Apple Pie Bread Pudding

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

This can be a cozy dessert or a lovely addition to your brunch table.

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

8 cups Baguette torn into rough 2 inch chunks
Butter a 9 x 13 pan. Place the torn bread into the pan and set aside.

For the Custard:
6 large Eggs
6 cups Half & Half
2 tablespoons Sugar
A pinch of Salt

Combine the eggs, half & half, and sugar. Mix well, then slowly pour the mixture over the torn bread in the waiting pan. Set aside while you make the apple pie flavoring.

For the Apple Pie Flavoring:
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
A pinch of Salt
3 tablespoons Dark Rum
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Apples (peeled, cored and cut into large chunks)

Add all the above ingredients to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil then, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid.
Simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are somewhat softened.
Pour the syrup and apples mixture over the bread and cream mixture in the baking pan. Stir gently to combine.

Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover, and allow to brown on top, about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool for a bit before serving.

Creamy Peas with Lettuce

creamy peas & lettuce

As side dishes go, this one is lesser known. Peas and lettuce is more commonly served in England, usually just a simple sauté in butter. I added the creamy part because, well, because I could.

Creamy Peas with Lettuce
2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 16oz. bag Frozen Petite Peas {thawed}
1 head Romaine Lettuce
Salt & Pepper

Cut the romaine lettuce crosswise into thin shreds. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan bring the cream and butter to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until reduced by half.
Reduce the heat and add the peas. Heat until warm.
Fold in the lettuce and heat until just wilted. You want to retain some of the crunch.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

Rice Pilaf

rice pilaf

Classic side for a week night meal or a holiday gathering. Easy and make ahead too!

Rice Pilaf

1 cup Royal Blend or Wild + Basmati Rice Mixed
1 1/2 cups Veggie or Beef Stock
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup Angel Hair Pasta (broken into 1 inch pieces)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Dried Sage
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 cup Toasted Nuts (Almonds, Pine Nuts, Cashews etc.)

Combine the rice, pasta, olive oil and the stock and bring to a boil.
Add the salt and pepper to taste. Add the dried sage and garlic powder.
Turn the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Simmer for 10-13 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and pasta is tender. Fluff with a fork and set aside or cool and place into the fridge if making ahead.

In a large fry pan warm the toasted nuts over a medium heat until aromatic but not burned. Add the prepared rice/pasta and toss gently with a fork until warmed through. Add a bit of hot stock if the rice seems to want to stick together.

Serve along side any meat main dish or, add chick peas or cannellini beans for a vegetarian option.

Serves 3-4 as presented above but recipe can be doubled for 6-8 servings.

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Mac & Cheese

mac & cheese
I’ll be willing to bet Mac & Cheese is near the top of the list when it comes to comfort food favorites!
You can make it with gourmet cheeses and luxe add-in’s like truffle, or keep it simple and familiar with an “all cheddar” approach.
My offering is a midway point between fancy-pants and kid stuff.

Mac & Cheese

1 lb. box of Rotini Pasta

For the Cheese Sauce:
6 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Flour
Salt & Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried Parsley or Basil
1 quart Whole Milk
2 cups grated Swiss Cheese
2 cups grated Gruyere Cheese
1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese

For the Topping:
1 cup Toasted Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons Butter (melted)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil the pasta in lots of salted water until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Grate your cheese and set aside.

Melt the butter over medium low, add the flour and whisk briskly. Add the nutmeg and parsley. Cook for a couple of minutes, whisking constantly.
Tip: I’m using the pot i’ve boiled my pasta in, no need for more dishes, right?
Add the milk slowly, whisking. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. The sauce will take a few minutes to thicken.
Off the heat, add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring to incorporate between handfuls.
Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and fold gently until well combined.

Pour into a buttered casserole or gratin dish.

To make the crumb topping mix the melted butter and the bread crumbs, stir gently until all the crumbs are saturated with butter. Sprinkle over the top the mac & cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.