Cannoli French Toast Casserole

My favorite breakfast is French Toast. Always has been. I love a recipe I can make ahead and pull out of the fridge in the morning and bake it. Perfect for special occasions but it’s so easy and delicious, make it anytime. I made this for Easter Brunch but I will be making it again for Mother’s Day.

Ingredients:

1 loaf of Brioche bread, a day or two old is best

4 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup or more of mini chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar, cream, ricotta cheese, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

I never measure chocolate or cheese!

Cannoli Filling:

1 8 ounce container of mascarpone cheese

1 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Cannoli filling

Mix to combine. Butter a 9” x 13” pan. Place about 2 tablespoons of cannoli filling on each slice of bread. You will also spread this on another slice of Brioche on top of the cannoli covered slice in the baking dish. Cut into fourths. Continue until pan is filled with cannoli filled sandwiches. Pour cream mixture over top, cover and place in fridge overnight. Remove baking dish from fridge 30 minutes before you place it into a preheated 350 degrees. While your casserole comes to room temperature, sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 33-43 minutes until custard is set and toast is brown. Dust with powder sugar on top and enjoy!

Dust with powder sugar.

Recipe adapted from The Food Dolls.

Easy Lemon Cheesecake Tart

I wanted to create an easy dessert for Easter and/or spring. Baking time is only 10 minutes and that’s for the crust. This can easily be made a day or two ahead of time which is great before a holiday. This easy dessert comes together quickly and is so yummy.

Baked Cookie Crust

Ingredients for Crust:

1 package of Keebler Shortbread cookies plus 1 sleeve of another package of shortbread cookies

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Crush cookies with a rolling pin or food processor. Drizzle melted butter over cookie crumbs. Form a crust in a tart pan (mine was 10 1/2”). Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. This is the only baking this recipe requires. Cool completely before adding Cheesecake mixture.

No bake cheesecake filling
Lemon Curd topping

Cheesecake Ingredients:

1 8 ounce block of cream cheese plus 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup sugar

Refrigerate mixing bowl and attachment(s) in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Beat cream cheese, sugar and extract together until smooth. Add whipping cream and beat until soft peaks form. Spread evenly into tart shell. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes or longer.

Top with 2 10 ounce jars of prepared lemon curd. I bought mine in the grocery store in the jelly section. I have made homemade lemon curd many times but since I work a lot of hours in a week, I used store bought for that reason. Plus the cost of eggs is outrageous right now. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Refrigerator any leftovers. Enjoy!

Cheesy Broccoli Bites

Hot right out of the oven!

My Cheesy Broccoli Bites are so easy to make and delicious to eat. Perfect for meatless meals or appetizers.

Ingredients:

1 8-count can of Grands Buttermilk Biscuits

4 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup steamed broccoli, cooled

1 Tablespoon of chopped chives

6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1-2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Parmesan cheese, the dry kind that has a shaker top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Open biscuits and flatten out with your hand or rolling pin. Set aside on parchment paper lined baking sheet. In a food processor or blender, finely dice broccoli, add cream cheese, chopped chives, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix well. Drop a generous tablespoon of filling into each biscuit. Pinching the sides together, roll into a ball, like a meatball. Brush each biscuit with melted butter and sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is one of my favorite soups. January just happens to be National Soup Month. This is one delicious and easy recipe. The most difficult part of making it is caramelizing the onions and that isn’t difficult, just time consuming. I am including my recipe for easy homemade croutons. I actually prefer croutons over a slice of bread in my soup. Either is fine, croutons are easier to eat from a soup bowl.

Let the caramelizing begin!

Ingredients:

5-6 pounds of sweet onions, sliced thin

1/2 stick of butter

1/4 cup oil

Salt and pepper

6 cans 10.5 ounce Condensed Beef Consommé, I used Campbell’s

1 32 ounce box of Beef Stock

2/3 cups flour

2 cups or more from 1 bottle of wine, I used (red) Cabernet Sauvignon, you can use white, just use a dry white wine

6 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves removed for soup, stems tossed) more if you like

3 bay leaves

Gruyère cheese for top

Croutons (recipe below) or bread for each bowl

Perfect caramelized onions
Slurry of flour and stock
Adding slurry to stockpot
Ready to top with croutons and cheese

In a large skillet, melt butter with oil. Add sliced onions and season with salt and pepper. The best way to caramelize onions is low and slow. It will take awhile, I spent 2 hours caramelizing onions. Stirring every so often, once they burn, they are bitter so take it slow. In a large stockpot, add consommé, stock (reserve 2 cups of stock), add thyme leaves and bay leaves. In a separate container, add the stock and flour. I used my immersion blender to blend the flour and stock. Once combined, add to stockpot. The Gruyère cheese I bought had a rind on it so I cut the rind off the cheese and added that to the soup liquid. Don’t forget to add your wine, you will have some leftover for a glass or two after adding it to the soup. Once onions are caramelized, add to the soup. I simmered my soup for two hours after I added the onions. I recommend at least an hour. Pull out bay leaves and cheese rind if you added them to your stockpot before serving.

Waiting for cheese
Ready for the broiler. Make sure your bowl is oven safe.

Homemade Croutons

Ingredients:

1 day old loaf of crostini bread sliced, cut into fourths

1/4 cup olive oil

Garlic salt, Lawry’s is my favorite

Place cut bread in a large bowl. Drizzle oil over bread pieces and season with garlic salt or kosher salt. Toss and distribute oil and seasoning. Spread on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. They should keep for about two weeks. Great on salads too.

Assembling your soup. Ladle soup in an oven safe bowl. Add croutons or bread. Top with Gruyère cheese over croutons. Place on a sheet pan and place under the broiler until cheese is hot and melty. Heaven! Enjoy!

Heaven! Dig in!

Green Goddess Stuffed Mushrooms

One of my favorite places to eat is The Melting Pot. The restaurant originated in Florida and my favorite thing to fondue is the green goddess stuffed mushrooms. I created the green goddess filling, stuffed the mushrooms and baked them. Delicious and these were gone in a flash Christmas Day. I cannot wait to make them again.

Ingredients:

1 block of cream cheese (8 ounces), room temperature

2 Tablespoons of parsley chopped*

4 ounces of chopped chives*

1 small shallot, chopped*

Dash of garlic powder

I package of mushrooms, I used 24 ounces of Baby Bellas but white mushrooms can be used. clean mushrooms by wiping off with a damp cloth and pull out the stems.

Italian Style Bread Crumbs

Olive oil for drizzling the top of the mushrooms

*I made this recipe in my food processor and did not chop anything. My put my food processor on pulse and let it do my chopping. If you do not have a food processor, you can finely chop and combine your ingredients with a mixer.

Leave off the bread crumbs if you want these to be keto.
Drizzle olive oil over the top of the breaded mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse your shallot, add parsley and chives and pulse. Put in the room temperature cream cheese and a dash of garlic powder. Combine until blended. This can be made ahead. Fill each mushroom with about a teaspoon of the green goddess cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle the top of your mushrooms with bread crumbs. Drizzle tops of mushrooms with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes. These can be keto if you leave off the bread crumbs. This recipe will be made often at my house from now on. So delicious! They will disappear before your eyes. Enjoy!

I less than 5 minutes, more than 1/2 of the mushrooms were gone. No leftovers.

Mom’s Pumpkin Crunch

This is my Mom’s recipe. Not a fan of pumpkin pie, this recipe I love. My sons love it too. It has been around for a long time. Some people call it Pumpkin Dump Cake and some also refer to this recipe as Pumpkin Cobbler. Whatever you call it, it’s amazing!

Pumpkin Crunch

1 can of solid pack pumpkin (not pie filling)

1 can of evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 cup chopped pecans

1 stick of butter, melted

Whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with Pam.

Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with your mixer. Pour into your baking dish. Sprinkle cake mix over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix. Drizzle the top with melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. *The top seems to get brown very quickly so I tent foil over the top the last 20-30 minutes of baking.

This can be eaten warm, I typically serve it room temperature topped with whipped cream. I do refrigerate leftovers if there is any. Enjoy!

Cocktail Weenies

I recently made appetizers for Thanksgiving and I wasn’t planning to post a recipe but everyone was asking for it so here it is. I remember my Mom making these and keeping them warm in a fondue pot. I used a one quart crockpot. They are small and inexpensive if you get them at Walmart.

Ingredients:

1 package 24 ounce Little Smokies

1 cup barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Original)

3/4 cup grape jelly

In a saucepan, combine jelly and barbecue sauce. I heated the two until the jelly had combined with the barbecue sauce. I added the Little Smokies to the the saucepan and heated the Little Smokies until they were hot. I transferred the warm sauce and Smokies to the crockpot and kept it on warm setting during the day. Have toothpicks nearby for serving. This is an old vintage recipe my Mom made when I was a kid. Simple, easy and tasty. Enjoy!

Reese’s Cocoa Pebbles Treats

I love peanut butter and chocolate. Always have. Here is my new recipe, Reese’s Cocoa Pebbles Treats. The ingredients are cereal, marshmallows, butter, peanut butter and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Pumpkins. A peanut butter and chocolate lovers dream.

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 entire bag and 3/4 bag of miniature marshmallows

3/4 package of Halloween Reese’s pumpkins or Peanut Butter Cups (the rest were tasted for quality control 😉), roughly chopped

10 cups of Cocoa Pebbles cereal

Melt butter. Add peanut butter to the pan and melt the peanut butter into melted butter. Add in the roughly chopped Reese’s pumpkins or peanut butter cups. Once melted, stir in the cereal and press into a buttered 13 x 9 pan. Decorate if desired and once cool, cut into squares. Enjoy!

Princess Willow approves

Mom’s Lemonade Pie

I grew up eating lemonade pie as a child. My Mom loved easy recipes, she was not really a baker. We had this pie in a prepared pie crust, I made my own. She would use canned whip cream on top, I made homemade. This pie does need to sit in the fridge after it’s made for at least 6 hours or overnight. A great make ahead dessert.

Pie Crust:

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

1 stick of butter, melted

1 healthy pinch of salt

I/4 cup granulated sugar

Cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk after whipping for 3 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix above ingredients and press into a deep dish pie pan. Bake crust for 8 minutes and cool completely. I place pie pan in the fridge to get cool after it’s not hot right out of the oven.

Pie Ingredients:

6 ounces frozen lemonade, thawed pink or yellow, it doesn’t matter, choose your favorite

1 can sweetened condensed milk, that has been refrigerated

1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, room temperature

A few drops of yellow or red food coloring, optional depending on what color of lemonade you select

1 8 ounce container of whipped topping, thawed

Mix together cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together. Whip for 3 minutes, this will increase the volume and thicken the mixture. Add lemonade and food coloring if desired. Combine until blended. Add container of whipped topping and stir to blend or use whisk attachment on low speed. Using a cool/cold pie crust, add the pie filling. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Decorate with whip cream, sprinkles if desired. This is a great summertime dessert. Enjoy!

*This recipe is so old, lemonade is no longer sold in the small 6 ounce cans. I easily scooped out half and saved the rest in the freezer for my next pie or pitcher of lemonade.

Elmo Frosted Almond Cupcakes

My precious granddaughter, Willow loves Elmo. She calls him Melmo. I decided to treat her and make her Elmo cupcakes. Everything on the cupcakes is edible, sugar eyes and Circus Peanuts. She was delighted and loved her Elmo cupcakes. Almond is Mommy’s favorite and she was also pleased. ☺️

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of flour

2 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons of pure almond

extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners.

Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and blend well. Fill cupcake liners only 1/2 full. Bake 17 minutes or until done. Cool completely before frosting.

Almond Frosting:

2 sticks of room temperature butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)

4-5 cups powdered sugar (depending on how stiff you want)

1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract

2-3 teaspoons of milk or water

Red food gel if desired for Elmo*

Circus Peanuts for nose (found them at Walgreens)

Sugar eyeballs (can be found in the baking isle at Walmart, Michael’s or JoAnn’s)

Mix shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Add extract. On low speed add powdered sugar. If frosting is too stiff, add milk or water after food gel is added. *Do not use liquid food coloring, your frosting will be pink, not red. I used 1 1/2 small containers of red good gel coloring. Enjoy!

Frosting tips I used were 1M for the regular cupcakes and I used the grass tip for Elmo Wilton 233. Both tips can be found in the baking isle or purchased on Amazon.