Skillet Potato and Bacon Breakfast Scramble

I love breakfast. Pancakes are great, but give me some eggs, fried potatoes and bacon….throw in a biscuit and I’m in heaven. This breakfast scramble meets all of those requirements and more. It has golden diced potatoes, crispy bacon, chives and some tasty Gruyere cheese all tossed together with some fluffy scrambled eggs. Not only does this make a hearty breakfast, but it’s easy as well and all done in one skillet.

Here’s what you need:

This is for one serving, but you can easily double it for more.

*2 eggs

*3/4 cups frozen diced potatoes; I did used these still frozen

*2TBS or more of canola oil

*2 slices of bacon

*salt and pepper to taste

*1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese or any other cheese you prefer

*2 tsp. dried chives or 1 TBS fresh chopped chives, or more to taste

Heat a medium to large skillet to medium high heat; add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon and crumble into pieces and set aside. Drain some of the bacon drippings, but leave about 1 TBS in the pan.

Pour in the canola oil and add the frozen diced potatoes to the skillet. Cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

While potatoes are cooking, whisk eggs in a small bowl.

add some cracked pepper to the eggs; set aside.

Turn the skillet down to medium heat and add the bacon.

Slowly pour in the eggs.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then add in the cheese and the chives.

With a spatula, start mixing the eggs with the potato and bacon until it’s all incorporated but the eggs are still soft.

Place on plates and serve.

Creamy Cheesy Beef Skillet Pasta

This dish is total comfort food. I made this after a really long, stressful day at work and it is definitely a winner. The beefy tomato sauce and pasta make this a really hearty meal, while cream cheese gives it a nice creamy flavor. Then there is the cheese…. I mean, you can never have too much cheese. I had some nice Gruyere and aged cheddar that I grated and threw in some Monterrey jack, it really made this cheese loving girl happy. What’s even better is that it’s all cooked in one pan….yes even the pasta. Can I talk about the pasta for a minute? I found this Conchiglie pasta at one of my Fresh Market stores.

I had never even heard if this one before, but I thought it would hold up great in a beefy tomato sauce. They look like a cross between shells and elbow pasta.

What’s even better, is that all of that beefy sauce and cheese fill up the center of the pasta, then when you bite into it….it is heaven. This dish is definitely for a cheat day, but it’s worth it.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*1 small onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*olive oil

*14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained

*28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

*2 tsp. dried Basil, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried marjoram, or more to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp salt, or more to taste

*2/3 cup of chicken stock

*2 1/2 cups Conchiglie pasta or elbow pasta, uncooked

*4 oz. cream cheese

*2/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

*1/2 cup shredded aged Cheddar cheese

*1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Heat a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan starts getting hot, add the onions and the garlic.

Sauté until the onions just start to get tender, about 2 minutes. If the onions and garlic start to turn brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add the ground beef to the pan and turn the heat back up to medium high heat if you had to lower it.

Break up the beef while stirring the onions and garlic to combine. Cook until the beef is brown, about 5 to 8 minutes stirring frequently; drain if needed.

Add in the diced and crushed tomatoes.

Stir to combine the tomatoes with the onion beef mixture. Next, stir in all of the spices and herbs.

Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes; taste and add any more herbs or spices.

Dump in the pasta and the chicken stock.

Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is al dente.

Cut the cream cheese into cubes.

Add the cream cheese to the beef and pasta mixture.

Gently stir until the cream cheese starts to melt, then add in the shredded cheeses.

Stir carefully to melt and combine the cheese with the beef pasta mixture. Do not over mix or the pasta will start to break apart.

When the cheese is melted and heated thru, serve with some nice crusty bread.

Bacon Cheeseburger Omelet

After making the English Muffin Cheeseburgers and hubby and I devoured them, we had a lonely little hamburger patty leftover. It was morning and I really didn’t feel like another burger, much less for breakfast, but I didn’t want that to go to waste, so what was a girl to do? Throw it in some eggs with bacon and cheese for a delicious omelet. Think of a bacon cheeseburger, with a dollop of ketchup rolled into an omelet. This was one very filling and satisfying breakfast.

Here’s what you need.

This was for one serving, but you can double to make more

*1 cooked hamburger patty

*2 eggs

*2 tsp. butter

*2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

*1/4 cup shredded cheese + more for on top of the omelet

*salt and cracked pepper to taste

*ketchup (optional)

Heat the burger patty in the microwave or in a small pan just until warm and chop into small pieces; set aside.

Heat a medium pan over medium heat and melt butter. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs and pour into the pan; add salt and pepper to taste.

Let the eggs sit for a minute then using a silicon spatula, lift the edges of the egg while tilting the pan to allow the uncooked portion of the eggs to run to the edges of pan.

When the eggs begin to become firm, add the burger patty pieces on top of the egg.

Then sprinkle on the cheese.

Next add the bacon, trying very hard not to eat it all before it goes onto the egg, then add a few dollops of ketchup.

This is optional, but I like ketchup on my burger and some like it on eggs, so I thought why not add it inside.

Carefully fold the egg in half over the meat mixture and carefully slide it onto a plate. Sprinkle some more of the cheese on top.

Serve and Enjoy!

Mini Chicken Quesadillas

Hubby and I love quesadillas. They’re easy to put together and you can add just about anything you love. When I recently came across these mini street flour tortillas, I knew I had to try them out.

I filled these pillowy soft tacos with some leftover rotisserie chicken flavored with some herbs and spices then topped it with lots of shredded cheese. These are quick to put together, especially if you are in a hurry to get dinner on the table. Pair it with refried beans and rice and you have a full meal.

Here’s what you need:

*1 package of mini flour tortillas; I used Missions street tacos (flour tortillas)

*2 cups diced chicken such as rotisserie chicken; you can also use unccoked diced chicken

*1 TBS canola or olive oil

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

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

*1/2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*1/4 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. dried cilantro

*1/8 tsp. salt or more to taste

*1 tsp. lime juice

*1 1/2 cups shredded cheese; I used a Monterrey Colby Jack blend

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a large pan, heat oil on medium high heat; add chicken. Cook for about 1 minute and add herbs and spices stirring frequently.

If cooking raw chicken, cook longer until the chicken is almost cooked thru, then add the herbs and spices. Cook another minute and add lime juice; set aside.

Place flour tortillas on a baking sheet. I chose not to fold these over, I wanted to encase the chicken cheese mixture in between the tortillas, so if you’re doing the same, keep enough tortillas that will become the top layer.

Spoon some of the chicken onto each tortilla.

Sprinkle on the cheese on top of the chicken.

Top with another tortilla.

Place into the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and the tortillas start to lightly toast.

Serve while still warm.

Slow Cooker Pasta Bake

This was a pasta dish that I made over a year ago. It was after Christmas and hubby and I were spending the day taking down the Christmas decorations. I wanted to come up with something easy, yet hearty for dinner that night because I knew I would not feel like cooking after all that de-decorating. I had posted this on Pinterest later that evening and it became well liked. I had forgotten about it until recently and decided to make it once again and now I’m sharing it with all of you.

The meat sauce is cooked in the slow cooker for a few hours letting all those delicious flavors mix and mingle and come together for a very tasty sauce. The pasta is cooked at the end in the sauce and coated with cheese. There is a little prepping at the beginning, but then the slow cooker does all the work, which is great when at the end of the day you don’t feel like cooking, but you want a nice, yet easy pasta dinner.

Here’s what you need:

*1lb ground beef or ground sausage; I used ground beef
*1 onion chopped
*3 garlic cloves minced
*1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
*1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
*1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
*1 1/2 tsp. marjoram

*1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

*1 bay leaf

*28 OZ can diced tomatoes; undrained
*1 jar pasta sauce
*2 1/2 cups chicken broth
*1 box Penne or Ziti pasta
*1 cup shredded cheese; I used a Monterrey Jack Cheddar blend

In a large pan, cook ground beef. When it starts to brown, add in the onions, garlic and salt.

Continue cooking until beef is brown, stirring occasionally; pour into the slow cooker.

To the slow cooker, add in the herbs (except bay leaf), canned tomatoes, pasta sauce and chicken broth; stir to combine and then add in the bay leaf.

I add the bay leaf near the end because if it gets buried in all of the sauce, it’s not easy finding that little sucker at the end to take it out.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

Turn the slow cooker to high and add in the pasta.

Stir into the sauce.

Cover and continue cooking for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on how hot your slow cooker is) — check and stir at the 15 minute mark.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Cover for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy!

Bacon, Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

I made this for hubby and me for our New Year’s Day breakfast. I couldn’t decide between sausage or bacon, so I decided to use both. It’s very hearty and will satisfy the carnivore and cheese lover in everyone. It’s easy to assemble the night before if you prefer as I did. It’s tastes just as good the next day.

Here’s what you need:

*6 slices of bacon cooked and crumble into bite size pieces

*6 sausage links cooked and cut into bite size pieces; I used the brown and serve sausage links. You can also use 1/2 lb. bulk sausage cooked and drained.

*8 eggs

*1/2 Cup milk

*salt and pepper to taste

*1/2 tsp. hot sauce or more to taste (optional)

*2 Cups shredded cheese divided; I used a cheddar Monterrey Jack blend

*2 Cups. frozen diced potatoes

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray an 8×8 casserole dish with no stick spray.

In a bowl crack in the eggs and add salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Pour in the milk.

Very carefully whisk to combine; set aside.

Mix the bacon and sausage together and spread on the bottom of the casserole dish.

Add 1 cup of the cheese on top of the bacon and sausage.

Add in diced potatoes.

With a spoon mix all of the ingredients together.

Pour egg mixture over the meat and potato mixture.

Top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the eggs in the middle is set.

*Note*

If you are assembling this the night before follow all of the steps, then cover tightly with foil. The next morning take out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking and uncover.

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.

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!

Nina’s Baked Mac and Cheese

I wanted to share with you another side dish idea for Thanksgiving. This was my grandmother’s go to mac and cheese. She was always asked to bring her mac and cheese to our family gatherings. She would set it down right in front of everyone and declare ” I’m sure I missed something and it may not be any good.” Of course by the time she finished that sentence the dish would be half gone. I think deep down she knew she had us right when she came walking in with her casserole dish and the scent of cheese wafting through the air. She never wrote down her recipe for her mac and cheese, but I had watched her make it so many times that when she passed away, I had to remember what exactly she put into it. I will confess, it took several attempts before it tasted like hers. A little side fact about my grandmother, when I was little she wanted me to call her Nana, but nope, I always had to be different and instead called her Nina. So from then on she became my Nina. As I have mentioned before, she loved to cook and she was also one who inspired me to cook as well as my mom and dad. Whenever I make this mac and cheese for family or just for hubby and I, I always think of her.

This mac and cheese is more like a mac and cheese pie. You will see plenty versions of this southern side dish at family and church gatherings. It’s layered with noodles and lots of cheese then baked so all of that comes together in one glorious, cheesy goodness…. the ultimate comfort food.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb elbow macaroni

*2 cups evaporated milk

*1 egg

*1/2 tsp. dry mustard

*pinch of nutmeg

*1/2 tsp. salt, divided

*1/2 stick of butter, cut into small cubes

*3 cups shredded cheddar cheese; I recommend shredding your own cheese and do not buy the kind that is pre shredded in a bag. Those have anti- caking agents so the cheese will not melt as well.

Pre heat oven to 350°.

Boil noodles in salted water one minute less than package directions; drain and set aside.

Whisk together evaporated milk, egg, dry mustard and nutmeg; set aside.

Spray a large casserole dish with no stick spray.

Layer some of the noodles on the bottom of the casserole dish and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of the salt; add some of the cheese on top of the noodles. Place some of the butter cubes on top of the cheese. Add another layer of noodles and the rest of the salt, then top with the remaining cheese; scatter the remaining butter cubes on top.

Pour the milk and egg mixture evenly over the noodles and cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes then uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Let it sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Beef Casserole

I wanted to come up with another slow cooker dish, especially now that it’s starting to turn cooler outside. I had some beef and hash browns in the freezer, so I came up with a beef version of my Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Casserole. It was a hit. The picture really doesn’t do this little casserole justice. The beef turned out really flavorful and goes so well with the hash browns, not to mention the cheese…..everything is better with cheese right?

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb. ground beef; I used an 85% to 15% fat ratio.

*2 garlic cloves, minced

*1 small onion, chopped

*1 tsp. beef stock base, or beef Bouillon; I like Better Than Bouillon Beef flavor

*2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

*1 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. cracked pepper

*2 Cups shredded cheese; I used a cheddar Monterey blend

*1 bag of frozen hash browns

*1 Cup of milk

Heat a large pan to medium high heat. Add ground beef and break apart while cooking.

Add onions and garlic and continue to cook until beef is no longer pink; drain if needed.

It is important to make sure all of the fat is drained off or the hash browns will get soggy while cooking.

Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the beef base, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper. Cook for about 1 minute more; taste to see if you need to add any more spices. Take off the heat and set aside.

Spray a slow cooker with no stick spray.

Add a layer of the hash browns on the bottom of the slow cooker.

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

Spoon the beef mixture on top of the cheese.

Add another layer off cheese over the beef.

Then another layer of hash browns.

And can you guess what comes next? Why cheese of course. Top the hash browns with another lovely layer of cheese.

Pour the milk over the cheese.

The milk will not cover the cheese. Too much milk will make the hash browns soggy.

Cover and cook on low for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

Serve and enjoy!