This is one of the first recipes M&K were able to make on their own. About 12 years ago, during a Scholastic Book Fair, M spied a Strawberry Shortcake Berry Yummy Cook Book named for her favorite cartoon character called Strawberry Shortcake. She fell in love with the book on the spot. We brought it home and she went to work trying to find the perfect first recipe to make for Saturday breakfast.
Early Saturday morning, M&K put on their aprons and began assembling the egg dish. They did a fantastic job measuring and pouring ingredients. They were delighted when we pulled the completed dish from the oven.
The original recipe was called Huckleberry Pie’s Hash Brown Bake (so cute). At the time, the recipe included hash brown potatoes but we weren’t fond of the soggy potatoes in the dish so we tweaked it a bit. We gave our adapted dish a new name; Strawberry Shortcake Eggs.
(Note: I have renamed the dish to Scrambled Egg Squares for the blog just because I didn’t want to confuse readers; I didn’t want anyone to think that strawberry shortcake was part of the recipe! 🙂
The best part about making a pan of these eggs is that they are great for feeding a crowd or a big family quickly. Just pour the beaten eggs into the pan with a few other ingredients and in 20 minutes, you’ve got lots of eggs. I often wrap the cooked squares individually in plastic wrap and freeze them. Later, I use them to make breakfast sandwiches by combining an egg square with an English muffin, a sausage patty (optional), and a slice of cheese.
Scrambled Egg Squares ( Strawberry Shortcake Eggs)
3/4 cup milk or half & half
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons Ready to Serve Real Bacon Bits, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs with milk or half&half. Stir in shredded cheese, and bacon pieces. Pour into baking pan and bake for 17-20 minutes or until set, puffy, and lightly browned. Cool slightly before cutting into squares.
Not far from our home, there is a Pepperidge Farm Outlet that we often visit when going to a nearby mall. One of the items I usually stock up on is the cinnamon raisin bread that is always marked down to a reasonable price. I bring the loaves home and tuck them in the freezer for lots of different recipes.
This is a tasty casserole that takes minutes to put together. It’s such a treat to put a big pan of French toast in the oven rather than standing in front of the stovetop making slices in small batches. This makes for more time to enjoy early morning conversation with the family while savoring the awesome combination of cinnamon, raisin, pecans and maple syrup with a piping hot cup of coffee. I often make this the night before serving so that when I wake up there is no prep time and the casserole is ready when the rest of the crew wakes up.
Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast Casserole
5 cups cinnamon raisin bread, cubed
3 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons softened butter, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray with cooking spray a 13×9″ baking pan. Pour bread cubes into the prepared pan. Beat milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract together in a bowl until evenly mixed; pour mixture over bread cubes. Set aside for bread to absorb liquid, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and pecans. Evenly arrange butter cubes on top of casserole. Bake until golden, about 50 to 55 minutes.
One of our favorite relatives is our cousin Patrick. Whenever there is a family gathering, he brings two signature dishes along with him…Baked Polish Sausage and Pat Mac ( his recipe for creamy macaroni and cheese). It took me a long time to convince him to share this recipe with me but he finally broke down and let me have it several months ago. Early Monday morning, before heading out of town for a work conference, I assembled a pan of Pat Mac for the family to share while I was away. While Patrick’s dish always tastes better than mine, I still try my hand at it when the temperatures drop and the weather turns cool. Fall is the perfect time to make a big pan of Pat Mac!
Our Favorite Pat Mac (Patrick’s Macaroni and Cheese)
1 package (16 oz) of Creamette Elbow Macaroni
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons salt
5 cups milk
2 cups Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 cups Vermont Sharp Cracker Barrel Cheese, shredded
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
Cook pasta according to directions. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt margarine, stir in flour, dry mustard and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook until mixture thickens slightly and bubbles. Remove from heat, Add 2 cups of cheese and stir until melted. Stir in half of the crushed Ritz crackers.
In a large bowl, combine sauce with pasta. Spoon into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and Ritz crackers. Bake 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.