Thursday, May 05, 2016

#BrunchWeek ~ Mini Croque Monsieurs



Welcome to day 4 of Brunch Week. I'm glad to have you here and excited to share another fantastic brunch recipe with you. These delicious miniature sandwiches are quick to assemble and would make a terrific addition to any brunch buffet!


See my kick-off post for the rafflecopter information - there are TONS of great prizes, so make sure to enter!


These sandwiches are very mild in flavor and very, very cheesy! The cheese sauce is rich and decadent and these would be great with a salad and / or some fresh fruit to lighten them up a little bit. Having them in small bite sized sandwiches helps with the heaviness of the cheeses.


Two notes from when I made these - I thought 1 TBS of Dijon mustard per sandwich sounded like way too much originally and cut it down closer to about 2 tsp per sandwich, but would recommend leaving it at the full TBS (or at least 3/4 of a TBS) since pretty much all the real flavor comes from the mustard with the mild ham and cheese sauce complementing. Also, depending on the type of Parmesan cheese you use you likely will not need to add salt to the cheese sauce. I used the jarred grated Parmesan and found that to be plenty salty without adding any - however if you use fresh grated you may want a touch of salt.

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Mini Croque Monsieurs from Big Bears Wife

Ingredients
6 slices of somewhat firm white bread (I used Cobblestone Bread Co. Million Dollar White Bread)
5-oz of smoked gruyere cheese sliced thinly into about 12 slices
3 thick slices of ham (or about 4 slices of thinner cut lunchmeat)
2 - 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons butter + additional for brushing onto bread
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups milk
Salt (may not be needed) and pepper
dash of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Lay the sliced of bread on a baking sheet.
  3. Brush both sides of all pieces of bread with a little bit of melted butter (about 1 - 2 TBS total).
  4. Once the oven is preheated, toast the slices of bread for about 3 - 4 minutes per side (more if needed, bread should be lightly golden brown). Watch closely so bread doesn't burn.
  5. Remove the bread from the oven and spread on the mustard evenly between all 6 slices. Top 3 of the slices with 2 pieces of cheese, ham, another 2 slices of cheese and a top slice of bread.
  6. Cut each sandwich into 4 pieces.
  7. In a sauce pan, over medium to medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour until smooth and golden colored; allow to cook for about 1 more minute (reduce heat as necessary so roux doesn't burn).
  8. Slowly whisk in the milk and raise the heat just a little; whisk until the sauce starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken, remove it from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt (if using), and pepper to taste. Whisk until the cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
  9. Spoon the sauce evenly over the tops of the mini sandwiches. 
  10. Put the tray into the oven for about 6 minutes to allow gruyere cheese to melt. Turn the broiler on and broil the tops for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese sauce is hot, bubbly, and starting to brown. Be careful not to burn the bread. Serve warm.
Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.



Wednesday, May 04, 2016

#FoodieExtravaganza ~ Maple Bacon & Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits


Today's Foodie Extravaganza day is celebrating the Buttermilk Biscuit. Kathleen, from Fearlessly Creative Mammas is the host this month, and to celebrate her southern roots, she picked Buttermilk Biscuits as the theme. May 14th is actually Buttermilk Biscuit day, but we get to pick from any of the foods in the specific month, so Buttermilk Biscuits it is. We pick our foods from the website The Nibble.


Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.


These biscuits are best fresh from the oven - they come out tender, fluffy, and wonderfully flavorful. The cheddar, maple, bacon combination is fantastic and the touch of garlic powder adds a little something on the savory side - but you could skip it.

These fantastic biscuits are brushed with a buttery maple glaze fresh from the oven - as if they needed anything more! You could also skip the glaze if you don't want them to stay more balanced in the sweet and savory flavors, the glaze definitely pushes them more into sweet but goes very nicely with the biscuit.


To turn these into a pretty spectacular meal, I whipped up a few poached eggs and topped the biscuits with an egg and drizzled on a little more glaze. Rich, decadent, and delicious. Serve this up with a big fresh fruit salad to balance it out!


Look at all the fantastic Buttermilk Biscuit inspired recipes at these links:


Maple Bacon and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits adapted from The Chunky Chef
Makes approximately 12 biscuits

Biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 thick cut slices bacon, diced into small pieces
1 cup Cabot's Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 TBS butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
Reserved bacon grease from cooking bacon (about 2 TBS)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup buttermilk

Maple Glaze (inspired by Sally's Baking Addiction)
2 TBS butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silpat. Set aside.
  2. Dice bacon and cook in a small skillet until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Pour grease into a small bowl and place in the freezer to chill.
  3. In a medium size bowl combine your flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt. Add chilled butter and bacon grease (you need 4 TBS of fat total, so if you have more than 2 TBS of bacon grease, reduce the amount of butter accordingly), and cut into the dry ingredients. Mixture should resemble wet fluffy sand with small pea-sized lumps.
  4. Add in the shredded cheese and crisped bacon and stir gently to combine.
  5. Make a well in the center, and add in buttermilk and maple syrup. Mix with a fork or spatula combine. The mixture will be fairly wet.
  6. Scoop out approximately 1/4 cup of dough into slightly damp hands as dough will be sticky. Pat into a slightly flattened round biscuit shape and place onto the silpat lined baking sheet, with a few inches in between each biscuit.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until starting to turn a light golden brown on top.
  8. While biscuits are baking, prepare the glaze by combining the maple syrup and butter together in a small saucepan and simmering for about 5 minutes to allow mixture to thicken a little. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.
  9. When biscuits are baked, use a pastry brush and generously brush warm biscuits with glaze, or drizzle over the top, as desired.



#BrunchWeek ~ Asparagus Cheddar Tart



Welcome to day 3 of Brunch Week. I'm glad to have you here and excited to share another fantastic brunch recipe with you. Today's incredible tart features Cabot's White Oak Cheddar Cheese. It's rich, buttery, and a lovely choice in this delicious, flaky, impressive dish.

See my kick-off post for the rafflecopter information - there are TONS of great prizes, so make sure to enter!


This is one of those quick, super easy dishes that looks so elegant and tastes like it took quite a bit more time than it actually did. Those are always my favorite! You can change up the cheese if you'd like to your taste preference, and add a drizzle of a balsamic glaze to finish off this beautiful dish before serving if desired.


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Asparagus Cheddar Tart adapted from Hip Foodie Mom

Ingredients
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
6 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) Cabot White Oak Cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1½ pounds medium asparagus, trimmed to fit
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Balsamic glaze, when serving (optional)

Balsamic Honey Dijon Mustard
1 TBS Honey Mustard
1/2 TBS Dijon Mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep a parchment lined baking sheet and place the two puff pastry sheets on the baking sheet, overlapping them just an inch in order to connect them. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges all around to mark a rectangle. Then, using a fork, pierce the dough all around in the center, not the edges. Bake the pastry dough until golden, for about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the pastry shell from the oven (it will come out very puffed up and deflate some as it sits), let it sit for a minute or two and then spread on the Balsamic Honey Dijon Mustard on the inside (don't brush the outside edges) using a pastry brush and then sprinkle on the Cabot White Oak Cheddar cheese.
  3. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell. Arrange them in a single layer over the cheddar cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush lightly with olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake until the spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Slice into wedges and serve with a balsamic glaze (if desired).

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

#BrunchWeek ~ Sausage and Fried Apples



Welcome to day 2 of Brunch Week. I'm glad to have you here and excited to share another fantastic brunch recipe with you. This one comes from my sister, Kylie. She told me about this dish when I was brainstorming ideas to make with the delicious Breeze Apples sent to me by Sage Fruit Company. Sausage and apples is always a fantastic pairing. 

See my kick-off post here for the rafflecopter information - there are TONS of great prizes, so make sure to enter!


The apples are crisp tender, and the flavor of the cinnamon goes wonderfully with them. They have a light coating and are just delicious cut into large chunks and eaten alongside the lightly sweet Johnsonville sausage links (which are pretty much the only brand of sausage I will buy - I'm not a huge fan of sausage but I loooove these links).


A tray of these sausages and apples would look beautiful on any brunch buffet.

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My 2 1/2 year old loves to help me take pictures, and had a great time picking out her favorite apple from the beautiful group of Breeze Apples I was sent to cook with!


Sausage and Fried Apples

Ingredients
1 12-oz package maple flavored Johnsonville sausage links
2 - 3 Breeze Apples (cored, and cut into 10 pieces each)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 TBS cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp sugar
oil, as needed

Directions
  1. Cook sausage links in a large nonstick (or cast iron) skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When cooked through remove to a plate and keep warm. 
  2. While sausages are cooking combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and sugar in a medium sized bowl. 
  3. Add enough oil to the pan to coat the bottom and increase heat if necessary so that apples will crisp when fried.
  4. Gently coat the apples, pressing flour mixture into all sides. In small batches, place apples in the hot oil, leaving plenty of space between them to allow for flipping. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes per side (all three sides that have flour on them), allowing the flour to cook and coating to crisp.
  5. Gently remove to a plate and keep warm while you prepare and fry the remaining apple slices, adding oil to the pan as needed to keep the bottom coated (scrape excess flour off the side between batches as well to try to keep the oil as clean as possible).

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.


Monday, May 02, 2016

#BrunchWeek ~ Cinnamon Swirl Bread



Welcome to day 1 of Brunch Week! I'm so excited you've joined us for this fantastic week of amazing dishes to inspire you in your kitchen. Today's dish I'm sharing with you can be served in a variety of ways depending on your meal. This bread could easily be called "Cinnamon Roll Bread" as that is what it is very reminiscent of. The dough is firm but has a tender crumb, so it slices well and holds up really well for toasting or turning into French toast. See my kick-off post here for the rafflecopter information - there are TONS of great prizes, so make sure to enter!



The layers of gooey cinnamon sugar between the rolls of bread are delicious. This bread is very, very easy to slice and snack on without adding anything to it. Make up a batch of this bread and set it out with bagels for toasting, or whip up a big platter of french toast, or use it in some type of french toast casserole. The options are endless! This bread was my first experience working with Red Star's platinum yeast, and I honestly cannot tell you how impressed I was. (And that's my 2 1/2 year old's finger - she always has to help with pictures!)


I've never had such an active, effective yeast in my kitchen before and it made me wonder what the heck I've been missing. The yeast was big and bubbly VERY quickly and the dough rose up so beautifully!


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My light and love - Lindsey Rose.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread adapted from Pinch of Yum

Ingredients
2 tablespoons Dixie Crystals sugar
1 cup warm water
2½ teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast
2½ cups high gluten bread flour (add extra as needed)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cinnamon
½ cup Dixie Crystals white sugar

Directions
  1. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar with the warm water in a very large bowl. Add the yeast and do not stir. Let it sit until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil, salt, and flour. Mix by hand, adding more flour as necessary until the dough forms a large, soft ball. Flour a table or work surface and knead the bread for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Place the dough in a bowl with about 1/2 TBS olive oil and flip once so both sides are lightly coated in oil (I usually just reuse the bowl I created the dough in). Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour. It should be very puffy. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out into a large triangle (about 1/4" thick, a little thicker if you want the layers in the roll to be fuller). Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over the surface of the rectangle. Roll tightly, cut the long roll in half, and place the two small loaves on a baking tray. Cover and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove towel and bake  for 30 minutes, or until it sounds hollow. The bread should be well browned in order to cook all the way through. Allow it to cool completely before slicing so it holds up and doesn't sink down during cutting.
Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.










Sunday, May 01, 2016

#BrunchWeek ~ Kick-Off and Thank You To Our #Sponsors!

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. We are so excited to have you join us this year as we celebrate Brunch and prepare for Mother's Day. 37 Bloggers from around the country will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to cakes, breakfast breads, tarts, and quiche - there is something for everyone! 

Our amazing Sponsors have donated some great prizes for the #BrunchWeek giveaway. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and we’d love if you would take a moment to read about it and what you can win!


The Prizes
Prize #1 RedStar Yeast is giving one winner an amazing baking set, which includes a mixing bowl, dough whisk, bamboo spatula, rubber spatula, instant-read thermometer, measuring cup, pizza cutter, tea towel, oven mitt, bench scraper, ‘Knead to be Loaved’ apron, 6 strips of Red Star Yeast, National Festival of Breads cookbook, and The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day hardcover cookbook

For more than a century, home bakers have trusted the high quality and consistent performance of RED STAR Yeast. Inspiring bakers from novice to professional, our goal is your baking success! Visit redstaryeast.com for hundreds of tried and true recipes, baking tips and how-to videos. Better yeast. Better bread. Every time.


Prize #2 DixieCrystals is giving one winner 1 case of 2-lb Extra Fine Granulated Sugar, a silicone baking mat, Dixie Crystal’s My First Cookbook, and Dixie Crystals red ruffle apron.

About Dixie Crystals: Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South's choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. Our pure cane sugar products are all natural, non-GMO and provide consistently delicious results.

Prize #3 CabotCheese is giving one winner $50 assortment of Cabot Cheese, one Berghoff Cheese Knife and one Slate Cheese Board.

Cabot Creamery Cooperative is a 1,200 farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England & upstate New York making all natural, award-winning cheeses & the "World's Best Cheddar.”

Prize #4 Vidalia Onion Committee is giving one winner a Martha Stewart Knife Set, cast iron fry pan, cutting board, and fresh Vidalia Onions

About Vidalia Onions: Vidalia onions are unique to a very small region. In fact, they only grow within 20 counties in Georgia (which is also why they are the official state vegetable of Georgia)!Vidalia onions were discovered back in 1930’s, and just like back then, they are still planted, transplanted and harvested entirely all by hand! Vidalia onions are grown during the winter months, and are only available in stores between April and September,  making them a true seasonal specialty. In order to grow great tasting Vidalias, and to give them their characteristic sweetness, they must be grown in a sandy soil mixture that is low in sulfur (sulfur in soil is what gives onions their hotness). Because of  this sweet flavor, Vidalia onions are incredibly versatile and can be used in any sort of dish; grilling, baking, appetizers, sandwiches, casseroles, and yes, even sweet desserts. Each year, approximately 5-million 40-pound boxes are shipped out around the  entire country - now that’s a lot of onions!




Prize #5 
SageFruits is giving one winner a Ninja® Mega Kitchen System® with Slicing/Shredding

Sage Fruit Company is a premier grower/shipper of apples, pears and cherries. Not only are they focused on healthy products, but also on helping kids get excited about healthy eating through their free Kids in Force program that helps kids eat more nutrition and get more physical activity.



Prize #6 Nielsen-MasseyFine Vanillas and Flavors is giving one winner a set of their pure flavors: 2-oz each of Orange, Lemon, Peppermint, Almond, Chocolate, Coffee, Rose Water, and Orange Blossom Water.


Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has been crafting the world’s finest vanillas and flavors since 1907. Each of Nielsen-Massey’s all-nature pure flavors are crafted with premium ingredients, sourced from around the world and chosen to meet the utmost quality standards. From lemon to peppermint to coffee or chocolate, Nielsen-Massey’s pure flavors offer convenience, quality and consistency to ensure your favorite recipes taste delicious every single time. All products are gluten-free, allergen-free, GMO-free, all-natural and Kosher.


Prize #7 KitchenIQ is giving one winner a Lid & Mitt, Edge Grip Quick Prep Knife Sharpener & Pairing Knife Combo, IQ Smart Wireless Nutri Scale, Edge Bug Scissor Sharpener, and Prep & Measure Tool

KitchenIQ, the new houseware branch of Smith’s Consumer Products, Inc., embraces Smith’s long-standing reputation for innovation and quality. KitchenIQ is committed to producing smarter products for the kitchen.



Prize #8 LeCreuset is giving one winner one Egg Carton in Caribbean, a Heritage 4 Qt Rectangular Baking Dish in Caribbean and a Revolution Spatula Spoon in Caribbean.

Le Creuset is focused on inspiring and empowering people everywhere to make joy through cooking. From our original enameled cast iron cookware to stoneware, stainless, silicone and more, Le Creuset has grown to offer products across a range of materials and categories that guarantees the right tool for the right job.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up only. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Eight winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.