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Eggs Benedict (An Easter Brunch Classic)

Eggs Benedict

Is there anything on Earth that says “special occasion breakfast” more than Eggs Benedict? I think not. Which is why that is exactly the dish that popped into my brain when I was deciding which Easter Brunch recipe to share this year. I love a good French Toast Casserole , or Egg and Asparagus Strata, and don’t even get me started on this Quinoa Egg Breakfast Bake, but sometimes nothing but the classic will do!

Better still, this version leverages what I call a “Quick Hollandaise” technique that reduces the risk of the sauce separating (the classic Hollandaise fail). You’ll use a blender to make it happen – and just wait till you see how easy it is!

Now, these little yummies lean toward the indulgent with the Hollandaise, so if you’re trying to be extra careful, use a light touch with the sauce. After all, you need some room for the chocolate and jellybeans coming your way later that morning!

 

Eggs Benedict (An Easter Brunch Classic)

serves 4

Ingredients:

8 slices of Canadian Bacon

8 large eggs

8  tsp. white vinegar

4 English muffins

20 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

6 egg yolks, raw

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1 tsp. salt

Dash of cayenne pepper

4 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

1. Bring a large sauce pan filled 2/3 of the way with water to a boil, add in the white vinegar and bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and keep it barely at a simmer.

2. Cook Canadian bacon according to package instructions and keep warm.

3. In a blender combine egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper and blend until combined.

4. Melt butter in microwave and slowly pour into the blender while it is running…the sauce should thicken almost instantly. Keep warm!

5. Crack each egg individually into a bowl and gently lower each egg into the water to poach. Once one begins to solidify, add another egg to the water until all 8 are cooking. Then turn off the heat, cover the pan and let sit for 4 minutes. Once they are finished cooking carefully remove with a slotted spoon.

6. While eggs are cooking, toast the English muffins.

7. To assemble, place one slice of Canadian bacon on each English muffin half, then gently place a poached egg on top of the bacon before spooning Hollandaise sauce over the egg. Sprinkle parsley on top before serving.

 

 

 

Polenta Bake with Butternut Squash

polenta-bake-butternut-squash

Here’s a great rainy day meatless meal that feels like comfort food but is still healthy as can be. We’re using precooked polenta which comes in a log shaped package for you to slice or dice.  If you also buy pre-cut butternut squash, this dish is as easy as pie to assemble!

All this needs for balance is a big green salad with a pungent vinaigrette. Something like this one would be lovely.

Polenta Bake with Butternut Squash

Ingredients

1 log (24-oz.) precooked polenta
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 jumbo onion, cut into .25-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. of butternut squash, peeled and  cut into 3/4-inch pieces (or buy precut!)
1 1/4 cups low-fat (1%) milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Cut polenta log crosswise in half, then cut each half lengthwise into 4 slices. Lay 6 of the polenta slices side by side in an 8-inch square ceramic or glass baking dish. Cut remaining 2 slices into 1/4-inch dice and set aside.

2. In nonstick skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash; cover and cook 15 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, checking and stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, in 2-cup measuring cup, stir milk, cornstarch, salt, pepper and 4 Tbsp. Parmesan together until well combined. Add to skillet and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Bake polenta slices in baking dish 10 minutes, or until heated through. Spoon squash and sauce mixture over polenta slices; top with diced polenta and remaining 2 Tbsp. Parmesan. Put dish back into the oven and bake another 5 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

Skillet Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, White Beans, and Olives

penne with cherry tomatoes

Next up in our meatless Lenten meals series is this one dish skillet penne. The beauty of this dish is that the whole thing cooks in ONE POT keeping the mess to a minimum and cleanup to minutes. It will seem a little strange to cook pasta in a nonstick skillet, but a pot is a pot, and this definitely works!

Once the pasta cooks, instead of draining it, you’ll simply add the other ingredients, and the leftover thickened cooking liquid will form the basis for the sauce. Easy peasy.

Skillet Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, White Beans, and Olives

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 cups water
8 ounces penne pasta (2 1/2 cups)
1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Directions

1. In a 12″ nonstick skillet, combine broth, water, penne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until penne is tender and liquid has thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.

2.While the pasta cooks, cut the tomatoes and chop the olives.

3. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and olives, and cook until they are heated through, about 2 minutes.

4. Off the heat, stir in basil, Parmesan, and olive oil. Squeeze a lemon over the whole dish, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

* adapted from Cooks Illustrated