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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Breakfast Casserole

2015-01-23 11.28.15

This is one of my “go-to” breakfast recipes. It’s everything you want for breakfast all in one dish. I call it my Breakfast Casserole. The topping, well… I love Pico de Gallo so yes, it’s in there along with potatoes, breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheese.

First, I’m taking a little help from the grocery store so I can make this wonderful Breakfast Casserole as quickly as possible.

The scrambled eggs are mixed with half-and-half for richness and chives for a mild onion flavor. finally topped with Goat cheese for a little tang.

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If you’ve learned anything about me you know I love all kinds of fresh salsa like Pico de Gallo.

So what you have are layers of your favorite hot breakfast food on the bottom with a chilled Pico de Gallo on top. I ask you, what could be better?

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes (includes prepping the vegetables and making Pico de Gallo)
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Equipment: 9 x 11 baking dish, 12-inch non-stick sautèpan, 9-inch Cast Iron Skillet, large mixing bowl, whisk

Ingredients:
1 package of shredded hashbrowns (available in the refrigerated section)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for sautèing the pepper and onions, reserve the rest for the hashbrowns
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 package of frozen Banquet original breakfast sausage links, sliced 1/2-inch thick (substitute turkey)
1 4-ounce package of Goat cheese
2 tablespoons of chives, minced
1/4 cup of half-and-half (substitute whole milk or heavy cream)
1 dozen large eggs scrambled (link for my Perfect Scrambled Eggs recipe is below)
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt (1/2 a tablespoon for the hash browns)
2 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper (1 teaspoon of black pepper for the hash browns)
4 cups of Pico de Gallo (link for my recipe is below)

Directions:
Spray the 9 x 11 baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray.

Start with prepping all the vegetables, and making the Pico de Gallo. Place the Pico in the refrigerator to chill.

To start, in a cast iron skillet on medium heat, melt unsalted butter. Add diced onions, diced red and yellow bell peppers, sautè until soft, tender, and golden brown, around 15 minutes. Next, add the remaining butter, allow to melt, then add the shredded hashbrowns. Stir the peppers, onion, and potatoes together allowing the butter to coat all the ingredients really well, season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Adjust the heat to medium-high. Using a spatula, press to potatoes into an even layer. Cook until a light golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the potatoes with the spatula and brown on the other side,  for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the hashbrown mixture into the greased 9 x 11 baking dish as the bottom layer.

In the same pan, on medium-high heat, add the sliced breakfast sausage link. Cook for 3-5 minutes until browned on all sides. Add the cooked breakfast sausage as the next layer over the of the hashbrown mixture. Spread evenly over the potatoes.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper together. Whisk for at least 5 minutes, allowing as much air as possible to be incorporated into the eggs. You want to see foam bubbles forming at the top of the egg mixture.

Using large 12-inch non-stick sautèpan, on medium-low heat add the egg mixture to the pan. As the eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan, using a rubber spatula, forming large soft curds, continue cooking-pulling, lifting and folding the eggs, until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do Not rush this process, times may vary slightly, approx.10 minutes.

Add the scrambled eggs with chives over the top of the sausage. Spread the scrambled eggs out evenly to cover. Top the eggs with crumbles of soft Goat cheese.

Finally, spoon the Pico de Gallo for that burst of flavor and color.

 

Pico De Gallo Two Ways

 

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

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Beef Barley Soup

2015-01-22 13.28.31 2015-01-22 16.33.25

Having worked at a few diners in my day, the words that are often spoken are “Soups On!”  I’ve made the soups, and served them too. My beef and barley, #soup was definitely a favorite on those cold Florida days. Let me start by showing you how I cook the barley.

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I start with low sodium chicken broth in a large pot. and some good barley. Next I add the barley to the chicken broth and bring them up to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook the barley until all the liquid has been absorbed.. This may take around 20-25 minutes to happen, so while the barley is cooking, I start the soup at the same time. The barley will have soaked in the flavor of the chicken broth which will make them really plump and delicious. Once the barley has finished cooking, I place a lid on it, move the pot off the heat, and let it sit until I’m ready to add it into the soup.

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Moving forward, in a large heavy bottom pot, I heat up some olive oil. To the oil I add in diced onion and let it saute until the onion is translucent. Next some minced garlic, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, Kosher salt, and black pepper. I stir that around for just a minute before adding in the ground beef. Here I’m using a very lean type, ground sirloin. I want to use the very best ingredients for this soup so the finished product will be delicious. I let the ground sirloin cook on med high heat, with the onions, garlic and spices until it’s nice and brown in color. When the meat has finished browning I add in all my veggies. I have diced celery, diced carrots, and a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. Remember to cut all the veggies around the same size so they cook evenly.  I stir all these ingredients together and let cook for a minute before adding in my liquid.

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I’m adding in some low sodium beef stock instead of beef broth. The stock has a deeper and richer flavor, and I thought it would be delicious in this soup. You want to make sure that that you add enough liquid. What I do is, to add enough beef stock where the liquid comes up to about 2 inches from the top of the pot. If you think you don’t have enough liquid, then you can always add in some water. Still on med high heat, I bring everything up to a bubble before reducing the soup to a simmer and letting it cook for around 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes I add in all that delicious barley that I’ve already prepared.

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I let that continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, so the barley can marry with all the other flavors in the soup. Turn the heat off and cover the pot and it’s ready to eat. Wait!, what about some home made croutons for the top. I just happen to have a nice baguette left over from yesterday that would work just perfect. All I did was to slice the baguette up and drizzle the slices with olive oil, salt and pepper and toasted them off in the oven until golden brown. “Soups On!

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Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes
Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups of barley
1 quart of low sodium chicken broth
2 pounds of ground sirloin
1 -1/2 quarts of beef stock
1 diced onion
1 cup of diced carrots
1 cup of diced celery
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1-1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1-15 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes

Directions:
First you want to have all you veggies prepped, and the can of tomatoes opened and ready before starting the soup. Start by cooking the barley in the chicken broth at the same time you start the soup. After about 20 minutes of simmering on low keep your eye on the barley to make sure all the liquid has been absorbed so that you can remove it from the heat. Place a lid on it to keep it warm while the soup is cooking. After the soup has been simmering for at least 30 minutes then add the cooked barley, and continue simmering for another 15 minutes. At this point the soup is done. Place a lid on the pot to keep it hot and make yourself some delicious home made croutons for the top. I like to even throw on some shredded cheese. You know everything is just better with cheese!

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