Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Countdown: Breakfast or Brunch

Christmas and New Year's are wonderful times to get together with family and friends for brunch or breakfast. We all have our favorite recipes, but I thought I'd share a few more that would be lovely for this time of year.

Easy Blintzes

2 cups cottage cheese
8 ounce block cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8 flour tortillas (8 inch size)

Beat cheeses, cinnamon and vanilla in small bowl until well blended. Heat lightly oiled nonstick skillet on low. Spray with butter flavored spray or brush with melted butter. Briefly heat one tortilla over medium heat until just soft. Remove tortilla and spoon 1/4 of cheese mixture in center. Fold two sides in , partially covering filling. Roll up to enclose filling and form a rectangle. Repeat with other tortillas. At this point they can be microwaved for 20-30 seconds to warm the filling, a few at a time, right before serving. Serves 8.

These are wonderful served with fresh fruit, fruit syrup, or fruit sauce and whipped cream.

The following two recipes are for fruit that can be eaten alone or served with yogurt, cream, cottage cheese or beside pancakes or French toast.

Note: This works best with tortillas that are on the thin side rather than the thick type.

Spiced Oranges

8 oranges
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Peel and section oranges, reserving 2 inch long piece of peel. Cut orange sections into thirds.
Combine the remaining ingredients with 1/2 cup orange pieces and reserved peel in a non-aluminum pan. Bring to boil over medium high heat; reduce to low. Simmer 2 minutes. Place remaining orange pieces in a medium bowl. Strain syrup mixture and pour over the orange pieces. Chill for one hour and serve.

Maple Pears

1 can (16 ounces) canned pear halves or slices
2 tbsp. maple syrup, or maple flavored syrup
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. butter
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Drain pears and reserve juice. Place in a microwave safe dish. Drizzle syrup and lemon juice over pears. Dot with butter and sprinkle with nutmeg. Cover and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Baste with some of the reserved juice. Serve warm with oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes, waffles or French Toast.

Notes: I also add cinnamon-- sprinkled over the pears lightly.

Praline Baked French Toast

8 slices Italian bread, 3/4-inch thick
4 large eggs
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. butter, melted

Place bread in a single layer, in a 13x9x2 baking dish. Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, juice, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the bread,then flip the pieces over, so they are coated on both sides. Refrigerate this overnight, covered with foil or plastic wrap. In the morning, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the 1/3 cup butter in a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. Place in the oven to melt. Arrange the egg soaked bread in single layer on the jelly roll pan. Bake uncovered about 25 minutes or until firm and golden brown.

Meanwhile, combine the pecans, brown sugar and melted butter in small bowl. Sprinkle over the baked French toast. Broil about 5 inches from heat, watching carefully, for about 1 minute or until topping begins to bubble. Serve warm.

Western Style Ham Quiche

9-inch prepared pie crust in pan, room temperature
8 large eggs
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup diced cooked ham
1 green pepper, diced
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
ground black pepper

Remove pie crust from refrigerator, allow 45 minutes to warm up to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Saute the green pepper and onion in butter over medium heat until onions are clear and peppers are soft. In the prepared pie crust, add 3/4 of the cheese evenly across the bottom of the pan. Add the diced ham in an even layer. In a bowl, beat the eggs well, then add the remaining cheese, and onion-pepper mixture. Season with pepper and stir well. Pour evenly over the layered ham and cheese. Gently shake the pie pan to settle the eggs into the crust. Bake 45 minutes, then gently remove to cooling rack for Cool 10 minutes before serving.

On OFL we have more brunch recipes:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Countdown: Party Food!

Every Christmas Eve we set up a small buffet with party food, and spend the night playing board games and listening to Christmas music with our kids. As they've gotten older (they are now 18, 17 and 11) I've been able to expand their tastes with different foods rather than the standard popcorn shrimp and chicken, chips and dip. BBQ meatballs and anything taco related is also a big hit, but here are a few other recipes I thought I'd share today.

Hot Crab Dip

8 ounce cream cheese
2 tbsp. sour cream
6 1/2 ounces crab meat (canned or cooked fresh)
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
2 tbsp. fresh minced parsley
1 tsp. fresh minced dill

Blend the above and place in a small baking dish. Bake at 350 F. for 20 minutes. Serve warm with crackers.

Savory Dill Dip

1 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
1 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt (like Lawry's)
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 tsp. minced dried onion
3 tsp. Tabasco sauce
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Blend all of the ingredients together, and chill for about 4 hours or overnight. Serve with crackers and raw vegetables.

Polynesian Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 1/2 cups quick rice
1 egg, beaten
1/2 medium sweet onion, minced
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. soy sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Shape into 2 inch meatballs. Arrange in shallow pan sprayed with pan spray. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Turn 2-3 times while baking. Drain any fat. Makes 75-80 meatballs.

Sauce for Meatballs

20 ounce can pineapple chunks *see note
2 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. soy sauce

Place all ingredients in saucepan and cook on medium heat until it thickened. Place the meatballs in a crock pot and pour over the sauce. Heat on low until heated through and ready to serve.

Artichoke Squares

2 (6 ounce jars) marinated artichokes, drained-liquid reserved
1/2 medium sweet onion, minced
4 large eggs
6 saltine crackers, crushed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 cups finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. freshly minced celery

Preheat oven to 325 F. Pat the artichokes dry with paper towel. Drizzle some of the reserved oil from the artichoke jars into a pan. Heat and saute the onion until softened and slightly caramelized. Chop the artichokes. In a medium bowl beat the eggs, crushed crackers and seasonings. Stir in the cheese, artichokes and onion. Pour into a 7x11 baking sheet. Bake at 325 F. for 30 minutes or until set. Cool and cut into squares to serve.

Italian Sausage Bread

1 loaf frozen white bread, thawed
1 pound cooked hot or mild Italian sausage
2 eggs, beaten separately
2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese (or Mozzarella)
Parmesan cheese

Roll the thawed bread dough into a rectangle. Drain the cooked, cooled sausage with one egg. Spread on the bread dough evenly. Top with the shredded cheese. Roll up the dough slowly in jelly roll fashion from one end to the other. Carefully place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with the other beaten egg on the top of the roll and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Cool, then slice and move to a platter for servings.

Notes: You can also make this with the edition of pepperoni. If you like olives they can be added also. Add these ingredients to the cooled sausage before the egg is mixed in. I also like to brush with garlic butter when it comes out of the oven.

On OFL we have recipes for herb appetizers that are delicious too: