Recipe,Monterey Jack,Swiss cheese,Black pepper,Mozzarella,Cheese,Olive oil,Breakfast sausage,Kale,Parsley

Judy Walker gathers a few of her favorite 'orphan' recipes

October 17, 2016

Sausage-Kale Breakfast Strata is a random dish that Judy Walker enjoyed. (Photo by Judy Walker)

A big part of this particular columnist gig is collecting recipes to share with you. When someone is excited about a recipe, they share it with me. If I'm excited to taste or to hear about a dish, I ask for the recipe.

If there's no story with the recipe, however, it's hard to wedge these particular dishes into a column. Today, I'm gathering some of my favorite orphan recipes to give you a chance to make their acquaintance.

Sometimes, I only have an outline of a recipe, so you can fill in the blanks with the amounts that you deem appropriate. My friend Stephanie is known for her fig salad: Spinach, fresh figs, goat cheese and prosciutto with pepper jelly vinaigrette.

Here's another example, which I named after the Chalmette-based friend who gave it to me: The Dagmar Sandwich. It's open-faced with one slice of multi-grain bread with Swiss cheese toasted on it, then topped with thinly sliced pear, avocado and tomato then dressed with mayonnaise and a little mustard next to the cheese.

Sometimes, I get a specific recipe. When I officially retired a year ago, my lovely neighbors, Carter and Chrissy Sheets, brought over a favorite of theirs: a make-ahead breakfast dish of a sausage-kale breakfast strata that I absolutely adored. It originated with the Pioneer Woman website. Make this with nice crusty bread! (It's easy to halve if you want.)

Sausage-Kale Breakfast Strata

Makes 12 servings

12 eggs

2-1/2 cups half-and-half or milk

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons minced fresh oregano (or parsley, basil, etc.)

1 loaf crusty French or Italian bread, cubed

2 pounds breakfast sausage patties, cooked, cubed

1 large bunch regular kale, torn into pieces

Olive oil, for frying

16 ounces white mushrooms, halved

2-1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

In a large bowl mix eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper and minced oregano.

Drizzle olive oil over mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then throw in kale. Cook 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Remove from heat.

In a large, buttered lasagna pan, layer half the bread, half the kale, half the mushrooms, and half the cheese. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients, ending with cheese. Slowly pour egg mixture all over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight if possible.

To bake, remove from fridge 20-30 minutes before baking. Replace plastic wrap with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown and slightly crisp. Serve hot.


This one is from my friend Barbara Gardner's Gardner Family Cookbook that she created. It's a bit different, and the recipe was her mother's. It's getting cool enough to have stews and gumbos.

Old-Time Beef Stew

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds beef stew

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 medium onion, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Dash ground allspice or ground cloves

3 large carrots, peeled, sliced

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a large Dutch oven, brown meat in hot oil. Add water, lemon juice, Worcestershire, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, pepper, paprika and allspice. Cover and simmer 1-1/2 hours.

Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and potatoes. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes more.

To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return to the pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

Serve hot.


The recipe for this cheesy dip was given to me while I was out of state in June. I have not tried this, but I would definitely substitute light sour cream and mayonnaise made with Greek yogurt. It's one of those things that gets better after a couple of days, after the dried herbs have time to bloom.

Mozzarella Dip

Makes about 3-1/2 cups

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons dried onion flakes

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 cup sour cream

2 cups real mayonnaise

16 ounces mozzarella, finely shredded

In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add sour cream and mayonnaise. Fold in mozzarella. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.


I'm not sure, but I think I got this at the restaurant at Destrehan Plantation. If you gave me this recipe: Thank you!

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

Makes 4 servings

2 cups milk

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons Guidry's fresh Creole vegetable seasoning (or substitute chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, parsley and garlic)

3 tablespoons flour

Salt, pepper, Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning and cayenne to taste

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups cooked broccoli, finely chopped

Cook seasoning vegetables and garlic in butter until tender. Blend in flour, salt, pepper, Tony's, cayenne and thyme. Cook 3 or 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth. Cook until thickened. Lower heat.

Add milk and stir until smooth. Add cheese and broccoli. Stir well and continue to cook until well heated.

Correction: Due to a technical error, this column originally ran with an incarceration byline.


Food columnist Judy Walker can be reached at

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