Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Overnight Baked French Toast

"My hubby came up with this yummy recipe.  It's the perfect way to prepare French toast for overnight guests or large gatherings, because you can prepare it the night before and bake several servings at once in the morning.  Make it for your next breakfast or brunch and Good Morning to you!"

"Yummy French toast served with butter & maple syrup and garnished with fresh raspberries from the garden!"

8 slices of Texas Toast
1 cup of Half and Half
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 
butter, for serving
syrup of your choice
fresh raspberries, to garnish, if desired
In an 8x8 baking dish, whisk together Half and Half, egg yolks, sugar and nutmeg until completely combined.  Dip each slice of Texas toast in the egg mixture, making sure to soak both sides completely.  Allow excess egg mixture to drain off of toast and place on a large (11x15) parchment paper covered sheet pan.  You could also cover the sheet pan with a Sil-pat silicone mat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
The next morning when ready to prepare the French toast, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover toast and place in oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Flip toast over and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve French Toast with butter, maple syrup, or your favorite syrup.  Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired.  ENJOY!        

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Green Bean Casserole

"This casserole is a blast from the past!  My Mom made it for dinner when my sister and I were little girls and my husband told me that his Mother also made it for his family when he was young.  Oh the good ole' days when 'casseroles' were hip and families sat at the dinner table together to share the evening meal!  I recently made this stick-to-your-ribs dinner for my husband and I and it brought back memories the second I took the first bite.  It's funny how food can do that!  I hope you try this recipe and whether it's for the first time, or if like us, it's a recipe from your childhood, sit down and enjoy an old-fashioned meal with your family.  Who knows maybe you'll create a memory of your own!"  
Ready for assembling

"It looks yummy even before baking!"

"We served it with bread and butter.  Just like I enjoyed it when I was little."

 "I Love Casseroles!"
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
salt & pepper, to taste
1-(14.5 ounce) can French-style green beans, drained
1-(10-3/4 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1-(8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (The original recipe didn't call for cheese, but I thought it would be yummy!)
Mashed Potatoes (Recipe follows.)*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large sauté pan, brown ground beef with diced onion, salt and pepper; drain if needed.  Stir in green beans, tomato soup and tomato sauce.  Heat through.  Transfer to a casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Top with prepared mashed potatoes.  Sprinkle on cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Mashed Potatoes:
5-6 potatoes (I used Yukon gold potatoes, but you can use russet or red also.)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, cubed**
salt & pepper, to taste
Peel and cut potatoes into chunks.  Starting with salted cold water, bring potatoes to a boil and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain.  Using a potato masher, mash potatoes, along with butter.  Add milk and season with desired amount of salt and pepper.
*Tip:  If you don't have enough time to make homemade mashed potatoes, purchase prepared at the grocery store and save a step to get dinner on the table even quicker.
**The butter will melt faster, if cubed.     

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mocha Cupcakes

"I made these cupcakes for my hubby's Birthday this year.  Chocolate and coffee together is one of his favorite flavor combinations.  I must admit it's one of my favorites too!"
Mocha Cupcakes:
1 Chocolate cake mix
Oil and eggs called for on the box
Substitute cold, strong brewed coffee for the water called for on the box

Preheat oven and prepare cake mix according to package directions, substituting coffee for the water called for on the box.  Place cupcake liners in cupcake/muffin tins. Divide batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full. Bake according to package directions for cupcakes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Frost with Mocha Frosting (recipe follows).

Mocha Frosting:
1 stick or 1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup cocoa powder 
2 pound bag of powdered sugar
8 Tablespoons cold, strong brewed coffee
6 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons milk

Cream together butter and shortening.  Mix in cocoa powder.  Add powdered sugar a little at a time until all combined.  (Mixture will seem very dry and crumbly, but don't worry when you add the remaining ingredients it will all combine together into a very spreadable frosting.)  Add coffee, corn syrup and milk  Mix until completely incorporated.  Frost cupcakes and decorate.*  Store in refrigerator until needed.

*I used cute little Wilton Pinwheel Party Picks to decorate my hubby's Birthday cupcakes. 

"These cupcakes would be so cute for any Summer celebration; including Memorial Day, 4th of July or Labor Day barbecues or picnics!"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apple Days Are Here Again!

"I love Fall!  It's my favorite season.  I love when the leaves change into hues of yellow, orange and red and the air is crisp and cool.  One of the best parts of Fall is that it's apple season.  Apples are ripe and crunchy and perfect to add to recipes.  I've collected some of my favorite apple recipes and I'm sharing them with you.  Happy Fall Y'all!!!"    
Chunky Apple Cinnamon Mini Pies
24 ounce jar of Musselman's Chunky Applesauce
14.1 ounce package Pillsbury Ready made pie crusts (2 pie crusts)
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 Tablespoons milk
Cut each pie crust into 6 circles using biscuit cutter, making 12 circles. (I used a large glass.) Place about 1-2 teaspoons of Chunky Applesauce onto pie crust circles. Sprinkle apples with desired amount of cinnamon and sugar. Top with 1 piece of diced butter. Fold pie crust over apples and use a fork to seal edges of pie crust. Place mini pies on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Brush tops of pies with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Makes approximately 12 mini pies.

TIP: Make sure to not put too much applesauce on each pie crust circle or the pie crust won't seal correctly. 
Caramel Apple Cheesecake  
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1- (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.  Spoon a single layer of apple pie filling on top of the crust and spread to within 1-inch of the edge of the pan.  Prepare cheesecake layer.
Cheesecake Layer
4-(8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Combine cream cheese, sugar and flour. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Blend in sour cream and vanilla. Pour over apple pie filling.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 250 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for approximately 4 hours before removing rim of springform pan.

1- (12 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping (We like to use Smucker's Hot Caramel.)
1- (4 ounce) package of chopped pecans, toasted*

When ready to serve, top slices of cheesecake with heated caramel topping and toasted pecans.

Apple Pie Caramel Apples

4-5 large apples (I used Honey Crisp, but you can use your favorite apple.)
Popsicle sticks
1-(14 ounce) package of Kraft caramels, wrappers removed
1-(12 ounce) package of Nestle Premier white chocolate morsels
desired amount of cinnamon and sugar, combined

Wash and dry apples.  Insert Popsicle sticks into bottoms of apples and set aside.  In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt caramels with 2 Tablespoons of water according to package directions.  In another medium-sized saucepan, melt white chocolate chips following package directions or you can melt in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.  When caramels are melted, dip apples, using a spoon to help you cover apple completely.  Place apples on waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Allow to cool slightly and drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Slow Cooker Apple Cider

1 large container of apple cider (I used an 89 ounce container of LITEHOUSE brand apple cider.)
1/2 cup brown sugar (You can add more if you like it sweeter.)
1 Tablespoon McCormick apple pie spice

Whisk together cider, brown sugar and apple pie spice in a slow cooker.  Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.  Ladle into cups and sip away!
Peanutty Apple Dip
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
With a mixer, cream together cream cheese and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar and apple pie spice.  Mix until completely combined.  NOTE:  The mixture will be very thick, just keep mixing until everything is combined and it will come together completely.  Spoon into serving dish.  Top with chopped peanuts and sprinkle with additional apple pie spice.  Serve with apple slices, graham crackers and even banana slices.  Refrigerate leftovers.
*Tip:  If you don't have apple pie spice, you can substitute cinnamon.