Polenta, Sausage and Egg Brunch – 165

Another Sunday with no Patriots game, what’s up with that? Well, since they are going to be playing the Jets on Monday night football tomorrow night, I guess I can stand it. I usually like to post a football type food for Sunday afternoon, but since there’s no game, why not a brunch? This recipe is really easy and delicious. If you’ve never tried Polenta before, this is your chance. It is really versatile. You can make it creamy (like in this recipe) which will remind you of mashed potatoes, or you can slice it into patties and saute it with some olive oil and then serve it with pasta sauce. I buy it precooked at Whole Foods. The meatless “sausage” crumbles also comes from Whole Foods. I think other supermarkets are starting to carry these items too. I hope you’ll give this a try and let me know what you think.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I did not cook the egg. In fact, I can’t cook an egg. I can cook recipes with eggs in them, I can also boil an egg. I cannot fry, scramble, poach or omlettize an egg. This is just one more reason that Eric  is truly the best prep cook in the world. Actually, I need to stop calling him a prep cook. I learned this week that the proper term for him would be Sous Chef.

sous-chef (sshf)

The chef who is second in authority in a restaurant or kitchen, ranking below the head chef (that would be me 🙂 ).

So here’s another big thank you to Eric, the world’s best Sous Chef!

Polenta, Sausage and Egg Brunch

1/3 of an 18 oz. sleeve of Food Merchants Organic Polenta with Garlic & Basil
1/3 of a 14 oz. sleeve Gimme Lean Ground Sausage Style crumbles
1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken or veggie broth, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 – 6 0z. can no salt tomato paste
2 eggs, cooked over medium

Break up Polenta into chucks and place into a microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup of the chicken broth. Heat on high for approximately 2 – 1/2 minutes, mixing well after each minute.

Meanwhile, place sausage crumbles into pan with olive oil over medium-high heat and begin cooking and breaking up. After the sausage starts to lightly brown and “crumble”, add garlic and mushrooms and cook until everything is lightly browned. Add tomato paste and stir until fully incorporated. Mix in 1/4 cup chicken broth and cook until the broth is almost fully absorbed.

To serve place Polenta in a bowl, top with sausage mixture, and top that with the cooked egg.

Instant Oatmeal – 176

I love hot oatmeal for breakfast and I used to buy the Instant Quaker Oatmeal in packets. That is until I started reading labels a few years ago. They are full of added sugar and salt. I read an article about how to create your own instant oatmeal packets and that’s how I started making my own. Over the years I have experimented with some different ingredients and flavors and this version is the very best I’ve found. My favorite way to eat it is with some sliced fresh banana … mmmmmmmm! It’s nutritious and delicious, it costs a fraction of what the individual packets costs, and it takes about 5 minutes to make enough for about a month! I hope you’ll try it and maybe even try some of your own variations and let me know about them 🙂

Instant Oatmeal


Instant Oatmeal


6 cups quick oats, dry – divided

1 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 (slightly rounded) teaspoon stevia extract (equal to 1 cup sugar)*

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

1 cup wheat germ

1 cup non-fat dry milk

1 cup walnuts

1 cup raisins

Place 2 cups oats and brown sugar into food processor – pulse lightly to mix; then add cinnamon and stevia and pulse again – then add the vanilla (pour the vanilla in quickly and not all in one spot) and immediately put the top on the processor and process until it is mixed very well and looks almost like a powder consistency, pulsing and/or scraping down the sides as necessary.

Into a large bowl, place the remaining 4 cups oats, wheat germ, and dry milk; add the contents of the food processor.

Place the walnuts into the empty food processor and process (pulsing) until the nuts are fairly finely chopped – you want very small pieces but not ground walnut power. Add the walnuts to the bowl with the rest of the oat mixture.

Mix in the raisins a little at a time; dispersing them throughout.

Store in an airtight container.

To make a bowl of oatmeal:

Place equal amounts of oatmeal mixture and boiling water into a bowl, stir and add any fruit of your choice, if desired.

*I find that Trader Joe’s has the best price on this Stevia Extract, but you could you use any brand. The extract is very concentrated so 1 teaspoon is equal to the sweetness of 1 cup of sugar.


Normand Family Granola – 186

As I’ve mentioned before, Eric and I work on a country music tour. This involves long trips on a tour bus and, for most, eating in truck stops, restaurants, and catering. Since we don’t “believe” in restaurants (I know that probably sounds strange, but more about that in another post), we always bring all of our own food on these trips. For the most part, we get a lot of funny looks when we elect to take a walk around a restaurant parking lot (instead of going in and ordering a meal) and then heating up our own food on the bus once we are rolling again. The one item that we bring that is always a huge hit (we’ve actually taken to hiding the bag at times) is our home made granola. So here is the very sought after recipe…now make your own!

Normand Family Granola

Normand Family Granola

4 ½ cups instant oats
1 cup wheat germ
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup nonfat dry milk
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup chopped almonds
1 ½ Tablespoons cinnamon
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325°. Spray large roasting pan with non-stick spray. Combine first seven ingredients; mix well. In small saucepan, combine honey and oil; heat gently to dissolve honey, remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour honey-oil into the dry ingredients, stirring well to thoroughly coat and mix – this is a critical step, be sure that the mixture is completely blended. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toasted to your liking. As it bakes, stir every 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then add raisins. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


Add ¾ cup chopped pecans (or include any combination of nuts that you like)

Replace honey with maple syrup

Use half honey and half molasses

Add 1 ½ cups chopped dried apples

Substitute dried cranberries for the raisins

This granola is great all by itself, as a snack, or with milk, or yogurt; Eric likes a bowl of fruit with fat free vanilla yogurt and granola on top. A special treat is to sprinkle some over fat-free, sugar-free french vanilla frozen yogurt while the granola is still warm from the oven 😯

Banana Nut Muffins – 191 more!

Banana Nut Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Smart Balance Light Spread
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup egg substitute (equal to 1 egg)
1 – 1/4 cups mashed banana (approximate 2-3)
1/4 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°

Sift flours with baking powder and baking soda onto wax paper. Beet Smart Balance, brown sugar, and egg substitute into a large bowl until smooth. Add bananas and yogurt; beat again (mixture will appear curdled). Add flour mixture and chopped nuts; mix just until well blended.

Pour equally into 12 muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until the tops spring back with lightly touched. Turn out onto cooling racks.