Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole

It has been sheer insanity around here over the last few days and it will take a small miracle for me to catch up on all my blogging. This was an AMAZING breakfast casserole and I almost didn't get a finished photo of it because everyone practically dove to eat it! Halfway through serving I realized that I didn't have a picture and took a quick shot. Definitely give this one a try!

Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole
  • 1 pound ground sausage (I used hot sausage)
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian blend herbs or 1 teaspoon each: fresh chopped basil, oregano and rosemary (optional) I used 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 day old french baguette, chopped in cubes
  • 1 – 8 oz package shredded mild cheddar cheese
Cut the bread into cubes and set aside.

In a skillet brown the sausage.

When it is no longer pink add the peppers and scallions. Cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. If you are making the casserole to eat today, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and italian seasoning in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, bread cubes and half of the cheese and stir to combine.

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray and pour the mixture into the pan. Cover with the remaining cheese. You can either refrigerate it overnight and bake it in the morning, or you can bake it now.

Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Source: The Family Kitchen

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Glass Block Jello

I saw this on one of my favorite blogs "Our Best Bites" and thought it was so creative and fun! When Isabella saw it she begged me to make it for her class Christmas party. I had to try it! This was not difficult at all! I got tons of questions about how in the world I got white jello and a lot of people who asked for the recipe.

Holiday Glass Block Jello

  • 4 3oz boxes of assorted color jello
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
The first thing you want to do is get the containers ready for the jello. You can use rubbermaid containers or any reusable plastic container if you want. Spray the inside of the containers with cooking spray and set aside.

Boil 5+ cups of water to a boil. You will combine each packet of jello with 1 cup of water and stir to combine. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.

(notice that I only used three colors...that was a mistake on my part! I ended up making two batches of the red color)

When the colored jello is ready you can move on to the next step. In a small bowl combine the 2 packets of unflavored gelatin with 1/2 cup of cold water. Stir together. It will not look pretty and that doesn't matter, at all. Let it sit for a few minutes while you bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil.

Pour the boiling water over the unflavored gelatin and add the sweetened condensed milk. Mix thoroughly. Allow the mixture to cool.

While you are waiting for it to cool you can work on cutting the jello into cubes. Using a small sharp knife (paring knife works best), cut the jello into small cubes.

Spray a 9x13 pan lightly with cooking spray and then lay the jello in the bottom of the dish.

Try to mix the colors up a little and give it a nice look! :) When the milk mixture is cooled, pour it over the top of the jello cubes.

Refrigerate it on a level surface in the refrigerator overnight (minimum of 8 hours) and then cut into desired size squares or shapes.

Be prepare for lots of questions on how you made these! Thanks again to Our Best Bites for another fantastic idea!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seven Layer Magic Bars

This is one of those Christmas recipes that will never fail you. It is quick and delicious. I can't believe how fast it is to make! When you have a million different things going on at once a recipe like this is heaven sent!

Seven Layer Magic Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9X13 pan with aluminum foil, making sure to cover the sides well. Cut the butter into 8 pieces and lay them in the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and let the butter melt. It should only take a few minutes.

Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the butter evenly.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham crackers.

Now sprinkle the butterscotch chips.

Add the chocolate chips (I used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips and swirl chocolate & white chocolate).

Add the coconut layer.

Last but not least, add the pecans to the top.

Press gently down with a fork on the entire surface. You want to pack it down to make sure everything is firmly packed.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.

Cool and then cut into pieces. You should be able to lift the entire batch from the pan with the foil and then gently peel back the sides. Cut into desired size bars.

Store in a airtight container at room temperature.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lemon-Parsley Gougères

Christmas Eve is a big deal at our house. Every year I host an open house style get together for my family and we have a blast! I look forward to this night all year (well, except for all the work!). I wanted to have a menu this year that would not only be delicious, but that would allow me to do a lot of the work ahead of time so I could actually relax and enjoy the night with everyone else! I usually end up standing in front of the stove cooking all night and wish that I could relax and spend time with my family. This is an example of one of the great recipes I am making that can be made ahead of time. They can be frozen and then the night of the party they can go in the oven for about 5 minutes and they will be good to go! I ended up making two batches of these tonight. The first one was amazing, but I wasn't expecting the cayenne pepper to be as spicy as it ended up being. For the second batch I only used 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne and then I added 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt. I think it was a great change to this already amazing Martha Stewart recipe. Don't be afraid to change up the spices to use what you like!

Lemon-Parsley Gougères

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs (4 for the dough and 1 for the egg wash)
  • zest of 1 lemon (I ran through it with the knife to create smaller pieces of zest)
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Add the water, butter, salt and cayenne to a small pot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil just until the butter is melted.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate.

Return the pan to the heat and continue to stir the mixture until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides (about 1 minute).

Remove pan from the burner to complete. Add the 4 eggs, 1 at a time, to the dough and stir until it is completely absorbed.

Once all 4 eggs have been added and you've given your arms a nice good workout, you can add the lemon zest, parsley and scallions.

Give it a nice stir and you're ready to get them on a pan.

You have a few different options for baking. You can either spoon the dough into a pastry bag and pipe small 1 inch circles on a parchment lined baking sheet (like I did), or you can just drop the dough on the sheet with a small melon baller or a teaspoon. I liked the look of the pastry bag, they came out cute! I purchased the one I have in the baking aisle at the grocery store for about $3.00 and that included about 5 tips. Nothing fancy, at all!

Once you have them piped on the baking sheet they are ready for the egg wash. Beat the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon of water and then very lightly brush the top of each of the gougères.

Bake them for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Look how light and airy they are!

You can either serve them immediately, or you can freeze them in an airtight container (like I am) for future use. Once frozen you can just pop them back on a baking sheet and reheat at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes and serve! How easy is that?!?