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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Cauliflower and BBQ Pulled Pork Shepherd’s Pie

24 11 2014

The next time you make BBQ pulled pork, do yourself a favor and make extra and freeze it to use later in this deliciously healthy casserole! Seriously, this is divine…giving you all the comfort and none of the guilt! Topped with a creamy mashed cauliflower, you’ll think you’re indulging in an over-the-top potato Shepherd’s pie, when you’ll really be devouring a meal loaded with veggies.

Cauliflower and BBQ Pulled Pork Shepherd's Pie

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Half a small-medium onion, diced
  • 4 small-medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 heaping cup shredded cabbage
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • BBQ sauce
  • 3-4 cups worth of leftover pulled pork that has been tossed in BBQ sauce (if you have some frozen, just defrost it first)
  • Low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Splash of milk, I use almond milk, but use whatever you have
  • 1 heaping cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add cauliflower florets and boil for 8-10 minutes, until softened, but not mushy. Drain cauliflower in a mesh strainer, shaking out excess water. Return drained cauliflower to the hot pot and allow to sit for a few minutes, so that any remaining water evaporates.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add onions and carrots and cook for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Next add cabbage and stir to combine. Season with salt and for an extra kick, a pinch of red pepper flakes and even some of your favorite hot sauce if desired. Stir in BBQ sauce, either homemade or store-bought, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup (use less sauce if you have a smaller amount of pork, or more sauce if you have a larger amount – you just want the mixture to be heavily coated so it stays moist while it bakes). Add leftover pulled pork and toss until everything is combined. Add a splash or so of chicken stock to thin the sauce slightly, and cook for just a few minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt. Remove from heat.

Add cooked cauliflower florets to a food processor, along with sour cream, milk and salt to taste. Process until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese and process again. Taste and season with additional salt if needed. If you don’t have a food processor, you can easily mash by hand – it might not be as smooth, but you’ll still get the job done! 🙂

Add the pulled pork mixture to the prepared casserole dish, spreading out in an even layer. Top with the mashed cauliflower, spreading in an even layer over the pulled pork mixture. Top cauliflower with remaining cheese, you can even add more if you’d like.

Bake casserole, uncovered, until bubbling hot, 45 minutes to an hour. The cheese will be melted and starting to brown and the cauliflower with set like mashed potatoes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so before plating. Serve garnished with chopped parsley or cilantro.





Leftover Thanksgiving Hash

23 11 2014

Thought I’d kick off Thanksgiving week with a meal that features leftover turkey, perfect for brunch or dinner the day after the big feast! Hash is so versatile, making it a great vehicle for using up leftovers or random ingredients you have lying around. You can use any leftover roasted potato you have, roasted chicken in place of the turkey, as well as any green you have in place of the cabbage. Easy and delicious!

Leftover Thanksgiving Hash

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

  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled, diced and roasted (or any leftover roasted potato)
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh sage, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Half a small-medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
  • Roasted turkey, shredded or diced
  • 2 eggs, fried, poached or however you like it
  • Black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Toss diced sweet potatoes with a little olive oil, two leaves of fresh minced sage, salt and granulated garlic to taste. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silpat and roast for about 20 minutes until soft and browned, turning once half-way through. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat some olive oil (a few turns of the pan) over medium. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and a few minced sage leaves and cook until fragrant, another minute. Add apple and cabbage and cook until apple begins to soften and cabbage wilts, 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste.

Add roasted sweet potatoes and turkey and cook until everything is hot and combined, a few minutes. While the hash if finishing, cook eggs however you like them, such as fried or poached.

Dish out the hash and top with cooked egg. Season egg with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with hot sauce.





Lemon Chicken Piccata Over Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli

2 09 2014

I originally made this lemon chicken piccata over the weekend for a bachelorette party, to go along with the spaghetti aglio e olio with marinated tomatoes I shared yesterday. But tonight, I served some of the leftover chicken and sauce over spaghetti squash and roasted broccoli to make a new meal. Below I show how to make this new meal all at once though.

The piccata recipe originated from Giada De Laurentiis, which my Mama adapted and gave to me. I have since slightly altered my Ma’s version. Thanks ladies! My twist is to kick up the flavor and lemon taste in this chicken by seasoning and adding lemon zest to it the night before I’m going to serve it.

Lemon Chicken Piccata Over Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat with inspiration from This Girl’s Mama and Giada De Laurentiis):

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts thinly sliced – if you can’t find them packaged this way in your local grocery store (which will save you time), use 2 large breasts and sliced them horizontally in half and then pound them thin
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Lemon zest
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Unsalted butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
  • Grated parmesan or romano cheese

Season the chicken the night before you want to serve it with salt, pepper and lemon zest to taste on both sides. Store covered in the fridge.

When you’re ready to make dinner, preheat oven to 400. Poke small holes all over the spaghetti squash with a knife or fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.

While the squash cools, toss the broccoli florets with a little olive oil and just a little salt on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 Tbsp of butter and 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Dredge the seasoned chicken in a little bit of flour, shaking off the excess. When the butter and oil are melted and start to sizzle, add the chicken. Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes or so until it begins to brown. Flip it over and cook another 3 minutes until the other side is browned. When nicely browned, remove from the pan to a plate and set aside.

Deglaze the hot skillet with the lemon juice, scrapping up any brown bits that may have formed. Next add the chicken broth and the capers. Bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter. You can either plate the sauce as is, or if you want it a little richer, add another Tbsp or so of cold butter to the pan and whisk to combine. Remove sauce from heat.

Cut the cooled squash in half and discard the seeds. Using a fork, scrape the flesh out of the skin of the squash over a bowl. Discard the leftover skin. Toss the squash with just a little olive oil and a pinch of salt.

To serve, divide the spaghetti squash and broccoli among plates. Nestle chicken in the middle and top with sauce. Garnish with a good helping of chopped parsley and serve with parmesan or romano cheese.





Leftover Italian Sausage With Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Pepper Pizza

13 08 2014

You’ve heard me say this before, and you’ll hear me say it again…and again…and again. Leftovers don’t have to be boring! It takes mere minutes to use up last night’s leftovers, but in a completely different dish. And this is the reason I make meals that serve 3-4 people, when primarily I’m only cooking for me and the hubby…for the leftovers baby!

Italian Sausage With Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Pepper Pizza

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

Preheat oven to 400.

Place naan on a pizza stone side by side. Distribute the leftover onions and peppers between the naan, evenly spreading all over. Next, top with the sliced sausage.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the sausage and peppers are heated through. Remove from the oven, top evenly with cheese and place back in the oven. Bake for a few more minutes until the cheese melts.

Remove from the oven and top with some red pepper flakes and basil to garnish before serving.





Grilled Eggplant and Shroom Napoleons with a Meat Marinara Sauce

12 05 2014

I played a little “Chopped” tonight based on a few ingredients I wanted to use up. Primarily, I wanted to turn leftover burgers into something better. So I pulled out an eggplant, portobello shrooms, cheese and crushed tomatoes…and napoleons quickly became my vehicle! If you were to join us for this dinner, you wouldn’t even know this sauce was made with leftover burgers, it’s that good! 🙂

Grilled Eggplant and Shroom Napoleons with a Meat Marinara Sauce

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

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1-inch slices
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, stem removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fontinella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup diced onion, either red or yellow will work
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 leftover burgers, finely chopped
  • Half a large 28 oz can, or a 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp reduced-fat, low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 leaves fresh basil
  • Kosher salt
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush eggplant slices and mushroom caps with a little olive oil on both sides and season lightly with salt. Grill with the lid open, a few minutes on each side until nice grill marks show and the veggies soften. Remove eggplant and shrooms from the grill to a baking sheet, place sliced cheese on top, however much you like, and set aside. The cheese will begin to melt since the veggies are hot, but you’ll want to finish them off in the oven. Right before you place in the oven, sprinkle a little grated parmesan on top of the other cheese first.

Preheat oven to 400.

Meanwhile, add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until softened and just beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, another minute. Add minced leftover burgers and mix everything together. Next, add crushed tomatoes, mix well, and bring to a low boil. Add the beef broth and basil, reduce heat to low. Simmer sauce, stirring often, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

I served this meal with a side of roasted broccoli. Cut a head of broccoli into florets and toss with a little olive oil, kosher salt and garlic powder to taste. Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or so, until softened and beginning to brown, but still bright green color. Be sure to toss half-way through.

During the last few minutes of the broccoli roasting, add the eggplant and shrooms to reheat. Roast just a few minutes until the cheese fully melts.

To serve, place a little of the sauce on your plates. Place a large piece of eggplant on top, and add a tad more sauce. Next add a portobello cap and a little more sauce. Top with another slice of eggplant and finish with a little more sauce, parmesan cheese and parsley as garnish. Serve along with roasted broccoli, or a salad.





Roasted Potato Ends

22 04 2014

There’s not much I let go to waste around my kitchen! While making twice-baked potatoes for my family’s Easter dinner, we roasted up the ends of the cooked potatoes that otherwise would have been discarded. They made for a tasty snack, and I saved on waste…a perfect idea to share on Earth Day!

Roasted Potato Ends

Roasted Potato Ends

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

  • Trimmed ends of cooked potatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder

Toss the ends of cooked potatoes (see twice-baked potatoes) with olive oil, enough to coat the ends evenly. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste and toss well.

Bake at 425 degrees on a baking sheet until the ends start to crisp up, 10-15 minutes. If you wanted to do this with raw potato ends up could, they would just take longer to roast.

You could also top these with shredded cheese before baking too, almost like a mini potato skin!