Monkey Bread with Caramel

Monkey bread or pull apart bread is something I’ve been wanting to make for about a year. I never had enough people to eat it. Finally, last Sunday I had a crowd for breakfast! This is really delicious, though it could send you into a diabetic coma!

Because I am such a giver, I have included a recipe for homemade dough below for all of my international friends that can’t get their hands on a can o’ biscuits!

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Monkey Bread with Caramel

Serves 12

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cans (7.5 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated biscuits
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

Grease or spray 12-cup Bundt cake pan.

Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in 1-gallon bag. Separate dough into 10 biscuits; cut each in quarters. Shake quarters in bag to coat; place in pan. Mix butter and brown sugar; pour over biscuit pieces.

Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Turn upside down; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.

Homemade Dough

1 cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package instant (rapid rise) yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for surface work
2 tsp salt

Prepare dough:
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast. Place flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the dough hook attachment to mix them together. With machine on low, slowly add the milk mixture. When the dough begins to come together, increase speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is shiny and smooth. If the dough is too wet and isn’t coming together, add 2 to 4 additional Tablespoons of flour (stop the machine once to scrape sides if you need to); this should take 6 to 7 minutes. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and work with your hands a little bit to form a smooth, round ball. Coat a large bowl with nonstick spray. Place dough in the bowl and spray the top lightly with nonstick spray as well. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel. Turn your oven on 400 degrees and let it warm up for 1 minute. Turn it OFF. Turn ON the oven light. Place your covered bowl of dough into the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size- 50 to 60 minutes.

Form the bread balls:
Remove dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat into an 8-inch square. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 64 pieces (cut the square into 4 pieces and then cut each piece into 16 pieces). Roll each piece into a ball.

Huevos con Papas Rancheros Casserole

Over the weekend, I made a big breakfast for visiting family. This is one of the recipes. Yes, tater tots are involved! I think next time I might add a 4 oz can of diced green chilis to the eggs.

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Huevos con Papas Rancheros Casserole

Serves 12

Nonstick cooking spray
32 oz package frozen fried potato nuggets
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
8 oz Mexican cheese blend, shredded
16 oz jar thick and chunky salsa
8 oz sour cream
fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange potato nuggets in dish.

In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, oregano, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Beat with a rotary beater or wire whisk until combined. Pour egg mixture over potato nuggets.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Sprinkle cheese evenly over egg mixture. Bake about 3 minutes more or until cheese melts. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Top with salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

These are light, tangy and delicious. They really need syrup of some kind because there is no sugar added to the pancake batter.

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Serves 4

½ cup part-skim ricotta
½ cup milk
1 egg
3 Tbs melted butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 Tbs)
Non-stick spray or 1 Tbs butter

Blend the ricotta, milk, egg and melted butter in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt then stir into the ricotta mixture.

Add the lemon zest and juice. It’s OK if the batter is slightly lumpy.

Heat a large greased griddle or frying pan and when hot, add about 3 tablespoons of the batter to make each pancake.

Cook each one for about a minute and a half per side so that they are golden and a bit crunchy on the outside and moist and creamy on the inside. I always wait until I see a few bubbles and then flip the pancakes.

Serve with warmed honey or maple syrup.

Cheesy Bacon & Eggs Cups

Wakey, wakey eggs and bakey!

These bacon, egg and cheese cups have all the elements of a perfect breakfast!

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Cheesy Bacon & Eggs Cups

Serves 1

1 slice of bacon
1 tsp melted butter
1 egg
¼” slice of cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown, but still flexible. Wrap bacon slice around the inside of a muffin cup. Place a teaspoon of butter (or bacon grease) in the bottom of muffin cup. Drop in egg.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Place 1/4 slice of cheese over egg, and continue cooking until cheese is melted and egg is cooked.

Southwest Breakfast Strata

We’re having a big party for my mother-in-law’s 85 birthday tonight. There is a house full of relatives and I needed an easy breakfast option. Usually, I would make this with corn tortillas, but I liked the flour tortilla option. I have slightly tweeked this recipe. I made this the night before, which makes it so easy in the morning. All I have to do is stumble to the coffee maker and take it out of the fridge. (actually my husband does the stumbling)

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Recipe from – Lindsay Powell Fooshee, Johnson City, Tennessee, Southern Living Magazine, MAY 2005

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Southwest Breakfast Strata

Serves 8

1 lb mild ground pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
½ green or red pepper, chopped
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes and green chilies
8 flour tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
3 cups (12 oz) shredded Colby-Jack cheese blend
6 eggs
1½ cups milk or half and half
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic pepper

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and return to skillet.

Add chopped onion and bell pepper to sausage in skillet, and sauté over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes and green chiles; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Layer half each of tortilla pieces, sausage mixture, and cheese in a lightly greased 13- x – 9 inch baking dish. Repeat layers.

Whisk together eggs, milk or half and half, salt and pepper; pour over layers in baking dish. Cover and chill up to 8 hours, if desired.

Bake, lightly covered with aluminum foil, at 375° for 30 minutes to one hour or until golden and bubbly.

Creamy Boursin Omelette

My daughter, Zoe, got us hooked on Boursin® Vermont White Cheddar & Sage Spread. It claims to be a sophisticated take on cheddar. A hint of delicately earthy sage balances the tangy sharpness of real Vermont Cheddar.

I went to the market with my husband and he bought some. The lady working the check out said she LOVES this cheese and puts it in her scrambled eggs.  Well, isn’t that a nice idea!?  I’m probably one of the few people who would come home from the market and make something the check out lady likes.

So, I went on the Boursin site and found this omelette recipe, though you could just throw some in your scramble. Sorry about the blurry photo, I was hungry and didn’t take my time!

You can also check out my other Boursin recipes:

Puff Pastry Boursin Chicken and Boursin Cheese Dip with Fresh Vegetables

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Creamy Boursin Omelette

3 Tbs Boursin Cheese, flavor of your choice
1 Tbs butter
2 large eggs
1 green onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter in small non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat. In small bowl, beat eggs and green onions.

Pour eggs into heated skillet, swirling eggs around pan. With spatula, gently draw egg mixture away from sides of skillet into the center, allowing egg mixture to flow towards sides of skillet. When eggs are just about set, season with salt & pepper.

Drop bits of Boursin Cheese onto half of omelette. With spatula, gently flip the omelette in half, keeping cheese-side down. Cook for another minute or until Boursin is melted and omelette is golden brown.

Tip : Add your favorite chopped vegetables. Garnish top of omelette with chopped fresh green onions or crumbled bacon.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf


My family loves anything lemony. My husband, Eric, always says nothing can be too lemony. Here is a copycat version of Starbucks Lemon Loaf. I made 3 mini loaves.

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Starbucks Lemon Loaf

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 Tbs butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp lemon extract

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup oil

Lemon Icing

1 cup powdered sugar, plus 1 Tbs

2 Tbs whole milk
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Use a mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in a medium bowl.
Pour wet ingredient into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.

Add oil and mix well.

Pour batter into a well greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into center of the cake comes out clean.
Make the lemon icing by combining all the icing ingredients in a small bowl with an electric mixer on low speed.

When the loaf is cool, remove it from pan and frost the top with the icing.
 Let the icing set up before slicing.

Gege’s “Jiffy Rolls” Basic Dough

This very old fashioned recipe comes from my husband’s grandmother. My brother-in-law, Russell, made them. The recipe includes 3 extra variations.

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Gege’s “Jiffy Rolls” Basic Dough

¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt​
¼ cup soft shortening or butter
¾ cup lukewarm milk
1 large egg
1 cake compressed yeast (0.6 oz) or one packet dry yeast
2¼ cup sifted flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mace or cinnamon

Mix together sugar, salt, shortening or butter, milk and egg.

Crumble yeast into mixture and stir until dissolved. Add the flour and spices. Beat for one minute (at least 100 strokes).

Scrape dough from sides of bowl, cover with damp cloth and let rise @ 85 degrees F until double in bulk (about 1¾ hours).

Beat well (20-30 strokes).

Make into any shaped rolls desired (makes 12 good-sized rolls).

Sugar & Spice Puffs
Drop by spoonfuls into 12 medium-sized greased muffin pans. Let rise 30-45 minutes.

Bake about 15 minutes at 400 degrees, dip tops and sides immediately in 6 Tbs melted butter, then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture (1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon).

Merry Morning Ring
Place dough in ring and let rise 30-45 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes @ 350 degrees. While still warm, frost with a mixture of ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar and about 1 Tbs milk. Decorate with nuts and maraschino cherries if desired.

Yankee Clipper Coffee Cake
Place dough in square pan. Sprinkle with mixture of ¼ cup sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbs flour and 2 Tbs butter. Let rise 45 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Spinach Quiche

There are many variants of quiche, including a wide variety of ingredients. Variations are, for example, quiche au fromage (quiche with cheese) and quiche aux champignons (quiche with mushrooms) or conventionally: florentine (spinach); provençale (tomatoes); and so on. I love the endless possibilities and the fact that it can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature or cold. This is perfect for a hot evening served with a salad.

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Spinach Quiche

10-inch piecrust or fresh pastry
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs, whipped
1 cup spinach, cut thin
1/2 cup cooked and chopped bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheese, Monterey Jack or other
2 green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (on low fan speed, if using convection). During this time, cover the bottom of the piecrust with aluminum foil and uncooked beans. Place the piecrust in the oven and bake (blind bake) for 10 to 12 minutes to allow the crust to cook. The crust should be light brown on the edges when removing from the oven.

During the cooking of the crust, whisk together the milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and eggs in a bowl. After mixing the eggs, in a second bowl, blend together the spinach, bacon, cheese and green onions. Add half of the egg mixture to coat the ingredients, again mixing well. Next, add the mixture to the cooked crust then finish with the remaining egg mixture. Bake in the oven until the middle of the quiche is set, about 40 minutes.

Banana Crepes

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This recipe is from my brother-in-law, Russell’s friend Doug at Keuka Lake, NY.

Banana crepes

Banana Crepes 

Makes 1 dozen

2 Tbs butter
1¼ cup milk (Doug used ¼ buttermilk and 1 cup skim)
½ cup light buckwheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs

Melt butter in milk on stove. Sift flours together and put in food processor with a pinch of salt. Let milk mixture cool, then pour over flour and combine. Crack eggs and drop in, Process only till blended. Let sit 30 min.

Use 2 Tbs per crepe for 8” pan. Batter will last for several days in fridge or can be frozen.

Banana Filling 

(we had three bananas which was perfect for four crepes—multiply quantities as needed)

3 bananas, sliced (Doug did crosswise, could be lengthwise)
2 Tbs dark rum
Brown sugar to taste (we used 2-3 Tbs)
Cinnamon to taste

Put all ingredients in buttered baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. When assembling, spoon bananas onto crepes with slotted spoon and roll crepe up. Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream next to each crepe and spoon rest of sauce over it. Serve immediately.