Janet's Notebook
Start The Day The RIght Way... With A Special Brunch!

Cassie's Italian Homefries

Looking to pay tribute to the wonderful women in your life? Well, how about starting with brunch. I've yet to meet anyone, especially a woman, who doesn't just love it! There's something so very special about the warmth and togetherness that comes with a well made mid-morning meal. You get all the homeyness of breakfast fare with the zip and panache of a cocktail party. Heck, if you want you can even have the cocktails, too!

In the Test Kitchen we love finding new recipes that have the heirloom quality of the treasured dishes we've had in our recipe boxes for generations. That's just how we feel about Cassie Long's Italian Homefries. This wonderful recipe takes delicious fried potatoes and dials them up to fabulous!

"My family loves these for breakfast," smiles Cassie, a home cook from Pennsylvania. "[They're] so tasty, yet simple"

Start with sauteed peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic, toss in some kicky Italian sausage, add your potatoes, then finish it off with gooey cheese and ample seasoning! The result is a beauty of a dish fit for any meal of the day. Like Cassie, my family loves these as much for dinner as they do with their breakfast.

In addition to stunning starches, every brunch needs a show stopper recipe. I suggest giving the honors to Nicole Hood's recipe for Red Velvet Waffles with Cream Cheese Glaze! My, oh my, they're pretty and, yes, taste as good as they sound.

"I made this recipe for my Momma on Mother's Day last year! She is my best friend and my cooking mentor so I know [she'd] love a Southern brunch," says Nicole. "These chocolate waffles are rich and moist and the sweet cream cheese glaze and crunchy pecan topping makes them a decadent and delicious meal that any mother would love!"

Hear, hear! I mean, who wouldn't love to be served such a darling (and decadent) brunch treat? We're obsessed with the glaze, the vibrant color, the flavor and... well... everything about this dish! Waffles are a great way to introduce savory flavors into a brunch as well, so feel free to get creative with your ingredients. Nicole went for chocolate, how about you? Almond? Mocha? The possibilities are deliciously endless.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking, "But Janet, what about the doughnuts?" Pack your sweet tooth and brew up some coffee, because I've got a Berry Cream Cheese Danish that is the perfect, brunch-ready alternative to traditional doughnuts.

"I created this recipe using a combination of recipes that have proven to be tried and true winners over the course of 30 years," says Cheryl Mills, the home cook behind this wonderful sweet bread. "[I] hope you enjoy it as much as my family, friends and co-workers."

In my experience, a great danish typically leads to a great day, so take no chances... try this first thing tomorrow! Just imagine starting your day with homemade sweet bread filled with vanilla-infused cream cheese that has been laced with cinnamon coated strawberries & blueberries! And, oh yes, don't forget the gooey glaze.

While no recipe can ever pay full tribute to the special women in our lives, it surely is a start. Many of these ladies - moms, grandmas, aunties, friends - have spent years making sure that we never went hungry or wanted for more. Why not show them how loved a well-cooked meal can make you feel? They deserve it...and so do you.

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Susan Feliciano - May 4, 2013
My husband and daughter made me the red velvet waffles last year for Mothers Day. Excellent! and such a nice gesture considering all the cooking I've done for them over the years. All cooks like a day off once in a while!
I think there are some pictures of them posted in the recipe:
Red Velvet Waffles with Cream Cheese Glaze
Jeanne Gliddon - Apr 30, 2013
I love a brunch. I have started a tradition of a Thanksgiving Brunch where I have Paula Dean's Baked French Bread Casserole with warm pure Maple Syrup that has the butter already melted in it. Scrambled eggs that includes crumbled cooked bacon, chopped green bell pepper, yellow onions, and tomatoes, topped off with melted grated cheddar cheese. Then there is always plenty of crisp bacon and sausage links to make everyone happy. I include Peach Champagne for good measure and everyone is very happy and content after eating the meal. Then they head off to other relatives homes for their turkey dinners and we settle down for a very relaxing rest of our Thanksgiving day.