This weekend was the first time I have been in charge of food for a party of 10 plus people. The occasion was a lovely baby shower for my friend Rachel. I must say that I volunteered without hesitation for being responsible for the food but then slightly panicked because...well, I've never done something like this and what if the food didn't turn out tasty?! That is pretty much my worst nightmare. But, it all turned out great and worth all the work. Here's what I made:
Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
- 1 loaf french bread
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- dash salt
- praline topping, recipe follows
- maple syrup
Slice french bread into 20 slices, 1 inch each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9x13 flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk or mixer until blended but not too bubbly. Pour the mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the mix. Spoon some of the mix in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350. Spread praline topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 min, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.
- 12 whole eggs
- 2-1/4 cups half and half
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- 1 loaf crusty french bread, cut into cubes
- 2 lbs breakfast sausage, cooked and cut into cubes
- 1 bunch kale, torn into pieces
- olive oil, for frying
- 16 ounces white mushrooms, slices
- 2-1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese
Mix together eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, and minced parsley. Set aside.
Drizzle olive oil over mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat, then throw in the kale. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Layer half the bread, half the kale, half the mushrooms, half the cheese and half the sausage in a large, buttered lasagna pan. Repeat with the other half of all the ingredients, ending with the cheese. Slowly pour the egg mixture all over the top.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To bake, remove from the fridge 20-30 minutes before baking. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.
Spinach Salad with Strawberries
- 1 lb spinach
- 1 granny smith apple, cut into thin strips
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
- 1/3 cup lightly toasted pecan halves
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1-1/2 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
Toss the spinach with the apple, strawberries and pecans.
Stir the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together and blend in the sour cream gradually. Mix the dressing with the spinach and toss.