Breakfast

Spinach Artichoke Bacon Egg Souffles

For whatever reason, I have been craving crescent rolls for awhile now. The kind that come in a tube and you grew up eating on top of casseroles and straight out of the oven (at least, if you were in my family). So, I bought a tube with no real plan on how I would use them.

Then the other night, I had made individual serving egg casseroles using the dough, frozen spinach, and some leftover bacon. They turned out great, and became my breakfast for the week.

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Spinach Artichoke and Bacon Egg Souffle Cups
Inspired by Pillsbury, Panera and others

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
4 slices bacon
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup diced red pepper
2-3 canned artichoke hearts, well-drained and chopped
1/4 box frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained
6 eggs
1/4 cup cream
2 oz Monterey Jack or other cheese(s), shredded, plus more for topping
Salt and pepper

Unroll crescent dough, pressing each pair of triangles together to create a rectangle. Press into the bottoms and sides of 4 1-cup ramekins, letting the edges overhang. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat. Drain and crumble. Remove pan drippings. In the same pan, melt butter. Saute peppers for about 3 minutes. Add artichokes and spinach, stirring to heat through.

Whisk together eggs, cream, cheese, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less if using salty cheese). Pour egg mixture into hot skillet. Stir constantly for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Eggs will be very runny. Working quickly, pour into ramekins. Sprinkle with a little bit of extra cheese.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Eggs should be set, and dough golden-brown.

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Maple Bacon Biscuits

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Bacon. Is. Good. So are fluffy biscuits. No wonder they are breakfast staples. I don’t usually buy buttermilk (why does it only come in a big carton when you almost never need more than a cup??) but in this case it was definitely worth it.

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These came together pretty quickly on a weeknight, but you could also include them with weekend brunch or dinner, such as pulled pork, roast chicken, or soup.

Maple Bacon Biscuits
From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perlman

Makes 6-8 biscuits

3 slices bacon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Approximately 4 tablespoons butter, chilled and chopped into small chunks
1/4 cup buttermilk

Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Pour the bacon fat into a measuring cup and put in the freezer until fat is solid.

Chop the bacon into small bits and place in a small dish. Pour the maple syrup over the bacon and stir; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the solidified bacon fat from the freezer.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. You should have about 2 tablespoons of fat. Adjust the amount of butter up or down to have 6 tablespoons total. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, rub the bacon fat and butter into the dry ingredients until mixtute resembles coarse meal. Add the bacon-maple syrup mixture and buttermilk and blend together with a rubber spatula until evenly moistened.

Gather the dough into a ball and pat out to a 1-inch thickness on a well-floured surface and cut into biscuits with a 2-inch cutter. Arrange biscuits on the baking sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve warm.

Cornmeal Johnnycakes

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When I woke up Sunday morning, it was cold and rainy. I did not sign up for cold and rainy in August when I moved from Nebraska to Virginia. To be clear: I signed up for unbearably hot and humid summers that creep mercilessly into late September.

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Anyway, when I woke up and it was cold and rainy, I wanted to go back to bed. But going back to sleep isn’t an option on Sundays: I teach a 9am BODYPUMP class, and rain or shine, there will be a group of folks waiting for me to be all chipper and hard-core and beast out some push-ups.

At home later that morning, I decided the antidote to 60-degree weather in August was a hoodie and a big breakfast.  Surveying my  pantry and refrigerator contents, I opted for johnnycakes — essentially a cross between a corn muffin and a pancake — with a drizzle of real maple syrup, pork sausage patties and a couple of eggs over-easy. I first found this recipe in a Williams-Sonoma catalog years ago, and I like the flavor and texture the blackberries and toasted pecans add.

It didn’t make the rain go away, but it was a nice precursor to my afternoon nap. :)

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Cornmeal Johnnycakes

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Makes 12 cakes (serves about 4)

3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
3/4 cup sliced blackberries

In a large bowl, stir together first five ingredients; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm milk until small bubble form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise; remove from heat.

Put cornmeal in a medium bowl. Add milk and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in butter and eggs. Stir cornmeal mixture into flour until thoroughly combined. Let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Butter, grease, or spray a griddle or large fry pan. Heat over medium heat. Pour batter in scant 1/4-cup measures; sprinkle each circle with pecans and a few slices blackberry. Cook until golden and puffy, 1-2 minutes. Flip cakes; cook until golden, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh blackberries, blackberry syrup or compote, or maple syrup.