Thursday, January 27, 2022

Winter Breakfast: Eggnog French Toast

It's time to celebrate winter with a cozy breakfast made with one of the most winter holiday flavors of all....eggnog!  This decadent French toast recipe uses eggnog to amp up the flavor and make this breakfast company worthy!

Eggnog French Toast

What's better than Eggnog French Toast?  Only one thing.  Eggnog French Toast cut out in cute little pine trees!  Surprisingly our local market still have eggnog for sale.   So I grabbed a bottle and decided to use it in my cooking.  This Eggnog French Toast has all the creamy nutmeg flavors you love from the drink which makes for a decadent cozy winter breakfast.  And, did I mention that this recipe is sooooo easy??

To make this more fun, I used large tree cookie cutters on my day old bread and it sure made this winter breakfast all the more special.  I used 4 inch cookie cutters to get the most from my country bread.  Let me tell you the kids will go crazy for this!  

What Ingredients do I need?

  • eggs
  • eggnog
  • vanilla extract
  • nutmeg
  • butter
  • country bread
  • powdered sugar
  • maple syrup
  • berries (optional)

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use challah or french bread, or brioche
  • Add cinnamon to the mix
  • Use different cookie cutters for the holidays
  • Skip the eggnog and substitute milk for wonderful french toast
  • Add spices like pumpkin pie spice, or apple pie spice
  • Add different flavored extracts such as Mexican vanilla, orange, lemon, or rum

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Make sure your bread is day old so that it soaks up the egg mixture and doesn't make your bread fall apart.
  • A large skillet helps when making different shapes.
  • To keep cooked French toast warm, place on a sheet pan and keep in a oven on 200 degrees.

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Eggnog French Toast

serves 6

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups eggnog
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 loaf of country bread, day old, cut in to 1" slices
optional toppings:  powdered sugar, maple syrup, berries

In a medium bowl add eggs, eggnog, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Whisk until combined.

Cut out bread in to desired shapes using a 4" cookie cutter if desired.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add a tablespoon of butter and swirl to coat.  Dip your bread one at a time in the egg mixture, turning over so both sides are covered with the egg mixture.  Place in the skillet and cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.  Continue until all bread has been dunked and cooked adding more butter to the skillet as needed to prevent sticking.

Serve several slices of bread on a plate and serve along with favorite toppings.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Fresh Start: Sirloin Steak with a Basil Compound Butter, Snap Peas & Carrots

Juicy lean steak topped with a basil lemon compound butter with saute'd snap peas & carrots.  A lean, low carb dish made in under 30 minutes!

Sirloin Steak with a Basil Compound Butter, Snap Peas & Carrots

My New Year's "intentions" always include eating healthier.  Lately I've been making dishes that are lean, full or flavor, low carb, and easy to prepare.  Cooking an involved meal on a weeknight is NOT what I'm about.  This dish is simple to prepare and provides you with a healthy dinner, perfect for my "intentions".

Sirloin steak cooks up quick and turns out juicy.  Top it with an easy compound butter of lemon, basil, and garlic and your steak turns up a notch.  On the side we have a simple saute of snap peas & carrots flavored with the same profile of garlic and lemon.  This is one EASY and FLAVORFUL weeknight dish you can make in under 30 minutes!


What Ingredients do I need?

  • sirloin steak
  • carrots
  • sugar snap peas
  • butter
  • lemon
  • basil
  • garlic

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use the lean steak of your choice
  • Use chicken, pork chops, or fish as the protein
  • Change up the vegetable combo: mushrooms and snow peas, zucchini and bell pepper, tomatoes and green beans

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Double the recipe for more servings
  • Set out your steak about 1 hour before cooking to bring to room temperature
  • Pat your steaks dry before cooking to get a good sear
  • Slice your vegetables thin so they cook and get tender quickly.

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Sirloin Steak with a Basil Compound Butter, Snap Peas & Carrots

serves 2 - 3

1 - 1 1/2 lbs. sirloin steak
2 medium carrots
1 8oz pkg sugar snap peas
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon
4 Tablespoons butter, unsalted, divided use
salt & pepper

Cut the butter in small pieces and place in a small bowl.  Set aside to soften.

Zest 1/2 lemon into the bowl with the butter.  Cut the 1/2 lemon in to wedges and set aside.  Peel and mince garlic and add it to the bowl with the butter.  Add chopped basil to the bowl.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Pat dry your steak(s) and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Add 1 Tablespoon of butter to the skillet and swirl to coat.  Add steak and cook from 2-5 minutes per side until desired doneness.  Transfer to a clean plate and cover with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile steak is cooking, peel the carrots and slice into thin rounds.  Add more butter to the skillet (1 Tbsp) and swirl to coat.  Add carrots and snap peas.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir fry veggies until fork tender, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Stir the butter and add-ins until smooth and blended.

Thinly slice the steak across the grain.  Divide steaks among the plates and top with a dollop of butter.  Serve with carrots and sugar snap peas on the side.  Squeeze lemon over the veggies.


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Healthy Living: Grilled Turmeric Chicken with Cucumber Avocado Salad

Grilled chicken breasts are marinated in a turmeric yogurt are accompanied by a heavenly cucumber, avocado, and mint salad.  

Grilled Turmeric Chicken with Cucumber Avocado Salad

A new year brings new beginnings and one thing most of aspire to is healthier eating.  Grilled Turmeric Chicken with Cucumber Avocado is a perfect dish to start with.  Chicken provides the lean protein while cucumber provides a green vegetable full of vitamins and nutrients, avocado for healthy fat, and turmeric has a slew of health assisting properties such as anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.

But healthy doesn't mean boring.  This chicken is moist and flavorful!  The cucumber and avocado salad is heavenly with the addition of chopped fresh mint which makes it refreshing.  The secret to this dish is actually a yogurt mixture using Greek yogurt, spices, and lemon and is used for both as a marinade for the chicken, and a dressing for the salad.  You will be amazed at the POP of flavors in this dish and never know it's healthy!


What Ingredients do I need?

  • avocado
  • chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • English cucumber
  • fresh mint
  • lemon
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • shallot
  • cumin
  • turmeric
  • olive oil

Substitutions and Variations

  • Chicken thighs may be used
  • Instead of mint try basil or dill

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • This recipe is for a serving of two.  Double as needed for more servings.
  • The salad came be made and served along any protein.  
  • Cut all the salad ingredients in bite size pieces.
  • Additional salad may be kept for a day in the refrigerator as the yogurt has lemon in it, although fresh is best. 

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Grilled Turmeric Chicken with Cucumber Avocado Salad

Time:  35 minutes 
Servings:  2

1 avocado
1 lb chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 English cucumber
½ small bunch or package of fresh mint
½ lemon
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 shallot
salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine and mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, cumin, salt, and pepper. Transfer half of the yogurt mixture to another medium bowl. 

Holding a knife parallel to the cutting board; cut the chicken in half horizontally to form thin fillets. Place the chicken in one of the bowls and coat in the yogurt mixture; set aside for 15 minutes. 

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Trim and discard the cucumber ends; small dice the cucumber and add to the other bowl of yogurt.  Halve and pit the avocado; scoop out the flesh and discard the skins. Small dice the flesh and add to the bowl. Peel and mince the shallot; add to the bowl.  Toss until combined and well coated.

Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. While the pan/skillet heats up, pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Add to the bowl and toss the salad until well combined. 

Coat a grill pan or skillet with oil. Wiping off excess marinade, place the chicken in the grill pan and cook until cooked through and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. 

Divide the chicken and cucumber-avocado salad between two plates.


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