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As innkeeper and cook at our bed and breakfast in New Jersey, I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes. When the recipe book opens to the page on its own, you know it is a well-used and well-loved recipe! I have chosen easy and time-saving ones for you. The casseroles below are great made the night before and refrigerated. Try them, and then visit us here at the Island Guest House to taste ours in person!  

Make sure to always use high-quality ingredients and remember - it's all in the presentation! We have fresh mint, basil, and parsley growing right here in the garden, which we love to use to garnish our dishes here at the Inn.

The Best and Easiest Tropical Shake - Really healthy and good! Perfect for beating the summer heat. (144 calories per serving):

» 1 medium-size ripe banana, cut into 1-inch slices
» 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
» 1 medium mango, peeled and cut into pieces
» 1-1/2 cups pineapple-orange juice, chilled
» 1 (8-ounce) container nonfat vanilla yogurt

1.Toss the banana slices with the lemon juice; drain, saving the lemon juice. Place bananas on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-1/2 hours. (keep some frozen in a baggie for another time).
2.Process frozen bananas, reserved lemon juice, the mango, pineapple-orange juice, and yogurt in a blender until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the blender container.
3.Pour shake into chilled glasses. Serve immediately.

Our presentation: Use a tall glass and top with a sprig of fresh mint. Thread a piece of mango and a maraschino cherry on a straw and insert into the glass. We set the glass on a saucer with a small doily.

French Toast Topped with Peaches and Nuts

» 1 loaf of French or Italian bread - cut into 1-inch cubes
» 1/2 package of cream cheese (4 oz.), cubed
» 2 cups peaches, cubed
» 1/2 cup nuts, chopped.

Pam the pan and layer bread, then cream cheese, then peaches, and top with nuts.

» 1/2 cup syrup
» 1 dozen eggs
» 2 cups of milk
» 1 teaspoon cinnamon
» 1 tablespoon vanilla

Beat and pour over mixture
Bake at 325 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or try 350 for about 45 minutes, but you may have to cover with foil half way through.

Our presentation: This is cut into squares and served on a plate. Lay a nice sprig of fresh mint along side, with a few nice slices of the peaches. Sprinkle powdered sugar over everything, including the plate and mint leaf.

* There are 2 ways to serve this dish. This recipe shows how to prepare to serve as a casserole presented sliced into squares. You can also slice the bread to 1-inch thickness and place in dish, spread on the cream cheese, and top with slices of peaches and serve 2 slices per serving.

The Hash Brown Casserole

» 1 pound package of frozen, pre-cooked hash browns (or you can brown the ones which are not pre- cooked)
» 1 lb. bulk sausage or 1 lb. cooked ham, cubed.
» 6 eggs
» 2 cups of milk
» 1 medium onion, if desired
» 1 pepper, green or red, if desired.
» 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Pam the bottom of a large baking dish. Crumble the hash browns into the bottom of the dish. Brown the sausage, or cube the ham and scatter over the potatoes. Mix the eggs and milk and pour over the mixture. Dice the onion and pepper and scatter over the casserole. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

Our presentation: This dish is cut into squares, placed on a plate, and garnished with a nice sprig of parsley along side of the dish. I also scatter some (diced small) pieces of the pepper over the egg dish and the plate for color. I love the red of the pepper, the green of the parsley, and the yellow of the cheese together.