My school has a birthday buddy system among the teachers and staff. It is basically a birthday version of Secret Santa. People who want to participate secretly draw a name from a hat. On the birthday buddy’s big day, the assigned person anonymously brings a small gift (not to exceed $10) and usually a food treat too that can be shared with the faculty.
In honor of my buddy’s birthday this week, I got her a small personal gift and baked a coffee cake that I left in the staff kitchen. The birthday buddy had the first slice honors and then kindly e-mailed everyone to let them know that a treat was available in the kitchen. When I arrived on the scene at 9:47, there were two slices left. Teachers are always hunting around for a little snack mid morning and/or need a bite to tide them over if they have forgotten to pack a lunch. Teachers love having a group snack appear in the staff room or faculty kitchen.
1 c. butter, softened
2 3/4 c. sugar, divided
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 c. sour cream
1 T. vanilla
2 c. chopped pecans
1 T. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and 2 c. sugar. Add eggs then sour cream and vanilla.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
In a third bowl, combine remaining 3/4 c. sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon.
Spray bundt pan with Pam. Spoon half of the batter into the pan and spread gently with a spatula to level the batter. Sprinkle 3/4 of the nut mixture on the batter.
Pour the remaining batter over the nut mixture and gently smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture on top.
Bake for 1 hour. Let sit for ~20 minutes and then invert the bundt pan onto a plate.
Speaking from experience, the baking powder ingredient is important. It is NOT baking soda. There is a difference!
Make sure the bundt pan is greased well or the cake will not come away from the pan cleanly.
Aunt B will be visiting with her two boys for Easter. I have my parents in town too. That means I need to prepare food for a group, which is actually something I like to do. I am not sure why cooking for a large group is so much more appealing to me than the daily cooking for my own small(er) family, but it is (see previous post). One idea I have for Easter brunch is Hash Brown Casserole. It is easy to assemble ahead, and it includes melted cheese, which automatically gives the recipe bonus points.
There are many variations of this casserole available, but I am sharing the recipe I use. I like to serve this casserole with ham or scrambled eggs. I also think it works well with steak or hamburgers later in the day.
1 2-lb package frozen, diced hash brown potatoes– thawed (the cubes)
1/2 c. melted butter
1 10-oz. can Campbell’s cream of celery soup (could replace with cream of chicken)
8-oz. sour cream
1/2 c. chopped green onions
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (+ a little extra to sprinkle on the top before baking)
1 t. salt (or to taste)
1/4 t. pepper (or to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
Spread in a 9×11 casserole dish.
Sprinkle extra shredded cheddar cheese on top.
Cover in foil and bake for ~35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or so until the top is slightly golden and edges are bubbly.
Gather round, bacon lovers. One of my dearest friends from the ATL e-mailed me about my sugar bacon recipe. This unbelievably delicious treat has been off my radar for awhile. It is so good I actually requested it as a passed hors d’oeuvres at my wedding. I made a batch today and practically fell over while eating (the entire plate I might add– by myself) because it is so good. Let me know if you think it is as delicious as I do.
bacon (I use about 1/2 lb. for 4 people)
light brown sugar
dry mustard (optional)
Silpat, Tephlon bakeware liner, or foil to line your pan
jelly roll pan, roasting pan, or something with a lip
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut bacon slices in half. Scoop about 3/4 c. of brown sugar into a wide, flat dish. Add a few dashes of dried mustard if using and mix with a fork, so the brown sugar is separated.
Line your baking pan with some sort of liner. I like the Tephlon bakeware liners or tin foil. You want the liner to come up around the edges of the pan, so carmelized brown sugar does not get on your pan. That makes the clean-up very difficult.
Pat each slice of bacon in the brown sugar on both sides. The bacon will NOT be thickly covered with the brown sugar.
Place bacon slices side by side in the pan. Try not to let the edges touch. The bacon gets very sticky while cooking.
Bake bacon for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn slices over (tongs work best). Put bacon back in the oven and cook another 5 minutes until browned and crispy. Watch carefully after the first 10 minutes of baking because the bacon changes from slightly undercooked to burned in a blink.
Remove the pan from oven and get the bacon slices off the pan immediately. Lay the bacon slices flat on a cooling rack or a non-stick cookie sheet. I put paper towel under my cooling rack. Do not put the bacon directly on the paper towel! Let cool to room temperature before serving.
I like regular Oscar Mayer original slice bacon. I have tried fancy bacon or a thicker cut, and the bacon does not crisp as well or get the good candy texture.
These are great served at a brunch or party. Stack the strips of bacon like Lincoln Logs on a serving plate. Serve as finger food.
My holiday houseguests arrived Thursday night (about 5 hours after school let out for Christmas break). I did not make it to the grocery store before they arrived, so I offered a few leftover rosemary nuts and some slices of cranberry bread that I received as a teacher gift for breakfast Friday morning. We did not even have milk for coffee– my husband had to run out to the gas station.
This morning, I actually had breakfast food for my guests after a major trip to the grocery store (courtesy of my husband– I almost considered that a Christmas gift). I served up some Breakfast Cups to the group, and people were not disappointed. I need another quick prep meal for tomorrow morning. Can anybody help a hostess?
1- 10 oz. Can Ro-Tel tomatoes (I use mild version)
½ c. mayo
1 c. grated cheddar and Monterey Jack (or just cheddar)
1 t. dried basil
8-10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ small onion chopped
1-2 cans 10 oz. refrigerated flaky layered biscuits (I use Pillsbury Grands Original Flaky Layer Biscuits)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, stir together tomatoes, mayo, cheese, basil, bacon, and onion.
Separate each biscuit into 3 layers.
Press each layer into a lightly greased mini muffin tin and fill with tomato mixture. Bake 10-12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.