Category Archives: Healthy Cooking

Cheese and the Human Body

Cheese is an ingredient that causes many dishes to go from plain and boring to tasty and satisfying. But with all of the emphasis on low-fat lifestyles, some people choose to avoid cheese. It is true that if you eat large amounts of cheese, the calories do add up, and cheese can also be high in saturated fat. For instance, a single stick of string cheese can contain five or more grams of saturated to only 80 100 calories.

Fortunately, today many low-fat varieties of cheeses are available, for those who are calorie conscious. Additional help can be had for those who choose to eat cheese together with fresh fruit, a perfect complement to cheese.

As surprising as it may seem, diets which are rich in dairy products, including cheese in moderate amounts, are associated with lower body weight. Consumption of diary products also is linked to a reduced risk of developing insulin resistance syndrome.

Here are some other benefits:

Cheese is a good source of calcium, which helps to build strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps prevent osteoporosis. In 1999, cheese provided 25% of the calcium available in the American food chain, making it an important and readily available source of calcium.

Cheese also contains a large amount of other essential nutrients such as phosphorous, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.

Those of you who have children who are cavity prone might appreciate the fact that many cheeses, including processed American, Bleu, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Swiss have been proven to reduce tooth decay. This is in part due to increased saliva production upon eating cheeses, which helps to aid food clearance. Additionally, the milk proteins in cheese help neutralize plaque acids and also help prevent acid demineralization and help remineralization of tooth enamel. For these reasons, it is recommended that cheese be consumed immediately after meals, and as in-between-meal snacks when brushing may not be an option.

A diet which consists of three dairy servings a day (including milk, yogurt and cheese) and up to eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce numerous risk factors for heart disease.

People who are lactose intolerant will find the health benefits of cheese especially helpful. This is because aged cheeses, particularly Cheddar and Swiss can be safely consumed by people who are lactose intolerant because aged cheeses contain little or no lactose. Thus, cheese consumption helps lactose intolerant people to get the needed calcium and other nutrients found in cheese.

So go ahead and enjoy snacking on cheese. When eaten in moderation, it can actually help, rather than hurt your health.

Reference:
1. What Does Too Much Cheese Do to the Human Body …
2. 5 Alarming Facts About Cheese And Your Health | One Green Planet

Cheese Rounds

Cheese Rounds

An excelent appetizer that will melt in youur mouth. They are delicious hot or cold. Great for tea time or a cocktail party. Cheese rounds are great served on the side with soup or salad. Cheese rounds will make anyones day packed for lunch. A great addition to any table for lunch or dinner. Perfect for parties or picnics. This recipe makes five dozen. Prep time is twenty five minutes. Chilling time two hours. Baking time is ten minutes for each sheet. Oven temperature shold be set at 400 degrees F.

Ingredients:

One cup of butter

Four cups of shredded cheddar cheese, sharp

Two cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of paprika

One small bowl of sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Cream butter with mixer and blend in flour, cheese and paprika.

2. Chill for one hour and then shape into one inch balls.

3. Roll each ball in the sesame seeds and place on a baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

4. Chill for one hour.

5. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes only, do not brown.

6. Cool and store in an airtight container in a cool place.

These are an excellent source of calcium. Kids love them. The cheese rounds may also be frozen until they are ready to be baked. After they are baked, they may also be frozen to save for a later date. Never brown them because it will dry them out. Cayenne pepper is excellent for adding spice. I hope you enjoy this easy to make appetizer as well as me. These are great for giving as gifts in a lttle decorated tin. They truly are a real crowd pleaser. They are quite an addition and very decorative for any table. They are easy to pack and store. Enjoy!

Reference:
1. Mini Babybel Cheese Wheels: Flavors | Mini Babybel
2. Whole Cheese Rounds suitable for cheese wedding cakes

Candy Pie

This recipe is very simple to make and is a perfect treat to make anytime especially on a hot summer day. But it is also a good treat for family dinners such as Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. I like to make it anytime though especially for dessert after dinner and my kids love to help make it. It is so simple a 4 year old can help fix it. I have a big family so usually I have to make two and they go over really well. To me the coolest part about it is there is no baking required just put it together and go on and do whatever you need to do. If you like butter finger cake you will really like candy pie. My family has always loved to make up different recipes and candy pie was my favorite and most of my family liked it to. My husband seems to think it tastes like butter finger cake and my kids seem to love it as well like I said they even enjoy helping me make it. It is a great treat for any occasion and most people seem to like it. So I hope you and your family will like this simple treat as much as my family does. I hope you get to try it really soon and I hope your family even enjoys helping you fix it. I hope that you enjoy it.

Candy Pie

1 package (8oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 carton (8oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed

4 Butter finger candy bars (2.1oz. each)

1 prepared graham cracker crust (9inches)

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. crush the candy bars; fold one cup into cream cheese mixture. Spoon int crust. Sprinkle with remaining candy bar crumbs. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before slicing.

Yield 6-8 servings

Reference:
1. Candy Bar Pie – Crazy for Crust
2. Candy Bar Cookie Pie – Facebook

Cheese Ball Recipe

Cheese Ball Recipe

Every time I am invited to a casual picnic or small party I have to come up with some kind of appetizer to bring! Bringing an appetizer to a party is an easy way to say thank you to your host or hostess for throwing the party.

Even if you are not a fabulous cook, the following recipe for making a delicious cheese ball appetizer should not overwhelm your cooking skills. There are not many ingredients, and the process to make the cheese ball is not difficult either, especially if you happen to have a food processor to help with the blending! The only down side to this recipe is that you have to plan a little in advance, because the cheese ball will need time in the refrigerator to chill.

Ingredients:

1 8 oz. tub soft cream cheese (Philadelphia Brand is my personal choice)

2/3 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

4 TBS. chopped banana pepper rings

2 tsp. banana pepper juice from the jar of peppers

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

8 Oz. chopped pecans

Plastic wrap

Wheat Thin Crackers (any flavor)

Method:

In a mixer or food processor, add the softened cream cheese and the shredded cheddar. Blend these together until well combined with a plastic paddle if possible.

Add the banana peppers, pepper juice, and Worcestershire sauce and blend for about 2-3 more minutes until well combined. You may need to scrape the cheese back down into the mixing bowl a few times to incorporate all of the cheese with the other ingredients.

On a separate plate, pour out your pecans.

Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board or counter. This is easier to do BEFORE you grease up your hands and form the cheese ball!

Grease your hands with a spray or two or cooking spray.

Take your smooth cheese mixture and form a nice round ball or a log shape with your greased hands.  Roll the ball or log in the chopped pecans that you previously layered out on a plate. Try to cover the ball evenly with the nuts.

Wrap the ball with the plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a few hours or a day before serving with Wheat Thin crackers or your cracker of choice. Enjoy!

Reference:
1. Easy Cheese Ball II Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. Cheese Ball Recipes – Allrecipes.com

Can you Give me some Easy Ideas for Filling Breakfasts

I am sure that we have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is even more important when you are dieting or trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in fact eating a good breakfast can actually help you lose weight by kick-starting your metabolism. On top of this if you do not eat a good breakfast your body will start to crave something sweet and you’ll end up snacking on unhealthy foods.

With a good healthy breakfast inside you, you will feel full until it is time for lunch and will not feel the need to have a snack during the morning
Some studies have also shown that eating breakfast with protein and carbohydrates can make you more on the ball for the coming day.

So do try to conquer the reasons you give yourself for not eating breakfast and make it the important part of your day that it is.

Get into the habit of trying different dishes at breakfast and enjoy it!

The suggestions that I am giving you are all healthy and low fat but also VERY tasty!

CEREALS & CEREAL BASED BREAKFASTS

If you choose cereal for your breakfast, go for a high fibre cereal – such as Weetabix or Shredded Wheat with skimmed milk if dieting, these will keep you full for longer.  Add some fresh fruit – a sliced banana, blueberries, strawberries etc – to add natural sweetness and help you resist the sugar. (They also count towards your daily fruit and vegetable quota).

Have you thought about the old fashioned favourite, porridge?
Porridge is a delicious wholegrain cereal and it is really easy to make and just as tasty with sweetener as it is with sugar if you are watching your weight, you can also add a portion of fruit to your porridge for a healthy start to the day.

BASIC PORRIDGE RECIPE
Serves 2

100g porridge oats
200ml skimmed milk
Pinch of salt
Extra milk to serve

1. Place the oats, milk, 300ml water and salt into a pan.
2 Bring slowly to the boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
3. Cook the porridge slowly for a couple of minutes, then pour into warm bowls (which will prevent it setting instantly).
4. Pour extra milk around the edge, then add the topping of your choice and serve immediately

Another great recipe, and one that is made the night before so really quick and easy of a morning is ‘Swiss Bircher’ – this is an old Swiss recipe; Dr. Bircher created this dish in Switzerland in 1887 at his diet clinic. In 1924 it was named Bircher-Muesli and became a Swiss national tradition.
This recipe makes two portions – it keeps well in the fridge for the second day.

SWISS BIRCHER

90 g porridge oats
113g low fat natural yoghurt
113 ml skimmed milk
1 banana
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
Blueberries/strawberries/any other fruit you like

1. Mix the oats, yoghurt and milk in a large bowl.
2. Mash the banana, slice the strawberries or crush the blueberries slightly with a fork.
3. Mix everything together, cover and leave in the fridge overnight

An alternative to this is Weetabix Bircher, again this needs to be prepared the night before, so that it is ready for you in the morning.

This is a simple, filling, nutritious breakfast that keeps you full until lunch time and is very tasty into the bargain.

WEETABIX BIRCHER
Serves 1

2 Weetabix
100g frozen forest fruits or summer fruits
1 tub low fat yogurt, your choice of flavour

1. Put the Weetabix in a bowl and top with the fruits, (while still frozen)
2. Pour the yoghurt on top.
3. Store in the fridge overnight

If you prefer a hot cereal breakfast try this one, this makes two servings

HOT FRUITY PORRIDGE

50g porridge oats
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 orange
1 eating apple, cored and diced
150ml vanilla yogurt
25g flaked almonds, toasted

1. Peel the orange and cut out the segments (making sure that you take off all the pith) and chop, catching any juice.
2. Put the oats and nutmeg in a saucepan, add 100ml water and cook for two minutes stirring continuously.
3. Add the chopped orange and juice and diced apple to the oat mixture and cook on a high heat for about two minutes stirring occasionally until the fruit is hot but not soft.
4. Stir in the yogurt, cover and leave to stand for one minute.
5. Spoon into cereal bowls and serve at once topped with freshly sliced seasonal fruits and the almonds.

FISH RECIPES

Don’t pull your face at the thought of fish for breakfast, it is an important part of a healthy diet, using oily fish will give you good a quantity of the important Omega 3.

JUGGED KIPPERS

Serves 1
This is the traditional way of serving kippers – and it ensures the whole house does not smell of fish!
With a slice of wholemeal toast this will make a healthy breakfast.

1 kipper
600 ml boiling water
1 tablespoon Fresh parsley, chopped

1. Remove the head and tail from the kipper.
2. Place into a tall warmed jug. Pour the boiling water over the kipper and put a plate on top to seal in the heat.
3. After 6 or 7 minutes, drain the kipper on some absorbent kitchen paper and serve on hot plates.
4. Serve at once sprinkled with parsley.

SMOKED HADDOCK & POACHED EGG

Serves 1
200g smoked haddock
1 egg
water
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 bay leaf, thyme & a few parsley stalks
6 black peppercorns
pinch salt

1. Put water, vinegar herbs and peppercorns in a pan big enough for the fish and bring to the boil.
2. Turn down to a simmer and remove the herbs and peppercorns.
3. Drop in the fish and cook gently until it is firm – about 5 – 8 minutes.
4. Poach the eggs in a separate pan of water.
5. Put the fish on serving plates and the poached egg on top.
6. Serve with a slice of wholemeal toast.

COOKED BREAKFASTS

This doesn’t have to be an unhealthy grease laden affair, try these alternatives.

INDIVIDUAL BREAKFAST CASSER0LE

Serves 1
2 rashers lean bacon, cooked
2 eggs
70g extra light soft cheese
1 medium potato, cooked
salt & pepper to taste
1 individual ramekin (greased)

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 / 190°C/ 375°F.
2. Thinly slice potatoes, crumble bacon, beat eggs with seasoning.
3. Line bottom and sides of a greased ramekin with potatoes.
4. Put a layer of bacon then a layer of cheese then another layer of the bacon.
5. Pour beaten egg over top and place in for 30 min. or until eggs are done.

TOMATO & HAM OMELETTE
Serves 1

1 egg
1 egg white
low fat spray
1 tomato sliced
2 slices wafer thin ham, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
 
1. Whisk the 2 egg whites together until stiff, fold in the egg yolk and seasoning.
2. Heat omelette pan, spray with low fat spray.
3. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until almost set, add the tomatoes  and ham and finish off the omelette under a hot grill until set, but still slightly soft.
4. Turn out onto plate and serve with baked beans.

I hope these recipes have given you a few ideas for eating a good, healthy breakfast.
Bon Appetit!

Reference:
1. Healthy Breakfast Ideas: 34 Simple Meals for Busy Mornings | Greatist
2. High-Protein Breakfast Ideas: 8 Easy Options | Reader's Digest

Butter as a Victim of Public Opinion

I know, even before I begin, that this is going to be contentious in certain quarters. But the fact remains: I like Butter. I like eating it, I like cooking with it, I love the smell of things being fried in it…..and, frankly, I think it’s had a rather a bum rap over the years….

Whenever it was that the demon Cholesterol first swam into view, I think it has much to answer for, in terms of the blight it generally casts – in many instances, perfectly unnecessarily – over the lives of the many. And despite the existence of the French, Cholesterol seems to have achieved a stranglehold over the minds of large swathes of the population…….not least the denizens of the medical profession (in certain parts of the western World, at any rate). And what, pray, have the French to do with Cholesterol, you ask? Well…..nothing. That’s the point. Absolutely nothing. They don’t have it. France is a cholesterol-free zone, despite the prevalence in french cooking of large quantities of Eggs, Cream and – yes – Butter. Zut, alors!

In a rather bad-tempered, mealy-mouthed way, ‘experts’ in the UK and the US have come to refer to this strange circumstance as ‘The French Paradox’, and over time have twisted themselves into the most bizarre contortions in their attempts to make sense of it. It’s something to do with the French habit of drinking red wine, they maintain, or of eating Garlic……and my favourite of all was the assertion that it was all down to the consumption of Foie Gras, which clearly counteracts the development in the system of Cholesterol. Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? In fact, I can feel the need to go in search of some, even as we speak, just to be on the safe side! (Why not cite accordion-playing, for good measure, or the fact that they wear berets, and those natty little blue-striped t-shirts? Seems about as logical…….)

When you throw into the mix the ‘Transfat’ corollary, then the picture becomes even more complicated. ‘Transfat’ is actually just another name for Margarine – that nasty, greasy substance that populated supermarket shelves in the seventies and eighties, which the manufacturers confidently presented as the ‘healthy’ alternative to Butter. Until it was discovered that Margarine is in fact rather bad for you, that is, and they all went very quiet about it. In many places, use of Transfats in cooking is now actually banned by law!

And why stop with ‘The French Paradox’? What about the Greek, Spanish and Italian ones, while we’re at it? The Butter-eating northern Italians are not less healthy then their Oil-eating neapolitan brothers; and the Oil-consuming Greeks and Spaniards, I contend, have no greater a health profile than you or me…..An hour’s drive north of Pisa you suddenly break through the Butter-line, and everything which in Tuscany would be cooked in Oil is instead cooked in Butter (delicious!) – yet, miraculously, people aren’t dropping like flies!

So……..what’s going on?

Shades of the WHO decree in the early nineties that it was a bad idea for a person to eat more than one egg per week – which they banged on about for ages, until they realised they’d actually misread the data and got the decimal point in the wrong place (whoops!…….) – could it be, could it possibly be, that the ‘experts’ have got it wrong? And that the supposed Cholesterol effect is the result of something else entirely (but that they’re so convinced they’re right, they aren’t looking for it). And Butter, all along – like Dreyfus – has been an innocent victim?

I think it bears thinking about.

Reference:
1. Roman Polanski sexual abuse case
2. Trans Fat Fight Claims Butter as a Victim – The New York Times

Buyers Guide to Cake Mixes

Boxed cake mixes are one of the best inventions since sliced bread. They take what used to be a long and difficult process and make it fun and easy. The cake mix is hard to mess up, and almost always tastes delicious.

No more careful measuring and long lists of steps, the mix has done all the hard work for you. Though a boxed cake mix doesn’t taste quite as good as one made from scratch, for the money, time, and effort, they are definitely close enough.

The only thing left is to decide what cake mix to buy, and there are tons of choices. For the most part, big name mixes are close in price, close in ingredients, close in baking time, and close in pure yummy. Sometimes the only difference can be the particular flavor selection, or what brand is carried by the grocer nearest your home.

Cake mixes follow the same rules as any food product being purchased. Look for expiration dates, check that the packaging isn’t damaged, and make sure you have any extra ingredients required. Decide what the cake is being baked for, and look for something that suits that need.

But as a general cake mix guide, keep these tips in mind:

1. Duncan Hines

– These make a delicious, easy cake. There are tons of flavors to choose from, for both cake and icing. Their “Moist Deluxe” line truly lives up to its name and even remains moist the next day. A single mix retails for around $2 U.S.

2. Betty Crocker

– These also make a delicious, easy cake. It comes in tons of flavors, and like Duncan Hines, has a special moist cake mix. “Super Moist” works almost as well as “Moist Deluxe”, and stays moist almost as long. A single mix retails for around $2 U.S.

3. Pillsbury

– Another mix that does a great job, but the flavor selection can be rather limited. “Moist Supreme” is Pillsbury’s answer to all the other moist cake mixes on the market. It tastes wonderful and stays moist for a bit, but not as well as DH or BC. A single mix retails for around $2.50 U.S.

4. Jiffy

– This is a really cheap brand and it shows in the cake mix. Though it can turn out yummy, a Jiffy cake just can’t compare to the others. The flavor selection is very limited and there are definitely no moist cake options with this brand. A single mix retails for around $1 U.S.

5. Manischewitz

– This popular, kosher brand has a wide assortment of mixes, including cakes. The flavor selection is somewhat limited, but that’s partially due to the kosher nature. These items are very popular not only with those keeping kosher, but with gourmets and health food enthusiasts too. The price reflects the special nature of these items, and a single mix retails for around $3 U.S.

6. Sweet N Low

– These cake mixes are created especially with diabetics in mind. Not only are they sugar free, they’re also kosher. They’re cholesterol free, low fat, and super easy to make. You can taste the difference between these and a real cake, of course, but they’re wonderful if you’re on some sort of restricted diet. There is a flavor selection, but it’s small. A single mix retails for around $2.50 U.S.

7. Jell-O

– For an assortment of great, no-bake cheesecake mixes, look around for the JELLO brand. You can get just the pie filling or a whole cheesecake set, including the pie crust. A single, no-bake, Jell-O cheesecake mix, with just the pie filling, retails for about $2.75 U.S.

8. Dr. Oetker

– This popular organic line can be found in many specialty grocery stores. It is certified as USDA Organic, and health food enthusiasts adore it. There is a surprisingly large selection of flavors, and they all taste yummy. A single mix retails for about $3 U.S.

To make a cake extra moist, try adding a little pudding, pureed fruit, or some cream cheese. This can add a fantastic light flavor to any baked good. Apple sauce and bananas are the most commonly used fruits, but try branching out a little. Pureed raspberries are delicious in chocolate cake. Pureed pears can add a very yummy and delicate taste to plain white cake.

Once a cake mix has been chosen, don’t forget about the extras. Most cakes use frosting, so some will need to be made or bought. The brand doesn’t matter at all, a Duncan Hines cake can easily use a Betty Crocker frosting. If icing is too much, try some Cool Whip, or try sprinkling powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa instead.

Try some candy sprinkles, nuts, and sugar decorations to help fancy the cake up. To get really creative, try combining two plain cake mixes to make a new flavor, like apple spice and milk chocolate. Let your imagination run wild and enjoy the delectable results!

Reference:
1. Cake Decorating Kit Buying Guide | eBay
2. Funnel Cake Equipment and Supplies Buying Guide

Checkout Line Blues

Shopping for groceries, you either love it or hate it, but for most the one thing we dread is the checkout line!

Nowadays with self service becoming more and more common to help improve the queuing system and supposedly making the checkout line go down quicker, surviving this is becoming a bit of a battle. 

How many times have you got into the checkout line and realise you have forgot the one item that you actually came into the supermarket for and the whole idea of having to leave the checkout line and go and get that solitary item leaves you feeling somewhat anxious and annoyed. 

Sometimes you might ask the person who is directly behind you if they could just keep an eye on your basket whilst you go and get the item, but when you see that you are just one behind another person before it is your turn, your heart starts beating ten to the dozen and the thought that you might just have to get into rugby tackle mode to fight your way back through the supermarket to get the one item that (as usually luck has it) is probably the furthest away from you). 

So do you take the chance, or just stay in the checkout line for your turn and perhaps get the solitary item that you really needed (and perhaps costs a lot less than your local shop). 

On deciding to not go and fight your way through the supermarket, you now have to contend with people who are all in a hurry and they are looking at you with daggers to hurry up. 

You put your items on the conveyor belt and the shop assistant chats to the person in front of you but you feel that you are the one who is holding up the checkout line.  The amount of huffing and puffing that is going on behind you is enough energy to blow up an air balloon.  You know you are not the one causing the delay but you feel yourself getting slowly annoyed with the person in front of you now. 

You finally get to the front of the checkout line and the assistant seems all intent in rushing you through despite the fact that the previous person got preferential treatment (do you think this is paranoia setting in now?). 

You have your own bags which is another surviving feature of staying in the checkout line, you get extra points for this if you have a card for the store you are in.  Although some stores, charge you for the privilege of using their bags. 

Having got this far, you know you are on the home stretch, but the assistant says that you have got items that are buy one get one free and you have only one, and you look to all the people in the checkout queue behind you for some sort of assistance only to be met with glazes of total madness and you feel like the class fool for not having got the second item.  But hang on a minute, you should not be made to go and get this item, that is why there are shop floor assistants, so the person who is serving you then calls for assistance to get the other item for you.  You breath a sigh of relief as it is not you having to do the rugby style tactics to get the buy one get free item.

The shop assistant who is serving you informs you that it is clearly marked that the item is buy one get one free, you applogise for the oversight on you part but you had other things on your mind, i.e. getting the one item that you have totally forgotten to get in the first place.

You wait patiently for the other assistant to return and the person on the till is asking you step aside and settle your bill.  You reach for your purse and settle the bill.  Meanwhile you are still waiting for the other assistant to come back. 

The checkout line is now quite long and you feel hot and sweaty.  Someone from the checkout line now says “oh come on” and you feel like disappearing through the floor but instead you look up and apologise trying to gesture that it is not you that is causing the delay.  Surviving this is not going to be easy but you try to be nice.

Eventually the second assistant shows up and you again breathe a sigh of relief.  The checkout line moves forward like a black cloud and you feel you need to get out of the supermarket as soon as possible before you get lynched.

You know it is not always like this, but surviving the checkout line is hard, you do it often but it never gets any easier, sometimes you get nice people behind you but at the end of the day, it is just a checkout line and you will survive!

Reference:
1. Self-Checkout Blues – The Checkout
2. Bagging area blues – Telegraph

Best Egg Casserole for Easter Brunch

Eggs are a versatile food that can be used for any occasion.  Easter is a particularly good time to take advantage of the benefits of eggs.  Casseroles can be so simple to whip up for brunch on Easter.  They are easy to make, can be eaten at any time of day, and most of all, they are delicious.  Here are some of the best egg casserole recipes you will find.

* Egg and Bacon Brunch Casserole *

Ingredients:

4 slices of white bread (without crusts)

1/2 cup milk

4 eggs slightly beaten

1 teaspoon of dry mustard

8 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled)

1/2 teaspoon of dried minced onion

1 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese

How to make:

1. Put bread in an 8 inch square baking dish.

2. In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, dried onion, and dried mustard.  Pour over the bread.

3. Sprinkle bacon over the top and refrigerate for 8 hours.

4. Remove and let stand for half an hour.

5. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

6. Remove the cover, sprinkle with cheese, and continue to bake for a further 5 minutes.

7. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

8. Serve and use whatever garnish you like with this egg casserole.

Tips:  Make the night before and refrigerate ahead of time.  10 minutes preparation time and 30 minutes cooking time.  Delicious for the perfect Easter brunch. Serves 4.

* Ham and Egg Casserole *

Ingredients:

8 slices of white bread (crusts removed and cut into cubes)

1 1/4 cups of cubed ham

2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup of chopped green bell peppers

1/2 cup of finely chopped onions

6 beaten eggs

3 cups of milk

How to make:

1. Lightly grease a 12x8x2 inch baking pan.

2.  Place the breadcrumbs in the pan.  Sprinkle over the cheese, ham, onion, and green peppers.

3. Whisk eggs and milk in a separate bowl and pour over the top.

4. Refrigerate for 8 hours.

5. Remove from refrigerator and let stand for 30 minutes. 

6. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.

7. Let cool before garnishing and serving.

Tips: Make this the night before and refrigerate.  Total preparation and cook time is on average 40 minutes.  Serves 8.

* Crockpot Egg Casserole *

Ingredients:

1 lb of cubed cooked ham

1 chopped onion

1 chopped green bell pepper

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1 1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese

12 eggs

32 oz bag of frozen hash browns

How to make:

1. Spray inside crockpot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a small skillet cook the onions and peppers in olive oil.

3. When the onions and peppers are crisp allow them to cool.

4. Place one third of the hash browns in the crockpot.  Add one third of the ham, onion, cheese and green peppers.  Continue to add and layer until all the ingredients are in the crockpot.  End with the cheese on top.

5. Finally, beat the eggs and milk and pour over the other ingredients in the crockpot.

6. Put on low and slowly cook for 8 – 10 hours making sure the eggs are cooked thoroughly.’

Tips:  Newer crockpots may take less time, check after 6 hours.  Eggs should be 160 degrees.  You can also add jalapenos instead of bell peppers if you like more of a hot casserole.  Serves 12.

Go ahead and make one of these fantastic egg casseroles for brunch this Easter.  You won’t be disappointed, they are simple to prepare and easy to cook.  They are the type of recipes you can also prepare in advance.  Eggs are great at any time and especially good during holiday times such as Easter. 

Reference:
1. Easter Breakfast Casserole Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. 19 Easter Brunch Recipes – Make Ahead Easter Brunch Menu Ideas …

Brownies

Before I hand over this brownie recipe, I will have to warn readers. This will be, by far, the best brownie recipe you will have ever tried and you’ll never bother looking for another recipe again. So if you wanted to experiment a little till you found the perfect brownie recipe, then look and experiment no further! This extra chocolaty brownie with mouth-watering chocolate chunks is guaranteed to drive taste buds wild.

Ingredients:

185g unsalted butter

185g good quality dark chocolate

85g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

50g white chocolate

50g milk chocolate

3 large eggs

275g golden caster sugar

Method:

To start, cut the butter into cubes and put into a bowl.  Then, break the dark chocolate into small pieces and add those to the bowl. Fill a saucepan, about a quarter of the way, with hot water, then sit the bowl on the rim of the saucepan (not allowing it to touch the water). Put the saucepan over a low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted. Stir occasionally. Remove the bowl from the pan, cover it with cling film, and put it into the microwave on a high setting for 2 minutes. Allow mixture to cool down to room temperature. While doing so, position a shelf in the middle of your oven, and turn it on to around 160C (fan) / 180C (conventional) / gas mark 4. Using a rather shallow 20cm square tin, line the base with non-stick parchment paper. Tip the flour and cocoa powder into a sieve held over a medium bowl, allowing them to run through it together. Using a large, sharp knife, chop both the white and milk chocolate into chunks.

Tip: the safest way to do this is to hold the knife over the chocolate and press the tip down on the board, then bring the rest of the blade down across the chocolate. Keep on doing this, moving the knife across the chocolate, chopping it into pieces, then turn the board around 90 degrees and again work across the chocolate creating squares. Break the eggs into a bowl and pour in the sugar. Whisk the eggs and sugar until they’re thick and creamy. I suggest using an electric whisk on the highest setting for this, taking around 3-8 minutes.

Hint: Mixture should become pale and double in volume. Pour the chocolate mixture (cooled) over the mousse you’ve just made and fold them together. The idea is to mix them together without undoing what you had done in step 10, so be as slow and gentle as you like. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture over and over in a figure of eight whilst constantly rotating the bowl to ensure that you’re getting the whole of the mixture. Holding a sieve over the new mixture, resift the cocoa and flour mixture and use the same folding technique as before to mix it all together. Have patience and keep folding until the mixture becomes gungy. Finally stir in the chocolate chunks and pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Cook for 25 minutes. At the end of the 25 minutes, check if the brownie is slightly wobbly in the tin, if so, continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, until the top is shiny and crusty. Remove from the oven and leave it in the tin to cool completely. Cut the brownie into squares and then into triangles.

If you wish to have some brownies ready for a special occasion, you’ll be glad to know that they can be refrigerated for up to a month and still taste fantastic.

Tip: For a  more chocolaty flavour, try substituting the white and milk chocolate chunks with more dark chocolate. Feel free to customise and experiment.

Reference:
1. Chocolate brownie
2. Best Brownies Recipe – Allrecipes.com