Brunch

Recipe—French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole

Christmas morning can sometimes be a bit chaotic with hustle and bustle of gift giving, cleaning up of all the shreds of paper and ribbon, and then sometimes the mad dash to clean the house before relatives arrive for round two of Christmas. At least that’s how it is in our home. However, on Christmas morning I always want to sit down and have a nice breakfast with my crew, I just don’t always have the time to make a big Christmas worthy breakfast. However, I do have the time to throw a casserole in the oven. So here you have French Toast Casserole to save the morning!

Several years back I posted a recipe for Blueberry French Toast Casserole. Not to toot my own horn, but toot toot! It’s amazing if you haven’t given it a try. What I love about french toast casserole is you can prep the dish the day before, throw it in the oven in the morning, and boom! Just like that you have a hot and delicious breakfast with almost no work. This recipe has all that delicious cinnamon goodness baked into a sweet bread pudding with a crispy streusel topping. It is so tasty!

So if you are looking for a quick and easy breakfast that you can make in advance, then this is the recipe for you.

French Toast Casserole

INGREDIENTS
12 slices sourdough bread (or a sourdough loaf), cut into 1” cubes
10 eggs
2 c milk
1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar
1 c brown sugar, divided
1/2 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c cold butter, cut into small pieces

STEPS

  • Cut the loaf of sourdough into cubes and distribute them in a greased 9” x 13” pan.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla.
  • Whisk in a 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and all the granulated sugar to the egg mixture
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread.
  • Using your fingers or the back of a spatula gently press all of the bread pieces down into the egg mixture.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the fridge 8 hours or overnight.
  • For the streusel topping, in a medium bowl, mix together the other 1/2 cup of brown sugar, flour, cinnamon.
  • Add the cut-up butter to the topping mix and using a large fork or pastry cutter mix it all together until it is a nice crumbly consistency.
  • Store the streusel in a Ziploc bag in the fridge until ready to bake.
  • When ready to bake, remove the casserole dish and streusel from the fridge and allow it to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Sprinkle the streusel topping over the french toast.
  • Cover the dish back up with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is a nice golden brown and the egg mixture is set, about an additional 15–20.
  • Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Cut and serve with a pat of butter and some warm syrup.
Dinners

Recipe—Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

Ooey, gooey, cheesy white sauce goodness. What more do I need to say about this lasagna. It is layer upon layer of creamy mozzarella sauce, noodles, ricotta, chicken, spinach, and cheese. My mouth is literally watering.

This dinner is the ultimate comfort food. So rich, creamy, and filling. A perfect family dinner as the weather starts to cool down. Seriously though, what is better on a cold night then a big filling serving of pasta? Nothing, the answer is nothing.

This is one of those recipes that is great to make ahead on the weekend when you have some extra time and then during the week all you have to is pop it in the oven and bake. Boom! Dinner is done!

Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

INGREDIENTS
16 oz lasagna noodles
salt
1/2 c butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 c flour
2 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c milk
5 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c ricotta
2 c cooked chicken breast, chopped
10 oz package frozen cooked spinach, thawed and drained
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt.
  • Cook the noodles per the package instructions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside until ready to assemble the lasagna.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until cooked through.
  • Stir in the flour until it begins to brown.
  • Gradually add the broth and milk to the saucepan and whisk together.
  • Allow the sauce to come to a boil and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  • Mix in 2 cups of the mozzarella, 3/4 cup of the parmesan, basil, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir until all the cheese is melted and well integrated.
  • Remove the sauce from the stove and set aside.
  • Spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Ladle a quarter of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Layer a quarter of the cooked noodles in the bottom of the baking dish and top with half of the ricotta, half of the chicken, and half of the spinach. Sprinkle with some of the mozzarella and parmesan and ladle another quarter of the sauce over the top.
  • Repeat the previous step. Noodles, ricotta, chicken, spinach, cheese sauce.
  • Add the final layer of noodles and top with all the remaining sauce and cheeses.
  • Bake for 40–45 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and just starts to brown on top.
  • Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow it to rest for 5–10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the parsley over the top.
  • Cut and serve.
Appetizers

Recipe—Steak & Goat Cheese Crostini with Pesto

Steak and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pesto

Last weekend I hosted a wine tasting party, which is so much fun by the way! Each person brought an appetizer and a bottle of wine so it was minimal preparation required on my part and didn’t break the bank. Thanks to all my amazing friends that came if you are reading this! It was such a blast! We had a total of 13 bottles of wine and an amazing spread of food.

Since I was holding the party around dinner time I knew I needed an appetizer that was hearty and filling. Steak came to mind since it would pair so nicely with a good hearty red blend. These appetizers may look very simple but the flavors were so amazing. The goat cheese is whipped together with cream cheese, olive oil, and red pepper so it is creamy and smooth with a mild kick. I was able to prepare everything earlier in the day and then assemble right before anyone arrived. And let me tell you, they were pretty darn popular among the ladies.

Steak and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pesto

Note: These can be served hot or cold. I served them cold for the sake of convenience. I was able to do all the prep in the morning, stored the cooked steak and goat cheese spread in the fridge, and put the toasted crostini in an unsealed Ziploc bag. I then assembled them right before the party.

INGREDIENTS
1 baguette, cut into 1/4 slices
10–12 ounce New York strip steak
4 oz goat cheese, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil
salt & pepper
chili powder
garlic powder
1/2 c pesto

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 425º.
  • Place the baguette slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  • Brush each slice with olive oil and season with a light sprinkle of salt. Flip each slice over and repeat.
  • Toast the baguette slices for 12–15 minutes or until they are a nice golden brown.
  • While the baguette slices are toasting, season both sides of the steak with salt, pepper, a sprinkle of chili powder, and garlic powder.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the steak.
  • Cook the steak for 4–6 minutes, flip, and continue to cook for an additional 4–6 minutes.
  • Remove the steak from the pan and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  • While the steak is resting, use a hand mixer to whip together the goat cheese, cream cheese, red pepper flakes, and two tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Thinly slice the steak and set aside.
  • To assemble, spread about one teaspoon of the whipped goat cheese on a slice of toasted bread, top with a slice of steak, and a dollop of pesto.
  • Enjoy!

 

Recipe adapted from Domesticate Me.

Sandwiches

Recipe—Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Sammy

I am in love with almost any recipe that can be prepared in advance and then just tossed in the oven. This recipe is one of those! I recently made it when a couple of friends would be stopping by for lunch. It was a quick visit so I knew I didn’t want to be in the kitchen while they were there. I assembled the whole thing that morning and then just put it in the oven when they arrived. Not only is great if you are having a couple of guests over for lunch but it is perfect for a picnic or even camping. You can make the sandwich ahead of time and then just toss the foil wrapped sandwich on the grille and turn it once or twice to keep the bottom from getting too crisp.

This sandwich is made in one large sourdough loaf that can be cut into 3-5 individual servings. It is literally packed with delicious flavors that go together really well. There’s just something perfect about the combination of hearty chicken pieces and thinly sliced pastrami, especially when smothered with gooey melted Swiss cheese and pressed together with perfectly toasted bread. I promise that you won’t find anything like this is your local deli. De-lish!

INGREDIENTS
large sourdough loaf
Dijon mustard
mayonnaise
1 1/2 c Swiss, shredded
1/2 lb sliced pastrami
2 c shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 c roasted red bell peppers
3 thin slices of red onion
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Cut an oval out of the top of the loaf and remove it.
  • Tear out the inside of the bread leaving 1/2” thick bread shell.
  • Spread mayonnaise and Dijon mustard on the inside of the loaf and the underside of the lid.
  • Sprinkle half of the shredded Swiss in the bottom of the bread shell.
  • Layer in pastrami, shredded chicken, roasted red peppers, onions, and remaining cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the sandwich lid back in place and wrap tightly in foil.
  • Bake for 20–22 minutes or until the cheese is melted and all of the ingredients are warmed through.
  • Remove sandwich from foil and place on cutting board.
  • Cut into desired number of servings.
Appetizers, Brunch, Side Dishes

Recipe—Crab Stuffed Mushrooms


Are you looking for a classy appetizer to serve at your New Year’s Eve party tomorrow or any other night of the year? Search no further! These crab stuffed baby portobello mushrooms are easy, can be made ahead of time, are really elegant, and of course delicious. These will be a hit with all your guests. The crab filling is creamy with a nice little kick to it thanks to the Tabasco and the breadcrumbs give them the perfect little crunch. If you are serving a steak for a main course these can also be the perfect complementary side dish. Either way enjoy this fabulous recipe as you ring in 2013! Happy New Year everyone!

Note: You can completely make and assemble the stuffed mushrooms a half day in advance and store in the fridge until ready to bake.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp shallot, chopped
10–12 baby portobello mushrooms, washed and destemmed
salt and pepper
3 tbsp red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz lump crabmeat
1 tsp hot sauce (I like Tabasco)
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp old bay seasoning
1/2 c breadcrumbs

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and shallot and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add the mushroom caps and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté the mushroom caps for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the mushroom caps from the skillet and place them upside down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Add the chopped bell pepper to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute.
  • In a medium bowl mix together the crabmeat, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, old bay seasoning, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the sautéed veggies and mix well.
  • Stuff each mushroom cap with the crab mixture and top with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 12–14 minutes or until the breadcrumbs start to brown.
  • Allow mushrooms to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.