Category Archives: Breakfast

Mystery Dish: Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins

Happy Mystery Dish Friday! Today I have some AMAZING muffins to share with you. They are seriously some of the coolest muffins I have ever made [and from this muffin addicted girl, that's saying a lot]. But how can you not agree?! They have KIWI on top. So fun, so tropical, so green. Spring, please come soon!

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.com

This month for Mystery Dish, Kat from I Want Crazy was in charge. When our original founder, Dani, who has since left blogging due to family, was trying to organize the group, I suggested she ask Kat to join. I knew Kat from church [we were still living in Indiana then] and she had recently started blogging. She joined and the rest is history… errr, the rest being that this month she chose our fun ingredients [including the aforementioned kiwi] to be: boxed cake mix, Peeps, oats, ginger, honey, wine, shallots, coconut, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, kiwi, dried fruit, and cinnamon. Some of those ingredients I looove [COCONUT] and others I hate [Peeps. With a passion.] so the choice was pretty simple.

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.comI pinned these Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins months and months ago, and now I finally had an excuse to make them. They are a tropical delight! Basically, you make a soft coconut muffin and top it with a slice of kiwi fruit and a smattering of coconut flakes. The coconut on top gets all golden and toasty, though in an ideal world I’d like it to be toastier [but didn't want to toughen up the muffins]. I added a touch of ginger to the muffin batter, both to satisfy Kat’s request for us to use three ingredients AND because I just thought it sounded wonderful. And they turned out wonderful, if I do say so myself. Lime, ginger, and coconut go so well together in these fun muffins, and the kiwi is the cherry on top. :) A bit o’ color and flavor if you will. These muffins were perfect for a rainy/snowy week. Hope you enjoy, and that you check out some of the other recipes this month for Mystery Dish!

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.comone year ago: Sweet & Sour Chicken
two years ago: Turkey, Spinach, & Kale Stuffed Shells
three years ago: Baked Potato Skins

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins [slightly adapted from Clever Muffin]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • zest of one large lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • scant 1/2 cup coconut oil [90 grams]
  • 1 cup buttermilk [quick shortcut=1 tablespoon vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup; let sit for about 5 minutes to thicken]
  • 1 egg
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare muffin tin with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, shredded coconut, lime zest, and ground ginger. Make a well in the center.

In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut oil, buttermilk, and egg. Pour into the well then stir until just combined.

Spoon into prepared muffin tin, then top with a slice of kiwi and some shredded coconut.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Eat or freeze within three days.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 12-16 muffins.

Mystery Dish March Collage | thepajamachef.com1. Coconut Shrimp with Thai Chili Ginger Sauce by Joyful Healthy Eats
2. Sangria Poached Pears by Baking a Moment
3. Baked Mini Carrot Cake Donuts by Culinary Couture Blog
4. Funfetti Cookies with Peeps Marshmallow Frosting by I Dig Pinterest
5. Carrot Oatmeal Cookies by Yummy Healthy Easy
6. Gooey Oatmeal Cranberry Bars by I Want Crazy
7. Honey Lime Coconut Oatmeal Cookies by Blahnik Baker
8. Chocolate Almond Date Balls by The Well Floured Kitchen
9. Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins by The Pajama Chef
10. Nesting Peeps Cupcakes by The Dessert Chronicles
11. Carrot Cake Cookies by Chez CateyLou

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Lightened Up Cheesy Sausage Grits Breakfast Casserole

Since moving South, Ben and I have been exposed to many new things. From language [y'all] to restaurants [meat and threes] to just a slower pace [though Nashville isn't quite as sloooow as other places in the South], life here is different. We love it here, but have become pretty proud of our Northern roots. Case in point: my birthday is coming up next month and I am begging Ben to get me a super sweet Indiana-shaped pendant necklace from an etsy shop. Gotta support Indiana from afar!! Though there are some areas/stereotypes of Southern culture that we don’t embrace, there is one MAJOR one that we do: the food! And what is more Southern than grits?

Lightened Up Sausage Cheese Grits Breakfast Casserole | thepajamachef.com

I actually [willingly] ate grits before moving to Nashville, but they are all over the place here, but these… oh my… THESE are the best I’ve ever had! It’s probably because they were made in the South. :) I don’t think it was the cheese that helped, do you?

Lightened Up Cheesy Sausage Grits Breakfast Casserole | thepajamachef.com

This breakfast casserole is a fun alternative to the traditional potato-based breakfast casserole. The leftovers fed us breakfast [and lunch and dinner] for days, which is absolutely wonderful for busy weekday mornings. Though it seems pretty funny to call this recipe “lightened up” because it’s so indulgent, it is light compared to many recipes.

Lightened Up Cheesy Sausage Grits Breakfast Casserole | thepajamachef.com

Serve this casserole with fruit, potatoes, toast, or any other traditional breakfast sides and I can guarantee you this meal will be absolutely devoured, day after day! It is so good. Enjoy!

one year ago: Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd Filling and Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
two years ago: Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
three years ago: Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup

Lightened Up Cheesy Sausage Grits Breakfast Casserole [adapted from South Your Mouth]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking grits
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage [regular or turkey]
  • 6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 5 egg whites, beaten
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring water and chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in grits and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Brown sausage in a large skillet, breaking apart with a wooden spoon to crumble. Drain well and set aside.

Add cheese, milk, butter, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne to the grits. Stir until the cheese melts, then stir in sausage and eggs/egg whites.

Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Time: 90 minutes [20 minutes active].

Yield: 16 servings.

Notes: 6 whole eggs can be used instead of the 5 egg whites/3 egg combo that I chose. To make ahead, prepare casserole as directed then cover and refrigerate overnight. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking as directed above.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.

Strawberry Yogurt

Ben and I are yogurt-a-holics. Seriously, at any given time we have about half a shelf of our fridge full of yogurt. Tubs of plain or vanilla. Individual cartons of sundry flavors. It is insane! For awhile, I even made our own yogurt in the crockpot, then strained it out to make homemade Greek yogurt. While that stuff was good, it was time consuming and I fell out of the habit. But our other habit [buying a bazillion flavors at the store] is expensive. What’s a girl to do? Make my own toppings, of course!

Strawberry Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

Back in the days of homemade yogurt I purchased multiple flavors of jam to stir into homemade yogurt. That was easy, but pricy, and took up tons of valuable fridge space. This time, I had some frozen fruit for smoothies and made up a quick strawberry puree with just a bit of sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Hardly a recipe, yobut this sauce is a perfect addition to those store bought tubs of plain yogurt and I thought some of you may enjoy it too! Lately I’ve been prepping mason jars of strawberry yogurt on the weekend and enjoying them at work all week long. For an extra treat, add some homemade granola or a few mini chocolate chips! Yum!

one year ago: Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad
two years ago: Extraordinary Grilled Cheese
three years ago: The Best Egg Salad I’ve Ever Had

Strawberry Yogurt
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 32 ounces plain yogurt [regular or greek]

Directions:

In a nonreactive saucepan, combine strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to let berries defrost, then set over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and berries begin to break down. Gently break larger berries apart with a wooden spoon. Pour into a small bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, divide yogurt between 6 containers [1 cup/8 ounces each]. When strawberry sauce has cooled, top yogurt with 2-3 tablespoons strawberry sauce. You may have a little sauce leftover. Cover and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Time: 60 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 6 servings yogurt, approximately 1 cup strawberry sauce.

Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m afraid I don’t have any lovey-dovey dessert to offer you today. For your chocolate overload or cutesy heart shape dessert, you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you need an easy red velvet dessert, check out these Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites I made last year. Yum!

Cranberry Coffee Cake | thepajamachef.com

Today all I have to offer you is breakfast. A treat for tomorrow, perhaps? I hope cranberries aren’t too hard to come by in your part of the world on this fine February morning. They certainly make this cinnamon sugar-laced coffee cake something extra special.

Cranberry Coffee Cake | thepajamachef.com

This cake is so easy to make, and is a perfect buttery base for those tart berries. I added a bit of cinnamon and cloves to the original recipe, thinking those warm spices would be delicious alongside the orange zest, and you know what? I was RIGHT!

Cranberry Coffee Cake | thepajamachef.com

To top everything off, add a light powdered sugar icing. It makes all the difference! I heated up the icing just before drizzling on the cake–a very good move, as it crisped up after meeting the cake. I just love crisp glaze-y icing. Delish!

Cranberry Coffee Cake | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Go-To Pancakes
two years ago: Mexican Chicken Alfredo
three years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake [slightly adapted from Sweet Anna's]
click to print

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour [I used white whole wheat]
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • zest of one orange
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries

for icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer [or with a hand mixer], beat eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy, nearly doubled in size. This will take about 8 minutes.

Add in butter and vanilla, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in flour, nutmeg, cloves, and orange zest with a wooden spoon until just combined. It will be very thick.

Spoon half of the batter into the bundt pan, then evenly top with the cranberries and reserved cinnamon sugar mixture. Spoon the rest of the batter over the cranberries [some cranberries may still be visible].

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Check after about 30 minutes, and cover with foil if cake is browning too much.

Remove to a wire rack to cool, gently using a knife to loosen cake from the bottom and sides of the pan. After cake cools completely, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk, microwave for about 30 seconds, then drizzle over the cake before serving.

Time: 60 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 12 servings.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears

If you like cranberry sauce, then you’ll love these oats! Steel cut oats are a special treat for me. They take too long to make on a weekday morning before work [who has time to babysit at the stove for 30 minutes?], so they’re reserved for the weekend in my mind–and I always make extra for leftovers. :) But I digress. This past Saturday, I whipped up these easy Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears, and let me tell you… they were something amazing!

Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears | thepajamachef.com

I’ve only made steel cut oats a few times in the past and these were by far the best–tender with just a little bit of chewiness. These steel cut oats were the most flavorful oats I’ve ever tasted, and the prettiest too! See that pink? I cooked fresh cranberries in with the steel cut oats to achieve that gorgeous color, added some cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar to cut down the tartness of the fresh berries, then topped off with some easy, juicy caramelized pears. The subtle sweetness of the pears plays so well with the tart cranberries, I love it. I first experienced that unique flavor combo over Christmas when my mom, sister, and I were making brunch for the family and we all helped throw together the pear cranberry compote. Divine! [Everyone loved it, so I knew the flavor combo was a winner.] This breakfast may be a bit time consuming, but it’s totally worth it. If rich and indulgent oatmeal is a thing, this would be it, because, duh, caramelized pears! Enjoy! :)

Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
two years ago: Lasagna Soup
three years ago: Whole-Wheat Cornbread

Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears [adapted from S. John & Sandra Ross and Martha Stewart]
click to print

Ingredients:

for oats

  • 2 cups water
  • 5 ounces fresh cranberries, washed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup pear cider [or milk, water, cranberry juice, apple juice/cider, etc.]
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

for pears

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Anjou pears, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Add water, cranberries, and sugar to a pot and bring to a boil. When berries begin to burst, add steel cut oats, pear cider, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cook for 25-30 minutes until oats are softened, stirring occasionally.

To prepare pears, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When bubbly, sprinkle in sugar gradually. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add pears, carefully flipping to fully coat in sugar-butter mixture. Cook until just soft, about 2-4 minutes [depending on how thin you slice them], then gently fold in cloves and cinnamon.

Top cranberry oats with caramelized pears to serve.

Time: 40 minutes.
Yield: 4-5 servings.

Linked up with: What’s Cookin’ Wednesday.