Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

I don't have a picture of this one -- but just imagine an egg casserole :)

1 dozen eggs
1 cup milk
1 (32oz) package frozen hash brown potatoes
1 lb cooked meat - sausage, bacon, or ham   (I've actually made it using a mixture of 2 meats before too)
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
3/4 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Using a crockpot that is at least 3 quarts, start layering the potatoes, onions, green pepper, and cheese, in about 2 or 3 layers each.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pepper together.
Pour over the ingredients already in the crockpot.
Cook on low for 10-12 hours, until eggs are set and thoroughly cooked.

My review:  I took this in to work as a birthday brunch treat, and everyone loved it.  You can add any veggies you would like to it, I imagine some fresh spinach would be good.  It's great because you can prepare it before bed, and it's ready in the morning!  Served with some bagels and fresh fruit, this was a great brunch!  It's also a great dinner!!

French Onion Mushrooms

I know the picture doesn't look appetizing, but it's so good, I promise!

1 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 can Campbell's Condensed French Onion Soup
1 pound mushrooms, thick sliced
3 slices swiss cheese

Melt the butter in a saute pan and add the french onion soup.
Heat on medium heat, until the mixture simmers.
Add in the mushrooms, and simmer, until there is very little liquid left, about 15 minutes.
Spoon the mushrooms into a small baking dish, and cover with cheese.
Place under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
Serve alone, or with toasted slices of baguette.

My review:  This recipe was inspired by Pioneer Woman's French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms recipe.  This was an easier variation.  So yummy!  I ended up spooning mine onto toasted sliced of baguette, but it was good by itself too.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

In the bustle of Thanksgiving, I forgot to take a picture of these babies... Sorry!

This recipe makes 48 cupcake sized cheesecakes  (recipe can be halved)

4 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
6 eggs
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
1 bag Ginger Snaps

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Line cupcake tins with paper liners, and place a ginger snap in the bottom of each one.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Add the sugar, flour, and spices, and mix well.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure that they each mix in well.
Add in the pumpkin puree and mix well.
Pour the filling into the cupcake tins, 2/3 of the way up in each cup.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are firm, and slightly golden.
Take out of the cupcake tins to cool, and place on wire racks.  (I don't have a wire rack, so I just put them in a cake pan.
The middles will sink a little bit.
Store in the refrigerator and top with whipped cream to serve.

My review:  These were delicious and got great reviews from both sides of the family!  They were easy to prepare and tasted just like regular pumpkin cheesecake, without the hassle of using a springform pan, and without having to cut it into pieces.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

So, I know this is usually a cooking blog, and that's great and fabulous, and I plan to keep it that way for all intensive purposes.  But, when you find something you love so much that you want to blog about it, and you will be rewarded for it, well, you just have to jump.  Rules go out the window.

What in the world am I talking about?  Well, Shutterfly is a fabulous picture hosting site, where you can also order photos, cards, and other gifts.  Their photo books are amazing and incredibly affordable.  They are easy to put together, and make fabulous gifts.  I did one for John and I's trip to Paris back in 2009, and it's one of my favorite things to look at when I'm missing France.

So, back to my point.  Shutterfly is offering 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers who blog about their amazing Christmas Cards.  If you are a blogger and would like to participate, go here.

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up: http://bit.ly/sfly2010

Last year was the first year I made Christmas cards.  I had wanted to make sure I had a good picture of Lily in her Christmas outfit to send out.  It was her first Christmas and she was so darn cute.  The response was fabulous, and it was really good to send out Christmas cards to everyone I love.

I haven't decided who's going on our Christmas cards yet this year.... a picture of John and I, a picture of John, Lily, and me, or just a picture of Lily.  The plan is to have a photo shoot this weekend/early next week, and see what picture is best.  That doesn't mean I can't try to figure out which card I like best.  So, with that, here's my favorite Christmas card layouts from Shutterfly. 

#1.  I love this one.  It's so simple, pretty and elegant.  Problem is, I don't know if I can find FOUR pictures I like well enough to send out on Christmas cards.  So, I just had to put it in here as a possibility because I love it, but I probably won't use it because I would need four photos.  Link to this card

#2.  This one is different colors for a Christmas card, with the brown, cranberry, and pistachio.  I think this makes it feel kind of country, and homey.  I like that there's a lot of room to write a message, but that is also daunting, because I'd have to think of something cute and clever that I want to say to everyone...  It's got only one picture to fill, which makes it a great option and one of John and I's engagement photos would look fabulous in this one because of the natural colors.  Link to this card

#3.  I love the fun, whimsical feeling of this one!  It would be a great layout if I had kids, but I think it would be great for a picture of Lily too.  There's a lot of room to write a message again, but I guess I could handle it.  It's very fun and modern.  Plus, aren't those kids adorable...?  Link to this card

#4.  I can't decide why I like this one so much.  It feels so festive, and the cranberry/pistachio colors are really growing on me as Christmas colors.  Also, for some reason, I really love the black.  It feels very vintage.  Its name is Retro Kaleidoscope and I just really like that name.  It's seriously cute.  Link to this card

#5.  Let's try to ignore that adorable blond headed boy over there with the curls and the blue eyes.  Whew.  I love this card.  It's got your red, your green, some holy, and a quote from a well known Christmas song.  What's not to like?  This card is gorgeous and fantastically designed.  I would only need one good picture -- and as long as I can remember our names, I think I could handle filling out the text!  This is definitely a contender.  Link to this card

 #6.  Goodness gracious.  the lime, the candy cane letters, the stars.  There is so much I love about this card.  What I don't love?  3 pictures!  Sure, I could find 3 pictures from our engagement shots that I love and put them in there.  Or I could put in 3 pictures of Lily.  But I would be too picky about whether or not the pictures "flow" with one another, or match the background that I would drive myself absolutely batty.  It's still a contender because goodness gracious i love that lettering at the top. It's gorgeous.  Link to this card
#7.  This card is very classic, perhaps a little too mature for me, but the snowflake damask on the side has just captured my heart and won't let it go.  I think this would look great with one of our engagement shots in black and white.  Beautiful.  Link to this card

#8.  I love the color scheme on this.  The winter blue with the red, and then the white, with a black and white picture?  So festive and fun.  I love the snowflakes.  It's another fun, silly one, and I like that.  Link to this card

HOW AM I EVER GOING TO DECIDE???  Someone please help.  I am unable to kick any of them out of the running just yet...

I don't have any pictures of Lily yet so that you could see what she would look like, but here's my favorites from our engagement session that I've thought about using...  Imagine any of them in color or black and white...

All engagement photos taken by Jim Strathearn Photography.  Jim does an amazing job.  If you are within an hour of Delta, PA, he's your guy for kid pictures, engagement pictures, wedding pictures, or anything else you could possibly need!

Someone help choose!  And please, head on over to Shutterfly to make your Christmas cards this year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crustless Mushroom and Feta Quiche

I'm baaaaaaaack!  I apologize that I've been hiding behind loads of wedding planning, school, work, and LIFE, but I'm hoping to be back in action!

When I made this recipe, I cut it, and only made a 3rd, which filled my two small casseroles you see in the picture.  I'm going to give you the recipe sized for a 9x13 pan, so you can make it for a brunch or for more than 2 people, like I was.

18 eggs (yes, 18  -- they're good for you!  and this is serving lots of people!)
4 tbsp milk, cream, or half and half
1 pound mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 small onion, diced
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese (use the reduced fat -- I think it has a better flavor!)
2 tsp Lawry's season salt
Pepper (fresh ground or the powdery stuff)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 
Spray a glass or pottery 9x13 dish with nonstick spray.  (Don't use a metal dish -- gives the eggs a funny taste!)
Heat some olive oil in a saute pan.
Once heated, add the mushrooms and onions, and saute them for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are brown and the onions are soft.  Drain any liquid off the vegetables when finished cooking.
Spread your mushroom mixture over the bottom of the pan.  Cover with the crumbled feta cheese.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl with your milk (cream or half and half), season salt and pepper.
Pour over the mushroom mixture in your dish, and then stir if necessary to make sure the mushrooms and cheese are distributed evenly and deliciously. :)
Bake for 45 minutes.  Make sure the eggs are set, and the top will be starting to brown.
If you like, top with a little extra cheese on top -- I used just a small sprinkle of mozzarella.

My review:  Yummy!  What a delicious easy recipe that was fun to make, and delectable to eat!  I made this for a friend and I for dinner, and we both agreed that it was very good.  You could add more vegetables, too, if you like.  I think it would be good with some broccoli or zucchini.