By Heidi Potter | StyleBlueprint

We all know the importance of eating before the Derby — before you start into the mimosas, lillies and mint juleps. We decided to satisfy both the sweet and the savory palates today by asking the chefs at Verbena Cafe and The Cheddar Box to give us a recipe for each. We recommend you make both and serve with fruit and cocktails. As an added bonus, we got the recipe for angel biscuits with country ham from The Cheddar Box to go with your meal.

SWEET

French toast casserole from Verbena Cafe

This perfectly sweet and fruity French toast casserole is simple to make and easy to enjoy. Simply mix the ingredients together, bake and top with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar. With hints of maple syrup combined with the fresh fruit, this recipe is sweet, but not too sweet.

Blueberry French toast casserole topped with strawberries and powdered sugar from Verbena Cafe

Blueberry French Toast Casserole
Author: Verbena Cafe
Recipe type: Brunch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 (one-inch-thick) slices (8-ounce) day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons, plus 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cut strawberries
Instructions
  1. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy.
  5. Add the cubed bread, milk, 3/4 cup maple syrup, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt and the lemon zest. Stir in the blueberries.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1 Tablespoon cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer.
  8. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set.
  9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut strawberries and serve.
SAVORY

Breakfast casserole from The Cheddar Box

This favorite breakfast casserole from The Cheddar Box has a little bit of everything for the savory palate: sausage, mushrooms, spinach and lots of cheese. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can order it from The Cheddar Box in advance and pick it up. If you DO want to make it, here’s the recipe:

Breakfast casserole from The Cheddar Box

Breakfast Casserole
Author: The Cheddar Box
Recipe type: Brunch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 18 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons light cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 4 ounces Purnell sausage
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 6 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.
  3. Combine the eggs, cream and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
  4. Cook in a large, nonstick saute pan.
  5. Add the cream cheese and scramble until you have a very loose scramble. Set aside.
  6. Saute the sausage in a skillet and drain. Set sausage aside.
  7. Saute the mushrooms in a skillet. Set aside.
  8. Squeeze out the spinach and set aside.
  9. Combine the cooked eggs with the other ingredients, except the Parmesan, and pour into the prepared baking dish..
  10. Top with grated Parmesan.
  11. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
  12. This may be made the night before and baked the next morning.

BONUS RECIPE: Angel biscuits with country ham from The Cheddar Box

Everyone needs a little ham and biscuits to go with their meal; it’s a Kentucky tradition! Here is the recipe for the Angel biscuits at The Cheddar Box. Fill them with country ham and spread on the butter, inside and out, and serve this crowd pleaser slightly warmed in the oven. Again, you can either make them yourself, or you can order them in advance and pick them up.

Angel biscuits with country ham from The Cheddar Box

Angel Biscuits
Author: The Cheddar Box
Recipe type: Brunch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 package (.25 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • Melted butter
Instructions
  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes.
  2. Add the buttermilk to the yeast mixture and set aside.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
  4. Cut in the shortening (The Cheddar Box uses a food processor).
  5. Add the yeast mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and roll out to about 1/2-inch thickness.
  7. Cut out with 2-inch round cutter.
  8. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Let rise for about an hour.
  10. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  11. Brush with melted butter when the biscuits come out of the oven.
 Now with full bellies and full wallets, head over to the track and enjoy your day!

Sarah Kelley has spent the past 15 years in journalism, pursuing a wide range of stories — from covering federal courts in Washington, D.C., including the trials of 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui and former vice presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, to investigating prosecutorial misconduct in capital cases in Nashville, Tenn. In 2008, Sarah returned to her native Louisville to work for LEO Weekly, where she served as editor until 2013. Email Sarah at [email protected]


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