Friday, April 11, 2014

Easy Garden Bake

This is another one of my favorite brunch casseroles and it is perfect for those times you have a bunch of different vegetables and want to throw together something satisfying and balanced in no time at all. It can easily be an easy lunch or dinner with a salad, as well. 

Makes 6 servings
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini (about 1 smaller)- you can always add more
  • 1 large tomato, chopped- about 1 cup, or may use chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium - large onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup baking mix of choice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt (may use a seasoned salt)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend, crushed in palm of hand (or 1/2- 3/4 tsp oregano, crushed)
  • 2 eggs
  • cheese of choice for topping - I like Monterey Jack, Cheddar and Mozzarella  
  • green onion and parsley or cilantro for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease square baking dish- 8x8 or 9 inch pie plate (I doubled everything and put in 13x9 inch pan because I like leftovers!). 
  • Sprinkle chopped vegetables and parmesan cheese evenly over baking dish. 
  • Stir baking mix, milk, salt, pepper, seasoning and eggs together and pour over top of the vegetables and cheese.
  • Bake uncovered about 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove to wire rack and sprinkle with cheese for topping. Cool 5 minutes and then garnish with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro and sliced green onions, if desired. 
*This is also wonderful with 1 cup cooked chicken or sausage added in with vegetables when assembling the casserole.

[Adapted from Bisquick Breakfast and Brunches recipe booklet, 1999]

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Perfectly Simple Fruit Cake or Bread

I was given this recipe years ago by a coworker who brought in this cake made with fresh peaches and I just fell in love with the simple flavors. I have changed it a little over the years and find it is the perfect basic recipe that can be adapted in many different ways. Originally, the recipe called for cinnamon to be sprinkled on top of the cake instead of a crumb topping. While that version is delicious and simple, I have added a cinnamon crumb topping with a simple glaze for the apple version I made for this post. Either way, it is a wonderful moist cake that is perfect for any occasion. Try substituting all different types of fruit and use the crumb topping, or leave it off- it will be sure to please everyone! This can also be made into sweet bread using 2 bread pans and adding about 10-15 minutes to the baking time, checking regularly.

Makes 16-18 servings
  • 3 eggs, beaten well
  • 2 cups sugar (may use 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 granulated sugar)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or may use apple pie spice if using apples)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups fruit- peaches (sliced or chopped), apples (chopped), blueberries, pears, or variety of berries, etc
Crumb Topping (optional):
  • 1/3 flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
Glaze: (optional)
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 Tbsp milk
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease (2) 8x8 inch or (1)13x9 inch baking pan or (2) bread loaf pans.
  • Mix eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla together in a large bowl.
  • Sift the dry ingredients together in another bowl and add into the wet ingredients, combining well.
  • Stir in fruit.
  • If not using toppings, then pour batter into prepared pan(s) and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture (2 Tbsp sugar mixed with 1 1/2 -2 tsp cinnamon). Bake for about 45 minutes, checking after 35 minutes (if using loaf pans, bake for about 45-60 minutes but start checking at 40-45 minutes)- until toothpick inserted in middle comes out pretty well clean.
  • If making the crumb topping, combine the dry ingredients and then use a fork to cut in the butter until it resembles peas. Sprinkle over top of the batter waiting in the pans. (This can be made ahead before starting cake batter). Bake as instructed above.
  • After the cake is cooling on a wire rack, combine sifted confection's sugar and vanilla and milk, stirring until smooth. Start with the lesser amount of milk and gradually add more by tablespoons until the desired consistency is obtained. Pour over the cake/bread after it is cooled.