Friday, May 28, 2010

PieDay Friday-Ham and Bacon Quiche

A quiche is a pie, right? Well at least for the purposes of this post, I declare a quiche to be a pie. If you don't like it and wish I had posted something sweet, rich and decadent....wait until next Friday. I will be offering up a Caramel Toffee Mocha Pie. Why not this week, you ask? Well Thursday was my brother-in-law, Kevin's birthday but we will be celebrating it on Saturday.  You may all remember that he is a bit of a pie fiend, so I came up with the idea to make him a pie with some of his favorite ingredients as a gift. I didn't really want to give him a 2 and half day old pie, so the recipe and the rest of the story must wait.

This quiche, I ummm mean pie, is hearty enough to serve for dinner but airy enough for a brunch. The two types of cheese create a nicely balanced layer of flavors that compliment and elevate the other ingredients.

Tips:
  • To prevent the edges from getting as browned as mine did, place a ring of foil around the outer perimeter of the quiche for the first 20 minutes of baking. Remove it for the final 20-25 minutes.
  • White or yellow onions or even chives may be substituted for the green onions.
  • Smoked Gouda is commonly found in the form of a small wheel, so you will have to grate it yourself or substitute it completly for Cheddar.
  • If you don't want ham or bacon in the quiche, simply omit them and add an additional 1/2 cup of half and half.
  • Spinach can be added to make it a bit more like a Quiche Lorraine.  Just make sure the spinach is VERY well dried before adding it to the egg mixture.

Bacon and Ham Quiche

1 9 inch unbaked pie crust
4 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup ham, diced
1/4 cup green onion, diced
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1/4 cup Smoked Gouda, grated (or Cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Place bacon, ham, and onion on bottom of pie crust. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the half and half, cheese and seasonings. Pour egg mixture into pie crust. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes or until the center is set.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Easy Spainish Rice

This is a simple and easy Spainish Rice recipe, that tastes like you worked all day on it. Perfect for Taco nights or as a yummy side for enchalidas.

Easy Spainish Rice

3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons green onions, diced
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup salsa

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add green onions, and cook until transparent. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and add rice and salsa. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Biscuits

These yummy little treats are a fun way to play with cookie dough! 
 I threw these together last night after rummaging around the kitchen looking for something sweet for dessert. I had a little bit of cookie dough leftover, from making cookies this weekend but I wanted something more than an average cookie. Noticing a can of biscuits in the refrigerator, I started to ponder what I could do with them. Before I realized what exactly I was doing, my hands were pressing the cookie dough into hollowed out biscuit dough. Once I took them out of the oven, I realized they were missing something. Remembering some hot fudge I had on hand, I heated it up and the rest is history. 
My husband took one look at my crazy concoction, cocked an eyebrow and said  "I can't decide if you're insane or a genius".  After he took a bite, with his mouth full, he declared in his always deadpan delivery "Genius, mmmnnnahm. Yep, genius."!


Tips:
  • The cookie dough may flatten out or deflate a little when cooled. Don't worry, once you top them with hot fudge and maybe a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream, nobody will care!
  • Other flavor cookie dough and toppings can be used as well. Peanut Butter cookie dough with warm caramel sauce, Oatmeal Raisin cookie dough with warm butterscotch ice cream topping, etc.
  • Try brushing the biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before baking, proceed as normal. Amazing!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Biscuits

1 can refrigerated biscuits, 10 count
1/2 cup prepared chocolate chip cookie dough
1/2 cup Hot Fudge

Press out middles of biscuit dough like you are making donuts. Place biscuits on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Fill hollowed out center of each biscuit with a tablespoon of cookie dough. Press the cookie dough so it is flat and even with top of biscuit. Bake at 375 for 10-13 minutes or until lightly golden. Let sit for 2 minutes and drizzle with hot fudge (about 1 tablespoon per biscuit). Serve warm.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Homemade "Shake & Bake" Mix

This is an easy recipe for a "Shake & Bake" style coating for meat. Fresher, cheaper and more flavorful than what you can buy already prepared. Notice the additon of sage for pork chops and the addition of poultry seasoning for chicken. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and stored for several months in an airtight container.


Homemade "Shake & Bake" Mix

1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon celery salt
For Pork:  1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
For Chicken: 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Toss all ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To use: Moisten meat with water, olive oil or melted butter. Coat with mix (using a bag to shake, or a flat container/plate and roll meat in coating). Place in a lightly greased baking dish.

For thin pork chops (this recipe will coat 6), bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

For thick pork chops (this recipe will coat 4)  bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

For chicken (this recipe will coat 4 split chicken breasts) bake at 350 degrees, covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

Friday, May 21, 2010

PieDay Friday-Frosting Pie

I had long forgotten about this pie until just recently.The other day, I was cleaning out the hard drive on our old PC and saw a document I had labeled "Frosting Pie". It didn't ring any bells, even after looking at the ingredient list but I was curious enough to make it. After one bite it all came back to me.

When my husband and I were first married and living at his parent's house, his mother would often blend sour cream and cake frosting (from a container) together and spread it on Graham crackers as a snack. I thought it was so strange and a bit gross until I actually tried it and found that it was similar in flavor to a cheesecake!
One night my mother-in-law was craving that particular snack but was out of Graham crackers. Eager to be the helpful daughter she never had, I rumaged in the pantry and found a Graham cracker pie crust. I told her that I would make her a pie that resembled her beloved snack food and set to work. The pie turned out great and she told me I should type up the recipe so I would remember it, which I of course did. Not long afterwards, my husband and I moved into our own house and the memory of the mere existence of the pie was stored in some deep, recessed part of my brain.  Today, I bring back the pie that brought such a smile to my MIL and hope it does the same for you!

Tips:
  • I used Betty Crocker Whipped Buttercream frosting for my pie, but any flavor will work.
  • The crushed Oreos I used really complimented the over-all flavor of the pie and I would definetly recommend them!
  • For a fluffier pie, add 1 container of thawed Cool Whip or 1 1/2 cups of freshly whipped cream. You may be able to get 2 pies out of the recipe if you do this.

Frosting Pie

1 12oz container of frosting, any flavor
1 12oz container sour cream
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 chocolate or graham cracker pie crust
1/2 cup crushed cookies for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sour cream and sweetened condensed milk. Beat in the frosting until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared crust and sprinkle crumbled cookies on top. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Watermelon Sorbet

This was a wonderful find from BigOven! Light and refreshing, it's the perfect dessert or palate cleanser for those hot summer nights. 
Note: You do need an ice cream maker for this recipe. I use THIS ONE.

Tips:
  • To help prevent ice crystals from forming, add 1 tablespoon of vodka (raspberry flavored compliments the watermelon well). The end result is a smoother, creamier sorbet.

Watermelon Sorbet

2/3 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Water
2/3 cup Light corn syrup
2 tablespoon Lemon or lime juice
1/4 Large watermelon

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Without stirring, simmer over low heat 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice; cool to room temperature. Cut melon from rind, reserving only red fruit. Remove and discard seeds. Cut fruit into 1-inch cubes, making about 8 cups. Puree melon cubes about 2 cups at a time in blender or food processor fitted with metal blade. Stir into cooled syrup. Pour into ice cream canister. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions




photo from BigOven.com

Friday, May 14, 2010

PieDay Friday-Caramel Date Pecan Pie

This recipe came from Eagle Family Foods and received rave reviews.


Caramel Date Pecan Pie

1 ( 14-ounce ) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (or 1 can dulce de leche)

2/3 cup chopped dates
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup ( 1/2 pint ) whipping cream, whipped
1 (6-ounce ) package graham cracker crumb crust

Caramelize sweetened condensed milk (instructions below). Stir in dates, pecans and milk; cool. Chill thoroughly. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into crust. Chill 3 hours or until set. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

To caramelize Eagle® Brand Microwave: Pour Eagle® Brand into 2-quart glass measure. Microwave on 1/2 power Medium 4 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Reduce to 1/3 power (LOW); microwave 12 to 16 minutes or until thick and light caramel-colored, stirring briskly every 2 minutes until smooth. Cool. Chill thoroughly.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

I found this recipe on All Recipes but they looked fantastic. Similar, yet completely different from stuffed Peppers, these tomatoes make a unique dinner or brunch dish!


Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
6 slices bacon
6 medium tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup croutons
salt and pepper to taste
 6 sprigs parsley, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 11x7 inch baking dish.


Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. While bacon is cooking, wash tomatoes and slice off stem ends. Gently scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/2 inch wall. Finely chop pulp and place 1/3 cup of it in a medium bowl. You may discard remaining pulp.

Stir crumbled bacon, green pepper, cheese, croutons, and salt and pepper into tomato pulp. Spoon an equal amount of mixture into each hollowed out tomato. Place stuffed tomatoes into prepared baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until heated through. Garnish with parsley sprigs.
 
 
 
photo from AllRecipes.com

Friday, May 7, 2010

PieDay Friday-Mixed Berry Mascarpone Pie

Simple and elegant, this is a perfect summer pie. The sweetness of the mascarpone pairs perfectly with tart berries.  It would be lovely served on any table.

Tips:
  • Using a spatula, create a well in the middle of the mascarpone filling before adding the berries. This will keep them from running too much, down the sides of your pie pan.
  • Any flavor "berry" jam will work. I used black raspberry.



Mixed Berry Mascarpone Pie
1 pie crust, pre-baked
1/2 pint whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar, divided
8oz Mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup milk (or cream)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1 recipe for Berry Topping, below


Beat the whipping cream and 1/3 cup of sugar together until firm peaks form. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mascarpone, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla and rum extracts. Beat until smooth and creamy.  Gently fold in whipped cream until well incorporated. Pour mixture into baked and cooled pie crust. Spoon Berry Topping over mascarpone mixture. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Berry Topping


1/2 pint blackberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1/3 cup blackberry or raspberry jam
2 tablespoons water

In a large bowl, stir together the jam and water until runny. Add the berries and toss together until berries are well coated.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cheesy French Onion Potatoes

These easy potatoes use French onion dip and French fried onions to create a unique dish that pairs well with most anything.  The recipe is easy to double and would make a great take along to your next pot luck.

Tips:
  • You can use fresh potatoes or take a short-cut and use frozen Southern style hashbrowns that have been defrosted.



Cheesy French Onion Potatoes

2 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed
1 can Cheddar cheese soup, 10oz
1/4 cup French Onion Dip
1/2 cup shredded cheese, any variety
1/3 cup French fried onions

In a large bowl combine the potatoes, soup and French onion dip. Place in a lightly greased baking dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle shredded cheese and French fried onions on top and continue baking another 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Honeydew Salad

This recipe is from the Laughing Cow website. One of my favorite mid-afternoon snacks is a round of Babybel Cheese, so I always have plenty on hand. I've found this light, fruit salad a perfect way to utilze the cheese in some way other than scarfing it down in 3 bites!

Tips:
  • I like to add a drizzle of honey over the top. I think it ties the whole dish together nicely.

Honeydew Salad

1 round of Mini Babybel Original semisoft cheese

1⁄2 cup strawberries
1 cup honeydew
fresh mint

Mix together strawberries and honeydew with cubes of Mini Babybel® and some chopped fresh mint (3 leaves worked for me).

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Leftovers" Breakfast Pizzas

This is a delicious and easy way to use up the extra gravy you served with mashed potatoes last night! When I make fried chicken or chicken fried steak, I always make sure we have plenty of gravy leftover just so I can serve these the next morning!

Tips:
  • You can use crisp and crumbled bacon instead of sausage.
  • If using prepared sausage links, 1 link crumbled per half of an English muffin is just about right.
  • For a heartier pizza, try adding scrambled eggs or sauteed onions and bell peppers before topping with cheese.


"Leftovers" Breakfast Pizzas

2 English Muffins, split
1/2 lb breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 cup white gravy, prepared and warmed
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Toast English muffins until lightly browned. Spoon 1/4 cup gravy over each half. Crumble equal amounts of sausage over each muffin and top with cheese. Place all 4 halves on a cookie sheet and broil in oven (or toaster oven) for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Basic White Gravy

Basic White Gravy

4 Tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute or frying pan, melt butter and stir in flour to create a thick "paste". Slowly add milk and whisk until flour mixture is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently over medium heat until gravy is thickened. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
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