Friday, April 8, 2011

Baked Praline French Toast

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
10 to 12 slices soft bread, 1 inch thick

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 cups chopped pecans

Generously butter a 9x13 inch casserole dish.  Mix the eggs, half-and-half, syrup, and sugar in a large bowl.  Place the bread slices in the prepared casserole dish and cover with the egg mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the casserole from the refrigerator.

Make the topping: melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the sugar and maple syrup and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in the pecans.  Pour the mixture over the bread and bake for 45 to 55 minutes.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:  Delicious - but how could anything with this much butter and sugar not be?  I made this for Brittany's birthday breakfast this year, and while I'm still probably more fond of the other baked French toast recipe we've tried (Apple with Caramel Sauce), this was certainly tasty.  I've been enjoying the leftovers as dessert for my lunches.  This recipe comes from a blog called "Crave. Indulge. Satisfy."
Brittany's notes: I love pecans, maple, and brown sugar combined, so I thought this was absolutely delicious. It may have tasted even better since I didn't have to make it :)

Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf

1/2 cup chili sauce (or substitute ketchup)
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 tsp. cider vinegar

Meat Loaf
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 med. onion, chopped
2 med. cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or whole milk)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground veal (or more pork instead)
2/3 cup Saltine crackers, crushed (about 18) or quick oatmeal, or 1 1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
6-8 oz. bacon, thin sliced (8 to 12 slices, depending on loaf shape)

1. For the glaze: Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened and set aside.
2. For the meat loaf: Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in medium skillet.  Add onion and garlic; saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients.
3. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and milk or yogurt.  Add egg mixture to meat in large bowl along with crackers, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl.  (If mixture sticks, add additional milk or yogurt a couple tablespoons at a time until it no longer sticks.)
4. Turn meat mixture onto work surface.  With wet hands, pat mixture into approximately 9-by-5-inch loaf shape.  Place on foil-lined (for easy cleanup) shallow baking ban.  Brush with half the glaze, then arrange bacon slices, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking only bacon tip ends under loaf.
5. Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour.  Cool 10-15 minutes.  While meat loaf is cooling, re-heat remaining sauce and brush some over loaf if desired.  Slice meat loaf and serve with extra glaze.
Notes: I'm pretty sure Brittany didn't follow this recipe exactly (I don't think we had hot sauce or ground pork, and I know we didn't have veal), but whatever she did was still tasty.  This recipe came from Our Best Bites, which apparently got it from America's Test Kitchen.  I'm not sure if it was the bacon, but I didn't enjoy this as much when eaten as leftovers compared to other meatloaf recipes we've tried (regular and mushroom-and-sour-cream).  Also, we didn't have very much extra glaze for serving with the sliced meatloaf.
Update by Brittany: I used 1 pound of ground pork in addition to the ground beef. I used oatmeal instead of crushed crackers, and we didn't have any Dijon mustard, chili sauce, or hot sauce on hand. I agree with John-it was tasty (and it made the house smell delicious!), but I would probably prefer one of the other meatloaf recipes to this one. Perhaps I will try it again without the bacon. The glaze was really yummy.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions (less to taste)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown beef in a large skillet.  Drain fat, then add tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.  Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.  Cook egg noodles until al dente.  Drain and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese.  Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Add to noodles and stir.  Add green onions and stir.  To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish.  Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar.  Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.  Serve with crusty French bread.

Notes: This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman.  When I first saw it in the dish I thought it would be similar to the Lasagna Toss recipe we've got on this blog, but the flavor was completely different.  Tasty.