Tag Archives: brunch

‘Not A Recipe’ Donuts

'Not a Recipe' Donuts - Mini M&Ms - Inside NanaBread's Head

Blogger friends and I are always sending each other links to recipes found on Pinterest. Sometimes it’s because ‘OMG you need to make this!’ and other times it’s because ‘OMG why would anyone make this?!’ Example: the cake made by layering Twinkies into a pan and covering them with frozen strawberries and Cool Whip. I’m not saying which category that one fell in, but it does bring up a comment frequently heard in foodie circles:

“If you start with a mix or packaged food, it’s not a recipe. It is a creation.”

I get it. I didn’t hand craft a donut dough for these. I started with a can of refrigerated biscuits. Which brings up another comment frequently heard in non-foodie circles:

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

My position is firmly on top of the fence. A good 80-90% of what I make is from scratch, but sometimes quick and easy is what we need. And these are easy. Incredibly, beautifully easy and perfect for those Saturday mornings when all you want is a big cup of coffee and to get breakfast on the table in a hurry.

NanaBread’s ‘Not A Recipe’ Donuts:
one can (16.3 ounces) Grands Butter Flaky Biscuits
canola oil for frying
miniature chocolate chips (2 cups, divided)
miniature M&M candies (1 cup)
heavy whipping cream (2 tablespoons)
unsalted butter (1 tablespoon)

Start by heating 2″ of canola oil to 325F in a deep, heavy pot. While your oil is coming to temperature, unwrap your can of biscuits and cut center holes.

'Not a Recipe' Donuts - Ready to Fry - Inside NanaBread's Head

Fry until golden brown, turning once. Remove to paper towels and repeat until all donuts are fried. Cronut? We don’t need no stinkin’ cronuts!

'Not a Recipe' Donuts - Fried to a Golden Brown - Inside NanaBread's Head

Now you could shake a little powdered sugar over these to get them in your pie hole quicker, but I wanted chocolate. Don’t judge. We all have those days.

'Not a Recipe' Donuts - Toppings - Inside NanaBread's Head

I put one cup of miniature M&Ms on a saucer and one cup of miniature chocolate chips on another. The remaining cup of chocolate chips went into a bowl with the heavy whipping cream and butter, then into the microwave for 90 seconds. Once melted and whisked, I had a bowl of glossy, gorgeous ganache to dip my golden orbs in. No, not THOSE golden orbs, silly! These.

'Not a Recipe' Donuts - Ganache Glazed - Inside NanaBread's Head

Plain chocolate glazed are yummy, but chocolate on chocolate is crazy good.

'Not a Recipe' Donuts - Mini Chips - Inside NanaBread's Head

The key is to dip the donut into the ganache, then let it sit for a few minutes. It gives the ganache time to set up a little before dunking them into toppings. It also gives you time to lick the chocolate off your fingers.

What? Where are all the donut holes? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

'Not a Recipe' Donuts - Is Eight Enough - Inside NanaBread's Head

Okay, so I ate the donut holes. Someone had to. Please forgive me blah blah blah, I beg of you. Would it help if I bribed you with a donut?

'Not a Recipe' Donuts - I saved you one at Inside NanaBread's Head

You’re right. I have no shame.

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Sausage, Egg & Asparagus Tart

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Inside NanaBread's Head

You know Spring has sprung when fresh asparagus pops up in abundance. I grabbed a handful this week and made this easy tart for lunch. If you like quiche, you’ll love this. It starts with these beauties. I love this vibrant green color.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Raw Asparagus

Alton Brown (Food Network) says the best way to cook asparagus and preserve its flavor and bright green color is to microwave it. Start by cutting off the tough stem ends, then grab a strip of 4 paper towels (still connected). Wet them and squeeze out most of the water. Un-wad the paper towels until you have a strip two towels long and two towels thick. Spread the asparagus on the damp towels in a single layer and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roll the asparagus up in the paper towels and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Done!

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Chicken Sausage

Next up are these gorgeous organic chicken, asparagus and parmesan smoked sausages from my local HEB market. I simply seared them in a hot skillet until lightly browned on both sides, then sliced them in half lengthwise.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Scrambled Eggs

Soft scrambled eggs are cooked in the same skillet until almost but not quite set. These are just getting started. A box of frozen puff pastry makes quick work of the tart shell. To save time, thaw the puff pastry while you’re steaming the asparagus and browning the sausages. I promise – this tart could not be easier and topped with shredded parmesan cheese, it could not be more delicious.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Cut

NanaBread’s Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart:
1 box frozen puff pastry (17.3 ounces or two ready-to-bake sheets), thawed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 package smoked chicken sausage (I used an asparagus & parmesan version)
1 pound fresh asparagus, microwaved (instructions above)
2 slices Lacey Swiss cheese, from your grocer’s deli counter
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons heavy cream or half-n-half
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 425F; remove the puff pastry from the box and let it thaw.

In a hot skillet, place the chicken sausages (sliced or whole) and brown on both sides over high heat, then remove from the skillet. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream or half-n-half, melted butter, salt & pepper. Whisk until fluffy. To the hot skillet, add 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl the pan until it is melted. Pour in the eggs, and using a silicone spatula, gently push the eggs around the skillet until they are almost set, but still wet and glossy. (Don’t worry, they’ll finish cooking in the oven.)

On a lined baking sheet, lay out one full sheet of puff pastry. Cut the remaining sheet into 3/4″ strips, and lay them around the outside edge of the bottom sheet to create a frame. Brush the edges with melted butter, then layer on your ingredients starting with the Swiss cheese, then the cut up sausages, the scrambled eggs, then the steamed asparagus. Bake at 425F for 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven), or until the puff pastry is a light golden brown.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Construction Collage

Allow the tart to cool for a few minutes before slicing. To serve, top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. This tart makes four large servings (main course) or nine small servings (appetizer). It’s perfect for any time of day. We had it for lunch, but it would also be lovely for brunch with fruit or dinner with a side salad. No one needs to know how simple it was, except for us. And I’ll never tell.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Sliced

Notes from the Kitchen:
1. This can be made meat-free by omitting the sausages.
2. It would also be lovely with a rotisserie chicken instead of sausage.
3. To reduce the amount of butter, try spraying the skillet with Pam instead.
4. To further reduce fat, swap 2 Tbsp. fat-free Greek yogurt for the cream.
5. The sausages & asparagus can be cooked in advance to save time.
6. To tart up your tart, try adding a small pinch of nutmeg or cayenne pepper to your scrambled eggs.
7. Leftovers should be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 days.

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NanaBread’s Crispy Potato Pancakes

Potato Pancakes - Plated

This is absolutely my favorite way to use leftover mashed potatoes. In fact, I love these so much, I sometimes intentionally make more mashed potatoes than we need for dinner just so I can make these the next day. They’re just SO GOOD! Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, these gorgeous golden beauties are packed with flavor and smothered in comfort.

NanaBread’s Crispy Potato Pancakes:
(makes eight 3″ potato pancakes)

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon sour cream or Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons chives (optional; I use freeze-dried)
oil for frying

Combine all of the ingredients (except the oil) in a mixing bowl.

Potato Pancakes - Ingredients

Whisk until well combined. It’s okay if there are small lumps of potatoes.

Potato Pancakes - Mixed

Add just enough oil to a non-stick skillet to about 1/8″ deep. You’ll want just enough oil to allow it to bubble around the edges as these fry. If you’re really adventurous and you’re making these for breakfast, fry a few strips of bacon first, then fry your potato pancakes in the bacon grease. The extra punch of flavor it adds will blow your mind, and if it’s hot enough, they will turn out nice and crispy without being greasy. I promise.

Potato Pancakes - Frying

Cook over medium-high heat until both sides are golden brown and crispy around the edges. Drain on paper towels and keep warm until they’re all finished. These make a great side to almost anything, but we love them for breakfast. Piled onto a plate with a little bacon and a soft fried egg? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Potato Pancakes - Breakfast

Make these, and I swear you’ll never look at leftover mashed potatoes the same way again. Now go make your own; these are mine.

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Pumpkin & Cranberry for the win!

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Chips & Salsa

Cheese & Burger

All are great combinations, but near the top of my list is pumpkin & cranberry. Luscious spiced pumpkin paired with tart dried cranberries makes me furiously happy. So when I saw these muffins on Kirsten’s Comfortably Domestic blog, I knew they would be mine. Mine! mwuhahahaha {that’s my evil laugh}

Photo used with permission; copyright Comfortably Domestic Blog

How do I describe these adequately? I don’t think I can. You really have to bite into one to fully appreciate it. They’re soft and delicate with a warm, robust pumpkin flavor. There’s a subtle scent of spice that leaps forward when you raise it to your lips, then the aroma of orange from the glaze leaps for joy just as you sink your teeth into this fall gem. I mean really. They are that good.

Pumpkin & Dried Cranberry Muffins

Can you smell that? It’s spice and pumpkin and cranberry and orange.

I take it back. These are not good, they’re glorious. And flavorful. And confirmation of why I love the pumpkin & cranberry combo and all things fall.

Speaking of fall, I’ve been on a canning kick. Earlier this week, I put up my second batch of cranberry goodness. It’s thick and loaded with fresh cranberries, dark sweet cherries and raspberries. I’m not sure whether to call it jam, preserves, or cranberry sauce on steroids. Whatever it is, it’s tasty.

While I was mixing up these muffins, it suddenly hit me that if dried cranberries are good, more cranberries are better. In the spirit of “more is more” I spooned a heaping teaspoon onto the top of half the muffins just before I popped them in the oven. Here’s what happened – and I hadn’t even glazed it yet!

Holy smokes, y’all. I’m in love with this muffin.

I’m sending Kirsten a jar of cranberry goodness as part of our Great Jelly Swap this fall. It’s not just that I need her approval for messing with her recipe a little. It’s that I NEED her to experience it firsthand. Because friends & food go together like Cake & Ice Cream. Fritos & Chili. Cheese & Crackers. Eggs & Bacon. Butter & Popcorn. Spaghetti & Meatballs. Mashed Potatoes & Gravy.

What are your favorite food combos? Any weird ones? I’d love to hear!
Should I go first? I like salt & vinegar chips on bologna sandwiches.

Kirsten’s muffins paired with my cranberry whateveritis; yum!

Note: I solemnly promise not to swipe other blogger’s recipes and publish them on my blog, so CLICK HERE to see Kirsten’s Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins in the master’s own words (and with color photos to boot). She also shares tips on baking these as loaves instead of muffins, which would make fantastic gifts for family & friends during the holidays. Thanks for sharing, Kirsten! Solid A+

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Blueberry Crumb Cake

Blueberry Crumb Cake - simply beautiful, simply delicious


Next week is Cake Week, and in honor of our efforts to woo you with cake and as a teaser of the treats to come, I’m sharing this little snack cake to help get you in the mood. This recipe features one of my favorite things – itty bitty dried wild blueberries. They’re so sweet, they’re like candy. You’ll love how simple this crumb cake is to make. And it’s even more perfect warm out of the oven with your morning coffee or cup of tea.

NanaBread’s Blueberry Crumb Cake:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of table salt
1/2 cup (one stick) of butter, softened
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla, if you prefer)
1/2 cup milk
1 pkg. dried wild blueberries (3 to 4 ounces)

For the crumb topping:
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter, softened

Optional Glaze:
4 ounces of cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 – 1 tablespoon of milk

To start, pre-heat your oven to 400F. Prepare an 8″ x 8″ square pan. I use parchment paper to make a paper sling, then lightly spray it with cooking spray.

To start the cake batter combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl, mixing with a wire whisk to blend as well as remove any lumps. Set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then add the sugar and continue to beat for 2 minutes more. Add the egg and almond extract; mix just until combined. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Add the milk and mix to incorporate, then finish with the other half of the flour mixture, stopping just before the flour is fully incorporated. For a tender crumb cake, you don’t want to over mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the blueberries, and finish incorporating the flour and berries with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

To make the crumb topping, combine the sugars, flour and softened butter in a mixing bowl. Beat with a wire whisk until it forms soft, lumpy crumbs. Spoon them evenly over the cake batter and place in the middle of the center rack of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before glazing or serving.

If you’d like to make the optional glaze, place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 30-45 seconds, or until the cream cheese is completely softened. Whisk in the flavorings, then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar. Add enough milk to thin to the consistency you like. Spoon or pour over the top and serve.

Makes 4 very large servings or 9 regular servings.

Now, I’m off to have a slice with my coffee this morning. Care to join me?

Care to join me for breakfast? Coffee or tea?

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Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal


It’s fall, y’all. And fall brings the promise of cooler weather, and that means we can finally dust off our favorite cold weather foods. Foods like chili and stew and all things pumpkin. I like pumpkin. I like it a lot. So when I dropped in on my friend Anne’s blog, From My Sweet Heart and saw that she had posted a recipe for baked wild blueberry oatmeal with maple cream, I got excited. Hot breakfast? Heck yes! Her oatmeal was gorgeous. She claimed the recipe was really adaptable and challenged readers to come up with their own versions. So what did I choose? Pumpkin, of course. So here is my version of Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, adapted from Anne’s lovely recipe. Just in time for breakfast, and just in time for fall. Thank you Anne, for your gorgeous inspiration.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup of chopped almonds or pecans
1/2 cup of jumbo mixed raisins (optional)
2/3 cup of packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 good pinch of pumpkin or apple pie spice

1 1/4 cups of milk
3/4 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

Pre-heat your oven to 350F and grab a non-stick skillet.

Toasting the raw nuts & oatmeal gives them more depth of flavor.

I started by toasting the oatmeal and almonds in a dry non-stick skillet for about 5 minutes, or until they had a toasted, nutty smell. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oatmeal, nuts, raisins, brown sugar, baking powder and spices. Stir to combine, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Sun-Maid Mixed Jumbo Raisins are all that & a bag of chips.

In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Beat until well blended and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.

Lightly spray an 8″x8″ square baking pan (I used a large glass loaf pan); pour in the oatmeal mixture. I set my baking dish into a 13″x9″ pan lined with foil, just in case it bubbled over while baking but it didn’t. Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes (shallow pan = 30 minutes; loaf pan = 45 minutes).

Straight out of the oven, with Anne's Maple Cream lying in wait.

Serve warm with Anne’s maple cream:
2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup

Combine the cream & maple syrup in a saucepan; heat over low until warm.

I have to be honest. I toyed with the idea of making a cream cheese glaze for this so it tasted more like pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. If I had, I would have combined 4 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and beat it until there were no more lumps. Then I would have added a splash of vanilla extract and enough heavy cream or milk to thin it until it was pourable. I would have then drizzled a spoonful (or two) of the cream cheese glaze over the top of each serving. Just because I didn’t do it doesn’t mean you can’t. It would totally rock. I mean, everything is better with cream cheese frosting, am I right?

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Cream - good morning!

The final verdict: this is delicious. It’s warm and toasty with all of the flavors of pumpkin pie. It’s perfect for a chilly fall morning or even a comfort food dinner after a bad day at work. It tastes best if you let it sit for 30 minutes or so once it comes out of the oven to give the flavors time to bloom. In short, this is a recipe you can easily FALL for. {hee hee} Yeah, I went there.

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TCP Cooks: Liege Waffles

The one that started it all - a Belgian Liege Waffle in Bruges, Belgium circa 2005


liege (noun) – a feudal lord entitled to allegiance and service

Liège (place) – a province in eastern Belgium; Capital: Liège

Liège Waffle (food) – a rich, dense, sweet and chewy waffle; invented by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liège in the 18th century as an adaptation of brioche bread dough, it features chunks of pearl sugar, which caramelize on the outside of the waffle when baked in a waffle iron.

Ever had a liege waffle? If you had, you’d remember it. They’re sweeter and more dense than a regular waffle, and have a distinctive sweet crunch to them. That tell-tale crunch is the result of pearl sugar, which is added to the waffles at the last minute, producing a sweet, crispy crunch with every bite. Liege waffles take more time and effort than the usual ‘straight out of the Bisquick box’ version we’re used to, but they are so worth it. Once you’ve tried them, you may never want to go back to ordinary waffles again. Yes – they are THAT good. TCP and I had these in Belgium and the Netherlands, and we’ve never been able to forget them. Not that we’d want to. Ever.

Enter TCP. He made them for breakfast Sunday. That’s right, folks. The Complete Package lived up to his moniker, and found a recipe for crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside waffles with that tell-tale sugar crunch. And so, without further ado, here is TCP’s version of homemade Liege Waffles. Oh, and he took all of his own photos. Let’s start with the ingredients.

TCP’s Liege Waffles:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
one packet of rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups of butter, melted
7 ounces of cold water
1 1/3 cups of pearl sugar (we used turbinado sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
fruit or toppings of your choice
whipped cream (preferably homemade)

This recipe calls for 2 eggs at room temperature. If you’re not comfortable with leaving eggs out, just set them in a bowl of water for a few minutes before using. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle; set it aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter; set it aside to cool to lukewarm. In another bowl, beat your eggs until light and fluffy; add the melted butter and yeast, mixing well. Add the water and mix again.

Pour the egg/butter/yeast mixture into the flour along with the regular sugar, vanilla & almond extracts, and ground cinnamon. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment or dough hook, mix on low speed to combine all ingredients. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the waffle dough for 10 minutes. The batter will be sticky, which is why you need the paddle attachment or dough hook. This stuff will climb regular beaters like a spider monkey.

The key to liege waffles - yeast dough & pearl sugar

Once beaten, cover the bowl and allow your waffle dough to sit in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes. Heat your waffle iron prior to using. See ours? It’s 30 years old, and still going strong. It could tell a thousand waffle stories. When your dough and waffle iron are ready, stir in 1 cup of the pearl sugar. Spray your waffle iron lightly with cooking spray to prevent sticking, and drop spoonfuls of waffle dough onto the hot iron. Sprinkle lightly with additional pearl sugar and close the waffle iron. Allow each waffle to bake until golden brown.

Spray your hot iron, add the dough, sprinkle with sugar

You can serve these with any of your favorite toppings. We chose fresh strawberries macerated in a little sugar, with a dollop of homemade whipped cream on top. Another favorite of ours is melted dark chocolate poured over the top. It reminds us of the waffle we ate in Amsterdam. Have mercy.

I pledge my uh-liege-ance to these waffles, made in the United States of America

Don’t let the process prevent you from trying these gorgeous waffles. There’s a reason they have legions of fans across the globe. They are by far the most memorable waffles you’ll ever eat. And you’ll find yourself dreaming of them again and again. Trust me. This one from Amsterdam still haunts me to this day.

A waffle smothered in melted chocolate? Yes, my liege!

‘Don’t you wish your waffles were hot like these? Don’t you wish your waffle was a beast like these? Don’t cha. Don’t cha.’ Go ahead… sing the waffle song. You know you want to.

Recipe credit: TCP found this recipe at EuropeanCuisines.com

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