SIZZLE SIMMER SAUTÉ–Hop on over for Easter brunch

Jennifer Alexander Ruple

It’s time to plan your holiday menu because Easter’s on its way. Get the celebration started with savory Ham and Spinach Puffs. Need brunch for a bunch? Make Chorizo and Potato Breakfast Bake and pair it with a crisp spring salad drizzled with cool ranch dressing. Here’s to a happy Easter and warm, sunny spring! 

Chorizo and Potato Breakfast Bake

This hearty casserole is an egg-cellent option to add to your Easter breakfast or brunch buffet. The sweet, spicy chorizo is just enough to give this dish a little kick. To make it vegetarian, swap out the chorizo with a soy, plant-based version. I found a great one at Trader Joe’s. 12 servings

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 20-ounce bag diced potatoes with onions
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 12 ounces chorizo sausage
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and onions and diced bell peppers, cook covered for 10-12 minutes or until soft. Remove from skillet and set aside. 

In the same skillet, cook chorizo, breaking it into bits, until no longer pink inside. Drain. 

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half and 3/4 cup of the cheese. 

Coat a 13 x 9 baking dish with baking spray. Add potatoes and then sprinkle on the chorizo. Pour egg mixture evenly over chorizo. Top casserole with remaining cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is set. 

(Recipe by Jennifer Alexander Ruple)

Ham and Spinach Puffs

It’s hard to go wrong with puff pastry anything. Layers of thinly sliced Black Forest ham, Dijon mustard, fresh spinach and creamy Gruyère cheese make these puffs perfect as an appetizer or a side dish. Makes 18 puffs.

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry

3 cups chopped fresh baby spinach

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Flour for the work surface

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Cooking spray

18 thin slices Black Forest ham (about 9 ounces)

4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

Remove the puff pastry dough from the freezer and its packaging. Let thaw at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes until it unfolds easily.

Heat oven to 400 F. Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine the spinach, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to lightly coat. Set aside.

Lay out the thawed pastry sheets on a lightly floured work surface. Cut each into 9 even squares, for a total of 18.

Spread the mustard in a thin layer over each dough square and top with a ham slice, folding the slices as needed to fit.

Lightly spray 18 cups of two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray (if the pan is not nonstick). Set a prepared dough square into each cup and gently nestle it in. The sides should ruffle. Drop about 2 packed tablespoons of spinach evenly into each cup and top with about 1 tablespoon of Gruyère.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the puffs from the pans and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in a toaster oven. 

(Recipe from Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Table Volume 2, HarperCollins Publishers, 2020)

Spring Garden Salad

Fresh from the garden, baby lettuces, spinach and peas are tossed with radish slices and carrot shavings. Top it off with your favorite ranch dressing.

 4 servings

2 cups baby lettuces

2 cups baby spinach 

1/2 cup baby peas

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

1 medium carrot, shaved

Ranch dressing

In a large bowl, toss lettuces then top with

 peas, radishes and carrots. Drizzle with Ranch dressing.

(Recipe by Jennifer Alexander Ruple)

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