Category Archives: Breakfast

Easy Sausage Brunch Casserole

One of my two sisters (both excellent cooks) brought this delicious casserole to a baby shower our family hosted years ago.  It  has since become a go-to dish for holiday breakfasts and relaxed company brunches.  I love it because it can be made ahead and baked just before serving, but also because you can create your own variations with different flavored sausages, cheese varieties, and even breads.  My current favorite uses Rumiano Organic Pepper Jack Cheese.  There’s something very satisfying about choosing Rumiano’s Certified Organic, Non-GMO Verified, Kosher, ARumiano Pepper Jackmerican Humane Certified cheeses.  There is even more satisfaction in eating this super creamy Monterey Jack cheese spiked with red and green jalapeño peppers.  It makes a mean turkey and pepper jack panini, elevates a cheese and cracker snack to an art form, and is wonderful in recipes.

Sausage Brunch Casserole

  • Six slices of bread, cubed
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, sautéed in butter
  • 8 ounces Rumiano Organic Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish or prepare with nonstick spray.  Brown sausage in a large skillet and drain well.  Spread cubed bread in the bottom of the casserole dish, spread sausage over the bread, and top with mushrooms.  Grate the cheese and spread over the other ingredients.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk eggs together and add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well, then pour over the sausage mixture.  Bake for 30 minutes and serve.

Preparation tips:

Almost any kind of bread works well in the casserole.  I have used white, wheat, sourdough, and gluten-free breads with great success.

Use canned or freshly sautéed mushrooms.  I like to keep sautéed mushrooms in 1/2 cup portions frozen and ready to pop into recipes.  If you choose canned mushroom, drain off the liquid.

After assembling the casserole, you can cover and refrigerate it overnight.  You may need to add about 5 minutes to the baking time.

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We became fans of Rumiano cheeses when we tried their Garlic Jack Cheese several years ago.  We love their family history, their socially conscious business model, and most of all, their great-tasting cheeses!

Where to buy Rumiano Organic Pepper Jack Cheese:

  • Buy from the artisan
  • Find a store  (Note: “Find a store” links to a list of retailers on the Company’s website, but stores may not carry all of the Company’s products. Please check with your local store to be sure they have this specific product in stock. If not, ask them to carry it!)

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Happy New Year!

2014 got off to a great start with a family gathering at our house for brunch.  With a few make-ahead recipes and some of our favorite gourmet foods, preparation was a breeze.  A sausage, egg, and cheese casserole along with a hash brown casserole were the hearty centerpieces of the buffet.  As expected, RoRo’s handmade Cinn-A-Rolls quickly disappeared.

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Our good friends at Cherith Valley Gardens provided new inspiration for our traditional “lucky” dish.  Their recipe combines black-eyed peas, CVG’s Hot ‘n Spicy Corn Relish, onion, tomato (which I omitted today), and fresh cilantro to make a tasty partner for tortilla chips.  Yum!

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We love Henning’s Natural Chipotle Cheddar Cheese and Cheddar Cheese Curds, so we were excited to add Henning’s Natural Garlic and Dill White Cheddar to the buffet.  The Henning Family recommends this flavorful cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches and a burger topper, but we thoroughly enjoyed it solo.  (Garlic dill cheeseburgers will be on the menu this month!)

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When I saw Roth Moody Blue cheese in the deli case, I bought it on name alone.  I love my classic rock almost as much as I love cheese!  The small batch cheese made with local Wisconsin milk is smoked over fruit wood, adding sultry notes to this creamy blue.  Our first new gourmet food tasting of 2014 received 100% “thumbs up” from the blue cheese lovers present.

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No brunch would be complete without coffee and mimosas, but we have also been enjoying coffee liqueur-spiked hot chocolate this winter.  You might just forget about coffee shop hot chocolate once you try this!

IMG_0811Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

  • 4 cups half and half
  • 3/4 cup Ghirardelli Premium Hot Cocoa Double Chocolate Flavor
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur (we like Kahlua)
  • whipped cream
  • caramel topping
  • coarse Kosher or sea salt

Mix half and half, hot chocolate mix and espresso powder in a medium saucepan.  Whisk until well blended over medium heat just until it boils.  Remove from heat and stir in coffee liqueur.  Divide among 4 mugs.  Top with whipped cream, drizzle with caramel topping and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.    (Note:  the hot chocolate mixture without toppings keeps well in the refrigerator overnight.)

Happy New Year to all who share our love for gourmet foods and best wishes to the talented artisans who delight us with their creations.  May you prosper in 2014!

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Cheese, Salsas & Relishes

Mom’s Sunday Waffles Revisited

I’ve been slowly entering my extensive collection of handwritten recipes into my newest app obsession, Paprika.  This neat little app stores recipes, schedules meals on a weekly calendar, and builds a grocery list with an easy and clean user interface.  It also syncs across my computer and mobile devices, so family meal planning information is always close at hand.  Enough said…check it out.

As I enter old family recipes into Paprika, I look critically at ingredients and cooking methods with an eye toward improvements and updates.  I’ve made my mom’s waffles hundreds of times over the years, but when I started entering the recipe, it suddenly dawned on me to replace the vegetable oil with melted butter.  What an upgrade!  The waffles are lighter, fluffier and of course, buttery.  How could I not share the new, improved version with you?

Mom’s Sunday Waffles

Place eggs, milk, and butter in a medium bowl and blend with a whisk or hand mixer.  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and add to liquid ingredients.  Whisk until well blended.  Bake according to the instructions for your waffle maker.

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One thing hasn’t changed about our favorite Sunday morning breakfast; we always enjoy our waffles with Steen’s 100% Cane Syrup.  It is a boldly delicious, pure product without additives or preservatives.

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Robinhood Meetinghouse Pecan Sticky Buns

Texas has about six weeks of nice weather in the spring when the temperature hovers in the “just right” range between too cold and too hot.  When we woke up last week to a wonderful Saturday morning, coffee on the patio was definitely in order.  On the rare occasions when great weather intersects with a forgiving schedule, Allen often cooks bacon and eggs on the grill while I kick back and relax.  On this particular morning, however, a box of Robinhood Meetinghouse Pecan Sticky Buns was calling my name from the freezer.  I popped them in the oven, and we both enjoyed our first cup of coffee while they warmed.

I’ve been following Gagné Foods since we tried their amazing layered cream cheese biscuits last year.  This Maine family owns and operates The Robinhood Meetinghouse, a Bath, Maine restaurant, and as often happens, certain menu items become so popular that demand for them grows outside the four walls of the restaurant.  We loved the layered cream cheese biscuits, so I made a mental note to try the sticky buns.  Fast forward a couple of months, and they turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to coffee on the patio!

Pecan Sticky Buns

Chef Michael Gagné uses only natural ingredients in his baked goods — no artificial colors or flavors, no GMOs or corn syrup.  The sticky buns are made with whole milk, real butter and cream cheese, so yes, they are decadently rich and tender.  The sticky topping of brown sugar, butter, honey and pecans adds wonderfully gooey goodness.  Given the choice between sweet and savory breakfast choices, I will always select sweet, and have probably tasted more than my share of sweet rolls.   These sticky buns are completely impressive, maybe even more so because they are frozen.  Delicious and convenient – one of my favorite combinations!

Check out the company’s website to find a retailer near you, or to contact the company about an online order.  You’ll love these pecan sticky buns, too!

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Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

When we shared Greenlee’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread last month, a reader posted a comment requesting a recipe for Greenlee’s French toast that had been misplaced.  I did a little online sleuthing, but couldn’t find a recipe that specifically called for Greenlee’s bread.  So many fans of this delicious cinnamon raisin bread raved about using it in French toast that I just had to try it, so I started a recipe search.  When the French toast recipe starts with a bread as sweet and rich as Greenlee’s, the batter should complement its flavor without adding too much additional sugar.  The bread is also very moist, so keeping the slices intact during the battering and cooking process presented a challenge.  An allrecipes selection, which I adapted slightly, seemed like a good option for a special Saturday morning breakfast.

Greenlee’s Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

Place flour in a medium mixing bowl and slowly whisk in the milk.  Add the other ingredients, except the bread, and whisk until blended and smooth.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat with about a teaspoon of vegetable oil.  Pour the batter in a 9″ x 13″ pan and soak 4 slices of bread for about 30 seconds on each side.  (Note:  the bread will be very soft, so handle carefully to avoid breaking the slices.)  Place bread in hot skillet and cook until it is crisp and golden, then flip carefully and cook the second side.   Repeat the battering and cooking process with the remaining bread, adding more oil to the skillet as necessary.

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This recipe obviously makes French toast for a crowd, so I made one-third of it for two people.  If you are making the recipe as written, keep the toast warm in a 200° oven until you are ready to serve it.  You can dust it with confectioner’s sugar or serve it with the syrup of your choice.  I think this recipe really works with such a moist bread.  The flour gives the batter a little body and crisps up the French toast nicely.  Adding a little more cinnamon to the batter layers the flavor, and we thought it was fine without any additional sugar.

Allen gave it his whole-hearted approval by telling me I could make Greenlee’s Cinnamon Raisin French Toast anytime!

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast