Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Morning Casserole

Merry Christmas! Hope you're enjoying lots of good food over the next two days. I know I will be.

This casserole is a tradition in Mr. J's family, and I love it. You assemble most of it the night before Christmas and stick it in the fridge, so there's almost no work on Christmas morning. You can open presents while it's cooking and it will be ready by the time you're done. It's filled with sausage and cheese and eggs and french bread and all kinds of fatty goodness. It's definitely what I would call comfort food.

Christmas Morning Casserole


1 large loaf French bread, cut in thick slices
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 t dry mustard
sliced mushrooms to desired amount
1/2-1 pound sausage, browned (I like it a little lower on the sausage, but Mr. J likes it heavier)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk


Arrange bread slices in 9X13 pan. Beat eggs, 2 cups milk, and mustard, and pour over bread. Top with mushrooms, sausage, and cheese. Cover and let soak overnight in refrigerator.

In the morning, combine 1/2 cup milk with mushroom soup and spread over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat

{Photo from here. I am so annoyed because I took my OWN picture of these, but it got accidentally deleted. These look pretty similar to how mine looked. Except I put sour cream on top instead of applesauce.}

I found this recipe in a children's picture book I read to Dee called Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story. We picked it up at the library one day.

In the story, a girl is walking through the woods on the first night of Hanukah, and she comes across an old woman who gives her a magic pan frying pan. The woman instructs her to go home and say these words:

"Latkes, Latkes, good to eat. Cook me up a Chanukah treat!"

When she does, the pan sizzles to life with latkes (pronounced LOT-kuz) sizzling in oil--golden, savory, tender yet crisp potato pancakes. The story is short and sweet; Dee got a kick out of it and asked me repeatedly when we were going to make "Latkes, Latkes." There's a recipe in the back of the book, and we finally got to it tonight.

The Latkes are basically made from shredded potatoes, eggs, VERY finely diced onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and flour. They are typically served with sour cream and/or applesauce. I liked them with sour cream. We also had bacon and strawberry-banana smoothies.

So, even though I'm not Jewish and even though technically Chanukah is over this year, I'm glad I gave these yummy pancakes a try.

You can find the recipe from the book here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Divine Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

{Sorry about the lousy pic. It was an afterthought when the pie was mostly gone. If you want a pretty picture, go to the original.}

This has to be one of my favorite pies ever. I've made it several times, and I never get as many pieces as I want because it goes so fast. It was the most popular out of four pies at our Thanksgiving dinner. If you are a chocolate and peanut butter lover, just trust me and make this pie. Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Graham Cracker Crust:

12 to 14 whole graham crackers, crushed (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups crumbs)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 T sugar

Dark Chocolate Layer:
¾ cup heavy cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Peanut Butter Mousse Filling:
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

Topping and Decoration:
Sweetened whipped cream (I used Cool Whip)
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter, then press into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Bake in the center of the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the crust turns lightly golden. Set the pie crust on a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the chocolate layer: In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust, smoothing it over the bottom and slightly up the sides. Freeze for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chocolate layer is firm.

Prepare the mousse: In a heavy medium-size saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add ½ cup milk and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining milk and the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk constantly until the custard comes to a boil. Still whisking, boil for 1 minute until very thick. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and peanut butter. Pour the mousse into the baked pie crust. Chill for 1 hour, or until firm.

Before serving, decorate the pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and mini chocolate chips, if desired.