Cinnamon Peach Waffles

Our friends told us about some waffles they had for breakfast while on vacation in New York City, and we thought they sounded pretty nummy. My husband and I decided to try and make our own version, and they turned out DEEELISH! What makes these waffles extra special is the cinnamon cream and candied nuts that top it off. It's to DIE for!

Cinnamon Peach Waffles
2 large eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup whipping cream
3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can peaches, drained and mashed (fresh can also be used)
Maple syrup, warmed
Pecans, lightly chopped and candied (see TIP)

Beat your egg whites in a bowl until foamy, fluffy, and almost stiff; set aside. Combine remaining waffle ingredients in another bowl and beat until just smooth. Gently fold beaten egg whites into mixture. Pour batter onto waffle iron as usual.

While waffles are cooking, whip the cream with powdered sugar and cinnamon until light and fluffy. To serve, spread a large spoonful of mashed peaches over each cooked waffle, then drizzle with the warm maple syrup. Top with a large dollop of cinnamon whipped cream and a handful of candied pecans. Makes 6 waffles.

TIP: To make candied nuts, simply scoop 2 or 3 tablespoons sugar in a small frying pan and heat over medium until it melts. Stir in nuts until nicely coated and then let cool. You may also throw the nuts in the broiler at this point to help brown them a bit more and to give the sugar coating an extra crunch. Just don't let them sit in the broiler for too long or they'll burn!


Family Favorite Breakfast Casserole

This casserole is something my FAMILY looks forward to all year, as it's a tradition to have it for breakfast Christmas morning. You can prepare it the NIGHT BEFORE and then take it out the next morning to bake, or you can do it the morning of and it's still VERY EASY! It's also a dish that is just as good for dinner. Oh, and always I like to eat mine with a bit of ketchup . . .

Breakfast Casserole
1 package (32 ounces) shredded hash browns, cooked according to package directions
1/2 pound sausage, browned and drained
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
10 to 12 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 to 2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place prepared hash browns in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan prepared with nonstick spray. Spread the sausage and bacon over top. Scramble the eggs in a skillet until almost cooked through, but not quite. Season with salt and pepper and then stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Pour eggs over meats and spread remaining cheese over top to cover. Bake for 30 minutes and then serve with ketchup if desired. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

TIP: You can use 1 pound of any favorite breakfast meat, such as sausage, bacon, or ham, or any combination of breakfast meats to equal 1 pound. AND, if making it the night before, just try to pull it out of the fridge about 30-45 minutes before baking it so it can come to room temp.


Luscious Lemon Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so moist and refreshing, it's hard to eat just one. I often wonder what could possibly make them better, and then I remember, they are very EASY to make!

Luscious Lemon Cupcakes1 box lemon cake mix
Ingredients called for on box
1 small box lemon or vanilla instant pudding
1/3 cup sour cream
4 cups powdered sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Stir in the dry pudding mix and sour cream. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or spray each cup with a generous amount of nonstick spray. Bake according to package directions and then let cool completely.

In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes and serve! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

TIP: To make your cupcakes look like they came from the bakery, put your frosting in a plastic baggie, snip off one corner, and then pipe the frosting around the top outside edge of the cupcake, swirling in one continuous motion while working your way to the center. This way the cupcakes look amazing and you get to eat more yummy frosting because it lays it on pretty thick!


Raspberry Pretzel Salad

This has become one of my FAVE holiday recipes. I had the delight of eating this yummy dish at my first Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's family. It's a tradition for them to serve it, and now it just doesn't feel like turkey day without some on my plate! It makes an appearance in my book, 101 Things To Do With Salad, as a strawberry variation. The best thing about this "salad" is that it is really more like dessert!

Raspberry Pretzel Salad
2 cups chopped/crushed pretzels
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 large box raspberry gelatin
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 bags frozen raspberries, mostly thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the pretzels, butter, and sugar. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass pan. Bake 6 minutes and then let cool.

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and Cool Whip. Spread over pretzel crust. In another bowl, combine the gelatin and boiling water until gelatin dissolves. Stir in raspberries (and liquid) and then pour over the cream cheese layer. Chill 3-4 hours or until set. Makes around 10-12 servings.

TIP: You might try DOUBLING the cream cheese layer to make it EXTRA good! :)


Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This is one of my ALL-TIME favorite salads. I whip this up for potlucks or just for an easy dinner. I think what makes it taste extra AMAZING is the Brianna's Asiago Caesar Dressing. Other brands will work, but I would add more asiago cheese to give it some extra TANG.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
12 ounces bow-tie pasta, cooked, drained, and completely cooled
1/2 to 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, and cubed
3 to 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (really pack them in there!)
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 bottle Brianna's Asiago Caesar Salad Dressing
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese

Mix together the pasta, chicken, spinach, and peas. Gradually pour dressing over top and stir to coat. (You may not use all of it.) Sprinkle cheese over top. Chill until ready to serve (but you should probably serve within an hour or two of making in order for it to taste its best, though it's usually still good the next day). Makes 8-10 servings.

TIP: Cube chicken before you cook it and then saute with a dash of olive oil and a sprinkle of Montreal Chicken Seasoning (McCormick Grill Mates) for maximum flavor!