Meat Lovers Skillet

If there is a major carnivore in your life, stop everything you are doing and make this. They will pretty much love you forever and request it on any occasion celebrating them. Trust me, I know from experience.
Meat Lovers Skillet 6This skillet is inspired by a diner that we used to frequent often when we lived in Fargo. It was a total hole-in-the-wall joint but don’t those always end up being the best? The “Lotsa Meat Skillet” was the first and only item Joel ever ordered there and he misses it dearly. So this year for Father’s Day, I attempted a copycat version with much success. Meat Lovers Skillet 5
As any good skillet should, it starts with a base of potatoes, shredded hashbrowns in this case. Then you top it with three different varieties of pig. See.
Meat Lovers Skillet 1This isn’t for the faint of heart…or those with high cholesterol. Meat Lovers Skillet 2
It’s then sprinkle with cheese and put under the broiler until it reaches melty perfection. Top it with a few over easy eggs and hollandaise sauce to complete the meat masterpiece. It’s seriously intense and only for special occasions but oh so delicious.
Meat Lovers Skillet 4

Meat Lovers Skillet

15 oz. frozen shredded hashbrowns
2 Tbsp. olive oil 1
Tbsp. butter
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 breakfast sausage links, cut into bite size chunks
5 slices Canadian bacon, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
4 eggs

for the hollandaise sauce:
recipe from Tyler Florence
4 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Pinch salt

1. Preheat broiler. Heat large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Pour hashbrowns into pan and press down. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until golden and crispy. Carefully flip and cook until other side is golden.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the hollandaise sauce. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl). Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

3. Layer the hashbrowns with bacon, sausage and Canadian bacon. Sprinkle with cheese. Place under broiler until cheese has melted. Meanwhile, cook 4 eggs over easy (or to your preference). Top skillet with eggs and drizzle with desired amount of hollandaise sauce. Cut into wedges and serve. Meat Lovers Skillet 3

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole {Clean Eating}

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole 3
I’ve had a hard time finding big fancy breakfasts worthy of a lazy Saturday morning that are still clean and healthy. These waffles are pretty darn tasty but most of the time I am more of a savory breakfast kind of person. Not only is this recipe clean but it’s also gluten and lactose free along with paleo friendly. Boom, I’m pretty sure that covers it all.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole 1
Plus, this can be whipped up the night before then refrigerated and baked the next morning. Joel’s family makes a yummy egg and sausage casserole but it involves bread so this is a nice alternative to keep it clean and avoid carbs.

The original recipe called for more onion but the first time I made it the onion was a bit overpowering so I reduced the amount. I added cheese to half the casserole to reduce the chance of whining from that husband of mine. He’s not a fan of sweet potatoes and healthy versions of things. He’s getting over it slowly but surely. Or at least learning not to complain so much.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole 2
Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole
recipe slightly adapted from Plaid and Paleo

1 1/2 lbs. breakfast sausage
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
12 eggs 
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
1/4 large sweet onion, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup almond milk (or any other milk)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
1. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook sausage until no longer pink.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper and almond milk. Stir in sausage. Sprinkle with cheese if using.
3.  Pour egg/sausage mixture into a 13×9 pan greased with additional coconut oil. At this point you can bake the casserole at 375 degrees for 45 minutes then cover with foil and bake another 10 minutes. Or you can do what I did and cover and refrigerate overnight. Add an additional 5-10 minutes to baking time if you have made it the night before.

Pork and Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties

Breakfast Sausage (Pork and Turkey) 4
We are big on breakfast for dinner around here or brinner as we like to call it. Sometimes it’s just comfort food at it’s finest and other times it’s the fact that most breakfast foods are usually pretty quick and easy to throw together. Either way, it’s always a big hit.

I was craving some breakfast potatoes and sausage but that’s not the healthiest of options so I switched some things up to make a lower calorie but equally delicious brinner.
Breakfast Sausage (Pork and Turkey) 2
Sweet potatoes replace the white potatoes and are topped with a fried egg for a yummy hash while a homemade mixture of pork and turkey is combined to create a healified sausage patty. Oh, so good.

The recipe makes 28 small sausage patties which is way too much for the three of us so I froze half the batch. Gotta love a 2 for 1 recipe! Make sure to read the note at the bottom of the recipe for freezing instructions.
Breakfast Sausage (Pork and Turkey) 3
Pork and Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties
recipe adapted from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook
*note about freezing patties follows recipe

2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. ground pork

1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients.

2. Crumble turkey and pork over mixture and mix well.

3. Using a scoop, portion out into 28 sausage patties and flatten slightly. In a large skillet or on a griddle, cook patties over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until meat in no longer pink, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

*To freeze: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the formed sausage patties (before they are cooked) on the parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 1 hour to flash freeze then place in a labeled freezer bag. Store for up to 2 months.

Pizza Poppers {Football Food}

Pizza Poppers
Football season is officially upon us and the boys in my house are pretty darn excited about it. As for me, I’m excited for fall and pumpkin desserts and apple picking but football doesn’t usually get me all abuzz. But I can’t complain too much because it means every Saturday this fall I will get to sleep in while they get up to watch College Game Day together….well, at least until this little peanut arrives.
Pizza Poppers
Being back in Lincoln gives a renewed light to the excitement of the season and it may be rubbing off on me just a bit. The atmosphere is so sparked, so pumped, so loyal and it makes you want to jump aboard (even though I’ve been a Husker fan since attending college here).
Pizza Poppers
And it’s always nice to have an excuse to make fun, bite-sized food. I’m going to try my hardest every Friday to share some awesome recipes that are great to nosh on while cheering on your favorite team. But I can’t make any promises since this baby is supposed to be arriving in a little less than 6 weeks.

These pizza poppers were inspired by a recipe Clinton Kelly shared on The Chew. I didn’t bother looking up the specific recipe but just remembered the method and idea. These are like dressed up pizza rolls and could be filled with any of your favorite pizza toppings. The perfect little snack for watching the game.
Pizza Poppers
Pizza Poppers
recipe inspired by The Chew

1/2 pizza dough recipe (make the full recipe and freeze half)
1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage, browned
1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded
Vegetable oil
Dried basil, to taste
Dried parsley, to taste
Parmesan, to taste
Pizza sauce

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place cast iron skillet in oven for about 30 minutes to preheat. Mix Italian sausage, pepperoni and mozzarella in a bowl.

2. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut rounds with a biscuit cutter (or lid of a mason jar if you can’t find yours like me). Slightly stretch dough and fill with 2 Tbsp. of the meat filling. Stretch to seal and set on a lightly floured surface. Continue until dough is gone. You may have a bit of filling left over (I did).

3. Remove cast iron skillet from the oven and brush lightly with oil. Place pizza poppers in the skillet then brush tops lightly with more oil. Sprinkle with basil, parsley and parmesan.

4. Bake for 15-22 minutes, or until golden brown. Dip in pizza sauce.
Pizza Poppers

Maple Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

Biscuits with Maple Sausage Gravy 4
So I don’t know how this happened but I haven’t mentioned that Joel and I are going to Vegas on Friday! He has a work retreat thing and they only have to work on Friday until 3 then they have Saturday, Sunday and Monday free. Spouses were welcome to join so I jumped at the chance as I’ve never been to the city of sin. They have some activities for Friday and Saturday night (The Hardwood Suite at the Palms, Ghost Bar and FireFly) but otherwise we have the days free as well as Sunday night. I’m not into the assumed scene of Vegas but I am excited to see the sights and get to enjoy a little ridiculousness. It’s one of those places that I want to see but I think I will be happy with that one visit and not feel the need to go back again. We have lots of ideas of activities but I need you all to tell me where to eat. This is a food blog after all!
Biscuits with Maple Sausage Gravy 3
So, before taking off on our trip we wanted a good, down home meal. I love breakfast for dinner every once and awhile and this is my favorite breakfast food. Joel loves maple flavored anything so I knew this would be a major hit with him. It added a nice sweetness and changed it up just enough from the traditional gravy.

There’s not too much more I can say, I’ve never met a gravy I didn’t like.

Maple Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

1 lb. maple breakfast sausage
1 tsp. pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup half and half
1 batch KFC copycat biscuits

Brown sausage until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add milk and half and half. Bring to a heavy simmer until the gravy thickens. Add more salt if needed. Split hot biscuits and slather with gravy.

Easy and Delicious Stromboli

Stromboli 5
I live in a house full of boys who love pizza. And I mean LOVE. Now don’t get me wrong, I like pizza as much as the next person but it can get a little old and boring sometimes (at least the kind of pizza Joel likes). So I like to mix up our pizza nights every now and then with stromboli or calzones.
Stromboli 3
I totally cheat and use frozen bread dough rather than making pizza dough to make this easy and possible for a weeknight meal. It doesn’t take much effort but tastes so so good. And you could add in anything you like. A little ricotta slathered on before the toppings would be yummy. You could also go with Hawaiian or veggie supreme. The options are endless.
Stromboli 2
I usually use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella for the cheese but this time I had some leftover thick sliced colby jack cheese from the deli that I needed to use up so I threw that in with a little bit of shredded sharp cheddar and it was pretty amazing. I definitely recommend you try that combination.

This is a wonderful way to spice up the pizza night routine!

Stromboli

1 loaf Rhodes bread dough, risen
8 oz. shredded cheese (use your favorite)
6 oz. diced pepperoni*
1/2 lb. Italian sausage, cooked and drained
Olive oil for drizzling
Kosher salt, to taste
Dried Basil, for garnish
1 recipe pizza sauce, for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll dough into an 18×12″ rectangle on a floured surface.

2. Evenly distribute sausage and pepperoni through the middle of the dough (lengthwise), leavin an inch edge on the short ends and about 4 inches on the long sides. Top with cheese then roll lengthwise and pinch tightly to seal.

3. Carefully move stromboli to pizza stone. Drizzle with olive oil and brush it over the top and sides. Sprinkle with kosher salt and basil to taste.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

*I place the pepperoni on a paper towel lined plate and microwave it for 30-60 seconds to get rid of all that excess grease. After microwaving, blot with more paper towel.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

During a recent visit to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market I picked up some heirloom orange zucchini. It was our first visit but I will tell you it definitely won’t be our last! I loved the place but left a bit sad since it’s so far away and we don’t have anything comparable near us. But we went home with a couple bags full of fresh produce and homemade tortillas, yum!
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
Maybe I’m just oblivious or not too bright but I totally didn’t know zucchini came in anything other than green. So when I saw the heirloom orange zucchini, I snatched it up with pure excitement. And it was only 25 cents per zucchini so it was a total steal. When I got home, I got to thinking of what to make and oh so conveniently, this recipe popped up on my Facebook news feed. I have made several recipes from Skinny Taste with very pleasing results so I knew this would be a good one to try. And it turned out to be so easy.
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
I halved the recipe since I was making it for lunch and Joel isn’t a zucchini fan so I didn’t want lots of leftovers. I had some leftover cooked ground sausage that I threw in the freezer a few weeks ago after making Sicilian Spaghetti so I simply thawed it and sauted it with the vegetables. I even made it up the night before so I could just throw it in the oven the next day. This was a great, healthy lunch that I enjoyed a lot. Maybe I can talk Joel into trying it. We shall see.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
recipe from Skinny Taste

1 1/4 pizza sauce or jarred spaghetti sauce
4 medium zucchini
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced (I left this out because I didn’t have it on hand)
14 oz. lean chicken sausage, removed from casing
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded
8 tsp. parmesan cheese, grated (I left this out)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4″ thick. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside.

3. Drop zucchini halves into boil water for 1 minute then remove.

4. Place 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 12″ baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up.

5. In a large saute pan, brown sausage, breaking up as it cooks into smaller pieces until browned; set aside. Heat oil and add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken sausage and cook until browned, breaking up in smaller pieces with a wooden spoon until cooked through.

6. Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with 1/3 cup cooked sausage, pressing firmly. Top each with 2 tablespoons each of sauce, 1 tablespoon each of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1 teaspoon each of parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini