All Posts by MOMables - Laura

12

Homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties

Remember the mutant pops we posted about a while back? Our friend Jenn from Cleverly Disguised as Cake sent us those, and they were a huge hit! A couple of weeks ago, we had this whole discussion on healthier, quick, and convenient breakfast options, and she blew me away with her homemade breakfast sausage recipe. Since then, I’ve tried the cranberry-orange version (below) and have made them plain. One of the reasons I love these so much is that they are delicious, easy, and quick to prepare.  From Jenn—

Good nutrition can be very confusing. There is an enormous amount of information available and thousands of studies that support both sides of every argument. One thing that most of the experts can agree on is that children learn better when their brains and bodies are fueled with a well-balanced breakfast.

Prepackaged frozen breakfast items are very tempting because they are quick and easy to prepare, and let’s be honest, we’re busy! They taste great—but they are also laden with many undesirable ingredients, not to mention fat and calories. One of our favorite premade breakfast treats is sausage and cheese on a biscuit. But in a quest to make healthier food choices, we forgo the prepackaged variety, and the fast-food variety, and indulge in our own homemade version! These are really tasty on sweet potato or butternut squash biscuits!

This recipe for sausage patties is very versatile. If you have time to cook in the morning, you can make the patties ahead of time and freeze them in between pieces of foil or waxed paper, and cook them from frozen. If time is not on your side, you can precook them. Then it’s just thaw, warm, and serve. To save yourself even more time, you can make and freeze biscuit sandwiches, complete with cheese and sausage patty. Then thaw in the fridge overnight, and pop into the toaster oven or microwave before you race out the door in the morning.

Breakfast sausage is one of my favorite side items to many of our favorites: pumpkin pancakes, waffles, or scrambled eggs. You can season these patties any way you like. And the best part—because you make them yourself, they are BHA–free, BHT–free, and nitrate- and gluten-free. You can use organic pork, or turkey, or chicken. No artificial colors or flavors added. Why do they add color to commercial sausage? What color would they be if they didn’t?! I’m almost afraid to ask! What are some of your favorite ways to serve up breakfast sausage?

Cranberry-Orange Sausage Patties

Makes approximately 12 patties. For a traditional breakfast sausage flavor, rubbed sage, thyme, and rosemary work well in place of the cranberries and orange zest.

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound ground lean pork, or a mixture of pork/ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried cranberries
  • Zest of one orange

Instructions

  1. Crush the fennel and salt with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Combine with the pepper flakes, thyme, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pork, orange juice, brown sugar, garlic, cranberries, and orange zest. Mix in the spices. Form into 1/4-cup patties. (I used an old hamburger press to form nice even patties. A great trick if you are forming them completely by hand is to make a small indent with your thumb and forefinger in the center of each patty to help them cook more evenly.)
  3. To cook immediately, place the patties in the fridge for an hour before cooking. This makes them firmer and much easier to cook. Cook gently in a pan or on a griddle. Eat immediately, or freeze individually, or assemble into sandwiches.
  4. To freeze as patties: Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place the patties on the cookie sheet in a single layer in the freezer until frozen solid. Using scissors to cut the waxed paper, place each one in a large freezer bag or plastic container.

About Jenn Sprung: A full-time mom to three wonderful children, with a keen interest in boosting the nutrition in every bite. Because in my world, every bite counts! Visit Jenn’s blog Cleverly Disguised as Cake for additional sneaky resources or learn more about Pediatric Feeding Disorders and how to help your child. 

3

Winter Convenience: Healthy Freezer Meals

Need a hearty winter meal?

I love frozen dinners. They’ve come a long way since I was a kid, and they’re a really easy, fast way to eat consistent portion sizes and diet-friendly food.  That is, if I make them at home with ingredients I can control.  I am not saying that store bought frozen meals can’t be healthy… but many of the “healthy” ones have tons of added ingredients that I can’t pronounce!  The healthiest ones, like the ones I can find at Whole Foods, are expensive!  For the cost of two-three individual single meals I can make my own large pot that will feed my family dinner and I will have several servings of leftovers!

I’ve mentioned here, here and here that since I’ve begun my MOMables™ challenge I’ve lost weight, I feel good about what I feed my family, and I’ve become more educated on what it’s in my food.  So, how can I eat healthy foods without going overboard and eating too much, or spending too much money when Christmas is right around the corner?

I’ve discovered the answer: make my own. I can make a big batch of a healthy meal and freeze or refrigerate portions that are quick to heat up when I need them. It’s so much cheaper, and I know exactly what ingredients are  going into them.

Some of my favorites are chicken chili, MOMables™ chicken and rice soup (from the subscription meal plan), homemade macaroni and cheese, or cheese ravioli with a broccoli alfredo sauce (one of my favorite store-bought freezer meals, made at home).

 

When I’ve made a batch of these meals and divided them up, I can grab them when I’m ready to eat (before I get so hungry that I feel like I need to snack on everything in the house), take them in the car (so I don’t need to stop for fast food), and spend the money I’ve saved on the kids’ Christmas gifts or shoes for myself.

Do you do make-ahead freezer meals? If so, do you have a favorite recipe?

 

 

**Top photo credit

1

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Want an amazing Creme Brulee recipe that you can actually make yourself?

Growing up in Spain, our desserts were lighter and smaller portioned; yet, hugely satisfying. My favorite dessert has got to be my grandmother’s custard Crèma Catalana. The recipe is still written down on a post-it in my recipe binder. Every Christmas Eve, I host a dinner at my house for family and friends.

Last year, I pulled my grandmother’s basic recipe out, and the Crèmas were an instant hit. This fall, I’ve experimented a bit since I roasted an entire pumpkin and I have a lot of pumpkin puree left. The result: a delicious dish that is so satisfying, it will be a hit when you make it.

The caramelized sugar crust is totally optional; but don’t I just look like I’m having a blast with the blowtorch? I tell you, I go all out over at the MOMables kitchen! That torch is actually a plumber’s version and not the foodie gourmet one you get for $20 at the store. It was left over from one of my husband’s projects years ago!

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Courtesy of MOMables™ Abuela’s Recipe Stash Yield: 6 – 7 Ramekins (depending on size)

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Treats

Ingredients

  • 3 cups half & half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus 6 tablespoons for browning tops

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet (with sides), and fill with enough water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins (water bath).
  2. In a 2-quart pot, heat the half & half, vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin puree over medium heat.
  3. Place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Mix until you achieve a pale yellow color, and the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat, and slowly whisk while you incorporate the egg mixture into the half & half mixture. Whisk continuously until both mixtures are well combined.
  5. Fill each ramekin with the mixture, but do not overfill. This yields enough for six (5-ounce) oval ramekins (gratin dishes).
  6. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. To test for doneness, jiggle the pan to see if the custard is set (pudding like). If so, remove, and let it cool on the counter before refrigerating overnight (you can make these up to 3 days ahead of time).
  7. Optional: Before serving, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar on each ramekin, and, using a blowtorch, caramelize the sugar to form a candy coating. Don’t have a blowtorch? That’s okay, these are delicious without the added sugar.

 

2

Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake

Want an orange-flavored cake that isn’t overpowering?

My grandmother, fabulous in everything she did in the kitchen, could have owned a bakery business. If there is one thing she taught me well how to do, it’s to take a basic recipe and add things to make it my own. Her basic cake recipe has enough ingredients in there to make you think it takes a lot of time, when it really doesn’t.

A long time ago, I needed to bring a cake to a friend’s house, and I ran out of cake flour. So in a pinch, I borrowed a box of yellow cake mix from my neighbor, and called it a day. I know, I know, I don’t do boxed anything, but once a year, it’s okay to make it semi-homemade. Right? The result was a super-moist and delicious cake where the orange flavor is present but not overpowering. Doesn’t it look delicious?

Abuela’s Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting

Yield: 1 Bundt cake (You can double the recipe, and make a tall Bundt.)

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Baking

Ingredients

Cake Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  • ½ cup cranberry sauce (non-jellied)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 box yellow cake mix

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons half & half

Instructions

For Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a Bundt pan (or coat with cooking spray).
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, orange juice, orange extract, if using, cranberry sauce, and vegetable oil. Then add the cake mix. Mix well until the clumps disappear.
  3. Pour into the Bundt pan. Bake for 39 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Allow the cake to cool.

For Frosting:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  2. Add the half & half, stirring to combine.
  3. Pour the frosting over the cooled cake.

 

19

Homemade Brick Oven Pizza

Want that fancy brick oven pizza at home?

Last week, I taught a friend of mine how to make homemade pizza dough and shared my recipe so it would come out on the thin side with a flavorful, crispy crust that tastes just like at the brick oven place. Why pay $18 for a pizza that can be made at home for much less? The trick is not only in the dough but also the oven temperature and a pizza stone, of course. While a pizza stone isn’t necessary to make homemade pizza (this recipe will turn out fine if you put it on a cookie sheet), it’s definitely a good investment if your house loves pizza as much as mine. The pizza you see to the left is pesto, pears, and brie.

Pizza night has become a Friday night staple at my house. We even use it as entertainment, and the running joke is that there is a “line” to get invited. My kitchen island becomes my dough rolling and topping assembly station. Everyone waits their turn, and one by one, we cook them while we chat and share appetizers. The added bonus is that the pizza is only in the oven for about 7 to 9 minutes, so we use that time to prepare the next one. I am telling you, it’s so much fun! The kids can select their own toppings, and adults can use whatever I have in my fridge. When I invite guests over, I often tell them that they need to bring the toppings they would like on their own pizza. I provide the dough and expertise. It’s good family fun and an inexpensive night in!

Brick Oven Pizza

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. All the ingredients must be at room temperature. Warm the water to approximately 110F.
  2. Add the sugar and yeast to the water, and stir. Let it stand for 10 minutes on the counter until the yeast has formed foam.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, olive oil, and salt.
  4. Mix in the yeast liquid, and knead by hand for about 10 minutes, until a pizza dough ball can be formed. In a mixer, mix for about 5 minutes on medium speed.
  5. Roll out the dough, and make a ball. Let the dough ball rest inside a bowl for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled. You can make it in the morning or the night before and store it in the fridge. The dough must rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours before rolling it out.
  6. Preheat the oven to 500F with the pizza stone in the oven on the lowest possible rack (remove other unused racks prior to preheating).
  7. Roll out the dough to make one extra-large pizza or individual-size pizzas.
  8. Add your toppings.
  9. Insert the pizza into the oven (with the help of a pizza paddle or a floured back side of a cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Pizza

Where do you find a pizza stone? There are inexpensive ones at Walmart and Target (between $10 and $20) or really fancy ones from Williams Sonoma. My stone is middle-of-the-road price-wise ($30), but it’s by far, the best I’ve owned. I prefer a rectangular/square stone, but a round one will be fine. Happy pizza-making!

 

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