Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spinach Bacon Quiche

I decided to make this yummy little quiche for dinner tonight. It is one of Paula Deen's recipes and is delicious! It is definitely one of my favorites! I was going to do a before shot, but forgot until it had been in the oven for awhile. Oops!

Spinach Bacon Quiche

6 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 ½ cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, fitted to 9-inch glass pie plate

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Layer the spinach, bacon, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges.

Cooks notes: I decided to throw in some sliced baby portabello mushrooms (delish!) I also used a 9 1/2 inch pie plate so I need to add another egg and 1/4-1/2 cup more cream.

I gave Ann a hard time for taking a picture on a pink plate, then I did it myself!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good Morning, Muffins!

Here is another delicious recipe from the wonderful Pioneer Woman. She calls them Good Morning Muffins, although, they are so good you could enjoy them at any time of the day! Here's what you'll need...(my little helper wanted to be in the picture too, but you don't need one of those.)

Good Morning Muffins
Makes 18 muffins

4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening (can use 1/4 cup shortening with 1/4 cup butter)
2 cups orange marmalade
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
wheat germ (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Place in a mixing bowl.
Use a pastry cutter to mix in shortening (or butter/shortening if desired).
Mix marmalade, orange juice, and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour into dry ingredients.
Beat eggs and pour into the bowl.
Mix all ingredients together gently, using fewer than 10 large strokes.
In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients.
Fill muffin pans with batter. Sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon of topping ingredients over each muffin.
Sprinkle wheat germ over the top for extra crunch.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until done. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Eat warm or at room temperature.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

At Last -- Lasagna and Garlic Bread

Got this one from Food Network. It is involved and time consuming. I remember as a kid, asking my mom to make lasagna. She told me it was too involved and time consuming. There are easy lasagna recipes out there. The kind that use cottage cheese instead of ricotta. Not all that bad, even. But occasionally - I think involved and time consuming is necessary. I can guarantee, however, that all of your time and energy is more than worth the effort! You will love it, and so will all of the people who are blessed enough to partake.

Basic Red Sauce:

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 11/2 cups chopped yellow onions (1 medium yellow onion)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and squeeze to break into small pieces. Set aside.

In a heavy 5-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt, basil, oregano and black pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, sugar and reserved crushed tomatoes, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat, and use as needed.

Yield: 10 cups (2 1/2 quarts)

You can make this sauce well ahead of time if you like. You can also freeze it.

Moving on...

1-2-3 Lasagna

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 5 cups Basic Red Sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound grated Mozzarella
  • 1/2 teaspoon Emeril's Essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 dried (uncooked) lasagna noodles

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large saucepan, add the ground beef and brown over medium heat. Season with salt, pepper, and Essence. Add the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl fold together the ricotta cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 1/2 cup grated mozzarella, the Essence, salt, parsley, basil, and black pepper.

Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart (13 by 9 by 2-inch) casserole. Lay 3 lasagna noodles lengthwise down the dish. The noodles should not touch one another. Spoon 3/4 cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella evenly over the ricotta. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, for a total of 4 layers of noodles. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella over the top layer of tomato sauce, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.

Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil, and bake, covered, for 1 hour.

Remove the casserole from the oven, and remove the aluminum foil. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving

I do not know why I used a pink plate for this picture. Duh!

Garlic Bread

  • 1 loaf french bread, split in half lengthwise
  • 12 T butter, soft
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 tsp Emeril's Essence
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Mix together and spread onto the bread. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nobody's Perfect


Btw, the lasagna is coming up this evening, I promise. It's been in the works most of the day. The house smells (ed) fantastic. However, I had to share this with you. I decided this morning that we needed to have strawberry shortcake after dinner. So, I made a special trip to the grocery store to get the cake mix, the fresh cream, the strawberries. For the record, I did not know that there is a difference between an angel food cake pan and a Bundt pan. Apparently a big difference.

The first thing I noticed was the faint aroma of toasted marshmallow. Not a bad odor. But then it got a little stronger and I decided to check on the cake. The lovely picture above is what I found. Of course I ran and got the camera. My learning experience can by yours too, right?

Exhibit A
The Bundt Pan

Exhibit B
The Angel Food Cake Pan

Lesson learned.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Coconut Rice & Beef Stir-Fry

My dear friends...this is one of my favorites. I found it in a Cooking Light magazine several years ago (Yay!!! Cooking Light!!!) (we don't cook full fat stuff all the time. Just 90% of the time...haha!) Let's begin.

For the rice:

1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
Dash ground red pepper
14 oz can regular or light coconut milk
1 cup uncooked jasmine or sticky rice

For the Stir-fry:

1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 lb flank steak, sliced thin against the grain
1 c vertically sliced onion
1 c red bell pepper strips
3 c sliced bok choy
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Lime wedges

To cook the rice, combine the water, coconut milk, salt and red pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the rice, turn down the heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until done.

This is not a difficult recipe. The hardest part is just the prep-work, and that's not all hard. Let's start with bok choy. I hadn't ever purchased, let alone used, bok choy before I found this recipe. I spent several minutes in the produce at the grocery store, trying to locate it, having no idea what I was looking for. I would love to make this easier for anyone else in the same boat. Here is a photo of bok choy. Don't you love how Brian got it to stand up for the picture?

After washing the leaves, I split them up the middle first.

Then I cut it into thin strips.

One of the things I immediately loved about bok choy is that it's like having two kinds of veggies in your dish. The leaves cook down, similar to fresh spinach. The stem remains crispy and fresh.

Flank steak is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat. There are a lot of different things you can do with it. The recipe calls for 1 lb, but I shoot for more like 1 1/2 lbs. Flank steak usually comes from the store rolled or folded into thirds. Just unfold it and lay it out on your cutting surface. I like to have somewhat smaller pieces of meat in the finished dish, so I split the flank steak up the middle and then slice it as thinly as possible against the grain. Don't get in a hurry and then cut it too thick.

Then you can cut your onion and pepper into strips and chop up the fresh cilantro to your desired size. I decided to use yellow and red pepper, just to zip up the color a little.

Heat your sesame oil in a large pot, on med-high to high heat. Add the flank steak and cook it until done. Remove the meat, cover with foil and keep it warm. In the hot pan, add the onion and pepper. Stir fry for about 5 minutes. Add the bok choy and cook for another 3 minutes.

Return the meat to the pan, along with the cilantro, the chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper. (You can use more of the chili garlic sauce, if you would like it to have a good kick.) Cook two minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Serve the stir-fry with the coconut rice and the lime wedges. We were very surprised and pleased with the lime. Squeeze it over the top. It adds just the right finishing touch. In fact, you might find yourself adding more. Tonight, we also had some potstickers on the side.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

I apologize for not having a picture to post of this delectable salad. (I guess you're just going to have to make it to see what it looks like!) I haven't made it in awhile, but it has been on my mind and I can't wait for the first chance I get to make it!
I found this recipe in the Paula Deen & Friends cookbook. If you know me, you know that I love Paula Deen. She is a great cook and is my favorite, next to the Pioneer Woman :) Anyway, give this salad a try...it's delicious!

2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1 avocado, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely diced red onion

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes, and onion, in a large glass bowl.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a measuring cup. Pour over the salad and toss gently to mix. Serves 4 to 6.

Cook's notes: I use the super sweet frozen corn (because it's more convenient and tastes great) and I like to cook it and toss it in with the other ingredients when it's still hot.