Easy English Muffin French Toast

I came into a windfall of English muffins the other day, and was like “ahhhhhhh.” I haven’t had one of these delicious, bready split rolls in a long, long time and was ready to work them into my weekend. I had a longer run planned for Saturday morning and knew those carbs would do me some good as fuel. So, let’s do this!english muffin french toast close up

But, I also wanted just a bit of protein to balance things out and to make sure I didn’t get the sugar shakes out there on the trail. Giving English muffins a soak in a bath of whisked egg and milk and then pan “frying” was the perfect solution. The signature nooks and crannies and spongy texture of the muffin absorbed all this eggaliciousness and my newly minted English Muffin French Toast was a huge hit and proof that the English and French can get along.      Continue reading

Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage – Breakfast Win for Holiday Crowd

Sheet Pan Maple Beef Breakfast Sausage

The care and feeding of house guests over the holidays can be stressful. As a clutter bug and mama of three messy boys, I can almost guarantee that you’ll never see the disaster that lies outside the frames of my blog and Instagram photos. But my in-person family and friends will, err, notice, so I’ll usually cancel a run or trip to the gym to get the house tidy — and that can feel like quite a workout in itself! And, while I love to cook, I’m used to feeding 4 or 5 at a time– not 15 people plus! Cooking bacon or sausage for an army in the morning is one of my pet peeves. It’s messy, time-consuming and I’m usually stuck in the kitchen and missing out on all the Christmas morning fun around the tree! Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage uses lean ground beef, real maple syrup and just the right spices to make a quick, easy and mess free breakfast or brunch option that will feed a crowd.To solve this breakfast prep problem, I came up with Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage – I was super excited to share it with my breakfast-obsessed friends at BeefLovingTexan.com It’s basically one HUGE sausage patty cooked all at once in the oven – no flipping, splattering or batch cooking. Plus, my always-starving teen boys and teen nephews can’t come by to “sample” it all away before serving time! When ready to serve, simply slice into bars or wedges, it couldn’t be any easier!

Everyone who eats my sheet pan sausage always raves and mentions how much better homemade sausage tastes – they are always pleasantly surprise to discover it’s made with lean beef – not fattier pork. The secret to making lean ground beef taste like breakfast sausage is all in the spices and flavorings. This beef sausage uses ingredients like paprika, cayenne and real maple syrup for a mildly spicy-sweet flavor.

So, should you feel guilty about indulging in this sausage for a holiday brunch or even “brinner”? NO! There are 24 servings per batch, with each piece containing approximately 100 calories and 12 grams of protein.  In addition to protein, lean beef is also a great source of iron, zinc and other essential nutrients. For optimal protein intake (25 – 30 grams per meal) have a couple slices, or pair a slice with an egg scramble.

sheet-pan-maple-beef-sausage-egg-biscuit

Prefer a breakfast sandwich?  After sausage is cooked, use a biscuit cutter to make a round shape and use a halved buttermilk biscuit to bookend!  The leftover bits from cutting circles can be crumbled up to use in soups, quesadillas, salads and more.

Do you have a traditional dish for breakfast or brunch? Are you a sausage or bacon person? Are you tidy or messy, a hoarder or minimalist when it comes to keeping house? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer 

Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage
Print Recipe
Feed your hungry holiday crowd a special breakfast or brunch -- this easy beef sausage bakes in the oven and is low mess, low stress and very delicious!
Servings Prep Time
24 servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 servings 10 minutes
Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage
Print Recipe
Feed your hungry holiday crowd a special breakfast or brunch -- this easy beef sausage bakes in the oven and is low mess, low stress and very delicious!
Servings Prep Time
24 servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 servings 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Place ground beef in large bowl and gently work in syrup with hands. In small bowl, toss together onion, garlic, sage, thyme, syrup, brown sugar, paprika, allspice, cayenne, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over beef and work spices in with hands, taking care not to over handle beef (creates toughness).
  3. Line rimmed baking sheet (approx. size 13” x 18”) with foil and gently press in meat mixture to reach corner to corner, maintaining an even thickness. Place pan on center rack of oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160F degrees with instant-read meat thermometer.
  4. Carefully remove pan and drain off any excess liquid. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. For wedges, cut into 12 equal-sized rectangles (3 columns, 4 rows) and then cut each rectangle on the diagonal. Or, use biscuit cutter to make rounds and then crumble up remnants for use later.or wedges, cut into 12 equal-sized rectangles (3 columns, 4 rows) and then cut each rectangle on the diagonal. Or, use biscuit cutter to make rounds and then crumble up remnants for use later.
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Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs for Holiday Brunch

The holiday season is imminent and busy shoppers are filling their baskets with hams, birds and beef roasts to deck out dinner table.  But, let’s not talk turkey, let’s talk eggs! With Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the other equally celebratory winter holidays that people hold near and dear, many of us will find ourselves hosting guests. And, in my experience, guests are always ready to eat from sun up to sun down.  I’m happy to  all my ravenous revelers, in fact I love cooking for company — I just don”t like to feel rushed in the morning.

Artichoke Blue Cheese EggsMy easy Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake comes to the rescue on so many levels – it’s simple to make, can be prepped the night before and kept in the fridge until next morning, can be make in individual servings or in one big family-style pan, and . . .most, it just tastes delicious!

Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake

Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake makes is a beautiful recipe for brunch or breakfast. Lovely for holiday entertaining.

Who wants a bland, boring breakfast when the flavors of blue cheese and artichokes are ready to add extra AMAZING to the day?! Also, there are tomatoes and a ton of spinach in this recipe, so it’s also kinda like eating a salad for breafast or brunch. This statement makes even more sense when I tell you that blue cheese dressing is one of the secret ingredients!  artichoke blue cheese egg bake prep

I actually posted this egg recipe in January 2104 after developing for Litehouse Foods using their award-wining Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles and OPA Blue Cheese Dressing (made with Greek yogurt). Because it has been so popular, I decided to refresh the photos — oh, and also it will be featured in an upcoming 2017 food calendar!   Ooh, I wonder if it will be the centerfold — keep you posted!

This is the perfect breakfast to power up for all that upcoming Black Friday shopping or as a simple, light dinner when you come home from the shop-a-thon and need quality protein and healthy veggies for recovery.

What do you like to serve holiday house guests for breakfast? Are you running in a Turkey Trot this week? What has your best shopping deal been so far (I know it’s early) — please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer 

Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs
Print Recipe
Wake up to bold and beautiful baked eggs featuring artichokes, blue cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Easy to prep night before and then just stick in the oven.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs
Print Recipe
Wake up to bold and beautiful baked eggs featuring artichokes, blue cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Easy to prep night before and then just stick in the oven.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Lightly spray 4 ramekins or small gratin dishes with baking spray. Coarsely chop spinach and divide evenly among dishes.
  3. Drizzle even portions of blue cheese salad dressing over spinach and sprinkle with red onion.
  4. Slice grape tomatoes in half and drain liquid from jar of artichoke hearts. Place tomatoes and artichokes around perimeter of dishes.
  5. Gently crack 2 eggs over top of spinach mixture, taking care not to break yolk. Repeat for remaining 3 personal-sized baking dishes. Sprinkle tops with chives. This may also be made in a 8” to 9” round baking dish with all the ingredients for “family style.”
  6. Place dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and place on center rack of oven. Back for approximately 20 minutes or until egg whites have set and yolk has achieved desired level of doneness.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle tops with an even portion of blue cheese crumbles. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
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Colorful Carrot and Pea Tart Recipe + More Spring Brunch Ideas

Colorful Carrot & Pea Tart is an easy but showy addition to your spring celebration brunch or dinner.When I first started dating my husband, I remember an older family friend saying we go together like “peas and carrots.” I wondered what that even meant! But I remembered that classic frozen veggie mix I used to be served as a kid, and it was always peas and carrots –both a little naturally sweet and packed with wholesome goodness, but each very different at the same time – green v,. orange, round vs. square diced, firm vs. soft textured. These similarities and differences pair up like no other – they are the perfect complement to one another, just like the hubs and me.

Colorful Carrot and Pea Tart makes a light lunch or showy addition to your spring brunch.So, in honor of peas and carrots and recently celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary, I’m sharing a harmonious, must-have recipe for your next brunch — Colorful Carrots and Peas Tart. This garden gorgeous recipe is ideal for your spring celebrations including Easter, Mother’s Day, bridal showers, graduations and more.

I’ve used tri-colored baby carrots to kick up the color even more and pre-made puff pastry dough for quick convenience. I’ve kept the creamy layer of my Colorful Carrots and Peas Tart lighter by using reduced-fat dairy products and Opadipity by Litehouse™, a Greek yogurt-based savory dip with fewer calories and less fat than conventional products. Carrot and Peas Tart is a vibrant addition to your spring brunch, featuring wholesome goodness from the farmer's market.
Also, in keeping with the Peas & Carrots theme, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes that feature peas and/or carrots for a collection on Mode.com.

Check out Pea & Carrot Recipes for Spring

by The Fit Fork at Mode

What is on your menu for Easter weekend? Or, what is your favorite spring vegetable? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

This post is sponsored by Mode.com and Litehouse Foods. All opinions are my own.

Carrot and Peas Tart is a vibrant addition to your spring brunch, featuring wholesome goodness from the farmer's market.
Colorful Carrot and Pea TArt
Print Recipe
Bring family together for brunch with our gorgeous, garden-fresh tart. The classic combination of English peas and carrots gets a tastefully trendy upgrade for your spring table.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5 mintues
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5 mintues
Carrot and Peas Tart is a vibrant addition to your spring brunch, featuring wholesome goodness from the farmer's market.
Colorful Carrot and Pea TArt
Print Recipe
Bring family together for brunch with our gorgeous, garden-fresh tart. The classic combination of English peas and carrots gets a tastefully trendy upgrade for your spring table.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5 mintues
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5 mintues
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Place parchment paper or silicone mat on baking baking sheet and unfold thawed puff pastry dough. Using knife, carefully score ½” inside perimeter without cutting all the way through. Fold sides up and pinch dough at the corners.
  3. Brush dough on top and sides with egg wash. Use tines of fork to slightly puncture dough to prevent puffing while baking.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until turning lightly golden brown. Remove from oven. If still puffed up in center, gently push down with fingers.
  5. Mix together cream cheese, dip, mozzarella cheese, parsley and salt in small bowl. Using spatula, gently spread across bottom of tart crust.
  6. Add olive oil, peas and carrot slices to skillet and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes or until softening and lightly caramelized. Add on top of cheese layer.
  7. Return tart to 400 F degree oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, taking care that edges don’t over brown.
  8. Cut into squares or wedges and serve with additional OPAdipity.
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Brunch on This | Tipsy Topsy Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake

Tispy Topsy Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake delicious for breakfast, brunch or dessert!Merry Christmas, y’all! Actually, I’m getting my post up late . . . so the day is almost over, but I hope lots of hugs were had, laughs were shared and memories were made!  With our oldest home from college, it’s been wonderful to have everyone together again . . .  and get back the full-immersion effects of being the only female of five people under the roof.

christmas jennifer and boys 2015

Today, I made big Christmas morning brunch for my kiddos, husband, mom and dad and family visiting from out of town.  A few of the dishes are traditional non-negotiables, like the Overnight French Toast, Barn Raiser Beef & Egg Bake, and Cinnamon Monkey Bread.  But, I always like to come up with a new holiday brunch recipe – and this one for Tipsy-Topsy-Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake was a hit! There is still plenty of holiday time left to make this delicious dish which can also double as a dessert (throw a scoop of ice cream on top). Don’t worry, the alcohol content in the liquor burns off, so it’s just fine to feed to the children.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Oh, so did I mention that after brunch and presents and clean-up, we went stand-up paddle boarding?! Only in Austin!

Jennifer Fisher of thefitfork.com stand up paddle board

So, what was your most memorable happening today? Or, have you ever made an upside down cake — with what fruit? Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer

Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Tipsy Topsy Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Tipsy Topsy Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In small saucepan, melt butter and whisk in liquor and brown sugar. Stir in ginger and lemon zest and continue to cook for 2 minutes until combined and beginning to bubble.
  3. Spray pan with cooking spray and pour brown sugar mixture into bottom of pan. Add cranberries to top of brown sugar mixture; set aside.
  4. In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour wet contents into bowl of dry contests and beat for 2 minutes with mixer or by hand, until well combined but not over mixed.
  6. Pour batter over cranberries.
  7. Bake for approximately 50 minutes in center rack of oven or until toothpick pulls clean.
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12 Ideas for Hosting a Healthy Holiday Breakfast or Brunch

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – it’s a season for eating and greeting and spreading good cheer! If you are hosting a morning get-together over the holidays, it needn’t be fancy or fussy to be successful. In fact, some of the best memories I have are sitting around in my pajamas after the stockings have been unstuffed and ribbons unraveled to share a leisurely breakfast with family and reminisce about the glories of yore.  When I’m in town, I also like to don my most festive “ugly” sweater and invite the neighbors over for a holiday brunch.

Check out 12 Ideas for a Healthy Holiday Breakfast or Brunch

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com


I have to admit though, the thought of hosting breakfast or brunch sometimes intimidates me – especially knowing I’m not a graceful waker-upper. So, I like to have many of the menu items prepped ahead of time so I’m not running around like an overworked, grouchy elf in the morning. Make-ahead egg casseroles are ideal as are muffins and quick breads that can be baked a day or two earlier. Even pancakes can be cooked and kept in the freezer for a no-stress holiday breakfast celebration. Some of my favorite breakfast recipes are included in the Healthy Holiday Breakfast and Brunch collection I created for Foodie.com.

Snow Men Milk Bottles - Kid's Craft - TheFitFork.comIf your gathering is anything like mine, there will probably be at least a dozen kids racing around the Christmas tree high as flying reindeer jacked up on candy canes. I have an entertaining little activity that will slow down these busy bodies for a just a few minutes and also provide the opportunity to pump them with a wholesome glass of milk (soy, almond or whatever!).  These Snowman Milk Bottles are adorable and a super easy craft that most any youngster can make with minimal supervision – however, I suggest pre-cutting the felt and assisting with the glue gun lest there be no emergency room trips on a holiday. And, BTW, TheFitFork.com has not turned into a DIY Craft blog, but these were just too fun not to share!

Snowman Milk Bottle Christmas Craft - TheFitFork.com

Supplies needed for each Snow Man Milk Bottle:

  • Empty mini milk bottle (available at craft store or recycled Starbucks Frappuccino bottle)
  • 1 ½ inch x 8 inch piece of colorful felt
  • 3 black buttons
  • Glue gun or glue dots
  • Scissors
  • Striped paper straw

For the scarf, use scissors to snip ½” long fringe into each end of the felt. Wrap around neck of bottle and knot to one side; secure with glue or glue dot if needed. Glue three buttons down front of bottle.  Fill with milk and add colorful paper straw.

So, what do you like to serve on Christmas or holiday mornings?  Do you have a once-a-year special holiday recipe or do you stick with your standard-issue morning meal?

This post was sponsored by Foodie.com, however all recipes and editorial comments are my own.

Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar-Free Cider Syrup

Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar Free Apple Cider Syrup - TheFitFork.comThe kids have the whole week off school for Thanksgiving and they want pancakes for breakfast  . . . every day! My recipe for Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar-Free Cider Syrup wins for convenience and taste. It relies on boxed pancake mix (you can use whole wheat) and jarred applesauce.  I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Foods (they have the best apple cider), but later tweaked it for my own use by using a couple scoops of vanilla protein powder.  I just find that after eating pancakes, I get the “hangries” unless I’ve balanced it with a little more protein.  Oh, and the syrup doesn’t have any added sugar, a huge bonus considering the way my kids pour it on without discretion.  If you’d rather do the no protein powder version, get the recipe here.

Sugar Free Apple Cider Syrup for Pancakes -  thefitfork.com

Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar-Free Cider Syrup

For Pancakes:

  • 2 cups “complete” pancake mix (the “just add water” type)
  • 2 scoops (about 2/3 cup) vanilla or unflavored protein powder
  • 1cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup apple cider

For Syrup:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon liquid Stevia (or any sugar  substitute to achieve a ½ cup sugar equivalency) I used NuNaturals
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups  apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter

1. Heat electric griddle to 375 F degrees or skillet over medium high.

2. In bowl, combine pancake mix and protein powder with a whisk until blended. Stir in applesauce and apple cider until slightly smooth. If batter is too thick, stir in a scant amount of water or more apple cider to thin.

3. Pour batter onto hot griddle using 1/3 cup measure. Cook for approximately 1 to 1 ½ minutes before flipping. Pancake is ready to flip when edges are pulling away and bubbles on top have slowed down.

4. Flip pancakes with spatula and cook for approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute longer. Repeat for remaining pancake batter.

5. Meanwhile, prepare syrup by mixing cornstarch, sugar substitute and cinnamon together in a saucepan with heat off.

6. Gradually whisk in the cider and lemon juice and cook over medium heat stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until thickened

7. Remove syrup from heat and stir in butter. Serve warm over pancakes and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Serves 6 (2 pancakes each)

 More pancake recipes for hungry people:

Pancakes made with Core Power - TheFitfork.com

Pancakes made with Core Power – TheFitfork.com

 My little secret trick — just swap out Core Power for the milk or water in your pancake recipe.

Bit of Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancake theftfork.comPumpkin Oat Pancake – Yum, these pancakes are pure fall goodness from the griddle — I like to use Love Grown Foods Super Oats to add a little extra nutrition with quinoa flakes, amaranth flakes and chia.

Pre Race Paleo Pancake - The Fit ForkPre-Race Paleo Pancakes – This is my go-to super healthy pancake recipe from a CrossFit superstar friend, Stephanie from Missouri.

 

 

 

 

If you need to stock up:

Boo-Yeah! Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancake Recipe

Pumpkin Pancakes with Pecans, Caramel & Greek Yogurt - TheFitFork.comPumpkin, it’s what’s for breakfast this time of year! Maybe I’ve gone overboard with the gourd, but I don’t care. I’ve created a pumpkin recipe that you absolutely must make this weekend for a satisfying but not too sinful brunch – Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes with Caramel Yogurt Topping.

skeleton shoes runningPumpkin is a super food, I know y’all have heard me ramble on and on about the health benefits. It’s filled with fiber and a great source of vitamins, especially A and E. That bright orange colored flesh indicates an abundance of antioxidents ready to help boost your heath and also potentially prevent a laundry list of chronic diseases and conditions. I eat to stay a lean mean, running machine, but I definitely don’t want to be a SKELETON — so in preparation for my hilly 10 mile race on Sunday, I’m going to attack a stack. YUM!

I pumped up the nutrients in my pancakes to the next level by adding Love Grown Foods® Super Oats (Simply Pure) to the batter – lots of good stuff here including quinoa flakes, amaranth flakes and chia. You can use any type or brand of oats you like – I’m just saying these Super Oats rock! Also, instead of dousing my pumpkin pancakes in a ton of sugary syrup, I simply mixed together some protein-packed Greek yogurt with just a touch of caramel sauce mixed in for a tasty topping.

Bit of Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancake theftfork.com

Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes with Caramel Yogurt Topping Recipe

  • 1 ½  cups “complete” whole wheat or buttermilk pancake mix
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans plus extra for topping
  • 12 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup caramel dip

Instructions:

  1. Heat skillet over medium-low heat or electric griddle to 375 degrees
  2. In medium bowl, mix together pancake mix and oats. Stir in water, pumpkin puree and pecans with spatula  until big lumps disappear, don’t over mix (toughens pancakes).
  3. Pour approximately 1/3 cup batter for each pancake onto lightly greased skillet or griddle.
  4. Turn when pancakes bubble and bottoms are golden brown.
  5. In small bowl, mix together yogurt and caramel sauce.  Top on pancakes and sprinkle with extra pecans.
  6. Makes about 18 pancakes (serves 6).

 

Top Row: White Chocolate Pumpkin  Oat Bread and Pumpkin Granola - Bottom Row: Pumpkin Protein Donuts and Caramel Pumpkin Smoothies

Top Row: White Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bread and Pumpkin Granola – Bottom Row: Pumpkin Protein Donuts and Caramel Pumpkin Smoothies

Looking for more ways to incorporate pumpkin into your morning meal? Everyone at my house clamors for these other pumpkin favorites — baked pumpkin protein donuts, pumpkin granola with golden raisins and almonds, pumpkin white chocolate quick bread and caramel pumpkin smoothies.

What are you making with pumpkin these days?