Easy Breakfast Strudel

Another snow day, another strudel! Back by popular demand, my kids asked me to make these again if they had no school today.  Alas, it is the first full day of Spring and it has already snowed 3 inches with several more forecasted!?! Their wish is my command… strudel it is!!!

Ingredients: Makes 2 strudels, feeds 4 – 6

  • 2 puff pastry sheets (approx. 8 oz each), thawed
  • 3 tbsp softened cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp strawberry preserves
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp grape jelly
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp raw sugar granules


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Gently unfold each pastry sheet and orient it “portrait” style.
  3. Spread the softened cream cheese down the center third of the first sheet, leaving approximately a quarter inch of space from each edge.
  4. Carefully spread the strawberry preserves on top of the cream cheese.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 using the almond butter and grape jelly, respectively.
  6. Using a sharp knife (I use a pizza cutter), make 6 cuts at a 45 degree angle approximately 1 inch apart, down each remaining side of the pastry.  Next, braid the pastry strips you just created and fold over the center section, sealing the fillings inside.
  7. Use a fork to crimp and seal the edges at the top and bottom.  Brush each with the beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar.
  8. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until puffed and golden brown!  Serve warm for best results!

Filling Suggestions:

  • Nutella and Banana
  • Peanut Butter and sliced Strawberries
  • Cream Cheese and Chocolate Chips
  • Although strudel is traditionally a sweet treat, sautéed veggies and cheese would be delicious too!!

Corned Beef, Cabbage and Potato Pizza!?!

Took a chance on making this pizza for the first time on St. Patty’s Day!  Luckily, we were blown away by how tasty it was!  Almost everyone in attendance ranked it as their “favorite” food of the party!  It may sound like a weird combo of ingredients for a pizza but it is oh, so good!!!

Ingredients: Makes 2, 14 in pizzas

  • olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced green cabbage
  • 1 tbsp of pickling spice
  • 1 large potato sliced thin on a mandolin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded not grated
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 packages of pre-made pizza dough at room temperature
  • flour for dusting
  • 6 – 8 oz of deli style Corned Beef, sliced thin


  1. In an a skillet with a lid, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add the sliced cabbage and sauté until wilted and caramelization begins.  Add enough water to cover the cabbage.  Add the pickling spice (tied in cheesecloth) and cover the skillet, allowing cabbage to braise until tender (approximately 20 minutes).  When fully cooked, drain water, remove spice pouch and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the potato, toss with a tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 475 for 10 – 12 minutes until the slices start to turn golden brown.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the 3 cheeses, set aside.
  4. With floured hands, carefully stretch each pizza dough ball into a 12-14 in pie.  You may need to also use a rolling pin on a floured surface to achieve the desired shape.  Place each pie on a greased cookie sheet or floured pizza stone.
  5. To assemble each pizza, begin by drizzling the dough with olive oil.  Next, add a thin layer of cheese, followed by a scattered layer of corned beef.  Sprinkle some more cheese before continuing to add the cabbage and the potato slices.  Finish with one more thin layer of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper.
  6. Bake at 500 degrees for 12-15 minutes or desired doneness.

*Adapted from foodnetwork.com and Penguin Pizza, Boston, MA

Mini Shepherds Pies

These tiny treasures were a big hit at our St. Patty’s Day party yesterday!  I took some time saving short cuts because I was busy making several other dishes from scratch, but none of my guests were the wiser!  Do your self a favor and don’t wait until next St. Patty’s Day to make them!

Ingredients: Makes 24 appetizer size pies

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 85% lean)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1, 14 oz jar beef gravy
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots mixed
  • 1, 8 oz family size package instant mashed potatoes (I used roasted garlic flavored)
  • 3 thawed pre-made pie crusts at room temperature
  • cooking spray


  1. Brown your ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, adding the garlic and onion powder as well as the thyme as it cooks.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Once browned, add the frozen peas and carrots and stir to incorporate.  Add the jar of gravy and mix well.  Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes then cover and set aside off the heat.
  3. Prepare the instant mashed potatoes as directed on the package.  Set aside, covered.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. On a floured surface, unwrap, unroll and roll out pie crust dough using a rolling pin.  Take care not to press too firmly or to roll the dough out to thin.
  6. Generously spray two standard sized 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray. Using a jar or glass with a diameter that is larger than that of your muffin cups, cut out circles or “rounds” from the dough.  I can get about 8 from each pie crust, if I re-roll the “scraps” into a new sheet of dough.
  7. Gently press each pie round into a grease muffin cup.  They will not come up the sides completely and that is ok.  Bake for 6-8 minutes until they begin to brown.
  8. Remove mini pie crusts from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Uncover the meat mixture and the potatoes.  Everything will still be warm so take care while building each mini pie.
  9. Carefully remove each mini pie crust using your fingers and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Fill each with approximately 1 – 2 tbsp of the meat mixture.  Follow by topping each with 1 – 2 tbsp of mashed potatoes.  Pop the cookie sheet into the oven for 6 – 8 minutes allowing the crust to finish baking and the potatoes to develop a slight crust.
  10. Let cool only a few minutes before serving, as these are best served warm!


  • Use left over gravy or make your own using beef stock.
  • Same goes with the potatoes… I’d say you need approximately 2 lbs worth.
  • I had left over meat and potatoes after this recipe and probably could have made another 8 – 12 mimi pies (if I had defrosted another pie crust), but I wasn’t prepared!  So instead, I assembled a small shepherds pie sans crust in a casserole dish which I froze for another time!
  • Lastly, I made these ahead of time, stored them at room temp and then popped them in a warm over for 5 minutes when my guests arrived to heat them back up.  worked like a charm!

Fabulous French Onion Soup

I woke up this morning to snow falling yet again… and the first thing I thought of was French Onion Soup!?  This is how my foodie mind works lol; the colder the weather, the greater my cravings for comfort foods like this rich, cheesy and flavorful classic!

Ingredients: 6 bowls of soup

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 4 small sprigs of fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 8 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 8 oz of gruyere cheese, grated


  1. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and a dash of salt and pepper.  Cook the onions until they soften and begin to caramelize (about 20 minutes).
  2. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the alcohol to cook off, leaving the onions almost dry.
  3. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Reduce heat to low and dust the onions with the flour.  Cook mixture for 5 minutes or so to allow the flour to incorporate.
  4. Add the beef stock, raise the heat and allow soup to simmer for 10 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, slice and toast the baguette under the broiler.  Place a toasted slice in the bottom of each bowl.
  6. Ladle the soup into each bowl.  Top with an additional toasted baguette slice (or two)!  Sprinkle with a small handful of gruyere cheese. Place the bowls of soup on a baking sheet and under the broiler for a few minutes allowing the cheese to bubble and begin to brown.
  7. Serve immediately, keeping in mind the bowls will be hot (and the soup will be delicious)!


I chose to use Spanish onions because I love their sweetness.  And.. I went with a Pinot Noir because that’s my favorite kind of red and it’s what I opened and sipped while I cooked!  Feel free to follow your own tastebuds!

*Adapted from Tyler Florence

Thank Goodness for Grapefruit

This preparation will make even the biggest grapefruit nay sayer a true believer!


  • 1 ripe Ruby Red grapefruit
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp of your favorite granola


  1. Halve and segment the grapefruit.
  2. Sprinkle each half with sea salt and brown sugar.
  3. Top with granola.
  4. Broil for 3 minutes keeping an eye on the granola; you want it to get toasty but not burn.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

It’s that simple!!!


Simple Snow Day Scones

Riding out another Nor’easter in the kitchen!  Starting the morning off with a simple scone recipe.  Let’s see if the aroma awakens the sleeping children!

Ingredients: Makes 8 scones

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp salted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Grate butter into the mixture using the large holes of a box grater.  I literally place the grater in the middle of the bowl and grate away!
  3. Work grated butter into the flour mixture with your hands creating a coarse meal.
  4. Stir in the raisins.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg and vanilla.
  6. Using a fork, blend together wet and dry ingredients.  It’s ok if the overall consistency seems too dry, use your hands to press dough into a ball and it will come together.
  7. Place dough on a gently floured surface and pat into a 8 inch circle, approximately 3/4 – 1 inch thick.  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and using a pizza cutter, cut circle into 8 equal “slices”.
  8. Transfer slices to a parchment lined (or Silpat lined) cookie sheet, at least 1 inch apart.
  9. Bake 15 minutes, cool for 5.  Serve warm!!!


  • Get crafty and sub craisins for raisins or mix in your favorite nut like walnuts or pecans.  If you’re looking to wow the kids, use chocolate chips!!

*Adapted from Simple Scones, allrecipes.com


Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I am literally in the process of making a crock pot full of this soup for my kids to bring to youth group tonight!  It’s so easy to make and never disappoints, especially if you are a loaded baked potato fan!  I actually added riced broccoli to the original recipe the first time I made it to try and sneak in an extra veggie without my kids knowing, and no one suspected a thing!  And of course it’s not fully loaded until you add the bacon!!!

Ingredients: Makes 4 – 6 cups / 6 – 8 bowls of soup

  • 6 large potatoes*, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups riced broccoli
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter, sliced
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra
  • 3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped plus extra
  • 8 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • sour cream


  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients (potatoes – pepper) in a large crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours (until potatoes are tender).
  2. Mash the mixture using a hand held immersion blender.  Then stir in the cream, cheddar cheese and chives.  Let cook 5 more minutes.
  3. Serve each cup/bowl with a dollop of sour cream, crumbled bacon, cheese and chives!


  • I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe.  However, I ran out of them this morning and had to add 2 large baking potatoes to the mix!
  • You can cut the cooking time in half by cranking your crock pot to HIGH for 4 hours.  The reason I typically go with LOW heat is because I am a firm believer in “low and slow” when it comes to crock pot cooking.  And… I get a weird kick out of starting something cooking in the morning, tending to it and smelling it as it cooks throughout the day, and then finally getting to feast on it at 5:00!?!

Original Recipe from geniuskitchen.com