Crockpot French Toast and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Hope you had a good evening and got home safely. Got any resolutions you want to share? No? Well, I’ll share one of mine to get started: to eat breakfast more. So you’ve probably heard that if you eat a filling breakfast, you’re more likely to eat less throughout the day, right? You’re also less likely to get raging headaches from hunger around 10 AM. But because I like to get to work at 7 AM (I know it’s crazy, but I love the quiet and I get so much done) if I have to cook anything, I probably won’t eat breakfast on that day.

So, I’ve decided that I need to expand my “wake up and go” arsenal. I’ve already got my make ahead breakfast burritos that I can prep and freeze, but sometimes I want something different. Enter the crockpot which, in my opinion, is one of the best kitchen appliances (after the KitchenAid standmixer and all of it’s glorious attachments, of course). I have two, a regular 4 quart (I get 8-10 servings depending on the recipe) and a mini 2 quart. The best thing about the crockpot is that you can put all the ingredients in, turn it on, and walk away (or in my case, go to sleep). So let’s add another arrow in the breakfast crossbow.

Crockpot FT Complete

Crockpot French Toast

Adapted from The Cake Eccentric’s Blog

The 4 quart fed 6-7 people. I believe that the 2 quart could comfortably feed 2-3 people (unless you’re trying to feed a guy, then you might just want to break out the 4 quart).

Crockpot FT Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of bread (for a 4 quart) or 1/2-1/3 of a loaf of bread (for the 2 quart)
  • 9 eggs (for a 4 quart) or 4 eggs (for the 2 quart)
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk (for a 4 quart) or 3/4 of a cup of milk
  • 2-3 tbsp of cinnamon (for a 4 quart) or 1-2 tbsp of cinnamon (for a 2 quart)
  • 3 tbsp of brown sugar (for the 4 quart) or 2 tbsp of brown sugar (for a 2 quart)
  • 1 tbsp of sugar (for the 4 quart) or 1/2 tbsp of sugar (for a 2 quart)
  • 2 tbsp of vanilla (for the 4 quart) or 1 tbsp of vanilla (for a 2 quart)
  • 1/2-1 tbsp of nutmeg (for either size)

*Note: I really like cinnamon and nutmeg, so you may want to start with half of the suggested spices and use your sense of smell to adjust from there. Remember, this is a cooking recipe which means that you can adjust to your liking (don’t do that with baking). But, please just smell to adjust your spices, this is not a part of this recipe that you want to try. I do not advocate eating raw eggs (unless there’s also a little four and maybe some chocolate chips).

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients, except for the bread. 
  2. Cut the bread however you like. I cut my slices diagonally. This just makes it easier to fit the bread in the crockpot. IMG_0353
  3. Spray your crockpot with cooking spray (or use a crockpot liner, but for some reason I do not like them very much).
  4. Dip your bread slices in your egg mixture and place in the crockpot. Here, you should get your dish with your egg mixture as close as possible to your crockpot. The farther away from the crockpot the dish is, the more egg mixture you’ll have to clean up.
  5. After dipping and putting all of your bread in, pour the remaining egg mixture in the crockpot. At this point (because I love the smell and feel it needed more) I added some additional sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg. IMG_0354
  6. Now, cook on low for 6 hours on low in the 4 quart making sure to take the lid off for the final 10 minutes. There are not many crockpot recipes that I have come across where the crockpot needs to be turned off after the dish is done, but this one is. The french toast crust will begin to harden in a not-so-pleasant way. I’m going to have to try and update this at a later date, but I think that 2-2.5 hours on low would be good.

Crockpot FT Sliced

This was amazing, you got the delicious taste (and smell) of french toast upon waking. This recipe made my house smell so good and the crockpot almost did not make it to work. And then it was slightly crusty on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. I added a little bit of syrup, but next time, I may make some spiced whipped cream and powdered sugar.

So, what do you think? Do you have any other breakfast secrets? Let me know in the comments. And, once again, Happy New Year!

Final Verdict: Delicious

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Cinnamon Rolls

I’m back! Hope everyone had a nice holiday because I know I did. So, one thing I’ve always wanted to make are cinnamon rolls, but since it’s just two of us in my house and a typical cinnamon roll recipe yields 8-12, it was not feasible for me to try. But this week I got the opportunity to make breakfast for a larger group so I took the plunge and made the rolls! I think they turned out well, there are a couple of tweaks I might make next time, but overall they were exactly what you expect ooey, gooey, cinnamon-y deliciousness. As an added bonus, the rolls were good with our without the glaze. I tried them both ways so that I could give you a complete idea (the things I do for this blog. ;-D).

Complete Brunch

A couple of notes before we start.

  1. This is a very messy recipe. You will be sprinkling flour all over the place to make sure that your dough can move.
  2. This is the type of recipe that could kill a hand mixer, so if you have a stand mixer (or know a friend who does) use that.
  3. You need to have at least 3 hours so that the dough can proof (or rise).
  4. This is a very stubborn dough. I would recommend a marble rolling pin because of it’s weight. If you have an IKEA near you, go and pick up this beauty for only $16! If not, try this one (shorter) from Bed Bath & Beyond or this one (very expensive!) from Willams-Sonoma.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

 

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients for Dough

  • 1 cup of milk (I used 2%)
  • 3 tbsp of unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups of flour (I used all-purpose; seperate 1 cup of flour)
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp of salt

Ingredients for Cinnamon Layer

  • 4 tbsp of unsalted butter (melted)
  • 3/4 cups of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp of cinnamon

Ingredients for Glaze

  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • A healthy splash of milk
  • 1-2 tsp of vanilla

Directions

  1. Begin by measuring your milk into a microwave safe cup or bowl. Add the butter and microwave until the mixture is 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit or 48-54 degrees Celsius (this took about a minute and 15 seconds for me). Pour the mixture into your mixing bowl.
  2. Add the yeast, egg, salt, sugar, and the 1 cup of flour you separated from the rest. Mix until combined. Slowly add the remianing 2 1/2 cups of flour until combined. Once all of the flour is combined, your dough should be pulling away from the sides of your mixing bowl and should not be sticky. If your dough is still sticky add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, until it is not.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead your dough until it is smooth. I did a couple of minutes in my stand mixer with the dough hook and then (because the dough kept climbing the hook like it wanted to be out of the bowl) finished it by hand.
  4. Spray a clean mixing bowl with non-stick spray and put your dough into the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Place your bowl in a warm draft free place until it doubles in size.
    Dough Before

    Dough Before

    Dough After

    Dough After

  5.  After your dough has risen, on a lightly floured surface (I know, I didn’t say this was a clean recipe) and roll it out into a rectangular shape.
  6. Spread your melted butter on your dough stopping about an inch before you get to the edge. SpriCombine the sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle on the butter.IMG_0314
  7. Starting with the edge closest to you, start rolling tightly. Then, seam side down, cut your log into 1-2 inch pieces and place in a single layer in a baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I got about 14 pieces and two ends from my roll.
  8.   If you are planning to bake the rolls right away, let them rise again for 45 minutes and then bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes (or until golden).
  9. If you are prepping your rolls the night before, cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. Remove the rolls from the frigde 1.5-2 hours before you plan to bake them and then bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes (or until golden).
  10. To make the glaze, mix all the ingredients together and wisk until combined.

So that’s it. It’s time consuming (and very messy) but oh so worth it. Unfortunately, the only thing I cannot tell you is how they taste the next day because there were none left!

Cinnamon Rolls Complete

Final Verdict: Delicious

Freshman Friday: Breakfast Burritos

Welcome back for another edition of Freshman Friday, a weekly installment using only kitchen appliances that can be used in a dorm and food stuffs that can fit in a mini fridge.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which means it is the meal I eat least frequently and when I do, it’s not always healthy. But this, should solve that problem. In about 30 minutes, I had enough burritos for two weeks worth of breakfasts. And I understand that you can’t have hot plates in a dorm room, but most dorms (I think) have a communal kitchen that you can use as long as you clean up behind yourself. So grab your pans, print out this recipe, and head on down!

Breakfast Burritos: Adapted from Add A Pinch

Yields 12 burritos

Ingredients

Breakfast Burrito Ingredients

  • 3  cups of  liquid egg whites
  • 12 tortilla shells (I used soft taco sized shells, you can go larger for fewer burritos, but I would not suggest going smaller.)
  • Various fillings (I used mild Italian sausage, onions, green chilies, spinach, and cheese, but the possibilities are endless. I ended up not using the bell peppers pictured because I was not sure how they would freeze/thaw.)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Freezer plastic baggies

Directions

  1. Cook your meat, if you’re using any. As I said, here I used the sausage because that’s what I had on hand, but you could also use bacon, ham, or keep it meatless and use Boca crumbles, mushrooms. Possibilities=endless. I sauteed my onions, then added my meat to brown, and then mixed in the green chilies. I also added some garlic powder and pepper to taste.
  2. Cook your eggs. I decided to just cook the eggs to make sure that they were fully cooked.
  3. Prepare the assembly line. Lay down squares of foil and place a tortilla on top. Layer you ingredients using 1-1.5 oz. of each ingredient. Try to keep your filling in a line down the center of the tortilla, it will make rolling much easier. Breakfast Burritos Assembly Line
  4. Now, I used to work at Subway, so I got pretty good at rolling wraps and now I share this knowledge with you. Pick a side, any side and fold over the filling. Try to get as much of the filling under this flap. Next, fold the ends into the burrito and roll to meet the opposite end of the tortilla. If done correctly, your burrito should resemble a restaurant burrito. It’ll be a little more difficult if you add to much filling, but hang in there, you’ll get it!
  5. Finally, roll the completed burrito in the foil and put in a baggie labeled with the date and the contents. I’ll be making more with different fillings so it will be nice to have the burritos labeled without having to label each individual burrito. Breakfast Burritos Bagged

So, I made the burritos (and wrote the post) on Sunday. During the week, I tried a couple of different methods to heating the burritos. The best way I’ve found is to let one defrost in the fridge overnight and put the burrito (completely wrapped) in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. If you like a crispier tortilla, like I do, open the foil and put the burrito back in the oven for another 2-5 minutes.

I tried the straight from frozen technique and it works, but it’s not my cup of tea. If you’ve forgotten to take a burrito out the night before, put the burrito (co in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Next time, I make these, I will try some different meats, different vegetables, and add a sauce (oooh country gravy sounds really good right now). The possibilites for these butrritos are endless, so go wild!

Final Verdict: Delicious

Freshman Friday: Quick Eggs

This weekend my kid sister started college and I feel so old it’s not even funny. But I want to help, so enter Freshman Friday, a weekly installment using only kitchen appliances that can be used in a dorm and food stuffs that can fit in a mini fridge.

First up, breakfast, the most important meal of the day. The first time that I heard about cooking eggs in the microwave, I’m not going to lie, I was repulsed. But that was years ago (don’t prod because I’m not telling exactly how long) and I’ve been alternating between eggs and oatmeal for breakfast ever since. I like to do this because it’s basic, depending on my mood, I can add veggies, meat, various cheeses, and switch up the bread to suit my needs.

ImageIngredients

  • Eggs (I used egg whites, but whole eggs will work just fine)
  • Various spices (I used pepper and parmigiano reggiano)

Materials Needed

  • Bowl
  • Cooking Spray
  • Microwave

Directions

  • Spray the bowl lightly with cooking spray.
  • Pour the eggs into the bowl (I used a 1/4 cup of egg whites).
  • Add your spices and mix.
  • Microwave the eggs until fully cooked (I needed 1:30 seconds for my 1/4 cup)
  • From here, it’s up to you. I put my eggs onto a tortilla with a slice of pepper jack cheese and added a bit of grated parmigiano reggiano.

Image

  • Alternate Ideas: Add meats (sausage, bacon, veggie bites, etc.), veggies (spinach, onions, bell peppers, etc.), different cheese, or bread (sliced bread, english muffin, none).
  • Note: The longer you’re going to go before your next meal or snack, the more veggies you should add.

Final Verdict: Delicious

Let me know what you think in the comments. What are the appliances allowed in dorms these days? Does anyone still use the community kitchen? And laugh now, but trust me, you will get sick of cafeteria food and I’ll be here for you.