December 6, 2014

Monte Cristo Strata

Blogger Stephanie Wise of Girl versus Dough shares a recipe for a cheesy and indulgent strata inspired by the flavors of a Monte Cristo sandwich.
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Monte Cristo Strata
betty's guide to christmas
  • Prep Time 15 min
  • Total Time 60 min
  • Servings 6


loaf (20 oz) country white bread, crusts removed and thinly sliced
cup spicy brown mustard
oz sliced Black Forest ham
3 1/2
cups shredded Gruyère cheese (14 oz)
tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
cups milk
teaspoons ground pepper


  • 1Heat oven to 375°F. Generously grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with shortening or cooking spray.
  • 2Place layer of bread slices in bottom of baking dish. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the mustard. Top with half of the ham slices, then sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded cheese and 1 tablespoon of the sage. Repeat layers, reserving last 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese.
  • 3In large bowl, beat eggs with whisk, then add milk and ground pepper; beat to combine. Carefully and evenly pour egg mixture over layers in baking dish, making sure bread absorbs most of the liquid. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and 1 tablespoon fresh sage.
  • 4Cover dish with sheet of greased foil. Let stand 30 minutes before baking.
  • 5Bake about 35 minutes or until dish is baked through and bubbly. Remove foil, and bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese on top is lightly golden.
  • 6Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Expert Tips

    You can prep this dish ahead of time, then cover and let it chill in the fridge overnight before baking.
    Pair this richly flavored savory dish with fruit or a sweet wine like Riesling or Gewurztraminer.
    You can swap some or all of the Gruyère cheese with sharp white Cheddar, if desired. 

    November 4, 2014

    One pot lazy stuffed peppers

    what you'll need
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
    • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
    • 3 bell peppers, seeded and diced large
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, with juices
    • 14.5 oz can chicken or beef broth
    • 8 oz can tomato sauce
    • 2 tsp beef or chicken bouillon
    • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
    • 1 cup white long grain rice, uncooked
    • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
    let's do it
    1. Place a large skillet with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat then add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add ground beef and cook 5–7 minutes, breaking into small pieces as it browns.
    2. Add onions, bell peppers and garlic in with beef; stir to combine. Once the peppers have started to soften and the onions are translucent, carefully drain excess grease from skillet.
    3. Return to stove reducing heat to medium. Stir in diced tomatoes with juice, broth, tomato sauce, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and Italian seasoning.
    4. Bring to a boil then stir in uncooked rice. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until rice is tender.
    5. Remove skillet from heat, stir lightly to fluff up the rice, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and replace the lid. Allow the casserole to rest, covered, for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

    November 3, 2014

    Crock pot cream cheese chicken chili

    • 2 chicken breasts, still frozen
    • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
    • 1 can corn kernels, do not drain
    • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
    • 1 T cumin
    • 1 t chili powder
    • 1 t onion powder
    • 1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese


    Put the chicken in the crock pot.

    Top with the tomatoes, corn,
    the drained and rinsed beans,
    ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chili powders,
    stir to combine then top with the cream cheese.

    Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice
    to blend in the cheese.

    Shred the chicken into large pieces
    and serve over rice.

    Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.

    November 2, 2014

    Kalua Pork in the crock pot

    1 2.5-3.5 boneless pork shoulder (butt) roast
    Sea salt (pink Hawaiian sea salt if you can find it; SMOKED Hawaiian sea salt if you can find that)
    Hickory-flavored liquid smoke (if you can’t find smoked sea salt, or for a little more smokey flavor)
    Rinse the pork roast and pat it dry. Pierce the entire roast with a fork. Sprinkle generously with the liquid smoke (about 1 tablespoon, more if you have a very large roast) and sprinkle with the sea salt (start with about a little less than tablespoon and see how far it gets you; you can always add more after it cooks).  If using traditional kosher salt, decrease salt to 1-2 teaspoons.  Rub the salt into the roast. Place the roast in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork.
    Remove the roast from the pan and place it in a serving dish or on a serving platter. Shred it, discarding any large pieces of fat. Drizzle enough of the cooking liquid over the pork to re-moisten it and keep it from drying out. Serve with any combination of sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rice, macaroni salad, and/or fresh fruits and vegetables (or a green salad). Plan on 6-8 ounces of pre-cooked meat per person–pork shoulder is quite fatty, so the weight will really cook down.

    Company chicken casserole

    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 2 wedges of onion
    • 4 cups Pepperidge Farms Herb seasoned stuffing mix
    • 1 cube butter (1/2 cup)
    • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
    • 1 pint sour cream
    • 8 oz frozen broccoli cuts – thawed (optional)
    1. Place chicken breasts, broth, garlic and onion in a skillet and bring just to a boil over medium high heat, turn heat down to medium, cover and simmer until pink is gone – about 15-20 min.
    2. Remove the chicken and shred with a fork and set aside. Reserve the broth (this should equal about 1 cup, but if it doesn’t add enough canned broth to equal a cup).
    3. Melt the butter and pour over stuffing mix in a bowl and whisk with a fork to blend.
    4. Spread half of the stuffing/butter mixture in a large casserole dish or glass 9 x 13” pan.
    5. Blend the soup, sour cream and reserved broth together with a wire whisk.
    6. Place shredded chicken over the layer of stuffing mix. If using broccoli, spread this over the chicken.
    7. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken, then top with the remaining stuffing mixture.
    8. Bake for 30 min at 350°. Serve and enjoy!

    August 26, 2014

    Whipped cream

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


    Pour the cream into a well-chilled bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk, beat the cream to the desired consistency. For soft peaks, the cream will be just thick enough to hold its shape in soft billows. For stiffly beaten cream, the beaters or whisk wires will leave distinct traces on the cream and stand in firm peaks when the beaters are lifted.
    The cream can be whipped up to 1 day ahead, covered tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerated. If liquid separates from the cream, whip it again to incorporate the liquid.
    From the book Kaffeehaus: The Best Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague by Rick Rodgers ©2002 Published in 2002 by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a member of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

    August 7, 2014

    Almond pound cake

    Almond Pound Cake Recipe
    Almond Pound Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Almond Pound Cake Recipe

     Read Reviews (3)
    Publisher Photo
    Margie Dalton CHICAGO, ILLINOIS I’m happy to share a third generation family recipe with you. This cake is rich and buttery and it has a lovely golden brown crust.
    TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 1 hour + cooling
    MAKES: 24 servings


    • 2 cups butter, softened
    • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Fresh raspberries and whipped cream, optional
    Nutritional Facts
    1 slice (calculated without raspberries and whipped cream) equals 289 calories, 17 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 94 mg cholesterol, 176 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 3 g protein.


    1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Beat just until combined.
    2. Transfer to two greased 8x4-in. loaf pans. Bake 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve with raspberries and whipped cream if desired. Yield: 2 cakes (12 servings each).

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    July 26, 2014

    Tex Mex Chicken Sandwiches

    Tex-Mex Chicken Salad Sandwiches
    From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner

    2 c. cooked and shredded chicken (rotisserie works great)
    1/4 c. mayonnaise (I use light)
    salt and pepper, to taste
    taco seasoning, to taste
    1 roma tomato, diced
    2 green onions, minced
    1 roasted poblano pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped
        or you can use 1 can of diced green chiles
    3 Tbl. chopped cilantro, opt.
    1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
    3 ciabatta buns, toasted

    Combine shredded chicken, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, a little taco seasoning (I would start with 1 teaspoon and add more if needed), diced tomato, green onions, roasted poblano, cilantro and cheese.  Stir together until well combined.  Taste and adjust any ingredients, if needed.  Serve on toasted ciabatta buns.  Makes 3 sandwiches. 

    July 24, 2014

    Marshmallow fluff

    How to make marshmallow? Marshmallow fluff is a spreadable marshmallow cream that closely resembles a whipped and sweetened cloud. Food for angels.Marshmallow fluff is most famous for being half of the duo that makes up the beloved fluffernutters. Peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. You can also use it to make moon pies, broiler s’mores or to frost a cake since it’s almost identical to Italian meringue. A gooey dollop dropped into hot cocoa is heavenly bliss. Of course if none of this suits your fancy you can always eat it off a spoon. . . it’s pretty hard not to.
    Prep Time 10 min
    Cook Time 20 min
    Total Time 30 min
    • 3 large egg whites
    • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Beat egg whites together until light and frothy using an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment. With the mixer running, slowly pour in 2 tablespoons sugar; beat until soft peaks form.
    2. In a large saucepan, combine 1/3 cup water, corn syrup, and remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Place over medium heat and cook until boiling. Start cooking over medium heat stirring occasionally but never taking your eyes off it. Raise heat to medium high and continue cooking until mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, about 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer, it will take about 10-15 minutes. (The hot syrup may bubble up the sides, turn heat down briefly or remove pan from heat, once the syrup goes back down raise heat and continue cooking.)
    3. Drape an old, clean kitchen towel over the front and side of the mixer, leaving one side open to pour in the syrup. With the mixer on low, slowly add hot syrup to egg-white mixture ( make sure kids and pets are not nearby, this could scar you for life, people(!) and scares the living daylights out of me!). Increase mixer speed to high and continue beating for 6-8 minutes. Add vanilla and continue to beat until mixture looks like marshmallow cream, 2-4 minutes more.
    4. Allow to cool, spoon and store in tightly sealed jars in the refrigerator up to a month.
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    Marshmallow Recipe

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    July 23, 2014

    Easy strawberry cake

    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 25 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes
    Yield: 12
    Easy Strawberry Cake
    Easy Strawberry Cake tastes and looks like a bakery cake, but is easier than from-scratch! It's full of fresh strawberries in the cake and the icing. This cake is 'easy' because it starts with a cake mix, but don't worry unless you tell noone will ever know!
    • 1 pkg white cake mix
    • 1 (3 oz) pkg strawberry jello
    • 1 cup fresh strawberries, mashed or finely chopped
    • 1 cup vegetable oil (I always use canola)
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 4 large eggs
    • Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
    • 3 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 3/4 cup fresh strawberries, mashed or chopped fine

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray pans with non-stick spray. Place the cake mix, jello, strawberries, oil, milk and eggs in a large bowl. Mix 3 minutes, stopping to scrap down sides of bowl a couple times. Divide the batter evenly among layer pans or pour into 9x13 inch pan. For 9x13 pan bake 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Cook layers according to directions on box of cake mix.) Remove cake and cool completely.
    • For Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth. Sift sugar and add one cup full at a time to cream mixture. Add strawberries and incorporate completely. Pour over cake and smooth out covering entire cake layer.

    July 19, 2014

    Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

    Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
    Servings: 6 • Size: 1 generous cup • Old Points: 3 • Weight Watcher Points+: 5 pt 
    Calories: 145.5 • Fat: 8 g • Carb: 15.5  g • Fiber: 2.5 g • Protein: 4.3 g • Sugar: 0 g
    Sodium: 137 mg (without the salt) • Cholest: 7.4 mg  


    • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
    • 1/2 - 3/4 lemon, squeezed
    • 1/4 cup (about 10) kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced (from 1 English)
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
    • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
    • salt and fresh pepper, to taste


    Rinse quinoa for about 2 minutes, using your hands to make sure all the saponins are removed.

    Fill a medium pot with water, add quinoa and salt to taste and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce heat to low and coversimmer covered 15 minutes. Removefrom heat and keep covered an additional 5 minutes without lifting the lid; then fluffwith a fork and set aside in a large mixing bowl to cool.

    While the quinoa cools, dice all the vegetables. Add the red onion, olives, cucumber, tomatoes to the cooled quinoa, and squeeze 1/2 lemon over it.  

    Drizzle the olive oil over the quinoa, then add feta, salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Taste for salt and adjust as needed, add more lemon juice if needed.

    Makes over 6 1/4 cups.