It wouldn’t be the holidays without catching up with friends and family and coming together for a fun holiday brunch with friends that I only get to see a couple times a year. There’s nothing better than gathering in the kitchen and around the table to eat, drink, and laugh together over some great food and drinks.
We decided to all bring a dish for our brunch (I love potlucks!) – I made a Caramelized Onion, Ham and Gouda Tart, my Sister brought a Pear, Bleu Cheese, Cranberry and Toasted Pecan Salad with Honey Vinaigrette. We also had homemade Chicken Empanadillas from my friend Julie, a Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Casserole by Donna (our gracious host!) and Rachel’s Brown Sugar Butter Monkey Bread was to die for! Teresa brought some gorgeous Christmas cookies and Peppermint Bark for dessert. Here’s a roundup of our recipes for the perfect holiday brunch..enjoy!
This savory tart recipe is perfect for the holidays and easy to make. You can either make it in a 9-inch tart pan or in a pie dish. It has tons of chunky ham, lots of gooey melty cheese, and caramelized onions, covered in a creamy egg custard with herbs baked in a crunchy, flaky pie dough. You could also substitute crispy bacon or prosciutto for the ham, and use any melty cheese you like. The caramelized onions and garlic give it a tangy sweet flavor that goes perfect with the cheesy creamy custard.
- 1 refrigerated pie shell dough (fresh or store-bought)
- 1 cup cooked and cubed ham
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup light cream
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup Gouda cheese, sliced or shredded (can also substitute Gouda, Cheddar or another soft cheese that melts well)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll out pie dough into a 9" pie dish, overlapping dough 1 inch over edge of pie dish. Flute edges.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, add olive oil and butter and onions.
- Saute onions for about 5 minutes until soft, add maple syrup and stir.
- Saute onions for another 5-10 minutes until they become caramelized and golden brown, add garlic and cook another minute or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk together sour cream, egg, egg yolk, light cream, fresh thyme, parsley and salt and pepper to make the custard filling.
- Scatter the caramelized onions into the pie shell, and top with diced ham and cheese.
- Pour custard over the top evenly into the shell. Bake tart for 10 minutes.
- Take tart out of the oven and cover the crust edges with strips of foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown..
- Let tart cool on a wire baking rack, cut into wedges and serve.
- Note: if using homemade dough, pre-bake tart shell covered in foil with dried beans or pie weights at 400 degrees F for 15-17 minutes, then and add meat and veggies and custard filling and bake for additional 20 minutes or so until the tart is set.
Recipe inspired by Andrew Zimmern's Bacon-Onion Tart, Food & Wine Magazine
This is one of my favorite Winter salads made with a gorgeous combination of flavors and textures. It has fresh sliced pears, toasted pecans, crumbly bleu cheese and red onions, bathed in a slightly sweet honey vinaigrette.
- 3/4 cup pecans, toasted
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 1/2 head romaine lettuce or 1/2 bag mixed greens, chopped
- 1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
- 3/4 cup crumbly bleu cheese
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1-2 pears, cored and sliced
- 3 tbsp veg oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey, heated
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes until lightly browned.
- Chop lettuces and slice onion, add to large salad bowl with cranberries.
- Core and cut pears into thin slices. Toss some into salad, save some for topping.
- Heat honey and make dressing; toss with salad ingredients, top with crumbly bleu cheese and sliced pears.
- Combine vinegar, warmed honey, salt and pepper in a blender or whisk together well in a mixing bowl.
- Slowly stream in olive oil whisking vigorously until all oil is blended into a gorgeous vinaigrette dressing.
- Toss with salad ingredients.
This is a classic recipe for Chicken Empanadillas (or empanadas). It has a flaky buttery dough surrounding a savory mixture of shredded cooked chicken, onions and spices, then lightly fried to crispy golden brown perfection. Serve with fresh tomato salsa for some extra heat and Latin flavor.
- 1 tbsp. Evoo
- ½ lb. cooked chicken breast & thigh
- ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- ¼ cup Tomato Sauce
- 6 Spanish Olives Stuffed with Minced Pimientos, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. Sofrito
- 1 packet Sazón with Coriander and Annatto
- 1 tsp. Minced Garlic or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. Dried Oregano Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 package (14 oz.) Discos (Yellow), thawed Corn Oil, for frying
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shredded chicken and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon, about 10 minutes.
- Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more.
- Stir in tomato sauce, olives, Sofrito, Sazón, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
- On a lightly floured work surface, using a rolling pin, roll out discos until ½” larger in diameter. Spoon about 1 tbsp. meat mixture into middle, fold in half to form a half moon; moisten edges with water and pinch to seal closed, or seal with a fork.
- Fill a deep saucepan with oil to a depth of 2½”. Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking (350°F on deep-fry thermometer).
- Cook Empanadas in batches until crisp and golden brown, flipping once, 4 – 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of salsa.
- Makes 10 to 12 empanadillas.
This is a healthy and delicious gluten-free egg casserole made with spinach, sautéed mushrooms, onions and cheese baked into a fluffy savory dish that will feed a crowd and leave room for the heavier fare at the brunch table.
- 1 large bag (10 oz. each) spinach
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
- 1 1/2 packages (8 oz. each) sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Bisquick® mix
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs
- Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle spinach, 1 cup of the cheese, the mushrooms and onion in pie plate.(I personally recommend sautéing the onions and mushrooms for a few minutes first to soften them before adding to the casserole.)
- In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate.
- Bake 35 to 38 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
- Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
This recipe for Monkey Bread is sure to be a huge hit at your next brunch gathering with friends. It's super easy to make, using Pillsbury biscuits and is topped with brown sugar, butter, walnuts and cinnamon baked into a caramelized construction of sweet buttery goodness. It won't last longer than 5 minutes - promise!
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
- Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large -storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts among the biscuit pieces.
- In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
- Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.
Recipe from Pillsbury.com
As I reflect on 2013, this has been a year filled with challenges and opportunities, adventures and growth both personally and professionally. Good times and bad times, which I’m thankful for and have made me stronger. Wishing all of you a Happy New Year 2014 and health, happiness and good eating! Cheers! xx