Breakfast Enchiladas, the perfect Brinner!

What’s for Brinner?

If you’ve been around me off or online for very long, you know that I am NOT a fan of winter. I’m a gardener and a homesteader and I enjoy the warmth and comfort that spring and summer bring to my heart. However, in the winter, for me it’s all about the spring planning and the comfort food. In our house, there is one comfort food that we can all get around is Brinner, or breakfast for dinner.

While I love making and eating Brinner, I don’t like the clean up. A few weeks ago I came across a new idea and of course I had to tinker with it all and put my own spin on it. Breakfast enchiladas as we know it were born and an immediately favorite in our home.

Breakfast Enchiladas, the perfect Brinner!

Breakfast Enchiladas, the perfect Brinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 lb. sausage, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (I used red, but you can use whatever you like best)
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbspn. garlic powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 medium tortillas (I used low carb)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mix bacon, sausage, cheese, onion, and garlic powder.
  2. Reserve half of the mixture.
  3. Spoon a heaping amount of the mixture into a tortilla.
  4. Fold the ends of the tortilla and roll tight.
  5. Place tortillas seam down in a greased casserole dish.
  6. In another bowl, mix eggs, salt, pepper, and milk.
  7. Poor egg mixture over the tortillas.
  8. Sprinkle rest of meat/cheese/onion mixture over the top of eggs and tortillas.
  9. Cover with foil and either place in refrigerator until ready to cook (overnight if you want).
  10. Bake at 350 degree for 35-40 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked.
  11. Remove foil and bake for additional 5 minutes.
  12. Serve immediately with your choice of garnish (sour cream, salsa, hot sauce).
http://houghfamilyhomestead.com/2018/02/21/breakfast-enchiladas-the-perfect-brinner/

These enchiladas can be made the night before if you want them in the morning for , or they can be made in the morning and ready to cook for Brinner. Everything is in one dish so clean up is a breeze.

Gardening Series #3: Now What? How to get your Garden Ready!

This is the 3rd installment in the series. 

#1: Reasons to Plant a Vegetable Garden

#2: What Kind of Garden Should I Plant?

Welcome back to the third installment in my Gardening Series. If you missed the first two, the links are at the top of this post.

If you ask any successful gardener what the most important aspect of their garden is, they will tell you that it is SOIL. Having your soil just right is the difference between a bumper crop and devastating failure. Today we will be talking about soil prep and how to get it as good as you can.

How Do I Know What my Soil Needs?

The easiest way to find out is to talk to successful gardeners in your area. They have been tackling your area’s trouble spots for some time and know the tips and tricks to propserous yields.  Another way is to take a soil sample from your prospective garden to your local agriculture extension office for testing. You can get most soil samples back in a week or two and they will counsel you on what your soil needs.

prepare the soil

If this is your first time gardening in a specific area (in-ground, or raised bed) there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • Determine the soil ph – Get yourself a Soil test kit and find out the ph of your soil. If it is too acidic, it can be neutralized by using lime. If it is too basic, you might need gardener’s sulfur and some compost to make it more acidic.
  • “Double-dig” – Dig down a foot or so and turn the soil. Remove all rocks and roots. You can do this using a shovel, or a pitchfork. Using a tiller can work too, just be careful when using.
  • Check the moisture – The soil should be dry before planting. As soon as you plant you will need to water, but not prior to putting plants or seeds into the ground.
  • Adding organic matter – Organic matter (such as compost or manure) gives soil the nutrients that it needs to fuel plant growth. You can either create your own compost pile, or buy it through your local garden center. Be careful though, a little can go a long way.
  • Level the soil – It may seem like overkill but it i necessary to level out your soil in your garden to make sure that water is uniformly absorbed by your plants.
  • Mulch your paths –  Adding mulch or hay in between garden rows will help with deterring the growth of weeds.

Learning about soil preparation is not hard, it just requires your attention and a little bit of time. This will definitely be time well spent and will help you have a healthy and fruitful harvest.

The Bestest Sugar Cookies EVAH!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m usually all about healthy and sustainable food choices and it’s true. However when my youngest begs to make Valentine cookies for her friends, and then I want to make some for my friends, the only way to do that is to break out the bestest cookie recipe.

The recipe comes from a super secret cookbook I bought from a 4-H club in 1998.

The Bestest Sugar Cookies EVAH!

Yield: 30

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks margarine (room temperature)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Instructions

  1. Using a mixer cream together: sugar, margarine, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.
  2. Then add the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight (very important to do this).
  4. Take about 1/4 of dough and roll out on floured board.
  5. Keep remainder in ice box.
  6. Cut out and bake at 350 for 8 minutes for a soft cookie and 10 minutes for a crunchy cookie.
http://houghfamilyhomestead.com/2018/02/11/bestest-sugar-cookies-evah/

After making the cookies, the thing that just makes it is the icing and decorations. I just used the recipe for royal icing on the back of the meringue powder container.

Royal Icing: Combine 1/4 cup meringue powder with 1/2 cup cold water, and beat until peaks form. Then beat in 4 cups of powdered sugar. 

For the decorations this year we opted to use Edible Color Markers.  The ones we used are Wilton Foodwriter Edible Color Markers. They are the way to go for people who can’t pipe icing worth a dang (ME!)

For my daughter’s cookies, we just put her friends’ names on them and made them pretty. For the ones for my friends, I let my adult humor hang out just a tad.

Moral of the story? Sometimes it’s ok to splurge and do something fun and not in the regular realm. Start to finish my youngest and I spent about 6 hours of quality time together working on these and that is worth each and every calorie and gram of sugar!

Baked Chicken Bruschetta (recipe)

In a world where faster is always better, I tend to disagree. I’m more of a slow cooker, all day electric meat smoker kind of girl. However, in the middle of the week I’m always trying to figure out how to get a healthy beautiful meal on the table in record time with limited mess.  Most weeknights find the girls running from activity to activity, me doing chores at home and at the farm, and the husband coming in late from working and ranching, but I have about a 30 minute window in which we can all eat together.

One of our favorite newer to us recipes is Baked Chicken Bruschetta. It combines our love of baked chicken, along with fresh ingredients and incredible flavor…. not to mention it takes 35 minutes start to finish and bakes all in one pan.

Baked Chicken Bruschetta (recipe)

Baked Chicken Bruschetta (recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts, butterflied
  • 4 medium tomatoes (ripe), chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil, julienned
  • 2 Tbspn. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Spray bottom of casserole pan with cooking spray
  3. Lay chicken breasts in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  5. In a bowl mix tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan thoroughly.
  6. Spread the tomato, basil, and cheese mixture over chicken.
  7. Cover with boil and bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake for 7 to 10 more minutes.
  9. Serve with roasted vegetables or over rice.
http://houghfamilyhomestead.com/2018/02/11/855/

So put this recipe on your monthly dinner rotation, your family will thank you for it, as now I’ve learned to double the recipe so that there is actually some leftovers.

Gardening Series #2: What Kind of Garden Should I Plant?

Welcome back! This is the second in a series of posts for beginning gardeners. If you missed the first installment, you can go to it here

Gardening was not an easy road for me. I didn’t grow up gardening and I just thought all food came from the grocery store and why did you need to grow anything. My husband grew up around his grandparents and great-grandparents large farm gardens so he expected the same.  My advice here is purely that, advice. I’m using what I have learned along this journey to help guide you in yours.

1. How Big of a Garden Should I Grow? My advice here is to start small. The first time I decided to garden I did about 20 different pots on our porches. They did great for awhile, but it became too many for me to take care of properly. I didn’t have the habit of taking care of them regularly. That takes time. My advice would be to start small. It will grow exponentially in the future as you get a handle on it all, and learn each season.

2. Where Are You Going To Put A Garden? Depending on the space you need and the time you have you need to determine if you are going to have a container garden, raised beds, or an actual plot. Again, small is best to start.  Most vegetables need 6 to 10 hours of sun (whether direct or indirect), so even though you have this beautiful spot under a tree in the backyard, nothing is really going to grow there and you’ll just end up feeding your local backyard creatures.

3. What Should I Plant?  Stick with hardy vegetables your first foray. In my area, spring is good for lettuces, radishes, and spinach. Summer veggies that are easy are tomatoes, peppers (bell and jalapenos), herbs (basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, peppermint), and if you have the room zucchini or summer squash.

4. Should I Start From Seed or From a Plant? Personally, we start all of ours by seed, indoors. However, we have been doing this for a while and have an intricate indoor growing set up (some neighbors thought we were growing pot a few years back).  If you are just starting, finding a good source of plants and just buying and planting them is probably the best solution. It is a little more expensive, but you’ll yield the best results and be more likely to continue gardening in the future.

5. When Should I Start Planting? It all depends on what zone you are in. To find out you can go here and find which zone you land in. In that link it will also give you a planting schedule as well as a list of what grows best in your area.  This year I wanted to plant ginger, however I’m on the line of zone 6 and 7 and it grows best in zones 8-11, so I’ll just have to decide if I want to try it.

What Are We Doing? Our plans are to continue our acre gardening area, as well as we have two raised beds up next to the house on the west side. In our raised beds we will do climbing spinach, rosemary, basil, oregano, sage, chives, and lemongrass. We might add a few heirloom specialty varieties of tomato or cucumber as well as a salad mix. Out at the farm in our large garden space we grow garlic, onions, potatoes, corn, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, asparagus, jalapenos, hatch chiles, cayenne peppers, bell peppers, summer squash, zucchini, and spaghetti squash.

Word of Advice. If this is your first year, don’t go crazy. Gardening takes time and discipline. You have to make the time to care for your plants, not just when you plant and harvest. It takes time to form those habits and if you do too much you’ll be overwhelmed and more likely to give up.

Next Up: Preparing Soil and Other Ways to Get Your Garden Ready!