Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Let’s face it, breakfast casseroles are perfect when you need to feed a crowd right away in the morning. Eggs, sausage, and hashbrowns, layered in a casserole dish and placed in the oven – does it get easier than that? Serve this with fruit (and a mimosa or two), and you are guaranteed to start the day off right with this recipe!

Now I do not pretend to be a professional chef or photographer so I apologize in advance for my amatuer skills here, but I started by prepping all of the ingredients. 

The recipe calls for a bag of hashbrowns. The store only had about 498 options, so I went with a 30oz bag and was happy with the results!

*Disclaimer* This recipe calls for garlic and onion, so onion is featured in the photo, but due to dietary restrictions neither were used in the casserole that is photographed (I know, it’s the saddest thing ever). Good news – this recipe tastes just as great without it!

Start by browning Italian sausage over medium heat, then remove with a slotted spoon and place to the side in a bowl. Saute the chopped peppers, onion, and garlic in the grease remaining in the skillet. Again, I’m not able to cook with onions or garlic so you won’t see them in any of my photos, but my goodness the red pepper smelled amazing cooked in the Italian sausage grease! 

You know that part when you’re cooking where you wonder if it’s supposed to look like that? Yeah, well this is that part for me. 

I added the peppers to the hashbrowns and cheese, mixing them together in a large bowl. As I whisked the eggs and milk together I was 150% convinced there was no way that would be enough to cover all of those hashbrowns – but it does! Top with the remaining cheese and it’s ready for the oven. 

This was baked covered with foil at 375 for 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 10-15 minutes. I don’t have a 7×11 pan so I used a 9×13 instead and felt it worked just fine. 

Overall, this recipe is really easy and delicious!  I was surprised how much egg there was considering there are only 6 in the whole recipe. The Italian sausage adds a ton of flavor so if you have dietary restrictions but can tolerate breakfast sausage, this recipe is great! From start to finish it probably took an hour, including cook time, and it was a hit with my family so it will definitely be made again! If I can make it and have it turn out well, I promise you can too.

…and I wasn’t kidding, this pairs really well with a mimosa 😉

Breakfast Casserole is one of the recipes in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available online and in stores now: https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 package frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Sliced green onions to taste (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to taste (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium heat, pressing and stirring with a wooden spoon to crumble. Remove the sausage to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Pour off most of the skillet drippings. Saute the onion and red bell pepper in the remaining skillet drippings for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic. Saute until tender. Add the onion mixture, hashbrowns and 1 ½ cups Cheddar cheese to the sausage and mix well. Whisk the eggs, milk and black pepper in a bowl. Stir into the sausage mixture. Spoon into a 7×11 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with the remaining Cheddar cheese. Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Bake, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro. Serve with salsa. 

Meat-Free Meal: Artichoke Fettuccini

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for spinach and artichoke dip. When I saw this recipe in Junior League’s A Century of Service Cookbook, I knew it was going to be a quick favorite! While the recipe doesn’t call for spinach, it can easily be added in with the rest of the ingredients when making the sauce, and will satisfy all of your spinach and artichoke dip cravings.

Another bonus is that this recipe can be made completely vegetarian! Swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and you have a solid vegetarian option to keep you warm the rest of the winter. And with how easy it is to make, I’m not how it could get any better!

Artichoke Fettuccini

# Servings: 6

Category: Main Dishes

Pan Size: Large pot

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cans artichokes, rinsed and drained
  • 8 asparagus spears, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth (can be subbed for vegetable broth to make it truly meat free!)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces fettuccini noodles

Directions:

Saute the mushrooms in the butter and olive oil in a skillet until tender. Stir in the flour. Add the artichokes, asparagus, broth, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix well. Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions, drain. Combine the fettuccini and mushroom mixture in a large saucepan, Cook until heated through. 

Don’t forget to tag us when you make the recipe! 

Artichoke Fettuccini is one of the recipes in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available online and in stores now: https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/

We’re (peanut) butter together!

There are few things that go better together than chocolate and peanut butter, and this pairing of decadent chocolate cake layers and creamy peanut butter buttercream frosting are a match made in heaven! 

The cake starts with moist, delicious layers of chocolate cake. Between the layers and covering the outside of the cake is a peanut butter frosting. Take the recipe up a notch by chopping Reese’s on top of the frosting and ganache but between the cake layers – every peanut butter and chocolate lovers favorite, am I right? 

After the cake is covered with frosting, drizzle the remaining ganache over the top and down the sides, then add more chopped Reese’s – you know, just for good measure 🙂

Now that you’ve made the most beautiful and delicious chocolate cake, don’t forget to take a picture and tag @JLOmaha when you post about it!

Junior League of Omaha – A Century of Serving 

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

# Servings: 12

Category: Desserts

Pan Size: 8 inch cake pans

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting (below)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Microwave the chocolate and butter ina microwave safe bowl until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Beat the eggs and sugar at high speed in a mixing bowl for 5 minutes or until pale and more than doubled in volume. Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift in the baking cocoa and salt and beat until well mixed. Add the chocolate mixture in a steady stream, beating until well mixed. 

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out with a few dry crumbs. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Microwave the semisweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, and butter in a microwave safe bowl at 50 percent power until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Let the ganache cool slightly. Spread the ganache and Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting between the layers and over the top and side of the cooled cake, ending with the ganache. Garnish the cake with peanut butter chips. 

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  •  1 cup salted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Cream the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt. Add the confectioners’ sugar ½ cup at a time, beating constantly. Beat at high speed with the flat beater attachment for 15 seconds or until light. Add the cream and beat for 15 seconds or until fluffy, adding additional sugar if too thin or additional cream if too thick. 

You can find this recipe and more in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available online at the link below or one of our many local retailers: https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/

Images by Joshua Foo

The Junior League of Omaha Chicken Piccata

This amazing Chicken Piccata recipe will remind you of your favorite restaurant experience right in the comfort of your own home! With only 30 minutes of total work, this dinner recipe is simple, fast and delicious. Almost sounds too good to be true, right?!

Needs some extra help tackling chicken? Check out our tips below.

  1. Halve your chicken breasts. If you aren’t able to purchase thin chicken breasts, you can butterfly them to double your servings and ensure more even cooking.
  2. Don’t cook chicken cold. Let’s be real, chicken doesn’t taste good when it’s overcooked. The best way to avoid this is to reduce the amount of cook time needed. Instead of going straight from fridge to frypan, let your chicken sit on the counter for roughly 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  3. Don’t start with a cold pan. For the same reasons as above, it’s not helpful to start with a cold pan because the chicken cooks more slowly, juices start to seep out as the pan heats, and results in pale and overcooked chicken.

Now use these tips with the recipe below and go show us how it’s done! Don’t forget to tag #JLOmaha and @jlomaha in your social media posts when you brag about your cooking skills. 

Chicken Picatta

# Servings: 4 Category: Main Dishes

Serving Size: Pan Size: Saute Pan

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons water
  • ¾ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons (about) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 or 2 lemons, cut into halves
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ brined capers, rinsed and drained
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pound the chicken breasts to ¼-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper on a shallow plate. Beat the egg and water in a shallow bowl. Coat each chicken break with flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in the egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs.

Heat 1 tablespoon of hte olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Cook the chicken breasts in batches in the hot oil for 2 minutes per side or until brown, adding additional olive oil as needed and removing batches to a baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan. Squeeze the lemon juice into the butter, adding the lemon halves. Add the wine, capers, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat. Add the remaining butter and swirl the pan to mix. Discard lemon halves. 

Place a chicken breast on each of 4 plates, spoon equal portions of the sauce over each breast. Sprinkle each with parsley and garnish each with a lemon slice. 

Photos submitted by Nola in St. Augustine, Florida.

Chicken Piccata is one of the recipes in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available online and in stores now: https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/

Game Day Wings

Looking to impress for your at-home game day party? If your spread usually includes a store bought bean dip or having pizza delivered it doesn’t have to be that way! Our chicken wing recipe includes pantry staples you already have at home – and plenty of time to get other party preparations done while they cook in the crock pot!  

Cilantro Sesame Sticky Wings is one of the recipes in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available online and in stores now!

Cilantro Sesame Sticky Wings

# Servings: 8 Category: Appetizers

Serving Size: Pan Size: Slow cooker, baking sheet

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha hot chili sauce or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Directions:

Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, minced garlic, chili sauce, ginger powder, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper in a bowl and whisk to mix well. Place the chicken wings in a slow cooker. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the chicken and toss to coat. Cook, covered, on low for 3 to 4 hours. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Pour over the chicken and stir. Cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Remove the chicken to the prepared baking sheet, reserving the sauce. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the caramelized and slightly charred. Sprinkle with the cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve immediately with the reserved sauce on the side. 

To learn more or purchase your own copy of the A Century of Serving cookbook click here.
Images by Joshua Foo

Junior League of Omaha Cookbook Recipe: Little Applesauce Muffins

In the spirit of fall, I tested out my baking skills with these applesauce muffins. A recipe from the new Junior League of Omaha Cookbook. They’re easy to make, filled my kitchen with the cozy scents of the season and they’re super tasty!

I had most of the ingredients in my kitchen. Straying from the recipe slightly, I opted to use whole wheat flour and baked these as full size muffins because I don’t own a mini-muffin pan. 

Once all the ingredients were blended together, I poured my mix into the muffin tray and stuck them in the oven. Despite making larger muffins, they were pretty well baked through in the same amount of time called for in the recipe. 

Then, I dipped each delicious muffin top in butter and rolled them in my cinnamon-sugar mix for an absolutely divine topper! 

These were simple to whip up and they’re a crowd pleaser! I highly recommend.

If you don’t already have your own copy of A Century of Serving: A Centennial Cookbook Celebration, you can purchase online via the Junior League of Omaha website

Or, visit one of these local retailers: 

Alexandra Stone, Blog Content Creator

The Cookbooks Are Here!

The Junior League of Omaha’s fourth cookbook, A Century of Serving: A Centennial Celebration Cookbook, has more than 200 mouthwatering recipes, from cocktails to desserts and every course in-between. This book will help you turn any meal into an occasion. Did you know, if every League member bought seven cookbooks or encouraged seven people to buy, we would hit our 2018-2019 goal? Bring one to work, your kids’ sporting event, or a friend gathering. Let’s work together to rally the Omaha community and celebrate 100 years of The Omaha Junior League!

The cookbooks are on sale now at general membership meetings and the JLO Holiday Social for $35 plus tax. You can also purchase online at https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/. You’ll even get a 10% discount if you purchase a case of 10, online only! Online orders should be placed by Dec. 8 to ensure delivery by the holidays.

cookbook

Here is one recipe to highlight: 

Junior League of Omaha – A Century of Serving: A Centennial Celebration Cookbook

Turtle Bars

# Servings: 3 dozen Category: Desserts

Serving Size: Pan Size: 9 x 13 baking pan

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves
  • ¾ cups packed brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup plus 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½  cups chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, 1 cup brown sugar and ½ cup melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Press over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with the pecans.

Combine ¾ cupbrown sugar and ⅔ cup plus 3 tablespoons butter in a heave saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour evenly over the pecans. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and light brown. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let stand to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Christmas cookies to warm your holiday!

December is the most wonderful time of the year.

The decorations. The parties. And the baked goods.

This year, celebrate the holiday season with ginger cookies stuffed with caramel goodness from the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving centennial celebration cookbook, available in Fall 2018. Caramel goodness, you read that right.

The cookies, which are delectable on their own but pair well with coffee, cocktails and cocoa, are the League’s December Recipe of the Month. The “caramel goodness” alone is sure to impress your guests.

After you make the ginger cookies stuffed with caramel goodness, share a photo on social media using #JLOCookbook. Members who do will be entered into a drawing for a gift card.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cups salted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 caramel candies, halved
  • 1/2 cup Demerara sugar

Instructions 

 

  • Beat brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla with a heavy-duty stand-up mixer on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
  • Process flour, ginger, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until ginger is very finely chopped and mixture is well-blended, approximately 1-2 minutes. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, and beat on low speed just until blended after each addition.  Shape dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill 6-24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Shape dough into approximately 30 (1 ½nch) balls.  Flatten each ball in your palm, and place 1 caramel half in center.  Wrap dough around caramel, and reshape into a ball by rolling in hand, completely covering the caramel.  Place balls approximately 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Sprinkle each cookie lightly with Demerara sugar.
  • Bake in preheated oven until flattened and lightly browned on the bottom, approximately 10-12 minutest, switching pans halfway through baking (i.e. top cookie sheet is switched with the bottom cooking sheet). Cool on pans for 8 minutes.
  • Serve warm either straight out of oven or reheated in the microwave.

 

The ginger cookies stuffed with caramel goodness were just one of the cookies on the table at the Cookbook Committee’s November meeting, which doubled as a holiday social for the members. Members also made ooey gooey butter cake cookies, dark chocolate and sea salt sables, rum buttercrunch toffee and other recipes exclusive to the cookbook.

Need some more inspiration for your upcoming parties?

Happy holidays! And happy hosting.

Recipe of the Month: Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip

What is your go-to for game day? If your spread includes jarred salsa and a tub of pre-made dip, served with a side frozen wings and a store-bought pizza, know that it does not have to be that way. You can have a tasty, homemade dish in just minutes.

With a few hearty pantry staples and a handful of fresh flavors, Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip can transform you from second-string to the Most Valuable Player. A real crowd-pleaser, Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip is one of the recipes in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available in Fall 2018.

Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip    

September_CowboyChicBlackBeanDip

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 2/3 cup bottled picante sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili powder
  • 1 can black beans (drained and washed)
  • 1/4 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons Tabasco-if desired

Instructions

  • Heat oil in skillet.  Add onion and garlic, and sauté until tender.
  • Add tomato, picante sauce, chili powder, cumin, and black beans to skillet.  Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
  • Partially mash mixture with a potato masher.  Add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice.  Stir until cheese melts.
  • Serve warm with tortilla chips.

After you make Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip, share a photo on social media using #JLOCookbook.

Cooking for a Crowd

Cooking for 20 can be tricky, but every month Junior League of Omaha Board of Directors take on the challenge of providing dinner for a monthly Board meeting. When it came time for New Member Chair Bethany Banister and Communications Chair Melissa Carlberg to take their turn, they were confident the Junior League’s Toast to Omaha cookbook would be the perfect resource – and would build excitement for the upcoming release of the League’s new cookbook, to be released in conjunction with our 100th anniversary in 2019.

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“We thought soup would be a crowd-pleaser, and also figured it’d be fairly easy to transport and keep warm,” says Melissa. “Bethany and I got together, picked out some recipes that looked delicious and started planning a couple weeks before the meeting.”

Melissa made the following soup recipes:

  • Curried Pumpkin Soup, page 49
  • Upsteam Brewing Company’s Smoked Gouda Beer Soup, page 59
  • Italian Vegetable soup, page 55

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For a side, Bethany chose Ron’s Wheatfield Cornbread, page 182, and for dessert, gave Very Rich Everything Bars, page 214, a try.

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“The cornbread was super easy,” says Bethany. “I do have a suggestion for the dessert, though. Use creamy peanut butter instead of crunchy for both the base and the fudge topping. I also used salted nuts, even though the recipe called for unsalted. It seemed to cut down the richness a little!”

DSC01436

Final consensus? Everything was a hit! The sausage soup was nearly gone and the beer cheese soup reheated wonderfully.  

“The Italian vegetable soup was a fairly quick, easy recipe and you can even save some time by eliminating the chopping and buying frozen spinach and carrots,” says Melissa. “I’d definitely make it again. In fact, I’d make them all again. I especially liked the Upstream beer cheese soup. I used a cheddar to supplement the Gouda, simply because it was a bit more economical for a double batch.”

Both Bethany and Melissa agree that the dinner was a success; board members all tasted several Toast to Omaha recipes for the first time and everyone seemed excited to make them again! Hopefully, it got members thinking about what they can submit for the next Junior League of Omaha cookbook!

The Cookbook Committee is currently planning for the upcoming edition, A Century of Serving, and looks forward to hosting tasting parties beginning this summer to choose the entries for the anniversary cookbook. Be on the lookout for recipes you’d be interested in submitting – and if you’d like one of the special edition Junior League of Omaha aprons, orders will be available soon at jlomaha.org.