Saturday, September 24, 2011

Easy Mini Quiches

We had friends coming to visit and I decided to make these for breakfast. These were so delicious and so easy. Seriously, the chopping was the most tedious part. You can make any variation you want, I went with all vegetables and cheese. I'm sure these would be yummy with bacon or sausage in the mix.

Easy Mini Quiches
Courtesy of Christina Eats

4 eggs
1/3 c. milk (I used skim)
1/2 c. red and/or green bell pepper, diced ( i used red)
1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, diced
1/3 c. green onions, sliced thinly ( i omitted and added spinach)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. each salt & pepper
olive oil
oil spray (such as PAM)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat about 1 tbsp. oil in a pan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until soft. Add peppers, mushrooms, spinach and spices. Cook for several minutes until soft.
Whisk together eggs and milk in a mixing bowl. Add vegetable mixture and mix lightly.
Spoon mixture into lightly greased muffin pan. Fill each cup almost full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

Cool for 20 minutes, then carefully remove mini quiches from pan (I used a spoon to help).

Gnocchi Mac and Cheese

I had a potluck last week and my last name fell in the entree category. Yippee. I really wanted to be in the side dish category so I had an excuse to make cilantro rice again. Sigh. Main entrees for potlucks are tough, so I decided to go with a mac and cheese because its hearty and also vegetarian friendly. I found this great twist on mac and cheese, same idea...made with gnocchi. Boy was it amazing!

Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
Courtesy of Noble Pig

 1 pound purchased or homemade gnocchi
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Basil leaves for garnish, optional


Preheat oven to 375o F. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions.  Drain and place gnocchi in a single-layer in a 1-1/2 quart shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and Dijon.  Continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Combine Gruyere and fontina, then add by the handful to milk mixture, stirring until melted before adding the next handful.  Once all cheese is melted, season sauce with salt and pepper.

Pour sauce over gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano over top.  Bake gnocchi until they puff and cheese is golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let gnocchi rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Asiago Tortellini Soup with Black Pepper Flatbread

Since we have been experiencing hints of fall weather recently, I decided to make a soup for dinner the other night. I came across this recipe on the Cooking Light website and was happy I did. This was so simple and very fast. I made a black pepper flat bread as suggested and it was the perfect compliment!

Asiago Tortellini Soup
Courtesy of Cooking Light


-1 (9-ounce) package fresh three-cheese tortellini 
-1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth if making vegetarian)
-2 plum tomatoes, chopped 
-1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
-1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved fresh Asiago cheese 
-Basil leaves (optional) 
-Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

While pasta cooks, combine broth and tomato in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Cover and let broth mixture stand until pasta is done. Add drained pasta to broth mixture. Ladle soup into shallow bowls; sprinkle each serving with cheese. Garnish with basil leaves and pepper, if desired.

Black Pepper Flatbread
Courtesy of Cooking Light 


2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano 
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough 
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 400°. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Unroll dough onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; form into a 12 x 9–inch rectangle. Lightly coat top of dough with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with garlic mixture. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool flatbread; cut into 6  large slices.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cilantro Rice

My friend cooked dinner and served this rice. I loved it so much that I made it the next night! The original recipe is called Mexican Rice with Cilantro Dressing, but it's so versatile that I have renamed it cilantro rice and encourage you to make it as a side to go with anything! It's very easy to make although a bit time consuming with all of the chopping. The recipe also suggest the rice sit for 1.5 hours, but that is not necessary. Plus, it smells to delicious to wait that long!

Cilantro Rice
Courtesy of Epicurious, discovered by Karen Merriwether

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced seeded serrano chiles
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth (use vegetable broth if vegetarian)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • cilantro dressing (recipe follows)

    cilantro dressing:
  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded serrano chile

Directions for Cilantro Dressing:
Combine all ingredients in processor. Blend until almost smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; rewhisk before using.) 
Directions for Rice:
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and serrano; sauté until onion is translucent, about 9 minutes. Mix in rice; stir 2 minutes. Mix in broth and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until rice is just tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. 

Transfer rice to bowl; cool to barely lukewarm, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Add 1/2 cup cilantro dressing to rice; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream

I'm back! I have been cooking a little more lately. I am trying to get used to my new small, outdated kitchen! I'm starting to figure out some new tricks to make it work. Anyway, this is the first meal I made in said kitchen and it was quite delicious. I bought this cookbook last winter and have yet to make anything from it, so I decided to break it open. It is full of great recipes I have tagged to try over the next few months so look out for more yumminess! The only thing I would change about this recipe next time I make it is to make it with bacon. I think the smokiness from the bacon would be perfect! If you don't eat pork try turkey or chicken sausage or turkey bacon. Either would be great substitutes!

 Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream
Courtesy of Barbara Fairchild

-2 tbl olive oil
-1 lb of sweet italian sausages, casings removed (i used regular sausage)
-1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
-1 c chopped onion
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with added puree
- 1/2 c heavy cream
-1 lb farfalle (bow tie pasta)
-1 c (packed) chopped fresh basil
freshly grated pecorino romano cheese

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages and crushed red pepper. Saute until sausages are no longer pink, breaking into chunks with fork, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cream. Reduce heat to low; simmer until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 c pasta cooking liquid.(I did not reserve pasta water and it was fine). Return pasta to same pot.

Add sausage mixture to pasta; toss over medium heat, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Transfer pasta to serving dish. Sprinkle with basil. Serve passing cheese separately.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chipotle Sloppy Joes

Ok, sometimes you have to embrace the inner kid in yourself, right? I randomly had a taste for a sloppy joe this week and decided it would be a perfect Tuesday night dinner. Now, you should know this isn't the first time I have made this sloppy joe and it definitely won't be the last. They are a bit on the spicy side and a lot on the messy side. If you are like me, you don't mind a meal that requires finger licking!

Chipotle Sloppy Joes
Cooking Light


Cooking spray

2 1/2 cups presliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 pound ground sirloin
1/2 cup prechopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
Hamburger buns (wheat)


 Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside.

Remove 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can; set aside. Remove 1 chipotle chile from can; chop and set aside. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use.

 Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in chopped chipotle chile, adobo sauce, tomato paste, and next 3 ingredients (through tomato sauce); cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon 1/2 cup beef mixture over bottom half of each bun, and top evenly with onions and top half of bun.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pasta Pie

Yep, that's an entire pie...made of pasta! For New Years Eve, we were invited to a pie party and I decided to make a savory pie for the occassion. It's actually quite easy until you get to the stuffing the shells part. Stuffing each indivdual shell took some practice, but the longer I stuffed, the better I got. It was totally worth the effort being as it was delicious and made for an impressive presentation. If I could only have a big slice of pasta pie tonight....

Pasta Pie
Courtesy of Noble Pig

1 pound rigatoni

2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound ground beef
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 can (28 ounces) good quality crushed tomatoes

Butter, for pan


1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella


In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone (I cooked mine for 12 minutes when the box indicated 14 minutes). One pound of pasta should be cooked in 6 quarts of water, make sure you are using a big enough pot so the pasta doesn't stick together. When done, rinse in cold water and drain again. Toss pasta with 1 Tablespoon olive oil to coat. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more.

Add crushed tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end. It should look like this:

Spread meat sauce on top of pasta.

Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up.
Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold.

Cut into wedges and serve with any remaining meat sauce you might have.