Sausage & Egg Casserole

Nora got me hooked on this every Christmas with my wife’s family.

1 lb. bulk or link sausage: crumbled, browned & drained (double this amount for bacon)
6 slices white bread: remove crust, dice
2 cups milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 lb. grated American or cheddar

Mix all of the above and refrigerate 12 hours, or overnight. Pour into greased 8×12 or 9×13. Cover with foil and bake in pre-heated oven at 325°F for one hour. Remove foil and continue to bake 15 minutes.

Chicken Piccata

This one got overhauled, too. See, Cliff and I are sort of what I like to call ‘sauce pigs.’ When I make something with a sauce that goes over rice or pasta or something, I tend to like A LOT of sauce. And I’m getting better at sauces, too. So it was time to update this one and we were very pleased with the outcome.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded and cut into strips
4 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 T olive oil
1 t oregano
1/4 c white wine
1/2 c lemon juice
1 c chicken stock
1/2 t tarragon
Capers
1 T cornstarch
1 T water

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Mix flour, salt, pepper and oregano in a shallow bowl, then dredge chicken through flour mixture and brown on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, scrape up browned bits on bottom of pan and deglaze with white wine, cooking for 2-3 minutes, then add lemon juice, chicken stock, tarragon and capers to pan. Bring sauce to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water to a slurry, then add to sauce, stirring frequently until sauce thickens. Return chicken to pan to warm until ready. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Gabe’s Family Hummous Recipe

Gabe’s grampa smuggled this recipe into the U.S. from Syria via Cuba back in the day.

1 19oz can of chick peas, or two of the smaller European-sized cans of chick peas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans, a.k.a. ceci beans, a.k.a. Kichererbsen
One Teaspoon of salt
Three tablespoons of Sesame Tahini (Ground Sesame Seeds in Olive Oil)
Four or five cloves of peeled garlic (you can use fresh garlic or minced in a jar)
Five tablespoons of Lemon Juice

1. Drain the chick peas and save the juice.
2. Dump everything else into the blender
3. Start blending and slowly add chick pea juice until you get the viscosity you like (we used about half of the juice we drained).

Note: we used 3 heaping teaspoons of minced garlic in our batch and it was strong enough for us.

We had some leftover minced parsley and threw that on there with a little olive oil and a dusting of Spanish pimentón (smoked paprika).

Sauerkraut & Sausage

This one comes courtesy of my mother-in-law. I was never a fan of sauerkraut in the U.S., partially because I came across it so rarely (my mother has this general distaste for cruciferous vegetables). When I moved up to Detroit and had my mother-in-law’s version, while it was a revelation, I didn’t have a burning desire to make my own. But then we moved to Germany and it was everywhere, so I decided I needed to learn to deal with it and do it well. It’s important to not over-rinse the sauerkraut; even if you’re not a fan of the tang, you’ll need it to balance the richness of the sausage and give the potatoes some flavor. And the apples don’t make it sweet, they just take some of the edge off of the cabbage.

2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 t caraway seeds
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 k/2 lb polish sausage, thickly sliced (kielbasa or Rohpolnisch are good here)
3-4 small potatoes, cut into chunks (about the size of a halved wine cork)
2 small cooking apples, cut into chunks (smaller than the potatoes – use tart apples if you want to avoid it being too sweet)
2 large cans sauerkraut, lightly rinsed and NOT squeezed out
1/2-1 c water

Heat oven to 175 C°/350 F°. Cut first 4 ingredients together and set aside. Heat a large, oven-safe Dutch oven with lid over medium heat and add sausage. Cook sausage until well browned, then remove Dutch oven from heat. Add potatoes, apples, sauerkraut and brown sugar mixture and stir until well combined. Add water and place in oven covered. Cook for about 2 hours, checking every 40 minutes or so to stir and add water if needed. It’s done when you can pierce a potato with no resistance.

Also works in a crockpot (low 7-9 hours/high 3-4) or on the stove top (low heat, stir more frequently).

Pierogi Casserole a.k.a “Rogi-Sagna”

It’s a lot of work and requires a lot of dishwork afterward, but man is it ever worth it!

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
450g bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
1 pkg Pasta Käse (=pasta cheese, because cheddar is damn near impossible to find in Germany)
salt and pepper to taste
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Place the potatoes in a large pot with water to cover over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, drain, then combine with the milk and 6 tablespoons of butter, mash and set aside.
3. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the bacon, onion and garlic in the butter for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bacon is fully cooked.
4. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions and cool under running water.
5. Place 1/2 of the mashed potatoes into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top this with 1/3; of the cheese, followed by a layer of lasagna noodles. Repeat this with the remaining potatoes, another 1/2 of the cheese and a layer of noodles. Then arrange the bacon, onion and garlic over the noodles, then another layer of noodles, and finally top all with the remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F (175°C) for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with sour cream and chopped fresh chives.

Chicken Curry

8 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinless
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, peeled and quartered
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 Tbs hot (Madras) curry powder
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce (443 ml)
1 (10 oz.) can coconut milk (295 ml)
4 whole cloves
4 pods cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
salt to taste

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry; season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then saute chicken until browned. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
2. Sauté onions in skillet until translucent; add ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, then stir in curry powder.
3. Return chicken to skillet and add tomato sauce, cocnut milk, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Season with salt to taste and stir all together.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through (no longer pink inside), about 20 to 25 minutes.

Tangy Sauerkraut and Bratwurst

2 lbs drained Sauerkraut (1 c juice reserved)
2 tsp Caraway Seeds
2 T Düsseldorfer Löwensenf Mittelscharf (or any medium-spicy german mustard)
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 C Beef Broth
1 pkg Nürnberger Bratwürste (any kind of available bratwurst will do)
2 bay leaves

1. Heat sauerkraut in skillet over medium heat. After heated through, add caraway seeds, mustard and black pepper.
2. In large flat pan, brown sliced bratwurst. Set aside.
3. Add sauerkraut juice, bratwurst, beef broth and bay leaves to sauerkraut. Cover and stir occasionally, until sauerkraut is slightly browned and most of liquid is cooked off.