Tag Archives: brinner


So the Danish. The Norwegian. Scots and Canadians and Alaskans. How in the world do these nearly-Arctic people survive winter? Not only are the temperatures rock-bottom, but it’s so dark, so very dark. I don’t know about you, but I’m about done with winter, and I see the sun on a near-daily basis. I’ve been doing some reading on Scandinavian happiness, which is consistently off the charts. The Danes in particular have been getting a lot of press for their concept of “hygge,” (pronounced ahh-choo and gesundheit, I’m pretty sure). It seems our chilly friends have figured out the secret of blissful winters, even in their very cold climate. Candles, fireplaces, light, soft blankets, lots of books, friendly feasts and mulled wine all have a little something to do with it. It’s fascinating, especially for a Southern girl who misses summer nights on the front porch. I’m on a campaign to hygge-up my winter routine and break the winter blues this February, but I’m no expert. My best suggestion for happy winter nights? Brinner.

Mmm! Breakfast for dinner is always a favorite round here. I’ve successfully roped my friends in for lots of brinner nights, and the smorgasbord (see what I did with the Swedish there?) of baked goods, bacon, steaming sausages, cheesy eggs, and bowls of fruit is happy enough for Pharrell and Bobby McFerrin both. Throw in some coffee and have yourself a merry little midwinter.

The best thing about brinner is you aren’t running out the door to get to work, so you get to go a little above-and-beyond with your breakfast dishes. I’m not one to get up at the crack of dawn and make pastry, but I can do it in time for supper. Do a little savory and a little sweet, or better yet, invite some friends to contribute their favorites, and brinner can be a beautiful feast. Good enough for hygge-loving Danes!

Here are some of our favorites:

German “Puff Pancake” with Butter Syrup, recipe credit: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/german-pancake-butter-syrup/

This is really good with a warm fruit compote or jam if you want to skip the syrup, but that butter syrup is kind of to die for, too. It turns the whole thing into something reminiscent of gooey butter bars.

  • 2 T. butter
  • 6 large eggs (about 10.5 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk (I use 2%)
  • ½ t. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put two T. butter in a glass 9X13-inch baking dish and pop the pan in the oven to melt (but don’t let it burn).

Combine the eggs, milk and vanilla in a blender and process on low speed until smooth, 10-20 seconds. Add the flour and salt and blend until just combined; the batter should be smooth but not overblended.

Take the preheated, buttered pan out of the oven and swirl the butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes until the pancake is puffy and lightly browned on the bottom and edges.

Butter Syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup (8 T.) butter
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. baking soda

In a big old saucepan (it will foam and triple in volume at the end), combine the sugar, buttermilk and butter and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat and simmer for 7 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and baking soda until well-combined. Serve warm over pancakes.


Polenta and Mexican Eggs

Polenta isn’t something I grew up with, but it is essentially a mixture of ready-to-fry grits. It comes in a tube; simply slice like you would slice-and-bake cookies, and fry. The key to this dish is timing. Start by getting the toppings ready to spoon on while the eggs are hot. You can set the table with bowls of beans, salsa, avocado, cheese, and cilantro and let everyone serve themselves.

  • 1 tube polenta
  • eggs, 1 or 2 per person
  • black beans
  • salsa
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • shredded cheddar
  • cilantro

Fry up the sliced polenta and pile on beans, a dollop of salsa, and a sprinkle of cheddar.  Top with fried eggs over easy.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with avocado slices on the side.


Banana Cottage Cheese Pancakes

This recipe is quite flexible and can be modified to suit your needs.  The pancakes are delicious — moist and dense, with a consistency somewhat like crepes.  Best served with maple syrup or fruit preserves.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 T. cooking oil
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 small overripe bananas
  • 1 c. flour
  • milk, as needed

Combine eggs, cottage cheese, oil, and salt in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add bananas, one at a time.  Slowly add flour, by tablespoonfuls, until well incorporated.  If the mixture is too thick, add milk, by the teaspoon, until it blends smoothly.  Cook on a lightly greased skillet or frying pan until golden.


Baked Oatmeal

I have made this with almond milk to satisfy a non-dairy request and it was great!  You can mix up all of the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately the day before and combine just before baking if you want to prepare ahead.  Serve with whipped cream if you want to be decadent (or yogurt if you don’t) and fill up on a big bowl of fruit salad.

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in dried cranberries. Spread into a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.


Baked Blueberry-Pecan French Toast

This is meant to be soaked overnight and baked in the morning.  If you are having it for brinner, throw it together in the morning and soak all day, then bake before supper.

  • 1 French bread baguette
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ t. nutmeg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ stick plus 1 t. butter
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained

Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Cut 1 ½ inch slices from the baguette and arrange in one layer in the dish (about 6-8 slices). Whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg, vanilla, and ½ cup brown sugar in a large bowl and pour evenly over the bread. Refrigerate mixture, covered, until all liquid is absorbed by the bread, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

When you are ready to bake and serve, preheat oven to 350 F. Toast the pecans in a skillet in one layer over medium heat, stirring often. Toss with 1 t. butter.

Sprinkle pecans and blueberries evenly over bread mixture. Cut remaining ½ stick butter into pieces and heat with remaining ¼ cup brown sugar in a small saucepan, stirring, until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Drizzle butter mixture over bread and bake mixture 30 – 40 minutes or until any liquid from blueberries is bubbling.


Quick Cheese and Sausage Grits

I use the basic recipe for cheese grits from the Quaker Instant Grits box, with a few changes. They recommend fake cheese, like Velveeta; I always use sharp cheddar. I tend to eyeball, it, too—white grits ought to turn a nice pale orange if you have enough cheese. Quaker omits pepper, I use it generously. And in this case, I have listed crumbled sausage as an optional ingredient.

  • 4 c. water
  • 1 c. instant grits
  • 1-2 c. shredded cheddar
  • 1 c. cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage (optional, but yummy)
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper

In a heavy saucepan, stir grits slowly into boiling water. Beware, grits will pop and spatter as they heat up. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 4-5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Add sausage, cheese and spices, stir until cheese melts.

Photo on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/6d156f”>Visualhunt.com</a&gt;

Cold Weather, Hot Food

So I’m making my grocery list and it was such a happy menu, I thought I’d share.  Lotta bowls involved this week, lotta spoons.  Lotta happy, happy kids!  Save this one for your next shopping trip and voila!  A week of suppers.  Yeah, you’re welcome.  Grocery list at the bottom of the post.

Menu:  Taco Soup, Chicken and Dumplings, Greek Feta Chicken, Turkey Clubs and Tomato Bisque, Jambalaya, Brinner: Omelets and Fruit

Taco Soup

This soup just feels dirty.  It’s a potluck standby, the kind of food your picky niece would eat with fritos.  It’s like nachos you eat with a spoon.  Guilty pleasure!

  • 1 1.2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 pkg. ranch seasoning
  • 2 cans rotel
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can beef broth
  • small block Velveeta, cubed
  • small tub sour cream
  • tortilla chips

Brown beef and onion.  Combine all ingredients EXCEPT sour cream in a large soup pot.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook and stir occasionally until cheese has melted.  Before serving, stir in sour cream.  Cook until heated through.  Do not boil.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Chicken and Dumplings 

So this is one of those recipes I use when I have plenty of time, not because it is difficult, but because there are several steps.  It makes a lot of food, perfect for a cold and drizzly kind of day.  Winnie the Pooh would like this if he didn’t have any honey available.

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 lb. chicken (you can use whatever parts of a chicken you want)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 t. dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pkg. frozen egg noodles
  • 2 c. Bisquick
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. thyme

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Brown in batches, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; reserve the pot.

Add the celery, carrots, onions, thyme, and garlic to the drippings in the pot and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken, bay leaves, and 10 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil a pot of salted water to cook the egg noodles.  Consult the package directions for cooking times.

Make dumplings.  Stir Bisquick, 1 t. thyme, and milk until soft dough forms.  Set aside.

Return your attention to the stew.  Discard the bay leaves and transfer the chicken to a plate. Shred it and return it to the pot (discarding the skin and bones, if necessary).

Drop dumpling dough by spoonfuls onto boiling stew; reduce heat. Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

Scoop bowlfuls of noodles and top with stew.

Greek Feta Chicken 

This is a pretty darn easy, super tasty chicken dish.  I like to serve it with hummus and pita bread on the side, preferably with a good Greek salad. 

  • 8 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. oregano
  • 1/2 t. rosemary
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into palm-sized pieces
  • 1/3 c. feta
  • 1 T. chopped fresh parsley

Combine first 6 ingredients in a heavy-duty plastic bag and shake.  Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Reserve marinade, and place chicken in a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.  Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat (with oven door ajar), 7 minutes.  Flip chicken pieces over and spoon the reserved marinade over the top.  Sprinkle with feta cheese.  Broil 7 more minutes or until done.  Sprinkle with parsley.

*recipe adapted from Low Fat, High Flavor Cookbook

Bubba’s Jambalaya 

I haven’t tried this one yet.  Just feeling kinda Cajun, and this one got good reviews.

  • 6 slices bacon, crumbled
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. cubed cooked ham
  • 1/2 lb. cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/2 lb. cubed smoked sausage
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 2 c. beef broth
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 2 t. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 c. uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 lb. salad shrimp

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Add celery, bell pepper, and onion to the bacon drippings, and cook until tender.  Add the rice, stirring to coat with oil and separate the grains.

Add the ham, chicken and sausage to the pot, and pour in the tomatoes, beef broth and chicken broth. Season with thyme and Cajun seasoning.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.

Stir in the shrimp and bacon just before serving, and heat through. If you use uncooked shrimp, let it cook for about 5 minutes before serving.

* adapted from allrecipes.com

Turkey Clubs and Tomato Basil Bisque

How about an easy soup and sandwich night?

The Bisque:

  • 2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Toppings: fresh basil leaves, freshly ground pepper, Parmesan cheese

Cook first 5 ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately with desired toppings.

The Clubs:

So this is easy-peasy.  You know how to make a sandwich, right?  A couple tips:  use the best bread you can find and the best turkey if this a main course for supper.  Pull out some good potato chips to go with.  And you can’t go wrong with fancy toothpicks and pickles!

  • 1 lb. deli smoked turkey
  • 1 loaf hearty white bread or torta rolls
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked
  • 1 tomato
  • lettuce leaves

Toast the bread.  Assemble double-decker style if you wish, or just make a regular sandwich.


Because brinner is always a good idea, at least once a week.  


You should have everything you need left over for a nice omelette — eggs, cheddar, ham, green pepper, and onion.  Or go crazy and use feta and tomatoes for a nice Greek twist.  Serve with a bowl of fruit for a complete meal.

Your Grocery List:  


  • 4 sweet onions
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 bag carrots
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 3 tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • lemon
  • garlic
  • fresh parsley and basil (to tell the truth, I’m just going to use dried)
  • fruit — your choice


  • 1/2 pound salad shrimp
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 pound ham
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 2 more pounds chicken parts— your choice
  • 1/2 pound smoked sausage
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. deli smoked turkey

Dry (Canned/Bottled)

  • 2 cans rotel
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 jar Kalamata olives
  • 24 oz. beef broth
  • 16 oz. chicken broth
  • 2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Dry (Boxes/Bags)

  • 1 box Bisquick
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 pkg. ranch seasoning
  • Fritos or tortilla chips


  • 1 loaf hearty white bread or torta rolls
  • pita bread (optional)


  • small block Velveeta
  • small tub sour cream
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 lb. shredded (or not) cheddar
  • 8 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 cup feta
  • milk
  • buttemilk
  • hummus (optional)


  • 1 pkg. frozen egg noodles

Check Pantry:  Do you have…

  • dried spices: thyme, oregano, rosemary, pepper, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves
  • cooking spray
  • white rice
  • olive oil