Looking Back on 2020

As 2020 is coming to a close (thank goodness) and hopefully 2021 will be a much better year, I wanted to take a weee look back and say thank you. Yes, you! Thank you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and being a part of my food blogging journey that I began almost 1 year ago…..January 13 to be exact. My very first post was my Cheese Stuffed Burgers.

I remember I was excited to be starting a new journey and nervous that I was going to get it all wrong, but I learned along the way. I learned to just be myself and share what I enjoy most. Here is a look back at some of my favorite moments and some of yours as well it seems (in no certain order).

  1. Crash Course on What is Freezer Safe After Surviving The Hunger Games aka Food Shopping:

When things came to a screeching halt, like many of you, I only went out for essentials. Who knew something as simple as grocery shopping would turn into quite the adventure to say the least. Just to find meat, much less steak for a nice steak dinner was nearly impossible. The carnivore in me was ecstatic to be able to come across said steak, by accident really, but as in my post for a Ribeye Steak Dinner I got to share one of my food loves.

We also had to deal with the bare isles in the grocery stores. No toilette paper became the norm, no cooking oil…odd but ok, but what did you do when you scored 20 lbs. of butter? Ok, so maybe not that much, but I had some ask if milk, butter and other items could be frozen. So alas I shared my experience on what could be frozen in my post Surviving Thunderdome.

I recently came across this on Amazon.

These silicone stashers bags replace zip top bags. These are great for freezing and I use a lot of freezer zip top bags so I thought it would be good to try.

I got the 1/2 gallon size. I’ll be honest with you, they are expensive so I bought mine when they were on sale. I love it. I’m hoping to get another one when they go on sale again.

2. Anniversary Dinner and the I-Don’t-Know-Whatchamacall -It:

I got to share mine and hubby’s at home anniversary dinner in my post Anniversary Dinner and a Tasty Mystery Delight

I still have no clue what that delicious, crunchy delight was but I still dream of it *sigh*.

3. You Really Like Breakfast Sandwiches

Apparently most of you share my love of breakfast foods. When I looked back to do this post, I realized that the top two posts were the Cheesy Bacon Hash Brown Waffles Topped with a Fried Egg

And the Ham, Cheese and Hash Brown Breakfast Sandwich with an Over Easy Egg Those are some of my favorites as well.

4. The Baking Challenge and I Did Not Burn Down My Kitchen

I accepted a dessert challenge and baked a BChocolate Pudding Cake. Baking is not my thing as I shared with you in my The Christmas Cake Disaster Of ’93

I have to say, I was proud of myself that this cake turned out really well and no pot holders were harmed.

5. Last But Never Least

Lastly, I can not tell you all that have stopped by and continued to read my little food blog how grateful I am. This has helped me stay sane to say the least, through this year. I have made friends here and also from following some of you on your own blogs. I feel truly blessed. As the new year rolls in, I wish all of you happiness, good health, and that we continue to share the things that bring family, friends and acquaintances together…. the love of food. May our journey continue and here’s to a new year!

Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

This breakfast bagel sandwich was a result from being stuck in the house in quarantine. I was trying to find something different to use up my last few bagels. This is a nice hearty breakfast with crispy bacon, eggs loaded with cheese and a schmear…. yes, I said schmear… of cream cheese all on a toasted everything bagel. Now I’m thinking I might buy some more bagels just so I can make more of these tasty breakfast sandwiches.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

*bagels; I used everything bagels

*2 slices of bacon per sandwich

*2 eggs per sandwich

*salt and pepper to taste

*1 tsp. butter

*1/4 C. shredded cheddar cheese per sandwich + plus more for the inside top of the sandwich

*spreadable cream cheese, to taste

Toast the bagel, then split in half; set aside.

Preheat oven or toaster oven ( I used the toaster oven) to 400°

Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels and set aside.

Heat a medium non stick pan to medium heat and add the butter.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs until it becomes slightly foamy.

Pour the eggs into the pan and add salt and pepper to taste. With a spatula, begin slowly pulling the outer edges of the eggs to the middle.

Keep pulling and stirring the eggs until they begin to set then add in the cheese.

Continue stirring until the eggs are cooked, but still soft and moist.

Place the eggs on the bottom half of the bagel.

Add the bacon on top of the eggs.

Sprinkle desired amount of cheese on top of the bacon.

Smear cream cheese to taste on the inside top half bagel.

Place on top of the bacon and cheese and put on a baking sheet.

Warm for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs aren’t just for the Holidays, but if you need a last minute appetizer or a side these make a very tasty addition. These have the creaminess of mayonnaise, with a hint of mustard, celery and dill. Feel free to add any other tasty ingredients as well.

Here’s what you need:

*6 eggs

*1/4 C Mayo plus additional if needed.

*1 tsp. mustard of more to taste

*salt to taste

*1 tsp. dried dill weed or more to taste

*1/2 tsp celery seed or more to taste

*paprika for garnish

Place eggs in a small pot and fill with warm water.

Bring to a gentle boil, cover and remove from the heat and let sit for 12 minutes. Drain and fill with cold water, let sit for about 5 minutes or until eggs are cool enough to handle. Peel shells under running water. I find this helps remove the shells easier.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the yolk and place into a food processor. Set aside the whites to fill later.

You can mix this by hand, but I find it easier and you get a creamier consistency when blended in a food processor. If mixing by hand, with a fork, break up the yolks until it resembles the consistency of sand.

Add the rest of the ingredients except for the paprika.

Pulse until smooth scrapping down the sides if needed while mixing. Taste and add any more of the ingredients if needed.

Spoon the mixture into a ziplock bag and cut one of the corner tips.

This makes filling the eggs easier. Slowly fill the eggs with the yolk mixture.

Sprinkle with paprika to garnish.

Serve as an appetizer or a side.

Slow Cooker Chili

Now that the weather has turned colder, it’s time for some hearty comfort food. This slow cooker chili is just that. It’s meaty and satisfying with a nice kick of spice, but not too spicy. You can throw it together and let it cook for hours and have a nice dinner everyone will love. It’s even better the next day.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb ground beef

*1 small onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1 1/2 TBS chili powder, or more to taste

*2 tsp. Chipotle powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. salt

*2 tsp. garlic powder

*2 tsp. onion powder

*2 tsp. cumin

*2 tsp. coriander

*2 tsp. paprika

*2 tsp. dried Thyme

*1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

*2 tsp. beef stock base; I used Better than Bullion Beef base

*1 bay leaf

*2 cans of light kidney beans, drained

*2 cans diced tomatoes with juices

*1 15oz. can tomato sauce

Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and brown; drain if needed. Turn down the heat to medium and add all of the herbs and spices (chili powder thru the beef stock).

Mix well and cook for 1 minute, add any more herbs or spices if needed. Spoon in to the slow cooker.

Add in the onions and garlic.

Add in the beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Mix all of the ingredients together and then add in the bay leaf.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Ham, Turkey and Cheese Waffle Maker Melt

Years ago when Applebee’s restaurants were abundant where I live, I would eat there a good many times. One of my favorite sandwiches was their Clubhouse Grill. Sadly, most Applebee’s are now closed around here, but there are times that I still get a craving for that tasty club. This is my take on that. It has turkey, ham, Colby Jack cheese topped with a tangy bbq sauce then toasted in the waffle maker until the cheese gets all nice and gooey and the bread has that nice crispy crunch….. simple but heavenly. I think next time I might slide in some bacon.

Here’s what you need:

*2 slices of bread per sandwich; I used regular white bread.

*softened butter

*deli sliced honey ham

*deli sliced oven roasted turkey

*2 slices Colby Jack cheese per sandwich

*1 Tbs BBQ sauce per sandwich any variety; or more to taste

*non stick spray

Heat waffle maker and spray with no stick spray.

Butter each slice of bread on one side; this will be the outside of the sandwich.

Place one slice of bread, buttered side down onto the waffle maker. Add a layer of sliced Turkey.

Then place a slice of the cheese over the turkey.

Next, layer on the ham.

Pace another slice of cheese on top of the ham.

Spoon bbq sauce over the cheese.

Place a slice of bread, buttered side up over the bbq sauce and cheese.

Close the waffle maker and cook for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is nice and toasted.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Mexican Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

On Christmas morning we gather at my aunt’s house for a family breakfast. She always comes up with the best breakfast casseroles. This is a spin on a few of those. Hubby once again came up with the idea, but wanted something that could be eaten as a hearty breakfast or would make a great dinner. It has a layer of hash browns, beef that’s packed full of flavor, salsa, eggs and can’t forget all the wonderful cheese. This is even great to make the night before and pop in the oven the next morning.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb ground beef

*2 tsp. Onion powder

*1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

*2 tsp. Hungarian paprika

*1/2 tsp. salt

*1/2 tsp. Ancho chili powder, or more to taste

*1/2 tsp. dried oregano

*1 tsp. Cumin

*1 tsp. Coriander

*3 cups shredded hash browns; I used the frozen kind.

*1 small jar of mild or medium salsa

*1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

*8 eggs

*cracked pepper

*1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a large pan to medium high heat, add ground beef.

Break up the ground beef while browning; drain if needed.

Add all of the herbs and spices to the beef

Stir to mix and cook for about 1 minute more. Take off of the heat and set aside.

Spray a 9X9-inch casserole dish with non stick spray. Add hash browns to the bottom of the dish.

Add the ground beef on top of the hash browns.

Spoon the salsa over the beef.

Then layer on the cheese.

In a large bowl, crack in the eggs; add salt and cracked pepper to taste.

then pour in the milk. Whisk together until combined.

Pour the egg mixture over the top of the cheese.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until eggs are set.

*Note:

If you are not going to bake this right away skip this step. Instead, cover tightly with foil and refrigerate. Take casserole out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Pour milk mixture over the top then bake.

Serve and enjoy!

Simple Chicken Salad

This is a great way to use up any leftover rotisserie chicken. It takes no time to prepare and it’s great on sandwiches or even by itself with some crackers on the side.

Here’s what you need:

2 1/2 Cups diced rotisserie chicken or any other cooked chicken. You can use more or less, this is what I had leftover from a whole rotisserie chicken.

1/2 Cup mayonnaise + 1 Tbs at a time until you get the desired amount in your mix.

1/2 tsp. Dill weed or more to taste

1/4 celery seed or more to taste

1/8 tsp salt or more to taste

cracked pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. Lemon juice or more to taste

In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients.

Mix well. Taste after mixing and add any more of the ingredients if needed.

Serve on bread or by itself with a side of crackers.

Enjoy!

Air Fryer Frozen Taquitos

These little things are addictive. When I first got my air fryer a few months ago, we cooked just about anything frozen that we could think of. These taquitos became one of our favorite things to cook in the air fryer….as far as frozen foods go that is. They turn out so nice and crisp. Hubby and I now prefer them cooked in the air fryer than in the oven. What are taquitos some of you might be asking? They are typically corn tortillas rolled and filled with beef, chicken or bean and cheese. They are then fried and served with salsa or just by themselves. I have never made homemade taquitos, but the frozen ones seem pretty good. I prefer the brand by Jose’ Ole. These take no time at all to cook, especially in the air fryer. These make a great meal when paired with rice or beans, or even just by themselves as a snack.

Here’s how to cook them in the air fryer:

Preheat the air fryer by running it at 400° for 5 minutes. I find that preheating the air fryer no matter what you are cooking, seems to help crisp up the food better. Place the frozen taquitos in the fryer basket in an even layer.

or at least as even as you can get them.

cook at 400° for 4 minutes, flip them over or shake the basket and cook for another 4 minutes or until they start to turn a little brown and get crispy.

Note*

Cooking time might vary depending on the brand and size of the air fryer.

Serve and Enjoy!

The Ultimate Breakfast Burger

I came up with this burger when I was craving breakfast for dinner, but also wanted a burger. Why not have both? This has all the breakfast goodies, but on a burger. It has a juicy 1/4 pound beef patty, topped with cheese, some crispy hash browns, some nice smoky, crisp bacon and topped with an over easy egg all on a brioche bun. I have to warn you, this burger can get messy, but what good burger isn’t.

Here’s what you need:

*lb ground beef

*1 1/2 tsp onion powder; or more to taste

*1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder; or more to taste

*1/2 tsp. coarse salt

*cracked pepper to taste

*1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

*about 2 Cups shredded hash browns; I used the frozen kind; 2 cups worked for 4 burgers, but you can add more if you prefer.

*canola oil

*sliced cheese; I used Colby Jack, but you can use any kind you prefer

*2 slices of bacon per sandwich, cooked crisp

*1 egg per sandwich, cooked over easy

*brioche hamburger buns

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

Form into 4 patties and set aside.

Cook bacon until crisp and set aside. I cooked mine on a baking rack, fitted on a baking sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Bake at 410° until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. But you can use the pan method as well.

Heat a medium cast iron pan on medium high heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the hash browns and sprinkle with a little salt and cracked pepper. Cook until the bottom layer starts to turn brown, then flip over. You might have to flip them over a section at a time to make it easier.

cook until the other side turns a golden brown as well.

While hash browns are cooking, heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat. When the pan is searing hot, add the hamburger patties.

cook for about 5 minutes then turn them over.

Cook for another 3 minutes for medium rare burgers or 5 minutes for medium burgers.

Place the cheese on each patty and cook for another minute or 2 until cheese melts.

Remove from the pan, tent with foil and let it rest while you cook the eggs.

 Heat a non stick pan to medium high heat, add 1 TBS of oil. Crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. When the egg whites are starting to set, gently flip them over and cook for about 30 seconds. If you like a less runny yolk, cook longer.

Time to Build the Burger:

Place a hamburger patty on the bottom of the bun.

Next, add some of the hash browns on top of the cheese.

The add the bacon.

Then carefully place the egg on top of the bacon.

Add any other condiments you prefer on your burger, then place the top of the brioche bun over the egg.

Serve and enjoy!