Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wanna Quiche?

I've been into a new Culinary Mystery series by Joanne Fluke. So many new and fun recipes to try now. There was a Spinach Quiche recipe and there were a few things that made it different for me to want to try it....

So here are the steps to guide you and the recipe will follow:

I used a springform pan (this was a 10 inch but you can use any size but you may have to cook it longer, keep checking it). I used a prepared pie crust and brushed an egg yolk in it. Put it aside to dry while you prepare the rest.

Take your frozen spinach and put it in a clean dish towel and microwave it for 5 minutes. Squeeze out all the water. I always use a green towel for this!

Put you spinach in a bowl and add your salt, pepper and horseradish sauce. I also added some cayenne and nutmeg (often times recipes call for the nutmeg to be put on top)

Spread out your spinach/horseradish mixture on your prepared pie crust. I used my fingers to pull it apart in pieces. I didn't want any huge 'clumps'.

Sprinkle on your shredded Jarlsberg cheese.

I added some bacon.

Mix up your eggs and cream, pour it on top of your spinach mixture. Give it a little shake (sorry I don't have a pic of this...I was getting hungry)

and pop it in the oven @ 375 for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Mmmmmm, a masterpiece!

Now where did I put my fork?

Spinach Quiche
adapted from Peach Cobbler Murder by Joanne Fluke

one prepared pie crust (or make your own if you have the patience)
1 beaten egg yolk (put the white aside for later)
10 oz pkg. frozen chopped spinach
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp. horseradish sauce
3/4 c. Jarlsberg cheese (or guyere or swiss)
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups half and half (or light cream)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat the egg yolk in a glass with a fork. Brush the inside of the unbaked shell with the yolk. Set the shell aside to dry.

Cook and drain the spinach. Squeeze out as much water as you can and then blot with paper towel.

In a bowl, combine the spinach with salt, pepper and horseradish sauce. Spread it in the bottom of the pastry shell.

Sprinkle the top with the grated cheese and crumbled bacon.

Beat the 4 whole eggs and add the reserved white. Add the half and half, salt, nutmeg and cayenne. Mix well and pour on top of cheese/bacon.

Bake @ 375 for 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of your pie pan, quiche pan or springform). I cooked mine for 30 minutes checked it and the knife came clean after 6 extra minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes to set and cut into wedges.

Breakfast, lunch, sidedish, entree...warm, room temperature or cold...anyway it's all good.

I have brought home leftovers from my quiche demo at school and made a few egg bakes at home for K-man several times. I THOUGHT K-man liked those....BUT I don't know if it was the horseradish (his favorite condiment) or what....he must have said 'this is really good' every other bite. Seriously after like his 4th time saying it....I was giggling saying to him....'geez, sweetheart you must REALLY like this version'. K-man then said...."can I take some of this to work tomorrow for breakfast?" LOL

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deja Vu Recipe Redux

Do you recall seeing these beauties?

I was rummaging around in the freezer and I came upon a bag of leftover Clementine cakes that I made awhile back. You know how it is...your recipe makes so many that you get tired of eating something and you put it in the freezer in case you have a hankering later on for them...

I got this idea how to revamp these mini cakes from eating some crackers I got at the wholesale club that were made from mini pumpkin and mini date walnut cakes. They were twice baked just like biscotti. (great with the Borden light swiss cheese spread BTW)

I wondered....

So I cut them into slices....put them in the oven for a slow bake to dry them out. Keep checking or turning them over until they are totally dried out....

Let them cool....

I took a large spoonful of orange juice concentrate in a custard cup and added powdered sugar until it was thick....spreaded it on thinly....let that dry....

Melted some dark chocolate chips....drizzle, drizzle... BAM...

Chocolate Orange Biscotti Bites!

Now get out your coffee...

...and enjoy the chocolatey orangey crunchy goodness...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Make it Snappy!

Orange Snaps

1-1/2 cups melted butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup frozen orange concentrate
2 beaten eggs
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. orange zest
4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar (for later use)

Melt the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Add the sugar and OJ concentrate and stir.  Let the mixture cool slightly.  Add the eggs, baking soda, salt and orange zest, stirring after each addition.  Add the flour in increments and mix thoroughly.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours (overnight is even better)  

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll the dough into walnut sized balls with your hands or use small ice cream scoop.  Put 1/3 cup sugar in a small bowl and roll the balls in it.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper up to 12 to a sheet.  Press the dough balls down just a tad so they won't roll on the floor when you put them into the oven.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The dough balls will flatten out all by themselves.  Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and them move them to wire rack to finish cooling. 

These cookies freeze well.  Roll them up in foil, put them in a freezer bag and they'll be fine for 3 months or so, IF they last that long.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Because you Love him...

Sometimes, I just like to put together a dinner, meal or special dessert for my K-man.  That is just how I am....I like to let him know not only do I love and appreciate him but I am thinking of him and his's fun to surprise him with something 'special' that HE likes (it's win/win, if I like it too) 

Here is a sandwich I put together for my K-man because it has many of his favorite things...

Rye Bread
Avocado (that man will halve and eat an avocado with a spoon in it's peel with pepper only just for a SNACK)
grilled flank steak (we love the Mc Cormick's MESQUITE marinade)
green onion
cherry tomatoes (I should have roasted them!)
horseradish sauce

Let's put it together!

I heated up the leftover flank steak just enough.  I didn't want to lose too much pink in the meat.  Toast your bread by either toaster or grilling on a pan.  Melt your cheese.  Top with meat on one side....tomatoes on the other.  Cheese is very important for it acts as your 'glue' in a STACKED sandwich.

Now I topped the meat with his avocado with some salt and pepper and some green onions on the tomatoes.

Now carefully....STACK IT...

Cut it open and look at what you got...


This sandwich definitely produced a huge smile and lots of "Mmmmm-mmmm's"  He even did the dishes afterward! situation!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Light and Lemony

If you ever see some lemon pepper pasta at the store. Pick some up and make this dish. I found mine at Trader Joe's. This is papperelle style pasta BTW.

Here's how you do it and the recipe:

Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta

2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely choppped
1 cup chicken broth
1 head of brocciflower (this is a broccoli and cauliflower hybrid. It's much mellower than cauliflower)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 package lemon pepper pasta
1 cup heavy cream
juice of half a lemon

Cut up your chicken, season with salt and pepper and put in bowl with corn starch. Shake the chicken around in the corn starch and set aside. Cook your pasta a few minutes UNDER the package directions. You want the pasta slightly under cooked. I cut my broccoflower into flowerets and cook them with the pasta (the broccoflower takes longer to cook than the cubed chicken).

Saute your garlic and shallots with the olive oil and butter (I wanted a butter taste but less fat and the olive oil keeps the butter from overbrowning BTW). When shallots and garlic are slightly soft put in the chicken and cook until slightly pink. Slowly add your chicken broth so it thickens from the cornstarch. Add your undercooked pasta in the chicken mixture and then add your heavy cream. Keep stirring so the chicken and pasta finish cooking and sauce* thickens/reduces. Season with you salt and pepper. Finish with the juice of half lemon and serve while hot.

This will not be a overly saucey pasta dish. Just enough moisture to coat and flavor but not too much to drip on you. The lemon from the pasta and extra lemon in the sauce is so subtle and delightful with the garlic. Also I find the lemon in the dish help cut the 'cabbagey' taste of the brocciflower. And can I just say, I love the light spring green color of this dish!

K-man thought the lemon in the dish reminded him of some Thai dish he eaten before and here I was going for a North Italy kinda flavor....go figure...LOL Anyway, he loved it, cleaned his plate and THAT is all that matters!

Lemons on Foodista

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The side dish that has it all....

It's creamy and crunchy. It has veggies and protein. A great side dish to your meat or eaten alone with some bread and salad....this is it.

Asparagus Casserole
adapted from the food network

Serves: 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for sauteing
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, rough ends removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves (or your favorite herb)
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (fontina would work)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and garlic; saute until translucent and fragrant and season with salt and pepper. Add the asparagus and saute until just tender. Remove from heat and Let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, herb of choice and cheeses.

In a separate bowl, add panko, paprika and butter. Mix well to combine.

Place asparagus in casserole dish. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and top with the panko, spreading evenly.

Place in the preheated oven and bake until casserole is set and the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When the moon hits your eye....

Like a big 'skeddie' pie....that's AMORE! (I know the song says 'pizza pie' but I think it still works!) And we loved this!

You got your garlic can make it thin, or tall. Fresh or from leftovers. You can use ground beef, turkey or sausage. You can add peppers or even pepperoni! Possibilities are endless.

If you are one of those families who ALWAYS have spaghetti leftover...this is for YOU.

If you are one of those families who is looking for a way to jazz up your spaghetti for it's become ho-hum....this is for YOU.

If you don't like spaghetti, then move on FREAK. LOL just kidding you can use any type of noodle or sauce. Any variation can work here.

Let's get cooking:

Baked Spaghetti Pie

adapted from Picky Palate

1 lb of noodles

2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef, turkey or sausage
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste (I am heavy on it)
30 oz whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (you can use jarred sauce I use them only in emergencies)
10 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and thinly sliced into ribbons
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella (I used the FF cheddar)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 roll Pillsbury French Bread Loaf (I used thawed pizza dough I bought @ Trader Joe's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions, BUT stop just a few minutes before the package says....drain and set aside.

Heat oil in large skilled over medium heat. Saute onions for 5 minutes, then your meat of choice, salt, pepper and minced garlic. Cook until no longer pink. Reduce heat to low then stir in chopped canned tomatoes. Add back par-cooked pasta and add basil. Cook until pasta has absorbed much of the liquid. Turn off heat until dough is ready.

While pasta is cooking, take half of your dough of choice and press into the bottom of a well greased springform pan (mine is nonstick) and pressing up the sides just slightly. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.

Take shredded cheeses (save about handful) and mix through the pasta and transfer it onto your prebaked dough in the springform pan. Pack down your pasta and sprinkle with your remaining handful of cheese. Roll out your other half of dough and press on top of pasta pie. Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Bake for 25 minutes or until dough is cooked or slightly brown. Let cool for 10 minutes for the cheese inside to 'set' before slicing.

Serve with green salad...drizzle a little a extra sauce....

Cooks Notes:
  • It doesn't really matter what size springform pan you use....You pie will either be taller or wider. They both will taste the same. Jenny from picky palate said to not use all the spaghetti and to use it for something else. I just didn't use a full box of pasta (I used angel hair) and I put it all in the pan. It just didn't make sense to have leftover spaghetti pie AND leftover spaghetti....nope nuh-uh ain't happenin'.
  • When my beef was cooking....I didn't want to dirty another pan for the pasta. Ugh, something else to wash? So when I broke up my tomatoes I broke up my angel hair into and eyeballed some chicken broth in it. Angel hair doesn't take long to cook nor need that much liquid to absorb...when it was close I added the basil and beef back.
  • Also, the original recipe said to put cheese on top....I wanted it throughout to help hold it altogether. Then top with less cheese so the bread would stick.
  • We really loved the chunks of tomato in these. You don't see much of the basil....but I didn't want to overpower the pie.....I think it could have been doubled next time.
  • I really think chopped pepperoni or hot italian sausage would be awesome in this too....that is my next variation.

K-man's eyes popped out when he saw this....he is one of those who takes his bread and makes a spaghetti sandwich during dinner.....he found this very amusing yet I am sure he was wishing for a sub roll to slip his slice in! LOL

Monday, April 20, 2009

Two Classics merged into one!

So can you tell what classic casserole this is?

Figured it out yet?

Looks like your typical green bean casserole right? Well, you are close....

I won't torture you anymore....Yes, parts of this casserole is the classic green bean and mushroom soup casserole. You probably eat this at least once a year at Thanksgiving time. Me too. Another casserole I grew up eating that my mom made was chicken and rice with mushroom soup on top...So I began to think "One casserole is missing vegetables and the other casserole is missing some protein, why can't I combine these two favorites of mine?"

And I did....

Twisted Chicken Mushroom and Green Bean Casserole*

3/4 cup rice
8oz/1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz/1 cup FROZEN green beans, regardless of style -bite size pieces
1 can French's Onion Rings

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 inch glass casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the rice into the casserole dish. Place the sliced mushrooms on the rice and sprinkle the remaining rice onto the sliced mushrooms. When the mushrooms cook, they will render water which will be needed to cook the rice. In a large bowl put the can of mushroom soup and mix in evaporated milk, chicken broth, cut green beans and almonds. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the soup mixture and stir until combined. Put chicken and soup mixture on the rice/mushroom layer. Bake for 40 minutes (or until you test the rice to be cooked to your liking). Slide out oven rack and put on the onion rings on top. Press slightly and bake for another 5 minutes or until onion rings are browned.

*This is typically a family sized type of dinner, you can double this and put it in a 9X13 casserole. But K-man and I don't want to be eating this for over a week....

Crunchy, crispy, creamy, tender chicken and mushroomy goodness!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Holy Guacamole!

One of the few things K-man goes absolutely crazy over is guacamole. He will eat just an avocado half with pepper as a snack, he loves it so. So you can imagine when I make this...he makes all sorts of yummy sounds!

Here is your step by step, full recipe follows:

Half your two ripe avocados.

Take tip of knife and make criss cross marks through the avocado meat.

Use your spoons to scoop out the avocado. We like chunks rather some people prefer to mash their avocado.

Squeeze your lime juice onto the cubed avocado. Stir to coat.

Put one clove of garlic in your garlic press.

Slice down your green onions...

Then chop

Remove top of tomato and gouge out the tomato liquid and seeds. Chop into small chunks.

Season well with salt and pepper (not pictured in my palm here) Taste to make sure it's the way you like it.

Then place in your bowl...

We think unsalted tortilla chips are best for the saltiness of the chip doesn't ruin your dip flavors.

Awesome Guacamole

2 ripe avocados, cubed
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 clove of garlic, pressed in garlic press
2 Tbsp of lime juice
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Chop all ingredients, coat with lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

Serving Suggestion:

Pork Tenderloin Wraps

We have a low carb tortilla here....with a light layer of light ranch dressing on it. Put some lettuce on it....

Put on your leftover slices of pork tenderloin on your lettuce.

Load on your homemade mouth is watering already....

Fold up and BITE! The smoky meat with garlic smoothness of the avocado, the crunch of the lettuce, the chewy tortilla...mmmmmmmmmmm. Try it....I guarantee you'll like it!