IPC Women's Brunch and Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Fall is a beautiful time of the year in Savannah. And it was a perfect time for the women of the church to gather to fellowship and to plan our annual activities. Last Saturday at Point Pleasant, we had a wonderful brunch thanks to Jina, IPC's renowned "Macaron Lady". I love working with Jina because her beautifully created sweets make what little I contribute look so wonderful. Thank you, Jina, for all your hard work! Check out her adorable, whimsical blog, Pink Piccadilly Pastries.

Brunch Menu for 160:

Sausage and Sundried Tomato Breakfast Casserole
Fresh Fruit Salad
Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Almonds
Pumpkin Pie Shortbread
Chocolate French Macarons with Caramel Buttercream
Cherry Cream Tarts
Toffee Crumble Scones
Lemon Petits Fours

The tables were decorated by our 12 elders' wives for the ladies in their own care groups.

And their favorite tea pots and china graced the tables.

We truly had a wonderful time together....

Jina's beautiful sweets..

Lemon petits fours, so dainty.

I did not have the time to make the quiche crusts for 160+ servings so I opted for a breakfast casserole. No prep photos today but here are the recipes and make-ahead tips.

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Sausage and Egg Casserole with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 8-10

6 slices of soft white bread
3 tablespoon softened butter, divided
12 Jimmy Dean fully cooked sausage patties, crumbled
1/4 cup finely minced shallots
1/4 cup finely chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with 2 tablespoon of butter. Using remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, saute shallots in a frying pan in medium-high heat until softened, 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Spread bread slices in single layers on buttered baking dish.

Sprinkle half of the sausage mixture over bread and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Top with shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, remaining sausage mixture, and remaining cheese.

Whisk eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper. Pour evenly over casserole. Sprinkle chopped parsley. Wrap casserole with plastic and gently press down with one-cup measuring cup. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Let casserole stand at room temperature while oven is heating. Unwrap casserole, and bake until the edges and center have puffed, not too jiggly and top is golden brown, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve.

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Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Crispy Almond Slices
Serves 8

1/4 cup minced onion
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup blanched slivered almonds (about 3 ounces)

1 10- ounce bag ready-to-use spinach leaves
2-15 oz Mandarin orange segments, drained

Combine onion, cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, and paprika in small bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons sugar. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Dressing can be made several days ahead, but add onions later if dressing is made more than two days prior.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over. Stir until almonds begin to color, about 2-3 minutes. Spread almonds on a cookie sheet to cool.

15 minutes prior to serving, use half of the dressing to coat spinach leaves lightly. Mix in almonds and Mandarin orange segments. Serve salad, passing any remaining dressing separately.

For 160 persons:

Breakfast Casserole: Recipe x14, use disposable steam pans (half size)
Spinach Salad: 6 lbs of baby organic spinach leaves, dressing recipe only x4, 3 lbs of sliced almonds, 12 cans of mandarin orange segments
Fruit Salad: 4 whole pineapples, 4 cantaloupes, 10 pounds of fresh strawberries, 2 pounds of fresh raspberries, 2 pounds of blueberries


Easy Shrimp Salad

Here is a super easy shrimp salad which I serve at Wednesday noon service lunch when I am pressing for time. Though I am very exact with measuring baking ingredients, this is one of those simple recipes that you can "throw together" yet yield great result.

Here is what I call our "house dry rub". We keep this on hand in our church kitchen to flavor and season just about everything! I know it requires a few more than a handful ingredients , but it is worth the effort and you will have great tasting rub.

We use peeled 41-50 count shrimp (number of shrimp per pound). This comes in a frozen 5 pound block (check your local seafood stores). To thaw the frozen shrimp, run cold water over the shrimp in a colander. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels, and toss the dry rub and gently mix.

You know how I love this 4-burner griddle. Get the griddle super hot, drizzle some oil, then saute the shrimp. Don't over crowd the griddle, lest the shrimp will steam. Quick saute in small batches is the best.

When shrimp is cooked, quickly spread them on a large sheet pan and cool. A little dab of Hellmann's mayo, sour cream, and salt and pepper is all you need for this scrumptious shrimp salad.

Serve it on a garden salad or on a croissant.

Easy Shrimp Salad
Serves 2-4

1 lb of peeled raw shrimp (41-50 count)
2 teaspoon of dry rub (click here for recipe) or your favorite dry rub
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup of Hellmann's Mayo
2 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup finely diced celery (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toss together raw shrimp and dry rub. Heat a large frying pan to high until smoking point. Drizzle oil and coat the pan/griddle. Quickly saute the shrimp until cooked, 1-2 minutes. Do not over crowd the pan. Cool cooked shrimp completely. Add in a large bowl mayo, sour cream, shrimp, celery (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a bed of salad or on croissants.

Note: 10 lbs of shrimp will yield about 30 servings


Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

Cheesecakes are always well loved by my church family. And it was fun to make these rich and creamy chocolate cheesecake bars to satisfy all the chocolate lovers among us. I know it's risky trying a new recipe, especially when you have to multiply by 12, but hey, you gotta live a little, right? No, seriously, when you measure your baking ingredients by weight rather than volume, the results are much more consistent.

A good scale is a must for all church cooks as well as home bakers.

When making any chocolate dessert in large volume, I always take a few minutes and sift the flour if using, here cocoa powder and corn starch is sifted to avoid white clumps in dark batter.

Sprinkle the chips.....and bake.

And light fluffy, chocolatey cheesecake bars you will love....yum.

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Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

1-1/2 cups finely crushed Oreo cookie crumbs
3 tbsp. melted butter
8 oz softened cream cheese
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 egg
1 egg white ( 1 oz)
1/2 tsp. espresso powder, or instant coffee granules
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 c. dutch-process cocoa (1.38 oz)
1/3 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 325. Line 9x9 baking pan with 2 criss-crossed sheets of foil, coating lightly with oil spray.

Pulse 10 Oreo cookies in a food processor until fine. In a large bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and the melted butter. Using the bottom of an one-cup measure cup, firmly and evenly press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the baking dish.

Without rinsing the processor bowl, process the cream cheese and sour cream until blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Add sugar, egg and egg white and espresso powder; blend until smooth and combined. Add the sifted cocoa and cornstarch and stir until just combined.

Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 35-40 minutes, just until set.

Cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Lift out of the pan using the foil handle. Cut into squares.

Large Volume Baking Tips:

To make 225 pieces (Five 12x24x2 inch steam pans, cut cheesecake into 9 by 5 sections) :

For crust, use one 52.5 oz box of Oreo cookies (sold at Sam's Club), process and add 10 oz melted butter.

Then multiply remaining recipe by 12.

Egg whites in a container was used.

Bake until mixture is set but do not over bake.

Above cheesecakes were frozen for four days, then thawed completely before serving.


IPC Annual Low Country Boil for 325

Labor Day weekend is here! I so look forward to this weekend and here is why. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, my church has the Sunday evening services at Point Pleasant, a beautiful waterfront meeting house on Talahi Island( Click here to see the map). Since the congregation meets there for the evening service, so must their cook and the food, each Sunday night for 15 weeks.

Our off site kitchen is not quite equipped for large volume cooking, so dinners are prepared at downtown kitchen and transported to Point Pleasant. And it takes quite an effort to make and transport food for 300 each week. Not complaining, just super excited that beginning next Sunday evening, I can stay put and cook in my downtown kitchen!

And I am so grateful when Tim, IPC's renown grill/low-country boil meister and his team of deacons cook the last Sunday fellowship meal at Point Pleasant. IPC's Annual Low Country Boil is highly anticipated meal of the year, especially my me.

We have a saying here Savannah, "Friends don't let friends eat Gulf shrimp!" Who can resist fresh local Georgia shrimp? Tim purchased 70 pounds of these beauties from his shrimper-friend in Richmond Hill.

Only the fresh corn will do, no substitutions, please.

Instead of boiling the potatoes, Tim grilled 50 pounds of red potatoes, lightly oiled and salted with Kosher salt. So delicious!

Young and old alike, we just love this meal.

Especially with homemade ice cream made and brought by the congregation. Which flavor do you like?

Tim's wife, Tricia organizes this great church family tradition.

Even powder pink lemonade looks wonderful.

Our fellowship is sweet. Quite a setting, isn't it?

IPC children absolutely love this place during summer filled fun activities like swimming, ultimate frisbee playing and rope swinging after the meals.

And even though I am not thrilled about transporting food out here during summer, it's so worth it.....for my loving church family. And I will brace myself again next summer, with a smile and lots of prayer for God's grace and strength.

Low Country Boil for 325

Shrimp 70 pounds
Smoked Sausages 70 pounds
Red Potatoes 50 pounds, halved and grilled
Fresh Corn 120, shucked and cut into thirds (360 pcs)
Cocktail sauce 5 quarts
French Bread 375 pieces
Pimento Cheese Spread 7 pounds
Tossed Garden Salad (40 heads of Romaine hearts, 5 English Cucumbers, 10 pints of grape tomatoes, 6 red onions) with 4 quarts of homemade ranch.
Watermelons, 5 large seedless, sliced in small wedges
Homemade Ice Cream (made and brought by congregation)
Chocolate-Oatmeal cookies 300

Salt 4 pounds for cooking
8 limes for garnish
8 lemons for garnish
Old Bay optional


4-Burner Commericial Griddle

Here is one indispensable equipment in IPC kitchen: 4-burner commercial griddle with grease tray. I inherited this when I took on the church cook job four years ago and I absolutely love it! And each time I use it, I thank God the person who bought this for the church. This baby weighs close to 50 pounds, which proves that being a church cook is not for sissies.

Click here for more info and price comparison. And let me tell ya, it's worth every penny to have your meat beautifully seared or blackened!

Here are some ways we use this handy griddle in our kitchen.

Searing flank steaks for fajita wrap.

Stir frying rice for fried rice.

Quick sauté of frozen peas and shallots for a side dish.

Blackening chicken breast.

Stir frying beef for teriyaki beef.

Blackening tilapia before baking in oven to finish.

The uses are unlimited and using this griddle for quick sautéing, blackening, or searing the food add great flavor, not to mention the how great your food will look.


Rocky Mountain UGT-MC24 4-Burner commercial Griddle with Grease Tray
24inch x 24inch with 1 1/2 three sided edge
Made from thick 7 gauge steel
Approx. 45 lb.

For home cooks, click here for info on 2-burner griddles.