empanada instead of adding the eggs. Except he loves eggs. Lloyd is basically Gaston and eats five dozen eggs everyday and is roughly the size of a barge. Speaking of eggs, I made a quick egg mixture with about 8 eggs, a splash of cream, salt and pepper. My secret ingredient is about a tablespoon of corn starch. It makes the eggs extra light and fluffy when they bake.

The next step is the all important cheese and decorating step. I had a little bit of jack cheese left in the fridge and I mixed that into the filling before I added the eggs and then topped with some cheddar and sliced cherry tomatoes. It made for a pretty pre-bake picture. And an even prettier post-bake shot.

 

Serves: 1-10. Who is to say you can’t eat two whole quiches all by yourself? You do you. I will not shame you with suggested portion sizes.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients ***the veggies and herbs I used are just a suggestion, feel free to use whatever is in your fridge***

  1. Onion
  2. Bell pepper
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Herbs (chives, parsley, basil)
  5. Minced garlic
  6. Salt, pepper, garlic powder
  7. 8 Eggs
  8. 1 Tbsp Cream (optional)
  9. 1 Tbsp Cornstarch (optional)
  10. Cheese
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Frozen pie shells

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Dice veggies and chop herbs.
  3. Sautee your veggies starting with hardest and ending with softest. I did onions, bell peppers and then mushrooms.
  4. Add in your garlic, herbs and seasonings. Don’t overcook your veggies mix because it’s going to cook some more in the oven and you don’t want a big soggy mess.
  5. Chop up and add in your sausage if you are going for a non-veg quiche. I used the chicken sausage I mentioned above but you could put in whatever you happen to have in your fridge, including lunch meat you need to use up.
  6. While your veggies/sausage are cooking down you can whip your eggs. Add them to a large bowl and fold in the salt/pepper and your optional cream and cornstarch.
  7. Scoop your mixture into your pie shells and stir in some cheese.
  8. Cover your veggies/sausage with your egg mix and then top with more cheese. I added on the sliced cherry tomatoes for some color.
  9. Bake your pies on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes or until the center doesn’t jiggle and the top has gotten a nice golden brown coloration.
Food

Savory Brunch Oatmeal

fullsizeoutput_54afOne thing that I love about Sundays is waking up and having the luxury of time to make a special breakfast. But, by the time I get around to getting in the kitchen it’s really more brunch time. Since neither of us in the house are big on a sweet breakfast we usually end up craving something savory for our first meal of the day. And on a cold, rainy February morning we also want something hot and filling. But the best part is relying on whatever just happens to be in the kitchen to put my meal together. This morning I decided to go for a savor brunch oatmeal. I know most people think of oatmeal as something reserved for dried fruit and brown sugar. But not in my house. We take chopped up chicken sausage, onions, bell peppers, spices and cook it down until glistening. Then add in your rolled or stone ground oats and cook in some low sodium chicken stock until everything is perfectly cooked. Add in a dash of cream and cheese and top with a fried egg. The best thing about this simple recipe is how endlessly versatile it is, today I used andouille sausage and there was a definite cajun kick. In the past I’ve used sweet fennel sausage and pesto for a more Italian kick. Korean sausage with scallions and sesame seeds was another combo I found delightful on a cold winter morning.

Start with some thinly sliced chicken sausage and sauté until you got those lovely crispy brown edges.IMG_0176.JPG

Add in your veggies of choice. I started with some diced red onions, moved onto orange bell peppers and finished it off with some minced garlic and frozen basil pureed basil leaves. I also added my dried spices and cooked everything down until it was nice and dry.

Now is the time to add your oatmeal! I like to toast the dried oats a little bit before adding in the chicken stock and letting them cook down. I use low sodium chicken stock because if I’m going to have salt in my food I’m adding it in myself. And then finish things off with a dollop of heavy cream. This is, of course, optional.

It doesn’t look hugely appetizing at this point but it smells amazing. Once you plate it and add your egg and other toppings no one will mind. I’ve listed the ingredients I used as well as the instructions down below. But this recipe is endlessly customizable so feel free to make it your own! Tell me how you fixed it in the comments!

Ingredients

  1. Small onion
  2. Medium bell pepper
  3. 2-3 minced garlic cloves
  4. 1 cube frozen basil leaves
  5. 2 finely sliced chicken sausage links
  6. Salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried spices to taste
  7. 1 cup rolled oats (can be subbed for steel cut oats)
  8. 1 3/4 cups chicken stock, plus extra for deglazing
  9. Eggs for frying (optional)
  10. Bacon (optional)
  11. Pesto (optional)
  12. Grape tomatoes (optional)

Recipe

  1. Cook thinly sliced chicken sausage until edges are brown and crispy in a pan on medium high heat
  2. Add in diced onions until sweating
  3. Add in diced bell peppers until sweating
  4. Add in minced garlic and herbs (frozen, dried, fresh)
  5. Add in your spices; salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, chili powder
  6. Deglaze with chicken stock as needed
  7. Once everything is dry add in the rolled oats and toast slightly.
  8. Add in the chicken stock and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. For a creamier version you can add in a dollop of cream or some grated cheese.
  10. Plate in a large dinner bowl (I microwave my bowls so that the oatmeal stays hot while I fix my eggs)
  11. Fry eggs to taste and place on top of oatmeal bed.
  12. Place some sliced grape tomatoes along one edge and add pesto, pepper, and some grated cheese for an added aesthetic and taste.
  13. Use bacon as garnish. That’s right, I said garnish.