Monday, December 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday ~ Christmas Week!

Yea! Christmas is almost here! Currently it is snowing outside, in fact, it is supposed to snow/sleet the entire week. It smacks of a down-home Christmas where all the family drinks hot cocoa, reading books by the fire place and throws holiday movies into the dvd player and cuddles together underneath the blankets. Ah, yes, we'll see how it pans out in reality :) One thing, our little family will be alone this Christmas. In some ways, it is sad. But in other ways, I enjoy being able to make our own little traditions. Like singing happy birthday to Jesus on Christmas morning over a danish/coffee cake lit with candles. And reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke. Focusing on what a wonderful gift we have been given in our Savior!

Monday: Pesto Chicken (pesto from this year's basil harvest!), Baked Sweet Potatoes with butter and cinnamon sugar, & Salad
Tuesday: Parmesan Tilapia, Cous Cous, & Peas (this has been on the menu for weeks but for some reason it never actually gets made!)
Wednesday: BBQ Pork (crockpot), Baked Potatoes, Salad
Thursday (Christmas Eve!): Our Tradition: Knoephla Soup & Summer Sausage Sandwiches
Friday (Christmas Day!): We are foregoing the ham and making Manicotti Alla Romana & Salad, appropriate since it has both a red and a white sauce on it :)

Now, I hope to bake bread, bake a danish, make marshmallows and make a chocolate/mocha cheesecake (this one via the pressure cooker). It sounds busy and it's good thing that the roads will be horrible so I'll have to stay home and stay in the kitchen!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 12/14/09

A short week, due to the holidays and family but I tried to make it good :)

Monday: Mushroom Sauced Roast Beef (from the BH&G cookbook), Au Gratin Potatoes & Salad
Tuesday: Parmesan Tilapia, Cous Cous, & Peas
Wednesday: Swiss Chicken Casserole & Salad
Thursday: Ravioli, Salad & Breadsticks

The Best French Toast EVER!

Mike, a few months ago, requested that I make a bread called Challah. It is a traditional Jewish bread that is well, very rich. I used this recipe, although please note that the recipe does not call for rapid rise yeast but you really must use rapid rise, a.ka. instant yeast, if you really want to make this in a hurry. I finally got around to it last week and it turned out pretty well. I'm more of a sourdough or French bread kinda girl myself but Mike and the kids loved it!

Then, the next morning, Mike made us French toast. One might say that using French bread is the only way to really make French toast. I DARE this person to try this recipe and not fall in love. It is that good. Yes, that good. Let me please also note, that Mike did use a good quality egg nog to replace the half and half - but he cut down on the egg and a little on the sugar too to make up for that. The one thing that made this recipe stand out is the use of orange zest - a new must for our French Toast.

Challah French Toast (by Ina Garten)


  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon good honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large loaf challah or brioche bread
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil

To serve:

  • Pure maple syrup
  • Good raspberry preserves (optional)
  • Sifted confectioners' sugar (optional)


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it's all cooked. Serve hot with maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners' sugar.