March 16, 2012

Eggstraordinary Spring Entertaining

I'm hosting this post for BlogHer and LAND O LAKES® Eggs. How fabulous does this Egg, Apple, Cheese and Sausage Tart from Shelly at Cookies and Cups look? Check out this fabulous recipe and see how you can win a $100 Visa gift card, courtesy of BlogHer!

I have always wanted to be a brunch person.

Here's my romanticized version of a "brunch day:" Wake up on a sunshiney, springtime Sunday morning (without an alarm clock or children jumping on my stomach), read the weekend newspaper in my crisp white-sheeted bed with no obligations to get ready for, lazily look over at my husband and say, "Let's go for a drive today," to which he would say, "Yes, let's go for a Sunday drive right after we have a nice, relaxing brunch."

That's how it goes down in my mind. What really happens is more like this...

Sunday morning 6:45 am I am woken up to "MOMMMMM!!! Can we play Wii?" "MOMMMMM!!! What's for breakfast?!" "MOMMMMMM!!! Can Joey come over today?"

All of that before 7:00 am. No mention of a Sunday drive, no mention of the weekend newspaper, no mention of brunch. Sigh.

What I have discovered is I can marry the romanticized version with the real-life version. Kinda.

Here's how: plan a brunch at home.

I can do that! Have it be for just your family, or invite people over to hold yourself accountable. I suggest the inviting of other people, because Sunday mornings can quickly get away from you if you let them.

What I have found is that brunch, while sounding all fancy and glamorous, is totally doable. Easy, actually. All you need to do is plan your meal around a single main course dish. One that can be prepared in advance is not only recommended but encouraged.

Eggs are a favorite ingredient when making food to share for springtime gatherings and celebrations. A favorite go-to brunch meal in our family is a tart or a quiche. They are so adaptable and easy.

You can make your springtime brunch more special, and more delicious, by using high-quality LAND O LAKES® All-Natural Farm-Fresh Eggs. Using higher-quality ingredients makes every part of your brunch more special, in my opinion.

Here's my favorite Sunday brunch meal...it's fancy enough to serve on special occasions but simple enough to serve to your family on any given weekend.

Start with LAND O LAKES® All-Natural Farm-Fresh Eggs. All LAND O LAKES® Eggs are "eggstraordinary" because they are produced by hens fed a premium, vegetarian whole-grain diet consisting primarily of whole ground corn and soybean meal, with no added hormones, antibiotics, animal fats or animal by-products. These eggs are gathered at the peak of the hens' egg-laying cycles, which can make the eggs more delicious.

You will need to place a pie crust in a 10" tart pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack.

While the crust is baking, cook the breakfast sausage and mix the egg mixture...

Crack the eggs in a bowl, whisk together and add some milk and seasonings.

When sausage is cooked, spread evenly on top of the partially-cooked crust. Then sprinkle cheese on top and cover with the LAND O LAKES® Eggs mixture.

Finally, slice a medium green apple into thin slices and arrange on top of the tart.

Bake the tart for 40- 45 minutes until center is set. You will have a gorgeous, completely impressive main course for your brunch. What's lovely about this tart is you can serve it warm, room temperature or even cold.

Now guess what? I want you to have your own brunch. And to do that you will need money, right? How about $100? That should cover it nicely, I think...

To enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, courtesy of BlogHer, leave a comment on this post telling me:

What is your favorite spring egg dish to make when you're hosting guests?

SWEEPSTAKES/GIVEAWAY RULES No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries between 3/16 and 3/29 by selecting from the following entry methods:a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via a random drawing, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. Good Luck!

Egg, Apple, Cheese and Sausage Tart

4 LAND O LAKES® All-Natural Farm-Fresh Eggs

16 oz breakfast sausage, cooked and drained

2/3 cup milk

1 (heaping) cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 tart apple, cut into thin slices

1 pie crust (pre-made or homemade)

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°

Place the pie crust in a 10" tart pan. Bake for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack.

Cook breakfast sausage in a medium skillet, drain.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk eggs, then add milk and salt and pepper. Whisk again to combine.

Spoon sausage into partially baked pie crust, sprinkle cheese on top of sausage and pour egg mixture evenly over sausage and cheese.

Finally, arrange apple slices on top.

Bake 40-45 minutes until center is set.

Serve warm, room temperature, or even cold.

*Can be made ahead to serve the next day and can also be frozen.

*Store covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days

Posted by Dianne at 9:00 AM

March 5, 2012

Meatless Monday At The Greenists: Four Cheese Lasagna!

Four Cheese Lasagna

I'm posting today over at The Greenists for Meatless Monday. Stop by and say hello and check out fabulous four cheese lasagna!

Posted by Dianne at 4:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 1, 2012

Creamy Italian Dressing

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

It's happened...

The unthinkable...

To me anyway...

I've run out of the will to cook!

It's part depression, part too much going on all at once, and general lack of energy. Who'd have thought it would happen to me? Certainly not me!

As a result; the not wanting to cook, coupled with the fact that I've been eating healthier, means that Alexis and I have been eating a lot of salads. I love salad. So crisp, so fabulous!

But...

I hate making salads though, even though we've been eating a lot of them. Why is it a salad you make yourself just doesn't taste as good as a salad someone else makes for you? It just doesn't!

Huh?

What?

I'll tell you why...It's because making a salad is an honest to goodness physical exertion. You've got to wash all the veggies. Then you have to prepare them, slice, chop, etc. Then you have to put it together. Did I mention tossing? After it's all together you have to decide how to top it...That's a lot of effort!

Regardless I've been on a salad kick.

And since on this kick I've been playing around with dressings. I like to make my own for the most part. They taste better, they don't have weird chemicals in them and they're better for you all around. This creamy Italian dressing is one that I put together that I really, really like! It is very similar to the dressing they use at that restaurant whose first word starts with and "O" and second word starts with a "G".

You know the one. Concentrate for a moment and it will come to you.

There you go! That's the one!

Not only is this delicious, it's sinfully easy to make, and let's face it, an easy step in the salad process is a welcome one at that.

Now it's time to try it. Come on...You know you want to!

What You'll Need:
1 cup of light mayonnaise (Note: I prefer Hellman's.)
1/3 cup of white, champagne or rice wine vinegar
The juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons of organic cane sugar
1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/3 cup of Romano cheese, finely grated
1 teaspoon of garlic salt or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, plus 1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried parsley

Dump ingredients in a canning jar. Place the lid on tightly and shake to mix. Let the flavors meld for at least an hour (overnight is better) in the fridge and then use to make your salad.

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

How ridiculously easy is that?

Notes: You can play around with the proportions to change the taste slightly. You could also use one or the other of the cheeses, and not both. As always, mix and match!

Posted by Dianne at 3:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack