Friday, December 23, 2011

Breakfast Casserole

This is so easy and very yummy!  

6 slices white bread cut into cubes
1 pound sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Put the first three ingredients in a buttered 7x11 casserole dish. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and dry mustard and pour over the mixture in the casserole dish. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight. Bake for 1 hour or longer, until puffy and golden brown at 350. Serve hot.

French Toast Casserole

This is a delicious breakfast treat!  It comes from my dear friend Amanda Bratu.  I've had the privilege of having it twice but I admit I've never made it.  

1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
15 - 17 slices of bread
6 eggs
2 cups milk
maple syrup

Melt butter and add brown sugar and cinnamon.  Make a paste and spread over the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

Remove crusts of bread.  Layer two slices over sugar mixture.  Fill in sides and ends with smaller pieces

Beat eggs and milk together and pour over bread.  Bake for 30 - 35 minutes at 350.  Drizzle with syrup and place under the broiler until brown and bubbly.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three "Bark" Candy Recipes

I love “Bark” candies because they’re easy and yet they have an elegance about them.  These are three very different but great recipes.  They freeze very well and they make a lot too.  Great for gifts!  Great for serving if you have last-minute company!  Great for taking to a party! 


Pringle Candy

This comes from my dear friend Delores Bailey.  It’s such a great alternative to the super-sweet stuff around the holidays since it’s more salty-sweet. 

2 packages white chocolate chips, melted 
1 can Spanish peanuts (with red skins) 
1 can regular flavor Pringles (Lays Stacks work okay too), crushed   

Stir ingredients together.  Spread on wax paper until cooled and firm.  Break into pieces.


Peppermint Bark

I honestly don’t know where this recipe came from but I have fond memories of helping my mom make it when I was a kid.  I don’t remember the crushing part (we probably used a hammer and a gallon ziplock bag).  But I do remember having to put the paper tray of almond bark in the oven to melt it (this was before microwave ovens…sure am dating myself here!).  We usually crush the peppermints very fine but if you prefer bigger pieces, that’s fine too.

1 pound white almond bark 
12 ounces peppermint candy, crushed to desired size (I use an old Oster blender for this—a food processor works well, as does a hammer!)  

Melt almond bark and stir in crushed candy.  Spread in a thin layer on wax paper until cool and firm.  Break into pieces.

You can use spearmint as well (I’ve done a batch of each so I could have some green, some pink—beautiful together!)..  The bark can also be molded in candy molds, if desired.  Try to avoid reheating the bark once you’ve stirred the peppermints into it because they will melt and become stringy.


Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Bark

This comes from my dear friend Lisa McAmis.  I have never made it so I’m uncertain of exact measurements so just pour some in.  Lisa swears by this recipe and says it’s delicious…with the given ingredients, I believe her!!

1 pound white almond bark 
Dried cranberries Macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped  

Melt bark, stir in cranberries and nuts.  Spread on wax paper until cool and firm.  Break into pieces.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rocky Road

This is my mom’s go-to recipe for gifts and Christmas.  It came from her best friend’s mom.  A friend of ours submitted it in a contest and won first place!  It’s one of the best easy candy recipes I’ve ever made. 

11 or 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips 
11 or 12 oz. bag butterscotch chips 
1 cup chunky peanut butter
10 oz. bag white mini marshmallows

Melt the chips together in microwave, adding peanut butter during last 20-30 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in marshmallows (if chocolate mixture is hot enough to melt the marshmallows, allow to cool 10 minutes or so--I usually use medium heat on my microwave to prevent this).  Pour into buttered 9x13 pan.  Refrigerate until firm.  Cut into pieces at room temperature.

This freezes great but be sure to freeze in slabs, not little pieces because the marshmallows will get stale.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nestle Fudge with a Peppermint variation by Tammy

This is by far the best fudge recipe I've tried.  The texture is wonderful and while you do cook it, it's not an overly difficult recipe to make.  It's honestly the only recipe that's been no-fail for me!  Be sure to check out the Peppermint Fudge variation at the bottom.

1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup (5 oz. can) evaporated milk 
2 tablespoons butter or margarine 
¼ teaspoon salt 
2 cups miniature white marshmallows 
1 ½ cups (9 oz.) Semi-sweet chocolate chips 
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract   

Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with foil   Combine sugar, milk, butter, and salt in medium heavy-duty pan.  Bring to a full-rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.   Stir in marshmallows, chips, nuts, and vanilla.  Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows and chips are melted.  Pour into prepared baking pan.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.  Lift from pan; remove foil.  Cut into squares.  

Peppermint Variation:  Use white chocolate chips, omit nuts, use peppermint extract instead of vanilla, and add a little red food coloring.  I had to microwave the mixture for 2 minutes on medium heat to melt the chips completely.  Follow the directions as written above.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Don't you love it how you gain the neatest recipes through people whose paths you may only shortly cross?  This came from my brother's speech therapist when we were really little.  This is one of my favorite Christmas cookies.   

In my opinion, these are not your run-of-the-mill thumbprint cookies!  They have such a rich flavor.  I used to only make them at Christmas but I've made them some through the year for special occasions for a couple of years now.  Every time I do, people really comment on them.

1 cup butter softened (no substitutes) 
1 cup sugar  
2 eggs, separated 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 cups flour 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1 ½ cups chopped pecans.   

Cream butter and sugar.  Blend in egg yolks and vanilla.  Add flour and salt and stir until combined.  Chill at least 2 hours.  Shape into balls (I usually use my small cookie scoop and scoop the dough out before chilling...the dough is a bit easier to deal with that way).  

Beat egg whites lightly and drop balls into egg whites, roll in pecans.  Place on greased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and make an imprint in the center with your thumb.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Cool and ice with icing below.   

2 cups powdered sugar 
2 tablespoons soft butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2-3 tablespoons hot water food color (optional)   

Beat until smooth.   When we make these at Christmas, we color half the icing pink and half green.  They are definitely worth the effort!  Have extra pecans on hand…sometimes it takes more than it calls for.

Sometimes I make more of a butter cream icing so I can pipe it onto the cookies.  Both ways are tasty and pretty!