Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

IMG_0876Last year, Jeremiah and I went strawberry picking for the first time. I had always wanted to do it but hadn’t been able to fit it into my schedule. We loved it so much, we decided to do it again this spring. The weather was a little hotter this year as we went from winter straight to summer. When you pick a flat of berries, you need to come up with a few recipes to use them in. I ran across the recipe and cooked it up on a day when Jeremiah was working from home. We both agreed, this recipe was a winner. Great flavor and bonus it’s a skinny recipe.

Skinny Strawberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast by Savory Nothings

  • img_0866.jpg4 T. One-third less fat cream cheese
  • 1 T. honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c. skim milk
  • 4 T. whole grain bread crumbs
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 8 strawberries sliced
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 T. oil

Mix honey and cream cheese. In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk. On a large plate, combine bread crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover four slices of bread with cream cheese mixture and top with strawberry slices. Top each slice of bread with a second slice of bread. Dip in egg mixture to coat each side, dripping off excess. Then, repeat in bread crumb mixture. Cook in a pan coated with oil and flip half-way through cooking.

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Espresso Bread

I usually work on Sundays at a hotel front desk. The nice thing about working in the hospitality industry is that some many people in the biz love to cook. That means if you can catch the TV in break room when no one is watching sports, no one complains about watching The Food Network. Since I got to lunch at 11:30ish, Brunch at Bobby’s is usually on. I saw this recipe and I just knew I needed to cook it up for my sweetheart – Jeremiah.

In case you don’t know, we love going on coffee dates. In fact, our second date and first kiss was at a Starbucks. As hard earned Gold Reward Members, we often go for evening walks to Starbucks. The funniest past is that our barista always calls Jeremiah by name but can never remember mine. Did I mention I normally pay? (Don’t worry ladies – Jeremiah usually pays for our dinner dates.)

This recipe is for all of you who enjoy coffee as much as we do.

IMG_0067Espresso-Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Espresso-Cinnamon Butter by Bobby Flay
Bread:
5 T. butter
1 T. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 ripe bananas
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1 large egg
3 oz. chocolate chips

Espresso-Cinnamon Butter
1 1/2 sticks room temperature butter
2 T. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Spray bread pan with nonstick spray. On the stove top, melt butter in a sauce pan. Then, stir in espresso powder. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Using a potato masher, mash bananas in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter mixture, and eggs. Mix in flour. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Mix ingredients for butter. Smear on bread and serve.

Notes:
Since I didn’t have instant espresso powder in my pantry, I made a little coffee and added it to the batter. I used coffee grounds in the butter.

Baked Pork Chops

On Friday, Jeremiah sent me a text saying his mom missed him (aww) and they wanted to come up on Saturday. Jeremiah suggested we have dinner and watch the Royals in game four of the World Series. I said, of course. This is the first time we would be able to host company for dinner. The big question was, “What would we make for dinner?” I knew I had to work until about 4:30PM on Saturday. That meant Jeremiah would have to do the grocery shopping and the bulk of the cooking. We decided to do pork chops – which we already had in the freezer. I suggested that we make fresh green beans and purple potato au gratin to go with it. Jeremiah’s dad is diabetic and Jeremiah is watching his carbs so they seemed like good side dishes.

I suggested we look for a pork chop recipe we could cook in the Crockpot or oven to save us some time. We flipped through my Pinterest and found this new recipe to cook. Dinner turned out great. I hope you enjoy it.

Ultra Crunchy Baked Pork Chops by Sugar & Spice by Celeste Blog
pork chop4 boneless pork chops
Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
2 tsp. Parmesan cheese
¼ c. plus 6 T. flour
3 large egg whites
3 T. Dijon mustard
lemon wedges

Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil and place a backing rack on top of it. In a shallow dish, pour ¼ c. flour. In another shallow dish, whisk egg whites and mustard. Then, whisk in 6 T. flour. Then, pour bread crumbs and parmesan cheese into a third shallow dish. Salt and pepper pork chops. Then, use tongs to coat both side of pork chops in flour. Next, coat pork chops in egg mixture. Finally, coat both side of pork chops in bread crumbs. Place pork chop on rack and repeat for three remaining chops. Bake at 425 degrees for 17-25 minutes – until meat temp reaches 150 degrees. Let it rest for five minutes before serving. Squeeze the lemon.

Notes:

  • The original recipe has a recipe has a recipe to make your bread crumbs. I posted what we did because it saved time.
  • We baked it for 25 minutes with the potatoes and it make out just perfect.
  • With the price of eggs, we used egg white substitute instead of wasting part of an egg.
  • We also used honey Dijon mustard.

Fall French Toast

You know how much I love breakfast. French toast is one of my favorites. This recipe came from my most recent issue of Simple and Delicious by Taste of Home. I saw this recipe created by a Kansas City suburbanite and it just screamed fall. I baked it while we were at the gym and it smelled amazing when we walked back into our apartment. Jeremiah and I thought it wasn’t super sweet so I would definitely recommend serving it with a little syrup. We did not the first day and figured it out quickly.

Cranberry French ToastCranberry Cream Cheese French Toast by Sandie Heindel
12 c. cubed French bread
2 pk. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 can (14 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
12 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. milk
1/3 c. maple syrup
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

Spray a 13 x 9 pan with non-stick spray. Arrange half the bread in bottom of the pan. Top with cream cheese and spoonfuls of cranberry sauce. Cover with remaining bread. In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over the casserole. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and baked it in a 9 x 9 pan for the same amount of time.
  • I used skim milk and third less fat cream cheese.

National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week

Starting in April, Harvesters began receiving larger than normal donations of bread. Our creative Nutrition Department developed lots of recipes to teach the families we serve other thing they could do with bread than just making sandwiches. I recently tried this bread pudding recipe and loved it. I also love it because it uses one of the essential seven produce items – apples.

Each month, Harvesters distributes over ½ million pounds of fresh produce to help feed hungry people in our community. One of the ways we do this is through Mobile Food Pantries. Six days a week, Harvesters works with 6-10 agency partners each day to distribute food through Mobile Food Pantries. Unfortunately, hundreds of families line up hours in advance in hopes of getting whatever food is available.

This week is National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. This holiday season, I hope you will remember all your neighbors who struggle with food insecurity. You can help simply by donating a $1 or more at area grocery stores at the cash register through the Check-Out Hunger Campaign. Your $1 gift will provide 3 meals for hungry children, families, and seniors in our community.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding by Harvesters Nutrition Services Department
Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. fat-free milk
¼ c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
5 c. day old bread, cubed
½ c. chopped peeled apples
Fat-free caramel sauce (I like Trader Joe’s)

In a large bowl, combine applesauce, milk, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon. Fold in bread and apples. Let is stand for 15 minutes to absorb liquid. Pour into 8 inch sprayed square pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes. (Test with a knife until it comes out clean.) Drizzle with caramel topping. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers. Makes 9 servings.

Sweet bread

I love bread but I never make it from scratch when the recipe requires yeast and kneading dough. But for some reason, banana breads never require yeast. Bananas are also a great substitute for oil. Check out this sweet bread recipe that does just that.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana BreadCinnamon Swirl Bread from Pinterest
1 stick of butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 bananas

Swirl
½ c. sugar
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. cinnamon

Beat together sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture. Fold in bananas. Pour 1/3 of batter into bread pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of swirl mixture. Repeat two more times. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Need a last minute Christmas gift but don’t want to fight the crowds? Here’s a little recipe I’m making for friends. It’s a copycat for the Tastefully Simple Beer Bread.

Creative Commons photo by @joefoodie

Creative Commons photo by @joefoodie

Homemade Beer Bread from Pinterest
3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz.) can or bottle of beer
3 T. butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients and package pretty. Recipient will need added beer and stir. Then, pour into greased bread pan. Top with melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Note: Another good gift idea is my homemade hot chocolate recipe.

Three Ingredient Banana Bread

Friends of mine who aren’t cooks will often tell me that my recipe look good but they look to difficult. I assure you, I really don’t cooking anything that is too difficult. In cases where I have issues with recipes, I’m always honest about it. But non-cooks seem less fearful with less ingredients. Here is the first of many limited ingredient recipes I hope to share. I promise, you can’t mess this one up and will have no issue looking for the ingredients at the grocery store.

Although is was soft, the banana taste is mild. If you want a more traditional banana bread, I would recommend you check out this Betty Crocker banana bread recipe featured on a previous blog.

Yellow Cake MixThree Ingredient Banana Bread from Pinterest
1 package of yellow cake mix
2 eggs
3-4 ripe bananas

Spray two loaf pans with non-stick spray. Mix ingredients and pour into two small loaf pans. Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Notes:

  • I used half a cake mix, one egg, and two bananas. I baked it in a regular loaf pan for 35 minutes and it came out perfect. I used the remaining mix for the chocolate snack cake recipe.
  • If you make the whole recipe and use a regular loaf pan, it will need to bake for a longer time period.
  • Freeze bananas and thaw before baking. It’s a great way to avoid nats as banana get older – the perfect kind for baking banana bread.

Baked Eggs

I saw a picture of this recipe on a Pinterest Valentine’s board. The person had made it in heart shaped pan. Ironically, I happen to have a heart shaped muffin tin. If you don’t, it won’t look like a cupid with an arrow but it will still taste the same. One of the things I liked is that you can make one or six muffin cups since each is made individually.

Baked EggBaked Eggs on Pinterest
Spreadable butter
Six eggs

Six slices of bread
Six pieces of bacon, mostly cooked

Use a round cookie cutter and cut out patterns in each slice of bread. Disgaurd the crust. Slice each circle in half. Cover one side with butter. Fill the muffin cup, buttered side down, with both pieces. Bake bacon to lightly cooked state. Pat off grease and put sideway into cup. Break open an egg over bacon bread cup. Salt and pepper your egg. Repeat for all six muffins. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Notes:

  • I didn’t have a round cookie cutter so I traced an upside down custard cup. It worked just fine.
  • I opted to use the pre-cooked bacon. It worked but got a little crisp. Note to people who don’t like crisp bacon.

Overnight Caramel French Toast

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my blog. I had the best of intentions to post but got caught up watching the Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong. As a celebration of one year sharing my favorites and testing new recipes, I thought I would share one of the best new recipes I’ve made in 2013.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from “Favorite Recipes – MS Forward.” I got this cookbook from my aunt Linda. Two of her daughters (Jenny and Jeanna) battle MS every day. Jeanna was one of the people who helped put this fundraising cookbook together. You know what I say, the best recipes come from cookbooks like this because people only share their best recipes. Hope you make this for your family on this long holiday weekend.

Caramel French ToastOvernight Caramel French Toast by Carol Hendrix
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1 c. brown sugar
12 slices of bread
6 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

In a saucepan, combine corn syrup, butter, and brown sugar. Simmer til syrupy. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 sprayed glass baking dish. Layer with six slices of bread. Stack second layer of bread on top. In a bowl, beat together eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Pour over bread. Cover pan and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Uncover pan and bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Notes: This reheats well and doesn’t leave a messy pan.