Breakfast Recipes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes


Why are these the pancakes that you’ll be making the next time you make pancakes?

Because lemon and ricotta is a delicious combination. Because you know you want to make a batch of pancakes that are a little bit different than the the normal ones. Because it’s been too long since you actually made pancakes. Because milk and cereal is, and has been, quite boring. Because you KNOW they’re going to be delicious. And, most importantly … because I told you to.

Extra fluffy with a creamier center. The ricotta cheese adds depth of flavor while also keeping the cakes light and fluffy. The lemon adds a refreshing citrus component. Nothing overpowering. Just right balance of flavor.

You’ll love the next batch of pancakes you make … because you’ll be making these.



  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted


  1. Preheat a large skillet or griddle to medium-high heat.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, ricotta, eggs, and vanilla until well blended.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and melted butter. Mix until combined.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.
  5. Coat your griddle or skillet with melted butter.
  6. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto buttered griddle or skillet and cook until bubbles begin to appear on surface and the bottom is golden brown. Then, flip and cook opposite side until golden brown. Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup (and bacon … duh!)

Note: If serving a crowd, you can keep pancakes warm by placing them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a preheated 200 degree F oven.  Don’t stack warm pancakes or they will become limp and soggy. They’ll hold in the oven at 200 degrees F for about 10 minutes.


Breakfast Recipes

Sausage and Veggie Breakfast Strata

Sausage and Veggie Breakfast Strata


What’s my key to hosting brunch, you ask?

Everything’s made and prepped in advance.

With this in mind, here’s my go-to brunch recipe – Sausage and Veggie Breakfast Strata.  This dish inherently abides by my “made in advance” rule.  You’re literally SUPPOSED to make and prepare it the night before.  For those unfamiliar with the strata, it’s a savory bread pudding consisting mostly of bread, cheese, and eggs.  My recipe includes sausage and veggies.  The addition of cottage cheese provides a slightly creamy texture.  Hearty and well balanced.  All inclusive … bread, eggs, meat, cheese, veg … all in one dish.

Sausage and Veggie Breakfast StrataSausage and Veggie Breakfast StrataSausage and Veggie Breakfast Strata


So it’s the morning of.  All you have to do is roll out of bed, brew coffee, set out bloody mary fixins, turn on the oven, and enjoy.

You’ve got brunch questions.  I’ve got brunch answers.  Simple, tasty answers.

Sausage and Veggie Breakfast Strata



  • Butter, for greasing baking dish
  • 1 loaf day-old Italian bread, crust removed and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups cubed)
  • 1 lb sweet breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled into pieces
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess moisture
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups fontina cheese, freshly grated
  • A small handful fresh basil, torn into pieces (about 1/4 cup)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half (or milk if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Butter a 9×13 inch casserole dish, set aside, and reserve.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cubed bread, cooked sausage, spinach, bell peppers, fontina cheese, and fresh basil.  Toss together well until evenly distributed.  Pour mixture into buttered casserole dish.
  3. In another bowl (I used a large measuring cup) whisk eggs until blended.  Add the half and half, cottage cheese, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.  Whisk until smooth, then pour over bread mixture in the casserole dish. (Note, not all of the bread will be covered at this point with the egg mixture. This is fine. As the casserole rests, it will absorb the eggs and become covered.)
  4. Cover the strata/casserole and refrigerate for a few hours or preferably overnight (up to 18 hours).
  5. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Let rest.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and bake the strata/casserole, covered, for 45 minutes.  Remove cover and cook an additional 15 minutes until custard has set and the top is golden brown.  After 1 hour of cooking, if the custard has not set, return the casserole to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  6. Allow casserole to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Servings: 12

Breakfast Recipes

My Favorite Morning Smoothie

My Favorite Morning Smoothie

I should trademark this phrase. ‘My Favorite Morning Smoothie.’  It’ll undoubtedly be the upcoming title of a new band,  a popular song, or political podcast.  Alas, for now, it shall be the modest title of my most recent post. (Don’t any of you go stealing it!)

In addition to being low in calories and high in vitamin C, strawberries and raspberries are high in fiber.  Banana adds a wonderful depth of flavor and an extra boost of potassium.  Yogurt is added for a creamy texture and a bit of protein. Fresh orange juice gives the wonderfully subtle tang.  Both fresh or frozen fruit can be used.  I prefer frozen, adding a nice thickness.  I adore this recipe.  If you use all frozen fruits, you may need to add a bit of milk or water.  If you use all fresh fruit, you may need to add a bit of ice.

Now you can be that person.  You know where “My Favorite Morning Smoothie”  actually originated.  It came from Emily Always Cooks!

My Favorite Morning SmoothieMy Favorite Morning Smoothie


  • 10 strawberries (hulled), fresh of frozen
  • 1/4 cup raspberries, fresh of frozen
  • 1 banana, fresh of frozen, cut into thirds
  • The juice of 1 whole blood orange
  • 1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tbsp of water or milk, if needed
  • Ice, if needed


Combine all ingredients in your blender.  Blend on high for 45 seconds or until smooth and creamy.  Add additional liquid or ice if needed.  Note: If you use all frozen fruits, you may need to add a bit of milk or water.  If you use all fresh fruit, you may need to add a bit of ice.

Servings: 1 (Serving Size: 2 full cups)

Thank you Driscolls for sponsoring this post.

Breakfast Recipes

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Compote (and warm maple syrup and bacon)

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Compote


A classic recipe.  A memorable twist on it.

You didn’t know National Blueberry Pancake Day existed, did you?  No, I didn’t make this day up … someone else did.  That said, I’m more than happy to celebrate.  I’m also more than happy to show you a fantastically simple, not-so-typical, blueberry pancake recipe.

I’m also quite hungry …

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Compote


Using a combination of all-purpose flour and yellow cornmeal gives these cakes a very nice unique texture.  Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Top these cakes with homemade blueberry compote and warm maple syrup.  This luscious blueberry compote is made with just 5 simple ingredients – blueberries, sugar, blood orange, cornstarch, and vanilla.  So very easy to throw together while you’re preparing the rest of the meal … ahem, frying up your bacon.

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Compote


There’s something special about a day that begins with pancakes. There’s something extra special about these.  Happy National Blueberry Pancake Day!.


  • 1 1/2 cups (scant) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (heaping) yellow cornmeal, I like Bob’s Red Mill Medium Grind
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen could also be used)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh squezed orange juice (I used blood orange juice)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (scant) tsp orange zest
  • Butter, for cooking and serving
  • Pure maple syrup (warmed), for serving


  1. Mix together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir ingredients to just combined, then stir in melted butter. If batter is overly thick, splash in a small amount of milk.  Set aside for 10 minutes. Stir again.
  4. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine blueberries, water, sugar, and orange juice. Bring to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  While whisking, slowly add cornstarch and water mixture.  Continue to whisk making sure not to crush too many of the blueberries until sauce is nice and thick, about 5 additional minutes.  Add vanilla extract and orange zest, stir to combine, and reserve.  (Note: I like my blueberry sauce warm when spooned over the cakes, so keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve.)
  5. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat.  When evenly heated, drop 1/4 cup batter per pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides.  I like to cook these cakes on a cast iron griddle to give them a crispy top layer.  Once fully cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Stack pancakes, top with a pat of butter, a drizzle with warm maple syrup, and a spoonful of blueberry sauce over the top.  Serve immediately when cakes are still warm.

Cornmeal Cake recipe slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Thank you Driscolls for sponsoring this post.

Breakfast Recipes, Main Course Recipes

Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Goat Cheese Quiche

Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Goat Cheese Quiche

So, here we go with the 100th recipe post on EmilyAlwaysCooks.  It’s been one heck of a yummy ride, and I’m already looking forward to post number 200.

Quite befitting a make-ahead holiday recipe.  Rich and savory custard, flecked with smoked salmon, goat cheese, dill, and leeks with a buttery crust base.  I have no problem serving this for any meal at any time of the day.  I kept to tradition by serving this quiche at room temperature or just slightly warmer.  Quiche will stay at room temperature for up to 2 hours.  After 2 hours it should be refrigerated.   To reheat quiche, bring to room temperature then bake in a 325 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Goat Cheese Quiche
Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Goat Cheese Quiche

If you’re making homemade pie crust for a holiday pie, just double the recipe.  I’ve included my favorite homemade pie crust recipe in the ingredient list below.  It uses both butter and shortening which creates a flaky, slightly buttery crust.  Don’t be intimidated to make your own crust. It’s pretty simple.  That said, Store-bought pie crust can be a serious life saver.  Either way you slice it, it’s a winner.  (See what I did there?  Sorry, I had gone too long between obviously cheesy puns.)

Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Goat Cheese QuicheSmoked Salmon, Dill, and Goat Cheese Quiche


  • 1 homemade pie crust (you will only use half of this recipe) or store-bought pie crust, if using store bought thaw according to package directions (If I’m using store-bought crust, I like Trader Joe’s frozen pie crust.)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 leek thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4-6 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
  • 5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. If using homemade dough, prepare and roll out into a 12-inch circle. If using store-bought dough, thaw first according to package directions and unroll (dough should be about 11 ounces).
  2. Place it into a 10-by-1 1/2-inch round tart pan, pressing dough into corners.  Line pastry with parchment paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, pressing into the corners and edges.  Fill at least two-thirds with baking weights (you can use dried beans, rice, or ceramic or metal pie weights).
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. Carefully remove parchment paper and weights. Poke the bottom of the pie pan with the tongs of a fork (fork holes are for any air to escape) and return to oven.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until just golden.  Place on a wire rack to cool while making filling.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  4. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the leek, a pinch of salt, and cook until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add garlic and cook one additional minute.  Remove from heat and reserve.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, dill, lemon zest, and black pepper.
  5. Line the bottom of the quiche crust with cooked leeks and garlic.  Put one layer down of half the smoked salmon and goat cheese.  Pour half of the egg mixture over the salmon and goat cheese in the quiche shell.  Layer down the remaining salmon and goat cheese, and pour the remaining egg mixture over it.  (Note: You may have a small amount of egg mixture remaining depending on the size of your tart pan. either discard or reserve for a later use.) Hint, make mini frittatas.
  6. Bake until quiche is just set in the center, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Servings: 6

Note: Reheat by covering quiche with aluminum foil and bake at 325 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.

Breakfast Recipes

Spinach, Zucchini, and Feta Frittata


Spinach Zucchini and Feta Frittata


In the movie “Forest Gump,” Bubba goes into detail about how many variations of shrimp there are (you remember the scene).  He lists off 21 different kinds of shrimp if you include cooking methods.  I have a similar type of passion … for eggs!

(Read the following sentence in Bubba’s voice.  It helps.  Trust me.)  I have eggs for breakfast 3-4 times a week.  Fried eggs, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, over easy eggs, poached eggs … I like eggs every which way.  Whether it’s a breakfast sandwich in hand when running out the door, or I’m sitting down to a brunch feast, eggs provide the fuel to get me through my mornings.

Spinach Zucchini and Feta Frittata

Spinach Zucchini and Feta Frittata


One of my favorite ways to celebrate my egg passion is with a home cooked, egg-centric, weekend brunch.  Here’s the prefect recipe for just such and occasion.  Morning slowly seeps into the afternoon.  Your belly is full after the delicious frittata.  Maybe you’ve got a cocktail in hand.  Maybe it’s not March in Chicago … and you’re actually outside.  Maybe there’s a big game you’re about to watch.  Or maybe “Forest Gump” is on TV again … and you just can’t resist.

Spinach Zucchini and Feta FrittataSpinach Zucchini and Feta Frittata



  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 zucchini, cut in half horizontally, then into half moons
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed of any extra liquid
  • 8 eggs, organic and pasture-raised if possible
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 4-5 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


Add butter to an 8 inch nonstick oven safe skillet, and place over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add zucchini and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook 5 additional minutes until onion is translucent and zucchini is cooked through.  Add spinach and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a medium bowl.  To the eggs, add milk, cottage cheese, fresh basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Reserve while vegetables continue to cook.

Add egg mixture to the skillet once vegetables are cooked through.  Cook eggs for about 3 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with a spatula.  When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring.  You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.  Add feta cheese, pushing cheese into the frittata slightly so it doesn’t sit on top.  Level the top of the frittata with your spatula to form an even top layer.  Continue cooking on the stove for another minute so underside sets.  Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Put skillet under broiler.  Watch carefully while top browns.  This will take 2-4 minutes.  Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.  Cut into wedges and serve.

Servings: 8
Spinach Zucchini and Feta Frittata
Breakfast Recipes

Mini Frittatas with Sausage, Spinach, and Gruyere

Mini Frittatas with Spinach, Sausage, and Gruyere


There’s something about a warm breakfast during the winter months, especially on a weekday.  I sit at the kitchen table, eat my breakfast, sip a cup of tea, and get prepared for the day.  It beats the socks off waking up, maybe eating cereal or a breakfast bar, and running out the door.

I like to use a combination of whole eggs and egg whites in these little gems.  You could easily substitute 4 whole eggs (if you aren’t the egg white loving type), or 8 egg whites (1 cup) if you are looking to ditch the yolks all together.  I typically make these mini frittatas on a Sunday so I can have them ready for busy weekday mornings.  They will store well in your refrigerator for 3 days and are easily reheated in your microwave.  Eat them on their own, or sandwiched between an English muffin.  These mini frittatas are great for entertaining as well as being very family friendly.

These sausage, spinach and Gruyere frittatas are my favorite version, but feel free to play around with your additions.  I make a spinach, feta, and sun-dried tomato version that is dynamite.  Use what you have on hand, or plan ahead and use your favorite combination of meat, veg, and cheese. Warm breakfast…always makes me happy.

Mini Frittatas with Spinach, Sausage, and Gruyere



  • Non-stick cooking spray (or 1 tsp olive oil)
  • 1/4 lb breakfast sausage (roughly 4 links or patties)
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped spinach (large stems removed)
  • 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook breakfast sausage (remove sausage from casings if using links) until cooked through, about 5 minutes, crumbling the sausage as it cooks.  Remove sausage from skillet and drain excess oil on a paper towel.  Reserve.

In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk eggs and egg whites until well combined.  Add milk, spinach, salt, and pepper, and whisk again.

Prepare a six cup muffin tin by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.  Evenly distribute the reserved sausage and the Gruyere cheese among the 6 muffin cups.  Evenly distribute the egg and spinach mixture on top of the sausage and cheese.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until cooked through.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 6 (serving size: 1 frittata)

Note: Frittatas can be stored in your refrigerator for 3 days and reheated in your microwave.  To reheat, place frittata on a plate in your microwave and cover with a paper towel, microwave for 1 minute.

Note: You can easily double the recipe to fill a 12 cup muffin tin.