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The Voice of the Black Community
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Life and Religion

Easy recipes for Easter brunch
Savory bakes, desserts, sips and sides for a memorable celebration
 
Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014
by Special to The Post

PHOTO/MCCORMICK.COM
Cheesy Bacon and Egg Brunch Casserole, which can be made a day in advance, is an easy to prepare, crowd-pleasing dish.

Whether you’re entertaining for a big group or a small gathering, a successful Easter brunch starts with finding the right recipes to impress with less stress.

“The key to a great Easter brunch is building off the flavors your friends and family love like bacon, eggs, hash brown potatoes and French toast,” said Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens. “For your main dish, pick a casserole that can be assembled the night before for hands-off prep in the morning. Colorful individual desserts, like Easter-egg cake bites, cupcakes and mini cheesecakes, are easy to make ahead.”

With these make-ahead brunch dishes, single-serving desserts, easy sides and flavorful beverages from the experts at McCormick, this year’s menu is sure to please any crowd:

Cheesy Bacon & Egg Brunch Casserole

This classic brunch casserole made with three kinds of cheese and delicious seasonings can be made a day in advance, just pop in the oven and serve. Serves 12

Ingredients

8 slices bacon

1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 loaf (8 ounces) Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (5 cups)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup cottage cheese

5 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

2 teaspoons McCormick Mustard, Ground

1 teaspoon McCormick Black Pepper, Ground

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Nutmeg, Ground

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add onion to skillet; cook and stir 3 minutes or until softened.

2. Spread 1/2 of the bread cubes in 13x9-inch baking dish. Layer with 1/2 each of the onion, bacon, Cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. Spread evenly with cottage cheese. Top with remaining bread cubes, onion, bacon, Cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.

3. Beat eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk. Add milk, mustard, pepper and nutmeg; mix well. Gradually pour into baking dish. Press bread cubes lightly into egg mixture until completely covered. Let stand 10 minutes.

4. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown. Cooking Tip: Make Ahead: Casserole can be assembled 1 day ahead. Prepare as directed, increasing milk to 2 cups. Cover and store in refrigerator. Remove cover and bake as directed.

***

Mini Ham & Egg Quiche

With a unique ham “crust,” these mini quiches will impress your guests with savory spices and creamy goat cheese. Prep the egg and spinach mixtures the night before so you can quickly assemble and bake. Serves 8

Ingredients

1 1/3 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/3 medium shallot, finely chopped

2 2/3 cups packed baby spinach leaves

5 1/3 ounces goat cheese (chèvre)

10 2/3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/3 tablespoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Tarragon Leaves

1 1/3 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Thyme Leaves

1/3 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt

1/6 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Black Pepper, Coarse Grind

16 thinly sliced deli Black Forest ham

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add shallot; cook and stir 2 minutes or until softened. Add spinach; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or just until wilted. Remove from heat. Add goat cheese; stir until well blended and melted.

2. Mix eggs, tarragon, thyme, sea salt and pepper in medium bowl until well blended. Add spinach mixture; mix well.

3. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin generously with no stick cooking spray. Press a slice of ham into each cup, pleating as necessary to fit cup. Pour egg mixture evenly into each cup.

4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until eggs are set. Run small knife or spatula around each cup to loosen mini quiches. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

***

Vanilla Coffee 

A few teaspoons of pure vanilla extract give brewed coffee a special twist. Try it with other extract flavors, like cinnamon and hazelnut. Let guests personalize their own with a sprinkle of cinnamon or ground nutmeg. Makes 6 cups.

Ingredients

3/4 cup ground coffee (regular or decaffeinated)

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

6 cups water

Directions

1. Place coffee and sugar in filter in brew basket of coffee maker. Place vanilla in an empty coffee maker pot. Add water to coffee maker; brew as directed.

2. Pour into serving cups. Sweeten to taste with additional sugar and garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

***

Cranberry Pineapple Punch 

Perfect for an Easter get-together, this punch is spiced with cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Serve chilled. Makes 13 servings.

Ingredients

1 bottle (64 ounces) cranberry juice, cocktail

4 cups water

2 cups pineapple juice

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon McCormick Cinnamon Extract

8 McCormick Cloves, Whole

1 teaspoon McCormick Allspice, Ground

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients in 6- to 8-quart saucepot.

2. Simmer 30 minutes or until hot. Remove whole spices before serving.

3. Serve warm or refrigerate to serve cold. Garnish with orange slices, if desired.

***

Easy Lemon Daisy Cupcakes 

Brighten up your springtime celebrations with a batch of daisy cupcakes. They’re as fun to make as they are to eat. Makes 18 cupcakes.

Ingredients

1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix

1 tablespoon (plus 2 teaspoons) McCormick Pure Lemon Extract, divided

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 package (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

10 drops McCormick® Yellow Food Color

18 large marshmallows

Decorating sugar

Jellybeans

Green sprinkles

Directions

1. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding 1 tablespoon of the lemon extract. Spoon into 18 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake as directed for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.

2. For the Frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and remaining 2 teaspoons lemon extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Stir in food color until evenly tinted. Frost cooled cupcakes.

3. To decorate cupcakes, cut each marshmallow crosswise into 5 slices. Sprinkle 1 side of each marshmallow slice with decorating sugar. Arrange 5 marshmallow petals on top of each cupcake to resemble a daisy, pressing the marshmallows into the frosting. Place jellybeans in the center of the petals. Garnish with sprinkles.

***

Easter Egg Cake Bites 

Make Easter even more festive and delicious with egg-shaped cake bites. Give the crumbled cake filling a light lemony flavor with Pure Lemon Extract. Makes 24 servings.

Ingredients

Cake Bites:

1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix

2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Lemon Extract

McCormick Assorted Food Colors & Egg Dye

1 cup marshmallow crème

1 bag (14 ounces) white confectionary coating wafers

Decorating Glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons water

McCormick Assorted Food Colors & Egg Dye

Directions

1. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding lemon extract and desired food color. Bake as directed on package for 13x9-inch baking pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

2. Crumble cake into large bowl. Add marshmallow crème; mix until well blended. Shape into 1-inch balls then roll to form an egg shape. Refrigerate 2 hours.

3. Melt coating wafers or white chocolate as directed on package. Using a fork, dip 1 cake bite at a time into the confectionary coating or chocolate. Tap back of fork 2 or 3 times against edge of dish to allow excess to drip off. Place cake bites on wax paper-lined tray.

4. For the Decorating Glaze, mix confectioners’ sugar and water in small bowl until well blended. Tint with desired food color. Using a fork, drizzle glaze over cake bites. Let stand until glaze is set. Cooking tip: To prepare cake bites in multiple colors, divide prepared cake batter into 2 or 3 bowls. Tint each batch with desired food color. Pour into muffin pan. Bake as directed on package. Crumble cake into separate bowls. Divide marshmallow crème among bowls. Continue as directed.

Visit www.McCormick.com for more Easter recipes.

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