Berry French Toast Bake

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Well, hello! It’s been approximately eight million years since I posted a recipe. This possibly has to do with the insanity of having four children and the added bonus that right before I had Hannah in October, my real camera decided to stop working.

(I’m pretty sure it has sand in the lens and won’t retract … but it would probably cost more to fix than to replace it. Argh.)

My husband keeps telling me my iPhone will take pictures that are just as good. I don’t really think so, but they’re good enough for me, for now.

This is one of the recipes I’ve probably made the most over the last six or seven years. It’s my go-to when I want to take a meal to someone; I find that when there’s a meal train, people usually bring chicken casseroles or pasta. And that is fine and AWESOME, but I think breakfast for dinner mixes it up a little.

This Berry French Toast recipe comes from Cooking During Stolen Moments, which was one of my VERY favorite food blogs ever. Almost everything I ever made from there was a hit. Unfortunately, the site is not accessible any more. I am so glad I had this one written down in my recipe book so I didn’t lose the recipe! I’ve only adapted it slightly – mostly I just skimp on the berries because I like a lot of chewy, eggy bread. It’s delicious with fresh berries of any kind, but you could also use frozen ones – or peaches!

Serve with a side of bacon or sausage for a delicious meal any time of day.

Berry French Toast Bake

Yield: about 8 servings

Berry French Toast Bake

Delicious berry-enhanced French toast casserole is taken over the top with a brown sugar drizzle.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread
  • 2 to 3 c. berries
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions

Start with day-old bread, or cut bread into large cubes a few hours before you want to start making this and let them sit out to get slightly stale. Slice strawberries into quarters. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries can be left whole.

Place a layer of bread cubes in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add most of the berries, reserving about 1/2 cup. Top with the rest of the bread cubes.

Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Pour evenly over the bread. Top with remaining berries, then dot with cream cheese pieces. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk together until the sugar begins to melt and the mixture is smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon. Drizzle sugar topping over the casserole. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, covered, until egg is set.

Let sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes

To make dairy-free, use almond milk instead of dairy milk and leave out the cream cheese. If you are taking to a new mom who is breastfeeding, you might ask if she is avoiding dairy. (I usually am.)

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2017/06/berry-french-toast-bake/

What’s your favorite breakfast for dinner?

 

Recipe Redux: Cheesy Black Beans and Brown Rice

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

Black Beans and Brown Rice

Many, many years ago, I shared a favorite recipe from Kelly Minter’s No Other Gods Bible study, which I worked on when I was at LifeWay. It was high time to update this recipe with my own proportions and instructions!

We decided this summer to eat beans and rice once a week. My kids are so spoiled when it comes to food, given that we eat in the dining hall nine months of the year. They can pick and choose whatever they want, and definitely have never considered we or other people might not be able to afford meat or fresh ingredients. So this “beans and rice plan” has been a way to talk to them about people in other countries and how they eat. Not to mention it doesn’t hurt for us to eat meatless and save a few dollars, too. Mr. V and I love beans and rice and hope our kids can learn to love them.

(Verdict from week 1: David ate rice. Joshua ate one bite of avocado. Libbie found she could eat beans with a lot of rice and cheese, although she thought the texture was strange. I am proud of her for trying something new.)

Kelly’s original recipe calls for 4 whole cups of cheese on top of the beans. I used about 2 1/2 cups and our beans were swimming in cheese, so I think that’s plenty!

Black beans with cheese

I realize the cheese increases the price on a beans-and-rice meal, but it’s a good place to start if you have kids who are scared of beans. I like these with avocado and sour cream, too, but they’re just as good as written (or with a runny egg for breakfast).

Cheesy Black Beans and Brown Rice

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 15-ounce cans black beans
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 to 4 c. cooked brown rice
  • optional for serving
  • avocado slices
  • sour cream
  • chopped cilantro

Instructions

Drain two cans of black beans. Add those beans and one can, undrained, to a large saucepan. Heat beans, uncovered, over medium-high heat.

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a small skillet over medium heat, warm one Tablespoon olive oil. Sauté onion, garlic, and cilantro together until onion is soft. Add this mixture to the beans and stir well.

Spread bean mixture in a 9x13 pan lightly coated with olive oil. Top with shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Serve beans over rice with any optional toppings.

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2016/06/recipe-redux-cheesy-black-beans-and-brown-rice/

You can cook the brown rice however you like; I use Alton Brown’s method of oven-baked rice often, but the oven temps on this won’t match up. For this recipe, I used my brand-new Instant Pot to make the rice, and I was really happy with the texture and outcome! For brown rice, you use a ratio of 1 cup of rice to 1 1/4 cup water or liquid and cook for 22 minutes on high pressure. It’s like magic!

Savory Cheesy Waffles

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Savory Cheesy Waffles

I first discovered cornmeal waffles one day last summer when we came home from vacation to bare bones in the kitchen. Determined to make something with what we had so we didn’t have to eat out again, my mind drifted to waffles. I found a recipe then for some bacon and cheese waffles with cornmeal. I didn’t have bacon, but I had enough cheese, milk, and eggs to concoct what ended up being a fantastic waffle. And waffles get even better with a runny egg on top!

Those waffles had cheddar, but last week I had some Monterey Jack on hand, and I am crazy about its flavor. You could use any cheese you really love here, but I love the bite of Monterey Jack (or even Pepperjack!). This is a super versatile recipe; you can add chopped chicken sausage or cooked bacon or sausage, maybe some minced herbs, using up odds and ends from the fridge. Savory waffles make a perfect easy dinner for nights you just don’t know what to make.

Savory waffles with monterey jack cheese

Savory Cheesy Waffles

Yield: 8 small waffles

Savory Cheesy Waffles

Adapted from Fabtastic Eats.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. yellow cornmeal
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. milk or buttermilk
  • 2/3 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion

Instructions

Plug in waffle iron to preheat.

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together butter, eggs, and milk/buttermilk.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine. Fold in cheese and onion.

Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and cook waffles according to your iron's directions. I have a smaller, Cuisinart waffle iron. It uses 1/3 cup batter and made about 8 waffles from this recipe.

Top with over-easy or medium eggs (or poached, I just don't know how to make a poached egg ...). Sprinkle with more cheese, salt, and pepper.

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2015/03/savory-cheesy-waffles/

Do you have a waffle iron? We got one for our wedding, and I never used it. We went years without one. But when the kids starting loving frozen waffles, I was determined to make my own! I can make a batch of waffles whenever, freeze them in big ziploc bags, and then pop them in the toaster for breakfast. Delicious!

Cinnamon Roll Cake

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Cinnamon Roll Cake

I talk a lot about “feeding the boys.” I even have a Pinterest board called “Goodies for the Boys.” But I realize if you’re a more recent reader to my blog, you might have NO idea what I am talking about.

We live in a boys’ dorm on a private high-school campus. Yep, IN the actual dorm. We live in the basement (which is why any decent pictures I’ve taken are probably outside). And once a week (at least), my husband is on duty. That means he’s in charge of check-in, monitoring study hours, and doing a last lights-out sort of run in the dorm. He also has a small group of 5 or 6 boys that he’s sort of responsible for. He keeps in touch with their parents and communicates with their other teachers. The small group meets once a week, too, in the morning of a school day.

You know who really appreciates home-cooked food? High-school boys (HOOOONGRY) who are away from their mamas.

That’s why I make a valiant attempt to cook something for his small group and also for the larger group when he’s on duty.

I thought he was on duty last night, but it turns out he had switched. I’d already planned to make this cake, though, so I went ahead and did it. And from what I hear, it was devoured in approximately 23 seconds. Mr. V and I taste-tested it and can tell you it really is delicious.

The cake batter is enhanced with extra eggs, making it, well, eggy, mimicking a sweet dough. With the brown sugar-cinnamon filling and glaze, it’s a lot like a cinnamon roll. But easier. And CAKE!

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 16-20 servings

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Adapted from The Country Cook.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 c. oil
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • glaze:
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 to 5 T milk
  • pinch salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13 pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and use a hand mixer), combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Use lowest setting to stir together.

Add sour cream, eggs, and oil. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth and thick.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Drizzle the rest of the batter over the top (it should cover most, but not all of the brown sugar).

Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large measuring cup. Stir in milk gradually, until the icing is pourable but not thin. Pour over hot cake when it comes out of the oven.

Let sit at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. It tastes really good warm, but I don't think anyone will complain about it being room temperature, either.

Notes

The original recipe calls for a yellow cake mix. If you really don't keep flour and sugar on hand, it's fine to substitute the first three ingredients with one; however, I'm all for simplifying ingredients when possible. This way you avoid the additives in a cake mix.

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2013/09/cinnamon-roll-cake/

Farmer’s Market Soup: A Take on Ribollita

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SNV33748

I always thought ribollita had to be made with stale bread. Wikipedia tells me that is not so. It’s simply a “next-day” kind of soup, made with leftovers. That makes sense, as this recipe I was given is pretty much vegetable odds and ends. It was sent to me as “ribollita,” but I’m dubbing it Farmer’s Market Soup. Just to be different.

This is a delicious and simple soup, chock full of vegetables. Right now is the perfect time for finding zucchini and carrots at the farmer’s market; you might also be able to search out some ripe tomatoes to puree slightly to replace the crushed tomatoes from a can.

Farmer’s Market Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 celery stalks, finely sliced (I always add some of the inner celery leaves for flavor)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (this post from Orangette has a good tutorial for cutting fennel)
  • 2 large zucchini, cut into thin half-moon slices
  • 14 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 4 c. vegetable stock
  • 14 oz can cannellini or Great White Northern beans
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese and Texas toast — optional

Instructions

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, celery, and fennel. Saute slowly for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and saute an additional two minutes.

Add tomatoes, basil, stock, beans and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, simmer 25-30 min. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with Texas toast and Parmesan cheese sprinkled lightly over the top of the bowls.

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2010/07/farmers-market-soup-take-on-ribollita/

The rest of the family may not have even tried it–but I enjoyed two big bowlfuls while the two sickies in our house slept.

Added to Mouthwatering Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Ingredient Spotlight: Zucchini and Yellow Squash, and What’s on Your Plate?

 

Sweet Beet & Heat Salad

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

For our first wedding anniversary, Mr. V and I had a little Nashville staycation. We spent one night at a bed and breakfast in Leiper’s Fork, saw a movie in the (now-closed) Franklin Theatre, used our season passes to see a show at the Boiler Room Theatre, and had a fancy dinner at Restaurant Zola (also closed now … are we bad luck?).

Perhaps other foodies can relate, but I remember pretty much every dish I’ve cooked and many that I’ve eaten out. Some sort of crazy Food Memory.

At Zola, I had a wonderful salad they called “Beet and Heat” (I think). While I’m not a huge beet eater, I love pickled beets on the salad bar. Last week, visions of this salad started floating in my head after I bought some lovely, organic beets at Green Life.

So I pretty much made it up as I went along. Forgive me lack of real measurements, and experiment to make it to your liking!

Sweet Beet & Heat Salad with Mustardy Vinaigrette

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 beet, roasted (I used this as a tutorial)
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted in a skillet and then sprinkled with brown sugar and cayenne pepper (lots of sugar, a pinch of cayenne is my preference. Stir to let combine and cool.)
  • romaine or spring mix lettuce
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • Mustardy Vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 c. white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil, to taste

Instructions

Divide your lettuce among two salad plates. Slice your beet and put slices atop lettuce. Sprinkle with goat cheese and pecan pieces.

For vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stream in olive oil until runny but not too oily–you want it to still be very tart. Taste as you go along until it is how you like it. Drizzle over salads before serving.

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2010/03/sweet-beet-heat-salad/

Hopefully your husband will at least taste it. Ahem.

Linked to Mouthwatering Monday and Tasty Tuesday.