Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Banana Muffins

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Banana Muffins are super simple to make, and with a blend of whole wheat flour, coconut oil and Nature Valley™ Protein Granola, you won’t even feel guilty about eating them!  Don’t worry, they taste good, too!

pb-granola-muffins-title

If you couldn’t tell by reading through my blog, I’m not one of those health conscious people you’ll find sneaking black beans into brownies or beets into red velvet cake.  But we have been making some smaller changes in our diets lately, despite many of the recipes you often see posting here on Kitchen Meets Girl.

The Tall Boy started freaking out earlier this year, because over the twelve years that I’ve known him, he’s put on (gasp!) ten pounds.  Folks, I put on ten pounds just thinking about making this chocolate lush again, mmkay?  Anyway, he’s actually resorting to eating spinach and grilled chicken salads for lunch and yogurt and granola for an afternoon snack, so when Nature Valley™  asked if I wanted to review some of their new Protein Crunchy Granola, my answer was a resounding yes.

I love topping my yogurt and fruit in the mornings with granola – each serving of Nature Valley™ Protein Granola contains over 1/3 of the minimum daily recommended amount of whole grains without any artificial flavors or colors.

But over the weekend, I replaced the chocolate chips in my banana muffins with Nature Valley™ Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Granola.  It was a pretty good decision if I do say so myself.

PB-granola-muffins-with-bag

I suppose giving up breakfast muffins altogether might be the best way to go, but since that option isn’t happening in my kitchen, this is the next best option.  I also replaced the vegetable oil with coconut oil and used a mixture of all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour as well.  So, as far as breakfast muffins go, these aren’t completely loaded with bad for you ingredients.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Banana Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ cup coconut milk (almond or regular will also work fine)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ Nature Valley Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Granola
  • 2 tablespoons sugar in the raw
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat bananas, brown sugar, milk, coconut oil, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Stir in flour mixture with a rubber spatula until mixture is just moistened. Fold ½ cup of the granola into the batter.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle each with ½ teaspoon sugar and additional granola. Bake for 13 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

 

XO, Ashley

 

 

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nature Valley Protein Granola via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

With a sprinkling of poppy seeds, lots of lemon juice and lemon zest, these Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes make a great weekend breakfast.  Take them over the top by drizzling with an easy to make raspberry syrup!

With a sprinkling of poppy seeds, lots of lemon juice and lemon zest, these Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes make a great weekend breakfast.  Take them over the top by drizzling with an easy to make raspberry syrup!

Lazy Sunday morning breakfasts are my favorite.  We don’t have time for more than a grab and go breakfasts during the week, and we’re usually headed out the door early on Saturdays to get to an early morning karate practice.  So when Sunday mornings roll around, I’m ready for one of my biggest guilty pleasures: pancakes.

Truth be told, I don’t make pancakes all that often, mostly because my husband isn’t a fan.  I’m not sure how I ended up marrying someone who doesn’t care for sweet breakfast breads, but there you go.  He usually does the dishes, though…and for someone who cooks as much as I like to, this is definitely a good trade-off. ;-)

However, when I got the idea for lemon poppyseed pancakes, I had a feeling that even my pancake-averse husband couldn’t turn them down.  While he isn’t big into pancakes or waffles, he does love a good lemon poppyseed muffin.  And when you add a raspberry syrup, things get even better.

With a sprinkling of poppy seeds, lots of lemon juice and lemon zest, these Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes make a great weekend breakfast.  Take them over the top by drizzling with an easy to make raspberry syrup!

I typically just make a quick version of flavored syrup by adding a bit of jam to my maple syrup – 1 or 2 tablespoons per cup of syrup.  Just warm it up in a small saucepan on the stove while your pancakes are on the griddle, and you’re all set!

With a sprinkling of poppy seeds, lots of lemon juice and lemon zest, these Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes make a great weekend breakfast.  Take them over the top by drizzling with an easy to make raspberry syrup!

The pancakes come together very quickly, and with just the right amount of lemon and a sprinkling of poppy seeds, these light and fluffy cakes are the perfect weekend breakfast.

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
for the syrup
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
Instructions
  1. Combine milk and lemon juice in a small bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Whisk in the egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir a few times to combine.
  3. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle and cook until bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Flip pancakes over using a spatula, and cook the other side, about 2 minutes more.
  4. To make the syrup, warm 1 cup of maple syrup with 2 tablespoons raspberry jam.

With a sprinkling of poppy seeds, lots of lemon juice and lemon zest, these Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes make a great weekend breakfast. Take them over the top by drizzling with an easy to make raspberry syrup!

XO, Ashley

 

 

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White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

Sweet white chocolate chips pair perfectly with the tartness of the berries in these White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins.

Sweet white chocolate chips pair perfectly with the tartness of the berries in these White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins.

Cranberries and white chocolate, white chocolate and cranberries… it’s all happening right now right here. In the form of fluffy, moist, gorgeous muffins.

I know: there are a lot of white chocolate cranberry muffin recipes out there.  But everyone needs a go-to white chocolate cranberry muffin recipe, and this is mine.  You see – there’s not much I love more than using cranberries in bread/muffins/any baked good, and since they are sort of seasonal “now” item, the minute I see those bags appear in my produce section, I grab a bag (or five – they freeze well!) and get to baking.

Sweet white chocolate chips pair perfectly with the tartness of the berries in these White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins.

If you didn’t already know, I’m pretty much a muffin-a-holic.  I’m also a cranberry a-holic and a white chocolate a-holic.  Okay, so pretty much I’ll eat about any food out there, but right now these muffins are at the top of the list.  There’s just not much better than tart cranberries paired with the sweetness of white chocolate.

The Tall Boy loves for me to make extra muffins on the weekends {especially lemon poppyseed} so he can grab a few of the leftovers to go on weekday mornings.  I love one paired with a hot cup of coffee on a quiet Sunday morning, so everyone is happy.

Sweet white chocolate chips pair perfectly with the tartness of the berries in these White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins.

I usually make loaves of cranberry bread during the holiday season, but last weekend I decided to go the muffin route so I wouldn’t eat so much.  Single serving portions baked and ready to go, right?  Yeah…except when your husband leaves them lying on the counter instead of taking them to work.  Then it’s one for breakfast, one for mid-morning break, one for an after lunch snack, and a couple more after dinner.  The holidays and “self-control” are nowhere on the same page for me.

Sweet white chocolate chips pair perfectly with the tartness of the berries in these White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins.

Believe me, you’ll want to make these muffins during this holiday season!

White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy - about 2 minutes.
  3. With the mixer running on low, add in the egg, milk, and vanilla to incorporate.
  4. Next, add in the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix your muffin batter - it should still be just a little lumpy. Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  5. Fill the muffin tins three-quarters full, and bake at 400 for 18 to 20 minutes.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Slow Cooker Eggnog French Toast

Make your holiday breakfast stress-free with this Slow Cooker Eggnog French Toast.  Serve this perfectly spiced and decadent breakfast casserole with traditional maple syrup, or indulge with a drizzle of eggnog icing!

Make your holiday breakfast stress-free with this Slow Cooker Eggnog French Toast.  Serve this perfectly spiced and decadent breakfast casserole with traditional maple syrup, or indulge with a drizzle of eggnog icing!

If you don’t know by now, there’s not much more that I love than preparing meals with the use of a slow cooker.  And there is not much better than waking up in the morning knowing that all you have to do to have a super fabulous breakfast ready is turning on your slow cooker.  I almost always have a slow cooker breakfast prepared for Christmas morning, and this year, I have a new favorite…this Slow Cooker Eggnog French Toast.

It boasts thick french bread cubes, 2 cups of Silk Holiday Nog, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and brown sugar…need I say more? ;-)

Make your holiday breakfast stress-free with this Slow Cooker Eggnog French Toast.  Serve this perfectly spiced and decadent breakfast casserole with traditional maple syrup, or indulge with a drizzle of eggnog icing!

If you haven’t heard me mention it before, my very favorite thing to consume during the holiday season is eggnog.  I can’t seem to get enough of it this time of year, so I was super excited when Silk introduced their Holiday Nog – a seasonal classic that offers all the creamy, rich flavor of eggnog without the eggs, dairy, saturated fat or cholesterol.  It’s only 80 calories per cup, so I didn’t feel super guilty adding two cups of it in this slow cooker recipe.

And to make up for the calories saved, I added a bit more of it with some powdered sugar to make a decadent glaze to drizzle over my French toast.  It is the holiday season, after all – I’m livin’ it up!

Make your holiday breakfast stress-free with this Slow Cooker Eggnog French Toast.  Serve this perfectly spiced and decadent breakfast casserole with traditional maple syrup, or indulge with a drizzle of eggnog icing!

You can cook this French toast on low for five hours or on high for three hours.  With a 7-year old in the house, we have no hope of getting around the breakfast table any earlier than three hours after waking up: we like to take our time with our gift opening and putting together new toys.  But the Tall Boy will also tell you that I myself am still like a kid on Christmas morning.  I wake up earlier than anyone else in the house, so this recipe has plenty of time to bake while I’m waiting for the rest of the family to stir.

Even better, since I prepare the casserole the night before and line my slow cooker with aluminum foil, there’s not even any clean-up in the morning!  Well…unless you count all of the demolished wrapping paper, bows, boxes, and packaging. ;-)

Make your holiday breakfast stress-free with this Slow Cooker Eggnog French Toast.  Serve this perfectly spiced and decadent breakfast casserole with traditional maple syrup, or indulge with a drizzle of eggnog icing!

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Slow Cooker Eggnog French Toast
 
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf french bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (my loaf was approximately 9" long)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups Silk Holiday Nog
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or margarine), cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Silk Holiday Nog
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Line your slow cooker with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, Silk Holiday Nog, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the bread cubes and toss in the egg mixture.
  3. Pour the egg/bread cube mixture into the bowl of your slow cooker. Dot with cubed butter and sprinkle the brown sugar on top.
  4. Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5 hours.
  5. When ready to serve, whisk together the powdered sugar, Silk Holiday Nog and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of the French Toast, or serve with syrup if desired.

More of my favorite eggnog recipes:

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Rum Frosted Eggnog Bread

eggnog-pie

Skinny Eggnog Pie

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Pumpkin Nog Smoothie

pumpkin-nog-title

 Lightened Up White Chocolate Pumpkin Nog

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Peppermint-Kissed No Bake Cookies

Take no-bake cookies to the next level with addition of peppermint extract and peppermint kisses – and with the addition of Horizon Organic whole milk, these peppermint-kissed no bake cookies are a holiday treat you won’t feel guilty eating!

Take no-bake cookies to the next level with addition of peppermint extract and peppermint kisses - and with the addition of Horizon Organic whole milk, this is a holiday treat you won't feel guilty eating!

With the holidays creeping up faster than I’d like, it’s time for me to my bake on…err, my no-bake on, if you know what I mean.  As much as I’d like, I simply don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen baking during the holiday season.  We’re doing good to get the last gift wrapped in time to make it to all of our holiday parties {thank goodness for easy wrapping with gift bags and colored tissue paper}.

But I can’t let the holidays pass without making some fun cookies with Doodle.  He’s at the age where he really likes to help in the kitchen but still is not old enough to do things entirely on his own – so no bake cookies are the perfect answer.

Take no-bake cookies to the next level with addition of peppermint extract and peppermint kisses - and with the addition of Horizon Organic whole milk, this is a holiday treat you won't feel guilty eating!

These are your basic no-bake cookies: sugar, butter, cocoa, milk and oats.  But since it’s the holiday season, we added in a bit of peppermint extract and plopped a peppermint swirled chocolate kiss on top.  Basically the best decision ever.

Also a great decision?  Replacing our regular milk with Horizon Organic.  Doodle loves the individual-sized milk boxes (strawberry is his favorite – he thinks it’s a “treat,” and I do the mom-is-winning dance because everyone is happy}.  I love Horizon Organic because it contains A DHA Omega-3, which is widely recognized for its role in supporting healthy brain development.  My kiddo loves it because it tastes good.

I originally started giving him the small boxes in his lunch, but since he loved drinking it so much, I switched his regular, everyday 2% milk to the Horizon brand and he’s been drinking it like crazy.  I used the whole-milk in these cookies, though – I figured we were already going off the diet-track by eating cookies, so we might as well go whole-hog. ;-)

Take no-bake cookies to the next level with addition of peppermint extract and peppermint kisses - and with the addition of Horizon Organic whole milk, this is a holiday treat you won't feel guilty eating!

Doodle had fun stirring up the chocolaty oats and placing the kisses on top.  He couldn’t wait quite long enough to bite into one of these cookies to allow it to cool all the way, so the kiss kind of melted on the top and was gooey and perfect.  And with just a bit of peppermint extract added in with the chocolate, this peppermint-kissed no-bake cookie was holiday cookie perfection.

Since we have school holiday parties coming up, Doodle also wanted to make a healthy treat to share with his classmates.  I’m not one of those super crafty moms, but putting together these cute little cheesestick snowmen was something even I could do.  We cut out hats out of black construction paper, used a twist-tie for a scarf, and dotted on a face with markers.

snowman cheese collage

Then we packaged a cheese stick along with an individual milk-box in a cellophane bag, and sealed the bag with another twist-tie.  Such a quick and easy school treat, and one you can feel good about sending into the classroom.

Doodle had so much fun helping me make these little treats, and I loved that he enjoyed making holiday treats that were on the healthy side.  It was definitely a win-win!

dairy gift bag Collage

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Peppermint-Kissed No Bake Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup [Horizon Organic Whole-Milkhttp://www.horizondairy.com/products/milk/whole-milk]
  • 3 cups oats, uncooked (quick or old-fashioned)
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 20 peppermint kisses, unwrapped
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, margarine, milk and cocoa. Allow the mixture to boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in extract and oats. Drop by large tablespoons onto waxed paper (I used a cookie scoop for easy portioning). Place a peppermint kiss on top and let the cookies stand until cooled and firm.
  2. Stir covered in an airtight container for up to one week.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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This conversation is sponsored by Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

Creamy and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Make this traditional Creamy and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole extra special by replacing the canned condensed celery soup with an easy homemade version! 

Make a traditional Creamy and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole extra special by replacing the canned condensed celery soup with an easy homemade version!

I know.  Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so it’s probably too late to add this to your holiday menu…but my family loves eating this creamy and cheesy hashbrown casserole long after Thanksgiving has passed. Truth be told, my mom usually makes this casserole for Christmas and sometimes even New Year’s, so I view this dish as more of a winter holiday side item than for Thanksgiving.  Plus, we’re usually in a mashed potato coma on Thanksgiving Day, ;-)

But since my husband is a potato-fanatic, he’d be willing to eat this any time I make it.  If you want to know the truth, I made it for our little family of three last Saturday, and then made it again Sunday to take to an early Thanksgiving at my in-laws.  It’s super yummy and oh-so-easy.  Aren’t those the main requirements for casserole dishes?

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I grew up eating casseroles that contained condensed cream of whatever soups – but I totally get that most of us try to avoid those canned products these days.  So for this casserole, I used my own homemade version of condensed cream of celery soup…and I have to admit that it really made all of the difference in this dish.

cream-of-celery---title1

Hashbrown casseroles are a staple during our family holiday dinners, and like most casseroles, this one is super simple to mix up. You’ll just need a bag of shredded hashbrowns, cheese, sour cream, this fantastic homemade cream of celery soup (it only takes 15 minutes to make, I promise!) and something for crunch to sprinkle on top. We use cornflakes in my family, but I know a lot of people substitute potato chips or buttery crackers (like Ritz). Use whatever you’d like for the top, but promise me you’ll make your own celery soup – you won’t regret it!

Make a traditional Creamy and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole extra special by replacing the canned condensed celery soup with an easy homemade version!

 

Creamy and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1¼ cups homemade condensed cream of celery soup*
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (30 ounce) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cornflakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the sour cream, cream of celery soup, cheese, garlic powder, hash browns, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir together until well blended.
  3. Transfer the potato mixture into prepared casserole dish. Top evenly with cornflakes and bake for 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Notes
*if you do not make your own condensed soup (but please, please make your own!): saute one small yellow diced onion, 5 stalks of finely diced celery and 1 minced garlic clove in 4 tablespoons of butter until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked vegetables to the remaining ingredients and proceed as directed in step 2.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Homemade Condensed Cream of Celery Soup

Learn how to make Homemade Condensed Cream of Celery Soup – it takes just a few ingredients and about 20 minutes to replace those cans of goo with a version you can feel good about eating!

Learn how to make Homemade Condensed Cream of Celery Soup - it takes just a few ingredients and about 20 minutes to replace those cans of goo with a version you can feel good about eating!

Growing up, we ate a lot of casseroles, though most of the dishes my mom made used canned condensed soup.  And not long ago, I got my hands on my grandmother’s old recipe cards, and guess what?  Nearly every casserole recipe in her box used canned condensed soup.

If you want to know the truth, some days I still love eating those “old-style” casseroles from my childhood that used all those cans.  And on days that I’m really busy, I still use them.  I don’t know, maybe a food blogger shouldn’t admit that?  But this is real life, people, and sometimes my life calls for convenience.

BUT, if I do have a few extra minutes, or when I’m making an extra-special casserole for a holiday meal (um, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!), I do like to make my own version of the canned stuff.  It really doesn’t take that much longer and is super simple to do.  Plus, you need only a few ingredients: flour, milk, chicken or vegetable broth, onion, and celery (duh).  And just a few spices for good measure.

In 10 minutes, you can replace those cans of congealed goo with ingredients you can feel good about eating.  Not only that, but the taste beats anything you can scrape of that can hands-down.

Homemade Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 5 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ⅓ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and flour. Whisk together until the flour dissolves.
  3. Slowly add the milk mixture to the chicken stock mixture and whisk to combine. Add in the celery salt, pepper and thyme. Reduce heat to medium and bring the mixture back to a low boil, stirring constantly. Allow the mixture to boil for another 3 minutes, or until it begins to thicken.
Notes
This recipe makes 2½ cups - or the equivalent of 2 cans of condensed soup (this soup is NOT meant to be eaten as-is). Use immediately in a recipe that calls for condensed soup, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Mexican Skillet Breakfast Casserole

This Mexican Skillet Breakfast Casserole is sure to satisfy hungry family and friends.  Filled with sausage, cheese and veggies, this hearty breakfast can be prepared the night before, making busy mornings stress-free!

This Mexican Skillet Breakfast Casserole is sure to satisfy hungry family and friends.  Filled with sausage, cheese and veggies, this hearty breakfast can be prepared the night before, making busy mornings stress-free!

There’s not much more that I like more on a lazy weekend morning than a warm, hearty breakfast – especially when I don’t have to do much more than turn on the oven.

With just a few minutes of prep time the night before, all I need to do in the morning to have this Mexican Skillet Breakfast Casserole on the table is wait 30 minutes for it to bake – which is just the right amount of time to get in a quiet cup of coffee before the madness of the day starts.

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is a hectic rush around our house: shopping, decorating, traveling, and entertaining- which doesn’t leave a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.  That said, this is also the time of year when we tend to host quite a few breakfasts, so I’m always looking for ways to prepare my menu items ahead of time.

This Mexican Skillet Breakfast Casserole is sure to satisfy hungry family and friends.  Filled with sausage, cheese and veggies, this hearty breakfast can be prepared the night before, making busy mornings stress-free!

Not only that, but I need easy - because until I’ve had at least two cups of coffee, I’m pretty much worthless in the mornings.

So with the help of Bisquick, all I need to do do to have this simple but filling casserole ready to eat is brown some sausage, cut up a few veggies, and mix a few items together.  I can do all of that the evening before, pop it in the fridge to chill overnight and then just bake in the morning.  Easy-peasy.  And so, so good.

The great thing about this casserole is that it is easily customizable to your family’s tastes: add in whatever veggies you’d like.  A combination of red onion and green peppers would be extra fabulous in this {though you don’t see it pictured here since Doodle won’t eat a single thing green or onion-like in appearance}.  Want it spicier?  Add in spicy sausage, chorizo, or even some chilies in adobo.

This Mexican Skillet Breakfast Casserole is sure to satisfy hungry family and friends.  Filled with sausage, cheese and veggies, this hearty breakfast can be prepared the night before, making busy mornings stress-free!

Served with a side of fruit and/or hashbrowns, this Mexican Skillet Breakfast Casserole is the perfect make-ahead breakfast for holiday entertaining – so you can spend your time with friends and family, and not slaving away in the kitchen!

Mexican Skillet Breakfast Casserole
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground sausage or chorizo
  • 1 cup diced veggies: red onion, green/red/yellow pepper, or a combination
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • ¾ cup Original Bisquick™ mix
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • for serving: chopped cilantro, diced tomato, sour cream and salsa
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. In 10-inch oven safe or cast-iron skillet, cook sausage, vegetables and garlic over medium-high heat until the sausage is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir half of the black beans into the sausage mixture along with 1 cup of the cheese.
  3. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk and eggs until blended. Pour over mixture in skillet. Top with reserved black beans and remaining 1 cup cheese.
  4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool 5 minutes before slicing.
  5. To make-ahead: Prepare as directed through step 3. Cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours. Uncover, and bake as directed in step 4.
Notes
recipe from Betty Crocker

 

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7cedd566-2260-11e4-b56a-22000aed8c44

Look here for more Bisquick make ahead meals to make your holiday planning easier: www.Bisquick.com/MakeAhead

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Betty Crocker via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Rum Frosted Eggnog Bread

Packed with holiday flavors – eggnog, nutmeg, vanilla, and rum – this Rum Frosted Eggnog Bread is the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast table!

Packed with holiday flavors - eggnog, nutmeg, vanilla, and rum - this Rum Frosted Eggnog Bread is the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast table!

You guys.  The very best thing ever has just happened to me: Silk came out with a Holiday Nog.  This seasonal classic offers all the creamy, rich flavor of eggnog without the eggs, dairy, saturated fat or cholesterol.  Score!  Plus, it’s only 80 calories per 1/2 cup.  Do you even know how much of this I plan to drink this season?  And how can I convince Silk to produce this stuff year-round??

Now, if you’re not as huge of an eggnog fan as I am, this may not seem quite as exciting to you as it does to me.  But, if you’ve been around my site before, you know that I love, love, love eggnog…but not all of the calories that come along with it.  That’s why a few years ago I made this Lightened Up White Chocolate Pumpkin Nog (with Silk Vanilla Almond Milk), which quickly became my favorite holiday drink of the season.

Packed with holiday flavors - eggnog, nutmeg, vanilla, and rum - this Rum Frosted Eggnog Bread is the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast table!

But this year, Christmas came early to my house when I discovered that I don’t have to do any doctoring of ingredients to make a version of eggnog that I don’t feel super guilty drinking!  And I know: everything in moderation, right?  I just don’t have any willpower when it comes to eggnog…I can go through an entire carton on my own in a week.  Doing that for the entire month of December (and quite honestly, most of November also) isn’t so good for the skinny jeans.

And in addition to guzzling the eggnog like nobody’s business, I’ve been baking with it as well.  No joke, as I’m sitting here typing this post I’ve just polished off my second slice of this Rum Frosting Eggnog Bread today, and I’m considering going back for a third.  It’s that good.

Packed with holiday flavors - eggnog, nutmeg, vanilla, and rum - this Rum Frosted Eggnog Bread is the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast table!

It’s full of holiday flavors – eggnog, lots of nutmeg, and well…a bit of rum.  If you’re not into that kind of thing, just substitute rum extract.  It will still be super yummy.  I added in a box of vanilla pudding mix (just the dry mix), which made this bread super moist and just about perfect.

To be honest, it would be just as great even without the frosting, but it is the holiday season after all – which equates to decadence in my kitchen.  This frosting recipe makes a lot – maybe enough for two loaves – but I slathered the entire amount on just this one loaf and thought it was pretty much awesome.

Packed with holiday flavors - eggnog, nutmeg, vanilla, and rum - this Rum Frosted Eggnog Bread is the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast table!

Again, you can sub the rum in the frosting for either rum flavored extract or vanilla extract – but to me, a little rum is just the perfect pairing with eggnog!

Rum Frosted Eggnog Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cup Silk Holiday Nog
  • 2 teaspoons rum or rum flavored extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1.5-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the frosting:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons rum or rum flavored extract
  • 2 tablespoons Silk Holiday nog
  • sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9x5 inch bread pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the eggs, eggnog, rum extract, vanilla, sugar and butter with an electric mixer.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, pudding mix, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add to the eggnog mixture and stir just enough to combine. Pour the batter into your prepared bread pan.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
  1. Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, rum and eggnog until smooth and your desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add eggnog a tablespoon at a time, to thin. Top with sprinkles if desired.

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XO, Ashley

 

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

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White Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake

Mascarpone Cheese makes this White Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake extra creamy; the Oreo crust makes it extra decadent, and the candy cane topping makes it the perfect dessert for the holidays!

Mascarpone Cheese makes this White Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake extra creamy; the Oreo crust makes it extra decadent, and the candy cane topping makes it the perfect dessert for the holidays!

Okay gang, here’s the scoop. Today’s post is not my usual.

If you know me at all, you know that I hyperventilate at being the center of attention (or even the side of attention, if you want to know the truth). Seriously, I had major anxiety the day of my wedding – not nerves over getting married – but about the fact that there were going to be 200 people looking at me.

Today’s post is kind of like that.  See, a while ago, I received an e-mail from Better Homes and Gardens asking me (me!) to participate in a fun little baking contest in which I’d be tasked with putting my own twist on a BHG recipe.

While I’d like to be all cool and tell you that I receive e-mails like this on the daily, I in fact, do not.  So after I had a freak-out, I immediately responded with a big fat HECK YES…and then I realized I actually had to compete against some seriously talented bloggers.  And now it’s too late for me to back out because you can’t renig on Better Homes and Gardens, right?

So that means today I’m asking you to vote between myself and Aimee from Shugary Sweets.  Aimee made those Peppermint Cream Bites and I basically want to stuff that stack of three right in my mouth.  So if you want to vote for her, I totally get it.  I’ll probably vote for her myself.

Peppermint - Kitchen Meets Girl & Shugary Sweets

I’ve met Aimee in real life, and she is one of the coolest chicks I’ve ever had the opportunity to know.  Plus, she has a completely rockin’ blog…so yeah, I’m completely honored to be competing against her today.  And even if I lose, I win, you  know what I mean?

So you can CLICK HERE (from 9am CST to 9pm CST on Nov.18th-ONE DAY ONLY) to vote for which peppermint dessert you like best!  The four finalists get to compete in a BakeOff at the BHG Test Kitchens.

And if you just want the recipe, you can CLICK HERE.

 

XO, Ashley

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