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Fancy, Frugal Favorites


Growing up, Danelle Pickard McCollum (BA’94) would sit at the kitchen counter every night doing homework while her mom made dinner. “I learned a lot about cooking through osmosis,” McCollum laughs. When she got to college, cooking felt familiar. “It was fun, and I wanted to try new things,” she says. She collected recipes in binders organized by cuisine, but over time she realized there would never be enough space in her binders for everything she wanted to try. So she started collecting her recipes on a blog where she would never run out of space, and Let’s Dish Recipes was born. Her recipes balance fancy and frugal. “I want it to look really good but not be impossible to make,” McCollum says. Here, she shares two breakfast recipes that look and taste divine and yet are simple to create.

Ham and Swiss Croissant Bake

A combination of ham, cheese, eggs, and other ingredients sits freshly baked in a white bowl, cut in half.
Photo courtesy of Danelle McCollum

It may be considered a breakfast casserole, but this simple recipe is also a hit for brunch or dinner.

3 large croissants
8 oz. cooked ham, chopped
1 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese

6 eggs
1 c. half-and-half
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Fresh parsley for garnish

Spray a deep-dish pie plate or 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray. Cut croissants in half lengthwise, then tear each half into five or six pieces. Place in pan. Sprinkle with ham and cheese. 

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour over croissants, pressing croissant pieces into egg mixture to moisten completely. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate 8–24 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 25–30 more minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.


Lemon Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze

A lemon blueberry muffin drizzled in frosting sits on a white plate, garnished with seven blueberries.
Photo courtesy of Danelle McCollum

McCollum says these sweet and tangy muffins disappear more quickly from the counter than any others she makes.

Muffins

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 c. and 1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Glaze

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir dry mixture into creamed mixture until just moistened. Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups three-quarters full of batter. Bake 25–30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool five minutes in pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract. Drizzle over cooled muffins.