Recipes from My Chef Nancy (Jaworski)
When it comes to gatherings, who doesn’t love to host –or attend — a brunch? These mid-morning get-togethers can be elegant and formal, fun and relaxed, or anything in between, depending on your occasion. With bridal season and Easter ahead, Fayette Woman asked local chef Nancy Jaworski for some of her favorite springtime brunch recipes. Bon Appetit!
Orange Stuffed Baked French Toast
This tasty make-ahead breakfast casserole adds a layer of creamy cheese with the zing of orange. Grand Marnier is optional, but adds a lovely depth of orange flavor to this dish.
1 (16 oz) cinnamon swirl raisin bread –sliced and crust removed
11 oz cream cheese – cut into ¼ inch slices
2 cups milk
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
4 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 cup fresh orange juice
¼ pound butter (1 stick)- cut in cubes
2 T. Grand Marnier (optional)
Combine sugar, orange rind and juice in saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened (about 5 minutes) stirring often. Remove from heat and whisk in butter.
Grease 9×13 pan. Pour enough orange sauce in the bottom of the pan to lightly cover. Place a single layer of bread to cover bottom. Top with cream cheese slices. Layer with remaining bread slices. Whisk eggs and milk together. Pour over bread. Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove from fridge and bring to room temp for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 45 minutes, shielding with foil after 30 minutes if it is getting too brown. Remove from oven.
Warm leftover orange sauce and add Grand Marnier and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour over casserole or spoon over slices. Serves 10.
Baked Eggs in Ham Cups
A great way to start any weekend or holiday brunch! You can do the sauteeing of mushrooms and shallots ahead of time and assemble and bake at the last minute. Be careful getting these out of the muffin pans.
3/4 lb mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
12 slices Black Forest or Virginia ham (without holes; 10 oz)
12 large eggs
Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare mushrooms: Cook mushrooms and shallot in butter with salt and pepper in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and liquid they give off is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in crème fraîche and tarragon.
Assemble and bake: Fit one slice of ham into each of 12 lightly oiled muffin cups (ends will stick up and hang over edges of cups). Divide mushrooms among cups and crack one egg into each. Bake in middle of oven until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 15 minutes. Season eggs with salt and pepper and remove (with ham) from muffin cups carefully, using two spoons or small spatulas.
Bananas Foster Breakfast Casserole
This is a Mothers of Preschoolers – Fayette Favorite!! Bring the taste of New Orleans to your brunch or breakfast table. Assemble the casserole the night before and bake in the morning. Be sure to flip the slices over so the rich gooey banana layer is on top.
6-8 ripe bananas, peeled and
sliced ½ inch diagonally
1 cup butter – 2 sticks
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
1 t. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
2 T. banana liqueur or ½ teaspoon banana extract
2 T. dark rum or ½ teaspoon rum extract
1 loaf cinnamon swirl raisin bread-
sliced and crusts removed
2 cups whole milk
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Once melted, add brown sugar and melt until dissolved, stirring constantly. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, banana liqueur, and rum. Stir until creamy.
Butter a 9×13 pan well. Pour half of the caramel mixture. Top with ½ of the sliced bananas, laid side by side. Top with pecans. Cover with ½ of the bread slices, side by side. Cut to fit to fill in gaps.
Top with the remaining caramel mixture. Top with remaining bananas. Place enough bread to cover the top and fill in gaps as needed.
Beat together the eggs and milk until well combined. Pour over the casserole. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350. Press down on the plastic wrap to make sure all of the bread is soaked. Remove plastic wrap and place in oven for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares and flip each square onto plate to show bottom layer with bananas and pecans. Serves 8 – 10.
Florentine Breakfast Wedges
Here is a light and colorful brunch addition, and it’s low in carbohydrates and calories! Best made the day you are serving it, but you can warm leftovers in the days to come.
1 -9oz bag of fresh spinach, chopped
¼ cup heavy cream, half and half or whole milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms
2 T. chopped green onions
8 oz. cream cheese (full fat or light)- sliced in ¼ inch slices
4 oz. Romano, Asiago or Parmesan cheese
¼ t. salt and pepper
¼ t. nutmeg
¼ t. paprika
Lightly sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add spinach, cover and let steam for 1 minute. Stir and drain on paper towels.
Beat the eggs and cream. Mix other ingredients except for cheeses and paprika. Blend well.
Lightly grease 8×8 non metallic baking dish with olive oil. Spread ½ of spinach mixture on bottom.
Cover with cream cheese and then the remaining spinach mixture. Pour egg mixture over spinach. Sprinkle with Romano cheese and paprika on top and bake for 40 minutes at 350. Cut into 8 pieces.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Spring on a plate! Try to add a fruit or vegetable salad to all of your brunch menus. It adds color and flavor to your plate.
1/4 cup sliced almonds- toasted
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 medium cucumber, sliced and cut in half
1/4 small red onion, sliced into thin slices
1 (6 ounce) package baby spinach
For dressing, zest and juice lemon. Combine ½ t. zest, 2 T. lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, oil and poppy seeds.
Place spinach in large serving bowl; add strawberries, cucumber and onion. Whisk dressing; pour over salad, gently tossing to coat. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.