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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

{Overnight Baked French Toast}

I am switching up the order of this weeks recipes!! I apologize, I was re-looking at the photos last night for the kale salad and couldn't find one I liked! So at last I  am recreating the salad again to take more photos!  Forgive me!  However I think you will love this easy breezy French Toast Casserole that can be made for your 4th of July brunch (think red white and blue with the bread and berries) or whip it up for a little breakfast for dinner!! My favorite!

Now let's just take a brief moment to discuss my obsession with breakfast foods and brunch.  There is no doubt in anyone's mind that brunching (is that even a word?) is one of my favorite weekend activities!  I think that deep love for brunch came from my childhood!  I can distinctly remember growing up and my parents whipping up a huge Saturday morning breakfast (brunch)!

My dad would whip up his famous homemade pancakes, and the meal would be completed with scrambled eggs, bacon and of course cookie cutters (because what 5 year old wants to eat pancakes that look like boring old circles).  Saturday morning brunch was always a huge production but always delicious and memorable!  Now a days I could eat breakfast food for pretty much any meal, yes I am that obsessed.

Side note about my love for brunch is now over!  Let's put the focus back on this little Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole which in my mind is perfect for a lazy Saturday brunch (like the one you might have on the 4th of July) or for your next breakfast for dinner!  This little breakfast beauty is the ultimate no fuss meal, simply throw all the ingredients in a baking dish the night before, toss it in the fridge and bake the next morning (or night)!  Easy peasy!  Top with fresh berries and maple syrup for a little pizzazz! And if you want something hearty to go along with your French Toast serve up some scrambled eggs or your favorite breakfast meat!  I am partial to serving this Baked French Toast on its own with fruit, maple syrup and of course peanut butter!   

Overnight Baked French Toast
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6

3 1/2 Cups Bread Cubed (I used 10 Slices of Whole Wheat Great Harvest Bread)
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt - I used Fage 0%
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup + More for Serving 
1/2 Cup Milk of Choice
Teaspoon Vanilla Extract 
2 Egg Whites 
3 Teaspoons Brown Sugar 
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon Divided 
2 Tablespoons Sliced Almonds

For Serving:
1-2 Cups Fresh Berries
Greek Yogurt - If you like
Peanut Butter
Maple Syrup 

1  - Toss bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside. 
2- In a large glass measuring cup combine Greek Yogurt, Maple Syrup Milk, Vanilla Extract, teaspoon of cinnamon and Egg Whites.  Whisk together until combined. 
3- Pour Yogurt mixture over bread crumbs and toss bread crumbs in yogurt mixture until evenly coated. 
4- Pour bread cubes into a greased baking dish (I used a 8x8 inch glass dish).  Cover and place in refrigerator overnight. 
5- In the morning combine brown sugar, remaining teaspoon of cinnamon and almonds.  Stir to combine and spread evenly over french toast. 
6- Bake french toast in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until middle of French Toast is set and top is lightly browned! 

Enjoy and happy brunching!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

{Strawberry Dumplings}

**This recipe was originally posted last year around the 4th of July!  Re-sharing today as these Strawberry Dumplings make the perfect dessert for your 4th of July gathering!  They are a Wolfe family favorite!  Whip up some homemade vanilla ice cream to go with, and you will have one drool worthy 4th of July Dessert (though store bought ice cream works just as well, you will still get the drool factor)!  Enjoy!!!

Hard to believe that the weekend and Monday have come and gone!    But, I guess that is to be expected when you have a jam packed weekend, and a long to do list on Monday!  This past weekend I moved (the move isn't over yet), I baked, I ran  and most importantly celebrated my little sisters birthday!  It was a fun yet exhausting weekend, but I wouldn't have changed any of it!

You know what else I feel like is over in the blink of an eye?  June!!  Tomorrow is July 1st and the 4th of July is right around the corner!  Summer is moving at the speed of light and I feel as though Fall might be here before I know it.  Life slow down!

Well, with the 4th of July being a few short days away I thought I would share with you a few celebration worthy recipes this week, starting off with a good old family favorite... Strawberry dumplings!  Now I have to say that Strawberry Dumplings are not just a Wolfe family 4th of July tradition, Strawberry Dumplings are a summer tradition!  It just wouldn't be summer without making a few batches (or multiple batches) of Strawberry Dumplings!  You better believe that once fresh strawberry stands start popping up alongside the road that my mom will be there picking out the best Strawberries, to put into her delicious little dumplings!  There is nothing light or healthy about these dumplings, but there is no way I am going to mess with this  family recipe!   Sometimes you just don't mess with a recipe that is perfection and sometimes you just have to feed your soul, and these strawberry dumplings will do just that!  I love that this recipe was hand written by my Grandma and placed in a recipe book that she then gave to my mom.  At the bottom of my mom's hand written recipe my grandma has written that the recipe has been passed down from her mother my great grandma Beulah Ford, from Lafallete Tennessee,  it really is the little things in life that can be such a joy!  These dumplings are perfect warm or even at room temperature!  My family prefers them warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  The vanilla ice cream melts around the dumpling and gets coated in the sweet syrup, pure perfection!  So with that, enjoy from my family to yours!  Whip these up as a part of your 4th of July Holiday dessert spread, you won't be sorry! 

Strawberry Dumplings
Family Recipe 
Makes 16 Dumplings 

Prepared pie crust for a 2 crust pie, use this recipe or Pillsbury refrigerated dough
1 Quart Strawberries hulled and sliced 

2 Cups Sugar 
1 Cup Water 
1/2 Cup Butter 

1- If not using prepared pie crust then role pie crust out thin.  If using prepared pie crust lay flat on surface and move to step #2
2- Cut pie crust into 16 equal squares. 
3- Taking one square of pie crust at a time, fill the center of the square with 4-5 strawberries.  Fold the corners of the square into the center (covering the strawberries).  Lightly pinch the corners together and set "dumpling" in a 9x13 glass baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining pie crust squares. 
4- Now combine sugar, water and butter in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, and let mixture boil for 5 minutes.  
5- Pour sauce evenly over dumplings and place dumplings in a 375 degree oven to bake.  Bake dumplings for 30 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, we like homemade!  


For more delicious 4th of July inspired recipes check out Raise.Com (link to homepage)- they have put together a compilation of 4th of July recipes from bloggers around the country!  Link, Here!  Check it out! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

{Twice Baked Breakfast Style Sweet Potatoes}

These twice baked sweet potatoes are the bomb, and one of my new favorite dinners.  I feel like I have been saying that a lot lately, but seriously I am smitten over these flavorful spuds!   

I mean who does not love a sweet potato that is loaded with veggies, cheese and spicy Italian turkey sausage... YUM!!!  Plus they are oh so easy to make, especially if you microwave the sweet potatoes!  These got two thumbs up from Derek, he even ate the leftovers (which rarely happens with Derek)!  These little beauties make a great week night dinner, or could even be a fun spin on hash browns for brunch!  Make them tonight, you won't be sorry! 

Twice Baked Breakfast Style Sweet Potatoes
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 

5 Oz. Mild Italian Turkey Sausage - I used Jenni-O's 
1/4 Cup +4 Tablespoons Finely Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 
2 Sweet Potatoes 
1/2 Green Bell Pepper - Chopped
1/2 Medium Onion Chopped 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced 
1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt 
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder, Italian Seasoning, and Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

1-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and prick each sweet potato and bake in oven until tender (about an hour) or microwave each potato for 5-6 minutes until tender.  Once potatoes are cooked set aside and let cool. 
2- In a skillet coated with cooking spray saute peppers and onions until tender.  Add garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes).  Add turkey sausage, and spices to skillet, cook until turkey is cooked through.  Slowly add spinach to skillet and cook until wilted.   Remove skillet from heat and set aside.  
3 - Once sweet potatoes have cooled, slice down the middle (the long ways).  Gently scoop out the potato and place in a large bowl.  Set potato skins aside until ready to stuff.  Combine the scooped out sweet potato with Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Add sausage and veggie mixture to bowl with sweet potato and stir until well combined. 
4- Now, carefully stuff each sweet potato skin with equal parts of the filling.  Place filled sweet potato skins on baking sheet, or casserole dish.  Sprinkle each stuffed sweet potato with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese.  
5- Bake sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are warm and cheese is melted and slightly browned. 

Serve with Greek Yogurt and Sriracha if you like!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

{Weekly Menu and Shopping Guide - June 28th - July 3rd}

Hi All!  
Everyone have a good weekend (yes, I know its not over yet)!!  Derek headed up to Canada on Friday to do some fishing with the guys, so Friday the sis and I drove home to Rochester to be with our parents over the weekend and of course celebrate her birthday!  Yesterday my mom and I whipped up a million of these little guys! 

Strawberry Dumplings, a family favorite and my sisters b-day treat!  Find the recipe here!  They would be a perfect 4th of July Treat!  And Holy Moly, can you believe that the 4th of July is this next weekend!  I seriously cannot believe it! I love the 4th of July though, I think it might be one of my favorites!  I love the pride it brings out in our country, the food, the fireworks and well, pretty much everything the 4th of July stands for!  Ah, Summer!  

But, lets start talking about this weeks menu and shopping guide!  This week I have a few easy recipes that can be whipped up in a pinch (one of which would be perfect for your 4th of July Celebration) and a yummy breakfast casserole that you can serve for dinner, or over the weekend as a yummy brunch addition!  I will also share a 4th of July recipe round up with you later in the week with some of my favorite Pot Luck items!  You won't want to miss that post.  But for now let's focus on this weeks menu!  Starting with these, 

Twice Baked Breakfast Style Sweet Potatoes
Link goes live Monday

Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing and Pine Nuts 
Link Goes Live Wednesday

Overnight French Toast Casserole with Berries
Link Goes Live Friday

Look for a special recipe round up on Thursday Featuring all my favorite pot luck foods!  And now on to the shopping guide!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

{BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe Lettuce Wraps}

I love me a good Sloppy Joe!  Sloppy Joe's were always one of my favorite meals growing up!  I remember eating Sloppy Joe's as a kid and being a complete mess once I was done eating.  I would literally have Sloppy Joe sauce (sounds weird!) all the way up my arm and all over my face once I was finished!! Yes, I was a messy kid at times!  

 Nowadays I make my Sloppy Joe's with ground chicken (or turkey) and sneak in a few veggies for added texture and a nutritional punch!  However I took these BBQ Sloppy Joe's to a whole new level and turned them into... Sloppy Joe Lettuce Wraps!! Seriously, ever since making these Fish Taco's I have been obsessed with lettuce wraps!    

I know it seems a bit out there, but trust me you won't miss the bun once you bite into these crunchy BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe's!  They have all the flavors you love about traditional Sloppy Joe's and trust me they are darn delicious and just as messy!

BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe Lettuce Wraps
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6 

1 Lb Lean Ground Chicken (or Turkey if you prefer) 
1 Red Pepper Roughly Chopped 
1 Small Onion Roughly Chopped 
2 Clovers Garlic Minced
1 Cup Black Beans 
1 - 15 Oz. Can Tomato Sauce 
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste 
2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce 
2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar 
1 Tablespoon Hot Pepper Jelly 
1 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder, Paprika and Cumin 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
8-12 Large Romaine Lettuce Leaves (or 4-6 Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns for Serving)

1- In a large skillet coated with cooking spray saute pepper and onion until tender.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant. 
2- Add ground chicken (make sure to break up with a wooden spoon or spatula), chili power, paprika and cumin to skillet with vegetables.  Cook until chicken is cooked through. 
3- While chicken is cooking combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and hot pepper jelly in a small bowl.  Whisk until well combined, set aside. 
4-  Once chicken is cooked through pour BBQ sauce over skillet and cook on medium heat until sauce thickens (5-8 minutes). 
5- Once Sauce thickens stir in beans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasoning as desired. 

Serve the BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe's in romaine lettuce leaves with feta and sriracha.  If you prefer serve on hamburger buns instead of in the romaine leaves.  For a complete meal serve with baked sweet potato fries (great recipe here, Cooking Light) or with crudites. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

{Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Casserole}

Life is ever changing, and I love it!  

I recently returned back to work, and I am super excited to be back in an office environment working in an area that I love!   Returning back to work has made me become super organized when it comes to grocery shopping and meal prep, especially since I now have a 40 minute commute (both ways)! Lately, with all life's changes I have been all about simple, delicious meals that can easily be made ahead of time! 

Queue this wonderful Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Casserole.  This one pot casserole is full of flavor thanks to garlic, onion and fresh rosemary and is so easy to prepare.  You can easily chop the veggies ahead of time (think Sunday meal prep), and then quickly and easily assemble the casserole the night before you would like to serve it or even the day of!  Then all you have to do is toss the casserole dish in the oven and wait (thats the hardest part).  Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand in your fridge!  

Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Casserole
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6 

1 Lb Chicken Tenders 
1 Zucchini - Cut into 1 Inch Chunks 
1 Summer Squash - Cut into 1 Inch Chunks 
1 Small Onion - Roughly Chopped
1 Cup Carrots Chopped 
1 Cup Cauliflower Florets 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 Sweet Potato - Peeled and Chopped
2 Teaspoons Fresh Basil 
6 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary 
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
1 Teaspoon Pepper, Garlic Powder, Italian Seasoning, salt (divided)
1/4 Cup Mozzarella 

1- Place veggies in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, 1/2 Teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning and salt.  Toss veggies in casserole dish until evenly covered  with olive oil and seasoning.  Lay 5 fresh sprigs of rosemary over the tops of the vegetables and set aside. 
2-Place chicken tenders into a large ziplock bag and toss with remaining olive oil, and seasoning.  Toss chicken in bag until evenly seasoned.  Place chicken tenders atop the veggies.  Top chicken with 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary.  
3- Bake chicken and veggies in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes (until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender).  Remove casserole dish from oven top with mozzarella cheese and return casserole  dish to oven.  Broil on low until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Top with fresh chopped basil and serve. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

{Grilled Salmon with Orange Mango Salsa}

I originally posted this recipe last summer, but sharing it again this week as a part of the weekly menu! This grilled salmon recipe is one of our favorites, and one that Derek always request! Enjoy!! 

Hello, Friends! 
Did you all have a lovely long and relaxing weekend?  Derek and I had a very active an jam paced weekend, but a fun one!  We spent the weekend soaking up the beautiful weather, catching up with friends and family, and hiking for hours in Taylor Falls, I will share some of the pictures with you later this week! We really couldn't have asked for better weather this weekend, and I think it is safe to say that Summer might finally be here! 

 Speaking of Summer weather finally coming to Minnesota, one of my favorite things about warm Summer weather has to be grilling out!  I love spending time outside with family and friends, grilling up a delicious home cooked meal!  Derek and I whipped up this delicious Grilled Salmon with Orange Mango Salsa to end our wonderful long weekend!  Derek and I both agreed that this salmon was delicious and agreed that the addition of the orange juice in the mango salsa provided a nice well rounded flavor!  The salsa is not overly spicy considering there is a whole jalapeno in it,  but if your not a huge spice person feel free to omit the jalapeno and add in a little sweet red pepper.   Serve this flavorful salmon with  a simple side salad for a balanced meal!  I will be sharing the salad with enjoyed with this salmon later this week on the blog! 

Grilled Salmon with Orange Mango Salsa
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
2-4 Servings 

1-2 Pounds of Fresh Salmon (Skin on One Side) 
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil 
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder 
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper 
1/4 Teaspoon Salt 

Orange Mango Salsa: 
1 Mango Peeled and Diced 
1 Jalapeno Seeded and Chopped 
1/4 Cup Onion Finely Chopped 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced 
1 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 Tablespoon Orange Juice 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 

1- Combine mango, jalapeno, onion and garlic in a small bowl.  Toss to combine.  Stir in olive oil, orange juice and spices, mix and set aside. 
2- Heat grill to 350 degrees.  Coat salmon (both sides, flesh and skin) with olive oil.  Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper and garlic.  Place salmon, skin side down on grill.  Cook 10 minutes on grill or until desired degree of doneness has been met.  

Check out these other delicious grilled salmon recipes from around the web: