Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This year for Christmas breakfast...we tried something different than cinnamon rolls (we were looking for something w/ no sugar since the kids get tons of that already Christmas Day). So I tried this casserole:

1 lb. Italian pork sausage (cook, drain, and crumbled)
4 1/2 cups cubed day old bread (I had read in other comments that they had substituted hashbrowns for the that's what I did.)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
10 eggs slightly beaten
4 cups milk
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
pepper to taste
1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup peeled, chopped tomatoes (optional)

Cook sausage, drain, and crumble into smaller pieces. Place bread (or hashbrowns) in a well buttered 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine the eggs, milk, dry mustard, onion powder, and pepper. Pour evenly over the bread and cheese. Sprinkle sausage and optional ingredients over the top. At this stage you can cover and chill overnight, if you want to prepare ahead. If not, let sit for 10 minutes before putting in the oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake uncovered for about one hour. Tent with foil if top begins to brown too quickly.

We enjoyed this change...the only "problem" was since I used frozen hashbrowns and let it sit overnight, the casserole was a bit "liquidy". Next time I think I will just make in the morning of so there won't be "water" just sitting in the pan when it's cooking.

Pumpkin Pies

Dave's favorite pie is pumpkin so I made pumpkin pie as well! :) (I also made key lime pie the same day but it was to give away to Santa's mouse...who did the 12 days of Christmas to our much fun...especially for the kids)

I never use to like pumpkin pie until a few years back. But I learned a few months ago not all pumpkin pie is good! I'll definitely stick to the recipe and NEVER buy a store-bought pumpkin pie.

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (15 oz can) pumpkin
1 ½ cups (12 oz can) evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling...even leaving this pie in the cold garage will cause this to happen :)
For 2 shallow pies, substitute two 9-inch (2-cup volume) pie shells. Bake in preheated 425 degrees oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until pies test done.
NOTE: If using metal or foil pan(s), bake on preheated heavy-duty cookie sheet. (Yes, we learned this the hard way the first time we made pumpkin pie!!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lemon Merguine Pie

Ever since I was a little kid, lemon merguine pie has been my very favorite pie. My grandma, aunts, or my mom would make this pie every Thanksgiving/Christmas. It's something I've really enjoyed over the years. The past few years, it's just made more sense to stay home for Christmas so I treat myself to this pie :) This year I just followed the recipe on the "cook-n-serve" lemon pudding box. After I got halfway through making the pie I realized I have tons of lemon juice frozen in the time I try a "real" lemon merguine pie (if I remember) The recipe on the box is as easy as pie :)

Here's my mom's recipe for the "real pie"
½ cup corn starch
1 cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1 ½ cup water
1 tsp grated lemon rind (optional)
1 TBL margarine or butter
1 (9-inch) regular pre-baked pie shell

In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice; mix well. Beat egg yolks; add to mixture. Add water. Bring mixture just to boiling over medium heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add margarine and grated rind to thickened mixture and stir until thoroughly blended. Pour into baked shell.

3 egg whites
6 TBL sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With electric mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peak form. Gradually add sugar. Continue to beat on high speed to form stiff, glossy peaks. Spread meringue over filling, carefully sealing entire edge of crust to prevent shrinking. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Cool on cake rack away from draft for 2 hours. Refrigerate, serve cold.

Yes, it was delicious!! But I haven't had another piece since Christmas Day. Since I received WiiFit for Christmas, I'm trying to be better than I have been...which means for our more snacks (no matter what kind they are) after 7 p.m. So far Dave & I are doing well...even though we went to see Twilight last night...we just stopped eating our snacks halfway through the movie :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fudge picture to share because it was distributed on plates with the other goodies before I got to take a picture. Here's the recipe I used. It's my MIL's (the one from the Marshmellow creme bottle):

3 cups sugar
¾ cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12 oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 7 oz bottle Marshmallow crème
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, margarine, and milk in heavy 2.5 qt. saucepan; bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remover from heat; stir in chips until melted. Add marshmallow crème, nuts, and vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Cool at room temperature, cut into squares.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Peanut Butter Candy Cookies

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter (I used creamy since someone in my house doesn't like crunch PB)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour (I used whole wheat flour)
2 cups quartered mini Reese's cups (I chopped mine with my pampered chef chopper)
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Beat peanut butter and butter in large bowl. Beat in brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda until blended. Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended. Beat in flour just until mixed. Stir in peanut butter cups. (I also added the chocolate chips here...I didn't realize they were for a "frosting"). Cover and refrigerate 1 hour until firm.

Preheat oven to 375. The original recipe is for 5-in cookies (hence the "need" for frosting) but I made these into just regular cookies. I scooped them onto a greased cookie and baked them for 10 minutes (until lightly browned). Removed to wire racks and cooled. Yummy, yummy! Can you tell I love peanut butter?!?! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Special K Bars

These are actually "corn flake" bars...every time I make these it seems I have corn flakes instead....they work just the same :)

1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo Syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Special "K" Cereal (cornflakes work, too)
4-6 oz chocolate chips
4-6 oz butterscotch chips

Butter a 9x13 pan. Mix sugar and Karo Syrup in a large mixing bowl. Microwave for 2 1/2 minutes, stir then microwave for another 2 minutes. Immediately mix in peanut butter. Slowly mix in Special "K" cereal. Once mixed very well so all cereal is coated, spread in the bottom of your pan. In a separate small bowl, mix chocolate and butterscotch chips. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stir then microwave for an additional minute (continue in 1 minute increments until the mixture is melted). Pour mixture over Special "K" evenly. Chill in refrigerator for 2-4 hours. If you chill it, you'll have to wait to cut it because it's so you have to somewhat plan ahead :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hershey's Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms

The recipe's on the package...

48 Hershey's Kisses
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 TBL milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
granulated sugar to roll cookie dough in

Heat oven to 375. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1" balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes (until lightly browned). Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. I doubled the recipe.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Melissa's Sugar Cookies

This recipe is from my friend Melissa. They are one of the best sugar cookies I've ever had! Here's the recipe:

2 cups shortening
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups sour cream
3 eggs
6 cups flour
1 tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder

Combine all ingredients. Chill for at least 1 hour. Roll out with flour and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Here's her recipe for icing:
1 cups shortening
1 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 lb bag of powdered sugar
4 TBL water

In Kitchen Aid whip first 3 ingredients until smooth, add powdered sugar slowly and mix until it looks dry. Add your water and whip on high for 3-4 minutes - yummy!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Orange Rolls (Cinnamon Rolls)

Last week on Shelli's blog, she posted a yummy recipe for Orange Rolls. I made the recipe half with the orange mixture and the other half with a cinnamon mixture. They were DELICIOUS and so light tasting! They were FABULOUS hot out of the oven.

Orange Rolls (3 dozen)
In a small bowl, sprinkle 2 Tbs. dry yeast in ½ c. warm water and let set during next two steps.
In a large mixing bowl (Shelli uses a Bosch with the kneading paddle...I used my kitchen aid w/ the kneading paddle) combine 1 c. hot water, ½ c. softened butter, ½ c. granulated sugar, and 2 tsp. salt.
Beat 3 eggs separately in a small bowl, and add to slightly cooled mixture in mixing bowl.
Combine all above ingredients.
Mix in 2 ½ c. white flour until smooth. Then add another 2 ½ c. white flour until sticky smooth.
Leave covered in bowl in refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.
2 ½ hours before baking, divide dough into thirds.
Roll dough into rectangle and spread 1/3 of the orange mixture (below) evenly onto the dough. Roll long ways and slice into 1” thick pieces (approx. 12 rolls per roll). Place in foil muffin cups. Repeat for all three rolls. You may use paper cups, but if you use the foil cups, the rolls—and the orange mixture—don’t stick to the foil. (I personally did not use the foil cups...I just put them in a 9x13 greased baking dish.)
Let rise approximately 2 hours and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.
Orange mixture
Combine ½ c. softened butter, 1 c. granulated sugar, and finely grated orange peel of one or two oranges, depending on your taste.
Cinnamon mixture (my own recipe)
Melt 1/2 cup butter and pour on dough and spread. Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. (My kids & husband liked this one best.)
I also added my own glaze to the top of them at the kids' request. I mixed 2 cups powdered sugar w/ about 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup margarine. Add milk 1 tsp at a time until you have the desired consistency that you want.