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French toast strata, anyone?

Delicious holiday meal options from ATCO's Blue Flame Kitchen
Feed a crowd this Christmas! Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Our French Toast Strata is a crowd pleaser. Cream cheese in the batter makes this dish extra decadent. Serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream.


10 cups white bread cubes

8 oz cream cheese, softened

8 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

• Place bread cubes in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

• Using medium speed of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, two at a time, beating well after each addition.

• Add milk, syrup, vanilla and nutmeg; beat just until blended.

• Pour mixture evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

• Bake, uncovered, at 350°F (180°C) for 55 – 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: Serves 8 - 10


Our Turkey with Rosemary Port Gravy is juicy, aromatic, and delicious. We leave the turkey unstuffed to help speed cooking time and ensure even cooking. Instead, to add flavour, the roasting pan is lined with aromatics and beer, and the turkey is finished with a sweet, herb-infused port glaze.

Turkey with Rosemary Port Gravy

1 cup chopped celery (1inch)

1 cup chopped onion (1 inch)

1/2 cup chopped carrot (1 inch)

5 cloves garlic, peeled

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

4 sprigs fresh thyme

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp black peppercorns

1 tbsp savoury, crumbled

10 lb (4.5 kg) frozen turkey, thawed or fresh turkey

2 bottles (341 mL each) beer

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 cup port

2 tbsp liquid honey

2 tbsp chopped fresh sage or 2 tsp dried sage, crumbled

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled

1 tsp grated lemon peel

1/2 cup salted butter, chilled and cubed


1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.

2. Combine celery, onion, carrot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and savory in a large roasting pan; set aside.

3. Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavities; discard or reserve for another use. Pat turkey dry. Secure wings with metal skewers and tie legs together using butcher’s twine; do not stuff turkey.

4. Place turkey, breast side up, on celery mixture in roasting pan. Pour beer over turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

6. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue roasting for 45 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, to prepare glaze, combine port, honey, sage, thyme and lemon peel in a small non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

8. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced by half, about 12 minutes.

9. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add butter, whisking until butter is melted. Remove from heat and pour glaze into a heatproof bowl.

10. Remove roasting pan from oven. Brush turkey with half of glaze.

11. Continue roasting, uncovered, brushing turkey after 15 minutes with remaining glaze, until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, about 30 - 45 minutes.

12. Transfer turkey to a platter and cover loosely with foil. Let stand for 15 - 30 minutes before carving. The internal temperature will continue to rise several degrees during standing. The final temperature should be 180 - 185°F in the thigh and 170 - 175°F in the breast.

13. Remove metal skewers; cut off and discard butcher’s twine. Carve turkey.

14. Serve with Rosemary Port Gravy (recipe follows).

Serves 8.


Rosemary Port Gravy

1/3 cup salted butter, melted

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp diced celery

2 tbsp diced shallot

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1/2 cup port

3 cups no-salt-added chicken broth or turkey stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Combine melted butter and flour; set aside.

2. Heat oil in a medium non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, shallot and rosemary; sauté until celery and shallot are softened, about 2 minutes.

3. Add port and cook, stirring, until liquid is reduced by half.

4. Add broth. Bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

6. Gradually whisk in butter mixture, whisking until mixture is smooth.

7. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 - 15 minutes.

8. Strain gravy through a sieve into a serving dish; discard solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.