Tots turned into nachos, for breakfast! We’ve been watching The Great Food Truck Race: Alaska! and there’s a truck called “Some Like it Tot” and while I don’t envision them winning, the concept is still fun (spoiler: also their serving is about 6 tots with toppings for $15 so let’s make these at home, shall we?)
These are like a loaded breakfast hash of sorts but with tator tots. I’m always seeking savory breakfasts and this was so fun! It has tots, beans, cheese, eggs, bacon, green onions, and an optional spicy syrup!
Breakfast Totchos Ingredients: (for 2) 3 cups of tator tots (about 8-10 tots per person) 4 strips bacon 2 cups cheese 3 eggs 1/2 cup beans 2 green onions 2 tablespoons salsa 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Directions: Bake the tator tots according to the package (mine were 20 minutes at 375 degrees). While the tots cook, pan fry the bacon until crisp- discarding the drippings. In the same pan, with a coating of drippings, cook the eggs to a soft-scramble. Layer half the cheese onto the tots and melt in the oven. Then assemble with half of the tots as a base layer, topped with half of the eggs, half the beans, half the green onions. Top with remaining tots and repeat, finishing with the remaining cheese. Bake to melt. Stir together the hot sauce and maple syrup. Out of the oven, add the salsa and a drizzle of spicy syrup. Enjoy!
There are lots of ways to customize these- any kind of beans, guac/avocado would be excellent, a sunny side up egg sounds good, or whatever you’re into for nachos. It is also a great use for any leftover nacho ingredients- not leftover nachos, that’s terrible.
Make them a build-your-own situation! There are a lot of tots made into a casserole for breakfast but the thought of them not being crispy is blasphemy in my book.
Normally I’d be very against maple syrup touching eggs but I was thinking of it like hot honey and the bacon seemed to be the connection there- and I went really minimally. Skip it or go just for hot sauce if you’re not feeling it!
Have you missed the grain bowls?! It has been awhile and I love love this format. We had these Cuban Rice bowls with inspiration from a cuban pressed sandwich – Pork, cheese, mustard, pickles. I didn’t have any ham but that would be traditional. These were fun for something different and have lots of ways to customize them.
Cuban Inspired Rice Bowls Ingredients: (serves ~4-5) 1 1/2 cups rice water/broth/bullion for the rice as dictated to prepare 1 1/2 cups pulled pork (or slices of cooked pork tenderloin) 2-3 pickle spears 1/4 cup white cheddar or swiss cheese 2 tablespoons yellow mustard 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 cup fried onions
Directions: Cook the rice – mine was 5 minutes in the pressure cooker and uses 2 1/4 cups water + bullion. Warm the pork in a pan until heated through. Chop the pickles & the cheese. Whisk or shake together the mustard and honey. Warm the fried onions in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes.
Assemble the bowls with rice, cheese, pork, pickles, and the crispy onions.
Then drizzle with honey mustard mixture and enjoy!
I loved these! Add in some chopped ham! Swap for the cheese you like! Use any kind of pickles you like- I like dill and the rest of the fam likes bread & butter pickles! Go for any grain or rice you’re into! I added the honey to the yellow mustard to mellow it out a bit but you could skip that too. The inspiration is a Cuban sandwich but I’d be open to more veggies or the mustard mixed into the rice too!
These were fun and a great deviation from other ways we enjoy pulled pork. I put a pork shoulder into the crock pot for 6 hours and this was one meal and we have ~4 more portions in the freezer for BBQ pulled pork or tacos or quesadillas or on pizza…the list goes on.
March felt so much brighter than February. I’m so glad people I know and love are getting vaccinated and I’m awaiting my turn. March had birthdays and spring weather both which make me so happy. February felt heavy and repetitive.
My fav thing to come out of the kitchen this month was this loaded Cobb Salad Turned Panini. So fun. I’ve not confirmed the difference between a cobb salad and a chef’s salad!
I’m excited for Easter brunch and treats. April will also mean full-time at-school kindergarten for Thomas! I cannot wait to eat outside and I love the daylight! I got matched once for Lasagna Love and I packed up a few things for some new mommies.
The Little Girl: She loves stickers and coloring. It was so exciting to get sandals out! She’s got sooo many stuffed friends in her bed- it is like flavor-of-the-week for preferences. She’s totally being 2.5 yrs old with some clapping her hands down and saying “but I got hurt” when she doesn’t want to hear or do something. We’re onto you little one. She is so happy to play in the sandbox again.
The Big Guy: I love to see the creations he crafts. Often it is an animal or something he’s just seen or heard about. He’ll draw snakes/hawks/eagles then color them, and carefully cut out. He’s about to start 5 days a week to school. He will love it. We love love love seeing how much he can read. We just finished Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I dropped a note to T’s fantastic kindergarten teacher. More breakfasts: Churro French Toast Sticks! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Ehh. Not really. I’d like to get the house a bit neater: I think I nudged some small spots – like the wet bar in the kitchen and my dresser top. Bullet journal – I’ve been keeping a meals list. What I’m reading: I read I know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Text Me When You Get Home and Bel Canto. What I’m Watching: We loved Stanley Tucci’s series Searching for Italy! We watched Dark Waters and it was so impressive but disheartening.
All the perks of a Cobb salad without any of the lettuce! Lettuce really gets in the way of the fun stuff in a salad, right??? This panini has Cheese! Chicken! Ham! Avocado! Tomato! Blue Cheese Dressing!
I loved this grilled cheese with all the things.
Cobb Salad Panini Ingredients: 2 slices sourdough 1 slice ham 1/3 cup chopped chicken 3 slices cheese 1 small tomato 1/2 avocado 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing 2 teaspoons butter/olive oil/mayo
Directions: Heat a pan to medium heat. Assemble the sandwich with bread, half the cheese, ham, chicken, tomato, sliced avocado, and the remaining cheese. Spread butter or mayo or brush bread with olive oil. Cook the sandwich and grill on each side for ~ 2-3 minutes. Cover to melt the cheese. Remove from the heat and let sit for 1 minute before slicing. Dip into blue cheese dressing. Enjoy!
This was so fun. There’s a lot happening and it is one of those messy-delicious sandwiches you can barely put down. Good bread is necessary to hold up, and nothing makes a panini/loaded grilled cheese better than cheese on each side.
The defining elements of a cobb salad to me seems fuzzy compared to a chef’s salad. I’m not entirely sure what’s in one and not in the other? Either way, in a salad the hard boiled egg is ideal – I figured it might be a little weird here. Bacon would have been lovely, sliced turkey could definitely swap for the chicken. Go for what speaks to you.
Special sandwiches are so great for dinner – or make salads one meal and paninis for another!
The ideal snack! All my past energy bites were peanut butter based so I tried something new. We definitely eat our fair share of pb around here! I love these pb/coconut/choc chip ones and these pb & “jelly” flavored ones too. Snacks can reset us mid-morning between zooms or virtual kindergarten screen-breaks, or post-nap. I like the powerful, useful, snacks and that these can carry us to the next meal.
Chocolate Mint Energy Bites Ingredients: 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats 5 dates, chopped 1 tablespoon/scoop chocolate protein powder 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed 1/2 cup tahini 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 1-2 tablespoons Nutella 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
Directions: Mix together the oats, flaxseed, dates, and protein powder.
Add in the tahini, chocolate chips, nutella, and mint. Mix well, breaking up chunks to ensure mint is well incorporated. Form into balls or disks. Enjoy!
I like these shaped as disks just for easier space storage. We all snack on these and they provide that great flavor with some good protein, fiber, and a little chocolate sweet boost.
The nutella was an afterthought – these tasted a bit too much like protein powder so I added that to sweeten it a bit. Mini chips are ideal so these don’t crumble apart. Careful of that mint- wowza. That can easily be wayyy too much.
My 2.5 yr old sous-chef looooved the dates so those will be a snack too for her now too.
I’ve been trying to give home lunches a bit of a face lift. These turkey melts on English muffins are just unique enough be exciting while keeping them a totally do-able weekday lunch. Somedays it is PB&J while doing 5 other things and then there’s a 5 minute special lunch with everyday ingredients like this!
These have a nice kick with a spicy sauce and crunch from an apple (or there are lots of variations below)!
English Muffin Turkey Melts: Ingredients: (for 1) 1 English Muffin 2 tablespoons mayo 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or hot sauce) 2 slices turkey 1-2 slices cheese 1/4 apple (I used honeycrisp) 1 cup mixed greens
Directions: Toast the English muffin (the toaster oven is perfect for this, or “griddle” it on a pan to use again soon). Mix together the mayo and the sriracha in a small bowl. Slice the apple and chop the greens if needed, while the muffin toasts.
When the English muffin is toasted, spread the sriracha onto both halves, then top one half with greens, apple slices, turkey, and cheese. Pop the assembled English muffin into a toaster oven, the regular oven, or into a hot pan with a cover to melt the cheese and warm everything through.
Pop the top on and enjoy!
These are so fun and could easily swap with what you have. Honey mustard would be great, a pear would taste delicious, ham can swap with turkey. Go crazy! The English muffin definitely adds some variety, and the melty cheese + lunch meat + a fruit + a veg + sauce = is perfect. These can be open faced or popped together as a sandwich.
I’m partial to these Fiber One Multigrain English muffins. They are much more fluffy than others and the higher fiber is just an added benefit.
Our kindergartner is totally enthused by school lunch – he goes to school 2 days a week and lunch is provided. Chocolate milk! Square pizza! He eats anything and gets 2 choices so despite not knowing what they’re serving, I’m always interested to hear what he picks. He had french toast sticks and loved it! I decided to make our own and coated them in a little churro crunch. Anything in a dippable format is fun for all!
Churro French Toast Sticks Ingredients: (serves 5-6) 1/2 loaf Italian Bread 6 eggs 1/2 cup half and half 1/2 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons brown sugar sprinkle of nutmeg 2 tablespoons white sugar
Directions: Slice Italian bread in half horizontally, then into slices vertically for sticks. Whisk together eggs, half & half, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, and nutmeg.
Pour into a shallow baking dish and add in bread in one layer, repeat if necessary. Toss well and let soak for 10 minutes. (I used a 9×9 dish for 2 batches, cooking one batch while the other soaks.)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and spray with nonstick spray and butter. Pan fry the sticks- cooking for ~2-3 minutes on each side. Prep a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, white sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. As the french toast sticks are cooked, remove from the heat and put onto the baking sheet – rolling in the cinnamon sugar. Then keep warm while cooking other french toast sticks.
These were good! The sugary crunch and warm spices is delightful – almost doughnut-like! They’re quite sweet and would have paired nicely with bacon, but do as I say, not as I do!
Psssst! Use the leftover other half of Italian bread loaf cut into chunks to be homemade croutons or for garlic bread. Both are good decisions and reminders how pillowy white bread is!
I’m reallllly feeling 2021. The prospect of a new year, fresh slate doesn’t seem inspiring or fitting. I think some melted sidewalks is what I’m looking forward to the most right now. I’m the most home-body of anyone I know and even I want to go places. I had a few fun foods in February, mixed amongst the staples of easy-to-execute/crowd pleasers.
I made a BLT Chicken Salad that has great flexibility for any time of year…including this part of the year with lack-luster tomatoes!
The standout meal of the month for me was Pineapple Coconut Rice bowls. I love a rice bowl and this added some greatly appreciated variety and inspiring a different place.
I’m not sure what’s coming up for March yet. I feel a bit of a slump so maybe some fun foods will revive me – or birthday cake?
The Little Girl: She just always wants to go places- there’s just nowhere for her to go. I love hearing her tell stories from books she knows well as she flips through them. We’re so lucky she’s easy going. I’m amused by her intense instruction when she’s playing pretend- for the play kitchen she’s forever telling me in a deep voice, “no, that’s for lunch and it is hot”. PB & fluff is her fav lunch and she’d eat maple oatmeal daily.
The Big Guy: The start of Feb vacation had him sad not to have school, then sad to go back. The break was good – he got some time home to just play, time with all the grandparents, and he was thrilled to have so much snow. It was also good for us as the time-managers. He loves sledding and is never cold. His current fav food is fig bars – like these and he’s been into helping make dinner. He watched the movie Turbo and loved it. We’re reading Charlotte’s Web.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! We sent a few Valentines around and a little something as encouragement. More breakfasts: nothing new, but I did make a special doughnut run. Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Umm. Leftovers became some breakfast burritos which are fun to pull out of the freezer now and then. I’ve been having some veggie burgers too. I’d like to get the house a bit neater: ehh. I didn’t have any particular emphasis on this- but should Bullet journal – I’ve kept a meals list going which I like as reminders of the every-day/not blogged ones. What I’m reading: I read Panther Baby and The Giver of Stars which I loooved and The Henna Artist. What I’m Watching: We caught up on some movies – ‘Knives Out’ which I absolutely loved and ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ was was OK to me.
Approaching 1 year of the pandemic and some gloomy weather has me a bit blah. I desperately miss non-icy sidewalks at the moment. Sometimes a more exciting lunch is something to look forward to, right? I’ve been striving for some more varied lunches and this was a good one.
Just a few slices of bacon with chopped greens, tomatoes, chicken salad, and a bit of bright pickle is so satisfying and perfect in a pita, or on some great bread, or scooped with crackers. This also works nicely for reviving leftovers if you’ve eaten chicken lately!
BLT Chicken Salad Ingredients: (for 2-3 servings) 2 cups chicken (cooked and cooled) 1 teaspoon mayo 1 tablespoon Italian dressing 1 teaspoon pickle juice (optional) 2 strips bacon (cooked and cooled) 2 cups baby arugula 1 small tomato
Directions: Chop and shred the chicken and mix the mayo, Italian dressing, pickle juice (optional) and salt & pepper. Chop the bacon, arugula, and tomato and add in the chicken salad.
Stir gently to combine – add in another splash of dressing or pickle juice if needed. Serve as a sandwich, with more greens as a salad, or scoop with crackers! Enjoy!
This is use 103,894,380 for a Costco roasted chicken. Those things are so much better than anywhere else, and cheaper! I buy them even without a plan and take it off the bone to freeze it. For this chicken salad, it was easy to break off some frozen chunks and defrost in the fridge overnight.
I’m partial to Ken’s Italian Dressing that looks like nothing special but is ohh so good. I think that WITH the pickle juice is delightful and just enough mayo to keep it together.
Are chopped salads still a thing? I liked everything getting equally distributed but now I’m wondering if they were just a fad of the 2010s? Either way, it is the perfect way to ensure each bite has some of everything. The concept lives on at our house!
I’m fully embracing Valentine’s Day this year because, well, we definitely need things to look forward to. I had decor up before Feb 1 hit and planned to make muddy buddies. We made some mint ones at Christmas and it was so fun. This muddy buddy batch has half white, half pink raspberry with some M&Ms in there too!
I like that these require so few ingredients. With so many Chex varieties I totally could have done half as raspberry and half vanilla chex, which would lighten up the sugar too.
Raspberry White Chocolate Muddy Buddy Ingredients: ~1 box Rice Chex cereal (I used one box minus 2 kid bfast servings) 3 cups white chocolate 1 teaspoon raspberry jelly (optional) 1 cup freeze dried raspberries, pulverized into powder 1 cup powdered sugar 1 bag Valentine’s M&Ms or small valentine candies or pink sprinkles
Directions: Melt half the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds. Mix half the cereal in, stirring carefully to not break the cereal. Pour into a zip-top bag and pour in half the powdered sugar (don’t push the air out before closing the bag, keep it balloon-like). Shake, shake, shake until well covered. Empty onto a sheet of wax paper to cool/dry. Melt the other half of the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds. Mix the remaining half the cereal in and jelly, stirring carefully to not break the cereal. Pour into the same zip-top bag and pour in remaining half of the powdered sugar and the raspberry powder (don’t push the air out before closing the bag-keep it balloon-like). Shake, shake, shake until well covered. Empty onto a sheet of wax paper to cool/dry. Let it cool/dry for 15 minutes and then pour both batches into a large air-tight container with the M&Ms or sprinkles. Enjoy!
Using the bag was much easier than stirring in a bowl. I’ve now mastered how not to dirty 2 of everything! We had freeze dried raspberries that nobody liked for snacks so I ground them up for PB&J inspired energy bites and the rest for these! The kids like freeze dried mango, strawberries, apples, etc so I’m not sure why they weren’t a hit, but ohh well! They bring great flavor and color.
A lighter option to lessen the sugar would be to half the white chocolate, half the powdered sugar and to make the raspberry batch and mix in a few cups of vanilla chex or honey nut chex.