Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just Brunch

After one too many failed brunch attempts with friends and kids, my husband and I decided that hosting at home is a win-win for everyone.  It's a playdate for kids and adults alike where you can actually connect and enjoy a good meal.  Remember those days? Best of all, it's the perfect recipe for an afternoon nap for the whole family. Priceless. 

Here's what I served this weekend (the kids loved it too):

Overnight French Toast Casserole (courtesy of my MIL)

Ina's Roasted Parmesan Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs

Grilled Chicken Apple Sausage

Ina Garten's Provencal Cherry Tomato Gratin 

I prepared the French Toast Casserole and the Tomato Gratin the night before so my morning wouldn't be so hectic.  It was easy peasy.  

Recipes after the jump

Overnight French Toast Casserole: 


1 loaf of French bread-sliced into thick slices
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon

In a 9" x 13" greased pan, arrange the French bread in one layer.  (Or you can cut the bread into 1" slices and layer until you use the entire loaf).  The pieces of bread should touch each other.

Beat the eggs, milk, and cream until foamy. Add the vanilla and cinnamon.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread trying to saturate each piece.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter  
1 1/2 cups brown granulated sugar
3 tsp karo syrup

Soften the butter and mix in the brown sugar and karo syrup.  Spread the mixture over the tops of the bread.  

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until puffy and brown looking.  It will puff up and then come down once it starts to settle.  Serve warm.  

Ina's Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs:
Serves 2
(I made this amount for four since I had so many other dishes)

3/4 lb fresh asparagus
good olive oil
kosher salt/black pepper
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan
6 Extra Large eggs
3 tbsp half-and-half
1 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
2 to 4 slices 7-grain bread


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus.  Place on a cooking sheet in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat completely.  Roast for 15-20 minutes, until tender but still crisp.  (I took mine out after 15 minutes).  Sprinkle with parmesan and return to the oven for five minutes until cheese melts.  (Try to cook over 20 minutes total or else you'll overcook them).

While the asparagus is roasting, whisk the eggs in a bowl with half-and-half and salt and pepper.  Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in a large skillet.  Cook the eggs on the lowest heat, adding the remaining tbsp of butter, and stir until it melts.  Check for seasoning, salt and pepper, if needed and serve with the roasted asparagus and 7-grain bread.  

Grilled Chicken Apple Sausage:
4 links, sliced into 1/2" slices

I prefer Applegate Chicken and Apple Sausage.  Cook in a grill pan or saute pan for 6-8 minutes, flipping so they don't burn.  Serve warm.  

Ina's Provencal Provencal Tomato Gratin
Serves 6
3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 1/2 tbsp plus 1/4 cup good olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme or herbs de provence
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 cups coarse bread crumbs (you can buy this at whole foods)

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place tomatoes in a 9X13 ceramic dish.  Add 1 1/2 tbsp oil, thyme, 1 tsp salt and pepper.  Toss together.  Spread tomatoes evenly in pan. 
2) Place the garlic, parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until the garlic is finely chopped.  Add the bread cubes (or crumbs) and process until the bread is in crumbs.  Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse a few times to blend.  Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the tomatoes.

Bake the gratin for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crumbs are golden and the tomato juices are bubbling.  Serve hot or warm.  

PC: Pepperidge Farm, Barefoot Contessa, The Meatwave, and 

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