Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect French Toast Casserole

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The Ingredients


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Instructions

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect French Toast

Everybody is familiar with the expression, “Waste not, want not.”

And everybody knows that when your bananas start getting too ripe, you either make banana bread or end up throwing them all away…

…but don’t stop there…

..also stop wasting your stale bread…by making French toast out of it.

French toast is great because it only requires ingredients that most of us keep stocked always…or have to go to the store or add to our Instacart account quickly…

The perfect French Toast is fluffy, soft, and cinnamon-y, 

French toast is also so darn easy to make….and can be made in less than fifteen minutes….and you really fon’t need a recipe…but there are a few tips that are worth knowing.

\So let’s talk about these tips…

 

 

 

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The Ingredients

Two of the types of people that I envy the most are those people who can play the piano by ear…and those people who can cook without a recipe.

I am an accountant. I have to know exactly how much of each ingredient to use whenever I am cooking ANYTHING…My husband always laughs at me for this fact.

I have made French toast that has turned out soggy or egg-y way too many times to wing it like almost everybody else..

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches

I am definitely NOT a morning person…

Yet every morning I am expected to provide a healthy and satisfying breakfast for the “resident five year old” every single morning…and that most likely does not mean tossing him a granola bar on the way out the door and expecting him to eat it in the car on the way to school…(actually it’s simply a walk across the street since we just moved)…

I have found that, like any other meal, making many breakfast foods at one time is so much smarter than every single morning having to decide what to make and then taking the time to actually make it.

Doing this can not only save you time, but can also mean that you are eating healthier meals in general.

The perfect breakfast sandwiches are healthy, hearty and satisfying…contain your choice of the perfect ingredients—such as English muffins, scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese…cheaper because you are not forking out how much money to drive through and grab a breakfast that consists of the same exact ingredients that you already had at home.…not to eve mention the fact that these homemade breakfast sandwiches have no processed and unhealthy ingredients…unlike the breakfast sandwiches you would get at a fast food joint on your way to work—such as the Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s. Rather, they

…and finally they are very easy to make…simply consisting of delicious ingredients—such as crisp and buttery English muffins eggs, bacon, sausage, and cheese.

 

 

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  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sprasy 9″x13″ with nonstick cooking spray.

 

 

 

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The Eggs

Baking your eggs instead of frying them will make them softer, more fluffy, and moister.

 

To bake your eggs…

  1. Whisk the first six ingredients listed above together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour mixture into a greased 9×12 pan.
  3. If you really are concerned about the shape of your egg “patties” and only want them to be circles…instead of squares…you could bake them in 10oz round  ramekins with one egg per cup….and then bake for about fiftteen minutes.

  4. Bake for about twenty minutes…be careful not to overcook the eggs…you want to cook them just until the center is set because the egg will cook more when you reheat your sandwich…and if you cook the eggs too much, they will be tough.
  5. Let the eggs cool.
  6. Cut them into twelve squares.

To make your breakfast sandwiches better for you…use egg whites, not the entire egg. This redeuces the cholesterol content and number of overall calories.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Meat

As for the meat, you have several options—such as sausage, bacon. Canadian bacon, and ham.

To make your breakfast sandwiches healthier, you could use low sodium, sugar free ham or turkey.

To cook your meat…

  • Place the bacon or sausage on a large baking pan.
  • Bake for ten to fifteen minutes, alojng with eggs that we have just talked about.
  • Cook until the meat has cooked through and the bacon is crispy.
  • Set cooked meat on paper towel to drain some of the excess grease off.

 

 

 

 

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The Cheese

Choose a cheese  that melts well and will complement the other ingredients.

 

 


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The Bread

As far as the bread, you can use whatever you’d like—such as bagels, English muffins, or sandwich thins.

 

To toast them…

  • Slice the bread and place the halves on large baking sheet.
  • Brush butter evenly over the top of each slice.
  • Bake for about five minutes…until crisp and slightly toasted on the top.

 

To make your sandwiches healthier,

  • avoid breads that claim to be bleached, enriched, or enhanced
  • choose breads that contain at least three grams of fiber per serving.
  • look for breads that list whole grains or whole wheat as the first ingredient

 

 

 

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 Vegetables

Adding vegetables to your breakfast sandwiches will not only add valuable vitamins, minerals, and fiber…but will also help the sandwich seem even more hearty!

Add any vegetables you like—such as mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach, zucchini—to the eggs before baking.

 

 

Assembly

Lay down square sheets of aluminum foil for each sandwich…one that is big enough to hold one sandwich each.

Then put a layer of Saran Wrap on top of that.

Layer the ingredients in the following order…

  • Bread…English muffin or bagel half
  • Egg
  • Cheese…about 1/2 ounce per person
  • Meat…about two ounces
  • Bread…English muffin or bagel half
  • Wrap the sandwich tightly in the plastic wrap, then again tightly in the foil.

Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

If you are planning on eating your breakfast sandwich right away, bake the sandwich at 350 degrees for about five minutes…until the cheese melts.

 

 

 

 

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 Storing

Now that you have finished assembling and wrapping each sandwich, it’s time to stick them in the freezer with whatever other frozen assets you have added to your freezer meal account…(more ideas later)…

Place the sandwiches in a gallon-size freezer-bag or in an airtight storage container.

You could also keep them in your refrigerator up to a week.They will stay good in your freezer for up to three months….assuming that they haven’t all been eaten before then.

You could also keep them in your refrigerator up to a week.

 

 

 

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Reheating

These Breakfast Sandwiches can be reheated both while they are still frozen…and if they have been thawed out first.

You could also reheat these freezer breakfast sandwiches in a toaster oven or regular oven….using common sense to know whey they are heated through.

Once they have been reheated, you could add any additional ingredients/toppings that you would like—such as salad greens, avocado, your favorite sauce, mayonnaise, guacamole, Sriracha, Tabasco hot sauce, sliced avocado, fresh spinach leaves, freshly sliced tomatoes—so that it won’t seem so much like a freezer meal.

 

 

To reheat them while they are still frozen…

  • Microwave…Remove sandwich from wrapper. Wrap loosely with a paper towel. Microwave for 1.5 minutes, Flip, Microwazve another 1.5 minutes. Let it stand for one minute…until the sandwich is hot all the way through and the cheese is melted.
  • Oven…Preheat oven to 350. Place frozen breakfast sandwich in the oven for about fifteen minutes.

To reheat them if they are already thawed out…:  

  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, Remove wrapper. Placesandwich on paper towel-lined plate. Microwave one minute or just until hot.
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

One of the hardest things for me to do in the morning is to wake up…just to wake myself up…to wake up and function before having my normal two pots of coffee…

But now that the “resident five year old” is going to “real” school, I am expected to not only wake up myself…but wake “the resident five year old” up, get him dressed, feed him breakfast, and get him to school in time.

I have only been doing this for a week…and I have to do this for how many years before I can have the empty nest that most couples my age already have…

Oh well, being the Army wife that I am, I must do what I have pretty much always have done…what my husband and his Army buddies said they they had to do when they were deployed…

 

“Shut up and color”

So instead of complaining about the fact that I have to feed the numchkin before sending him out the door, let’s develop a strategy that will make feeding him breakfast every single morning for eternity not such a big deal…and not him having to dread the same old boring bowl of Corn Flakes every single morning like I did when I was growing up.

When it comes to breakfast, there are a few categories that we can use to create out game plan…types of food that are served om the typical breakfast buffet.

These include…

  1. Assorted baked breakfast breads…croissants, muffins, toasts
  2. Assorted cereals and dried fruits 
  3. Beverages
  4. Breakfast Meats
  5. Eggs
  6. Potatoes
  7. Seasonal fruit

 

So let’s look at a few recipes under each of these categories that we can put into our arsenal to shoot out the door ready to send our troops off to battle the day ahead.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making Perfectly A-Peelin’ Boiled Eggs

I play piano for church quite a bit…and have worked with severaql differeent singers and other instrumen talists…

And the one thing I have learned is that the songs that everyone knows and everyone and their brother requests that you sing—such as Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Aft…those songs that you’ve sung or played for only how long now….always end up being the hardest to put together because we take them for granted and each have our own version/expectation that we think that everyone else should prefer also.

The fact that the simpler and most common things are often the most difficult holds true in the cooking world as well.

Most of us have been boiling macaroni since pre-puberty and became brave enough to start boiling eggs the day after that.

You would think that we would all have the art of egg-boiling down well-mastered by now…

But are we really making the most perfect hard-boiled eggs that we could possible make…

Would we even know the perfect hard-boiled eggs if we ever saw it?

 

 

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The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

Before we start learning how to make the perfect hard-boiled eggs, let’s first consider what we expect from the perfect hard-boiled eggs…as far as color, the shell, texture, and the yolk.

  • Color…no nasty gray ring around the yolk
  • Texture…firm whites and yolks, but not rubbery
  • The Shell…slips right off, making peeling the eggs quick and easy
  • The Yolk…creamy and mellow

 

 

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Ingredients

Obvously the first thing that you will need to have whenever you are making boilee eggs is an egg. In addition to the eggs, you will need cold water, Ice, and salt.

 

 

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Equipment

As far as quipment, you will need…

  • Large slotted spoon
  • Saucepan or stockpot with a fitted lid
  • Timer
  • Tongs
  • Bowl for the ice water bath once the eggs have boiled
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Prep Work
Place a single layer of uncooked eggs in a large saucepan or stockpot. Do not stack the eggs on top of each other or overcrowd them.

Add enough cool water until there is about an inch of water over the eggs.

Add a pinch of salt.

Cover with a lid.

 

 

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Cooking

bring water to a rolling boil over high heat; Many people claim that adding salt, vinegar or baking soda to the boiling water makes the  eggs not only easier to peel, but also helps them taste better….so if you are going to use any of these, add them now.

Reduce heat to medium-high..

Once the water has reached a rolling boil, set the timer for the desired time. ..typically this will be anywhere from five to sevcen minutes…and boil them.

To be more specific…

  • 3 minutes for very runny soft-boiled eggs with just-set whites
  • 4 minutes for runny soft-boiled eggs
  • 6 minutes for creamy, custard-y “medium”-boiled eggs
  • 8 minutes for firm (but still creamy) hard-boiled eggs
  • 10 minutes for firm hard-boiled eggs
  • 12 minutes for very firm hard-boiled eggs.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sorry, Paula Dean…But…

Now that our family is having to change our eating habits and stop cooking like the Southern Baptists from the deepest of the Deep South, all in the name of middle age and type 2 diabetes, are we to live the rest of our lives totally without the Trinity of Deep Southern Cooking—cream cheese, powdered sugar, and butter?!

 

So not happening!!!

Nothing makes my husband smile nearly as much as a Sour Cream Pound Cake fresh out of the oven.

But we have been trying to limit how many caloriess and how much added sugars and saturated fat we consume since becoming more health-conscientious.

Thankfully there are a few suggestions out there that will make your baking supposedly healthier, while keeping it delicious…techniques that will help cut heart-harming fats, refined sugars, and empty calories.

So just in time for the upcoming holiday season, and in time to start completing this year’s Christmas Notebook, here are some ideas…

 

But first, the recipe for Sout Cream Pound Cake, the one and only recipe that I have actually memorized after my thirty-plus years of having my own kitchen, not to mention my very own KitchenAid miser.

Three cups of sugar, six eggs, one cup of sour cream…perhaps a type 2 diabetic from the Deep South’s greatest temptation ever…

 

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Sour Cream Pound Cake

  • 3C flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1C sour cream
  • 3C sugar
  • 2C butter

Preheat oven to 350 °F….Cream the butter and sugar together…Add sour cream…Sift the baking soda and flour together…Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating in each egg 1 at a time…Add vanilla…Pour the mixture into a greased and floured loaf pan…Bake for 1 hour.

Now taking all of the ingredients in this cake, let’s see if and how we can hopefully make this cake a little less deadly, while keeping it delicious…

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Flout

Time and time again, I have read to simply replace the white flour called for in a recipe with the same amount of whole wheat flour. While whole wheat flour is not as heavily refined and processed as regular white flour, I just don’t want to end up with a sour cream pound cake that tastes like rye bread.

Honestly, I don’t even know that I could replace up to half, or even a spoonful of the all-purpose flour in this recipe with whole-grain flour, That almost sounds like the ultimate kitchen sin.

If you are willing to start using whole grain flours instead of white flour, try first substituting whole gtrain flour for only half of the flour originally called for in the recipe.

Another option is to try  experimenting with flours that are a little more our of the ordinary—such as chickpea or almond flour.

But perhaps the best way to reduce the amount of fat in baking recipes is to use high-quality, low-gluten flour—whole wheat, oat, brown rice––such as King Arthur Brand.

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Sugar…So many baked goods contain completely and entirely way too much sugar in the first place. So as a general rule, you can typically go ahead and reduce the amount of sugar called for in a given recipe by about 25% right out of the bat.

Two other options to help reduce the amount and impact of sugar in your baked goods would be to…

Increasing the amount of other spices—such as ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg—to make up for any sugar that you may be taking out of the recipe will often allow the finished product to still taste good.

Try other sweetener alternatives—such as honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, pitted dates, or molasses.

 

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Butter…A few substitutes for the “bad fats” often called for in recipes—such as butter, stick margarine, and shortening—would include

  1. Canola oil or any other type of “heart-healthy oil”
  2. Greek yogurt
  3. Ground flax seeds
  4. Ground nuts
  5. Low-fat sour cream
  6.  Prepared all natural nut butters

 

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Egg

Eggs…As far as eggs go, try one of the following ideas…

  1. Replace one whole egg in any given recipe with ¼C zero-fat, zero-cholesterol egg product substitute, such as ConAgra’s Egg Beaters.
  2. Use two egg yolks instead of one complete egg.