Thursday, September 26, 2013

Zucchini Bacon Quiche

Jessie's quiche was a total winner for everyone in my family.  I kicked myself for not making two to freeze  one or share the yumminess with friends.  The cream cheese on the bottom of the crust gave the quiche a special creamy texture that was delicious.  

1 frozen 9-inch deep dish pie shell 
4 ounces cream cheese

6 strips of bacon, diced
1-2 cups of roughly chopped zucchini
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 eggs beaten
1/4 tsp of dried basil
1/4 tsp of dried oregano
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp of pepper
generous pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425
Pre-Bake crust for 10 minutes.
Cool completely.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towel.
Using two tablespoons of the bacon drippings, saute the prepped zucchini, onion, and garlic until tender.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, seasonings, bacon and zucchini mixture.
Cover the bottom of the pie crust with the cream cheese, cut into small pieces.
Pour the zucchini mixture into baked, cooled crust.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover the edges of the pastry with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.  Mine was in for almost 30 minutes.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Beet and Nectarine Salad with Feta

Do you like beets?  I didn't use to, but I think it's because I didn't know how to eat them.  Plain, over-cooked beets are as bad to me as soggy brussel sprouts.  Blech.  The first time I remember trying beets and enjoying them was when a friend served them, cold, with fresh feta and olive oil.  I tried it partly out of curiosity, partly because I love feta, and mostly because I didn't want to be rude and not eat what I was served.  Yum!  I was pleasantly surprised and thus began a new relationship with this beautifully colored vegetable.

Beet smoothies are popular in my home.  Beet greens are great sautéed for quesadillas.  And today I'm sharing a delicious salad made better by beets.  I guess you could leave out the beets and the salad would still be good, but why not give them a try?!  My guess is you'll find the slightly sweet, slightly bitter flavor not too offensive.  And if you don't over-cook them, the beet can add a great texture to this salad.

2 medium beets, cooked and cut into wedges (see below for how I like to cook them)
2 ripe nectarines, cut into wedges
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (cook on a dry frying pan for 7-10 minutes)
feta cheese
bed of salad leaves

for the dressing:
3 tsp. honey
2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil

There are many different ways to cook beets.  My preferred method is to steam them with the skins on. Trim the stems and long root then give the beets a good rinse.  Place in your steamer with just enough water so that the beets aren't sitting in water.  Bring water to boil, cover, and turn down heat to simmer 20-30 minutes.  Test with a knife to see if beets are soft all the way through.  Once finished, carefully remove whole beets from steamer and let cool until you can handle them easily.  The skins will rub off, but if you'd rather not have bright red pink all day, wear gloves or use a small knife to scrape them off.  Now you have peeled, cooked beets ready for use!  I steamed four beets, used two for this salad, cut the other two into chunks and put them in the freezer for smoothies.

To assemble the salad:

Start with a bed of salad greens on each plate.  Top with nectarine and beet wedges.  Add crumbled feta and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Whisk honey, mustard, vinegar, and oil together to make the dressing.  Drizzle on top of salad and enjoy!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Baked Vegetable Stack

I bought a baguette and roasted some chickpeas to munch on the side of this delicious veggie dish and called it good.  We enjoyed the meal outside and soaked up one of our last relaxed summer evenings.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large zucchini
2 small turnips, peeled
2-3 medium tomatos
3-4 smallish potatoes, peeled
1 tsp. dried thyme
salt, pepper, whatever other seasoning you want to add
2 Tbsp butter, cut into small chunks
1-2 cups grated cheese (I'd suggest mozzarella, parmesan, or monteray jack)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Saute onion and garlic in a skillet with olive oil until softened (about five minutes).

While the onion and garlic are sauteing, thinly slice the rest of the vegetables.

Rub butter on inside of square baking dish.  Spread onion and garlic in the bottom.  Place sliced veggies in dish vertically, in an alternating pattern.  Sprinkle generously with seasonings and top with butter chunks.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Remove foil, top with cheese, and bake for another 20 minutes.  Broil for a minute to give the cheese a golden touch and you're done!

Adapted slightly from this recipe.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Summer Pesto Pizza {with homemade pesto}

We've had a wonderful summer, which has included lots of fresh and light meals.  This pizza, although not as light, tastes deliciously fresh and has been our summer meal of choice.  I used the last of my fresh basil and some ripe tomatoes from our ginormous plant to make it one last time in celebration of my middle gingersnap's first day of preschool.   Yum!  

Recipe from Simply in Season
For the Pesto: 

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1-3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nutes, walnuts, or hazelnuts
3-6 Tbsp Parm cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil

Finely chop together everything but olive oil in food processor or Viatmix.  Add oil gradually while food processor runs to make a thick paste.

For the Dough (I make two crusts out of this):

1 heaping Tbsp active dry yeast
1 1 /4 cups warm water

Stir together in a large bowl until yeast is dissolved.

2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt

Add enough flour to make a soft dough.  Knead 8-10 minutes (or use the dough hook in your stand mixer) until smooth and elastic.  Place in greased bowl, turn to grease both sides, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45-55 minutes.  Generously grease pizza stone or baking sheet with olive oil.  Roll or press dough onto pan.  Bake in preheated oven at 450 for 5 minutes.

1/2 cup Pesto
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Spread pesto onto crust.  Top with tomatoes and cheese.  Garnish with fresh basil leaves if you want.  Bake in preheated oven at 450 until cheese is melted, 5-8 minutes. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pappardelle with Pesto, Ricotta and Vegetables

This was pretty good, but not great.  It was on the bland side (which I quickly doctored up), but the vegetable combination wasn't something I would have done on my own and worked well.  I think I liked it better cold the second day.

For the Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup pine nuts (I've made it with walnuts also and it was good)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a food processor or blender, combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese.  Pulse until coarse.  If you are using a blender you may need to dig in with a spatula to stir things up a few times.  While running, pour in the olive oil.  Taste, add salt and pepper as desired.

12 oz. pappardelle pasta (fettucine or extra wide egg noodles would be good substitutes)
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
1 cup chopped tomato
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  In a small bowl, combine the tomato, olive oil and vinegar plus oregano, if using, and stir to combine.  Set aside while cooking the pasta.

Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, beans and corn.  Cook for 7-8 minutes, drain, and rinse.

Place the ricotta cheese in a large serving bowl (this dish can be hard to mix well, so make sure you have a roomy bowl).  Add the pesto and stir to combine.  Add the pasta/veggie mix and toss well but gently to coat.  Pour the tomato mix over the pasta and stir.  Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Barley, Black Bean and Corn Burritos

I could eat this sort of thing on a weekly basis.  Easy to put together, hearty, hints of Mexican flavors . . .  My family isn't as enthusiastic as I am about barley (I love the stuff!), but they liked these burritos enough that I'll be making them again soon.

  • 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 3/4 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained (Rotel)
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • (8-inch) flour tortillas

  • For Topping:
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped lettuce
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • avacado
  • fresh cilantro

  • Place first 11 ingredients in a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker; stir well. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro.
  • Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 2/3 cup barley mixture down center of each tortilla. Sprinkle each with desired toppings, roll up, and enjoy!
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