Thursday, April 17, 2014

Baked French Toast Casserole



If you had to make an individual serving of french toast for every single hungry person sitting around your kitchen or dining room table during breakfast or brunch, it would probably take a while, wouldn't it?? what if you could feed everyone, all at once? Good idea, right? You assemble this casserole the night before, pop it into the fridge and put it into the oven about an hour before you want to eat it the next morning. This casserole uses a type of bread called, "Texas Toast."  That kind of bread is thicker than a regular piece of bread, so it absorbs the liquid ingredients better :)  The next time you are serving brunch or breakfast for a crowd, think about putting this casserole on the "menu!"


Ingredients

1/2 cup margarine, melted
12 slices Texas Toast, cut in half
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

Melt margarine slowly in a small saucepan or microwave. Pour into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Set aside. In small bowl, put the light brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until blended with a large spoon and set aside. In medium bowl, put the vanilla extract, eggs and milk.  Stir until well mixed with a  fork.  Set aside. On the bottom of pan, put 12 halves of the bread - three rows down, four rows across.  Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture evenly on top of the bread slices. Put another 12 halves of the bread on top - again, three rows down, four rows across.  Pour the egg and milk mixture evenly over the bread halves. Sprinkle the other half of the brown sugar mixture evenly on top.  Cover with a  piece of foil and put in the fridge for a minimum of eight hours. When ready to eat, preheat oven to 350 degrees, remove the piece of foil and replace with a new piece of foil and put into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the foil and cook an additional 20-25 minutes or until the casserole is starting to brown and is set in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool about 5-10 minutes. Serve with or without maple syrup!  Makes 12 servings.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Orange Scones



My grandmother who lived to be 101 years old once told me, "Cathy, you can use all the parts of a pig but the squeal!" It took me a minute to realize what she meant and then the light bulb went on :) She was telling me that there was more than one use for a pig.  As I was squeezing the juice out of an orange to make these scones, I was wondering what other use the orange could have. Of course!! I can use the skin, also known as "zest." Since I wasn't 100% sure what the word "zest" meant, I looked it up. According to Wikipedia, it is, "a food ingredient that is prepared by scraping or cutting from the outer, colorful skin of unwaxed citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, citron and lime." I don't know that I've ever put "zest" in anything I've ever baked, so this was a first. When I was taking these scones off the baking sheet and transferring them to a wire rack, Dominic took one look and said, "cookie." I told him they were scones and asked him if he wanted one.  He is always willing to try my baked goods and will give me his honest opinion.  He proclaimed these to be "good!"  Cool, I thought they were pretty good too!
 

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons shortening
1/8 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
3/4 cup milk

Topping:

1/4 teaspoon white sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  In medium bowl, put the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using two knives, "cut" in the shortening. Make a small "well" in the middle and add the orange juice, zest and milk.  Mix well with large spoon. On a lightly floured surface, press the dough out to a round circle about eight inches in diameter.  With a knife, slice into eight equal triangles.  Sprinkle the 1/4 teaspoon of white sugar evenly over all eight scones. Place on the baking sheet and put in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until they are turning brown on the bottom.  Remove immediately to a wire rack to cool.  Makes eight scones.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Make It Your Own Trail Mix



Have you ever heard of GORP? It's actually another name for trail mix.  The four letters supposedly stand for "good old raisins and peanuts." When I think of trail mix, I automatically think of hikers. It's a snack you take with you to keep your energy up while walking for long periods of time. A handful of  potato chips might taste good at the moment, but it probably wouldn't fill you up as well as a combination of dried fruits, nuts or seeds :)  If you look around in your pantry, you might have the "makings" of a trail mix already. Out of the six ingredients I put in my version, I had four "on hand." This is a very portable snack, just scoop a 1/2 cup or so into a small container with a lid or into a zippered sandwich bag and you are ready to roll!! I guess I could call my concoction, BCRAPP (to stand for butterscotch, Cheerios, raisins, almonds, pineapple and pretzels), but that really doesn't sound too appetizing, does it?!?!  I think for now I'll stick with MIYOTM (make it your own trail mix)!!

Ingredients

1 cup butterscotch chips
2 cups Cheerios
1 cup yogurt covered raisins
1 cup almonds, lightly salted
1 cup dried pineapple, sweetened
2 cups small pretzels

In large bowl, put all the ingredients in the order given and mix well with large spoon. Makes 16 half-cup servings. Store covered in a dry, cool place.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins




 

Have you ever had a cinnamon sugar doughnut? They are pretty yummy aren't they? If you want to try and make homemade doughnuts yourself, there are a few companies out there that manufacture electric doughnut makers or you could buy a special doughnut pan.  Since I don't own an electric doughnut maker or a special pan, what if you could take the flavors you would find in a doughnut, but make it into a muffin? My family has gotten used to there always being some kind of homemade "bakery" item sitting on the kitchen counter. When I made these cinnamon sugar doughnut muffins this past Saturday morning, I figured they would last three or four days.  By Monday morning, this is how many were left:


Hmm, guess the kitchen "staff" needs to get busy whipping up some more baked goods!!!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Topping:

1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  Set aside. In large bowl, put all ingredients in the order shown above (except the topping).  Combine well, but don't over mix. Distribute batter evenly between the paper liners.  Set aside.  In small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together with a small spoon.  Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly on the tops of all the muffins.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  Let cool five minutes and then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.  Makes 12 muffins.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Barbeque Chicken Pizza


Do you like pizza? Do you like barbeque chicken? How about combining both together to make a barbeque chicken pizza? I made this at lunchtime yesterday and gobbled down two pieces.  Last night was leftover night and this pizza was one of the items on the "menu." When I told the hubby that this pizza used barbeque sauce instead of tomato/pizza sauce, to say he was more than a bit skeptical would be an understatement! What's that old saying? Don't knock it, until you try it??  Well, he tried it and he liked it. I love it when I'm right :)


Ingredients

11-ounce tube refrigerated thin pizza crust
      (I used Pillsbury)
1 cup barbeque sauce, any brand/any flavor
     (I used Kraft Hickory Smoke)
2 five-ounce cans chunk chicken breast
     (packed in water), any brand, drained
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 12-inch round pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray and then press the pizza crust evenly into the pan and set aside.  In medium size bowl, put the chicken breast and break the bigger chunks of chicken into smaller pieces with a fork.  Add the one cup of barbeque sauce and mix together well with large spoon.  Spread the barbeque and chicken mixture evenly over the entire pizza crust. Sprinkle the one cup of mozzarella cheese evenly on top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the bottom starts to brown.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Baking Powder Drop Biscuits



At the last minute for dinner tonight, I decided I wanted to make homemade biscuits.  Since the rest of the meal was almost done, I didn't have time to knead, roll out dough and use the biscuit cutter. My family was hungry!  Did I open up a can of biscuits? Nope, I didn't have any in the fridge (I usually do have at least one can in reserve).  Since I didn't want to skip making homemade biscuits, I was racking my brain about what to do.  Earlier last week, I found the most amazing recipe for baking powder biscuits in a cookbook from 1927 - it had 10 variations! One of the variations was for drop biscuits which I knew I could make quickly and serve with our dinner. This past Wednesday, I made another variation of the baking powder biscuits that used peanut butter. Those biscuits were okay, but could use a little "tweaking" before they make it to this blog!!  When I was serving up the dinner (marinated boneless pork chops, fresh broccoli and baked potatoes),  my husband looked at the baking powder drop biscuits and said "they look different."  He is so used to seeing a perfectly round biscuit (either canned or homemade), he wasn't quite sure what to make of the "drop" biscuits.  After dinner, I asked him to rate them. He told me they were a 10 out of 10!  Cool, I'm glad he liked my "different" biscuits :)



Ingredients

2 cups white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In medium bowl, put the flour, baking powder and salt.  Using two knives, "cut" in the shortening until it is well incorporated.  Pour the milk in and mix well with large spoon. The batter will be a bit sticky, but that's fine. Drop by large tablespoonfuls (12 biscuits in all) onto the cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the biscuits are starting to turn lightly brown.  Remove immediately to wire rack. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Applesauce and Oatmeal Muffins



I bought some apples in a bag recently that I was thinking at some point of making into apple muffins. Unfortunately, once I got the bag open, almost all the apples had TONS of bruises. Lauren told me they were "mushy."  Hmm,  that only means one thing, I'll "experiment" using applesauce instead and see how that works. Well, my first attempt at making these didn't turn out too well.  The consistency was kind of  like a hockey puck :( Too bad Dominic doesn't play ice hockey - he would have had some good practice pucks! Anyways, my second attempt was definitely more successful!  Around the same time I was baking these this past Wednesday, I tossed out some pieces of stale bread into the backyard.  This deer came close to the kitchen window and was looking at me.  I think he or she would have preferred one of my muffins instead :)  If you look closely, to the left of the deer you can still see a scrap of bread sitting on the ground!!

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup sweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and fill a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  Set aside.  In large bowl, put all ingredients in the order given except the oats.  Combine well with large spoon and then gently "fold" in the oats.  Distribute evenly between the paper liners and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.  Remove from oven.  Let cool five minutes and then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.  Makes 12 muffins.