Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Cooking 21 meals a week for four adults and baby has its challenges. To avoid “the rotation,” we are constantly trying to look online and bookmark recipes that seem new and exciting to make throughout the week. This happened a few weeks ago, when one of the bloggers we follow, Rachel Kuhn, posted about making baked oatmeal for her husband and two boys to have throughout the week. A genius way to have breakfast ready in the fridge and just a quick microwave away from being on the table and ready to eat. We created our version as a carrot cake inspired oatmeal, with lots of fresh grated carrots, walnuts, raisins, and warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Please note that this recipe is meant to be healthy and a Monday-Friday sort of dish. If we were to serve it for brunch on a weekend we would double the maple syrup to give it a richer flavor. On days we are looking for a little more protein we plop some Greek yogurt on top, and if we are trying to make it baby approved we serve it with a few fresh raspberries.

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Makes: 8-10 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk of choice (we used almond)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs melted butter
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×12 or a 9×9 square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter with a whisk. Fold in the carrots, raisins, and walnuts with a spatula.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients (oats – salt) and fold until well combined. The mixture will seem wet and that is fine- the oats and raisins will soak up all the liquid while it bakes.
  4. Bake the oatmeal for 40-45 minutes, or until the liquid has completely absorbed and the top of the oatmeal is golden brown.
  5. Serve warm with yogurt and berries, if desired. Refrigerate and reheat sections in the microwave for up to 5 days after baking.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

We have been seeing versions of this cake online now for weeks, and finally Tuck’s mom caved and had to make it on a Saturday morning. We based our recipe off of King Arthur Flour’s recipe for Farmhouse Buttermilk Cake and tweaked it to add fresh strawberries and a little lemon zest to give it a brighter taste. We added a brown sugar glaze to the cake which brought it to a whole new level of decadence. We aren’t sorry about it. This cake is the perfect addition to a weekend brunch menu; it’s perfectly sweet and seasonal for spring. 

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze 
Makes: 1- 8 inch round cake (6-8 servings)
Prep Time: 30 minutes Baking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the Cake: 

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature 
  • 1 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 egg, room temperature 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon 
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 12 large strawberries, stemmed and hulled (plus more for garnish if desired) 

Ingredients for the Glaze: 

  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk 
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a tiny pinch of salt 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch cake pan with extra butter or a good layer of cooking spray; set aside. 
  2. Stem and hull the strawberries. Slice 6 of the strawberries vertically; these will go on the bottom of the cake pan. Chop the other 6 strawberries, which will be folded into the batter. 
  3. Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and fully combine.
  4. Add the baking soda, salt, and 1 cup of the flour to the bowl. Mix until just combined, scraping the bowl with a spatula as necessary to get everything out from the bottom. 
  5. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and mix until just combined, again scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the remaining flour and chopped strawberries to the bowl.
  6. Arrange a layer of strawberries in the design of your choice on the bottom of the cake pan. If you have extra slices, fold those into the cake batter before pouring the batter in to the cake pan. Use a spatula to gently even out the batter before placing in the oven. 
  7. Bake the cake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the center of the pan. 
  8. While the cake is baking in the oven, make the glaze. 
  9. Combine the brown sugar and butter in a small pot on the stove over medium heat. Whisk the ingredients to combine and add the buttermilk. Add the baking soda- the mixture will start to bubble- continue whisking until the mix thickens up. This can take a good 5 minutes on the stove, but mix until the glaze is the texture you desire. Add the vanilla and salt and remove from the heat. Whisk again to combine and set aside.
  10. When the cake has finished baking, give it at least 15 minutes to rest before removing it from the pan. Serve with a generous pour of brown sugar glaze and additional strawberries, if desired. 

Soft Scrambled Breakfast Quesadillas with Avocado Crema

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! We know this year isn’t the margarita bar crawl that we thought it would be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a little to celebrate and have some fun in quarantine. We love a good breakfast situation and thought that breakfast quesadillas are a great, low key way to celebrate this year. We have given our favorite breakfast ingredients the essential Mexican twist for a special celebratory morning. Insert a paloma or tequila sunrise and you’ll have yourself one heck of a quarantined Cinco de Mayo morning.

Soft Scrambled Breakfast Quesadillas with Avocado Crema

Makes: 2 large quesadillas; 2- 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 flour tortillas (approx. 8 inch)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 slices bacon (optional)
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican blend cheese
  • 2 tbs butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot sauce for the quesadillas, if desired

Ingredients for Avocado Crema:

  • 1 avocado
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed
  • 3 tbs sour cream
  • 2+ tbs water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Start by making the avocado crema. Combine the crema ingredients (avocado – sour cream) in a small food processor. Pulse to start combining the ingredients. Add enough water so that the crema is a dippable consistency; we added about 3 tbs of water to achieve this texture. Season the crema with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. If you are making the quesadillas with bacon, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon in the skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve the fat, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Slice the bacon into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Leaving the heat on, add the peppers and onions to the pan. Sauté until the peppers and onions start to brown and soften, about 5 minutes. Remove the peppers and onions from the pan into a bowl and set aside. Reduce the heat of the skillet to low.
  4. Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and whisk well. Add another tbs of bacon fat if you have it, or butter, to the pan. When it has melted add the eggs. Slowly stir the eggs constantly, seasoning with salt and pepper about halfway through. When the eggs are barely cooked, even just slightly undercooked, remove them from the heat and into the bowl with the peppers and onions. Clean the skillet well for making the quesadillas.
  5. Assemble the quesadillas by layers an even amount of cheese, bacon, egg, and peppers to each of two quesadillas, starting with the cheese so that the quesadilla sticks together. We prefer to put cheese on both the top and the bottom of the quesadilla, so divide the cheese into four parts when assembling.
  6. Heat the cleaned skillet back over medium heat, along with a second skillet if you have it. Add about 2 tsp butter to each of the two pans. Add one quesadilla to each pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom cheese is nice and melted and the tortilla is crispy. Carefully flip the quesadillas and repeat for another 4-5 minutes. It is better to err on the side of cooking the quesadilla on too low of a heat than scorching the bottom trying to cook it quickly. When the quesadillas have finished cooking, remove them from the pans, let them rest for a minute, and slice into 8 slices.
  7. Serve the quesadillas hot with avocado crema and hot sauce on the side.

Nearly Eggless Quiche

This recipe dates back 2012 when we went to brunch at our cousin Deb’s house in Connecticut. While most of the world loves quiche, Tuck & Tate’s moms hate quiche, so we were a little panicked when we heard that quiche was on the menu. So much so that we made a pact to grab something afterwards knowing we would still be hungry. This is the most Neistat approach to any eating situation. Lo and behold, this was the most un-quiche-like quiche on the planet! It was basically all spinach and veggies, topped with cheese, and filled with just a dash of egg. It was so damn good. 

Since eating this brunch- and telling Deb the full story about the quiche conundrum- we asked Deb for the recipe and have recreated this dish over and over again. It is a go-to egg entrée for brunch and a great addition to any Easter menu this weekend. We love to mix in different vegetables and cheeses depending on what is fresh and in season. We keep it on the healthier side with just vegetables, but tossing in some crispy bacon or sausage would make it even more of a treat! 

Nearly Eggless Easter Quiche 
Makes: 6 servings 
Prep Time: 25 minutes   Baking Time: 45 minutes   Total Time: 80 minutes 

Ingredients for Crust: 

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup cold water 
  • 1 tsp salt 

Ingredients for Quiche: 

  • 4 oz package mushrooms, finely chopped 
  • 20 oz frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and finely chopped**
  • 1 bell pepper, stem & seeds removed, small dice 
  • 1 tbs butter 
  • 1/2 white onion, small dice 
  • 1 shallot, minced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 cup reduced fat milk 
  • 4 oz goat cheese 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make the crust combine the flour, butter, and salt with your hands in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cold water as needed until the dough is the consistency of wet sand. Knead the dough just enough for it to come together. Spray a pie pan with cooking spray and press the crust into the bottom and sides of the pan in an even layer. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. To make the quiche, heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add the butter, onion, garlic, and shallot to the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes, or until everything starts to caramelize. Add the mushrooms, spinach, and bell pepper to the pan. Saute for 6-8 minutes, or until all the moisture from the mushrooms and spinach is released and evaporated. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  4. Whisk the eggs, milk and nutmeg together in a small bowl.
  5. To assemble the quiche, pour the vegetables into the bottom of crust. Spread them into an even layer. Add the egg mixture over top, again patting down to make sure that everything is submerged in the egg mix. Top the quiche with the goat cheese and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the quich is firm on the top. 
  6. Let the quiche sit, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. 

** You can sub about 3/4 lb of fresh spinach if that is what you have on hand vs frozen. Just be sure to cook the spinach in the pan really well to be sure all the liquid drains from the spinach in step 3. 


Banana Nut Overnight Oats

We are keeping it coming with the pantry recipes as we continue living that #quarantinelife. We love overnight oats– making them uses up some things in the cupboard and also mixes up our breakfast routine for a few days. The recipe takes all of five or six minutes to make and provides you with 4 breakfasts- that’s the kind of kitchen input vs output that we are here for. We wanted to share this banana nut version of the recipe in case you have some bananas turning brown. By using dehydrated or regular peanut butter, these overnight oats are loaded with protein without packing on the calories. We are still going for our summer bods even if summer feels like it is 256 years away while we are social distancing!

Banana Nut Overnight Oats

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 8 hours and 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4- 8 oz mason jars or tupperware containers
  • 1 1/3 cup instant oats
  • 4 tbs PB2, dehydrated peanut butter, or any regular nut butter
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 4 tbs honey
  • 2+ cups almond milk

Directions:

  1. You can make this recipe without getting a bowl dirty by adding 1/3 cup oats, 1 tbs PB2 and 1/2 tbs of the flax and chia seeds to each of the four mason jars. Put the lids on and shake well to combine.
  2. Add the bananas and honey to each of the jars. Pour the almond milk into each jar so that it comes to the bottom of the lid lines. Use a spoon to give each of the mason jars a good stir before sealing and refrigerating overnight.
  3. You can top the oats with additional banana slices and a drizzle of nut butter before consuming if you are feeling fancy. The oats last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Homemade Granola

If you are practicing social distancing these days, you might be itching for some entertainment beyond Netflix and reading the news on Twitter. This homemade granola recipe goes back to the first job that Tuck’s mom had out of culinary school. It is very healthy by granola standards and you most likely already have everything in your cupboards, so no need to go to the grocery store! We use it to top smoothies and yogurts and even eat it with milk like cereal. When it comes to the “toppings” in the recipe we really encourage you to use what you already have in your kitchen. Those little pre-made salad bags that come with cranberries and nuts? Throw those packets in there! That random, almost empty bag of almonds that’s been collecting dust in your cabinet? Yep, throw those in too. This is a great recipe to transform what you already have into something new and exciting. 

Homemade Granola 
Makes: 3+ cups (around 6 servings) 
Total Time: 35 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbs melted butter 
  • 2 tbs maple syrup or honey 
  • 4 tbs water 
  • 2 cups instant oats 
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds 
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 4- 1/3 cup measurements of toppings: this can be a mix of nuts and dried fruits. We used 1/3 cup each banana chips, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, and pistachios. Use what you have! 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. Whisk the melted butter, maple syrup, and water in a large mixing bowl. Add the oats, cinnamon, flax seeds, sesame seeds, shredded coconut, and pinch of salt to the bowl. Mix very well so that everything is combined. 
  3. The next step is important for good results. We add a 1/3 cup measurement of 4 different toppings to mix it up. If you are using any dried fruit, leave the fruit out of the granola until after it has finished baking. The same goes for any nuts that have already been roasted. The only thing you should add before baking are raw nuts.
  4. Spread the granola into an even layer on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and give everything a good stir. Bake for another 10 minutes. Cool completely and add any roasted nuts or dried fruits to the mix. Store in an airtight container for up to three months. 

Farro and Zucchini Patties

We have been making variations of these farro and zucchini patties for a few years now. We keep coming back to them time and time again because of how versatile they are. The base recipe for the cakes is hearty and lends itself to nearly any flavor profile. Our favorite way to eat them is for brunch with fried eggs and Cholula Hot Sauce (pictured), but we have also served them on a bed of sautéed spinach, feta, and olives, or even as an entrée with garlicky kale and shrimp. No matter which meal you make these for, we know they won’t disappoint.

Farro & Zucchini Breakfast Patties

Makes: 6 servingsTotal Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb farro
  • 2 zucchinis, shredded
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 8 eggs
  • Cholula hot sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees
  2. Cook the farro, al dente, according to package directions. Move the farrow to a large bowl and let to cool so that you can touch it with your hands. Add the shredded zucchini, breadcrumbs, and two of the eggs. Stir everything to combine and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Using your hands, create “patties” out of the farro mixture and place on a sprayed or lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and set aside to cool. At this point, you can pause the recipe and reheat the patties when you are ready to eat. This is a great way to prep for weekly meals
  4. While the farro patties are baking, prepare the remaining eggs individually, over-easy.
  5. Serve the dish by placing a fried egg on top of the patty and sprinkling with Cholulua and any other toppings, if desired.

Strawberry Coconut Overnight Oats

One of our biggest challenges when getting out the door in the morning is making sure that we are put together and fed before starting the work day. The. Struggle. Is. Real. To combat the “Sunday scaries” and make the weekday mornings easier, we put together this quick and easy overnight oats recipe. After 10 minutes in the kitchen on a Sunday we have a full week of breakfasts ready to go in the refrigerator. 

We love this base recipe for overnight oats. Flax seeds give the oats protein and fiber while the chia seeds add antioxidants and omega-3s. We chose to make these strawberry and coconut flavored with spring on the way, but the base recipe lends itself to nearly any flavor profile you can think of. Feel free to add some toppings like additional strawberries, coconut, and hemp seeds as we have in these photos if you want to feel extra fancy on a weekday morning. We, however, will be slamming them down in the car while attempting to put on makeup and get to work on time. 

Strawberry Coconut Overnight Oats
Makes: 5- 8 oz servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes     Inactive Time: 24 hours 

Ingredients: 

  • 5 – 8 oz mason jars or travel containers 
  • 1 1/3 cups instant oats 
  • 3 cups coconut beverage (almond milk or any dairy item will work)
  • 2 tbs honey or agave 
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds 
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut 
  • 6 strawberries, stems removed and sliced 

Directions: 

  1. Combine all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well to make sure everything is combined. 
  2. Carefully pour the oatmeal mix into each of the five mason jars- they will be almost all of the way full. Seal each with a lid and place in the refrigerator. 
  3. Refrigerate overnight and serve chilled, with additional toppings if you desire. The oats are good for up to five days in the refrigerator. 

Vegetable Frittata

his recipe dates back to the first cooking job that Tuck’s mom had in culinary school. She was working for a chef that specialized in health foods and really developed her love of healthy cooking during that summer in Philly. One of the most fun parts of the job was Tuesday CSA deliveries. If you don’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which means that people pay in advance for a “share” of a farmers produce throughout the year. The financial advance helps farmers fund their yearly costs and in exchange, “shareholders” get a box of produce every week or every other week throughout the growing season. Depending on the CSA, shares can include fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy products, and even flowers. 

Tuck’s mom became obsessed with the CSA because of the abundance of new vegetables it exposed her to. The restaurant would make a daily breakfast frittata using the CSA vegetables, and for the last nine years she has used this recipe nearly every time she entertains for breakfast. It’s quick, easy, and can use any veggies you have on hand or veggies that are in season. We have kept this version vegetarian, but you can easily use chopped bacon or sausage if desired. 

Breakfast Frittata
Makes: 6-8 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes    Baking Time: 25 minutes    Total Time: 40 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 10 inch, oven safe, skillet 
  • 12 eggs 
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk 
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp black pepper 
  • 2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 tbs butter 
  • 1/2 red onion, diced 
  • 1 package broccolini, stems removed 
  • 3 tbs sun dried tomatoes, drained of their oil as best you can  
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese – we used Fontina 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Heat the 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and onion to the pan; saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion starts to caramelize. Add the broccoli and sun dried tomatoes to the pan. Saute another 3-4 minutes.  
  3. While the veggies are cooking, whisk the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk really well so that all ingredients are blended. 
  4. Gently pour the eggs into the skillet. Add the cheese and gently stir the top of the egg mixture so that the cheese mixes into the eggs. Let the skillet sit on medium-high heat for another 2-3 minutes, or until the eggs just begin to bubble at the top. This helps give the frittata a nice caramelized color.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through in the center. Remove from the oven and let it sit for a minute. Carefully put a plate on top of the skillet and flip the frittata onto the plate. Serve immediately (with hot sauce, if desired). 

Eggnog French Toast

Nothing screams holidays quite like eggnog. Rich, creamy, and spiced with nutmeg – it is truly the ultimate holiday drink. Tuck’s dad and Tate’s mom are two huge fans of the ‘nog and so we have decided to incorporate it into the batter for french toast. The result? A truly delicious, sweet way to start your Christmas morning! 

Eggnog French Toast
Makes: 6 servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes      Total Time: 30 minutes 


Ingredients: 

  • 1 challah (recipe here, or you can just as easily use store bought!) 
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 2 tsp nutmeg 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • maple syrup (optional, for topping) 
  • fresh berries (optional, for topping) 

Directions:  

  1. Whisk the eggs, eggnog, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine. 
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. 
  3. Cut the challah into thick slices. Dunk each of the slices of challah into the egg nog batter, giving it a second to soak up the liquid, before adding the slices to the pan. Cook the challah for roughly 4 minutes per side, or until each side is crispy brown and the bread is cooked through. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan! Do the cooking in batches and keep the cooked french toast on a cookie sheet, covered with foil, until ready to serve. If you are doing this for a very large crowd, you can keep the cooked french toast in the oven at 250 degrees until you are ready to serve. 
  4. Top with maple syrup or berries, if desired.