Sunday, February 22, 2009

Captain Crunch French Toast

Mike & I caught an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives a few weeks ago that featured The Blue Moon Cafe in Baltimore, MD. Once we saw the french toast they were serving up, we were ready for a road trip. Of course, we couldn't really just pack up & go, so I did a little searching and found a similar recipe on We had it this morning with sausage links & orange juice and our overnight guests really enjoyed it. Crispy & crunchy on the outside with a soft & chewy center, it's a delicious & indulgent Sunday morning breakfast.

***I cut this recipe in half, allowing 1 1/2 pieces for each of us.***

Captain Crunch French Toast
6 large eggs
5 tablespoon sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 (16 ounce) box Captain Crunch cereal
1 loaf French bread, sliced 1" thick

Pour cereal into a gallon-size ziplock bag and crush to a course meal -- make sure there are a few good size pieces in the mix. Pour into a 9x13 pan in order to dredge properly. Combine eggs, sugar, cream, vanilla, and spices in a large bowl. It will have the consistency of custard. Soak each slice of bread in wet ingredients, 30 seconds each side. Be sure the edges are moist, too. Dredge in Cap'n Crunch, lightly press onto each side, and around the crust. Place on parchment paper until all slices are coated. Heat 1 tbs. butter in large skillet, then gently place slices in pan; two at a time. Cook three minutes per side. Place on parchment covered baking pan in a warm oven. Serve plain or with maple syrup.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Laura's Lean Beef Giveaway

My friends at Laura's Lean Beef are offering two of my readers a chance to win $20 each worth of coupons for their products. It's beef you can feel good about eating because the cattle are raised without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics & fed a diet of natural grains and grasses, which goes along with their belief that healthier beef is leaner beef.

To enter, leave a comment on this entry, along with a valid email address. Want a 2nd chance to win? Post about this contest on your blog, including a link back to this entry, then send me an email at You'll then be entered twice! Winners will be chosen at random. The contest ends Sunday, March 15th.

To receive an instant e-coupon, become a preferred customer.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Healthier Meatloaf

One of my favorite comfort dinners is meatloaf & mashed potatoes. Not exactly a healthy meal, but I still love it. To make my meatloaf healthier, I've started using Laura's Lean Beef - 96% lean ground round. I still use my tried & true Martha Stewart recipe and the meatloaf turns out perfectly. And the most appealing thing for me is there is practically no grease to drain off. Meatloaf can be a quick weeknight meal too. I mixed today's meatloaf up last night & Mike popped it in the oven when he got home from work this afternoon. And we have plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow. For my recipe, click here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I absolutely love roasted brussels sprouts. Admittedly not as much as I love them soft, mushy & coated with butter, but they are still incredibly delicious from the oven. And much healthier. Which is what we're all trying to be, right? This recipe uses balsamic vinegar, which gives the sprouts a nice caramelized finish with a sweet & nutty flavor. Delicious! My sister came in this evening as I was taking them from the oven & we stood there eating them right off the baking sheet. I'm kind of glad Mike doesn't like them...more for me.

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 pound fresh brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Put sprouts in mixing bowl and toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season with salt & pepper. Cover roasting pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Arrange sprouts in a single layer on roasting pan,cut side up and roast 10-12 minutes. Flip with a spatula, then roast anouther 10 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pan Roasted Chicken

A simple meal like roasted chicken is so comforting on a cold and dreary Sunday. Just the smell of the chicken roasting makes you feel warm and cozy inside. It must have made Shiloh feel warm, cozy and hungry because he stayed in the kitchen the entire time the chicken was roasting, snoring contentedly on the rug in front of the oven.

I adapted this recipe from one I saw at Boston Chef. It starts off with a good pan sear on the stove top and then goes into a preheated oven to finish up. You end up with really flavorful meat and a nice, crispy skin. And perfect drippings for a quick pan gravy. Add mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli and you've got the perfect Sunday dinner.

Pan Roasted Chicken
1 small broiler chicken
1/2 stick butter (room temperature)
poultry seasoning
1 Tablespoon EVOO

Remove backbone from chicken so it lays flat. If you don't have quality kitchen scissors, ask your butcher to remove it. Loosen the skin covering the breast and run your finger under the skin to separate from the meat. Take 2 tablespoon of butter and put under the skin, 1 tablespoon on each side. Sprinkle with salt, pepper & poultry seasoning. Place breast side down in pre-heated olive-oil coated skillet for 6-8 minutes. Move to oven for 15 minutes. After 15 mintues,remove from oven and turn chicken over, coating with remaining butter. Return to oven for about 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 175 (thigh/leg).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

What is better for Valentine's Day than Red Velvet Cupcakes? I've had this recipe set aside as a Valentine's treat since I saw Red Velvet Cupcakes decorated like this in a Christmas catalog at a ridiculously expensive price. For the crumbs on top, I set aside two cupcakes and grated them using a microplane. Delicious and beautiful, these cupcakes are the perfect treat for family, friends & co-workers. I'm actually taking a dozen into the office in the morning and saving the rest for Saturday.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. After frosting, lightly sprinkle with cupcake crumbs.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.