Monday, March 6, 2017

Baked French Toast Casserole

For a Paula Deen recipe this actually wasn't tooooo unhealthy! Super easy for a morning brunch AND the directions actually want you to make it the night before - so no super early morning preparing! This would be easy enough to make multiple batches and was so tasty!!

Both kids said they didn't like french toast - tried some and changed their minds!

I served this baked french toast with bacon, Bacon and Spinach Quiche, and fresh fruit. A perfectly easy mostly make ahead brunch!

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
Adapted from Paula Deen
Serves 6 to 8

1 loaf Challah bread (16 ounces) cut/ripped into 1 inch squares
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup 1% milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt

Praline Topping - combine the following ingredients in a medium bowl:
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans/waluts
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Tear or slice bread into 1-inch squares. Arrange cubes in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and wisk until well blended. 
Pour mixture over the bread and make sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. 
Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake (without foil) for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. 
Serve with maple syrup.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Um, this was incredible and totally was perfect for brunch! It has protein right?! I swapped out the heavy cream for half and half, used 1/3 pound of bacon, omitted the extra salt, and only used a small sprinkle of cheese. I adjusted the amounts and it will JUST fit into the 9 inch pie plate. If you are going to add more cheese I would reduce the bacon and use 5 eggs.

This is easy enough to make the morning of your brunch within an hour (about 15 minutes of prep work) - but make the bacon the night before!

I baked the bacon at 350F for 15 minutes on a foil lined cookie tray.

Spinach and Bacon Quiche
adapted from Paula Deen
serves 8

6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups half and half
2 cup chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
1/3 pound bacon, cooked well done and crumbled
A sprinkle of cheese (cheddar, Swiss, or mozzarella)
3 scallions, chopped
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake pie crust in 9 inch pie plate for 10 minutes.

Microwave spinach for 2-3 minutes, then chop. Squeeze spinach in a couple paper towels or a cheese cloth to remove most of the water.
Whisk the eggs, cream, and pepper in a large bowl - really really well!

On the hot pie crust add a sprinkle of cheese (this helps keep the crust from getting soggy), then add the spinach, scallions, and the crumbled bacon.
Pour the egg mixture on top. 
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is mostly set with a slight jiggle. 
Cut into 8 wedges.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Chicken Chow Mein

We have soooo many Chinese noodles in our house right now! I have been looking for recipes to start to use them up. This one jumped out at me because we had a lot of the ingredients already in the house. I only needed to get cabbage and bean sprouts!

Don't be overwhelmed by the steps, just prep all your ingredients before starting to cook. Things move quick when you stir fry!

I used my large dutch oven pot because when you add the cabbage it gets quite tall and it is easier to mix everything with the higher sides. Often I crowd my pan because I'm making a lot... someday I'll do it correctly. When the pan gets crowded things steam more and won't get as crispy/browned. Things will still cook but it changes the texture a little bit. The recipe below is updated to what I used to feed 2 adults and 2 big kids (pre-teen age kids).

There are a lot of different types of Chinese noodles that you can use. I used regular thin wheat noodles that are similar to a linguine. Dried rice noodles and fresh noodles can also be used too.

I was intrigued by coating the chicken in the baking soda. Cooks Illustrated validated this technique so I continued to follow the directions. It really made a big difference in the chicken breast!! According to other websites make sure you rinse it off and don't let it sit for longer then 15 minutes. 

The cabbage seemed like a lot but wilted down to next to nothing!

Recipe Tin Eats: Charlie Sauce - This is the link to make the larger quantity of sauce to keep in your fridge. This has quite a bit of kick to it. I followed the recipe and only used 1 tsp of the white pepper. I would use 1/2 - 3/4 of a tsp next time. It did seem very salty but I used all low-sodium soy sauce. I am going to investigate the all purpose soy sauce for next time. 

Chicken Chow Mein
adapted from Recipe Tin Eats
Serves: 4-5 adult size portions

4 cups chicken thigh breast, cut into bite size pieces
½ tsp baking soda
1½ tbsp olive oil
16 oz noodles
6-8 cups green cabbage (savoy/green/napa), finely shredded
2 carrot, matchsticks
2 cup bean sprouts
6 scallions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Chow Mein Sauce
Chow Mein Sauce: mix all ingredients
4 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 White pepper
  • Combine chicken and baking soda in a small bowl and toss to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate, then rinse chicken well and pat dry.
  • Pour 2 tbsp of Chow Mein Sauce over the chicken and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Prepare the noodles according to the package instructions.
  • Heat oil in wok or large fry pan over high heat.
  • Add garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds until the garlic is golden brown and you can smell the garlic in the oil. 
  • Add chicken and stir fry until the skin is white but the inside is still raw - about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Add the cabbage, carrot, and the white pieces of scallions. Stir fry for 1 - 1½ minutes until the cabbage is just starting to wilt and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Add the cooked & drained noodles, Chow Mein sauce and water. Toss to coat everything in the sauce.
  • Add bean sprouts and remaining shallots/scallions. Stir and remove from heat. Serve immediately

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Black Bean Enchiladas

Looking for a quick semi homemade meal? Look no further! I was able to put this meal together in about 15 minutes and then leave it to cook later that day. Corn tortillas will break - but don't worry, you are covering them in sauce and cheese so any broken tortillas will blend in.

From the original recipe...what changes did I make?
  • Reduce cheese from 24 ounces of cheese to 8 ounces of cheese because I'm a not a huge fan of cheese. You can easily add more if you prefer but I thought it was plenty cheesy.
  • I used Wegmans organic black beans because they use less salt. 
  • I couldn't find Wegmans enchilada sauce so I used a can of El Paso enchilada sauce.
According to reviewers if you don't have a Wegmans nearby you can use black bean soup and doctor it up with some Mexican inspired spices, onion, and peppers. 

I think adding chopped spinach to the black bean mix, topping with cilantro, or adding in shredded chicken would also make this quite tasty!

Black Bean Enchiladas
adapted from Wegmans
makes 12 enchiladas 

2 cans (15 oz each) Black Beans (I used organic to reduce the sodium)
16 oz container Wegmans Caribbean Black Bean Soup
2-3 cups of Shredded Mexican Cheese
10 oz can of Red Enchilada Sauce
1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Add 1 can beans to large bowl; mash into paste. Add remaining beans, soup, and 1/2 cheese; stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Heat tortillas in microwave for 30 seconds so they are soft and pliable. 
  • Spread 1/4 cup sauce on bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish. 
  • Spread 1/4 cup bean mixture in the center of each tortilla. Gently roll up; place seam-side down in casserole dish. Arrange in 2 rows of 6 in each casserole dish. 
  • Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining shredded cheese.
  • Bake, covered with foil, 25 min; remove foil. 
  • Bake 5-10 min until sauce bubbles. 
  • Remove from oven; let rest 5-10 min before serving. Garnish with green onions.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Slow Cooked Asian Chuck Roast

It is a new year and I am going to again say that I'm going to post once a week! I'd like to try one new recipe each week. I have a few recipes tagged and I'm really looking forward to what comes next!

This week I made a Slow Cooked Asian Chuck Roast which is a Wegmans recipe. 

A few changes:
- Used a dutch oven instead of crock pot
- Used prepared dried noodles instead of the frozen Udon noodles
- Instead of pan searing flour I used flour with a pinch of salt and white pepper
- Canned baby corn instead of frozen since it wasn't at the grocery store
- Fresh broccoli instead of frozen since that is what I had at home

The Thai stock smells amazing! It is a great way to add flavor without needing a purchase lot of ingredients. I have 2 cups left so I need to figure out how to use the rest of it! I'm thinking noodle soup!

The BBQ sauce had a bit of kick too it but it actually was sweet when it had all cooked out.

Slow Cooked Asian Chuck Roast
Adapted from Wegmans
serves 4

2 1/2 - 3 lbs Boneless Beef Chuck Roast
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 bottle (20 oz) Asian-Style BBQ Sauce
2 cups Thai Culinary Stock
1 can Baby Corn, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
16 oz (1 package) Broccoli
Chinese Noodles, prepared per pkg directions

Dust meat with flour; pat off excess. Heat oil in large braising pan on med-high, until oil faintly smokes. Add meat. Brown, turning to brown all sides, 3-4 min per side. (move to slow cooker if using). Stir in BBQ sauce and stock.

Cook meat in slow-cooker 4-5 hours on high or 7-9 hours on low or in dutch oven for 2-3 hours. Remove just the meat and transfer to clean platter.

Add corn and broccoli to slow-cooker on high; stir to combine. Cover; cook 5-15 min, or until vegetables are thoroughly heated. Stir in noodles; transfer to serving platter and top with meat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Baked Ginger-Soy Chicken Wings

I made these for New Years and a couple times since! Super easy. Get the frozen Tysons wings or you can get the wingettes from the store. It is cheaper to get the wings with first, second, and third parts...but then you have to spend a lot of time cutting the third parts off. I recommend paying the extra ten cents to have it already cut!

Changes: Instead of straining the sauce I left the ginger pieces in and tossed the wings in with it. I drizzled the rest of the sauce over the wings when everything was done being cooked.

Crispy Baked Ginger-Soy Chicken Wings
adapted from Epicurious

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 2x1 inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced

2.5lbs chicken wings
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper


  • Bring all ingredients and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve honey.
  • Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/4 cup, 7-8 minutes. 
  • Strain into a medium bowl. 
  • Let sit for 15 minutes to thicken slightly. 
Note: Can be made 5 days ahead.  Cover; chill; Rewarm before using.


  • Preheat oven to 400°.  
  • Combine oil, salt, pepper, and wings in a large bowl; toss to coat. 
  • Place wings on cookie sheet covered in tin foil or silpat mat and spread out in a single layer. 
  • Bake wings until cooked through and skin is crispy, 45-50 minutes. 
  • Dip wings in ginger-soy sauce and toss to evenly coat. Place wings back in a single layer on prepared rack and bake until glaze is glossy and lightly caramelized, 8-10 minutes.