If you ask me, I think breakfast is the best meal of the day.  So many possibilities – savory, sweet, traditional, eclectic – the skies the limit!  In fact, when Tony traveled for work, Hannah and I almost always fixed breakfast for dinner.  Sometimes pancakes, sometimes home made egg McMuffins.  Maybe because it’s the most economical meal is why I like it too.  My store routinely sells big baked potatoes for .25 each.  When that happens I usually stock up and bake 3 or 4 at a time and then let them hang out in the fridge.  Sometimes I’ll cut them up and fry them for steak fries for a meal.  Sometimes I’ll dice them and pan fry them for a side dish.  My favorite though?  Hash browns!  It’s weird, when you shred the potato, the jacket of the potato nearly comes off in one piece!

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I think the secret to getting crunchy hash browns is because the baked potato sat in the refrigerator for a week, it lost some of it’s moisture.  I heated up my non-stick skillet over medium heat, and added 2 teaspoons extra light virgin olive oil.  When the pan was hot, I laid the potatoes in a single layer – and let them cook until browned on the bottom – about 8-10 minutes.  I did end up adding about another teaspoon of olive oil before flipping.   This was Saturday’s breakfast and lunch for me.

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Tony gave my hash browns thumbs up too!  This was super filling.  I ended up eating this around 10:30, and had a cup of soup at the restaurant at 5:00.  Tony picked up a small pizza for himself for dinner and heated it up for me when I got home Saturday night – got home by 11:15 on Saturday night from the restaurant – nice!   Check out the heart shaped cheese ravioli the restaurant is having next weekend for Valentine’s Day – so cute!

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I now give you another episode of Texting with Tony!  I love it when he sends stuff and spell check corrects him!

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I did another breakfast/lunch yesterday – French toast sticks!  I bought this one pound container of mixed fruit at my store for only $2.99 – I am kicking myself I didn’t buy another one.  And I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I need to remind you to buy your bacon from your deli.  You can have them cut it as thick as you want, and our store sells it for $5.99 a pound – you would spend the same on Oscar Meyer bacon for a 12 ounce package, and it would be super thin.  Bacon is important so I have to spread the news! Open-mouthed smile

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Last week Tony and I bought a big ham – 10 pounds to be exact, with the intent on grilling it in our gas grill.  Well, as you probably realize, our weather hasn’t been that conducive to grilling, but yesterday we decided to go for it.  It just meant snow blowing the snow off the deck so we could actually get to the grill.  This is Tony’s “I am so done with winter!” face:

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Tony had grill duty because I had an employee meeting at the restaurant last night from 4-6.  It’s a 45 minute drive one way, so I was bummed I had to go anywhere on my one day off.  But the next few weeks are critical to the restaurant.  Valentine’s weekend, then our grand opening.  Press releases are going out to the media this week and our Chef will be on a cooking segment on our local news station on March 3 – I’ll be sure to post the video here!  Food critics, local politicians – with social media being what it is, it’s important that everything from the kitchen to the servers to the front of the house are all on the same page. 

But, we did get a beer tasting – I’ve never heard of this brewery before, but it’s 30 minutes from the restaurant and they have been in business for 17 years.  We have Domaine DuPage on tap, and two canned beers – this was my favorite canned beer – it’s super light, and would be great for a summer beer.  Pricey though – my grocery store sells it for $10.99 a six pack – probably why I’ve passed by it for years!

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They ordered pizza, but since I knew we had ham on the grill, I only ate one piece of pizza – basically because I had to try it – MAC N CHEESE PIZZA!

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Guess what?  I actually liked it!  I mean, it was like double the cheese.  #winning!

One of the servers I work with is really struggling.  She quit her other job to start this job, and she works mostly lunches and that part of the business has been slowly building, but obviously with lower lunch tabs, that means lower tips.  She basically relies on her Friday and Saturday nights to make ends meet – she’s separated from her husband and has an 11 and 14 year old, and says that she’s not much of a cook, so she relies on boxed macaroni and cheese, canned Manwich, etc. because its cheap.  So I brought her a batch of my homemade Panera broccoli soup, a loaf of artisan bread and a stick of butter.   I always have to remember that even though I have to work two jobs to make our ends meet, there is always someone struggling more than me, so I need to pay it forward.

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And when I got home from the meeting, the ham was ready!  I never even planned a side dish, so I just heated up a can of green beans and had sliced ham dipped in Dijon mustard – this ham was delicious!  And with the leftovers I plan on making these ham and swiss cheese sammies, a crustless ham and cheese quiche, and probably some ham, macaroni and cheese – my twin sister probably makes that once a week!

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Which will probably still leave me with five pounds of leftover ham – Question of the Day: How do you use up your leftover ham?  I want to put up a list of links for leftover ham around Easter time – please send me your recipe links – or if you don’t have a blog – just email me your recipes at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com.

I have to start putting my stuff together – one of the secretaries already called in sick today, so I should be busy and not have to make scratch paper pads today – yippee!

Happy Monday – make it a great day!