Category Archives: Breakfast

Quinoa Toss with Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, and Pecans

It’s Monday, and that means that Josh is at work on his first overnight shift of the week.  On Mondays I am left cooking for one, and usually I fall back on pasta, because it’s easy, quick, and I love it.  Tonight, though, there is (apparently) no pasta in the house as I did not have a chance to get groceries this weekend.  However, I found a forgotten stash of quinoa in the corner of my pantry.  I’ve never had quinoa before but it is all over Foodgawker.  I remember buying a small bag in the bulk section of my favorite grocery with plans to experiment with it.  Well, why not tonight? 

My quinoa dish was mostly inspired by the quinoa salad over at Macheesmo.  I starred this recipe in my RSS feed some time ago and bought a bunch of stuff to make it, but never got around to it.  Thankfully, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, and pecans don’t go bad very quickly.  I basically made the quinoa with the sweet potato, the cranberries, and the nuts, but left out the dressing in Macheesmo’s original recipe.  I added some salt and pepper and scooped it onto a plate.  I’m not gonna lie, we’re not talking fancy, beautiful food here.  This is some pretty rustic looking eats, but it’s tasty and hearty.  The quinoa has a nice nutty flavor that goes well with the sweet potato.  I really liked the way the cranberries and the pecans played off each other, too.  The flavor blend was great, and the dish is very satisfying.  Also, since there’s nothing terribly savory in it, I plan to reheat the leftovers with milk, some chopped apple, and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup for breakfast tomorrow. 

This is more a method than a recipe.  Really it’s just a matter of mixing stuff into cooked quinoa.  Feel free to swap out your own veggies, fruits, and nuts or seeds.  You can make this as sweet or as savory as you like.

Quinoa Toss with Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, and Pecans
Inspired by the quinoa salad at Macheesmo
Makes a decent amount

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups cold water
1 small sweet potato
Large handful sweetened dried cranberries
Handful chopped pecans (toasted, if desired)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place quinoa and cold water in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat; decrease heat to low and simmer, covered, until quinoa is translucent and tender, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, scrub sweet potato and pierce all over with a fork.  Place on a microwaveable plate and microwave until tender but not mushy, about 3-4 minutes.  Let sweet potato cool slightly, then peel off skin.  Slice potato lengthwise into slabs, then chop into cubes.

When quinoa is cooked, stir in sweet potato cubes, cranberries, and pecans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

Idaho Sunrises

Okay.  I am about to describe to you the most delightful, fun to eat, tastylicious breakfast EVER.  In the history of humans breaking the fast, I doubt there has been a yummier breakfast ever thought up.  This was the perfect Easter morning treat.  The potatoes are shaped kindof like an egg, and they’re stuffed with an egg (not to mention bacon and cheese)…really, how can you go wrong?

I present to you…the Idaho Sunrise.  This time the dish is so incredible that I feel the photo can speak for itself.  I found this recipe over at Gimme Some Oven, which is one of my new favorite blogs.  Naturally, I changed the recipe up a bit.  I couldn’t bear to part with all that lovely baked potato goodness after scooping out my potato bowls, so I essentially turned some of it into twice-baked-potato filling and put some back into the bottom of my potato bowls.  I made a well in this mashed potato mixture with a spoon to be sure my egg would sit nicely inside.  The interesting thing is that the egg white cooked into the mashed potato a bit, creating a layer of light, fluffy, potatoey egg white that was really delicious.  I think the egg white might have had a different texture if I had not put in the mashed potatoes.  I will have to try this recipe the original way (no mashed potatoes in the bottom) to find out.

Also, I left out the butter in the original recipe.  Accidentally.  But, since my sunrises were scrumtrillescent, I decided that the butter probably isn’t necessary (trying to shave calories where I can, so I can enjoy the bacon and cheese!).  If you want to add the butter, put 1/3 Tbs (or a thin pat) of butter inside your potato bowl just before adding your egg.

Anyway, do try these, you won’t be disappointed! 

Idaho Sunrise

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients (for each serving):
One large russet baking potato, baked (see baking instructions below)
One egg
1 slice bacon, cooked and cumbled
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used colby-jack)
2 Tbs half-n-half
1 scant Tbs fresh chopped parsley


To bake potatoes (Alton Brown’s recipe):  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scrub potatoes well (you’ll want to eat the skin!).  Pierce skin all around several times with a fork.  Rub potato with mild oil such as canola.  Sprinkle with salt.  Place directly on preheated over rack.  Place a pan or cookie sheet on the rack beneath to catch any juices.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until cooked through.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  You can bake these the day before, as I did.  Just cool whole potatoes to room temp, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a Ziploc bag and store in the fridge.

To assemble and bake sunrises:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a sharp knife, cut a nice oval opening in the top of your potato and lift this top piece off, skin and all.  Scoop innards out of each potato, to make a potato bowl.  You can make the wall of the bowl as thick or thin as you like.  My bowl walls were about 1/3 inch thick.  Place the potato innards in a bowl.  Mash with the 2 Tbs half and half and about 1/8 cup of shredded cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Using a medium spoon, scoop some of the mashed potato mixture back into the potato bowl.  You will want to spread it along the bottom and up the sides a bit, to make a well for your egg and toppings.  Don’t add too much mashed potato mixture, or your egg white will overflow!  I had some mashed potato left over.

Crack one raw egg into your potato bowl, on top of the mashed potato mixture.  Top with crumbled bacon, the remaining 1/8 cup of shredded cheese, and the parsley.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I only added pepper).

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until egg is set, about 40 minutes.  Enjoy, though beware: these beauties are extremely hot on the inside.  Even though you will want to scarf them down immediately (I promise), it might be best to wait a few minutes or devours these slowly so as to allow some of the heavenly-smelling steam to escape.  The roof of your mouth will thank you.

Ps. Ali over at Gimme Some Oven even suggested a sweet potato version of this dish, which I am excited to try sometime in the near future.  Really, nearly any filling/flavor combination could work…the sky’s the limit!

Overnight Banana Waffles

On Sunday mornings, I like to make something a little special for breakfast.  During the week I maintain a fairly regimented breakfast diet of hot oat bran cereal with milk, honey, and organic blueberries, along with my vitamins and Emergen-C drink.  Thus, the weekend presents a welcome opportunity for a bit of breakfast variety (and, let’s be honest, a little splurge in the calorie department!).  Foodgawker presented me with several recipes for yeasted waffles that rise overnight in the fridge.  As the only waffles I’ve made before use the power of baking powder/soda to rise, I was intrigued by the use of yeast.  Annie’s Eats recently posted a “Banana Bread Waffles” recipe that looked delicious, so this weekend I set out to try my first batch of yeasted waffles.

The recipe consists of a basic yeasted batter that you make the night before.  The next day, after allowing the batter to come to room temperature, you add in the bananas.  Thus, I consider this really a basic yeasted waffle recipe, into which you could probably add anything (other fruits, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.) the next day before baking them.

The waffles turned out scrumptious!  Crunchy outside, soft inside, with a distinctive yeast flavor note that added a lot of depth.  The texture, also, was pleasantly more yeasty and less cakey than waffles made with a quick-bread style batter relying on baking power or baking soda for rise.  Initially, I was slightly disappointed with the banana flavor…I wanted a more in-your-face banana waffle, but that was easily remedied by serving them topped with loads of sliced bananas, melted butter, and honey.  In hindsight, I’m glad now that the batter was not overwhelmingly banana-flavored, because I can see myself adding all kinds of delicious goodies to make different flavor variations.  The quantity made by the recipe will vary with your waffle iron.  Mine is a rectangle iron made up of two squares around 4 inches.  The recipe made 12 squares.  I served 2 per person, for 6 servings.  A side note, I had 3 servings left over, so I froze them.  I know from previous experience with this waffle maker that the squares fit perfectly into my toaster!  Some busy day later this week my husband and I will have homemade toaster waffles for breakfast. 

Don’t be daunted by the planning ahead required to make these waffles.  I came home from movie night at 10:30p last night, and started making my batter then.  By 10:40p, the batter was mixed, covered, and sitting in the fridge to rise overnight.  Really, these waffles require almost as little effort as using a packaged mix, but the results are exponentially more delicious!  Do try them, and let me know if you come up with any new flavor variations.  

Banana Bread Waffles
Adapted from Annie’s Eats, who adapted from Honey & Jam, originally from Seven Spoons

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. warm milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1½ tsp. yeast
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup mashed)

2 tbsp. light sour cream

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, warm milk and vanilla extract.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt and spices.   Whisk together to blend.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and whisk just until smooth.  Whisk in the eggs until incorporated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 10 hours, and up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to make the waffles, remove the batter from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  It should be about doubled in size and there should be small bubbles on the surface.

Add the mashed bananas and sour cream or yogurt to the batter.  Whisk lightly to incorporate into the batter.  Cook in a preheated waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Serve immediately, with maple syrup or honey, and sliced bananas.