Easy, Cheesy Breakfast Casserole

Serving breakfast to a crowd this holiday season? Looking for something quick, easy and delicious?  Well, look no further!  This simple-to-make breakfast casserole will have your guests coming back for more!

The best part about it is that it includes the two most important food groups; meat and cheese. Here is what you need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 lb of pork sausage (ham or bacon also works)
  • 1 bag of thawed tator tots
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Gather your ingredients and let’s have a little chat about cheese. Cheese is probably the greatest dairy product there is and I include cheese in just about every meal I cook! I can’t get enough of the stuff.

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Maybe this is because I am a dairy farmer from Wisconsin?

I dunno.

Cheese is a great, healthy snack when consumed in moderation. A one-ounce slice of cheese provides the same amount of protein as an 8-ounce glass of milk.

The problem is, I haven’t figured out this whole “moderation” thing yet.  In fact, the motto in our kitchen is “When in doubt, add more cheese”.

Which is probably why my pants are a bit tight.  But, hey, life is short.

Did you know that Wisconsin leads the nation in number of cheese plants and that there are over 600 varieties of cheese made in Wisconsin? For real, over 600 varieties of cheese…mind blown.

Ninety percent of Wisconsin’s milk is made into cheese. In fact, the milk from our farm is made into cheese.

We milk our herd of 550 cows three times per day and fill one of these tankers with milk every day. That comes out to about 95 lbs of milk per cow per day.  The milk is harvested from the cow, cooled and directly loaded into the tanker.

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Each morning, the milk hauler brings an empty tanker to our farm and picks up the full one( Every day; even on Christmas!). The tanker full of milk is brought to the creamery where it is weighed and tested.  A variety of tests –including antibiotic testing– are done to our load of milk to ensure safety and quality.

After passing the safety and quality tests, it is pasteurized and then made into cheese!

It takes 10 lbs of milk to make 1lb of cheese. By providing our cows with comfort, care and quality nutrition they are easily able to exceed the pounds of milk needed to make you a pound of cheese!

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Alright, enough cheese talk; let’s get crackin’. Get it, because one of the first steps is to crack the eggs?

I’m hilarious.

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cook the sausage thoroughly and set it aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and 1 cup of cheese. Add salt and pepper.
  • Arrange tots on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Next, add the sausage. Finally pour the egg mixture on top.
  • Sprinkle on the remaining cup of cheese. Feel free to add more cheese. Remember our motto, “When in doubt, add more cheese”.
  • Cover and bake for about 30 minutes or until bubbly.

This is a simple dish that can be made ahead of time. If you really want to cheat and save time, replace the sausage with precooked and cubed ham! #timesaver

Enjoy!

Crockpot Beef and Broccoli

Man, do I love me some Chinese food!  When I was in college, I lived right next to the best Chinese buffet-style restaurant.  Oh, the wonderful smells I would smell as I walked to and from campus.  As you can imagine, it was extremely difficult for my room-mate and I not to eat Chinese take-out at least once per week and it probably contributed to my weight gain.  But whatever, at least we were walking to class (That’s what we told ourselves, anyway).

Now that I live out in the boonies and I am miles away from a Chinese restaurant of any kind, I have to make my own Chinese cuisine.  Which is probably for the better because I can monitor my salt and fat intake and tend to eat less.  I like to throw around the phrase “tend to eat less” pretty loosely and still eat more than I should….

Anywho, here is a super easy and delicious recipe for Beef and Broccoli that will be perfect for dinner this week!  After all, May is Beef Month; support your local beef farmers! 🙂

Ingredients:

1-2lbs beef roast, cut into little chunks with fat trimmed

2 cups beef broth

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. sesame oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp. flour

2 cups of frozen broccoli florets (or as many as desired)

1 cup sliced carrots (optional)

1 package of fresh mushrooms (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In the insert of your crockpot, whisk together broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic.
  2. Add the beef slices and carrots.
  3. Turn crockpot on low and cook for 5 hours or until meat is tender.

CAUTION: Don’t over-cook the beef or it will fall apart. Crockpot temperatures may vary, so you may want to keep an eye on the beef if it is your first time with the recipe. 

  1. Add flour and stir to create a thicker sauce.
  2. When you reach the desired sauce thickness, toss in the broccoli and mushrooms. Cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecakes

I have a bit of a cheesecake making obsession.  I think it is because they are quite simple to make, yet seem so fancy. But, here is the weird part…. I don’t like to eat them.  I know it, I am a freak.  I just don’t care for sweets.  My husband, mom and youngest sister are the opposite and think I am crazy when I grab veggies and dip instead of dessert.  I can easily turn away from the sweets, but I have no control when it comes to french fries.  Mmmmmm, grease and salt.

Any who, back to the cheesecake.  My family loves this decadent dessert and I feel like Miss Fancy Pants when I make it.  I made these mini cheesecakes a few weeks ago in honor of Mother’s Day and my mom’s love for peanut butter, chocolate and dairy products.  The recipe is an adaptation of various recipes that caught my eye and the best part is that it doesn’t require a springform pan!

Here is what you need:

Crust:

  • 16-18 Oreos (crushed)
  • 1 Tbs. of butter

Filling:

  • Two 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese (softened)
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of hot fudge topping

Topping:

  • Drizzle with hot fudge topping
  • Garnish with Reese’s peanut butter chips or pieces

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Mix melted butter and crushed Oreos.  Tip: Use a blender to crush Oreos quickly and with ease.

Press 1 tablespoon crushed Oreos into the bottom of 12 lined muffin cups.

Warm up peanut butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds and drizzle into each muffin cup.

Place in the refrigerator until ready to fill.

Beat together softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

Slowly, mix in vanilla and eggs.  I love when I get to use my Kitchen Aid mixer. 🙂

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Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the  filling into each muffin cup.

Bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes until puffed and set.

Allow cheesecakes to cool before drizzling with hot fudge. The muffin liners can be removed prior to adding chocolate, if desired.

Garnish with peanut butter chips.

Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.

My ma loved the cheesecakes SO much that she told me I am her favorite daughter!  Enjoy!

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Steakhouse Pizza: The lazy girl version

I previously posted a blog called Modern-day Farmers: Breaking the Stereotype and it got my wheels a turnin’. The post was about how today’s farmers have various hobbies and interests other than farming. I happen to be one of those farmers with other interests. In fact, when I am not farming, I enjoy cooking, getting my craft on, going to country concerts and hanging out with my favorite people. I want to begin blogging about my other interests and hopefully reach a new and different audience. I hope to share recipes, new ideas as well as all things farm related. With that being said, I have a super awesome recipe to share with you!

Steakhouse Pizza: The lazy girl version
The original recipe, Steakhouse Pizza, can be found in the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook. In my opinion, her recipe is a bit time consuming and is enough to feed an army, so I tweaked it to my liking. Here is what you need:

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  • Pizza crust
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red onion
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • 8 oz. of tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • 12 oz. steak (give or take)

The Pioneer Woman makes her own pizza crust and grills up a giant steak just prior to assembling this pizza.  Well, ain’t nobody got time for that.  In the lazy girl version, we are buying pizza crust and using pre-cooked steak.  Any pizza crust will do, as long as it is thick.  When I make steakhouse pizza it is usually when we had steak a couple of nights prior and have leftovers.  Buying pizza crust and having steak that is ready to go makes this recipe a breeze.  Okay, let’s get started!

Disclaimer: Sautéing the onion will make your house smell like a Mexican restaurant.  Open a window.

Step 1:  Mix a drink.  You can’t cook without a drink.

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Step 2: Slice the steak and onion into thin strips.  Also, prepare your pan and crust at this time.  Set your oven to 400 degrees or to whatever temperature your crust suggests.

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Step 3: Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced onion to a large skillet.  Sautee on Medium-High heat until tender.

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Step 4: While your onions are sautéing, prepare the sauce.  Mix the tomato sauce with 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  I also like to mix in a bit of steak sauce or BBQ sauce.

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Step 5:  Your onions probably aren’t done yet, so take a sip of your drink or mix another if needed.

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Step 6: Assemble the pizza beginning with the sauce.  Put all of it or just some of it on, whatever you prefer.  Next, put a layer of mozzarella on followed by the steak strips, mushrooms and sautéed onions.  After you have all the good stuff on, top it with a layer of parmesan cheese.  Don’t be shy, I have never heard anyone say, “This has too much cheese”.

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Stick her in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.  After you take it out, top it with some steak sauce; its delish.  Now, here is the tricky part…let it cool.  I have yet to master this step, I always end up getting after it and burning my mouth.

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There ya have it folks, Steakhouse Pizza.  My first food blog, hot dang.  Hope you enjoy it!

Cooking is hard work

Cooking is hard work