Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast with Blueberry Syrup

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As a rule, I am not a fan of French toast but I have really started to like these overnight French toast recipes.  I think I made this one for Christmas breakfast for Mr. Meat Eater and I and we really enjoyed it.

I always use Challah bread for these kinds of recipes ~ it soaks up the liquids nicely and it’s a bit sweet.  King’s Hawaiian bread would work nicely, too.  I used frozen blueberries for both the casserole and the syrup and they worked perfectly.

I found the recipe on a blog called Real Mom Kitchen ~ it’s a very cute blog with some great recipes so check it out when you have a chance.

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast with Blueberry Syrup

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

French Toast:

12 slices bread, cut into cubes ~ I used challah but King’s Hawaiian would work
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut in cubes
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) ~ I used frozen and probably about 1 1/2 cups ~ do not defrost
12 eggs
1/3 cup real maple syrup
2 cups milk

Arrange 1/2 of the bread cubes in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and blueberries evenly over the bread cubes and top with remaining bread cubes.

Mix together the eggs, milk, and syrup. Pour over bread cubes and cover the pan with foil. Refrigerate overnight.

Bake, covered, at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until fluffy and golden.

Top with sauce.

Makes 8 servings.

Syrup:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 cup blueberries ~ I used frozen but fresh is fine ~ do not defrost
1 tbsp butter

Cook water, sugar, and cornstarch together until thickened. Stir in blueberries and simmer for 10 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Serve over the french toast.

Happy Cooking!

Baby Jesus Birthday Cake

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Really, this is just a chocolate refrigerator roll but when my kids were younger we made this every Christmas Eve and this is what they called it and the name stuck.  So we still make the Baby Jesus birthday cake ~ well, some years we make it and some years, yours truly forgets to make it.

The chocolate wafers have become elusive  recently but I found some and they are EXPENSIVE!  At least to me they are ~ almost $5 for a box of boring cookies.  All that aside, it’s super easy to make and really good.  You do have to let it sit in the refrigerator a bit so the cookies soften up and they will be the same texture as cake.  I make mine first thing in the morning for evening dessert.

Baby Jesus Birthday Cake or Chocolate Refrigerator Roll

1 tsp vanilla (I don’t use this)
2 cups whipping cream, whipped (Cool Whip is fine, too)
1 (9 oz) pkg Nabisco Chocolate Wafers
Sprinkles or chocolate curls for garnish

Stir the vanilla into the whipped cream.

Spread about 1/2 tbsp of whipped cream on one side of a wafer. Continue in this manner, stacking the wafers on their sides.

Frost with the rest of the whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate curls or sprinkles.

Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

To serve, slice at a 45º angle.

Makes about 12 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Tortellini with Pesto Dip

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This is a super easy easy appetizer and the dip is spot on with the tortellini.  I am addicted to this stuff!  It’s perfect for a party or even as a side dish on your table.  I found the recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook submitted by Cheryl Lame.

I cut regular wooden skewers in half instead of buying some just for this and it worked out well.

Tortellini with Pesto Dip

4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsps olive oil, divided
1 pkg (10 ozs) refrigerated spinach tortellini
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/8 tsp pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes

On a double thickness of aluminum foil, place the garlic cloves and drizzle with 1 tbsps olive oil. Wrap the foil around and roast in the oven at 425º for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Cool for 15 minutes.

While garlic is cooking, cook tortellini according to the package, drain, rise in cold water. Toss with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, Parmesan, milk, pesto and pepper. Squeeze the garlic into this mixture and stir until combined.

Thread tortellini and tomatoes onto skewers and serve with pesto dip.

I made all of this ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 dozen skewers and 1 1/2 cups dip.

Happy Cooking!

Super Easy Pizza Sauce

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I love this sauce recipe and it’s what I use when I make pizza.  It freezes very well and I usually double or triple it when I do make it so I always have some in the freezer.  I use it with my Pizza Dough (Bread Machine) recipe.  We don’t like too much sauce on our pizzas so this amount would probably cover three pizzas but using it normally, I would say it covers two pizzas.

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Easy Pizza Sauce

2 (10.75 ounce) cans of tomato puree
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. When the sauce begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool.

Store in the refrigerator or use immediately. It can also be frozen.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups pizza sauce.

Happy Cooking!

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Cherry Icebox Cookies

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This is another sort of old fashioned cookie.  I like them because I can mix up the dough one day and bake them off the next day ~ very easy.  I would think that you could freeze the dough as well.  I put the baked cookies in the freezer so we’ll see how that works.

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Cherry Icebox Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
4 1/2 tsps lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.

Combine the dry ingredients and gradually add to the creamed mixture.

Beat in cherry and lemon juices. Stir in nuts and cherries.

Shape into four 12-inch logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Regrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Unwrap and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 375º for 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes 3-4 dozen.

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Happy Baking!

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Mini Elephant Ears

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These cookies are very good, easy to make, and look elegant.  They are best served right away and they will get hard as a rock unless they are kept in an airtight container.

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Mini Elephant Ears

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed but chilled
1 egg, lightly beaten

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Dust your work surface with a tbsp or two of the cinnamon-sugar. Roll out puff pastry on the sugar to 12×9.

Brush dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over dough, patting it lightly so that it adheres.

With the tip of a paring knife, mark a line (BUT DO NOT CUT THROUGH) lengthwise down the center of the dough. Fold long sides of the rectangle toward the center, leaving 1/3 inch uncovered on either side of the line. Then fold one side of dough over the other so that you have a total of four layers. Wrap in plastic and freeze until firm ~ at least one hour and up to 2 weeks.

Heat oven to 400º. Unwrap pastry and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Arrange, cut-side down 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

Bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

Cool on baking sheets for 15 to 20 minutes and serve at room temperature. Keep in air tight container at room temp for up to 3 days.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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Happy Cooking!

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Really Good Make Ahead Gravy!

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I like to do as much ahead of a big holiday dinner as I can so I am not running around like crazy on the holiday and I can actually enjoy myself.  I found this recipe in a magazine and since I had seen Tyler Florence do something similar on his show, I decided to give it a shot.  The worst that could happen is that I would be making gravy on Thanksgiving.

This gravy is DELICIOUS!  Now, it does take quite a bit of time to make and I did have to thin it out on Thanksgiving (with chicken broth) but other than that, it was perfect.

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Really Good Make Ahead Gravy

4 turkey wings
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup water
8 cups chicken broth
2 medium carrots, cut in chunks
2 medium celery ribs (with leaves), cut in chunks
4 springs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup flour
2 tbsp butter
black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 400º.

In a large roasting pan, put in wings and onions. Roast for 1 1/4 hours or until wings are browned.

Put wings and onions in a large stockpot. Add water to roasting pan and scrape up any bits and then add all to the stockpot.

Add 6 cups broth, carrots, celery and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove wings ~ you can let them cool, remove the skin and save the meat for another use.

Strain broth into a 3-quart saucepan. Discard all the veggies and skim fat. (I strain into a gravy fat skimmer and pour the broth from there).

Whisk flour into remaining broth until smooth.

Bring broth in saucepan to a boil and whisk in flour mixture and boil for about 5 minutes or until it thickens. Stir in butter and pepper.

At this point you can serve it or pour into containers and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze up to one month.

You can add turkey roasting pan drippings (skimmed of fat) to the gravy on the day you roast your turkey.

While reheating, whisk often to prevent sticking. If you like your gravy browner, add a little bit of browning sauce (I do this).

Makes 8 cups of gravy.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Cooking!

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