Broccoli, Cheese & Bacon Breakfast Bake

I love breakfast casseroles, but most recipes seem to be designed for 13×9 pans — great for feeding a crowd, but too much for those times I want to make something special just for my own little family. Here’s a scaled-down version that can be done in an 8×8 pan or 2-quart casserole dish. It uses ingredients we tend to have on hand, so I was able to whip it up this past weekend without a trip to the grocery store. Bonus: If you use Corning Ware, you can saute and bake in the same dish!

Adapted from Food Network’s Mix-and-Match Brunch Casserole.

Serves 6


3 oz bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
3 cups stale bread, torn into roughly 1-inch cubes (not too dense — I used leftover hamburger buns)
1 cup shredded cheese (any type — I used a Mexican blend)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Saute the bacon over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the edges start to brown. Then add the onion and broccoli, and saute until the broccoli starts to cook but is still crunchy. Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in the bread and 3/4 cup of the cheese. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, salt and pepper (to taste), then add to the veggie/bread mixture and toss until the bread is well coated. Let stand for a few minutes.

Pour into a greased 8×8 pan or casserole and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until the center is just set and the edges start to brown, about 40-50 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes, then serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-2-B Casserole, Pyrex Salad Bowl 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex 532 Measuring Cup  

Bok Choy Carrot Kimchi

Recently when a neighbor brought us a giant head of bok choy from his garden, I decided to finally get around to making something I’ve been wanting to try: bok choy kimchi. Some Googling suggested that bok choy is often paired with carrots in kimchi, and spring onions were in season at our farmers market, so that’s what I went with — not necessarily authentic, but delicious. I love how colorful this kimchi turned out, with the bok choy’s dark green leafy bits, big chunks of spring onion, bright orange carrots and red spices.

You’ll need to make a trip to the Asian grocery store to find gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and gochujang (Korean fermented red chili paste). They really are the foundation of kimchi’s flavor — no substitutions will do, though in a pinch you can omit the gochujang.


A few notes:

  • Chopping: If you’re wondering how thick or thin to slice your vegetables, think about how you will eat the finished product. Do you like to munch on big chunks, or do you prefer a slaw-like consistency? Chop accordingly.
  • Spice: Different brands of gochugaru will have different levels of spice, which obviously will impact the spiciness of your kimchi. You may need a couple rounds of experimentation to attain the heat you want.
  • Fermentation vessel: You can ferment kimchi in just about anything — a mason jar, a loosely covered (non-reactive) bowl, a ceramic crock. Mostly it’s important to keep the ingredients immersed in the brine. There are a variety of weights and mechanisms available to do so (e.g., I have used both Kraut Source and Pickle Pebbles), or you can use a zip-lock bag full of water to keep things submerged. I am the lucky owner of a fermentation crock hand made by my mother-in-law, complete with perfectly sized ceramic weights, so that’s my vessel of choice.

Recipe adapted from Kraut Source’s Traditional Kimchi.


3 lbs bok choy, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 stalks spring onion (or 8 green onion), chopped
1/2 cup sea salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar (aka “sugar in the raw”)
1/3 cup gochugaru
2 tbsp gochujang

In a large bowl, combine the bok choy, carrots and spring onions. Sprinkle with the salt and toss, massaging the veggies to ensure they are thoroughly salted. The bok choy should start to soften.

Add enough water to cover the veggies, then weigh them down with a plate and something heavy (like a glass of water). Let them sit for 1 hour, then drain, reserving and setting aside some of the brine. Rinse the veggies in a colander, let them drain for 15 minutes, and then return them to the bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, gochugaru and gochujang. Add to the veggies and mix, using gloved hands or a pair of tongs.

Pack the kimchi mixture into your fermentation vessel, pressing down firmly to eliminate air pockets. Top with some of the reserved brine — enough so that the veggies are just barely submerged. (The bok choy will release additional water during the fermentation process.) Cover with whatever weight and lid you’re using. Note: If you are not using an airlock mechanism, make sure your lid is loose enough to release the gas generated by fermentation.

Ferment at room temperature for at least 5 days, longer to taste. The kimchi should have a pleasant fermented odor — strong but not foul. Taste for doneness, then transfer to the refrigerator.

Pictured: Pyrex Gooseberry 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Glasbake J2663 Handled Bowl

10 Tips for Thrifting Vintage Pyrex

Hunting for vintage Pyrex in thrift stores has become one of my favorite pastimes. The thrill of seeing a piece on the shelf, the rock-bottom price tags, the satisfaction of cleaning a grimy dish and returning it to sparkling condition — it all adds to the fun of collecting. Here are 10 tips for making the most out of your thrifting experience.

  1. Go early and often. Many thrift stores stock their shelves multiple times a day, seven days a week. Collectible items like vintage Pyrex get snatched up fast, so the best way to get lucky is to hit up the stores frequently.
  2. Prioritize. It’s hard to scan for multiple items at once. Pick one type of Pyrex to look for — say, casseroles vs. mixing bowls — and focus on that first.
  3. Take another pass. On crowded shelves, great stuff can be missed. When you’ve finished looking up and down the aisles, go back through at least once.
  4. Look in unexpected places. Pyrex can turn up in the holiday section, in the plastics, in the cookware — a quick glance down the “wrong” aisle can turn up gold.
  5. Watch your competitors. Is anyone else shopping the same aisle? The items people pick up can clue you in on whether or not they’re looking for Pyrex. You might need to move fast to beat them to a coveted dish. Conversely, if there’s nobody around you can take your time to scrutinize every shelf.
  6. Check carefully for flaws. It’s better to discover chips, scratches or color loss (aka dishwasher damage) in the store rather than at home post-purchase. Then make an informed decision about whether or not you want to buy.
  7. Don’t overlook lids. In many cases, the lid is harder to find than the dish it fits. When you see a lid without its mate, it’s often worthwhile to grab it now and match them up later!
  8. Do some research. Try to get a feel for which patterns or sizes are common and which are harder to find. Should the dish have a lid? Is it part of a set? Could you get it for less on eBay?
  9. Ask for a discount. Don’t be afraid to ask (politely) for a better deal, especially if an item is damaged.
  10. Be choosy. It’s tempting to buy every piece you come across. But the reality is that most vintage Pyrex is not all that rare — you can find a lot of great dishes over time if you’re patient. Remember, chipped Pyrex should not be used in the oven, so chips take away from a dish’s value and utility. Dishwasher damaged Pyrex will never regain its shine. Some pieces you find might be severely overpriced, even in a thrift store. Keep all of that in mind, but if you love it, buy it!

Spring Onion, Barley and White Bean Soup

What do you do when you have spring onions from the farmers market and a big bag of arugula from your neighbor’s garden? Well, I start thinking about soup, the swirl of greens in a hearty mix of beans and barley, and bacon. It’s hard to go wrong with ingredients like that! The soup is a meal in itself but would also be good served with garlic bread or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Recipe very loosely adapted from The New York TimesBarley and Spring Onion Soup With Fava Beans.

Serves 6


3 oz bacon, diced
1/2 lb spring onions, sliced (bulbs and stems)
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup barley
5 oz arugula (or baby spinach)

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the bacon until the fat renders and the edges start to brown. Add the spring onions and cook until they are slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, beans and barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until barley is tender, about 1 hour.

Stir in the arugula and cook until wilted and the soup starts to simmer again, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-5-B Saucepot, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl

Whole Roasted Butternut Squash

Have you ever struggled to cut open a rock-hard butternut squash? It seems like every recipe calls for splitting the thing in half (somehow avoiding chopping off a finger in the process), scooping out the seeds and then roasting the halves in the oven. But there’s a much better way!

When you roast the squash whole, the skin becomes papery, the seeds and stringy bits can be scraped out with a spoon, and the flesh slices like butter. Couldn’t be easier!

After roasting you can cube it up, toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and throw it under the broiler until nice and golden brown. Or you can puree it for soup. Or you can slice it and turn it into a pizza topping (which is where this squash is headed).

The whole-roasted method is not my invention, but I don’t understand why it’s not more common. It works for pretty much any type of squash, too.


1 butternut squash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pierce the squash with a knife several times, as you would a baked potato. Place on an oven-safe dish or baking sheet (rack is optional). Roast until the squash is tender, about 1 hour.

Let rest until the squash is cool enough to handle. Cut off the stem and base, peel off the skin, scoop out the seeds and prep as desired.

Pictured: Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-10-B Square Skillet

7 Layer Chicken Chili and Cornbread Dip

A few years ago I came across a Food Network recipe for an eight-layer chicken chili dip and whipped it up for a Super Bowl party. It was fantastic, but so much work! It required a ton of chopping and prepping, and that got me thinking of ways to cut corners without sacrificing taste. For example, instead of dicing tomatoes, why not use pico de gallo salsa?

So for this year’s Super Bowl I’ve made the dip again, but with my own tweaks. I’ve swapped out ingredients for things that are easier to chop or don’t require chopping at all. And I’ve scaled up the recipe a bit to fit in a basic salad/mixing bowl. I’m pretty happy with the result! It’s still a little time consuming, but definitely easier than the original, and pretty tasty.

The dip is best served with a big spoon, so that you can scoop all the way through the layers, transfer to a plate and eat with tortilla chips.

Serves 16


2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (roughly 1 whole chicken)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 bunch chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 1/2 cups)
zest of 2 limes plus about 1/4 cup juice
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 heaping cups crumbled cornbread (about half a batch of cornbread from the Jiffy boxed mix)
1 16 oz container pico de gallo salsa, drained
1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions in the vegetable oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, salt and cayenne, then add the chicken broth and simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shredded chicken and stir until well mixed. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, cilantro, and lime zest and juice. In a separate bowl, stir together the corn and green onions.

In a straight-sided salad or mixing bowl, layer the dip in the following order: cornbread (tamped down gently), pico de gallo (use a slotted spoon so that you leave behind as much liquid as possible), black beans, cheese, cilantro-lime sour cream, chicken chili, corn and green onion mixture.

Chill, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pictured: Fire King Sunbeam Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-322 Square Cake Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex 532 Measuring Cup, Assorted Pyrex Round and Cinderella Mixing Bowls

Double Streusel Coffee Cake

This is my all-time favorite coffee cake: a simple white cake sturdy enough to hold plenty of crumbly brown sugar streusel. It comes from an old Betty Crocker recipe — when I was growing up, the 1969 edition of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook was my family’s go-to for a lot of baked goods. But over the years I’ve made a few changes — most importantly, I’ve always liked to double the streusel topping. It’s the best part! So here’s my take on updating the recipe with the “proper” amount of streusel.


2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter, softened

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.

For the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter, using a fork or pastry cutter to distribute the butter evenly. Set aside.

For the cake: In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the shortening and blend with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and egg, then pour into the flour mixture. Stir until all the flour is incorporated.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and top with an even layer of streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.

Pictured: Fire King Meadow Green Square Baking Dish, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Agee Pyrex Paisley Round Mixing Bowl, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup