Mornings are not my best time of day, so breakfast is usually just coffee and more coffee before I leave the house.  This week, I’m going to have a hot, protein packed breakfast with that coffee — because I made these scrambled egg muffins that I can just reheat in the microwave.

Ingredients

7 cage free eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 tsp cracked pepper
6 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled or cut into small pieces
1 cup of cooked broccoli florets, cut into little florets

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with olive oil or baking spray. (I used a regular sized muffin tin and got 7 muffins).

Whip the eggs, cheese and pepper together like you would for scrambled eggs. Divide the bacon and broccoli among the muffin cups. Fill 3/4 full with the egg mixture.

Bake with the muffin tins on a cookie sheet (in case they overflow) in the center of the oven for 30 minutes or until the egg tops are set and lightly browned.

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How They Turned Out

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The BFF and her boys get home from two weeks of holiday travel today, so I want to be sure that settling back in is as stress-free as possible. And, because I’m southern, the answer to that is making a casserole for their supper tonight.

This is a lightened version of chicken parmesan, baked in casserole form.  It’s easy peasy to make.

Bake three chicken breasts, covered with Italian or balsamic dressing, in a foil packet (400 degrees for about an hour).  Cook your choice of pasta (I don’t recommend long noodles) as directed.

Prepare a largish baking dish with olive oil or a foil lining. Transfer the pasta to the baking dish, filling it about a third full.  Cut the chicken up into bite-size pieces and top the pasta.

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Cover the whole casserole with marinara sauce. I like to use the organic marinara from Safeway, with a box of Pomi chopped tomatoes mixed in.

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If you’re not going to bake it right away, cover the casserole and put it in the fridge. When you’re ready, top the casserole with shredded cheese (an Italian cheese blend or parmesan) and bake it for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, at 350 degrees until the cheese is bubbly and the casserole is heated through.

Of course, this is not a recipe for some sort of astronaut food.  It is, however, the revelation that prime rib is perhaps the easiest “fancy food” to make.

Go ahead and splurge on a really beautiful rib roast. It will be spendy but it is worth it.

To cook it, place a rack toward the bottom of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a roasting pan with heavy foil, and place the roasting rack on top of the foil.

Rinse and pat the rib roast dry.  Place it on the rack in the roasting pan.  Season it some, but do not be seduced into using a heavy rub.  A used a basic garlic and herb mix from Spice Islands.

Put the rib roast in the oven and let it cook, uncovered, until it reaches the desired temperature (check out this Prime Rib Cooking Chart).  Mine was 7 pounds and I let it cook about three and a half hours (but we don’t like our meat too rare — the ends were medium, and the middle was medium rare.).

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That’s it. No fuss, no muss. A decadent meal to share with friends and family (and all the mess in the pan goes straight into the trash).

I served it with Stonewall Kitchen Cranberry Horseradish Sauce (which I love!) and traditional horseradish. Yummy!

(Have you noticed that I don’t always have photos of the food I make, or of the final product before it’s eaten?  That’s because the food is made to be eaten, and too often I forget to grab the camera before everyone starts eating.  For a while I didn’t post a recipe if I didn’t get a “final” photo, but I think I’ll relax a bit about that from now on.)

This is a riff off of my orange caramel cheesecake, inspired by fresh organic oranges and Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Thins.

This time, I used full-fat cream cheese, a little less sugar, and sour cream instead of greek yogurt. I also at the last minute decided to add 1/2 tsp of Gourmet Garden’s ginger paste.

I had a little extra batter, so I put four ginger thins in the bottom on a ramekin and filled it with cheese cake batter.  We’ll see how that turns out.

How It Turned Out:

A lovely orange spice taste, though the texture was dense, and a bit crumbly.  I prefer my cheesecakes to be creamy and airy. Even so, there were no complaints.  And the miniature cakes in the ramekins turned out just as tasty as the big cheesecake.

There is nothing more fun than planning and preparing a feast for the people I love. Choosing dishes that welcome and excite my guests, that remind us of special times and help us create new memories — it is one of the most wonderful ways to celebrate the gifts that these wonderful people share with me every day.

Tonight’s menu is hopefully as much a holiday treat for them as the making of it is for me.

Cocktails and Crudites

Lavender Martinis and Cranberry Fizzlers

Sausage Balls

Vegetable Christmas Tree with Assorted Dips and Cheeses

Feastivities

Self Cooking Prime Rib

Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole

Fresh Baked Rolls

Sweet Treats

Dark Chocolate Cake with Tiramisauce

Orange Vanilla Spice Cheesecake

Grasshoppers

Coffee, Tea

 

*Links to all the recipes to come. . .

 

After several months of business travel, “single girl specials,” and PB&Js, I am so excited to be celebrating the season in the kitchen. And to have a cohort of new recipes to share.  This first one is a great way to use up left over egg nog — while making a sweet treat for the neighbors.

Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tbs egg nog
1 package of Trader Joe’s Orange Flavored Cranberries*
1/2 cup powdered sugar

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a loaf pan, or those fancy baking paper loaf pans, and set them aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients (the cranberries don’t count) in a large mixing bowl. Set that mixture aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a standing mixer (or with an electric hand mixer).  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each into the batter completely before adding the next. When everything is nicely combined, turn down the mixer (low or low-medium speed).  Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the egg nog, until the batter is smooth. It will be thick, but should have no lumps.

Fold the cranberries in with a spatula (not the mixer).  Then transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pans.  You’ll have enough for 4-5 small loaf pans or 2 large loaf pans. (If you use the fancy paper pans, be sure to put them on a cookie sheet to go into the oven.)

Bake for 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean.  Let them cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, combine two tablespoons of eggnog with the powdered sugar. Use a whisk to get the smoothest consistency. Use a pastry brush to glaze the top of the cakes.

How They Turned Out:

BEST POUND CAKE EVER!

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The mini-loaves turned out perfectly.  Festive and yummy!

And I’m ever so grateful that the big loaf didn’t quite cook through, even after resting in the oven (turned off but still warm) for 15 minutes after the others were done, because it meant I could keep it.  (Next time I’ll fill the pan just half full).

*I have a friend who enjoys cooking — and eating — food as much as I do.  He introduced me to Trader Joe’s (there isn’t one in Alaska) and now, whenever I go Outside, I come back with an extra suitcase of TJ yumminess.

 

We have a wonderful bakery here in Juneau: Wild Oven.  Their breads are perfect for all sorts of sandwiches and dishes.  I particularly like making French Toast with their Country French and Many Raisins breads.  This weekend, as a treat for my favorite munchkin, I made French toast with a lovely maple cinnamon toast sprinkle from Summit Spice and Tea (an Anchorage specialty store).

IngredientsIMG_2185 (2)

4 medium thick slices of French bread
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon toast sprinkle (cinnamon, maple sugar, brown sugar, cardamom)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
sliced strawberries, maple syrup, etc. to garnish

How I Made It

Lay the slices of bread in a shallow baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Then pour the egg mixture over the bread. Let the slices soak for 5 minutes. Turn them over, spoon the egg mixture over the top, and let soak another 5 minutes.

(This is a great time to wash and slice your berries.)

Heat the butter over medium-high heat.  Brown the bread in the butter, cooking about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Note that if your bread has lots of nooks and crannies, you’ll need to be sure that all of the egg mixture has cooked through on each side.

Serve hot, with berries and syrup. Serves 2.

How It Turned Out

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YUMMY!!

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