Monday, January 21, 2013

Quickie Quiche

New Year, new priorities. I am going to TRY to post a recipe here every two weeks.
Starting it off with an easy quiche that's a perfect choice for a work night - ham, swiss, spinach, mushroom, and cheese. Prep time MAYBE 20 minutes tops.


1 Pet-Ritz frozen pie crust, deep dish

1/4 lb deli swiss cheese slices (thin) - really, you only need about 4 slices.
1/4 lb deli ham slices (go low-sodium if you can)
1/2 cup bagged spinach
1/2 cup pre-sliced baby bellas (Joe's has them CHEAP)

4 eggs
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
4-5 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

plus 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar/swiss for garnish

Preheat oven to 375.

Do NOT pre-bake the crust. Just take it straight out of the freezer.

Cover the bottom of the crust with swiss slices - keeps it from getting soggy.

Slice the ham and mushrooms into small cubes.
Slice the spinach into strips.
Put the mushrooms and spinach on the bottom of the quiche.

Whisk the eggs, then mix in the cream, milk, flour, cayenne, mustard, salt and pepper. (Easy on the salt - the cheese, spinach, and ham also contain salt.)

Pour the egg mixture into the crust.

Scatter the ham on top, then cover with shredded cheese. (A mix of swiss and cheddar is nice, but use whatever you have.)

Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Put the finished quiche on it (you'll thank me later when you're not scraping melted cheese off your oven floor).

Bake for 45-50 min., or until the cheese is browned and a knife comes out clean.

Serve with a green salad.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We're back with an easy one - Fish Provencal

I've been remiss about posting here, and I'm resolving to do better - partly because it's fun to share recipes, but even more so because this is becoming our online cookbook and I am WAY behind at keeping it up to date! :)

Here's an easy, quick way to make fish that even non-fish-lovers will like. You can use whatever mild white fish you can find on sale, and the acids in the tomato cut any fishiness WAY down. Easy, cheap, quick, and good.

1 lb tilapia/flounder/whatever (I'd avoid cod, though - too oily)
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 shallot, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
6-7 kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 - 1 tsp herbes de provence (don't skip this. You can buy it at Food Lion for cryin' out loud.)
salt and pepper
parmesan to garnish


1. Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat
2. Saute shallot for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add garlic and saute for another minute or less
4. Add tomatoes, herbes de provence and olives, and cook down
5. When it starts to look dry, pour the wine in, then cover and lower the heat.
6. Once it looks like crushed tomatoes, put the fish in, and move the sauce on top of the fish
7. Cook 3-4 min on medium heat (longer if your fillets are thicker. A good rule of thumb is four minutes medium heat per side per inch of fish)
8. Flip fish - when it flakes, it's done.
9. Plate and garnish with parmesan.

You can put this over rice or orzo or Israeli couscous, or you can just serve it with a good bread, plus a green salad and a nice Sauvignon Blanc.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Two-way tomato farfalle

If, like us, you're looking for something to do with the quarts of cherry tomatoes your plants are producing right now, here's an easy pasta that showcases their flavor.

1 quart cherry tomatoes (or more, to taste), cut in half
10 sundried tomatoes in oil, cut into strips
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed, cut into strips
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, cut into strips
5 cloves garlic, minced (keep one separate)
1 serrano pepper, diced
1 chicken breast, diced small
1 16-oz package farfalle
Shredded parmesan
black pepper
olive oil

Boil water with salt and oil for package of farfalle. Cook according to directions.

Saute 4 cloves garlic and the pepper in a little olive oil in a big frying pan over medium heat, 1-2 minutes.
Add in sundried tomatoes on medium for 1 minute.
Add cherry tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add in the spinach and basil. Wilt. Remove from heat and pour into bowl.

Put the pan back on the stove, add more olive oil, the last clove of garlic, and the diced chicken breast. Turn heat up and brown, adding a little white wine if you want.

When the chicken is browned and the pasta's done, add the pasta to the chicken in the frying pan and brown a little. Throw in the bowl of tomato mix and heat through.

Serve with shredded parmesan and cracked black pepper, with a green salad, a nice bread, and a good chardonnay.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Easiest Pesto EVER

If, like us, you're struggling to figure out what to do with your rampant basil plants this time of year, here's the easiest pesto recipe ever. This is a no-miss favorite.

It's the rule of threes, in alphabetical order:

3 cups of basil, tightly-packed
3 (at least) cloves of garlic (I like 4 large or 5 small, but that's up to you)

1/3 cup pine nuts, roasted over heat (do NOT overcook - they get bitter)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan, shredded

Get out your blender. Add the first two ingredients first, and pulse till it's a sauced. Then add the last 3 ingredients in order, with a healthy helping of cracked black pepper added with the parmesan.

Don't salt it till you've tried it with the parmesan, which has a lot of salt on its own.

Empty out the blender over your cooked pasta (TJoe's farfalle is perfect) and mix well. For a full dinner, add some protein (we like TJoe's chardonnay sausage), some green salad, and a rustic bread.

Best with a full-bodied white, like a chard.

(Note: my Facebook friends recommend replacing the pine nuts with walnuts, pistachios, or almonds, which are all cheaper and easier to find than pine nuts.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Greek Sloppy Joes

Looking for a new twist on a satisfying ground meat & seasoning sandwich? Look no further. Quick, super-easy, and really tasty.

Greek Sloppy Joes (serves 4)

1 lb ground lamb (Whole foods has some good stuff)
1 med yellow onion
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
2-3 big cloves garlic
1/4 cup red wine (we used merlot)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed mint
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
Whole wheat pitas (minis are good - Trader Joe's has 'em cheap)
low-fat plain yogurt
red onion slivers for garnish

Dice the yellow onion and brown in olive oil in a big skillet.
Mince and add the garlic. Brown lightly.
Add the lamb. Brown.
Add the stewed tomatoes and spices. Simmer 5 min.
Add chickpeas.
Cover and let it simmer for 20-30 min over low heat.

Cut the pitas in half and fill. Top with yogurt and thinly sliced red onion. (Cucumbers would be good too, but we forgot them.)

Serve with a side salad of field greens and a nice Zin. :)

(Next time, I'll add a pinch of cinnamon to the lamb.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Poblanos Enchiladas

Someone asked me for the recipe for this, and when I checked this blog, I couldn't believe I hadn't posted it already!

This is essentially like Mexican lasagna, but with tortillas. No rolling, low effort, high reward. Sooooo good. And it makes great leftovers, too!

The recipe calls for chicken, but turkey is actually even better. Great way to get rid of Thanksgiving leftovers! (Plus, starting with cooked bird lets you skip step 3 entirely.)

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast
garlic salt (or garlic powder and salt) to taste
24 oz low-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3-4 poblano peppers (the big green ones)
1 28 oz can green enchilada sauce (Las Palmas is good, or you can make your own if you're inclined. I'm not.)
1 jalapeno
half bunch cilantro
1-2 tsp lemon juice
22 fresh corn tortillas, cut in quarters. (A small package should cover it.)
16 oz shredded cheese - Colby/Monterey Jack is good.

1. Roast poblanos on foil-covered cookie sheet under broiler. 10-15 min, turning once, till they blister. Cool and peel, and remove stems.

2. Preheat over to 350. Grease large casserole.

3. Chop raw chicken into chunks. Brown with a little olive oil and a healthy sprinkle of garlic powder.

4. Rough-chop cilantro and jalapeno. Add to food processor with the lemon juice and the can of enchilada sauce. Blend till smooth-ish.

5. Chop browned chicken into tiny pieces. Add to bowl with 8-12 oz sour cream, cayenne, and a little more garlic powder and salt to taste. Mix well.

6. Dice cooked poblanos.

7. Cut tortillas in quarters.

8. Dip tortilla pieces in sauce and line bottom of pan. Add 1/2 chicken, 1/2 poblanos, 1/3 cheese, and 1/3 sauce.

9. Add another layer of the tortilla quarters (don't need to dip), other half chicken, other half poblanos, 1/3 cheese, 1/3 sauce.

10. Finish with layer of tortillas dipped in sauce. Cover with remaining cheese and whatever's left of the sauce (shouldn't be much).

11. Cover with foil and cook 45-55 min at 350. Remove foil to brown for last 10 min.

12. Let it set for a few minutes, then serve with dab of remaining sour cream.

This is GREAT with a side of refried beans. Here's an easy way to make them taste less canned, too: Heat a can of fat-free beans slowly, adding in skim milk till creamy. Throw in 1/2 tsp or so of either red chile flakes or cayenne. Not as good as fresh-made, but a lot easier. Serve with a little sour cream and some of the remaining cilantro.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Updating an old favorite

Made an old favorite tonight - my dad's Rum Chicken.

A little background: Dad was a Scotsman who didn't discover "cooking" till he came to the US. Even then, it was pretty much limited to Julia Child on PBS, where this recipe might well have originated. And the original recipe tastes like the 70s, too - low on spices, heavy on salt and fats.

Still, it's really easy, and really good. And it's a family heirloom. So here's the makeover:

One fryer, cut up
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup orange juice (see below)
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 tsp orange rind zest (consider juicing the orange for your 1/4 cup)
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 - 1 tsp pepper to taste
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter over low heat. Mix in garlic, ginger, zest, salt and pepper. Move off heat.
Add in the rum and OJ, and whisk.
Put the chicken in as small a baking dish as you can.
Pour the rum/orange/spice mix over the chicken.
Bake for 1 hr to 1:15, basting twice. Then increase the temp to 400 degrees for 15 minutes more to brown the skin.

Serve over rice, dressed with the pan juices/sauce. Acorn squash is also great on the side with this - ladle some sauce into each.