Brunch, the New At-Home Happening

Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Field Greens with Oranges, Strawberries and Vanilla Vinaigrette
Stuffed French Toast

(Family Features) Brunch is the ultimate way to gather friends and celebrate special occasions. Instead of going out, host your brunch at home where you can relax and make everything delicious with your favorite flavors from McCormick.

"An at-home brunch is the perfect opportunity to express the flavors of the season with herbs and spices - sweet and warm cinnamon brightens Stuffed French Toast, while lively ginger, savory thyme and unmistakable vanilla all contribute to an unforgettable occasion your guests will enjoy," said Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens.

Harrington shares ideas for successful brunch entertaining, including adding fresh twists to popular dishes, like the distinct taste of a vanilla vinaigrette on a field green salad. She suggests heightening the flavor of favorite dishes with a mix of herbs and spices. Try picking recipes that can be prepared the day before, like Lemon Cheesecake Bars, or welcome guests with a Be Your Own Flavor-ista coffee station that can be set up in just a few minutes. Need help getting started? From sweet to savory, McCormick has recipes to inspire your table; check out www.McCormick.com for tips and tricks to hosting the ultimate weekend celebration.


Be Your Own Flavor-ista

Create an at-home coffee bar where guests can customize their drinks by adding their own toppings, like shaved chocolate spiked with cinnamon or whipped cream brightened with almond extract. For a splash of spring color, make your own homemade colored sugar with McCormick Food Colors to add a special sparkle to your favorite desserts.



Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Lemon Extract
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 eggs

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and ginger. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add milk, flour and extracts; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust.
  3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.
  4. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into bars. Garnish as desired. Store leftover bars in refrigerator.

Serves: Makes 24 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Berry Topping: Garnish top of cheesecake with 4 cups assorted berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries and raspberries. Brush berries with 3 tablespoons currant or apple jelly, melted and cooled slightly.

Flavor Variations: Prepare as directed. Use 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Orange Extract or 2 teaspoons McCormick Raspberry Extract in place of the Lemon Extract.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 198; Total Fat: 14g; Cholesterol: 63mg; Protein: 3g; Carbohydrates: 15g; Sodium: 159mg

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Refrigeration Time: 4 hours


Field Greens with Oranges, Strawberries and Vanilla Vinaigrette

Ingredients

Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Black Pepper, Ground
Salad
  • 1 package (6 ounces) field greens or baby spinach leaves
  • 2 seedless oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 cups strawberry halves or slices
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

Preparation

  1. For the vinaigrette, mix all ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended.
  2. Toss greens with oranges, strawberries and pecans in large bowl. (Or divide among individual serving plates.) Serve with vinaigrette.

Serves: Makes 6 servings

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 231; Total Fat: 19g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Protein: 2g; Carbohydrates: 13g; Sodium: 208mg

Preparation Time: 20 minutes


Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 tub (8 ounces) whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, divided
  • 16 slices Italian bread (1/2 inch thick)
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves or jam
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided

Preparation

  1. Mix cream cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla in small bowl until well blended. Spread 2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture on each of 8 slices bread. Spread 1 tablespoon preserves on remaining 8 slices of bread. Press one each of the bread slices together to form 8 sandwiches.
  2. Beat eggs with wire whisk in 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Stir in milk, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until well blended. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture, soaking for 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet or griddle on medium-low heat. Place 4 sandwiches in skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches, melting remaining tablespoon butter in skillet. Serve French toast with maple syrup, if desired.

Serves: Makes 8 servings

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 398; Total Fat: 18g; Cholesterol: 173mg; Protein: 12g; Carbohydrates: 47g; Sodium: 496mg

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

SOURCE: McCormick

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