November 25, 2013

Breakfast Casserole

Whenever someone in my section at work has a birthday we all bring a dish and have breakfast together to celebrate. And we all wear tiaras. I still don't know why, but that's how we do it at my office :)  I was really busy last week so I wanted something "semi-homemade" and savory. There is always too much sugar at these things. One of the best breakfast foods in the history of the world is biscuits and gravy (that's not my opinion, it's a fact) so I started looking for a casserole dish using biscuits and gravy. I found a recipe over at The Tasty Fork and it looked delicious so I modified it a little and brought it to work. It was a HUGE hit. And super easy. We ate it for dinner the next few nights at my house! Over at The Tasty Fork she used green chilies and Rotel in her casserole (see below) so check out her recipe if you want a little more spice!

This is the casserole from The Tasty Fork's website

Biscuits, Sausage & Gravy Casserole, serves 4-8
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, casing removed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 30 oz bag frozen potatoes (diced/cubed/etc. - whatever you like!)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 package of dry gravy mix (I used Pioneer "country" gravy)
  • 1 can of jumbo biscuits, 8 biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Original)
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the biscuits into quarters and set aside. You can leave them whole if you like, but I wanted people to be able to eat this while standing up :)
  3. In a hot skillet, add sausage and cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Spoon sausage onto a plate, saving as much of the grease as you can.
  4. To the skillet add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and potatoes. Cook about 8 – 10 minutes. The potatoes don’t need to be browned, just done enough to hold their shape. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. Prepare the gravy — follow the directions on the packet.
  6. Grease a casserole dish (I used a 13" x 9" pan) and add 1/2 of the potato mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the potatoes. Place biscuits on top and add the rest of the potatoes, sausage and gravy. Top with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the casserole sit a few minutes before digging in.
I would recommend more than 1 packet of gravy…. I would've been happier with more gravy :)

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November 22, 2013

New York Cheesecake

My Oma (what we call my grandmother on my mom's side) has won contests with her cheesecake recipe. It's so good. It's one of the things I associate with Oma. The other things include chocolate ices (milk, ice and chocolate syrup in a blender), Kashi cereal (that's what she always ate) and diet orange soda. Spending so much time with her when I was young I learned a lot about baking from her. Since cheesecake is an "Oma staple", I have always loved making it... and eating it. I tweaked her recipe to better suit my American taste buds. She has said it's better than hers..... That's kind of a big deal :)
Her recipe had a lot more lemon in the filling and fresh strawberries with a strawberry glaze on top. I'm a simple girl. No fruit on my cheesecake please. Just give it to me straight. This is how I make it....
This picture is not mine. It belongs to

Prep: 15 min 
Total: 5 hr 25 min
Servings: 16 servings

1 cup Nilla Wafer crumbs (about 1/3-1/2 a box), finely crushed
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
5 pkg.  (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup  sugar
3 Tbsp.  flour
1 Tbsp.  vanilla
1 cup  Sour Cream
4  eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 325ºF if using 9-inch springform pan (or to 300ºF if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan).
Mix Nilla wafer crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 min. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the filling.
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low after each just until blended; stir in the lemon juice and zest; pour over crust.
Bake 60-70 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn the oven off and barely crack the door and let the cheesecake remain in the oven to completely cool. Refrigerate 4 hours (preferably overnight). Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim.
**If you don't have the time or it is inconvenient, you can take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool on the counter or on a rack. Leaving it in the oven with the door cracked just allows it to set a little more evenly. It'll be good either way :)
**You can make this in a 13"x9" pan. Just line the pan with foil, press the crumbs into the pan and make the rest the same way. 40 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours. Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.
**You can make this with a graham cracker crust. Just use 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, 3T. sugar and 3T. butter for the crust. You could also use Oreos, shortbread, any type of cookie really.
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