Category Archives: Brunch

The Perfect Apple Cinnamon Muffins


Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Almonds

Apple Cinnamon Muffins without Nuts

Moist Apple Muffins

I think the perfect apple muffins

a) have a cinnamon-sugar topping

b) have small chunks of apple throughout

c) are not overly sweet

d) are moist

e) taste good with or without nuts

and here they are….

Perfect Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Compliments of JennaDish
adapted from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

If some in the family don’t like nuts, and some do, only add nuts to the tops of a few muffins.  And leave them out of the batter.
2 apples (I used Granny Smith, but Pippin, Rome, or Winesap would also bake well)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar, plus 4 teaspoons for the topping
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup raw (unblanched) almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 400o. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups. (No need to spray with oil – they come out of the paper cleanly).
Peel the apple and chop into small dice and set aside.
Whisk together in large bowl the flour, baking poweer, and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, place 2/3 cup brown sugar, the honey, yogurt, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Whisk until well blended.
If using nuts in the batter, add half of them to the flour mixture now, and put the other half aside.
Now fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until just mixed.  Add the chopped apple until just combined – don’t overmix.
Spoon the batter into the muffin papers.  They will be filled to near the top – don’t worry that they look too full, just make sure all the batter is used and is evenly distributed in the 12 muffin liners.
In a small bowl, mix together the second teaspoon of cinnamon and the 4 extra teaspoons of brown sugar.
You would also add the remaining chopped nuts now if you are putting nuts on all the muffins.
Otherwise start without the nuts and sprinkle the desired amount of muffins, then add the nuts to the bowl and finish topping the remaining muffins.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and let sit on a wire rack in the muffin pan for about 5 minutes.  Carefully remove them from the pan to a wire rack and let cool slightly.  Best eaten the same day.

Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes
My new favorite potato!

Hasselback Potatoes
Compliments of JennaDish

Use about 2 medium to 4 small potatoes per serving, and about 1 garlic clove per 2 or 3 potatoes

Yellow Potatoes (or Yukon Gold Potatoes)
salt & pepper
garlic cloves, sliced thin or minced
your favorite spice blend for potatoes (I used Penzey's Arizona Dreamin' Spice Blend)
Curry ketchup, optional (squeeze ketchup in a small dish and stir in a pinch of curry powder) 

Wash potatoes.  Make slices into each potato every 1/8" inch, only cutting down to 3/4 of the potato.  To make this easier, put the potato in a wooden spoon and slice the potato, allowing the spoon to stop the knife just short of cutting all the way through.  Place potatoes in large saucepan of cold water and bring to a boil.  Then lower the heat to keep the water at a low boil.  Boil about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  When the potatoes have boiled so they are about halfway cooked, drain them, and put them on a baking sheet in the oven to allow the heat to dry them – about 4-5 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Then place pieces or slices of garlic clove into the potato slices – about 2-3 slices of garlic per potato.  Melt some butter or use oil to cover the potatoes.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and/or a spice blend on the potatoes.

Roast until cooked through, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.  

Almond Cake by Marcella Hazan

Almond Cake

Made this cake to take to work.  Didn't have enough daylight in the morning to get a good photo.

Maybe next time.

But it got rave reviews.


Almond Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

10 ounces shelled, unpeeled almonds, about 2 cups
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
8 egg whites
The peel of 1 lemon grated without digging into the white pitch beneath
6 Tablespoons flour
An 8- or 9-inch springform pan
Butter for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Put the almonds and sugar in a blender or food processor and grind to a fine consistency, turning the motor on and off.

Beat the egg whites together with 1/2 teaspoon salt until they form stiff peaks.

Add the ground almonds and the grated lemon peel to the egg whites, a little bit at a time, folding them in gently, but thoroughly. The whites may deflate a bit, but if you mix carefully there should be no significant loss of volume.

Add the flour, shaking a little of it at a time through a strainer, and again, mixing gently.

Thickly smear the pan with butter.  Put the cake batter into the pan, shaking the pan to level it off. Place the pan int he middle level of the preheated oven and bake for 1 hours. Before taking it out of the oven, test the enter of the cake by piercing it with a toothpick. If it comes out dry, the cake is done. If it does not, cook a little longer.

When done unlock the pan and remove the hoop. When the cake has cooled somewhat, and it is just lukewarm, loosen it from the bottom of the pan. Serve when it is completely cold. It will keep quite a while if stored in a biscuit box. [or a cake taker, I presume]



Healthy Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes

Make Healthy, Non-Dairy, Buckwheat Pancakes.  They're easy.  

Healthy Vegan Banana Buckwheat PancakesVegan Buckwheat Banana Pancakes

Or better yet.  Make Healthy, Non-Dairy, Buckwheat Banana Pancakes.  Just as easy.

Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flour
I used Arrowhead Mills Flour.  Bob's Red Mill is also a fantastic brand.

Buckwheat Flour


Flaxmeal Egg Replacer
Vegans replace eggs with a mixture of ground flaxseed meal and water.  1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg.  Mix this together first when you start a recipe and set aside.  It needs 10 minutes or so to sit and thicken so the consistency is more egg-like.


Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes
Compliments of JennaDish


1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tablespoons water (mix and set aside)
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (can also use spelt, whole wheat or white all-purpose)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar (can use white, raw cane, brown – whatever you prefer)
1 cup soy milk (or any non-dairy like almond milk or rice milk)
1 teaspoon canola oil (or olive oil)
Additional water, about 1/4 – 1/3 cup
Canola oil for the pan
Banana, Blueberries, other fruit, optional 

Mix the flaxseed meal and water and set aside.  Heat a cast iron skillet with Tablespoon of oil in it or heavily sprayed with cooking spray, on low, while preparing the recipe.  

In a medium bowl, mix the 5 dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients – milk, oil, water – starting with the smallest amount of water and adding to desired consistency.  Should not be runny, but should also not be so thick it won't pour out of a measuring cup into the pan.

Turn the heat up to medium low or medium, depending on your stove.  To test if the pan and oil are the right temperature, flick some water from your hand into the pan.  If it barely sears, it may not be hot enough, if it practically explodes and pops – too hot.  You want it to sizzle moderately.

Take 1/4 cup measuring cup of batter and pour it slowly into a pile, trying to keep a round shape.  Let cook until bubbles form around the edge and maybe a little longer (lift and peek to see if brown enough for you).  Flip over and finish cooking on other side.  

For Banana Pancakes, once you pour the batter in the pan, quickly add banana slices on top of the batter. Flip when ready, making sure you let the banana caramelize and brown enough so that it releases from the pan easier.  

Serve with your favorite syrup or topping.

Pizza with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes and Prosciutto

  Pizza Arugula Cherry Tomatoes Prosciutto

OK fine.  That's not prosciutto.  We had leftover salami so we used it. Use either one, or even strips of smoked ham.  There's such a small amount of meat on each, it's not likely to matter that much.

If you're not familiar with arugula, it's not your basic lettuce.  A basic lettuce, like iceberg, would be lame on pizza.  Don't do that.  People will cry for you.  Arugula has a peppery bite.  Makes things interesting. 

My English teacher hated that word.  Interesting.  So I feel self-conscious every time I use it.  Like I'm being pathetic and unimaginative.  

Anyway, if you add fresh basil leaves also, and even just a teeny amount of red chili flakes, it's just enough exhilaration without the bother of climbing on a roller coaster.  

Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Salami
Above is the pizza before the greenery.  See – not much meat.

Here's an overview of the method to get this extremely thin and crispy-crusted pizza, using the grill.

Get some really thin store-bought crusts.  We used something we've never seen before – Golden Home Ultra Thin Pizza Crust – purchased at the former Bigg's, now Remke's, in Hyde Park Square (Cincinnati).

Preheat your grill on a low setting.

Put a thin coating of pizza sauce on the crust, cover with cheese, then distribute tomatoes, cut in half (so they won't squirt hot tomato juice in your mouth when you bite into it).  

Place on the grill for a couple of minutes, then check the bottom of the crust.  If it's starting to crisp and burn before the cheese melts, place a heat-safe pan or ceramic tile under the pizza and close the cover until the cheese melts.  Or if you don't have anything to place under the pizza, remove the pizza and place it pizza under your oven broiler to finish it.

Remove from grill (or oven) when finished cooking, and place on a cutting board.  Add arugula, meat, parmesan cheese, and red chili flakes, if using.  

Pizza with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes, and Prosciutto
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted from Cook this Not That: 350-Calorie Meals by Zinczenko & Goulding 


2 thin crust, 12" prepared crusts (I used Golden Home Ultra Thin crusts from Bigg's/Remke)
1 cup your favorite healthy pizza sauce 
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 cups cherry tomatoes (we cut them in half)
2 cups arugula
Basil leaves, torn (optional)
6 slices prosciutto, cut or torn into thin strips (substitute ham – less salt and lower cost)
Shaved Parmesan 
Red chili flakes, optional

For the grill:
Preheat your grill on a low setting.

For each pizza, use 1/2 the listed amount of each ingredient.  Put a thin coating of pizza sauce on the crust, cover with cheese, then tomatoes cut in half (so they won't squirt hot tomato juice in your mouth when you bite into it).  

Place on the grill for a couple of minutes, check the bottom of the crust.  If it's starting to crisp and burn before the cheese melts, place a heat-safe pan or ceramic tile under the pizza and close the cover until the cheese melts.  Or if you don't have anything to place under the pizza, place the pizza under your oven broiler to finish it.

Remove from grill (or oven) when finished cooking, and place on a cutting board.  Add arugula, meat, parmesan cheese, and red chili flakes, if using.

For the oven:  
Preheat oven to 425oF (or according to your crust instructions). For each pizza, distribute 1/2 the sauce (should be thin layer), sprinkle evenly with 1/2 the mozzarella cheese, and cover with 1/2 the cherry tomatoes.

Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.  Placing directly on rack will yield a crisper crust, but be careful about dripping cheese on the bottom of the stove.  Otherwise, use a baking sheet. 

Remove pizza to a cutting board and immediately top with 1/2 the arugula (will wilt from heat), and 1/2 the prosciutto (or meat) and parmesan cheese to taste.  If you have a block of parmesan, shave it thinly with a vegetable peeler right onto the pizza.

Creamy Crunchy Southwest Style Hash Brown Casserole

Creamy Crunchy Southwestern Hash Brown Casserole
It's Nurse's Week.

And since their gift to the Admins during Administrative Professional's Week was Godiva Chocolates…

We're getting them back with a full breakfast, including a cheesy hash brown casserole.  



Creamy Crunchy Southwestern Hash Brown Casserole
Compliments of JennaDish

MAKES about 16-20 SERVINGS (4 – 4.5 quart baking dish)

This dish can be put together in the baking dish and refrigerated overnight for a quick bake the next morning.  While oven is heating, set the pan out of refrigerator to take the chill off.

1 package Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
1 package Simply Potatoes Southwest Style Hash Browns
2 cans cream of [celery, mushroom, or chicken] soup (10 3/4 oz), or any combination of 2
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion or 1/2 large)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350o.  Spray 4 to 4.5 quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine both packages of potatoes and lightly toss to combine evenly.  Combine remaining ingredients with hash browns.  Make sure cream cheese is soft enough to blend.  Spread into prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, toss together topping ingredients.  Spread evenly over potatoes now.  It's also ok to wait and put corn flake topping over the potatoes halfway through.  

Bake 45 minutes or until hash browns are tender and starting to bubble. 


Crustless Veggie Quiche

Crustless Veggie Quiche
Individual quiches fix many problems.  Hunger. Leftovers. 4 Different People with 4 Different Tastes.

Overeating. Plenty of cheese and eggs in the fridge but not much else for dinner.

Asparagus in which you've used the tips for another recipe. 

World peace.


From the base recipe, add man stuff for a heartier meal, like ham and hot sauce on the right.

Individual Asparagus Quiche

Crustless Veggie Cheddar Quiche
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart


Butter, for ramekins
Coarse salt
1 bunch fresh asparagus (or a 10 ounce package frozen broccoli florets)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
Ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (3 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 8-ounce ramekins (or a 9-inch pie dish); set aside. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli; cook 1 minute. Drain well; transfer to a cutting board, and blot dry with paper towels. Chop coarsely.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in broccoli and cheese.

Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.


Mini Quiches

Mini Quiches with Gruyere Cheese and Asparagus

Pot lucks. At work.

That's the topic today.  Let's knock out some quick contemporary poetry here.

Ode to the Office Pot Luck Baby Shower
by Jenna Atkinson

Brownies, chips, pop
Chips, pop, dip
Brownies, paper plates
More pop and chocolate cake

Hummus, dip, chips
Salad, pretzels, fruit
Cool veggie tray, that's mod
Chicken Sliders? There is a God!

Forgot the potato salad?
No worries
Lemon cupcakes, blueberry studded
Did you just say your kitchen flooded?

Baby diapers, baby quiches
Gift cards, buttercream frosting
Ow! Did I just step on a fork?
Congrats to all, back to work


Make these mini quiches for a party or potluck.  You can try different fillings and cheeses. If you want to use refrigerated pie dough, you'll need a double crust (two pie dough rounds).  Roll it out a little thinner on a floured surface, enough to cut twelve 2 3/4" diameter circles in each pie crust, 24 all together.  Grease the insides of the mini muffin pan since the refrigerated dough won't be as buttery as the pate brisee (homemade short crust) that is called for in the recipe.


Mini Quiches
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha

1 bunch pencil asparagus, trimmed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
All-purpose flour, for work surface
Pate Brisee (below) or Ready made double pie crust
3 ounces finely shredded Gruyere cheese
2 ounces cooked ham, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a mini muffin pan if using a ready-made pie crust. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cut 3 inches from the tip-ends of the asparagus; reserving remaining stalks for another use. Generously add salt to boiling water. Add asparagus and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes; Drain. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream, eggs, yolk, and nutmeg. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Strain through a sieve into a medium bowl; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pate brisee to slightly less than 1/8-inch thick. Using a 2 3/4-inch round cutter, cut out 24 rounds. Fit rounds into a 24-cup nonstick mini muffin tin. If the pate brisee becomes too soft to work with, place in refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes. Divide half of the cheese, evenly between the lined cups. Top with ham. Divide milk mixture evenly between cups. Top each with 3 to 4 pieces of asparagus. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately remove quiches from muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Pate Brisee

from Martha Stewart

Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.


Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash Brown Crust

 Goat Cheese Quiche Hash Brown Crust

Look at the swirls of the scallions and the scraggly toasted hash browns running up the edge. 

This quiche could double as an art project.

Who wouldn't love a wall of crispy, seasoned hash browns, protecting a sea of baked eggs and creamy

goat cheese with scallions floating atop? 

Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash Brown Crust
Makes a pretty presentation for a brunch or gathering.

This recipe is from where you unfortunately do not get much in the way of photos or

tips.  So here are a few …

Squeeze excess moisture hash browns
Squeeze excess moisture from hash browns with a lint-free towel, like the towel in the photo.  This is

better than paper towels which stick to the food.

Line pan with strips of wax paper

The instructions call for wax paper, but my paper stuck to the crust and I had to painstakingly pick it off

portions of the bottom and sides before serving it.  It may be because I baked the crust the night before,

refrigerated it, baked the whole quiche the next morning, then refrigerated it a few hours before

serving.  Hot, cold, hot, cold may have been the cause.  So next time I will use parchment paper.


This dish came out of the oven about 7:30am, was refrigerated for about 3 hours, and was about room

temperature at that point.  You could heat it in the microwave for about 2 minutes to warm it up a bit

but it is fine served warm, not hot.

The taste was delicious.  If you don't want to use goat cheese, the same amount of cream cheese will do

the trick.  Other cooks have reported good results with the substitution. 


Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart

2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 package (1 pound) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
12 large eggs
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1 package (4 to 5 ounces) soft goat cheese, room temperature
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-by-2 1/2-inch springform pan with butter. Line the sides of the pan with strips of waxed paper (the same height as pan); brush paper with butter.

Squeeze excess moisture from hash browns. Mix in a bowl with butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pat into bottom and up sides of prepared pan, using a moistened dry measuring cup. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, goat cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined; whisk in 11 remaining eggs. Pour into crust, and sprinkle with scallions. Bake until set, 45 to 50 minutes. Unmold quiche, and peel off waxed paper before serving.

Maple Pecan Bundt Cake

  OH the joys of the office dessert …

Maple Pecan Bundt Cake
…sitting on a plastic plate

Maple Walnut Bundt Cake

…then transferred to a paper plate

Maple Pecan Bundt Cake n Mug
…then nestled by the coffee mug your friend picked up for you at the thrift store for 50 cents.  No, it's not so much sentimental.  It's that people steal things.

Cake Plastic Fork Coffee
…oh and the plastic fork.  This slice of cake was prepared for my office neighbor, Marsha.  See how I sprinkled powdered sugar all around the paper plate?  I think that's a "glass half full" kind of thing to do.  Am I right?

Some prep photos …

Maple Walnut Filling
Maple Walnut Batter
Maple Walnut Bundt Naked

Maple Pecan Bundt Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Kitchen, Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson


for the maple pecan filling
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups pecans (or walnuts), roughly chopped
1/2 cup maple syrup

for the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon (9 Tablespoons) soft, unsalted butter
3/4 cup super fine (caster) sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1-2 teaspoons confectioner's sugar for dusting
flavorless oil for greasing pan (or baking spray)

10-inch bundt pan

Preheat the oven to 350degrees F.  Using flavorless oil (or baking spray) grease your bundt pan and leave upside down on paper towel for the excess to drain out.

Make the filling for the cake by mixing together the 1/2 cup flour and 2 Tablespoons butter with a fork (or better yet, a pastry blender), till you end up with the sort of mixture you'd expect when making crumble topping.  Then, mix in the cinnamon, nuts and maple syrup to form a sticky paste. Set aside.

For the cake, measure the 2 cups flour, the baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl. 

Now cream the butter and sugar, (beat well until smooth and pale) then beat in 1 Tablespoon of flour mixture, then 1 egg, then another Tablespoonful of flour mixture, followed by the second egg.

Add the rest of the flour mixture, beating as you go, and then finally the sour cream.  You should expect to end up with a fairly firm cake batter.

Spoon just more than half the cake batter into the oiled bundt pan.  Spread the mixture up the sides a little and around the funnel of the pan to create a rim.  Don't get the sticky filling on the sides of the pan.  Dollop the maple filling carefully into the dent in the cake batter, then cover the filling with the remaining batter.  Smooth the top and put the pan into the oven for 35-40 minutes, until it's light golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted through the cake (no the sticky filling) comes out clean.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes then turn out onto the rack.  When the cake is cold, dust with confectioner's sugar.