Ham and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Happy 2017! I decided to start up the new year with a more strict diet and exercise plan due to adding a few pounds on over the last year that I’m not too happy about, just like pretty much everyone else in the world. With bikini season a few months away, I know that winter time would be the best time to start focusing on tightening up my healthy lifestyle a bit, starting with what I eat.

While putting together my meal plan for the week, I decided to include a breakfast casserole that would not only taste good reheated, but hold me over until my morning snack. This previous week I enjoyed an overnight oats breakfast and while that was delicious, I was craving something more “solid.” With a breakfast casserole, not only would I be getting a good source of protein from the eggs, but I’d also be getting a good source of calcium from the dairy; something we all could use. Plus I’d feel more full after eating my portion!

A breakfast casserole can vary in ingredients but usually consist of a basic build; eggs, milk and cheese. To add taste and a better base to mine, I decided to add southern hashbrowns and ham as well. The hashbrowns would give a nice golden crust feel to the casserole while the bacon and ham would just be a bonus addition for the tastebuds. It also helps that I already had all of these things on hand.

As for my dairy; I love to purchase products that are locally made whenever opportunity arises and Reiter Dairy has over 20 dairy farms here in the state of Ohio. Our nearby grocery carries Reiter’s milk product DairyPure and after doing a little research on the brand, I decided I wanted to give it a try. 

What I love most about DairyPure is their 5-Point Purity Promise. When you purchase DairyPure milk you’re giving your family not only a product that comes from cows that are fed a healthy-diet, but also has no artificial growth hormones, has been tested for antibiotics, is continuously quality tested to ensure purity and is cold-shipped from their dairy. Hearing that, I knew that this would be a product that I can feel confident feeding to my family. 

Be sure to check out Reiter Dairy to see which of your local groceries carries their products. 

 

Ham and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
Serves 8
In need of a quick and delicious breakfast for brunch, "Breakfast for Dinner," or something you can reheat in the morning throughout the week? This breakfast casserole is perfect for just that and can be thrown together in just 5-10 minutes.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 16 oz diced ham, package should state that it's already fully cooked
  2. 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  3. 8 cups frozen southern hashbrowns
  4. 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  5. 12 large eggs
  6. 1 cup DairyPure milk
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. a pinch of ground pepper, for taste
Instructions
  1. Well grease two quiche pans or a 9x13 size casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Using a large mixing bowl, combine ham, cheese, hashbrowns and bacon well. Add to combination to casserole dish, spreading evenly.
  4. Wash out large mixing bowl and next add eggs, DairyPure milk, salt and pepper (optional) whisking well. Pour overtop ham and hashbrowns, making sure that it is evenly spread.
  5. Cook for one hour.
Notes
  1. If you'd prefer to just make a smaller serving - cut ingredients in half and use just one quiche pan.
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This is a sponsored post. All thoughts, and opinions I have expressed here are that of my own.

Pumpkin Donuts

 

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The best pumpkin donut I have ever tasted!

Baked Pumpkin Donuts
Yields 18
Krispy Kreme Pumpkin Spice Donuts will be a distant memory after you try your hand at making your own pumpkin donuts!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ cup puree Pumpkin
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. ½ cup vegetable oil
  4. 1½ cup granulated sugar
  5. 1¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1½ teaspoon salt
  7. 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
Buttermilk Icing
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 2 cups confectioners sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 tablespoon whole milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a donut pan. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl add pumpkin, eggs, oil, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Mix well until completely combined. Slowly add flour, mixing well.
  3. Fill each donut til it is ¾ filled and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Remove each donut gently using a fork and place onto a cooling rack.
  4. While donuts are cooling off, add butter into a small size saucepan over med-high heat. Stir well, using a wooden spoon if able. Remove from heat when butter has melted and pour into a medium size baking bowl. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Stir well.
  5. If donuts are cool enough to handle, dip the top carefully into icing mix and return to the cooling rack. The glaze will harden at a generous speed.
Notes
  1. To maintain a cleaner space - place a piece of parchment paper underneath cooling rack to catch donut icing when it drips.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Raspberry Lemonade Overnight Oats

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Experimenting with a variety of overnight oat flavors this week, I decided to start the week off bold with raspberry and lemon. I originally got the inspiration off of this Raspberry Lemonade slushie that my husband gets at our local Graeter’s Ice Cream. You know a combination works well if it’s a repeated bought treat. Luckily, that same combination works just as good for some overnight oats!

Chobani is my favorite, favorite yogurt brand. I haven’t met a flavor I don’t like, so it was the obvious choice to go with their lemon greek yogurt. To add a more fresh side, I threw in a handful of raspberries and zest of a lemon. Because I’m doing the overnight oats, I used old-fashioned oats but this would also do wonderfully with some granola if you’re not an oat kinda gal or guy. Just make sure you add a little bit of almond milk to help soak the oats. I don’t imagine dry oats are too delicious. 

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Raspberry Lemonade Overnight Oats
Serves 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 container of Chobani greek lemon yogurt
  2. ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  3. ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  4. handful of fresh raspberries
  5. ½ teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Using a mason jar, layer overnight oats with old fashioned oats followed by almond milk, lemon yogurt and raspberries. Top with lemon zest and store in a refridgerator for up to 3 days.
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Skinny Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Muffins

Lately I’ve been trying to swear off bread for the most part, but I’ve been constantly running into some really yummy sounding muffin recipes on Pinterest and it made it hard to resist baking some. Breakfast has always needed to be some sort of variety for me. I could never stick to a routine bowl-of-cereal breakfast day after day, week after week. And so I am unendingly searching and testing for new recipes for breakfast. Afterall, we do dedicate our Sunday night dinner to it as well! 

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I was pretty much sold on this recipe when I saw “chocolate chips” in the title. You can pass off just about any healthy ingredient when you’re adding chocolate chips as well. So if you have some picky eaters in your home, chances are they will still enjoy these muffins. I just leave the “banana” part out at first. You never know, they may not even figure out there’s bananas in there too.

Know what else is great? Each muffin is 170 calories, easily leaving room for that much needed cup of coffee in the morning. That made going off the bread edge for just this week even more worth it!

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Not to mention how much I wish I could put into words just how delicious these muffins are. I guess the best way for you to understand would be to just bake a batch yourself. If you decide to, come back and let me know how they turned out!

Skinny Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Muffins
Serves 12
A healthy take on banana and chocolate muffins that are easily assembled and take as short as 20 minutes to bake. Plus kids love them!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. ¼ teaspoon salt
  4. 3 ripe bananas
  5. ¼ cup raw honey
  6. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  8. 1 large egg
  9. ½ cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  10. 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
  11. ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using cooking spray, grease muffin tin well.
  2. Add dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt to a medium size mixing bowl. Whisk well.
  3. Using a blender, add banana, honey, vanilla, oil, egg, yogurt, and milk. Blend on high speed for 60 seconds. Add blender mix to medium bowl with dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, combine well. Next gently fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Add batter to muffin tin evenly and filling until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, depending on your oven. Check using a toothpick to see if they are throughly cooked through. If the toothpick comes out clean after you stick in the middle of muffin; they are ready to take out of the oven.
  5. Allow muffins to cool down momentarily before moving to a cooling rack. Serve warm.
Notes
  1. Muffins freeze for up to 3 months if needed. Just add them into a ziplock baggie and heat for 30 seconds in a microwave to thaw out when ready to eat.
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Overnight Fridge Oats and the Flexibility of Meal-Prepping Them

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Let’s face it. A lot of us aren’t morning people and even if we were, how many really want to cook a well-balanced breakfast each and every morning? I know I don’t. Especially after a hard workout or a late night. It’s more ideal to have something already prepped and ready to just pop in the microwave or in a bowl. 

There’s a lot of quick and convenient store-bought breakfasts that you can buy, but why trust manufacturers to actually produce something entirely healthy? Half of the stuff listed on the nutrient guide of packages I can’t even pronounce. I feel so much safe when I know what ingredients are used in the foods I cook because I put them there. 

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With Overnight Fridge Oats, you can choose from any sort of fruit to your liking as well as added ingredients. This makes them flexible to those with a vegan, gluten-free and paleo diet as well. You just need a few ingredients and a container to store them in. I use mason jars for mine. But best part? They stay fresh and impact in the refrigerator for up to 4 days! So you can make four breakfasts in one meal-prep session. 

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Add all ingredients in order for the best results:

1/2 cup of Step 1 Basic Ingredients: Old-Fashioned Oats. Mulesi. 

1/4 cup of Step 2 Basic Ingredients: Yogurt. Almond Milk. Whole Milk.

1 Tablespoon of Step 3 Basic Ingredients: Honey. Artificial Sweetener. 

1 teaspoon of Step 4 Basic Ingredients: Peanut Butter. Chia Seeds. 

1/2 cup of Step 5 Basic Ingredients: Blueberries. Tart Cherries. Strawberries. Banana. Apples.

1 Tablespoon of Optional Step 6 Toppings: Mini Chocolate Chips. Cinnamon. 

 

French Toast Sticks

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Sunday is here and that means a night with a “Breakfast for Dinner” theme. I try and switch it up so we aren’t eating the same breakfast foods weekly. Last week we had Breakfast Burritos. Those are mighty delicious and mighty unhealthy, so last Sunday was known as “mighty cheat meal day.” This week I opted for something that I thought the kids would enjoy (and adults) – and then I made more than our needed serving so that I could save a few for tomorrow’s breakfast. 

French Toast is so easy to make. I love to make a batch using texas toast whenever I can locate some, although come to think of it; texas toast seems awfully hard to come by around these neck of the woods. I’m not sure why. Nag some if you see some in your grocery the next time you’re doing your shopping. You get a more thick piece of french toast and you can also cut them into sticks, like this recipe! They make fun for dunking into maple syrup.

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French Toast Sticks
Serves 4
Use a few slices of Texas Toast to make these fun French Toast Sticks. Perfect for dunking into maple syrup!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 slices of Texas Toast, cut into four sticks.
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 3/4 cup whole milk
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. maple syrup, for serving
  6. cinnamon, for serving
  7. confectioners sugar, for serving
Instructions
  1. Cut each Texas toast slices into four sticks. Set aside.
  2. Using a large bowl, add eggs, milk and vanilla. Whisk together well.
  3. Heat a well-greased large skillet over med-high heat.
  4. Dip each texas toast stick into egg and milk mixture, making sure to coat each side well. Add texas toast stick to skillet. Repeat with each stick, leaving a few inches in-between. Cook until slightly golden brown on each side, flipping when needed.
  5. When all have cooked throughly, add to a plate. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon and confectioners sugar overtop each individual stick. Serve immediately with small bowls of maple syrup for dunking.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Egg, Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole

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How delicious does a breakfast casserole sound? Not to mention the convenience of it already been prepared. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and enjoy for the remainder of the week. Perfect if you’re like me and prefer to prep your breakfast and lunches for the week on Sunday. Afterall, if you “fail to plan, plan to fail” and I refuse to fail with just a little over fifty days left until summer!

So of course, a casserole is the way to go if you want a little bit of everythin’, There really is no wrong ingredient. I used turkey sausage for mine to keep the healthy factor still there. I basically use turkey for everything though..

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Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes Breakfast Casserole
Serves 6
A delicious breakfast casserole that can be prepped and enjoyed for an entire week, or served at brunch.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ cubes
  2. 1lb turkey or italian sausage, chopped
  3. 1 small onion, diced
  4. 1 red pepper, diced
  5. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 6 eggs
  7. 1/3 cup skim milk
  8. 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  9. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Well-grease a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Over medium-heat, boil a medium sized saucepan until water is boiling. Add diced potatoe cubes and cook for 5-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until lightly browned. When sausage appears done, add onion, red pepper and garlic to skillet. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add to greased baking pan and set aside.
  4. Using a large bowl, add eggs, milk, 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, and black pepper. Whisk well. Next add your egg mixture to the potato and sausage mixture in baking pan. Make sure to stir so that all ingredients are combined well. Sprinkle additional ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese ontop and cover with foil.
  5. Add baking pan to oven and cook for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes are up, remove foil and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cook off momentarily before serving.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Frosted Oatmeal Blueberry Donuts

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Two weeks ago I bought a donut pan anticipating the thought of baking a patch of protein donuts. I’ve seen friends post pictures of them and I’ve browsed past them while looking on Pinterest. They seem like a fantastic breakfast or even post-workout snack. 

I’m not a real big fan of protein powder for the most part, so I wanted to try something a little less tasting like a recipe made with it. Because a lot of my past breakfast recipes have consisted of oatmeal, I thought why not incorporate it into a donut? It works with muffins! 

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Now oatmeal baked alone doesn’t necessarily have that great of a taste. You need to add something else to adjust the flavor and usually fruit is your best bet on doing so. I love blueberries, so of course, those are my first fruit pick 🙂 They are always bursting with flavor and also give the donut a more ‘pretty’ look. You can also eat it with or without a glaze. The glaze just happens to give it a little more of a sweet taste so that your tastebuds aren’t confusing it with a round muffin.

Frosted Oatmeal Blueberry Donuts
Serves 12
A healthier take on donuts with fruit.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
17 min
Total Time
32 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
17 min
Total Time
32 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  2. 1½ cup skim milk
  3. ¼ cup natural applesauce
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. ¼ cup butter, melted
  6. 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  9. ½ cup light brown sugar
  10. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  11. 3/4 cup blueberries
Donut Glaze Frosting
  1. 2 cups confectioners sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  3. ¼ skim milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Well grease a donut pan. Set aside.
  2. Using a medium size bowl, add old-fashioned oats, milk, applesauce vanilla and butter. Whisk until combined.
  3. In a large size bowl, add all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisk until combined.
  4. Add blueberries to old-fashioned oats mixture. Gently fold.
  5. Pour old-fashioned oats mix into large bowl, combining liquid ingredients with dry ingredients. Combine well, but try not to over mix. That takes away from the donuts taking on a more "fluffier" look.
  6. Add mixture to donut pan, filling each to the top. Bake in oven for 17 minutes, or until they appear a light golden color.
  7. While donuts are baking, start glaze frosting by adding confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until well combined. Remove from heat and place over a medium-size bowl of water to keep glaze from thickening.
  8. Remove donuts from oven, gently adding each donut to a cooling rack momentarily. When cooled off enough, dip donuts into glaze and return to cooling rack.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Homemade Maple Granola

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I like granola. I like that it’s convenient for those week days when your morning is rushed and you don’t want to wait in the long line at Starbucks for a muffin. I also like that it doesn’t take a chef in the kitchen to make a batch of it. Infact, you really don’t need to have any kitchen skills; it’s pretty foolproof. You just need a few ingredients and an oven. 

homemadegranola1Some like it plain. 

Granola is just like most other recipes; you can tweak the ingredients to your liking or to what you already have in the pantry. I like to add a little flavor to mine by using dried up fruit. Both cherries, cranberries, bananas and apple chips do wonders for a batch of granola. If you’re not the fruit-kind, simply sprinkle some cinnamon ontop to add a little more.

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Some like it with a little extra sweet flavor

 

Homemade Maple Granola
Easy to make granola that goes great with a side of yogurt or as a mid-day snack.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. ½ cup pecans, shopped
  3. ½ cup almonds, chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. ½ teaspoon sea salt
  7. ½ stick of unsalted butter
  8. ½ cup pure maple syrup
  9. ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. handful of dried cranberries
  11. handful of dried cherries, optional
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 300. Place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.
  2. Combine old-fashioned oats, pecans, almonds, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
  3. Melt unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swoosh that pan around a bit, it helps the butter melt a little faster. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk well.
  4. Pour butter mixture into bowl of dry ingredients. Stir well until all dry ingredients are covered and layer thinly on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until granola is golden brown. Make sure you stir granola around every 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add dried cranberries after removing granola from oven and letting cool off slightly. Package when granola is completely cooled off.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Green Juice: Benefits + Recipe

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Need to increase your energy? Leafy greens to the rescue! The quickest way to help get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables without eating a salad, or side of grapefruit is by drinking an 8-ounce (at least!) glass of green juice.

By digesting raw vegetables, you’re able to fully absorb all their nutrients verses getting bits and pieces broken down when vegetables are steamed, grilled or broiled. For starters, greens contain loads of calcium, potassium and iron; all important must-haves for a healthy body. But that’s not all – you can also get an abundance amount of vitamin B, C, E and K from them as well.

So what can you expect in a green juice? Most recipes call for a base:  (Spinach. Kale. Chard. Collards) with additional ingredients to help build a flavor: (Banana. Pineapple. Apple. Celery. Carrots. Beets) 

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Green Juice
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium banana
  2. ½ cup pineapple
  3. ½ teaspoon chia seeds
  4. handful of baby spinach
  5. 1 cup coconut water
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into a blender. Enjoy chilled.
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