Easter Bread Baked French Toast

5 04 2016

My hubs fam makes a delicious Easter bread similar to the Italian sweetened bread, Panettone. This thick, dense bread is just perfect for baked french toast! And because the bread itself it already sweetened, you don’t need extra sugar. To make this casserole more savory for dinner, I topped it with breakfast sausage browned with a little cayenne before baking. Love enjoying breakfast for dinner, especially when leftovers can be gobbled up the next morning too!

Easter Bread Baked French Toast

The following makes a 9×13 casserole (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 8-10 cups cubed Easter bread (or Panettone or other sweetened bread)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 oz mascarpone or cream cheese
  • Butter
  • 1 lb ground breakfast sausage
  • Cayenne pepper

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 casserole dish. You could also use non-stick spray.

With a whisk, beat milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add the cubed bread and toss to combine. Pour bread and liquid in the greased casserole dish and add dollops of mascarpone or cream cheese all over and in between the bread. It doesn’t have to be perfect and if the bread starts to tear and get mushy don’t worry about it! Cover with foil and store in the fridge overnight, or at least 8-10 hours.

Brown the breakfast sausage with a little cayenne pepper, breaking up in small pieces as it cooks. Store in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the casserole.

When ready to bake, top the casserole with the browned breakfast sausage and preheat the oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes to an hour. I keep the sausage separate and only add to the top (rather than mixing it in) to keep it crispy, which adds another layer of texture to the baked french toast.

Top with your fav maple syrup before serving (my go to is organic maple agave syrup).

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Sausage and Roasted Cauliflower Flat Bread Pizza

30 03 2016

This pizza was a vehicle to use up the leftover Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette I made for Easter, and it was every bit as tasty as I thought it would be! Roast the cauliflower and make the dressing over the weekend, so you can get a weeknight din on the table in a flash!

Sausage and Roasted Cauliflower Flat Bread Pizza

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 pieces Mediterranean-style flat bread, I used wheat
  • 1 lb ground pork sausage
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 cup fresh spinach
  • About a 1/2 cup or so of roasted cauliflower florets (toss florets with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon zest and bake in a single layer at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large skillet, saute the pork in a little olive oil until browned, breaking up into bite-size pieces with the back of a wooden spoon.

Mix ricotta with a heaping Tbsp or so of the grease from the cooked pork and salt and pepper to taste, then spread evenly among the flat bread. Next, add a layer of spinach, the cauliflower and the pork. Bake on a pizza stone for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with goat cheese and continue baking another 5 minutes or so until the cheese is warmed.

Drizzle some Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette on top before serving.





Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette

28 03 2016

I just started introducing pureed fruits to my son (he mostly eats veggies), and I thought my homemade apple puree/applesauce would have been gobbled up. It was, but only after I added it to a combo of yams and squash….leaving me with a good bit of apple puree leftover. Enter this deliciously tart and creamy vinaigrette, which I made for an elegant Easter salad this past weekend. It would be great on lots of things though, like chicken or a roasted cauliflower and pork pizza which I’ll be making for dinner this week.

Creamy Apple Shallot Vinaigrette

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Stem Blog: 

  • 1/2 cup applesauce or 2 Fuji apples, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 – 1 cup olive oil

Add everything but the oil to a Vitamix or high-powdered blender and blend until smooth. Stream in the oil, starting with 3/4 cup. Taste and adjust vinegar, seasoning and the oil based on your liking (I for instance, like my dressing with more vinegar/acid than most people so I tend to use less oil).

Store this dressing in a mason jar in the fridge, and quickly shake up before serving.

The salad I served this with was made up of spinach, roasted cauliflower, apple slices, goat cheese and homemade croutons. Delicious, and great for spring!





Chorizo and Ramp Pizza

27 04 2015

I recently enjoyed a tasty chorizo and ramp pizza at Michael Symon’s Lolita restaurant. When I received ramps in our CSA grab bag this past week I knew instantly I’d be recreating that Lolita pizza! Thanks for the idea, Michael!

Chorizo and Ramp Pizza

The following makes one pizza (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • Ground chorizo
  • Whole wheat pizza dough
  • Cornmeal
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Ricotta
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • Ramps
  • Sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Eggs
  • Hot sauce for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 450.

Brown the chorizo in a skillet until just cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

With some cornmeal on your counter, roll out the pizza dough to your desired thickness.

Put a little cornmeal on a pizza stone, then carefully transfer the rolled out dough onto the pizza stone and brush with olive oil. Bake the crust for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven to add your toppings.

Mix a little ricotta with olive oil and chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Eyeball it, you just need enough ricotta to spread on the pizza to create a sauce.

Spread the ricotta evenly on the pizza dough. Top with cooked chorizo and the sliced shallots. Use as much of each ingredient as you like.

Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or so. Remove and add the ramps and shredded cheese, again as much as you like of each. Return to the oven to finish baking, another 5 minutes or so. Just keep an eye on the oven to make sure everything is cooked through, hot and the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven.

Fry up some eggs to your desired likeness, I recommend one egg per slice of pizza and making sure to leave it runny to help create a sauce.

Slice pizza and serve each slice with a fried egg on top and hot sauce if desired.





Creamy Pesto-Chicken Lasagna

24 03 2015

Traditional lasagna can be time-consuming, but in this version you can save time by using store-bought or pre-made pesto, and no-boil lasagna sheets. Just because you’re saving on time though, doesn’t mean you’re skimping on the flavor. Trust me, this lasagna is totally decadent! You can make this two days in advance if you want, just store covered in the fridge and bring to room temperature before baking.

I made this for a family Sunday supper and was feeding a crowd, so I doubled the recipe. If you end up having some leftover ricotta filling like me, you can toss it with some whole wheat pasta and a little of the pasta water for another great meal or side!

Creamy Pesto-Chicken Lasagna

The following makes 10-12 servings (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup basil pesto
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb cooked ground chicken
  • 1 package (15 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 box flat, no-boil lasagna sheets
  • 4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350.

For the bechamel, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and nutmeg, bring to a simmer, and cook 2 more minutes. Off heat, stir in 1/2 cup pesto; season with salt and pepper. Stir in cooked chicken (simply season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic and saute in a little olive oil until cooked through) and set aside.

For the lasagna, stir together the ricotta, parmesan, and 1/2 cup pesto; season with salt and pepper.

To build, spread 2/3 cup bechamel in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Using a rubber spatula, spread some of the ricotta mixture on 3 lasagna sheets making sure they’re fully covered, then lay them side by side in the baking dish. Top lasagna with more bechamel, making sure to cover the noodles. Next top with 3/4 cup mozzarella. Repeat laying three times or until your ingredients run out, making sure that the ingredients are evenly dispersed. Top the final layer with 1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella.

Cover lasagna with foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake lasagna 15 more minutes, then broil on high until golden, 2-3 minutes. Let lasagna rest 15 minutes before serving.





Banana Pudding Trifle

23 03 2015

I served this trifle at a dinner party this weekend and it was a nice success! It’s easy enough to whip up for a backyard party, but pretty enough to serve at the end of a nice Sunday supper too! Make it easier on yourself my doing the pudding and the whipped cream a day ahead, then on the day you’re serving, simply slice the bananas and assemble.

Banana Pudding Trifle

The following makes one large trifle, about 14-16 servings (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 2 boxes instant banana cream pudding
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 3 large bananas, sliced
  • 1 box vanilla wafers

Whisk pudding mix and milk in a large bowl according to the package directions. Chill covered, following package directions, or overnight.

For the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream and the cream of coconut with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

To build the trifle, assemble a layer of banana slices on the bottom of a trifle or large glass bowl. Top bananas with a layer of pudding, then a layer of wafers, then a layer of whipped cream. Repeat layering until you run out of ingredients, or fill the bowl, finishing with a layer of whipped cream. Top with shredded coconut and add a ring of wafers if you’d like to finish decorating (as shown above).

You’ll want to assemble the trifle at least a few hours before serving. Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve.





Blueberry and Sweet Corn Oatmeal Bake

1 03 2015

Here’s an easy baked oatmeal that you can whip up over the weekend and enjoy for breakfast throughout the week. While the corn may seem like a strange ingredient, it’s a creative way to sneak in a serving of veggies. If it’s too strange for you, just leave it out and it won’t affect the dish.

Blueberry and Sweet Corn Oatmeal Bake

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Fresh Fork Market):

  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn (you’ll just need enough to line the bottom of the casserole dish)
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
  • Plain yogurt for topping

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a 1.5 or 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Spread corn in an even layer on the bottom of the casserole. Then top with a layer of blueberries, making sure to reserve some for the top. Note: if you use frozen corn and/or blueberries, be sure to thaw and drain them first.

In a bowl mix together the oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pour the mixture over the corn and blueberries in the casserole.

To save on dishes, use the same bowl and whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla and honey. Whisk well until the honey is fully incorporated. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the oats.

Top with the diced butter and the remaining blueberries. Bake uncovered for 35 – 50 minutes, until baked through and bubbly, but not runny and also browned on top.

Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with yogurt.