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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Breakfast Casserole

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This is one of my “go-to” breakfast recipes. It’s everything you want for breakfast all in one dish. I call it my Breakfast Casserole.

If you’ve learned anything about me you know I love all kinds of fresh salsas like Pico de Gallo.

So what you have, with this dish, are layers of the food you love to eat for breakfast topped Pico de Gallo. I ask you, what could be better?

First, I’m taking a little help from the grocery store so I can make this wonderful Breakfast Casserole as quickly as possible.

The scrambled eggs are mixed with half-and-half for richness and chives for a mild onion flavor. finally topped with Goat cheese for a little tang.

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes (includes prepping the vegetables and making Pico de Gallo)
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Equipment: 9 x 11 baking dish, 12-inch non-stick sautèpan, 9-inch Cast Iron Skillet, large mixing bowl, whisk

Ingredients:
1 package of Simply Potatoes shredded hashbrowns (available in the refrigerated section)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for sautèing the pepper and onions, reserve the rest for the hashbrowns
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 package of frozen Banquet original breakfast sausage links, sliced 1/2-inch thick (substitute turkey)
1 4-ounce package of Goat cheese
2 tablespoons of chives, minced
1/4 cup of half-and-half (substitute whole milk or heavy cream)
1 dozen large eggs scrambled (link for my Perfect Scrambled Eggs recipe is below)
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt (1/2 a tablespoon for the hash browns)
2 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper (1 teaspoon of black pepper for the hash browns)
4 cups of Pico de Gallo (link for my recipe is below)

Directions:
Spray the 9 x 11 baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray.

Start with prepping all the vegetables, and making the Pico de Gallo. Place the Pico in the refrigerator to chill.

To start, in a cast iron skillet on medium heat, melt unsalted butter. Add diced onions, diced red and yellow bell peppers, sautè until soft, tender, and golden brown, around 15 minutes. Next, add the remaining butter, allow to melt, then add the shredded hashbrowns. Stir the peppers, onion, and potatoes together allowing the butter to coat all the ingredients really well, season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Adjust the heat to medium-high. Using a spatula, press to potatoes into an even layer. Cook until a light golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the potatoes with the spatula and brown on the other side,  for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the hashbrown mixture into the greased 9 x 11 baking dish as the bottom layer.

In the same pan, on medium-high heat, add the sliced breakfast links. Cook for 3-5 minutes until browned on all sides. Add the cooked breakfast sausage as the next layer over the of the hashbrown mixture. Spread evenly over the potatoes.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper together. Whisk for at least 5 minutes, allowing as much air as possible to be incorporated into the eggs. You want to see foam bubbles forming at the top of the egg mixture.

Using large 12-inch non-stick sautèpan, on medium-low heat add the egg mixture to the pan. As the eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan, using a rubber spatula, forming large soft curds, continue cooking-pulling, lifting and folding the eggs, until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do Not rush this process, times may vary slightly, approx.10 minutes.

Add the scrambled eggs with chives over the top of the sausage. Spread the scrambled eggs out evenly to cover. Top the eggs with crumbles of soft Goat cheese.

Finally, spoon the Pico de Gallo for that burst of flavor and color.

 

Pico De Gallo Two Ways

 

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

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Blackened Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake

Baked Grilled Chicken Caesar Pasta.jpg

In my twenties, going out to dinner with the girls was so much fun. Having a cocktail and always ordering a Caesar salad with blackened chicken. I can remember the first time I had a Chicken Caesar Salad like it was yesterday. You know, that cold crisp romaine lettuce topped with the warm grilled chicken and drizzled with that wonderful creamy Caesar dressing. Oh, and the cheese, so good!

Now the chicken that you’re able to order comes one of two ways, grilled, or grilled and blackened. I always choose the blackened, I love the spiciness of the chicken alongside the cool creamy Caesar dressing.

What a great idea! Take the flavors of the creamy Caesar dressing and make that into a sauce, then add pasta, blackened chicken, a breadcrumb topping, and bake. I’ll call it my Blackened Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake!

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: indoor grill pan, large mixing bowl, 12-inch sautépan, 4-quart saucepot,
1-quart saucepot, colander, 11 x 13 baking dish

Ingredients For Chicken:
6 chicken cutlets
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons blackened seasoning
1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Ingredients For Blackened Seasoning:
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Ingredients For Blackened Seasoning:
Combine all the spices together in a bowl until evenly mixed. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark dry place.

Ingredients For Topping:
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

Ingredients For The Caesar Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
3 heaping tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 cups of whole milk or half-and-half, heated
1 cup unsalted chicken broth, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 to 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 pound penne pasta

Directions:
1). Butter an 11 x 13 baking dish
2). Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
3). Preheat grill pan on medium-high heat (both front and backburner)

In a large mixing bowl add the chicken cutlet, olive oil, and blackened seasoning. Using clean hands, mix together until all the chicken is evenly coated with oil and spices.

Place the chicken cutlets onto the grill. Cook 4 minutes on the first side, 3 minutes on the flip side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Let cool, then slice on the bias.

Next, in a large sautépan on medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the Panko breadcrumbs to the pan, stir until they’re completely coated with the melted butter. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until a very light golden brown. Remove from the heat. Add the dried parsley, stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the pasta. Cook pasta until slightly undercooked by 1 to 2 minutes. Remember, the pasta will continue to cook during the baking process. Drain the pasta. Let the pasta stay in the colander while you make the sauce.

*Scald the milk. In a 1-quart saucepot over medium, heat the milk to just under the boiling point. Small bubbles will appear around the rim of the pot.

In a 4-quart saucepot on medium heat add the butter, Once butter melts add the anchovy paste and minced garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk the in the chicken stock, then the heated milk and Worcestershire sauce continually whisking until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, stir to combine.

In a large mixing bowl add the penne pasta. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the sauce to the bowl and mix with penne, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce. Next, gently fold in the sliced blackened grilled chicken until combined.

Transfer the mixture to a buttered 11 x 13 baking dish. Using a spatula smooth the mixture evenly throughout the dish. Top with breadcrumb topping. Spray non-stick cooking spray on the dull side of the foil. This will prevent the topping from sticking to the foil. Cover and bake for 35 to 40 minutes then uncover and continue baking until the top is golden brown.

Make sure to let rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting. This will give the dish time to set.

I like to serve my Blackened Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake with a Romaine salad dressed with a drizzle of *E.V.O.O., fresh lemon juice, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. There you have it, the best of both worlds in one dish!

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
*Scalded Milk: Is milk heated to just under the boiling point.

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Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushroom, And Asparagus Strata

Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushroom, And Asparagus Strata.jpg

Strata just mean a layered casserole. They can be sweet or savory. I guess you could say it’s almost like a type of bread pudding. Anytime I’m looking for a recipe that will feed at least six people my Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushroom And Asparagus Strata is perfect. Not to mention, it’s comfort food in every sense of the word. Let’s start from the beginning…

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I like spinach to keep its beautiful green color, so I immediately remove the pan from the heat. Once the spinach wilts, toss in the chopped thawed asparagus. Remember this dish still has to go into the oven.

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Prep Time: 30 to 40 minutes (time includes the cooking of all the ingredients going into the Strata)
Cook Time: 45 to 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, 9 x 13 baking dish, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans,  1 medium-size mixing bowl, 1 large mixing bowl, Chef’s knife

Ingredients:
unsalted butter for greasing the dish
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 pint of sliced button mushrooms
1 tablespoon plus teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
1 sprig of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 package of fresh spinach leaves
1 package of thawed frozen asparagus cut into 2-inch pieces
1 loaf of Ciabatta bread, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes and toasted
Dozen large eggs, room temperature
2 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup of half-and-half, room temperature
4-ounces grated Gruyere cheese (2 tablespoons for the top)
4-ounces grated Fontina cheese (2 tablespoons for the top)
1/2 cup of Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for the top)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300-degrees F.
Butter casserole dish for the Strata. Next cut the Ciabatta cubes up into 2-inch cubes, spread them out on sheet pans and bake for 20 minutes or until dry at 300 degrees. While the bread is in the oven start the filling.

On medium heat, add the olive oil to a large sautépan. Next, add the Fresno chili and garlic, sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Next, add the sliced mushrooms and thyme leaves. Sauté mushrooms for 5 minutes or until browned. Season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

To the pan, add the sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break the sausage up with a wooden spoon. Add the rosemary, fennel seeds, dried oregano, dried thyme, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Sauté until all the sausage is brown and cooked through, around 10 minutes. Next, add the fresh spinach leaves. Toss the leaves through until just wilted. Remove the pan from the heat. Add in the thawed chopped asparagus pieces and toss those through. Set the filling aside.

For the bread, I used a Ciabatta. Slice the Ciabatta then cut into 2-inch cubes. Place the cubes onto two rimmed sheet pans. Spread the cubes out into one even layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until bread cubes become dry and style-like. Let the bread cubes cool for 10 minutes.

Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.

Start the custard by adding to the medium-size mixing bowl the eggs, milk, grated cheeses, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, whisk until combined.

In another large mixing bowl add the sausage mixture and cooled bread cubes. Gently toss to combine. Pour the custard over the sausage and bread cubes.

Gently fold the ingredients with the custard. Allow the mixture to sit for around 10 minutes giving the bread cubes a chance to absorb the custard, or at least most of it. In the meantime, butter the baking dish really well. This will make it easier for the strata to come out later.

Mix this all through really well and let sit for around 10 minutes so the bread can absorb all that liquid, or at least most of it. In the meantime butter, a 9 x 13 baking dish really well. This will make it easier for the strata to come out later.

Mix this all through really well and let sit for around 10 minutes so the bread can absorb all that liquid, or at least most of it. In the meantime get a deep casserole dish and lightly butter it all over. This will make it easier for the strata to come out later.

After the 10 minutes, pour the mixture into the buttered baking dish and sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top. Drizzle (around a 1/4 cup) of olive oil all over the top to ensure the bread browns evenly.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until you can see no more liquid coming up on the sides or up through the center. Once a wooden skewer comes out clean, the dish is done. The Strata should be nice and golden brown on the top.

Allow the Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushroom, And Asparagus Strata to rest for 20 minutes before cutting.

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