Monday, April 29, 2013

Country Breakfast Casserole


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We went to Portsmouth this past weekend and started moving Cally back home for the summer.  Wow where has her first year gone.  It flew by.  Billy will be staying in Columbus because he has gotten a job at the Country Club in Columbus working on the golf course.  Come fall both of the kids will be moving into new apartments.  What an exciting time for them.  Cally is looking forward to living off campus.

This breakfast casserole is my now all time favorite breakfast casserole.  Putting the bread cubes on top and pouring melted butter over them is what makes it my favorite.  The crunchy bread on top is like having toast with your eggs.  The recipes I usually make calls for the bread to be added down in the egg mixture like bread pudding.  I used my pastry brush and brushed melted butter over the top of the bread cubes before I baked it and then half way through and again after I took it out of the oven.  The recipe says to bake for 40 min but mine took more like an hour.

Country Breakfast Casserole

1 roll (12 ounces) breakfast sausage 
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 
6 eggs, beaten 
1 cup water 
1/2 cup milk
1 package McCormick Sausage Country Gravy Mix
6 slices bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cook crumbled sausage in large skillet on medium heat until brown, stirring occasionally. Drain sausage. Spread in lightly greased 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over sausage.

Beat eggs, water, milk and Gravy Mix in medium bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Pour over cheese. Arrange bread cubes evenly over mixture. Drizzle butter over bread, if desired. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake, uncovered, 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cinnamon Bread


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If you like Friendship Amish Bread you will love this Cinnamon Bread.  The nice thing is you mix it up and bake it not like the friendship bread that you have to feed and split up every week and give some away to a friend.

This bread is super moist and really cinnamon sugary.  The first time I made it I did as the recipe said and baked it in a loaf pan but it seemed to take mine forever to bake.  This time I baked the bread in a 9 X 13 cake pan and it was done right on time.  When I slice it I cut once down the middle long ways and then slice it in slices across.  It comes out perfect just like it was in a loaf pan.

After I swirl the cinnamon sugar through the dough I sprinkle more on top of the bread before baking.  That way it ends up with a sweet crunchy top.

Cinnamon Bread

1 C butter, softened
2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 C buttermilk 
4 C flour
2 tsp baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:

2/3 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together butter, 2 C of sugar, and eggs.  Add milk, flour, and baking soda.  Put 1/2 of batter into greased and floured loaf pans (1/4 in each pan).  Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan.  Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping.  Swirl with a knife.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min.  or until toothpick tester come clean.  
Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lemon Brownies


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 Lemon Brownies

1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C flour
2 eggs, large
2 T lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 t salt

For the tart lemon glaze:

2 T lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
3/4 C icing sugar

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
 Zest and juice two lemons and set aside.
 In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.
 In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined.
 Pour it into the flour mixture and beat for 2 mins at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
 Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 mins, should turn golden around the edges.
 Allow to cool completely before glazing. Do not overbake, or the bars will dry.
 Filter the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest and juice.
 Spread the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula and let glaze set.
 Cut into bars and serve.

adapted from for this recipe!
Monday, April 22, 2013

Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti


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Bill and I had a busy weekend.  For our 25th Wedding Anniversary we went to Cincinnati for the weekend.
We actually stayed in Kentucky, that is where we spent our honeymoon 25 years ago.


Our favorite spot this weekend was on top of the Carew Tower.  We stayed out on the observation deck for about an hour looking all around the city.  It was so peaceful up there.  I could hear the cars on the highway and a train that was running on the bridge crossing the Ohio River over to Kentucky.  It was neat to have a birds eye view of it all.


Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

1 package (19 ounce) Italian Sausage Links , removed from casing
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk (not skim)
10 Manicotti pasta shells
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Make the filling: In a large skillet over medium heat brown 
sausage, crumbling it with a wooden spoon into small pieces as it cooks. Stir and cook until the sausage is no longer pink and is starting to brown. Set aside.

To make a béchamel sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until well incorporated. Slowly, add milk and whisk together until smooth. Continue whisking until sauce comes to a slow boil and starts to thicken. Stir half this sauce into the sausage mixture. (Reserve the other half to pour on top of the manicotti .) Add cubed mozzarella to the sausage and sauce mixture and continue stirring while slowly whisking in the egg yolks; mix to combine cover and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse under cold water and reserve being careful to keep the pasta from breaking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread 3/4 cup of the reserved béchamel sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch oiled baking dish. Spoon filling into each pasta tube. Start from one end and using your finger to push the filling all the way through. Nestle the manicotti in the sauce and cover with remaining béchamel sauce.

Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of oregano. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until heated through; and cheese starts to turn golden. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes then serve.

 adapted from:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Strawberry Orange Creme Smoothie


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I went to the Gooseberry Patch blog today to link up to the blog hop and this week the recipes that they are looking for are blogs posts for Smoothies.  I have never made a smoothie so my brain got to turning and this is what I came up with.  Strawberry Orange Creme Smoothie.

When I was little we use to get Orange Julius drinks at the mall.  If I remember right they seem like they must have been an Orange Smoothie.  So that is where I started.  I knew I wanted orange juice in my smoothie.  Then it seems like most smoothies have some kind of berry in them.  I had strawberries in the fridge.  The way the orange creme came about is I was asking my friend Amy L (Hi Amy) what I should use in my smoothie, I thought milk but Amy had a better idea.  She says when she makes smoothies she uses yogurt.  Oh that sounded so good and I love Yoplait Orange Creme yogurt.  

 Strawberry Orange Creme Smoothie

1/2 lb strawberries
2 C Orange Juice
1 Sugar 
1 Tbsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
6 oz Yoplait Orange Creme yogurt
1/2 C milk

Put strawberries, orange juice, splenda blend, honey and lemon juice in a blender and blend until strawberries are chopped and everything is well mixed.  Pour the juice mixture into ice cube trays and place in freezer until frozen.

Put the frozen fruit cubes, yogurt and milk into blender and blend until smooth.

This recipe is entered in the Gooseberry Patch blog hop
Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cheesy Sausage and Penne Casserole


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Cheesy Sausage and Penne Casserole
source: adapted from

3 C uncooked penne pasta (about 10 ounces) 
1/4 C butter or margarine 
1/3 C all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
3 C milk
2 C shredded Italian-style cheese blend (8 ounces)
1/2  C grated Parmesan cheese
5 Italian Brats, casings removed

1/2 C Parmesan Cheese
1 C Mozzarella Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. While pasta is cooking, Take casing off the brats and fry up the Italian Sausage.  After sausage is brown remove the sausage from the skillet.  Add butter to skillet and melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. 

Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in Italian cheese blend and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese until melted. Gently stir pasta and sausage into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 3-quart casserole.  Bake uncovered for 20 minutes then put 1 C shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese on top and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 
Sunday, April 7, 2013

Caramel Bread Pudding


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This bread pudding is awesome!  It reminds me of french toast but with Caramel and whipped topping on top instead of maple syrup.  

The homemade caramel sauce was super easy to do.  You just simmer a can of sweetened condensed milk for 2 1/2 hours.  And yes, you put the can in the pan.  Do not remove the milk.  I was skeptical about this at first but was pleasantly surprised when it worked and it was the best caramel sauce I have ever tasted.  If I need caramel sauce for my recipes I will be making it from now on.

Caramel Bread Pudding
source:  Welcome Home Facebook Page

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half and half
6 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter 
10-12 cups leftover Italian, french or other dense bread
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
Caramel (either your own or ice cream topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl blend together eggs and sugar, add cream, half and half and vanilla and blend to combine. 

Tear leftover bread into chunks set aside, pour 1 stick melted butter into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, add bread and press firmly into butter, pour cream mixture evenly over bread, press bread down with a spatula to absorb cream, dot top with remaining cold butter, bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes or just until the center is firm but not hard. 

Warm caramel sauce and pour over each serving.

Warm Caramel Sauce 

1  14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Put can of milk in pan on it's side.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.  Take can out of water and allow to get to room temperature.  If it is hot it may explode when you open it.  After room temperature open up can and you have a caramel sauce.
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Vanilla Caramel Coffee Creamer


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We were in Portsmouth with Cally on Wednesday.  Cally was inducted into the National Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma.  We attended her ceremony and then stayed the night in Portsmouth.  It was nice to get to visit with Cally during the week.

I made a different flavor of Coffee Creamer tonight.  This one is similar to my Vanilla Bean Coffee Creamer, except I added 2 T caramel.  The recipe on says to use caramel ice cream topping.  I used my homemade ice cream topping.  This caramel is super easy to make.  Take 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14oz) with the paper label removed off of the can.  Put the can into a pan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer the can of milk for 2 1/2 hours.  Take out of pan and let cool to room temperature (opening can while hot may make it explode).  When you open it is you will find a can of caramel.  If you make this you will never buy ready made ice cream caramel topping again.  It is so delicious.  I again made my own sweetened condensed milk using my splenda blend.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
source: adapted from All Recipes

3/4 C boiling water
6 T butter, softened
1/2 C Splenda Blend (if using regular sugar use 1 C )
2 2/3 C nonfat dry milk powder

Combine water, butter, Splenda (or sugar) and milk powder.  Blend until thickened, 2 minutes.  Store in refrigerator.

Homemade Vanilla Bean Coffee Creamer
source: adapted from Mrs Happy Homemaker

1 recipe of the homemade sweetened condensed milk from above (if using store bought 1 14oz can)
1 3/4 C Milk or Cream ( I used half and half)
2 t vanilla
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (cut open bean and scrape out the seeds with a knife and put in mixture)
2 T caramel ice cream topping

Mix all together.  I made the sweetened condensed milk in my blender and when I was done making the milk I just added all these other ingredients and blended well.  Keep in refrigerator.  I am not sure how long it will keep but I am guessing if you use fresh cream/half and half/milk then it would be good for 2 weeks.