Aug 22, 2011

Creamy Spinach & Cheese Quiche

2 frozen, prepared pie crusts
10 eggs, beaten
1 block pepper jack cheese, grated
6-8 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 package frozen spinach (well drained)
1 large onion diced
1/2 cup cream

Sautee the diced onion in some oil for 3-5 minutes over med. heat until softened.

Mix all the  ingredients together & pour in prepared pie crusts. Cover edges of crust w/foil & bake @ 400 for 15 minutes.

Remove foil & continue baking @ 350 for another 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown on top and lightly set. Cool for approximately 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy!!!

Submitted by: Shauna

Aug 17, 2011

Swiss Chard & Cheese Casserole

1 lg. head of Swiss Chard
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c well drained canned tomatoes, diced
1/2 c mushrooms, diced
1/2 c olives, sliced
12 oz. pasta shells
3/4 c crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c sour cream

1. Cook the pasta to package directions, drain, rinse and set aside.
2. Rinse chard, drain well and chop in to rough pieces.  Heat 2 T of oil in a lg. heavy skillet over med. heat.  Add the onion and saute until slighty tender.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute then add the tomatoes, mushrooms, and olives and cook about 8 minutes until the chard is just wilted.  Do not over cook the chard because it will cook more in the oven. 
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
4. Remove the chard mixture and stir in the feta, kidney beans, parmesan and sour cream.  Fold in the pasta and season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the mixture in a 1 or 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle with any extra parmesan or some mozzerella.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked all the way through. 
6. Serve warm with some artisan sourdough bread and a fresh salad for a complete meal...enjoy!

Recipe was adapted from website.

Aug 8, 2011

Chili Verde/Salsa

1 lb tomatillos, husks removed
2 garlic cloves
1-3 jalapeno peppers (according to spicy-ness level desired)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1/4 c water, or as needed
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven's broiler. Arrange the whole cloves of garlic, tomatillos, and jalapenos on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler, and cook for a few minutes. Remove garlic cloves first, as soon as they are toasted, to avoid developing a bitter flavor. Continue to roast jalapenos and tomatillos until evenly charred, turning occasionally. Set aside to cool. Don't remove the charred parts of the tomatillos or the peppers (unless desired). They add a really nice flavor.                
  2. Place peppers and tomatillos in a blender with the garlic and cilantro. Add a little water to the mixture if necessary to facilitate blending. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

*We use this as a salsa for chips/nachos, or as an enchilada mothering sauce. :) I used more than one jalepeno and thought it was too spicy, so I added some lemon/lime juice. My husband didn't think it too spicy, but just right. (he likes spicy! I don't care for it, but this recipe worked well)


Aug 6, 2011

Parmesan Sausage Zucchini Boats

4 medium Zucchini
1 lb sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan, grated (opt.)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c water

1. Cut zucchini lengthwise and scoop out insides, leaving 1/4-inch shell. Chop the pulp.
2. In large skillet, brown the sausage. Add onion, garlic and chopped zucchini pulp; sautee 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add breadcrumbs, 1/2 c parmesan cheese and egg; mix well.
4. Sprinkle salt in each zucchini shell and fill with meat mixture. Top with additional parmesan if desired.
5. Place shells in ungreased baking dished and pour 1/2 c water into bottom of each dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
6. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes of until zuchini is tender.

*I used turkey burger seasoned more like sausage (cumin, ginger, cayenne, oregano, fennel, etc.) and used left over bread crust for bread crumbs. I always add two eggs, although the original recipe just calls for one. I also like broiling for a minute or two for a slight crunch, once fully cooked.

*from LDSliving

Aug 4, 2011

Homemade Sorbets/Herbal Ices

There are two basic methods to extract the herbal flavors. One uses a blender and the other a saucepan. Aside from an ice cream maker, which is  not required for granitas, a fine-meshed strainer is the only special piece of  equipment you’ll need (to guarantee a smoother texture).

Measure the sugar,  water and lemon juice into the blender container, add a generous quantity of  herb leaves, and blend for a minute or so until smooth. Pour the liquid through  the fine strainer and immediately freeze it in an ice cream maker. Although you  can use ordinary granulated sugar, fine sugar (also known as baker’s sugar) is a  better choice because it will dissolve faster in the syrup without heat. This  method works best with lemon verbena, lemon geranium, tarragon and mint. It also  works well with basil, but you’ll get the best color if you blanch the basil  leaves first (a quick dip in boiling water followed by a cold-water  bath).

As easy as brewingherbal tea. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a  saucepan, toss in a bundle of herb sprigs (stems and all), cover the pan and  take it off the heat. Let the herbs steep for 15 minutes or so and then strain.  The syrup will carry the flavor and fragrance of the herb while the green  vegetal flavor of the leaf, along with the stems, will stay behind. Next, add  citrus juice and freeze. This is the more versatile method because it works with  nearly any herb. The infused syrups also can be mixed with fruit purees like  berry, melon or peach, creating endless combinations of herb and fruit  sorbets.

If you make a sorbet with nothing but sugar, water and an herb, it will taste cloying and flat; but add the correct amount of lemon juice and the flavor will be bright and refreshing. Fruit purees each have their own level of sweet and tart, so the proportion of sugar syrup  may vary with each particular fruit.

Too much sugar will  make a sorbet that is too soft; too little sugar will make a sorbet that is too icy. You’ll need to rely on your taste buds or a recipe.

Standard Formula
1 cup  of sugar
3 ¼ cups water
¼ cup lemon/lime juice

Although there is no firmly defined difference between a sherbet and a sorbet,  sherbet often is made with dairy or egg whites. Here are two recipes to try....

Lemon-Verbena Yogurt Sherbet
• 2 cups lemon verbena leaves, lightly packed 2 cups whole-milk  yogurt
• 1½ cups fine sugar 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1½  cups water
1. Puree lemon verbena, sugar and water in blender on high speed.
2.  Whisk together yogurt and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.
3. Strain lemon  verbena syrup through a fine sieve into yogurt; whisk until smooth. Freeze  immediately in ice cream maker until slushy-firm. Scoop into storage container  and freeze until firm enough to scoop.

Basil-Lime Sorbet
• 3¼ cups water
• 2 cups basil leaves, gently packed
• 1 cup fine  sugar
• ¼ cup fresh lime juice
1. Bring water to a boil in small saucepan. Add basil leaves; cook 10  seconds. Drain and plunge basil into cold water. Drain again.
2. Puree  sugar, water, lime juice and blanched basil leaves in blender on high speed for  about 1 minute, or until you have a smooth, bright-green liquid. Pour through  fine-meshed strainer.
3. Freeze immediately in an ice cream maker until  slushy-firm. Scoop into a storage container and freeze until firm enough to  scoop.
Read more:

Aug 3, 2011

Eggs 101

Egg Varieties
  • Brown eggs: Eggshell color can vary but it has nothing to do with the quality, flavor, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness of an egg. The eggshell color only depends upon the breed of the hen.
  • Omega 3 enhanced eggs are from hens fed a diet flax seed or fish oils. Omega 3 enhanced eggs contain more omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin E than the regular eggs (almost 7 times more than regular supermarket store eggs)
  • Organic eggs are produced by hens fed certified organic grains without most conventional pesticides and fertilizers. Growth hormones and antiobiotics are also prohibited. Organic eggs have the same nutritional content, fat or cholesterol as regular eggs.
  • Free-Run or Cage-free eggs are produced by hens that are able to move about the floor of the barn and have access to nesting boxes and perches. The nutrient content of these eggs is the same as that of regular eggs.
  • Free-Range eggs are produced in a similar environment as cage-free eggs but hens have access to outdoor runs as well. The nutrient content of these eggs is the same as that of regular eggs.
  • Processed eggs such as liquid egg whites or dried egg whites are shell eggs broken by special machines then pasteurized before being further processed and packaged in liquid, frozen or dried form. Process egg products may also contain preservatives and flavor or color additives.
Basic Nutrition Info and Facts
Eggs are nutrition powerhouse. Rich in folate, vitamin B12, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, eggs also provides a good source of lutein, a type of antioxidants.

Yolk: 75 calories/213 mg. of cholesterol
Egg White: 16 calories/0 mg. cholesterol

According to the Egg Nutrition Center, the nutritional value of an egg is affected ONLY by the feed. In other words, specialty eggs such as organic eggs, or cage-free eggs provide the same nutritional value as the regular varieties if their feeds are the same.

What's the difference between a brown and a white egg?
Nothing except the color of the shell. And this is determined by the breed and color of the feathers of the hen that laid the egg: white feathered hens lay white eggs, and brown hens, brown eggs.

Should I always buy grade AA eggs?
Eggs are graded AA, A or B based upon the quality of the egg's interior and exterior when it left the farm. AA is the better option, for this reason. Yet, the grade doesn't have anything to do with freshness or size and grade A is commonly found in our markets. What matters more than grade is freshness, so if you have a choice between a very fresh grade A and a less fresh grade AA, choose the fresher A.

What size eggs should I buy?
Most recipes/nutrition info are based on large sized eggs.
jumbo = 30 oz
extra large = 27 oz
large = 24 oz
medium = 21 oz
small = 18 oz
*weight ranges are based on minimum size

How should I store eggs?
Always refrigerate your eggs and keep them large-end up in their original store cartons instead of transferring them to those useless egg-holding trays in your refrigerator. Egg shells are porous so if you expose eggs to the air inside your refrigerator, they easily can absorb food odors.

How long do eggs keep?
Raw eggs can usually be kept in the fridge up to a month (from the day they were packed).  If you  keep eggs at room temperature they lose more quality in one day than if stored in the refrigerator for a week.

A hard-cooked egg can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you open a carton and any eggs are cracked, discard them because the protective shell has been violated and it could cause the egg to spoil.

*Tip: If you don't know how old the egg is, do a simple test: If the egg sinks, it's good; if it floats, it's bad (which means it may give you a lit of stinky gas, should you choose to eat it).

Can I freeze eggs?
Egg Yolks = NO
Egg Whites = YES
Freeze beautifully and can be kept frozen for up to 6 months. Just put them in a sealed plastic container. You can also use an ice cube tray to freeze individual eggs whites, transferring the individual "egg cubes" into a sealed plastic bag after they've frozen.

Why are some egg yolks different shades of yellow?
The color of the yolk will depend upon the hen's diet. Wheat-fed hen's yolks will be a paler yellow than those fed a diet of alfalfa, grass or yellow corn.

What if there's a spot of blood on a yolk?

It's just a natural residue on the yolk that occurs when the egg is formed. Some say it's a sign of freshness because this kind of spot will fade as the egg ages. But if you have any question about the condition of an egg, discard it.

What about salmonella? Are raw eggs too risky to use?
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes an illness that can be dangerous to the very young, the very old, and anyone with a compromised immune system. Today it is extremely rare (some say 1 in 20,000 eggs) but if you have concerns, especially if there has been a recent egg recall, you should partially or completely cook your eggs. To kill the bacteria, cook an egg to 140º F for 5 minutes (the yolk will stay runny) or to 160º F (the yolk will harden) for 1 minute. The alternative is to purchase pasteurized eggs (they're more costly) which have been heated enough to kill the bacteria without cooking the eggs (pasteurization/high heat generally kills many nutrients/vitamins).

Also remember that eggs come from chicken farms, not exactly sanitary places. So handle eggs as you do raw chicken -- keep the eggs in their carton and separate from other food, discard any that are broken, and wash your hands after handling them.

Easy-to-peel Hard Boiled Eggs
1. Place eggs into a pot with cold/lukewarm water covering atleast an inch above the eggs.
2. Bring the water to a full, rolling boil at a high temperature.
3. The very minute the eggs reach that full rolling boil, remove the pot from the stovetop to a nearby waiting trivet and IMMEDIATELY put the cover on the pot TIGHTLY and allow the eggs to continue to cook in the hot water (right on your tabletop, yes, without any flame underneath it) still in the pot for EIGHTEEN minutes.
4. After the 18 minutes, remove the cover and pour out the still very very hot water and refill the pot with the coldest water you can get your tap to produce.
5. Let the eggs just sit in the very cold water for a minute or two and then refill the pot again with more of the coldest water you've got.
6. Peel oh so easily (because the immediate rinse with cold, cold water). :)           
*adapted from and