The December challenge from Recipe ReDux? Reveal my favorite kitchen tool to help you with last minute Christmas shopping. Mine happens to be my favorite present from Christmas 2011 – drumroll please – a Cuisinart Griddler. I know I could name a few others but in the last 12 months I have used this appliance countless times for quick and healthy meals that my whole family loves. Here comes the infomercial – BUT WAIT – there’s more!! Not just for those gooey sandwiches that melt in your mouth in less than five minutes, but also – and here is what I love about it – turn the hot plates over and it becomes a griddle for quesadillas, pancakes and French toast, also grilling anything from seafood to chicken or pork and beef, grilled veggies anyone?! Simplicity and versatility are what matters to me in the kitchen and this one surpasses my needs in every way.
Normally I dislike specialty kitchen appliances because I have a small kitchen and little room to store them. I am maxed out with what I already have. But when I received this, I knew it would revolutionize our meals!
(Yes, there is a little bed hair in this picture – that’s what happens when the kids get you up at 5:30 a.m. to open presents on Christmas morning!)
Normally, every December becomes a mad rush of run here, run there and run everywhere with all the activities, events and shopping. BUT, this year I discovered the need for simplicity (my new favorite word) because of some serious anxiety issues I have been having that pretty much paralyzed me for a good three months. I wanted to do what was really important to my family and not just do things just to do them.
So I discovered the book by Karen Ehman “Untangling Christmas” – a lifesaver that even motivated me to create a Christmas Binder! What – a binder to help organize Christmas? Yes, BEST thing I have done in the last month. I have never felt more relaxed about the holidays until now.
I also happened past an awesome website by Kathi Lipp that included daily emails for “The Christmas Project” with simple tips and reminders to help make Christmas a more enjoyable time and not overwhelming with tasks. Small steps = major progress. On day 14, there was kitchen prep – planning meals for the month. And what comes to the rescue for easy meals that are still healthy? The Cuisinart Panini Press.
Watch this video clip for a simple recipe the whole family will love and will help prepare – thank you to CuisinArt for helping me get my kids in the kitchen with me more often.
Here’s the recipe:
Holiday Nog French Toast
• 8 -10 slices of Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin bread
• 1 cup Bolthouse Farms Holiday Nog
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 teaspoon sugar
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lay slices of bread on wire cookie rack and bake for 15 minutes. This will dry out the bread to keep from getting to soggy when cooking.
2. Meanwhile, mix nog, egg, vanilla and sugar.
3. Remove bread from oven. Preheat Panini press at 400 degrees using griddle side of plates. Dip bread in nog mixture and then place on griddle. Cook 4-5 minutes and then flip over and cook 2-3 minutes on other side. Serve with blackberry sauce (see recipe below).
• 2 cups washed blackberries
• ½ cup sugar
1. Pour blackberries into medium saucepan and pour sugar over top. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Gently boil for 10-15 minutes until mixture reduced by 1/3. Serve warm over Holiday Nog French Toast.
Wishing you love and joy in your kitchen all year round with your family in there with you! Please share how you have simplified your meals during the holiday season!