Chai Spiced Hot Cross Bread Pudding w/ Vanilla Sauce

CELEBRATING GOOD FRIDAY!

Bread pudding always gives me reason to remember good things. Truly a comfort food for those of us that recall it from childhood days. It’s not that the dish was invented here — that honor likely goes to clever medieval or even ancient cooks in Europe and the Middle East who had a surplus of stale bread on their hands. The perfect embodiment of the virtues of frugality and indulgence: day old bread, too precious to waste, is bathed in a mixture of milk and eggs and made into either a sweet or savory bread pudding (with a few other additions) and baked into something sublime. What makes it special is the blend of spices mixed into it and the sauce.

The chai spice baking blend, which is sometimes overlooked, adds a distinct warm flavor and depth. It can include a number of different spices. Cardamom is the most common ingredient, followed by some mixture of cinnamon, ginger, star anise and cloves. Pepper, coriander, nutmeg and fennel are also used but they are slightly less common.

This bread pudding combines hot cross buns with spices inspired by the world’s love affair with Indian chai. The origins of hot cross buns may go back as far as the 12th century. According to the story, an Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with a cross in honor of Good Friday. Over time they gained popularity, and eventually became a symbol of Easter weekend.

Bread pudding, when done right, should have the perfect balance of gooey goodness and chewy texture. That’s why stale bread/buns are important. The bread needs a degree of crunch otherwise you will have ‘mush pudding’. For additional flavor, the pudding is served with a vanilla sauce. Who says bread pudding has to be boring!

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Chai Spiced Hot Cross Bread Pudding w/ Vanilla Sauce
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Bread Pudding
Vanilla Sauce
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Ingredients
Bread Pudding
Vanilla Sauce
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Instructions
Bread Pudding
  1. Place cubed hot cross buns in a greased 9 x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the milk, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, spices & salt. Pour over buns, making sure that the bread is completely covered by the milk mixture.
  3. Cover & refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  4. Set out the chilled bread pudding while you preheat the oven to 350 F.
  5. Bake 40 - 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean. Remove from oven & serve with vanilla sauce.
Vanilla Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter & add flour. Stir until mixture has a nutty aroma.
  2. Add salt, cream & sugar; stir until mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat & stir in vanilla.
  3. Spoon over servings of warm bread pudding.
Recipe Notes
  • You will notice I have only used 2 Tbsp sugar in the vanilla sauce to offset the sweetness of the pudding.

Hoisin Beef & Rice Roulade

Hoisin is not a sauce I use regularly but in this case I found it puts a nice Asian twist on a traditional meatloaf. Impressive enough to serve to guests but easy enough to prepare on a weeknight.

The history of hoisin sauce is as rich and complex as its flavor. The name ‘hoisin’ comes from the Chinese phrase meaning ‘seafood sauce’ due to its seafood-like flavor but ironically, the sauce doesn’t contain any seafood. It’s believed to have originated in southern China, and its use has evolved over centuries. Once a luxury only the wealthy could afford, it has become a staple in Chinese households and restaurants worldwide. An intriguing tale associated with hoisin sauce is its role during the mid-Autumn festival in China, where it’s used in preparing traditional mooncakes, symbolizing unity and completeness.

Traditionally, hoisin sauce was made from fermented soybeans, rice wine, sugar, spices, and other ingredients. Today, hoisin sauce is widely used in many Chinese dishes including Peking duck, dim sum, barbecued pork, and spring rolls. It has also become a popular ingredient in other Asian cuisines such as Japanese and Vietnamese.

Hoisin sauce is a culinary chameleon, seamlessly blending into a wide array of dishes. Some of the many roles of hoisin sauce are as a

  • Dipping sauce for spring rolls, dumplings, and other appetizers. Its sweet and savory notes perfectly balance the flavors of these bite-sized delights.
  • As marinade and glaze hoisin sauce works wonders with meats like chicken, pork, and beef. The sugars in the sauce caramelize beautifully when grilled, creating a rich and flavorful exterior.
  • Adding hoisin sauce to stir-fried vegetables and proteins introduces a delectable dimension to your dishes. Its thick consistency helps create a glossy coating that clings to the ingredients, delivering an irresistible taste in every bite.
  • From noodle stir-fries to fried rice, hoisin sauce can elevate these dishes with its unique blend of flavors. Just a drizzle can transform a simple plate of noodles into a gourmet delight.
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Hoisin Beef & Rice Roulade
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Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Cool slightly. Stir cooked rice with carrot, red pepper, green onion & cilantro. Reserve.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium sized bowl, stir breadcrumbs with milk, eggs, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt & pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Grease foil well; top with a second sheet of foil (to use as a guide when rolling the beef). Crumble beef into bread crumb mixture; mix gently until combined. Press the beef into a 1/3-inch thick, rectangular layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Spread rice mixture evenly over the beef, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Roll beef, jellyroll-style, using the top layer of foil to guide & shape the beef into a compact log. Discard extra foil. Smooth the surface using fingers to fill in any gaps. Pinch ends closed. Bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, stir hoisin sauce with lime juice, ketchup, honey & sesame oil; brush evenly over roulade. Bake roulade for an additional 15 minutes.

Boursin French Bread w/ Pork & Shrimp Stuffing

Today, March 21, our family celebrates the birth date of my father. Although he left this earth many years ago, I have so many memories of the wonderful childhood I enjoyed due to the parents I had. As my life unfolds, I realize more each day the impact having had a strong role model has made on my life. The word ‘thank you’ is so inadequate.

In the early 1950’s, my father was able to purchase another piece of land about 4 miles from our home place. Between the two farms it became the equivalent of a ‘section’. Before this time, the cattle had to be moved to a community pasture in the foothills where they would have enough grass to graze on over the summer. At that time to transport them, you had no choice but to herd them down the road allowance for approximately 20-30 miles on foot. To say the least it was a long grueling event for both the cattle and family members.

The ‘other farm’, as we referred to it, had originally been a slaughter house for the town meat market. It consisted of one large building, corals and a few other buildings. There was a slough on the land which dad had converted to a ‘dug out’ where the cattle could go and drink freely. The land was used for grain crops where in turn the cattle could be pastured on.

One of my fondest memories about the other farm was our picnic lunches. In the summer when dad would be working on the land, instead of my mother just packing a lunch for him that he could take in the morning, she would fix a wonderful ‘picnic lunch’. At about 11:30 in the morning, mom would pack up the lunch she had prepared, complete with plates, silverware, a tablecloth, etc., and we would drive to the ‘other farm’. There was just the right amount of space between two grain buildings to set up a make-shift table and stools. We would put the table cloth down and spread out our little picnic ‘feast’. Dad would be so surprised and we would all enjoy our lunch immensely. Mom always knew how to make the most simple things fun for us.

Lunch was always different from the usual lunch box meal and my mother never seemed to be short on tasty ideas. Today’s stuffed French bread meal is definitely a more elevated version of a picnic meal but it did bring me back to those wonderful cherished memories from childhood.

This meal seems so fitting to have today in honor of my father’s birthday. He loved bread, pork & seafood so I’ve got it covered.

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Boursin French Bread w/ Pork & Shrimp Stuffing
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Instructions
Shrimp Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, cook rice & barley in vegetable broth until tender. Drain (you can use this broth elsewhere) & transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Sauté celery, onion & mushrooms in 2 Tbsp butter until tender-crisp. Combine sautéed vegetables with rice/barley mixture. Stir in shrimp & seasonings & cook for a few more minutes until shrimp is just cooked. Remove from saucepan & set aside.
Boursin Cheese Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the spices. Add the milk & adjust heat to steaming -- do not simmer or boil. Add Boursin to the milk mixture, break it up into pieces with the side of a large spoon & stir until Boursin has melted into the mixture. Remove from heat & cool.
Tenderloin
  1. Remove silver skin & butterfly tenderloin. Using a meat mallet, pound out the tenderloin to about 3/4-inch thickness. Heat a griddle & sear meat on both sides. Set aside.
Assembly /Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut the French bread in half lengthwise & scoop out the soft insides. Remove only just enough to be able to fit the tenderloin in the cavity. Spread the hollowed out cavity with the Boursin cheese sauce (save some for inside the butterflied tenderloin). Cover bottom & sides completely.
  3. Spread remaining cheese sauce over inside of butterflied tenderloin. Close the tenderloin so you can fit it inside the bread cavity. Once you have it in there, open it as much as possible & fill it with the shrimp stuffing. It will be slightly mounded.
  4. Using a large piece of foil paper, place the bread 'boat' in the center & pull the foil up around it. Lightly cover the top just to keep the stuffing from drying out until the rest is cooked.
  5. Bake for 1 1/2 hours in a baking pan with a wire rack in the bottom to prevent the bottom of the bread from burning.
  6. Remove from oven & allow to sit for about 5 minutes then remove foil & place on cutting board & slice.

Reuben Naan Pizza w/ Corned Beef & Dijon Béchamel Sauce

The ‘Reuben’ is a deeply early 20th century American Midwestern creation. Not everyone agrees on the exact recipe for a Reuben, but there are a couple of key components that most seem to agree upon: sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The meat can be either corned beef or pastrami, the bread can be rye or otherwise, and dill pickle slices can be either added or omitted. The spread is also a point of contention, with some choosing Russian dressing, another choosing Thousand Island dressing and yet another Dijon mustard. 

Enter Dijon béchamel sauce! This Reuben Naan bread pizza is similar to the sandwich except that the spread is Dijon béchamel sauce rather than a dressing. It’s topped with sauerkraut, provolone, Swiss cheese and corned beef. 

Béchamel is a standard white sauce and one of the five ‘mother’ sauces of classical cuisine. Dijon béchamel makes a great alternative to pizza sauce.

Dijon mustard is a traditional mustard of France, named after the town of Dijon in Burgundy, France. When you think of Burgundy you probably think of its world-famous wine, and the region’s wine is part of the reason Dijon mustard was born. Mustard-making became an industry in France’s wine regions because mustard seeds provide essential nutrients to grapevines, so they were planted as a complementary crop. The condiment was then produced in these areas by mixing mustard seeds with wine must, a wine byproduct.

Dijon mustard has always felt like the fanciest mustard for some reason. That’s not to say Dijon is better than other mustards; everyone has their tastes, but compared to yellow mustard or a spicy brown, Dijon has always carried an air of refinement and complexity. Honey mustard is the party crowd-pleaser, and whole grain mustard is the rustic workman, but Dijon is as cosmopolitan at home in a vinaigrette as it is atop a sausage.

By most culinary standards, mustard is an ancient condiment. Before it was made in France, it was grown and used as a spice in Egypt and the ancient Middle East, dating back to almost 3000 B.C.

Still, it took 500 more years for true Dijon mustard to be born. Mustard was made in a variety of ways around France, and over time, vinegar replaced grape must as the common additive. Then in 1856, a citizen of Dijon named Jean Naigeon started using yet another wine product, verjus, (translates to ‘green juice’ in French. It is a middle ground between vinegar and grape juice, made from the juice of unripened wine grapes) in place of vinegar, which gives Dijon mustard its unique heat.

Since July 15, 2009, eighty percent of the mustard seeds used in the manufacture of contemporary Dijon mustard come from Canada. Due to smaller than usual Canadian crop of mustard seeds in 2021, a shortage of Dijon mustard began in France in 2022. The shortfall in Canadian production was caused by a heatwave, attributable to climate change. The shortage has been exacerbated by customers stockpiling.

Nevertheless, I managed to secure some for this unique Rueben pizza!

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Reuben Naan Pizza w/ Corned Beef & Dijon Béchamel Sauce
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Instructions
Dijon Béchamel Sauce
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the flour & whisk for 1 minute. Add 1/2 of the milk & whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining milk. Bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper & nutmeg. Reduce heat & simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in Dijon mustard until combined. Remove from heat & set aside.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Lay out Naan breads on a baking sheet. Spread sauce over each one liberally.
  3. Arrange corned beef on top of sauce. Sprinkle pizzas evenly with Swiss & provolone.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is crispy. Remove from oven & top with caraway seeds & red pepper flakes if you wish.

Adzuki Bean Bolognese Lasagna

Ordering a lasagna Bolognese in Italy might leave some North Americans a bit surprised by the dish placed before them. The traditional recipe layers lasagna noodles with a meaty ragù and creamy, white béchamel sauce, a very different recipe than the lasagna Bolognese served in North America where the layers of noodles alternate with tomato sauce, meat, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese. 

A while back Brion and I were in an Asian Supermarket, and I became very interested in some of the desserts made with sweet red adzuki bean paste. In October (2023), I used it in some ‘Anpan Buns’ that I posted on the blog. We really enjoyed them so I wanted to explore the savory side of this bean.

Adzuki beans have a unique and distinct taste that can be described as mildly sweet and nutty with a slightly earthy undertone. The flavor is not overpowering and is often described as more delicate compared to other beans like black beans or kidney beans. The sweetness is subtle, making adzuki beans particularly suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.

In North America they often are put to savory use, mixed into salads, cooked with rice and dropped into soups. Like other beans, adzuki are a good source of protein. Unlike many other dried legumes, they don’t have to be soaked before cooking.

Getting back to today’s lasagna, I thought if I added some cooked adzuki beans to the Bolognese sauce might just make this classic dish even better.

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Beef & Adzuki Bean Lasagna
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Asia
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Ingredients
Bolognese Sauce
Béchamel Sauce
Other Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Asia
Servings
Ingredients
Bolognese Sauce
Béchamel Sauce
Other Ingredients
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Bolognese Sauce
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, garlic & onions. Sauté until fragrant, for a minute or two, avoid browning. Then add ground meat.
  2. Sauté the ground meat until it is no longer pink. Add carrot & celery & sauté for about one minute.
  3. Add the liquids – seasoned, diced tomatoes & tomato paste & cooked adzuki beans. Stir to combine. Heat it on medium high heat & let it come to a boil.
  4. Add the rest of the seasonings – basil, oregano, beef bouillon, salt & pepper. Stir to combine. Lower heat to medium heat & let it cook for another ~10 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
  5. Remove from heat & set aside.
Béchamel Sauce
  1. Add butter to a medium pot & heat over medium heat. Once butter is melted (avoid browning butter), add flour to pot. Using a whisk, whisk to combine. Mixture will be slightly clumpy.
  2. Immediately add milk into the pot and bring to medium high heat so that it comes to a boil. Whisk continuously until mixture is smooth & thickens.
  3. Once mixture reaches desired thick consistency, add salt & pepper. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
Assembly/Bake
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place a thin layer of Bolognese sauce on the bottom of a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  3. Start layering with 2 of the rectangular lasagna sheets, then add 1/4 of the Bolognese sauce, and then 1/4 of the béchamel sauce & cheese.
  4. Repeat 3 more times. There should be a total of four sets of lasagna sheets/Bolognese sauce/béchamel sauce & cheese layers. Sprinkle it with remaining cheese to top it off.
  5. Place casserole dish in the oven & place a cookie sheet under the casserole dish to catch any potential drippings. Bake for 45 minutes, then (optional) broil for 2 minutes to brown the top.
  6. Remove dish from oven and let it sit for 20 minutes before cutting into lasagna. Garnish with parsley & serve!
Recipe Notes
  • This recipe will easily serve 8-10 people. With just 2 of us, I still like to make the full recipe so I can freeze the rest for future meals.
  • On the other hand, the recipe can be easily halved if you wish.
  • To cook the adzuki beans:
  • Use a strainer to rinse the dried beans under cold water. Remove any debris, stones or deformed beans from the mix and thoroughly drain the beans afterward.
  • Fill a pot with water, add the beans and bring it to a boil. After the water has started to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and continue cooking the beans for about 45-60 minutes. The adzuki beans will be ready once the beans are fork tender. Drain.

Banana Cream Pie Cookie Cups

It’s hard to pin down the origin of banana cream pie, but it seems adding bananas to the pie happened around the end of the 19th century, when bananas went from exotic to commonplace. Until then, most North Americans have never seen, never mind eaten, a banana.

The turning point in the banana business came with technological advances in transportation and refrigeration. Steamships and railroad cars brought the fruit to market faster, and refrigeration slowed the ripening process. The combination was a bonanza for the industry.

One of the earliest known published recipes for banana cream pie called for sliced bananas and powdered sugar placed in a pre-baked pie shell. The ‘Woman’s Exchange Cook Book’ from 1901 advises cooks to then put the filled pie in the oven for a few minutes and then remove it once the bananas have been softened. After the pie is removed from the oven, the cookbook instructs the cook to cover the filling with whipped cream and to flavor it with lemon juice.

A recipe published just five years later in ‘The Blue-Ribbon Cookbook’ provided a banana and custard filling, but the two were not blended together into today’s familiar, creamy banana filling. Instead, sliced bananas lined the bottom of the crust, and the custard was poured over it. By 1950 we get a version covered with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

An old fashioned dessert , but one of the most comforting treats, banana cream pie offers a rich, sweet and velvety filling. If you like bananas like I do, it’s one of those desserts where you put a spoonful in your mouth and can’t help but lean back and close your eyes as you savor the buttery crust and creamy filling.

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Banana Cream Pie Cookie Cups
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Banana Cream Mousse Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Banana Cream Mousse Filling
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Instructions
Base
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper cups.
  2. Use a food processor to grind gingersnap cookies into a fine crumb. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl until melted. Combine melted butter with cookie crumbs and stir until there are no dry crumbs left. Divide ginger snap crumbs between the 12 muffin cups. Press down with a spoon or tart shaper.
Banana Cream Mousse Filling
  1. While the cookie cups are cooling, prepare the banana cream mousse filling. Whisk together the box of dry pudding mix and the milk. Add in the whipped topping and stir GENTLY until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag or a zip lock bag and store in the fridge until the cookies are fully cool.
  2. Take cookie cups out of muffin tin. Pipe banana cream mousse into each cup and top with a slice of banana. Sprinkle with a small amount of gingersnap cookie crumbles.
  3. Store in the refrigerator.

Bacon & Corn Griddle Cakes

A griddle cake is another word for a pancake, but it seems to be used more often to indicate something more rustic and less breakfast-y than the word ‘pancake’. This makes it the perfect description for these bacon and corn cakes.

People began using the word ‘pancake’ during the 15th century, and the word became standard in 19th century North America. Previously, people referred to them as Indian cakes, hoe cakes, johnnycakes, journey cakes, buckwheat cakes, griddle cakes, and flapjacks. Early North American pancakes were made with buckwheat or cornmeal.

Pancakes have really stood the test of time with their extensive history. Each culture seems to have a unique take on them. People eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all over the globe. Some examples of this transcultural food include crepes, potato latkes, Irish boxty, Russian blini, Welsh crampog, Indian poori, Hungarian palacsinta, and Dutch pannenkoeken.

Today I’m making some savory ‘griddle cakes’ stuffed with corn, crumbled bacon, onions, chives and Monterey Jack cheese. What’s not to love about that!!

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Bacon & Corn Griddle Cakes
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Course Brunch
Cuisine American
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GRIDDLE CAKES
Course Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings
GRIDDLE CAKES
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Instructions
  1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown. Add the onion and continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and the onion is softened. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the bacon mixture for topping the griddle cakes upon serving- and set it aside.
  2. While the bacon is cooking, combine the flour, chives, baking powder, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk, egg and oil, just until moistened. Stir in the bacon mixture, corn and cheese. The mixture will be thick, if you wish, add a little more milk to thin out the batter.
  3. Heat and grease a griddle or large skillet. Pour a heaping ¼-cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook until it is golden brown- 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. Serve stacks of griddle cakes topped with a sprinkle of the reserved bacon/onion and warm maple syrup.

Italian Sausage Cannelloni

Although it might seem that cannelloni have been eaten since ancient times, this is a recent custom. You could not find it in any Catalan cookbook until the start of the 20th century. Cannelloni originally came from Italy, brought to Catalonia at the end of the 18th century by foreign chefs working in hotels.

There is a basic difference between Catalan and Italian cannelloni. With Catalan, the meat is cooked first, then ground, whereas the Italians put the ground meat straight into the cannelloni tubes.

Manicotti is the Italian American version of cannelloni. Both are pasta tubes, but the difference between the two is fairly minimal: Manicotti tubes are ridged, larger and slightly thicker. Cannelloni tubes are smooth, a touch smaller and slightly thinner.

Over the years, no-boil (also called oven-ready) cannelloni tubes have become a permanent fixture on supermarket shelves. Much like ‘instant rice’, no-boil pasta is precooked at the factory. The pasta tubes are run through a water bath and then dehydrated mechanically. During baking, the moisture from the sauce softens, or rehydrates, the pasta, especially when the pan is covered as the cannelloni bakes.

This baked pasta can be stuffed with a myriad of fillings that suit any taste, from chicken with asparagus to shrimp and lentils. Whether you make a meat sauce, a mixture of herbs and ricotta cheese, or fish accompanied by a tomato sauce, the filling can be made the day before. In fact, this will make it even tastier. 

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Italian Sausage Cannelloni
Instructions
Filling
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, onion & mushrooms. Cook for 5-10 minutes allowing the onion to soften & mushrooms to release their liquid.
  2. Once most of the liquid has dissipated, add sausage crumbling it with a wooden spoon into small pieces as it cooks. Stir & cook all ingredients until the onion is softened & the sausage is no longer pink & is starting to brown. Set aside.
Béchamel Sauce
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, paprika & Italian seasoning & stir until well incorporated. Slowly, add milk & whisk together until smooth. Continue whisking until sauce comes to a slow boil & starts to thicken. Stir 1/3 of the sauce into the sausage mixture. (Reserve the other two thirds to pour under & over the cannelloni.) Add 340 gm shredded mozzarella to the sausage & sauce mixture & mix to combine.
Assembly/Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spread a bit of sauce over the bottom of (2) 13 X 9-inch baking pans. Using a large pastry tube with a star tip, fill (oven ready) cannelloni shells. Nestle the cannelloni in the sauce & cover with remaining sauce.
  3. Top with a combo of 50 gm shredded mozzarella & 25 gm shredded Parmesan. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes, remove foil & bake another 5 minutes or until cheese starts to turn golden. Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes then serve.
Recipe Notes
  • As far as the cheese goes in this recipe, use whatever kind you prefer or have on hand. You know it will always be great because 'cheese makes it better' right!
  • This meal freezes well so if it is to big for your family in one setting just freeze the rest for another time.

Bagel Breakfast Bake

Today, February 19, is Family Day in Canada … a uniquely Canadian holiday occurring each year on the third Monday of February. It gives Canadians the chance to spend more time with their families and to celebrate the importance of the home and family life.

Alberta was the first province to adopt Family Day as a statutory holiday in 1990.

Although going out for brunch is always great, sometimes it’s nice to invite some of your family and friends over for a homemade brunch. Family day seems like the perfect opportunity for a bagel breakfast bake.

Did you know that ‘brunch’ is one of Canada’s favorite pastimes? It’s one of those meals that’s a little hard to describe. Timing-wise, it fits just after normal breakfast hours and could run as late as 3 pm. Generally, it’s considered a replacement for both breakfast and lunch. Plus, you get the best of both meals on offer; you might choose decadent French toast loaded with fresh berries, Canadian maple syrup, and whipped cream… or you might just as easily have steak and eggs. At brunch, anything goes… and often does!

The origins of brunch can be found in England in the 1890s. It was described as a wonderful post-church meal that would eliminate the need to get up early to eat on Sundays. Brunch has stayed true to its origins, especially in Canada, as a primarily Sunday meal to be consumed after church—or after a sleep-in. ‘Once upon a time’, most restaurants were closed on Sundays, so the concept of brunch became synonymous with hotels and motels in the early 20th century. At that time, folks looking for a bite to eat after church could drop into a local hotel restaurant on the way home and enjoy a delicious meal. Of course, this resulted in more restaurants remaining open on Sunday mornings, as they were leaving a huge pile of cash on the table by being closed.

Brunch’s continued popularity with restaurant-goers throughout the 20th century eventually has made it into a plausible everyday meal, although still mostly eaten during the weekend, to be enjoyed at any point between breakfast and lunch hours.

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Bagel Breakfast Bake
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Course Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings
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Instructions
  1. Arrange bagels in a 9 x 9-inch square baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, bacon, green onions, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper. Pour over bagels, pressing down slightly to submerge. Cover & refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Uncover dish & bake 45-55 minutes or until set.
  4. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving; garnish with additional green onion if you wish.

Sour Cream Rice Pancakes

ENJOYING SHROVE TUESDAY!

Whether you call it Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Pancake Day, Tuesday is the day of feasting and celebration before 40 days of fasting known as Lent. Celebrated by Anglo-Saxon Christians, participants would attend confession in order to be ‘shriven’ (forgiven for their sins). A bell rang to call everyone to church. This bell came to be known as the Pancake Bell and is still rung today.

Shrove Tuesday was the last day to use up eggs, sugar and fats before the fast, and making pancakes was the perfect way to do it! The ingredients of pancakes also symbolize four pillars of the Christian Faith. Flour for sustenance, eggs for creation, salt for wholesomeness, and milk for purity.

While other countries celebrate Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, with extravagant and exotic parades, in England, people race around towns and villages wielding frying pans that hold pancakes. The tradition was created in 1445 when a woman of Olney, Buckinghamshire was making pancakes when she heard the bell summoning her to church. In a rush to get to church, she ran, still in her apron and holding her frying pan. The Olney Pancake Race is now the most popular pancake race in the world. Participants must be local housewives and they must wear an apron. The goal of the race is to run while carrying a frying pan with a cooked pancake inside flipping it as you run. In order to win, the woman must successfully toss the pancake three times throughout the race, reach the church and serve the pancake to the bell ringer. Hundreds of people gather every year to participate in this fun tradition!

Mardi Gras, which translates to Fat Tuesday in French, is largely celebrated in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Parades, parties, and feasts dazzled in colors of green, gold, and purple fill the city for two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday.

Personally, I have always liked pancakes, so in keeping with the Shrove Tuesday tradition Brion & I will be enjoying some today. Although I can’t quite picture myself running in a pancake race, I’m making some sour cream rice pancakes … if you like rice pudding as well as pancakes, these are for you!

Print Recipe
Sour Cream Rice Pancakes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Pancakes
Blueberry Sauce
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Pancakes
Blueberry Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Pancakes
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, milk, sour cream, butter & vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cooked rice, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture & whisk together. Let batter sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Heat a nonstick griddle to medium-low heat. Spray with oil. Using a 1/4 cup measure, portion out batter on griddle. Cook for about 2 minutes per side.
  5. Serve immediately garnished with blueberry sauce or your choice of topping.
Blueberry Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch, sugar & salt. Add water & blueberries & cook until 'clear' & bubbling. Remove from heat & stir in butter & lemon juice. Serve warm over pancakes.