katiejeancooks

Real Food For Families

Asparagus Breakfast Bake

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Despite what I have been witnessing outside my window lately, the season of daffodils and tree buds and rain boots is supposedly upon us. So that means it’s time to start making things like Roasted Carrots & Peas, Pasta Primavera and of course…asparagus. This recipe comes from the Simple Bites website and even though it’s “breakfast”, we like to make it for dinner. Aimee has an asparagus recipe round up on that post so head over there if you need more asparagus inspiration!

ASPARAGUS BREAKFAST BAKE (Adapted from Simple Bites)
~bacon, one package
~one bunch of asparagus, washed and trimmed
~sprigs of thyme
~lemon zest
~salt and pepper
~eggs (10)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the bacon in a single layer in a 13×9 inch baking pan and bake for about 10 minutes. I used 2 baking pans in order to fit all of the bacon. Remove the bacon and place it on some paper towels to drain. Pour off almost all of the bacon grease, leaving about a tablespoon in the pan. Put the asparagus in the pan and stir it to coat with the bacon grease. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle with the lemon zest, thyme leaves and black pepper. Roast the asparagus for about 8 minutes. Then crack the eggs one at a time, in a single layer over the asparagus, sprinkle with a bit of salt and return to the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, until the eggs have set. Remove from the oven and serve immediately along with the bacon.

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Making My List and Checking it Twice

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Only eight more days left until Christmas…are you ready? I’m not. I did manage to get the cards sent off in the mail today. And I spent way too much time taking photos for the cute little collage that I made (see below) of some of our Christmas decorations. Don’t you wish you could edit out all of the clutter in real life the way you can in photographs? Someone really needs to invent a way to do that. Stop buying stuff, you say? Yes. Working on that. Anyways….this post is supposed to be about Christmas morning. What does your family typically eat that morning? After you’ve gotten up at 5:30 AM because your children or your dog could not wait to see what Santa had brought them and you’ve struggled to open 53 various toys and gadgets (my brother-in-law actually ended up in the emergency room one year after an incident with a toy package and a pair of scissors) and you’ve inhaled your cup of coffee…then what? Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to do was take a baking dish out of the fridge and put it in the oven for an hour and breakfast was done? This Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole can be put together the night before so that Christmas morning you can just relax…until it’s time to get the kids ready to go to mass…okay, so you won’t really be doing much relaxing. And what’s that? You don’t have time to put it together the night before because you have to wrap all of the presents, put a doll house together and go to your in laws? Never mind. Just pour yourself a bowl of Lucky Charms and go back to soaking in the Christmas morning joy and merry and brightness and all of that. It’s all good!

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SAUSAGE AND EGG BREAKFAST CASSEROLE (about 10 servings)
~1 lb. sausage, cooked and drained
~8 eggs, whisked
~6 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
~2 1/4 cups of milk
~1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper jack or a combination)
~1 tsp salt
~1 tsp dry mustard

Combine all ingredients and pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from fridge about 15 minutes before you bake it. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife inserted into it comes out clean.

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Grandma Kathy’s French Toast

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We’re starting our fourth week of summer vacation…are your kids bored yet? I hope not! But if they are, why not ask them to be in charge of breakfast tomorrow morning? Most kids will be on board with any recipe that requires cracking of eggs. Toddlers can help whisk and soak and older kids can cook and flip. Double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for heating up in the toaster oven on busy mornings.

FRENCH TOAST
~2 eggs
~1/2 cup milk
~1 teaspoon sugar
~1/2 teaspoon vanilla
~several shakes of ground nutmeg
~5 to 6 slices of bread

1. Whisk all the ingredients (except for the bread) together in a shallow pan.
2. Heat a non stick (or slightly oiled) griddle or skillet over medium high heat.
3. Soak the bread in the egg mixture for several seconds and then cook in the skillet or griddle several minutes on each side until golden.
4. Remove the French Toast from the heat and sprinkle with cinnamon and maple syrup.

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The Story of the Chicken Who Came to Visit

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One quiet summer morning, three years ago, my husband came in from letting out the dog and said to me, “Do chickens move like this?” And then proceeded to jut his head forwards and backwards a couple of times. “Um…yes…maybe?” I was not sure how I was expected to respond to this question. “Well,” he said, “I think there is a chicken in our back yard.” So I followed him out to our back deck and sure enough, there in the dew blanketed grass, was a small white chicken, it’s head bobbing in and out as it walked across the toy strewn lawn. So, of course, the children squealed with delight, photos were snapped, the neighbors were alerted, the cat next door was curious (and kept at bay with the garden hose) and the chicken happily strutted and bobbed around the property, even coming up onto our deck to pose for photos with the kids. She was not at all afraid and appeared to be quite used to being around people. We do not live in a rural area…we actually live in an older suburb, just on the edge of a small city. So a farm animal taking a stroll through our neighborhood is not a common occurrence. It was quite exciting and fun for about 45 minutes, until it became apparent that the chicken was not planning to go anywhere and was happy to just stay in our yard. Which would have been fine, except that I was starting to grow weary of protecting our new friend from the neighbor’s cat. And I didn’t like my children’s offer of letting the chicken stay in their bedrooms. Lucky for us, we happened to have a connection in the chicken world…my brother and sister-in-law raise chickens on their beautiful property out in the country. So that afternoon, the newly named “Lollipop” took a ride in the back of the minivan to her new home. The circumstances of her appearance remained a mystery all summer long, until finally, when September rolled around and school started back up. Katie, of course, shared the story with her first grade class and a boy spoke up and said that he had lost a chicken over the summer. This boy lives a few streets away from us, so I contacted his mother, and sure enough…”Lollipop” had been their chicken. They had taken on two baby chicks after the kindergarten class the previous spring was giving them away (after their unit studying how eggs hatch). They were more than happy to hear that the chicken had been taken to a proper chicken coop with other chickens and didn’t want her returned. In addition to having a place to bring lost chickens, there is another great benefit to having family who keep a chicken coop. Delicious, organic eggs from happy chickens! We love eggs around here and are grateful for the beautiful, fresh ones that come from Uncle Steve, Aunt Tricia, and cousin Danni’s chickens. Here is one of our favorite ways to use them…

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QUICHE WITH WHOLE WHEAT CRUST
For the crust:
~1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
~1/2 cup oil (whatever you normally use for baking)
~1/2 teaspoon salt
~2 tablespoons milk

Combine everything in a 9 inch pie pan and mix it together with a fork until it’s crumbly. Use your hands to form it into a ball, then flatten the ball and press it into the pan. Use your palms and heels of your hands to press it out to edges and up the sides of the pan. If you’re like me, and don’t care what it looks like, just bring the dough up to the edge of the pan and you’re done. If you want fancy edging on your crust, I would increase the amount of dough by about a third so you have enough. Once the crust is ready, mix up the filling and pour it into the crust.

For the filling:
~1 1/2 cups of milk
~4 eggs, whisked together
~Salt and pepper to taste
~dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

The final add ins are up to you…our favorites are chopped tomatoes and feta cheese or cooked, diced bacon and shredded cheddar cheese. Sprinkle these in at the end and then bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling has set.

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