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Archive for May, 2010

Brownish green on top and bright light green in the center.  Actually the center is pretty. Half of the veggies are pureed into the eggs which is what gives it it’s unusual colors. I tried making the same type of quiche with solid veggies.  There is no mistaking the flavor difference. The ugly one wins, hands down.  I might have to throw a green quiche and ham party soon!

Basic Quiche Ingredients:

  • 1 rolled refrigerated pie crust
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/8 heaping tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 oz (about 1-1/2 cups) shredded Gruyere cheese or Swiss cheese or whatever cheese you like!

Veggies:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 4-5  mushrooms sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke quarters

I’ve made the basic quiche recipe with all sorts of different add-ins. Asparagus and bacon, Onion and ham, tomato, broccoli and cheddar, and roasted veggie medley (mmmmm!) to name a few. And I don’t puree the veggies into those quiche.  But I do for the ugly quiche. It’s worth it!!!

Heat  your oven to 450 degrees or whatever is recommended by the pie dough maker in order to pre-cook your crust.

Bring you pie crust dough to room temperature, and unroll over you pie pan pressing firmly to the sides to get rid of any air bubbles an wrinkles. Yes I could make my own pie dough, but that just doesn’t sound fun right now. Or ever. Pre made pie dough ROCKS!!!

Once the pie dough is rolled out, make sure to take a fork and poke the heck out of it. It helps to keep any bubbles caused by the steam released when cooking from forming.

Bake according to the manufacturer’s directions. then set aside. Turn down your oven to 375 degrees for cooking the quiche.

While the pie dough is cooking, in a medium bowl beat the eggs, half and half, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg together until fully combined.

Place the egg mixture and half of the spinach, half of the mushrooms, and half of the artichokes in a blender and puree for 30 seconds to a minute. What you end up with is one strange color!!! Pour 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of your cooked pie crust.

It kind of looks like broccoli soup at this point. Sprinkle on half of your cheese,

and then the rest of your sliced mushrooms, spinach, and finally your artichoke quarters.  I break the artichoke up with my fingers as I’m spreading them on the quiche.

Top with the remaining cheese. Then pour The rest of your egg mixture over the top to cover completely. You may need to pour and jiggle the pan a little in order to get all the air bubbles up and settle the filling.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until the center is just set. It will com out looking puffy. And Ugly.

I told you!!!!  It will flatten as it cools down which is totally normal.

Wait for it to cool down before you cut into it.  You can serve it warm but make sure to cool it down fully and then reheat. I like to serve at room temperature or just slightly warmer than room temperature.

I also made this asparagus bacon one on the same day using the basic quiche recipe. Soooo good!!! Remember, when using salty meats to cut back the amount of your salt accordingly!

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Carrot cake is all about the spice, and I love  spices. That and the cream cheese frosting, of course.  So when my step-dad mentioned his love of carrot cake, I was excited to make one to split with him.  Not fair for him to get the whole thing.  PS- Thanks for washing my car!

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 packet vanilla pudding mix
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/4 granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3-1/2 cups shredded  carrots (about 7-8 medium)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cream cheese (1-8oz package) softened
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp butter flavored shortening (you could leave this out, but it makes a difference!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

You’re going to need two mixing bowls, one medium and one large and an electric hand mixer for the frosting. You’ll also need either 2 round cake pans or 1  9X13 inch pan to bake it in.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In the medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla pudding mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cloves and salt. Also known as the first 9 ingredients on the list!

Set it aside.

In the large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and milk.

After that is thoroughly mixed, whisk in your butter until combined, and then whisk in the oil.  Make sure both the butter and oil are completely blended. You’re not done whisking if it looks like this-

Whisk until it looks like this-

Time to stir in the shredded carrot.

Then a cupful at a time, incorporate your flour mixture into the carrot mixture.

DO NOT over mix.  Stir until just combined. Then pour into the baking pan/s of your choice.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool before frosting.  Be patient. This can take up to 3 hours!!! Wash out one of your bowls to use for making the frosting while you’re waiting. Or make this when you’re ready to frost the cake since it doesn’t take very long.

As for the frosting…

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat your cream cheese, butter, shortening, sour cream, and vanilla.

Once it’s smooth, scrape down the sides and add in your powdered sugar.

Beat until smooth, AGAIN.

Refrigerate while waiting for the cake to cool.

Then it’s time to frost!!!

The right side is MINE!!!!!  Well maybe the left too… ugh, I may have to make another cake.

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I found a few green onions ready to harvest from the garden today (yea, yea!!), and since we hadn’t had it in a while, decided to make a vegetarian verde version of the standard beef southwestern lasagna. It can easily be made with meat by adding 2 cups of cooked shredded chicken or pork to the sauce while it’s simmering, but I like the tangy, cheesy, veggie version just as much. Go figure!

Ingredients:

  • 1 16oz container of cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts sliced
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • 1 jar verde salsa, or small (15oz) can of verde enchilada sauce
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 small can of diced green chilies or 3 roasted and peeled Anaheim chilies, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 1/2 cups cheddar and Monterey jack cheese

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, beat the egg then stir in your cottage cheese and green onions

Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat up the olive oil.  Once it starts to shimmer, add in the onion and cook until it’s softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Then add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more, until aromatic. Don’t brown your garlic!!!

Once the garlic starts to smell good (heh), add in your verde sauce, diced tomatoes, chilies, cumin, and salt.  If you’re using meat, this is when it would be added as well.

Stir and simmer for 10-15 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly and the flavors to combine.

Get out a 9×13 inch pan and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Scoop and spread out about 1 cup of  the sauce.

Top with 6 corn tortillas,

then layer on half of the cottage cheese mixture.  It’s easiest to dollop a spoonful onto each tortilla, and then spread.

Next, sprinkle on 1/3 of the shredded cheese…

and then half of the corn.

Looking GOOD!!!

Repeat layers starting with the sauce again. Put it right on top of the corn…

Once you get to the sauce for the last time, top with the remaining shredded cheese.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum and bake for another 25 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Let cool for at least 15-20 minutes before cutting and serving to allow the layers and cheese to settle. IF YOU DARE!

BWWWAAAAHHHAAAHHHH!!!

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My amazing friend Danella introduced me to this chowder, and it was love at first taste. I had it for breakfast the next day. That kind of good. Enough said.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 lbs pork sausage (This can easily be made into a vegetarian dish by simply omitting the sausage, and adding 2 tbsp butter to cook the veggies)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (feel free to mix it up with different colors)
  • 2-3 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • 1/3 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cup of milk
  • 1-1/2 cup of half and half
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn
  • 1 4oz jar of diced pimentos
  • 1 tbsp of fresh parsley or 1-1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Optional ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups diced cooked potato
  • 1 tsp chives

Start by browning the sausage in a non-stick pot, on medium heat, breaking the sausage into smaller pieces as it cooks.

Once the sausage is mostly browned, add in the onion, bell pepper, and jalapenos.

Sorry, I had to add the last pic since the colors were so pretty!

Moving on-  Cook until the veggies have softened, about 8 minutes. Not all of the liquid will have evaporated. Pour in the garlic and flour,


stir to thoroughly combine, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk/half and half mixture to avoid curdling. Bringing the mixture close to room temperature before pouring in helps.

Now add in the creamed and kernel corn, pimentos, and potatoes if you’re using them. Stir it up.

Mix in the parsley, salt, pepper and chives. Bring to a bubbling simmer and cook for about 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.  The first picture shows the chowder pre- 15 minutes.

And after it’s had some time to thicken a bit:

It’s what makes the difference between a soup and a chowder.  Enjoy!  I know I am.

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Pesto Bread

This was one of  the things I made for my friends after starting my first job at a bread store.   We were all young and didn’t have a bunch of money, but this was cheap, filling, yummy, and requested a lot!

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of french bread, and it doesn’t have to be the artisan type! (I prefer a non-sourdough)
  • 1-1/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan or Italian cheese blend
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup prepared pesto (see Basil “Pesto” recipe)
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Turn your oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the parmesan cheese with the ricotta.

Set it aside. Cut french loaf in half lengthwise. Spread half of the ricotta mixture on each half of the bread loaf. It should be around 1/8 of an inch thick.

Pour 1/3 cup to 1/2 a cup (depending on how big your loaf is) of pesto over the ricotta cheese mixture and spread to the edges of the bread.

Then sprinkle on the mozzarella,and place on an aluminum lined cookie sheet.

Bake  until the top is brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve!!!

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This is one of my Mom’s famous recipes.  It’s always made when there’s a bunch of family around for dinner since it’s quick, easy and inexpensive to make.  Did I mention it’s also really good?

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sirloin or london broil thinly sliced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic minced or squished through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 5 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4-6 sandwich rolls

Optional ingredients:

  • sauteed garlic mushrooms (2 tbsp butter, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 cups slices mushrooms)
  • cheese (OF COURSE!!!)
  • sauteed spinach
  • caramelized onions

So I’m making this sandwich with both the mushrooms and the cheese because it’s so good, but it doesn’t need it. Really. It’s really good with just the roll and steak. And for my vegetarian friends, it’s actually great with just mushrooms and cheese!

To get started, mix your meat strips with garlic salt and 3 minced or squished cloves of garlic. Set aside.

Then squish 2 cloves of garlic into the mayonnaise and mix.

In a nonstick pan, melt two tablespoons of butter.  Toss in your sliced mushrooms and sautee.

After approximately 6-8 minutes, when the mushrooms are almost fully cooked, add in 1-2 mince or squished cloves of garlic, and sautee until the garlic is cooked, another 1-2 minutes. Put into  bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, start cooking your beef strips…

Brown the strips, and I don’t mean lightly brown.  You want them to have a little color like this-

Set your beef aside in a bowl and wipe down the pan, since you’ll be using it one more time.

Now for the rolls…

Make sure your pan is hot (medium high heat), then spread the garlic mayonnaise thinly on the split rolls.

Grill the roll split side down, pressing on the crust of the roll with a spatula to make sure the mayonnaise make full contact.

Looks good doesn’t it!

Now lay on a layer of meat…

Now, you could stop here. It’s so good with just the steak and the roll.  But being the person I am…

of course I add mushrooms…

and cheese.

Type to you later people.  It’s lunchtime!

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Feels like it has been a really long time since my last post. Between the sick kiddos and then myself and the Hubs getting sick (Isn’t that how it always works), oh and then my internet service being unreliable for the past week meaning it only seems to work from 10 o’clock at night to 5 am in the morning, I haven’t got anything done. I was happy today to be able to vacuum my house, and dabble a bit in the backyard.  The kids still have snotty noses, but I pushed them out in the sunshine anyway since it was such a BEEEEAAUTIFUL day! And no Mom, I didn’t forget to put sunscreen on them…  Where was this concern when my sister, brother, and I were kids?? I’m pretty sure you neglected to put the sunscreen on us and we sunburnt ourselves to blisters on quite a few occasions. That’s second degree people. And I’m also pretty sure we were still told to go outside and play, blisters and all.

Humph.

Grandkids are soooo spoiled.

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