Saturday, January 28, 2012

Overnight French Toast (Quick Dish)

French Toast Casserole

Trying a new overnight french toast recipe. 


  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 loaf brioche or challah (French toast can also be sliced 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • 8 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup pecans, measured then chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • (optional) maple syrup and powdered sugar for topping


  1. 1In a small bowl combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. 2Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish overlapping if necessary.
  3. 3Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices.
  4. 4Sprinkle chopped pecans over bread slices.
  5. 5Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
  6. 6In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. 7Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes. If top starts browning too quickly place a foil loosely over the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so. You want it to cook long enough to make sure the bottom part is cooked but don't dry it out completely.
  8. 8Remove casserole from oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cherry Balsamic Short Ribs (Allrecipes)

Cherry Balsamic Short Ribs Recipe


  • 3 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced
  • 1 cup Burgundy wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons beef demi-glace
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cherry cola
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups pitted frozen tart cherries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sprinkle the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until it just begins to give off wisps of smoke; drizzle in about 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Sear 3 ribs in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides. Heat pot until smoking hot again, drizzle in 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, and sear the remaining ribs as before. Transfer ribs to a plate and set aside. Discard used oil.
  3. Place remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pot over medium heat, and stir in the onion, celery, carrots, and fennel. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cook until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Pour in the Burgundy wine; scrape and dissolve all the browned flavor bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and demi-glace; stir well. Mix in the chicken stock, cherry cola, and balsamic vinegar. Push the short ribs into the vegetable mixture so they are about halfway covered; spread cherries over the ribs. Pour any meat juices over the cherries, bring the short ribs to a boil over medium heat, and cover.
  4. Place the covered pot into the preheated oven, and cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bones, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
  5. Remove the ribs to a serving platter. Skim fat from the cherry sauce, and strain all the cherries, vegetables, and juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids, and return the liquid back to the pot. Bring to a boil, and cook the sauce over medium heat until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently; whisk in butter. Serve sauce over the short ribs.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

Graham Cracker Crust:
2 sleeves of graham cracker crumbs (about 18 whole crackers)
1 stick of butter (8 Tablespoons), room temperature
2 Tablespoons of sugar

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream 
4 large egg whites
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped (and more for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 16-18 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter using a food processor.  Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the crushed graham cracker into the bottom of each prepared muffin tin.  Press down using fingers and bake for 3-5 minutes or until slightly browned.  Remove immediately from oven and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks appear, about 3-4 minutes, be careful not to overbeat. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add the vanilla and beat on a low-speed. Then add half the flour mixture until incorporated then mix in the sour cream or yogurt. Add remaining flour and mix until just blended.

Gently fold 1/3 of the egg into the batter until combined, do not over mix the egg whites or the cake will fall flat. Add remaining egg and fold in the chopped strawberries. Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way and bake for about 20 minutes depending on your oven. You can test to see if they are done by sticking a toothpick through the center, if it comes out clean it is ready to take out!

Cream Cheese Frosting 
Note: I made half of this recipe and had enough frosting.

2 (8 ounce) packets of cream cheese (16 ounces total)
2 sticks of unsalted butter (16 Tablespoons)
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar slowly in small batches, beating on low speed until incorporated. Once all sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy. Refrigerate for 1 hour (I didn't do this). When ready to serve, spread icing on cupcakes or use a pastry bag with a star tip. Garnish with freshly cut strawberries and graham cracker crumbs and refrigerate until ready to serve. I definitely think these cupcakes are best when they have been chilled and then taken out of the fridge for a couple of minutes to soften.

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

For the Cordon Bleu:
3 large, thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise (to make two thinner chicken breast cutlets; you will have 6 total thin chicken breasts)
12 slices good quality deli ham
1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 pound (8 ounces) thinly sliced Swiss cheese

For the Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (or 1 bouillon cube, crushed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

*Note: Mel saves the heels of her bread and stores them in the freezer until she needs them then grinds them up quickly in a blender or food processor.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Set aside.

Lay the cut chicken breasts in a single layer in the 9X13-inch dish. Layer each chicken breast with two slices of ham and top with slices of Swiss cheese, layering across the chicken breast to make sure the entire chicken breast is covered with ham and cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the chicken. 

Bake the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely, the cheese is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden.

When the chicken is almost done, in a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly. Cook the flour/butter mixture for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly. Stir in the chicken bouillon granules and salt. Whisk mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes. 

Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking. If your sauce is too thick, whisk in some more milk. If it's too thin, simmer longer.

Serve each chicken cordon bleu portion with warm sauce. Makes 6 servings.

S'mores Cookies (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

S'mores Cookies
Source: Ice Cream Before Dinner
11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper. I used one 11x17 pan and one 9x13 pan but you can really use any sized pans you want.

Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching). I used 16 graham cracker squares on one pan and 10 squares on another. You may have to add or remove graham crackers according to how much dough you have. If you want your cookies thicker you will use more dough and less graham crackers.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.

Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight (I did one batch right away and another after chilling overnight and found there was no difference.)

Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart. I averaged about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough per graham cracker square as seen in the picture above. Press down slightly with fingertips.

Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.

Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp (Never Enough Thyme)

  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 tblsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp, split and deveined
  • 2 tblsp. chopped cilantro
  1. Melt the butter and oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic, onion and jalapeno.
  3. Cook, stirring until the onion begins to wilt, approximately 3 minutes.
  4. Add the red pepper flakes and oregano.
  5. Continue cooking until the onion becomes translucent, approximately 3 additional minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft.
  8. Add the shrimp, zest and lime juice, salt and black pepper.
  9. Cook until the shrimp are just opaque. Be careful not to overcook.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Baked Shrimp Scampi (Ina Garten)


2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp.

Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Arrange the shrimp in shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of a disposable foil baking dish or better yet, a Glad Ovenware dish (which is what I used). Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread or scatter clumps of the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Cover (with a double sheet of foil if using a disposable foil dish or use the lid of the Glad Ovenware dish.) Label and freeze. To prepare, remove from freezer and allow to thaw. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

BLT Pasta Salad (A Bird and a Bean)

  • 12 ounce corkscrew shaped pasta
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 12 ounces lean bacon
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayo (i used 1/4 cup mayo and 1/4 cup greek yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 5 heads Bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper.  Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.
Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature.  

Cheesy Ranch Potato Bake (All Recipes)

Cheesy Ranch Potato Bake Recipe


  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 1 (8 ounce) bottle Ranch dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Place the potatoes in the baking dish. Season with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Evenly distribute the butter over the potatoes.
  3. Cover dish with aluminum foil, and bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven, and mix in the cheese and Ranch dressing. Continue cooking 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.