Last March I stopped buying breakfast cereal. Why? My children were abusing its convenience, upwards toward 6 bowls a day each- two bowls at breakfast, two after school, and two before bed on some days. That is a whole lot of refined grains and sugar in their little bodies, plus a big chunk of change. So I nixed it. They went crazy. More like ballistic. I dug in my heels and did not relent. Then something interesting happened. Leftovers got eaten up for breakfast. The boys learned how to fry bacon, or cook up some oatmeal. After school snacks turned into burgers, sandwiches, and other homemade snacks. They even pulled out a cookbook and baked up a cake. My children were suddenly more creative, inventive, and experimental with a bigger variety of foods while increasing their protein and fruit intake. But sadly, while at a hotel last month, the first thing they grabbed at breakfast was the sugary cereal. Argh.
Here is a meal that is not only hearty, but when made ahead, eases your morning routine, and fills your family’s bellies with a nice hot breakfast. It also makes a nice addition to the lunchbox.
This recipe was inspired by my Mason Jar Baked Corn Dogs. By plunging two of your favorite sausage links down into my baked Pancake Square’s batter, these little guys become more like pigs in a pillow. The Maple Fried Apples are certainly optional, but round this meal out very nicely.
Mason Jar Pigs in a Blanket Pancakes with Maple Fried Apples
Ingredients for the Maple Fried Apples:
1/2 stick butter
6 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, cubed
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup- I used Trader Joe’s Grade A 100% pure maple syrup
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Instructions for Apples:
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Once the butter is melted, add the rest of the ingredients, and cook for about 30 minutes or until the apples are tender and the liquid is absorbed. Serve with Pigs in a Blanket or place 1/2 cup portions in 7 (8 ounce) wide mouth mason jars or jelly jars and store in the refrigerator or freezer. To reheat, remove lid and microwave for about 30 seconds or until hot. Jar will be hot. Makes 7 jars (1/2 cup each).
While apples are cooking, prepare your Pigs in a Blanket Pancakes.
Ingredients for Pigs in a Blanket Pancakes:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
4 tsp. baking powder
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
4 T. melted butter
14 breakfast sausage links, browned through
Instructions for Pigs in a Blanket Pancakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 7 (8 ounce) mason jelly jars, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl whisk together the milk and eggs, then pour into dry ingredients, stir well and stir in butter. Divide batter between the seven jars, a bit over 4 ounces in each jar. Push 2 sausage links down in each jar. Place jars on a sturdy jelly roll pan, and bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When baked, remove from oven and run a knife around each cake and dump out onto a plate. Slice each into 5 medallions and serve with Maple Fried Apples and more Maple Syrup. Makes 7 jars.
1. While sausages are browning, peel, core, and cube your apples.
2. While the apples are cooking, make your Pigs in a Blanket Pancakes.
Note- My family packs a jar of Pigs in a Blanket Pancakes and Maple Fried Apples, along with a small jar of maple syrup in their lunchboxes (double wine bags), and reheats them at school or office in the microwave. One ate them right from the jar, while another reheated and plated his meal just like the photo up top.
Serving a crowd or eating in? Bake up this Pigs in a Blanket Pancake recipe just like my Baked Pancake Squares- Pour into a greased 9×13, top with links and bake at 350 degrees for about 17-19 minutes. Slice and serve with Maple Fried Apples and Maple Syrup. This can also be sliced, wrapped individually, and frozen for future quick breakfasts.
This recipe can also be baked up into muffins. Next time I would bake these right up in a muffin tin sans paper liners. I find myself shamelessly chewing off the excess cake that sticks to the papers. You too? Bake up 12 muffins by pouring the batter into well greased muffin wells and placing two sausage link halves in each muffin. Bake at 350 degrees for 15- 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Eat immediately with the Maple Fried Apples and Maple Syrup or freeze for future snacks or breakfast. Oh, and those two extra sausage links? Look right, then left, and shove them in your pie hole before someone sees you.
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