Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

This is a great brunch potluck item, or a great way to use leftovers for a delicious breakfast that will feed a lot of people. Just so you know, you can use just about any meat or veggie in this casserole. It is very flexible. If the combination sounds good to you, it will probably taste good to you, too. Bacon, asparagus, steak, chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes...the list goes on. Just remember to cook your meat thoroughly before baking, and use veggies that are soft (or else you'll have crunchy veggies in your casserole).
I've had a lot of requests for this recipe, so here it is!

Mix together:
3 cups Biscuit Mix (see recipe below)
1 cup water
Spread biscuit dough on greased 9x13 pan

Combine in separate bowl:
8 eggs
8 oz ground sausage, browned and drained
1 cup cubed butternut squash
1 cup cubed green pepper
1 cup cheese
1 onion, diced
1 cup cubed ham

Mix well, pour egg mixture into 9x13 pan over biscuit dough. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes, or until biscuit dough is cooked through and eggs are set.

Serve with salsa.

Biscuit Mix (makes a lot!)
8 and 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup dehydrated whole egg
1/4 cup baking powder
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
2 and 1/2 cups shortening

Measure all dry ingredients, mix well. Cut in shortening until well mixed. Store in airtight container for up to 6 months.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Freezer French Fries

Potatoes are on sale right now (10 lbs or more for less than $2). To capitalize on this bargain, I like to buy a few bags and process them all for the freezer. The trick to freezing potatoes is to realize that the texture will be different once you freeze them. But if you notice, most fries that you buy are frozen (even Wendy's, McD's, etc use frozen fries). So the texture change works in your favor for french fries (it doesn't work as well for mashed potatoes). Here's how you can do it at home...saving money and calories in the process! Pair this recipe with the Easy Pleasing Meatloaf (2008 post) or Home-Grilled Hamburgers made with my Hamburger Patties Recipe (2008 post) and Italian Rolls (I'll post this next) for Hamburger Buns, and you're in for a treat.

Freezer French Fries

Potatoes (Any kind will work. Try different varieties and see which type your family likes best.)
Oil (Canola, Vegetable, or Olive all work great...it just depends on your preference)
Salt and seasonings (Johnny's Seasoning Salt, Mrs Dash, Kosher Salt, Garlic Salt are all fun to try)
Ziploc Freezer Bags

Label Bag with date, "French Fries: Bake at 425F for 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through." Peel potatoes, if desired. Slice your potatoes into desired size. We like to make "steak fries" by slicing them about 1 inch wide, 1/4 inch deep, and 4-5 inches long. You can make them any size you like. Put sliced potatoes into ziploc bags, in a family-sized portion. These fries (like all fries) do not reheat well, so cook enough for one sitting at a time. Add oil to the bag. You'll want to add enough oil so that the potatoes are coated with oil, but not so much that there's more oil than potatoes. This is the oil that your fries will be "frying" in while they're in the oven. I'd estimate that for a gallon-sized bag of fries, I add about 1 cup of oil. Zip up the bag and shake, so all fries are coated with oil. Then open the bag and add seasoning to taste. Place immediately in the freezer. Best to lay flat to freeze, so you can put it right onto your baking sheet when you're ready.

Baking Directions:
No need to thaw. Preheat oven to 425. Remove ziploc from freezer, remove frozen contents from bag and place directly on rimmed baking sheet (we use stoneware) or casserole dish. Bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and flaky in the middle, turning fries over mid-way through baking.

Fabulous French Bread

Here it is...the famous French Bread recipe! No oils or fats (except the glaze), just a few pantry staple ingredients, and you're good to go. Turn spaghetti or soup night into a special event...without running to the store. As a matter of fact, with my convection oven, I can make, raise, and bake this faster from scratch than I can run to the store with my kids and get some from the bakery! Here you go...

Delicious French Bread
Kathy Summers and Avalie Muhlestein

3 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
2 Tbsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
7-8 cups bread flour
Optional Ingredients for Baking:
cornmeal for greased pan
1 egg white, beaten, with 1 Tbsp. water for glaze

Put warm water in mixing bowl, add yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let rise for 5 minutes (make sure it gets bubbly). Add salt to yeast mixture and stir. Add 5 cups flour (make sure to stir flour in its container to fluff so it is not too dense). Stir vigorously until well blended. Add 1-2 cups flour, ½ cup at a time, until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl. Knead dough on floured work surface until dough is smooth and elastic (or use KitchenAid Mixer to knead). Shape into 2 loaves.

To Freeze: Freeze each loaf separately in Ziploc Gallon freezer bag (put in freezer immediately and check after a few hours).

Baking Directions
Remove loaf from freezer. Thaw on baking sheet (we prefer stoneware) (you can put cornmeal on the pan if you like). Let rise until double in size. Slash the top of the loaf with four diagonal slashes, ¼ inch deep. Brush the loaf with egg white glaze, if desired (this gives a nice glossy finish to the bread). For a harder crust, place a pot of boiling water on the lowest rack of the oven (make sure to use an ovenproof pot). Preheat oven to 400. Bake 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes on wire rack. Enjoy!

(Handmade Breads pg. 52)