Breakfast ideas

Once you bake the bacon, you’ll never go back.

I don’t really enjoy cooking breakfast.  There.. I said it!  I find traditional breakfast food somewhat boring and my brain doesn’t work all that well in the morning.  By the time I am awake enough to cook, it’s at least brunch time.  I used to have a dream of opening a Bed & Breakfast but soon realized the flaw in my thinking and realized that a Bed & Bagel doesn’t quite have the same appeal.   I am, however, happy to cook breakfast as an act of love for my bacon & egg lovin’ family.   The most dreaded part was always that hateful bacon!  I used to stand and babysit that grease-spitting main event as it wiggled and spewed all over my stove.  I could almost feel the 409 in my hands.  Not only was it messy, but it handcuffed me to the skillet until that last little piece was properly crispified.  But then I was visited by the Bacon Fairy in culinary school.  And she presented me with a sheet pan, a piece of parchment paper, plus a pound of bacon and pointed me towards the oven. No more skillet, no more grease-cicles  and no more half-hour cook time!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, spread the bacon out (not touching) on a parchment-lined sheet pan, stick it in the oven, set your timer for 17 minutes and then focus on the rest of your meal prep.   17 minutes is a good time to check it.  Thicker bacon takes longer and your preferred Crisp Factor may nudge your cook time one way or another.  Once the bacon comes out, immediately remove the pieces to a little stack of paper towels for blotting the grease.  You can also use a baking rack in the pan so the grease drains to the bottom, but then you have to wash the rack.  I just do it the paper towel way.  When the pan cools, simply wrap up the grease in the parchment paper, throw it in the garbage and put your pan away.   Ta da!!!

Now I still don’t LOVE cooking breakfast, but it’s almost effortless with my baked bacon.  Plus, I have a great way to prepare bacon for all those lunch sandwiches and wraps that I DO love to make!

Basic Crock Pot Pasta Sauce and Breakfast Casserole

Pasta sauce doesn’t have to come from a jar!  A friend of mine asked me for a basic recipe that would allow her to control the herbs and spices to taste.  I found this recipe years ago in a Best of Country Cooking book and have changed it only slightly over time.  It’s a winner and the slow-cooking aromas will make you wish it were dinner time!  If you’re a sausage lover, you can substitute half the ground beef for bulk Italian sausage. Just brown all the meat together.

Beefy Pasta Sauce

Another friend I ran into asked me to suggest a good winter breakfast casserole.  I like this one because it has apples in it.  NIce little change from the normal casserole fare.

Country Sausage, Cheddar and Apple Bake


Never Fail Pancakes

It’s 8:30 on a lazy Saturday morning.  My son says “Mama, I’m hungry!”  Daddy chimes in with “What are you making, Mama?”   “Well….. What do you want?” I say.  “PANCAKES!!!!”   and bacon, of course.   There’s something special about homemade pancakes.  Most everyone enjoys them and they are so versatile. You can add flavors, chocolate chips, different toppings, just go crazy!   Pancakes are a sleepover favorite food at my house, too.     I’m going to share with you my Never Fail Pancakes basic recipe.  I don’t remember where I got this recipe years ago, but I have made only slight changes over time.  It’s a winner!  Here are some prep tips to go with it to ensure your weekend morning success.

-Don’t skip whipping the egg whites step.  It greatly contributes to the fluffy factor.
-When combining wet and dry ingredients, be careful not to overmix the batter.  Stir just until moistened.  Over-mixing makes for tougher textures.
-After heating your skillet or griddle, do a tiny test pancake to see if pan heat is right.  I use a dry, non-stick skillet but you can add butter or oil if you like.
-I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup sprayed with cooking spray for making uniform size pancakes.  You can also use those fancy pancake batter squirters, but I’m happy going old school.
-This particular recipe batter is very thick, so you’ll have to spread it out a little in the pan with back of measuring cup.  If it’s just too thick, add a little milk to the batter.
-You’ll know it’s time to flip when you see tiny bubbles in the batter.
-After cooking on second side, I flip it back over for a couple seconds just to get the other side hot again and ready for butter.
-When the pancake is done, I remove it from the pan and place on a layer of aluminum foil   large enough to wrap a stack of pancakes on all sides.  Spread some butter on top of each one as you move it over to the stack and then immediately wrap the foil back over top to keep it warm.  You can also keep them warm on a plate tucked inside a low temp oven.
-Serve with warmed syrup, but don’t put that plastic bottle in the microwave!  Pour some syrup in a little glass or ceramic pitcher and heat that in the microwave for one minute.  Cold syrup defeats the purpose of hot pancakes.