In the Advent Kitchen -- December 16
Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese
Turkey Breakfast Sausages
Sautéed Sweet Plantains
Maple-Cranberry Bread Pudding
End the day--or start it--with a nourishing breakfast. A small amount of creamy, luxurious goat cheese turns simple scrambled eggs into something special. Well-spiced ground turkey mixed with apples for moistness makes a healthy sausage accompaniment, as do the sautéed sweet plantains. The plantains will add lots of potassium as well as vitamins A and C to your diet. Be sure to sprinkle the plantains with a bit of cinnamon. The plantains will smell and taste heavenly. The maple-cranberry bread pudding needs to bake for about half an hour, so you may want to put it in the oven first while you start on the rest of your breakfast dinner. The pudding is custardy, mildly sweet, and gets a bit of zing from the tart cranberries. Serve it warm with some non-fat vanilla yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup if you like.
Scrambled Eggs With Goat Cheese – Serves 4
These dressed up scrambled eggs make a fast, nutritious meal—for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. The green onions add nice color and flavor to the eggs, and the creamy goat cheese gives them a little tang and a different, slightly earthy flavor. If you want to increase the vegetables in your dinner without adding to the clean up time, toss a couple of handfuls of spinach on top of the cooked eggs before sprinkling on the goat cheese. When you cover the pan to soften the goat cheese, the residual heat will wilt the spinach.
1 tablespoon of Smart or Earth Balance (or butter)
4 green onions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
¼ cup of low fat milk
¼ - ½ cup of crumbled goat cheese
2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach, washed and dried (optional)
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, green onions, salt, pepper, and milk. Add the Smart Balance to the pan and let it melt. Swirl the pan a little to coat it with the Smart Balance. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Let the eggs cook a little and, when beginning to bubble, gently pull the outer edges to the center of the pan, forming large curds and letting the liquid part run to the outer edges. Continue to cook and stir gently for a few minutes or until the eggs are barely set. Remove them from the heat, sprinkle them with the spinach, if you like, then the goat cheese. Cover the pan for a couple of minutes before serving to help the spinach and cheese soften.
Turkey Breakfast Sausages – Serves 8
These sausages came about when I couldn’t find my usual turkey breakfast sausage links at the local grocery stores. The ground turkey breakfast stuff I did find in plastic rolls was high in fat, salt, and about double the price of regular ground turkey. So, I improvised. The breakfast patties have all the usual breakfast sausage spices, including fennel, which adds a nice sweetness. A chopped apple keeps the lean patties moist. You can certainly make the patties just before you want to serve them, but I’ve found that the flavor improves if you prepare and refrigerate the sausage mixture the night before you want to cook them.
16-20 ounces of lean ground turkey (93 percent lean)
1 teaspoon of rubbed or ground sage
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper
½ teaspoon of fennel seed
½ teaspoon of dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon of ground allspice
2 tablespoons of dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon of dried parsley flakes
1 medium apple, cored and chopped
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients well. Refrigerate the mixture overnight, if possible. When you’re ready to cook the sausages, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat the pan with nonstick cooking spray or mist it with olive oil. Form the sausage mixture into 16 small or 8 large patties and cook them for 4-6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. If you’d prefer, you can place the patties on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, flipping them over midway through. The sausages will not brown much if you cook them in the oven.
Sautéed Sweet Plantains – Serves 12
Plantains are starchier than bananas and need to be cooked. For this dish, the skins of the plantains should be black—or nearly so. The fully ripe plantains are sweet, delicious, and loaded with vitamins. Think of them as an alternative to sweet potatoes.
5 or 6 medium very ripe plantains, sliced cross-wise into ½-inch pieces
3 tablespoons of sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of butter or Smart Balance
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
Combine the plantains, sugar, and salt. Melt the butter or Smart Balance in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the plantains (in batches, if necessary) one layer deep and sauté for 5-6 minutes until nicely browned.
Maple Cranberry Bread Pudding – Serves 4+
If you have left over bread and cranberries, this is the breakfast dish for you. It’s fast to fix and warm and comforting on a cold winter evening or morning. The cranberries are definitely tart, but a little maple syrup sweetens them and adds extra flavor. Serve the pudding drizzled with additional syrup, if you like, and dollops of fat-free or low-fat vanilla yogurt.
1¾ cups of low fat milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon of salt
¼ cup of maple syrup
2 cups of whole grain bread, crumbled (about 6 slices, depending on the
1 cup of cranberries, washed and picked over
¼ cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 1½ - 2-quart baking dish (or 8 x 11-inch pan) with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, salt, and maple syrup well. Stir in the bread and cranberries and pour the mixture into the prepared dish, smoothing it out evenly. Sprinkle the top with the walnuts, if you’re using them. Bake the pudding for 25-30 minutes or until the center is set and the top is brownish. Let the pudding stand for about 5 minutes before serving it.