Cheese curds are delicious nuggets of freshly made cheddar cheese that actually squeak in your mouth, when you eat them soon after they are produced. There are cheese factories throughout Wisconsin where you can find warm cheese curds made daily. All cheddar cheeses actually begin as curds before they are formed into blocks or wheels and aged.
After a recent Wisconsin visit, I brought home some cheese curds and decided to explore cooking with them. I paired these with broccoli and eggs for individual frittatas with gooey gobs of fresh cheese in each one. If you cannot find cheese curds, you can substitute cubed cheddar.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion, peeled and diced 1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and chopped 1 cups cheese curds 8 eggs 1 cup skim or low-fat milk ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté a couple of minutes, until it starts to soften. Add broccoli and sauté until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. You may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water to the skillet to prevent sticking.
Break large cheese curds into bite size pieces and place in a medium bowl. Stir vegetables in with cheese curds and fill the muffin tin with an equal amount of the mixture.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and cheese curds, filling each cup to the rim.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until frittata tops are lightly golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: An ice cream scoop is a great tool to use for adding the frittata mixture to the muffin tins. Fill each cup with one scoop and avoid messy spills.
Vegetables are one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast, but I had never thought about combining spaghetti squash with eggs until I had a similar dish for brunch at Posana in Asheville, NC. Their garden vegetable hash was superb and I enjoyed it on their dog-friendly patio where they even have a menu for fur babies. Back at home in my kitchen with my four-legged-boy, Rocco, beside me, I crafted my version with a light and creamy Dijon sauce in place of their leek vinaigrette.
This recipe is also a great one to make when serving breakfast for dinner. Looking for a grab-and-go breakfast option? Serve the hash in small containers and add boiled egg slices on top in place of the poached or fried eggs. Hope you enjoy this unique take on spaghetti squash and comment below to let me know about your favorite breakfast veggies.
Ingredients: 1 medium spaghetti squash 16 ounces small potatoes, diced 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided 1 leek 1 bunch or 6 ounce bag of spinach salt and pepper ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard 2 cloves minced garlic 4 eggs, poached or fried
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the ends of the squash and slice in half. Remove the seeds and discard. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the center of the oven until tender and squash flakes with a fork into noodles, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, place potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Roast until tender, for 25 to 30 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Remove vegetables from the oven and cover potatoes with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let spaghetti squash sit until cool enough to touch.
Meanwhile, remove the dark green stalk from the leek, keeping the light green and white section. Wash the leek well to remove dirt in between the layers and thinly slice. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek to the skillet and sauté until tender and fragrant, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach and sauté until wilted, for a couple more minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside on low heat to keep warm.
In a small bowl, add yogurt, mustard and garlic and stir to combine, creating creamy garlic sauce.
Use a fork to remove the strands of spaghetti squash by lightly raking across the inside surface. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add ¼ of squash, spinach and potatoes to each plate and serve with an egg on top and a dollop of creamy garlic sauce.
Served over hoecakes, made from fresh ground cornmeal, this is a southern vegetarian version of Dr. Suess’ breakfast. Sautéed kale and a light avocado sauce give this traditional egg dish two shades of green and a healthy makeover. Create a make-your-own Eggs Benedict station for brunch guests by adding ham or smoked salmon as additional options. Pair with a fresh glass of orange juice, mimosa or Bloody Mary to finish out the meal.
Hoecake Ingredients: ¾ cup cornmeal ¼ cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 cup buttermilk canola oil, for greasing the griddle
Green Eggs Benedict Ingredients: 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled Juice of 1 small lemon 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided ¾ cup water a couple pinches of salt and pepper 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, or 5 ounces baby kale 8 eggs, fried or poached
Prepare a griddle over medium heat. In a large bowl, make the hoecake batter by stirring together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and buttermilk and whisk to combine.
Lightly brush griddle with canola oil. Ladle the batter onto the griddle, working in batches to create 8 hoecakes. Cook until bubbles start to form on the top and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown and the center is cooked through. Place cooked hoecakes on a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding remaining oil to the griddle as needed.
Place avocado in a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, 2 teaspoons canola oil, water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach desired consistency.
Heat remaining oil in a medium skillet and add kale leaves. Sauté until wilted, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Top each hoecake with sautéed kale and an egg. Drizzle with avocado sauce and serve.
Vegetables are my favorite thing to eat for breakfast after my morning workout, and I love making fast meals like this one to fuel up for the day. Bok choy has a light and refreshing taste with leaves similar to spinach and stems like a cross between cabbage and iceberg lettuce. This superfood is super delicious and tastes excellent with brown rice, Asian flavors and fried eggs. Move over cereal, breakfast just got a lot more interesting. Go ahead and give veggies a try for your morning meal.
Ingredients: 2 baby bok choy bunches or 1 medium bunch bok choy 2 teaspoons coconut oil 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder 1 cup cooked brown rice 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce 2 eggs
Separate white stalks from bok choy and dice. Coarsely chop green bok choy leaves.
In a large skillet or wok, heat coconut oil. Add bok choy and Chinese five-spice powder and sauté until stems are soft and leaves are wilted, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small non-stick skillet, fry two eggs.
Add brown rice and soy sauce to bok choy and stir to combine, cooking for another minute. Serve eggs over bok choy rice mixture.
When I make my Sweet and Spicy Veggie Quesadilla, I don’t always make six servings, which means I have extra black beans and sautéed mushrooms on hand. That’s where the inspiration came from for this Mushroom and Black Bean Omelet. Treasure those leftovers and use a little creativity to transform them into a new delicious meal.
Breakfast is one of my favorite meals and I think weekday meals should be just as delicious as slowly savored weekend brunches. This recipe is fast and easy to make any day of the week. Create your own version by substituting the mushrooms and beans for last nights’ leftover vegetables, such as steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes.
Ingredients: 2 eggs ⅛ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon black pepper ¼ teaspoon chipotle Chile powder ½ teaspoon butter ¼ cup black beans ¼ cup mushrooms, sautéed ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded light sour cream and salsa for serving
Crack eggs in a small bowl. Season with salt, pepper and chipotle Chile powder and blend with a fork.
Melt butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour eggs into skillet and lightly stir with a spatula, until the eggs start to come together. Use the spatula to start to loosen the edges of the omelet by gently peeling it away from the pan.
When the eggs are almost set, add black beans, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese to one side. Fold omelet in half to cover ingredients. Cook for about a minute longer. Flip omelet and cook an additional minute, until outside is lightly browned and cheese has melted. Top with light sour cream and salsa before serving.
Vegetables and fried eggs are one of my favorite breakfast combination. My Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash includes sausage in the mix for a hardy breakfast that will fuel you up for a busy day. This is also an easy dish to make for brunch, and leftovers are great warmed up and topped with a freshly fried egg on weekday mornings. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a cup of joe.
Ingredients: 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced ½ pound ground sausage ½ tablespoon olive oil ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped 4 eggs, fried to desired preference
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula after 10 minutes.
Crumble sausage in a large skillet, breaking it up with a spatula for about 5 to 6 minutes, until cooked through. Drain oil from skillet.
Add kale to skillet with sausage and sauté until wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Serve hash with fried egg on top.
Frittatas are one of my favorite one-pan meals to serve for breakfast, brunch or dinner. They are so versatile and can be made with any of your favorite vegetables, meats and cheeses. This one incorporates fresh kale, sausage and smoked gouda for a combination that will please both meat and vegetable lovers alike. It pairs well with homemade hash browns and orange juice.
Ingredients: ½ pound ground mild sausage 1 medium bunch kale, trimmed and chopped 6 eggs ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper ¼ cup low-fat milk ¾ cup smoked gouda, shredded
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Heat an 8-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and cook sausage until browned. Drain grease from skillet and return to stovetop. 3. Add kale to skillet in two batches and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes total. 4. Beat eggs with a whisk in a medium bowl. Stir in salt, pepper, milk and gouda. 5. Pour egg mixture over kale and sausage and gently stir to evenly distribute. Let the eggs start to set for 1 to 2 minutes without stirring. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the eggs are set and the frittata is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cabbage and egg may sound like an odd pairing, but this dynamic duo is unbelievably delicious. My Cabbage and Egg Fiesta Bowl is a tasty and unique way to enjoy cabbage for breakfast, topped with salsa, avocado, cotija cheese and sour cream. Served for brunch, this dish is best enjoyed with a spicy Bloody Mary.
For a fast weekday breakfast, sauté cabbage in advance and reheat with a quick scrambled egg. In less than five minutes, you can have a healthy breakfast that tastes like one you would enjoy on a lazy weekend.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder ½ teaspoon salt 4 eggs
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add cabbage, cumin, chili powder and salt. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
Place cabbage in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs in a small bowl, add to skillet and scramble, stirring slowly with a spatula until cooked through. Return cabbage to skillet and stir to combine.
Spoon cabbage and scrambled egg mixture equally in four bowls, add toppings and serve.
Eggs and vegetables are two of my favorite pairings and breakfast is one of my favorite meals, but this sandwich is not only delicious in the morning. It is also perfect for an easy weekend brunch with a Bloody Mary or for a quick dinner on a night when you would rather read a book than spend time in the kitchen. Spinach and swiss chard make great alternatives to kale and shiitake or white button mushrooms work well in place of the portabella. Enjoy your panini however you choose to make it and whatever time of day you decide to savor this meal.
Heat panini press to medium-high heat. Spread 4 slices of bread with equal amounts of goat cheese and set aside.
Roughly chop kale leaves. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, until brown and tender. Add kale and water to the skillet and sauté for a couple of minutes, until greens are wilted. Add balsamic vinegar to the sautéed vegetables and cook for another minute. Season with half of the salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Place eggs and remaining salt and pepper in a medium bowl and lightly beat. Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and scramble.
Place ¼ of scrambled eggs on top of the bread slice with goat cheese. Add ¼ of the kale and mushroom mixture on top of the eggs and top with a slice of bread. Working in batches, place two sandwiches on the panini press and heat for about 5 minutes, until cheese has melted and light brown grill marks appear on the sandwiches. Repeat and serve.
If good luck and prosperity are on your list for 2019, you are likely planning to indulge in a plate of collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Because brunch is one of my favorite meals and I love to embrace southern food traditions, I created this New Year’s Brunch dish that will leave you with a happy belly and hopefully a prosperous year ahead. If you prefer to eat your greens and peas like your grandmother prepared them, leftovers would be delicious in this brunch recipe the next day. Cheers to a healthy, happy and successful year ahead.
Ingredients for Gouda Grits:
2 cups water
½ cup grits
½ cup gouda cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon half and half
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Ingredients for Sautéed Greens and Peas:
2 cups water
1 bunch collard greens
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can of black-eyed peas, no salt added
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Ingredients for New Year’s Brunch:
¼ serving of Gouda Grits
¼ serving of Sautéed Greens and Peas
4 eggs, fried to preference
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add grits, stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add gouda, half and half, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese melts and set aside on low heat to keep warm.
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, wash the collard greens and remove the stems. Add greens to the boiling water, reduce to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain greens in a colander and use the back of a wooden spoon to gently press out any excess water.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add collard greens and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender. Add peas to the skillet of greens and stir to combine. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes until peas are warm. Add, salt, pepper and vinegar, and sauté for another minute, stirring to evenly coat.
Add Gouda Grits to the center of four plates and top with Sautéed Greens and Peas. Top each plate with a fried egg and serve.