Spinach and Bacon Frittata

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Hello, my friends! I have some good news to share today: I’m starting a new job next week! I plan on continuing to post delicious recipes for you, but you may notice a trend towards more “make ahead” and easy to prepare meals.

This frittata recipe is a perfect recipe for a busy weeknight. It’s tasty, filling, and ready in a flash. I’ve never made a frittata before, but it’s kind of a cross between a crust-less quiche and an omelet, although the flavor is more omelet-y since it doesn’t have any cream.

I adapted this from an Alton Brown recipe (I just love him), which you can find here.

6-8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped*
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon butter
2 cups of baby spinach, chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan, and pepper.

Heat a 12-inch cast iron pan (or other oven-proof pan) over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add the chopped bacon and spinach and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

Pour the eggs into the pan and quickly stir the eggs, bacon, and spinach together. Once combined, stop stirring, and let cook for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until the egg mixture begins to set around the edges.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler to a low setting and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.

Once the egg mixture begins to set around the edges, place the pan in the oven and broil for about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffy.

Cut into wedges and serve hot with a big green salad.

*To reduce the time and mess involved in cooking bacon, place the bacon strips in a single layer on a cooling rack, and place the cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes.

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Chiles Rellenos Casserole

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I love chiles rellenos, but I don’t always have time to make them. If you do have time though, I highly recommend my recipe for chiles rellenos that you can find here

This chiles rellenos casserole has the flavor of classic chiles rellenos, but is more family friendly and easier to prepare. I’ve added some ground turkey for a more substantial meal, but it would also be great as a meatless casserole.

I used the “Mexican” blend of shredded cheese, but you could try pepper jack if you like it spicy, or even add some cream cheese for a creamier texture.

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 cans whole green chiles (depending on the size)
2-3 cups shredded cheese, divided
1 can chopped green chiles
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and onion, and cook, breaking up the turkey into small pieces with a spatula. Stir in the cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. When the turkey is fully cooked, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

Remove one of the whole green chiles from the can and tear one side of the chile open, so the chile lies flat. Scrape out any seeds, and then lay the chile flat in the bottom of a 7×11 inch baking dish (or similar size). Continue until the bottom of the baking dish is completely covered with chiles.

Top the chiles with about 1 cup of shredded cheese, and then all of the meat. Cover the meat with the remaining shredded cheese. Drain the can of diced green chilies and sprinkle them on top of the cheese.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and flour. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the casserole dish.

Bake for about 50 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

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Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

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Broccoli and cheddar cheese is a classic combination, and this Broccoli Cheddar Quiche is as good as it looks! Even my oldest daughter devoured it without the usual strong-arming it takes to get her to eat her broccoli. I’m picky about the egg-to-milk ratio in quiche – too much milk makes the filling too “soft” and too many eggs turns it into an omelet – but the ratio in this recipe is perfect. I hope you agree! 

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup diced red onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and well drained
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup milk (1%)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 frozen pie crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (reduce heat, if needed, to prevent burning). Stir in the broccoli, and remove the skillet from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks, cream, milk, salt, and pepper.

Press 1 cup of the shredded cheese into the bottom of the pie crust, making sure to cover the entire bottom of the crust. Mix 1/2 cup of the cheese into the broccoli mixture and then add the broccoli mixture to the pie crust. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pie crust, and then top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until the center of the quiche no longer moves, when the quiche is gently jiggled.

Let cool for at least 20 minutes. No, really. If you cut into the quiche too soon, it won’t set properly and you’ll be left with runny quiche (yuck). This quiche tastes even better the next day, so it’s a great recipe to prepare in advance. Enjoy!

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Coconut Macaroons

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I’m a sucker for those big, beautiful, perfectly mounded coconut macaroons that you find in fancy bakeries (extra points if they’re dipped in chocolate!). I’ve tried making coconut macaroons before, but I ended up with flat, sticky things that tasted pretty good, but did not live up to my vision of a perfect macaroon.

I think I discovered the secret: ditch the sweetened condensed milk. This recipe, from Baker’s, uses egg whites instead and it produces macaroons that are similar to those bakery beauties that I covet. Click here to see the original recipe.

Like most things, coconut becomes glorious when it’s toasted, so I pop the macaroons under the broiler for a few minutes after they are finished baking, to give them a tasty, toasted exterior.

1 14-ounce package flaked coconut
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites (unbeaten)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper (or you can grease and flour them instead).

Combine the coconut, sugar, flour and salt in large bowl. Stir in egg whites, vanilla extract and almond extract until well blended.

Drop coconut mixture into mounds, 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. I like my macaroons big and tall, so before I put them in the oven, I’ll reshape them using my fingers (it helps if you wet your fingers first) to make sure they hold their shape.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the bottom edges are golden brown. Turn on the broiler and crack open the oven door. Broil for a minute or two, or until the macaroons are light brown on top. Watch carefully because they will burn easily.

Remove from the oven, move to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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Bacon and Broccoli Quiche

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This is a hearty and delicious quiche that is bursting with bacon and broccoli. You can make this an easy weeknight dinner by preparing the ingredients and filling the quiche the night before, and then popping it in the oven when you get home from work.

4-6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped (I use frozen broccoli)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 cup half-n-half
3 eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 frozen pie crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together the flour, salt, half-n-half, and eggs in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Press about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese into the bottom of the pie crust (covering the bottom of the crust with cheese will help prevent a soggy crust). Sprinkle the bacon and the broccoli over the cheese. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pie crust. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until the quiche is set and golden brown on top. Serve with a nice green salad.

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Chiles Rellenos

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I am a member of a local food group (I’ll post more on that later), and I scored some beautiful anaheim chile peppers at our last product exchange.  My first thought was “chiles rellenos!” – although, I must mention that I have never attempted to cook them before. I was not deterred, however, and I am delighted to report that my first attempt was a delicious success! If you’re pressed for time, I recommend that you prepare and stuff the peppers ahead of time (see below for details); the recipe isn’t difficult, but there are a lot of hands-on steps that may be difficult to complete with hungry kids at your feet.

8-10 anaheim chile peppers (or poblanos, if you prefer)
2 ounces cream cheese (or more, depending on size of your chiles)
1/2 – 1 cup mozzarella, cut into small chunks (or substitute your favorite cheese)
Flour for dredging chiles
4 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Oil for frying

Preheat the broiler and place the chiles on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet about 6 inches under the broiler to roast the chiles. (Note: you can do this on an outside grill instead.) Watch the chiles carefully and turn them about every 60 seconds. You want the skin to blister and brown, but not burn. Once the skins of the chiles are brown and wrinkled, remove them from the oven and place them in a brown paper bag and fold the top of the bag down to close (a plastic bag will also work).  Let the chiles steam for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the bag and peel them.  The charred skin should peel away easily using your fingers, but be careful not to tear the chiles while peeling.

Using a small knife, make a small slit in the side of each chile (near the top). Now this is the tricky part: remove the seeds, without tearing the chile completely open. You can either use your knife to cut the membranes off, or simply use your fingers to rip the membranes/seeds out. I found the finger method worked well for most of the chiles, but a knife was needed for some of the larger ones. Expect some tearing while you’re doing this, but try to keep it to a minimum.

Next, stuff the chiles with the cheese. Put as much in as you like, but make sure you have enough room to role the chile around itself a little bit to “hug” the cheese inside (kind of like a burrito). If you are preparing this ahead of time, stop at this point and put the stuffed chiles in the fridge covered loosely with plastic wrap, until you are ready to cook them. 

Add the oil to a large saucepan (any large pan that is taller than it is wide will work), and heat to at least 350 degrees. Be sure the oil is at least a half an inch deep. Meanwhile, separate the eggs yolks into a small bowl and lightly beat them. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt until stiff. Gently fold in the yolks with a rubber spatula.

Dredge the stuffed chiles in flour and then pick up one chile at a time by the stem and dip it into the egg batter. Very carefully, set the chile in the hot oil (use tongs, if you aren’t comfortable using your fingers). Fry until the bottom is golden brown and then carefully turn them, using tongs, to cook the other side. When they are golden brown, place them on a paper towel to drain and salt them lightly.

We enjoyed our chiles rellenos with fresh salsa and sour cream, but they would also be excellent with sauce. A red enchilada sauce would work in a pinch, but crema fresca (Mexican sour cream) or mole sauce would be divine.

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Summer Squash Quiche

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Every day I walk through our garden to check on the plants and see if anything is ready for harvesting.  We always have an abundance of yellow squash (much to my dismay), so I’m constantly on the lookout for new and interesting ways to prepare it. I generally try to avoid using the oven in the summer, but I conceded in favor of some variety. This quiche (another recipe that I adapted from the allrecipes.com website) has a creamier consistency than most, due to the addition of ricotta cheese.

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust (in the refrigerated section of grocery store, or home-made)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 zucchini thinly sliced
1 yellow squash thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place the unbaked pie crust in a large pie pan. This recipe makes a lot of filling, so use the largest pie pan that you have. Prick bottom of pastry with a fork, and bake at 425 degrees for 7 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the oven and reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.

In a skillet, add the butter and onions and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Then add the zucchini, yellow squash, and garlic and sauté until tender. Transfer the veggie mixture to a bowl lined with a paper towel to drain. Place half the veggie mixture in the pre-baked crust, and then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top.

In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, half-and-half, eggs, salt, basil, and pepper. Pour into crust (there may be some extra filling, depending on the size of your pie pan). Arrange remaining veggie slices over top. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Note: you will need to increase the baking time if you used a deep-dish pie pan. This is a great recipe to double: cook both quiches and put one in the freezer (after it cools) for an easy weeknight dinner.

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