Tell Me a Story, I'll Bake You a Cake
Tell Me a Story, I'll Bake You a Cake
Perfect Bound Softcover
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Some of the stories in "Tell Me a Story, I'll Bake You a Cake" will take you back to a carefree time when kids ran barefoot all summer, caught lightning bugs, climbed trees, and didn't have to come home until the streetlights came on at night. Joy's humor is evident as she tells about kitchen disasters, poison ivy, family togetherness, the agony of math, the ecstasy of Baked Alaska, and the infamous Lavisson sisters. Some stories are funny, others poignant, but all are entertaining. The recipes are simple and non-threatening to the novice cook. As long as you're not looking for recipes for turnips, brussels sprouts, or liver, you'll find a recipe to suit any occasion. Enjoy the stories. Now go into the kitchen, and cook something.

                                                                Lois’s Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast is, without a doubt, my favorite meal of the day. That’s the problem. I’m not a morning person, and for some unknown reason, most restaurants stop serving it by mid-morning. There are a handful of places that serve us sleepyheads all day long. God bless them!

I think Oscar Wilde was onto something when he said, “Only dull people are bright at breakfast.” I’m convinced that society is made up of two groups of people—those who are bright at breakfast and those who aren’t. I fi rst noticed this in college. The fi rst group walked briskly to the dining hall for breakfast on time, cheerful, chatty, fully dressed, and ready to greet the day. The rest of us trudged behind, silent, disheveled, and wearing trench coats over our nightgowns.

I’d like to say that I’ve outgrown this stage of my life, but I’d be lying. Friends know not to call me before 9 A.M. or to try to engage me in conversation requiring complete sentences before 10 A.M.

I was ecstatic when the concept of brunch became popular in this country. Combining breakfast and lunch is pure genius, bringing polar opposites to a common table.

I love everything about brunch and am a big fan of breakfast casseroles. Our friend, Lois Way, served one of my very favorite ones. She’s quite the hostess and has served us many a delicious meal when we’ve stayed at her home. This one was a real home run.

This dish contains potatoes, cheese, scallions, bacon, and enough hot sauce to give it a little “kick”. It’s dainty enough for women, and hearty enough for the guys. It’s the perfect combination.

What’s even better is that you make it ahead of time. It’s custom made for those of us who aren’t morning people. All we have to do is take it out of the refrigerator, put it in the oven, and about 45 minutes later, eat.

I’ve served this casserole on Christmas morning for years now. It cooks while we’re opening gifts and is ready for a festive breakfast when we are.

Got guests? Serve them something they’ll all love. Even the groggy, incoherent ones will sit up, take notice, and ask for seconds.                                                          

                                                             Lois’s Breakfast Casserole

12 ounces frozen Potatoes O’Brien, thawed
5 eggs
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 chopped scallions
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 dashes hot pepper sauce
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled*

Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in potatoes, cottage cheese, jack cheese, scallions, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Turn into a buttered 10-inch pie plate. Scatter bacon over top and sprinkle with paprika.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning place cold dish, uncovered, in a cold oven. Turn oven to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes, or until top is lightly brown and the casserole is firm in the middle. Cut in wedges, and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings

*Omit the bacon if you want. I do.

Joy Smith lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, with her husband and a quirky cat. She loves cooking, entertaining, traveling, playing tennis and bridge, riding horses, gardening when it's not too hot (which is almost never in South Carolina), and enjoying good wine. Her sense of adventure has taken her to Antarctica on a National Geographic expedition, skydiving, climbing mountains, and searching for the perfect roller coaster. Joy participated as a sous-chef on the Food Network show "Ready . . . Set . . . Cook"; was a guest chef on the NBC show Charlotte Today; taught a class, "From the Garden to the Table"; and wrote a popular cooking column, "Cooking With Joy," for ten years. Readers have enjoyed her stories and recipes, which have been featured in several magazines and newspapers. You will be entertained by them as you read "Tell Me a Story, I'll Bake You a Cake."

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