June 27, 2010


This recipe is based on one my Mother made every Christmas morning.  I have eaten this Casserole for more than 25 yrs.  We call it Cathie's Christmas Casserole and now I make it every Christmas at my house and every year it is a little different.  Sometimes I use Ham and Cheddar Cheese or Sausage and Monterey Jack Cheese or different kinds of Breads like Brioche.   A great combination is Brioche, Gruyere and sauteed Mushrooms.  Mom always made it with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese and Sour Dough Bread and it goes without saying...she made it best.  This recipe is great for a large group of people because you prep it the night before and bake it the next morning.  All you need to do it make the coffee and pop it in the oven.  Like all of my recipes, you can add or remove anything you like to make it your own.  Look at the TIP section below for amazing ideas to jazz it up.  This Breakfast Casserole doesn't need to be served just on Christmas.  Bake it for lunch or even dinner and serve with a Green Salad.  But nothing beats that smell every Christmas morning as it is pulled out of the oven with the Cheese bubbling and the Eggs light and fluffy because you are Cooking The Amazing!

Here is the recipe.

2 T  Butter
6-8 c  Bread, cubed
1 lb Breakfast Sausage or Ham or Bacon, diced
12  Eggs, large
2 c  Milk, whole
1 c  Half and Half
2 1/2 c   Cheese, shredded (Cheddar, Jack, etc.)
1 t   Salt, fine
1 t   Pepper, fresh ground black
2 t  Thyme, dried

1.  Butter a large casserole dish well and set on a cookie sheet for easy transfer.  Clear a space in your
refrigerator to place it later.

2.  Remove the crust from your bread or leave the crust if you prefer it on and cube into large 1- 1 1/2 inch cubes and place into the Buttered dish evenly spread out.  Try Brioche, Italian, French, Sour Dough or your favorite.  I like the crusty parts so I leave the crust on.

3.  In a medium pan fry the Sausage or Bacon (or brown the Ham and cut into pieces) until cooked and separated into medium chunks.  Set aside and drain off the grease well.
4.  Place the Sausage, Bacon or Ham over the Bread cubes evenly distributed, tucking deep into the Bread in some areas.  Press the Meat down into the bread.

5.  Crack all the Eggs and whisk well then add the Milk and Half and Half and Salt, Pepper, Thyme.  Whisk well then pour over the Bread and Sausage.
add any add ins you like at this point (see TIP below)

6.  Cover the top with all the Cheese and distribute evenly.  Using your hands gently press down the Cheese into the mixture to compress.  Cover with plastic wrap tight and refrigerate overnight for best flavor or a minimum of 2 hours.

7.  The morning you will bake it, remove it from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap allow to sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

8.  Sprinkle the top with Salt and Pepper to your taste and a little Thyme for color and taste.

9.  Bake for 45 minutes to 55 minutes until the center is cooked and eggs are set and cheese is bubbly.
To test for doneness remove from the oven and use a spoon to open a small area in the middle of the casserole.  The Eggs should be set and cooked and not runny.  Ovens vary so your Casserole may require up to 1 hour or more.

10.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes out of the oven before serving so the Eggs set.

TIP:  Use your favorite Bread like: Brioche, Whole Wheat, Croissants, English Muffins.  Use your favorite Cheese or mix of Cheeses like:  Gruyere, Swiss, Munster, C0-Jack. 
Use your favorite add ins like: sauteed Mushrooms or Onions, Green Onions diced, Jalapenos, Tomato chopped, Olives, Artichoke Hearts, Green or Red Peppers diced or your favorite ingredients. 

                            COPYRIGHT (c) 2010

June 18, 2010



With all those Strawberries you picked at your local farm or from your own patch you have to use them or freeze fast before they go bad.  Strawberry Sauce is one way to use up your berries if your freezer space is limited.  Strawberry Sauce makes everything taste better especially if it is a hot stack of Sunday Pancakes or a scoop or two of Vanilla Ice Cream.  Choose bright red firm Strawberries to make a smooth and thick sauce.  The sauce can also be used to make Strawberry Butter Cream Icing or drizzled over Pound Cake layered with fresh Whipped Cream and fresh sliced Strawberries for the best Strawberry Shortcake ever.   Blend it with Milk and Vanilla Ice Cream for an amazing Strawberry Shake.  You will be Cooking The Amazing with every sweet bite!

Here is the recipe.

2 lbs   Fresh Strawberries
1 1/4  c  Sugar
1 T   Lemon Juice, fresh

1.  Hull and chop fresh Strawberries and place in a large bowl.

2.  Pour in the Lemon Juice, fresh squeezed, and stir to distribute well.

3.  Add the sugar and stir well.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

4.  After 2 hours, stir well and place in a blender and blend until liquid.

5.  Taste for sweetness.  Fresh Strawberries vary in flavor and sweetness.   Add more sugar if needed or if too sweet add 2 T of cold water and reblend. 

6.  Strain through a fine strainer over a large bowl using a rubber spatula to force through leaving seeds behind. 

7.  Place in a medium sauce pan and on medium heat bring to a simmer for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

8.  Place simmered Strawberry Sauce in a glass jar and refrigerate for 4 hours before using for a thicker sauce or serve right away for a thinner warm sauce.

TIP:  Use this Strawberry Sauce drizzled over my rich Chocolate Cake  for the ultimate dessert.

                                Copyright (c) 2010

June 17, 2010



It is Strawberry season here in the Midwest and summer has come early leaving you thirsting for a cold glass of Lemonade.  Lemonade is a versatile drink that can be made as sweet or lemony as you like it.  Adding fresh Strawberries or Raspberries can make that great glass of icy lemonade even tastier and more refreshing.  For an even more amazing treat try freezing the Strawberries then blending them into Lemonade to make a slushy Strawberry Lemon Ice that kids and adults can both enjoy.  The adults may also want to spike it up a bit with a splash of Rum or Vodka when no one is looking.  You can squeeze your own Lemons or save time and money and buy a high quality premade Lemonade.  Let the grass wait a couple of days.  Summer is here and this weekend you can sit outside in the shade and enjoy a frosty tall glass of Strawberry Lemonade while the neighbors are mowing their lawns and pulling weeds because you are Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.

2  Bottles (59 oz each) of Simply Lemonade
2 Lemons, sliced and seeded into rings
2 lbs  Fresh Strawberries or Raspberries
1 1/4 c  Sugar

1.  If you are a purist and want to squeeze your own lemons and make lemonade rather than buying it use this recipe:
                     12  Lemons, squeezed
                     2 1/2  c  Sugar
                     4 quarts Cold Water, filtered
                     2 lbs Fresh Strawberries
                     1 1/4  c  Sugar

                     Combine 1 quart of Water and Sugar over medium heat and make a simple syrup (melt sugar in water over heat.)  Cool down the Sugar water in the refrigerator then add the squeezed Lemon juice and mix well.  Add 2 quarts of Cold Water and mix well.  Add the remaining quart of Water in 1/4 amounts and stir then taste until you find it to your taste.  Adjust with more Sugar or Lemon or Water as you taste to make it perfect for you.  Proceed to the Strawberry steps below.

2.  If you are using store bought Lemonade.  Pour 2 bottles of Simply Lemonade (or whatever brand you use but it should be not from concentrate for best taste.) into a large pitcher.  You may need 2 pitchers or large bowl if your pitcher is not large enough. Refrigerate until needed.

3.  Slice 2 Lemons and set aside.

4.  Hull and cut up 2 lbs of fresh Strawberries and stir in the sugar and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours.  Then place 1/2 in a blender and blend until liquid.  Repeat with the rest of the Strawberries.   Strain through a fine strainer to remove seeds.

TIP:  Use 5-7 cups of fresh Watermelon in place of the Strawberries and make a delicious Watermelon lemonade.


5.  Pour the Strawberry puree into the Lemonade and stir well.

6.  Taste and adjust sweetness with more Sugar or if too sweet more Water or fresh Lemon juice if you like it more tart.  Add the sliced Lemons and refrigerate and then serve over ice.

7.  To make Strawberry Lemon Ice, freeze the Strawberry puree mixed in 3 cups of the Lemonade into cubes.
Add these cubes to the residual Lemonade and blend in the blender and serve.

                STRAWBERRY LEMON ICE

TIP:  Add a squeeze of fresh Lime juice to the top of your Strawberry Lemonade for an amazing flavor boost before serving without stirring it in.

COPYRIGHT (c) 2010