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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Breakfast/Brunch Main Dishes--Sweet and Savory

Eggs are always on special somewhere the week before Easter, so they were an easy choice for the basis of two main dish offerings I would be taking to our congregation's annual Easter breakfast.

Frittatas and French toast are always good budget main dishes, and both can be scaled up or down pretty easily, so it wasn't hard to decide on the following two dishes to take to breakfast.

The next question was what to add to the basic ingredients, so I started looking through the pantry and refrigerator to see what was available. Out of those forays, I came up with the following main dishes, both of which were quickly eaten--always a sure sign of a food everyone likes.

With the eggs and cheese both on sale and lots of raspberries still in the freezer from last year's garden, I was able to make both dishes for less than $7 total--not bad for so many servings!

Raspberry French Toast

Since I still have a lot of raspberries in the freezer from last year's garden, I can be pretty generous with them. You could probably substitute other berries or even spread some berry jam in place of the sugar and frozen raspberries.

2 T butter
Approximately 12 slices dry bread
1 c raspberries
1 apple, diced--or more
Sugar and cinnamon
1/3 c chopped walnuts--or more
8 eggs
1/2 to 3/4 c dry milk powder
Approximately 2 c water
1/3 c sugar
Maple syrup (I used "maple-flavored" pancake syrup rather than the "real" thing for this recipe, but it still turned out with a pleasing flavor)
1/3 c raspberry syrup
1 c raspberries

Melt butter in bottom of 9 X 13 casserole. Spread broken up pieces of dry bread over to make a thin layer. Spread with 1 cup of raspberries, apple, walnuts and sugar and cinnamon. Cover with another layer of bread pieces.

Beat together the eggs, dry milk, water, and sugar until well blended. Pour over the bread, making sure all areas are moistened. (If necessary, beat another egg or two with a little milk and add.) Drizzle the top generously with maple and raspberry syrups. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Remove cover, spread with another cup of raspberries and sprinkle generously with sugar and cinnamon.

Put in microwave (loosely covered) for about 11 minutes on power level 7, until center is set. Check for doneness by inserting a table knife near the center; the knife blade should come out clean.
(If using conventional oven, bake at 350 degrees about 45 to 55 minutes.)

NOTE: The raspberry syrup was made from the juices drained from an earlier package of frozen raspberries. Combine about 1/2 cup raspberry juice with 1/2 cup water and about 1 c sugar. Cook in microwave or on stovetop until mixture boils and cooks down to a syrupy consistency. If desired, omit this syrup and increase the amount of maple syrup drizzled over the top.



Savory Eggs and Vegetables

These were the vegetables I had on hand, so these are the ones I used this time. The nice thing with frittatas is that you can make a different dish every time, just by varying the add-ins based on what you have on hand.

4 carrots, thinly sliced
Approximately 4-5 c shredded cabbage
1 large onion, diced
1/2 large green pepper, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves minced garlic
Mixed herbs, black pepper
18 eggs
12 ounces shredded cheese—Mozzarella and taco cheese
Additional cheese for topping

Saute vegetables in a little oil in a large skillet, until carrots are crisp tender and onion is translucent. Transfer to a large (11 X 14) baking dish. Sprinkle with herbs and pepper.

Beat eggs together as for scrambled eggs. Stir in cheese. Pour this over the prepared vegetables. Sprinkle with a little more cheese.

Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until center is set. If the casserole begins to brown before completely done, cover with foil.

NOTE: The dried herbs I used were a mixture of rosemary, thyme, basil, and marjoram, pounded together in a mortar and pestle. I used a generous teaspoon or so of the mixed herbs for this recipe.

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