Baked Blueberry French Toast

We celebrated Mark’s birthday this past weekend with a trip to Boston to visit family and friends. It was an awesome, albeit busy, weekend without much birthday fuss – aka, perfect for him. The last few years, I’ve made him French Toast for breakfast on the weekend of his birthday because it’s his favorite. Knowing we’d be away, I baked up the traditional breakfast a few weekends ago when we had a lazy morning. He loved it.

There have been beautiful berries in the stores around here recently and adding fresh blueberries to the French toast was a wonderful idea. One little change made this feel so fresh! This tasted more like traditional French toast then the popular casserole versions but was still very hands-off, which made me happy. It also fit in with this month’s What’s Baking theme – baking with fresh fruit. You can check out all the great recipes submitted later this month at Sweet Beginnings.


Baked Blueberry French Toast
(slightly adapted from Family Fresh Cooking)
Serves 4

1 loaf Challah bread, sliced into at least 8 thick slices
5 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl,  beat the eggs, then whisk in the milk, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon.

Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture turning to coat. Let the excess drip off and place on a baking sheet. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, then top with blueberries.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

I think pretty much every food blogger (and Chipotle fan) has already made this. Why did it take me so long? I’m super lazy about side dishes.

And, I ran across a version that used the rice cooker. Because, if we’re being honest, I suck at cooking rice any other way. This came out perfectly, though, and will definitely be in the regular rotation going forward!


Cilantro Lime Rice
(from Shari Blogs)
Serves 4

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. canola oil, divided
Juice of 1/2 a lime
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

In a rice cooker, combine the rice, water, salt and 1 tsp. of canola oil.  Cook on the white rice cycle.

When done, stir in remaining canola oil, lime juice and cilantro. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Chili Cornbread Waffles

I’m sort of terrible at reading magazines. I subscribe to a lot of them and usually just end up flipping through them once. And then every once I find an article I keep coming back to. When I picked up the April issue of Family Fun and saw there was a whole feature on waffles? Instantly obsessed. Waffles are one of my go-to dinners for busy nights and they’re just happy food – which is exactly what we’ve needed around here lately. April was a doozey!

These were really good. A fun take on chili with the flavor without the spoon – like a loaded up cornbread. And they’re one of those meatless meals where you just don’t miss the meat. The leftovers got happily gobbled up the next day for lunch – next time I’ll be doubling the recipe so they last longer!


Chili Cornbread Waffles
(from the April 2015 issue of Family Fun Magazine)
Makes 4-5

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus additional for serving
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
2/3 cup sour cream
Half an avocado
Juice of half a lime

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, buttermilk , oil and tomato paste until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well blended. Fold in kidney beans, cheddar, red bell pepper, corn and jalapenos.

Heat a waffle iron on high and spray with non-stick spray. Pour 1/2 cup of the batter into the heated iron and cook until golden brown. Repeat until the batter is all used up.

While the waffles cook, whisk together the sour cream and avocado until smooth.

Serve the warm waffles topped with avocado cream, cheddar and scallions.

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers

Since the meatless Friday series is over, how about a meatless Monday post?

I had full intentions of making these as one of our Lenten Friday meals. I must have had the ingredients hanging around for a full two weeks and something else kept coming up. I finally got around to making these last week and they’re sort of amazing.

Meatless burgers are a little hit-or-miss for me. I make a lot more than a share here. For me, it has to feel like a burger to be worth sharing – and boy, this one totally fits the bill. I think it may be the most “meaty” meatless burger I’ve made. And it’s smothered in buffalo sauce so it has that going for it, too.

It’s meals like this that make me think I could actually be a vegetarian.


Buffalo Chickpea Burgers
(slightly adapted from Once Upon a Cutting Board)
Makes 4

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup buffalo sauce, plus additional for serving
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 hamburger buns
Blue cheese, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until they resemble crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl. Add oats to the food processor and pulse a few times until they are a finer crumb. Add to the large bowl with the chickpeas. To the bowl, add in the quinoa, shallot, garlic, buffalo sauce, egg, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until everything is well incorporated and divide into four equal sections. For each section into a patty.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with oil and cook patties for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve patties on buns, topped with blue cheese an additional buffalo sauce.

Mint Chocolate Chip Krispie Treats

So, I’ve gotten pretty good at time managing holiday prep with Jake around. I didn’t offer to make anything overly ambitious – a fruit tray, a veggie tray and some cupcakes. I planned out things a few days in advance and figured out how to get everything made with plenty of time to spare. What I didn’t account for? How much two days of Easter parties would mess up the poor kid’s schedule. He’s currently taking his first decent nap all week, which is why I’m finally getting around to a blog post.

I debating not even posting these because I feel like they’re too simple – I just added some mint extract and chocolate chips to the classic recipe. But, I’m appreciating simple things more and more – and for not a lot of time or effort, these make a mighty addicting dessert.


Mint Chocolate Chip Krispie Treats
(adapted from Kellogg’s)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

3 Tbsp. butter
1 10 oz. package marshmallows
1/2 tsp. mint extract
Green food coloring
6 cup Rice Krispies
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add marshmallow and stir until melted. Stir in mint extract and enough food coloring to reach desired color until well combined. Stir in Rice Krispies until well coated. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Press the mixture into the pan evenly and let sit for several hours before slicing and serving.

Guinness Pizza Dough

I never make it through Lent without doing one pizza Friday so it seems fitting to finish out this year’s Lenten meal series with a pizza. I originally started this series to get away from just ordering a pizza every Friday – it was a bad habit and something we’d do so often it didn’t feel like anything special. Things have really swung the other way – breaking out this Friday pizza was such a treat.

My go-to pizza recipe is on the plain side. It works perfect on the grill or paired with lots of toppings (which we usually load on) but falls a little short for a plain, oven-baked pie. I ran across this recipe when we still had a bottle of Guinness left from St. Patrick’s Day so it was meant to be. The beer adds just the right amount of flavor to this dough to make it perfect for a more plain pie.


Guinness Pizza
(from Baked By Rachel)
Makes 1 12″ pizza

1/2 cup Guinness
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a small saucepan, heat the Guinness to 115F degrees. (I used a candy thermometer to keep track.) Stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved and let stand for five minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. On low, mix in the Guinness, followed by the olive oil. Add additional olive oil or flour as needed to get a dough ball to form.

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

To bake: spread into a 12″ circle, top as desired and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 425F degree oven.

General Tso’s Cauliflower

Another Lenten dinner, another vegetarian take on Chinese takeout. I actually liked this a little better than the Kung Pao Chickpeas I shared few weeks ago for one reason – it’s a from scratch sauce. There is nothing that annoys me more than finding a bottled sauce you like only to have the company discontinue or change the recipe a few months later. Falling in love with a from-scratch sauce is easier. It will never desert you.

I’ve tried a few General Tso’s sauces before, but this one comes closest to the Chinese takeout we’re used to. I’ll definitely be trying this again with chicken at some point.


General Tso’s Cauliflower
(from Bakeaholic Mama)
Serves 3

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 egg
1/3 cup corn starch
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Oil for frying

2 1/2 tsp. minced ginger root
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. garlic chili sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
White rice, for serving
Green onions, for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tsp. sesame oil, egg, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 3 Tbsp. soy sauce until well combined. Add the cauliflower florets and toss until thoroughly coated. Set aside to marinate for about 20 minutes.

After marinating, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add cauliflower. Fry cauliflower until evenly browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate pan, add the 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and olive oil. Over medium-high heat, sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about a minute. Add in the vegetable stock, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, chili garlic sauce and brown sugar. Cook until it comes to a low boil and has thickened.

Add the sauce to the cauliflower and toss to coat evenly. Serve over rice, topped with green onions.

Honey-Lime Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

We’re two months into “real food” with Jake. So far he hates every green vegetable we’ve tried but will happily eat his weight in bananas, peaches and pears. It also means that Jake-friendly ingredients are making it into our menus more frequently. It’s a lot easier to cook up some sweet potatoes for him when I’m already prepping them for us – or mash up some avocado while I’m dicing it for dinner. Can you guess what he had for dinner the night we had these tacos?

These are pretty similar to the Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Burritos that I love. These ebb on the side of sweet instead of spicy (honey instead of jalapeno) so I think they’d be a little more kid-friendly. And adding fresh avocado and pico de gallo on top made them feel more fresh and almost summery. Definitely one of my favorite meatless meals this Lent!


Honey-Lime Sweet Potato Tacos
(from Cooking Classy)
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed and drained
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Tortillas, for serving
Feta cheese, diced avocados, pico de gallo, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 3 Tbsp. olive oil to coat evenly. Add in the spices and toss to coat. Spread out the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, until tender, tossing halfway through.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes, until beginning to brown on the edges. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds, until fragrant. Reduce heat and add in black beans, corn, honey and lime juice. Heat until warmed through and add in sweet potatoes.

Serve in tortillas topped with feta, avocado and pico de gallo.

Buffalo Hummus

I was lamenting to myself the other day that I had so many recipes bookmarked for football season that didn’t get made – and then I realized it’s March. March Madness is right around the corner! I’m very ready to binge-watch basketball and get annoyed when my bracket implodes.

For fun, I put together a bracket group for Kate’s Recipe Box readers. Click here to join and fill out your bracket once teams are announced. It’s free and I’ll be sending the group winner some goodies!

And if you need some game-watching munchies, this is a great option. I always associate buffalo flavor with junk food so, to me, this tastes “bad” without any of the deep-fried guilt.


Buffalo Hummus
(from Fettle Vegan)
Makes about 2 cups

1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. Frank’s buffalo sauce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
2 Tbsp.olive oil

In a food processor, combine everything except olive oil and pulse until well combined. Add olive oil and process until well combined and at desired consistency.

Chickpea Puttanesca

I think eggplant parmesan is the default vegetarian option for most American-style Italian meals. More often than not, that’s what you’ll find alongside trays of baked ziti and chicken parmesan at parties. So, when I start seeking out new meatless meals for the Lenten dinner series, I tend to avoid Italian-inspired searches. It’s not that I don’t love eggplant parmesan, I do, it’s just that it sort of feels overdone.

I was searching for something else entirely when I came across this recipe – and it made me realize how wrong I was to discount Italian options for this series. This was so, so good. Comfort food at it’s finest! And easy enough that I didn’t feel overwhelmed making it after a busy week.


Chickpea Puttanesca
(slightly adapted from Mountain Momma Cooks)
Serves 4

1/2 cup polenta
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. butter
2-3 Tbsp. half & half
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
2 Tbsp. drained capers
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried crushed basil
1/8 tsp. dried crushed red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans
Fresh basil, for serving

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and stir in polenta and salt. Return a boil then turn to low and let simmer for about 30 minutes. If it gets to thick, stir in an additional 1-2 Tbsp. water. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, butter and half & half.  Keep warm until serving time.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add in onions and cook about five minutes, until soft. Add the olives and capers and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, basil, red pepper flakes and salt and stir to combine thoroughly. Let simmer until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes. Stir in garbanzo beans and let heat through.

Serve sauce over polenta, topped with fresh basil.