Breakfast, Egg Dishes, Recipes, Reviews

Cheesy Ricotta Frittata Cups #TheLostFamilySupperClub

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum’s newest novel, The Lost Family. I received an advanced copy of the novel to join with other bloggers in a virtual supper club to celebrate the book’s June 5 release. I was not compensated in any other way, and was not asked to provide positive feedback. All opinions are my own. 

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

Click here for more information about #TheLostFamilySupperClub, and to find what the other bloggers brought to this party!

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

Happy Sunday! First let’s start with the book… and then the food.

A description of the book from the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashing owner and head chef Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of eligible women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished.

Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Though she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.

Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page a husband devastated by a grief he cannot name, a frustrated wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both her own family and another lost before she was born. Spanning three cinematic decades, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love.

This book was absolutely captivating from start to finish. Even though it’s being released at the beginning of summer (well, almost), don’t think this is a light, beach read. Jenna Blum writes with such passion and depth that you will be drawn to the pages. It’s hard to put down!

I will warn you though, this story is bittersweet from start to finish. Every character’s flaws are readily apparent, if not to themselves, to those around them. Such is the human experience. Parts were tough to read, especially as you understand the various ways that Peter, June, and Elsbeth seek to deal with their individual pain and the shadow of Peter’s war experience on the whole family.

See, Peter lost his wife and twin daughters in the Holocaust, and has spent every moment of his life dealing with his grief and loss. Work is his method of coping, and Masha’s (named after his late wife) is the essence of their pre-war dreams. Sadly though, Masha’s does not survive either, and that (to me) seems to be a catalyst for change in the new family’s lives. And yet… there’s beauty in their pain, and redemption in their stories. I won’t give away the ending (READ THE BOOK!) but it is satisfying. The mark of a good story, in my opinion!

When I first started reading this book, I immediately understood WHY this book was being celebrated with a virtual supper club. The food is almost like a character in this novel! Jenna wrote all of us bloggers a sweet note (and sent chocolate!) about her love of food and the inspiration of many of the dishes in this book… “I LOVE FOOD, and I had a joyous time creating and kitchen-testing all the recipes for Masha’s menus in The Lost Family (there are two, Spring 1966 and Fall 1965). I relied on my German friend Christiane’s mother’s recipes, my childhood memories of my Jewish grandmother’s dishes, the Mad Men Cookbook and similar cookbooks from the 1960s, and ingredients from my garden.” Food was celebrated throughout the novel–everything from fancy German and Jewish cuisine served at Masha’s, to family meals, to Midwestern fare that June and Elsbeth eat when visiting June’s mother, and much, much more.

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

The two dishes that compelled ME the most though were not from any of these experiences. Actually, they came from the end of the book–scrambled eggs that Peter makes for his family on the regular, and a mushroom soup that he works to perfect with his daughter by his side. I was *this close* to recreating his mushroom soup (and I still might!) but it has been roasty toasty in Nashville lately, so soup hasn’t been something I’ve been craving.

But these eggs… don’t they sound delicious? This whole breakfast spread, really. “Sometimes, on Saturday mornings, if the Claremont had had a good night the evening before, Peter didn’t go in right away. He got up with Elsbeth, and they made breakfast: fresh-squeezed orange juice–naturally, Peter would not hear of juice from a carton or can. Braed toasted in the oven so it would crisp all the way through, Elsbeth turning it carefully with tongs. And Peter’s special scrambled eggs: first he caramelized onions in a pan, cooking them very slowly in butter until they were translucent; then he added eggs whipped to a froth, heavy cream, ham, fresh dill, and the secret ingredient: a dollop of Neufchâtel cheese. Elsbeth was always allowed to drop this last onto the dish from a wooden spoon. She had her own jacket with her name stenciled on the lapel, a mini chef’s hat, rubber clogs, and a special stool to stand on while she helped Peter stir and mince and measure. The Fabulous Rashkins, the called themselves, and when the food was ready to be served, they presented it to June at the table with a bow, Peter sweeping his hand to the right and Elsbeth to the left. “Ta da! The Fabulous Rashkins! Lo and behold!” (page 277)”

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

I am just in love with that scene. There’s so much happiness and joy between father and daughter. With the knowledge of what comes before and after (it’s actually a memory), it’s very poignant in the life of Peter, June, and Elsbeth. There’s performance and ritual and relationships… and caring for others through a purposeful, planned, and delicious meal. Though my eggs aren’t just like Peter’s in ingredients, they are in spirit: a way to care for my family through good food. These are the frittata cups that my son loves most for weekday breakfasts at school. And why wouldn’t he? These light and fluffy egg muffins are full of three types of cheese. The ricotta contributes to the lightness of the frittata cups, the Parmesan gives them a salty bite, and the cheddar on top gets all brown and crispy. Yum!

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

What I also love about the family breakfast scene is how Elsbeth helps her father in the kitchen. You can tell that this is a usual occurrence, not just an occasional thing. That is what I hope to accomplish with my son as he grows up, and he actually helps me make these muffins. He’s getting good with the whisk and loves to top them with cheese (and eat some too, haha… he is only two after all). I hope you enjoy these Cheesy Ricotta Frittata Cups, and The Lost Family. Let me know if you read it… I’d love to know what you think! 🙂

one year ago: Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip
two years ago: Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce 
three years ago: Southwestern Cilantro Mac and Cheese
four years ago: Black Bean and Rice Soup
five years ago: Blueberry Burgers
six years ago: Parmesan Garlic Rolls
seven years ago: Lemony Kale Pasta

Cheesy Ricotta Frittata Cups

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 12 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded (I’ve used Gruyere, mozzarella, and cheddar but fontina is suggested in the original)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with silicone liners (paper liners probably would stick, but I haven’t tried them).

Combine the eggs, ricotta, milk, Parmesan, and a generous amount of black pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine until the eggs are beaten. Transfer to prepared muffin tins, filling each well 1/2 to 3/4 full. Top with shredded cheese and chives.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the frittata cups comes out clean. Tops should be puffy and edges should be golden brown, just pulling away from the sides. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove individual frittata cups to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you do not use silicone liners, a butter knife can be used to loosen the frittata cups from the pan.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Frittata cups can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

Be sure to follow the author and sponsors!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary, advance reading copy of The Lost Family by Jenna Blum for my participation in the #TheLostFamilySupperClub party. All opinions are my own. I received no further compensation for this post.
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Breakfast, Pancakes, Recipes

Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples #FreshTastyValentines

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! 

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

Apples and peanut butter go SO well together. I started typing just a minute ago about how they were a great childhood snack, blah blah blah–then erased it because I realized I eat apples and peanut butter as a snack or add on to a meal several times per week. And I am most certainly not a child! 🙂 When I found out that Envy Apples was one of our sponsors for #FreshTastyValentines, my first thought was: I don’t want to BAKE with a new variety of apples. I want to eat them by themselves, dipped in peanut butter. But a blog post about that would be pretty boring. So I went with the next best option: pancakes.

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

If you  know me, you know I’m a breakfast girl. And pancakes are my breakfast food of choice. Homemade or at a restaurant–it doesn’t matter… and I must say, sharing a pancake recipe today is especially fitting because February 5, 2016 is the eight year anniversary of our first date: breakfast at Bob Evans, where we both ordered cinnamon pancakes [Ben copied me because he was too nervous to figure anything else out to order! What a guy! :)]. I’ve already made several versions of apple pancakes before–but then, yesterday, I had the genius idea to play up the apple PEANUT BUTTER element. And voilà–these pancakes were born.

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

They’re not just your average pancakes–these babies are thick, hearty, and filling. Adding peanut butter to whole wheat pancakes will do that to ya, and stirring in some protein-rich Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts [also another fabulous #FreshTastyValentines sponsor] makes them even better! These pancakes have the perfect blend of sweetness and nuttiness. I topped mine with some easy sautéed cinnamon apples and maple syrup, and oh man… what a breakfast! I used a combination of Envy apples and Gala apples in my apple topping [since Envy apples are a Gala-Braeburn hybrid, and I wanted to save one to try on its own]. If you can find Envy apples in your grocery store, snap them up quickly because they’re great–so crisp and sweet. And don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to win great prizes–including Envy Apples and Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts! 🙂 Happy Friday! And make these pancakes part of your weekend!

one year ago: Potato Rosemary Knots
two years ago: Lindsay’s Chicken Noodle Soup
three years ago: 60 Minute Sandwich Buns

four years ago: Loaded Sweet Potato Fries 
five years ago: Tomato Tortellini Soup

Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Print

pancakes adapted from my Go-To Pancakes

Ingredients:

for pancakes

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups skim milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter [I used a honey roasted peanut butter], melted in the microwave for 15 seconds if too thick to stir
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup finely diced apple [I used Envy Apples] – peeled or unpeeled depending on preference
  • butter or canola oil, for cooking
  • maple syrup, for serving

for Sautéed Cinnamon Apples  

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 medium apples, thinly sliced [I used Envy Apples and Gala Apples] – peeled or unpeeled depending on preference
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, hemp seeds, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and fold together gently to incorporate. Stir in apples until just combined. Batter may be lumpy. Let batter rest for 10 minutes.

While batter is resting, heat griddle over medium heat for cooking pancakes.

In a separate 10 inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. When melted, add apples and top with cinnamon, vanilla, and water. Stir to combine, then cook over medium heat, uncovered, until liquid starts to bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and cover, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and get slightly caramelized and juices thicken. Then reduce heat to low to keep warm while pancakes cook.

Pour batter onto hot skillet in 1/4 cup increments. Cook for two to three minutes on the first side until bubbles form, then flip and cook on other side until golden brown. Batter makes about 14 pancakes.

Serve pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples and maple syrup.

Notes:

You can use all-purpose flour in place of the whole wheat and white whole wheat flours, or use all white whole wheat flour too.

If you don’t have the hulled hemp seed hearts, you could substitute in flax or chia seeds, or some chopped nuts, or just leave them out.

Check out the other awesome recipes that our #FreshTastyValentines blogging crew have come up with at the link below. 🙂

Find Bob’s Red Mill

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here

Find Envy Apples

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
Disclosure: I received complimentary products from Bob’s Red Mill and Envy Apples for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill and Envy Apples for their sponsorship of this event!
Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes

Costa Rican Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs

Take an easy, frugal, staple meal up a notch with some new seasonings and a couple fried eggs. Great for dinner, lunch, OR breakfast!

Costa Rican Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.comBen and I eat rice and beans quite a bit. Usually white rice and black beans. Sometimes with a bit of butter, taco seasoning, salsa, veggies, and/or cheese. The combo varies quite a bit. It’s a great dinner that’s cheap, healthy, and fast. Win win win! Sometimes I like to mix it up though, so I’m always on the look out for new variations of this great meal. It seems every culture has their take on this meal… this is Costa Rica’s. I’ve never been there [but would love to go!] so I don’t know how authentic it is… but it is sure delicious!

Costa Rican Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.comWhat sets this version of beans and rice apart from the competition is two-fold.

  1. Instead of our usual “burrito bowl” style beans and rice mixture, after all the ingredients are prepped, everything cooks together on the stove for a little bit. This maximizes the flavor… namely the tomato-y sauce with cumin, garlic, and Worchestershire sauce [props to you if you have the authentic Salsa Lizano!]. It is so good, you guys!! This sauce makes the rice and bean mixture almost creamy, and very very flavorful.
  2. The fried egg on top. Ohhh man. Runny yolks + a creamy-esque mixture = heaven!

You’ve gotta try this! SO good. It’s not spicy or anything… just good, rich flavors. Worth the extra work for sure!

one year ago: Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches
two years ago: Kale Pesto Pasta
three years ago: Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Crostini
four years ago: Brown Sugar Fruit Dip
five years ago: Butterscotch and Chocolate Yellow Cake

Costa Rican Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

from Fine Cooking

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced [about 1 cup]
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced [about 1/2 cup]
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons Salsa Lizano; more to taste [or 3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce + a dash of molasses if you can’t find Salsa Lizano]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs [2 per person]
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Prepare rice according to package directions. You can use water or chicken/vegetable broth for the liquid, whatever you prefer. Keep covered after it is cooked.

While rice is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in cumin and cook another 30 seconds or so. Stir in tomato sauce, mixing until well incorporated. Add black beans and 1 cup of water or broth, stirring until combined. Reduce heat to medium-low then simmer until most of the liquid is reduced, about 4-5 minutes. Fold in rice and mix well, then add Salsa Lizano [or Worchestershire/molasses combo], and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Heat another skillet over medium high heat. Grease with cooking spray, then fry eggs to desired doneness. I like mine over medium, so I crack the eggs in the hot pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 3-4 minutes until whites are set, and the edges of the yolks are just beginning to set.

To serve, place a spoonful of rice and beans mixture on a plate or bowl and top with two fried eggs. Sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy!

Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Sides, Vegetables

SRC: Green Goddess Dressing

A creamy, tangy dressing filled with lots of fresh herbs and onions… green goddess dressing is divine! 

Hello, friends! What a week! We just moved and are getting settled in our new home. But I couldn’t miss out on the Secret Recipe Club this month so I made my recipe wayyy in advance. So unlike me. 🙂 This month I was given Jenna’s blog, The Painted Apron. Jenna is a lovely woman who gets to divide her time between Birmingham and Orange Beach, Alabama. She loves her family [just browse her blog for adorable grandkid photos! Awww.], football, and hospitality. My husband was very sad to learn that she’s an Alabama fan and wants to say GO BUCKS! OH! He’s a major Ohio State fan and is still basking in the glow of Big Ten > SEC victory in the National Championship last January.

Green Goddess Dressing | thepajamachef.com #src #salad

All that aside, it was so fun to check out Jenna’s blog this month. Some of the recipes that caught my eye included: Creamy Corn Dip, Cranberry Salsa [must make at Christmas!], Cinnamon Roll & Sausage Breakfast Pudding [this would be an awesome dish to make while on vacation… we always stay in condos so low-prep recipes are great!], Apple Pear and Walnut Gorgonzola Galette, and Savory Apple Pie Quesadilla. I must have been in a fall mood when I browsed her blog, but I eventually settled on this great salad dressing. I know I’ll be able to enjoy it all summer long!

Green Goddess Dressing | thepajamachef.com #src #salad

I’ve heard of Green Goddess Dressing before, but don’t really think I’ve ever had it before. Apparently it was concocted in the 1920s in San Francisco as part of a movie celebration. Fun! Truly, it reminds me of a more sophisticated version of ranch dressing. Creamy, herby, and tangy, this dressing is a fun creamy topping for salad. Traditionally, this dressing is made with sour cream and mayonnaise, but this time I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream because I had it on hand. We have enjoyed this dressing for the past two weeks on any and every salad we can find… but the first time, it was fabulous on a salad made up of red leaf lettuce, sauteed asparagus, sliced radishes, chickpeas, crumbled feta, and sliced hard boiled eggs. No matter how you serve it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! Thanks, Jenna, for a great recipe. 🙂

one year ago: Tropical Cake Mix Cookies
two years ago: Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake
three years ago: Reese’s Blondie Pie
four years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Green Goddess Dressing

  • Servings: 1.5 cups
  • Print

from The Painted Apron

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil [or basil paste from Gourmet Garden]
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley [or parsley paste from Gourmet Garden]
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice [from about 2 lemons]
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • crudites or salad, for serving

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a jar or small bowl, then process with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve as a dressing or dip. I enjoyed my dressing with this Asparagus and Chickpea Salad from A Nutritionist Eats [ingredients: red or butter lettuce, sauteed asparagus, sliced radishes, chickpeas, crumbled feta, and sliced hard boiled eggs].

Dressing keeps well in the fridge for about a week. Enjoy!


Check out all the other delicious recipes made by my friends in the Secret Recipe Club this month!

Breakfast, French Toast, Recipes

SRC: French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole is a great treat to wake up to! 

French Toast Casserole | thepajamachef.com #src #breakfast

Yay SRC! This is my second month participating in SRC group C and once again I had a blast! This month I was assigned to Jess’ blog, Pumpkins and Peonies. Two things I love! 🙂 Jess’ blog is beautiful and her love of life, pretty things, and delicious baked goods is SO apparent. Her wedding pictures are gorgeous too! I was tempted by many of Jess’ recipes including these Deep Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins, S’mores Cookies, and Popovers. In the end though, I decide to go with French Toast Casserole, because when is french toast wrong?!? Mmm!

French Toast Casserole | thepajamachef.com #src #breakfast

Jess made me fall in love with this French Toast Casserole when she said it was perfect… not too wet, not too dry, not too sweet. I’m sure you’ve had french toast that falls into any [or all] of those three categories, and this recipe does NOT disappoint! It’s practically foolproof too. I love simple recipes. 🙂

French Toast Casserole | thepajamachef.com #src #breakfast

The original recipe suggested using brioche or challah, but I used Texas toast and am happy to report that was an awesome choice. I just felt like it so I went with it. It’s still a soft, white bread so it works well, but use whatever you please.

French Toast Casserole4

This french toast bakes up nice and soft, with a sugary crust on the bottom and a nice crisp topping. Jess used pecans to top her french toast, but I just left them off. And this may go without saying, but this french toast makes weekend mornings even BETTER than they usually are. You can assemble the casserole the night before, and wake up and have breakfast on the table in less than an hour. Perfect-o! Enjoy! And thanks, Jess, for the great recipe!

one year ago: Tasty Mexican Lentils
two years ago: Quick Chocolate Pudding
three years ago: Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola
four years ago: Roasted Tomato & Black Bean Soup

French Toast Casserole

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

from Pumpkins and Peonies

Ingredinets:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 loaf brioche or challah, sliced [or I used Texas toast!]
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped [I left these out]
  • maple syrup, for topping
  • powdered sugar, for topping
  • fresh fruit, for serving

Directions:

Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together butter and brown sugar. Pour mixture into bottom of baking dish.

Arrange bread on top of brown sugar mixture, overlapping as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger. Pour over bread slices, then sprinkle on pecans if using. Cover with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, remove pan from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes while preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes, covering with foil partway through if the top starts browning too much. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving with maple syrup, powdered sugar, or fruit.

Be sure to check out what else my SRC pals made this month: