Cooking with Tammy Kelly: Asparagus — the spring veggie loaded with health benefits

Cooking with Tammy Kelly: Asparagus — the spring veggie loaded with health benefits

Most of this menu can be prepared ahead of time and many of the main ingredients can be found locally grown!

Spring Brunch Bake 

8 cups cubed French bread

2 cups cut fresh asparagus (1-inch pieces)

1 cup cubed fully cooked lean ham

3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

6 large egg whites

3 large eggs

1-1/2 cups fat-free milk

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large bowl, combine the bread, asparagus, ham and cheese. Whisk the egg whites, eggs, milk, lemon juice and garlic powder; pour over bread mixture and stir until blended. Transfer to a 13x9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Cover and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 8-10 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6, each 1 piece serving contains: Calories 224, Fat 6 g, Protein 21 g, Carbohydrates 20 g, Fiber 0 g, Cholesterol 124 g, Sodium 640 mg.  

Asparagus Quiche with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

1 pie shell (partially baked

1/2 to 3/4 pound asparagus (trimmed, chopped) 

2 tablespoons butter 

1/2 cup mushrooms (chopped) 

4 green onions (with green, thinly sliced) 

1 small tomato (peeled, seeded, diced) 

1 1/2 cups/6 ounces Havarti cheese (or Swiss, shredded) 

4 large eggs 

1 1/2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk) 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/8 teaspoon black pepper 

1 dash nutmeg 

In a saucepan, cover asparagus with water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-low heat; add mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are tender; add green onions and cook for 1 minute longer. Set aside.

To partially bake the piecrust, line the crust with a sheet of foil and fill it with pie weights or dry beans. Bake the crust in a preheated 400 F oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil and reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. Bake the crust for an additional 8 minutes; remove to a rack to cool. Prepare the quiche filling and bake as directed.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange the prepared vegetables and shredded cheese in pie pastry.

Whisk together the eggs and half-and-half; add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables. Place the filled pie shell on a large cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Place in the oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the filling is set. A butter knife inserted in the center should come out clean.


Make Your Own Brunch Egg Cups 

(These are also great for a quick breakfast)

6 8-ounce microwave-safe ramekins 

Non-stick cooking spray

1 dozen eggs, 2 per portion

Fillings (Note: Quantities will vary based on the combinations you choose to add. Each Egg Cup used approximately ¼ cup of mixed fillings and ¼ cup of cheese total.)

Diced, fresh green and red peppers

Diced onion

Fresh Spinach, julienned

Sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced

Thick Cut Bacon, cooked and diced

Sliced deli ham, diced

Cooked sausage, diced

Pesto (jarred or fresh)

Fresh grape tomatoes, quartered

Cheddar Cheese and Monterey Jack Blend, shredded

Mozzarella, shredded

Swiss cheese, diced

Lightly spray each ramekin with non-stick cooking spray.  Add 2 eggs to each ramekin and beat well with a fork. (Alternately, in a small to medium bowl, beat the twelve eggs and divide evenly between the six prepared ramekins.)

Add the filling ingredients and cheese depending on which version you will be making (see below for recommended flavor pairings) and gently stir to combine.

Place filled eggcup in microwave one at a time, cover and heat on high for 30 seconds. 

Remove, stir and place back in the microwave uncovered and heat on high for 45 – 60 seconds or until puffed up and cooked in the center. If the center of the eggs are a little wet, remove them anyway as they will continue to cook in the hot dish. (Be careful; as the ramekins get hot so use potholders).

Repeat for the remaining eggcups and serve immediately.

Overnight Lemon-Glazed French Toast Bake

(Adapted from Blog, @Just Putzing Around the Kitchen)

French Toast Bake, sliced into ⅓ to ½ inch thick pieces

1 large loaf of French bread

1-1/2 cups skim milk

3 large eggs

1 lemon, zested

1 tbsp. vanilla 

½ tsp. ground cinnamon


Lemon Glaze

¼ cup butter (half a stick)

⅛ cup lemon juice

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp. light corn syrup

1 to 2 tbsp. skim milk

To make French toast bake:

The night before, lightly grease a square (8x8) baking dish with cooking spray.

Add the sliced bread in 3 rows of about 8 slices per row, slightly overlapping. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest.

Pour mixture evenly over your bread slices in the pan, making sure each piece is completely soaked in the liquid.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

When you're ready to cook/serve, take your pan out of the fridge and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake French toast for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

To make your lemon glaze:

While your French toast is baking, make your lemon glaze.  Melt your butter in a pan or skillet over medium heat.

Stir in granulated sugar, lemon juice and corn syrup until well combined and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and whisk in powdered sugar. This will make your glaze noticeably th

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