Muffin Quiche

These muffin shaped treats are a nice make ahead or on the go breakfast and are a good choice for Easter brunch. They are pretty on a plate and easy to reheat.  Variations might include adding chopped crisp bacon, crumbled cooked pork sausage or diced ham. Cheddar or Montery Jack Cheese  can be subbed for the Swiss.

Muffin Cup Quiche

One roll crescent roll dough
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1/3 cup diced red pepper or chopped pimiento
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup finely chopped smoked sausage
1 teaspoon dried thyme.
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 oz  Swiss cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Spray a 12 serving muffin tin with cooking spray.
Pop open the crescent roll dough and separate the 8 triangles on a flat surface.Then lay the big end of each over 8 muffin cups, cutting the “tail” that is leftover.  You will use all these tails to make 4 more muffin cups. Press dough into muffin cups. The edges will be uneven, but after baking, create a rustic tart crust.
In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, thyme, salt and pepper.
Divide vegetables and chopped sausage evenly between each muffin cup. Repeat with egg mixture and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake for 12 minutes, or until filling is set and crust beginning to brown.

Garden Vegetable Pie

There are a variety of recipes for pies or tarts using summer vegetables. I find some in my cookbook collection; many more are found online. Some recipes use a crust for the pie, others do not. A combination of eggs and cheese makes the dish set up so that it can e sliced into wedges.  Some would say that makes this a fritttata or crustless quiche, but plain old pie works just fine for me. Almost any assortment of fresh vegetables can be combined but I got great responses last week when I took this zucchini pie to a friend’s home. The entree was roasted pork tenderloin, and guests were asked to bring salad, vegetable, fruit, and dessert. The combination of pork, spinach salad, fruit salad, and this vegetable pie was delicious and hearty. We almost did not need Key Lime Pie for dessert, but it was yummy, too.

Garden Vegetable Pie

4 tablespoons butterhalf

1/2  onion, diced

2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed

2 large zucchini, sliced very thinly (about 4 cup

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces shredded cheese (I used white cheddar)

4 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet. Add onions and zucchini. While the veggies saute, cut the corn kernels off the cob. Add them to the pan and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.. Remove from heat.

Once the mixture has cooled for a few minutes, stir in basil, oregano, salt, cheese, and the beaten egg. Line a pie pan (9-inch or larger) with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Arrange a few zucchini slices so they lay flat and look nice. Top with a little extra cheese, cover with greased foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes to brown the top. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into slices.

Lemon Picatta Chicken Casserole

lemonpicattachickenbakeIf you try this, you may never want to go back to the tried and true way of making chicken piccata!  My son deconstructed his normal oh-so-good way of making this dish with delicious results. The method could not be simpler. Try the recipe below or use your favorite Lemon Picatta Chicken recipe. Farfalle (Bow-Tie) or Penne pasta adds to the appearance and texture of the dish.  After you cook the chicken breasts, transfer to cutting board, cool slightly, and cut into bite size pieces to combine with pasta in your favorite baking dish. Our family may rename this Ben’s Chicken Picatta.

Lemon Chicken Picatta Chicken Casserole

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, pounded to about 1/4 inch thick
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • Fresh lemon slices for garnish

16 ounces Farfalle, or Bow-Tie, Pasta, cooked al dente.

Set three wide, shallow bowls on a work surface. Add flour to the first one, beaten eggs to the second, and panko and Parmesan cheese to the third. Mix panko and Parmesan thoroughly.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Season chicken cutlets all over with salt and pepper. Working with one at a time, dredge a cutlet in flour with your left hand, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg dish, then turn cutlet with your right hand to coat both sides. Lift and allow excess egg to drain off, then transfer to bread crumb mixture. With your left hand, scoop bread crumbs on top of chicken, then gently press, turning chicken to ensure a good layer of crumbs on both sides. Transfer cutlet to prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining cutlets.

Fill a large skillet with 1/4 inch oil. Heat over high heat until shimmering. Working in batches and using tongs or your fingers, gently lower cutlets into the pan, laying them down away from you to prevent hot fat from splashing toward you. Fry, rotating cutlets for even browning, and adjusting heat as necessary until bottom side is browned and crisp, about three minutes. Flip cutlets and fry until other side is browned and crisp, about three minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt right away. Repeat with remaining cutlets, topping up oil if necessary.  When cooled slightly, cut chicken into bite size pieces.

Drain all but one tablespoon oil from skillet. Add wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cooking about two minutes while scraping browned bits from skillet. Add capers and butter, whisking until butter has melted. Lower heat to medium and continue whisking and reducing until sauce is smooth and creamy. Whisk in lemon juice and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

0Add chicken pieces and cooked pasta to sauce in large baking dish, tossing to combine.  Sprinkle top with shaved parmesan.  Place in oven just until heated through but not brown.  Scatter chopped parsley over top and add a few fresh lemon slices at serving time.

 

Smothered Chicken

smothered-chicken

Smothered Chicken is an old Southern favorite, often served with rice.  The tender chicken and smooth sauce is also a wonderful with mashed or baked potatoes.  Add some wilted greens or green peas and a salad for a hearty meal.  We had this a few days ago on a cold, wet night – perfect for warming body and spirit!  Sprinkle sauce with your favorite dried herbs for seasoning if you like, but be sure to brown the chicken first. I brown the chicken in an iron skillet, lift it into a baking dish, and make the gravy or sauce in the same skillet.

Smothered Chicken

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or 2 thighs per person.

Flour

Salt and Pepper

Cooking oil for a level of about 1/2 inch in the frying pan.

2 cups of sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and pat dry chicken and dust with flour, salt, and pepper. Fry in hot oil in a heavy skillet until lightly browned on both sides.  Remove and place in baking pan.  Pour sauce over the chicken, cover, and bake for 1 hour, or until chicken is tender.

Sauce or Gravy for Smothered Chicken

3 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Roasted Lemon Chicken

lemonchicken1I love cooking in my iron skillet, flavoring with herbs and lemon, and easy entrees, so this is a new favorite. Served with a mixture of white, brown, and wild rice and a pan of roasted brussel sprouts with apples and pecans, everyone at our table gave it a thumbs up!  This is my version of Ina Garten’s recipe.

Roasted Lemon Chicken

1 teaspoon thyme (I used Penzey’s French Thyme)

 1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup good olive oil

2  lemons, 1 halved and sliced, the second lemon juiced

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the thyme, 1 teaspoon salt,  1 teaspoon pepper and 1/3 cup olive oil  into a small bowl and set aside.

Put the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and scatter the onion and garlic over lemons. Place the chicken on top and rub with about half the herb mixture. Turn chicken breasts over, pat dry with paper towel. and rub with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan at edges of chicken and roast for another 15 minutes. Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes Serve hot with the pan juices, lemon, and onion.

lemonchicken2

 

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

cookiebaker

Nora is learning to make cookies but she has a distinct preference for chocolate! A recipe found in a cookbook written by my cousin Jane Purtle was just what Nora ordered!  In Food from the Hills, the author recorded family recipes from her family, which happens to be our family, too.  My grandmother, Clyde Curley Terrell, and Jane Purtlle’s father, Russell Hill, were half-siblings.  My great-grandmother Ernestine Augier Hill Curley was married to Jane’s grandfather, James Hill.  After he died, she married my Great Grandfather Curley. These chocolate oatmeal cookies were a favorite in the Hill family.

But there is more to this cookie story.  The original oatmeal cookie (without chocolate) recipe was one found in the Home Economics class cookbook from Bullard High School in Bullard, Texas where Jane Purtle’s mother Ruby and my mother, Opal attended.  So I am certain Nora’s great-grandmother Opal also made these cookies. Nora’s middle name is Opal.  I had fun thinking about all these connections while we made these cookies.

cookbook

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup oatmeal  ( recipe says Quick, but regular works great and makes a chewier cookie)

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (Please note:  I substituted 6 Tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder  plus 2 Tablespoons oil for the melted baking chocolate)

Break egg in mixing bowl and beat in sugar.  Add oil to sugar and eggs. Add milk and oatmeal. Sift flour with salt, baking powder and soda into the first mixture.  Add chocolate and beat well.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until firm around edges but soft in center.

If desired, omit chocolate and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Remove from baking sheet and cool on rack.

 

 

 

cookies

 

chocolateoatmealcookies

Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls

CinnamonRolls3

Many years ago, I was given a recipe for these big fluffy cinnamon rolls, with the curious ingredient of mashed potatoes!   If you have leftover mashed potatoes, this is one of the bet ways to use them!  They are light, fluffy, and smell heavenly while rising but even better while baking!
Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls
  • 4½ cups flour (separated 1½ and 3 cups)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoon)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • ⅓ cup butter, cut up
  • ¼ cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
 Cinnamon sugar mixture
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (for brushing)CinnamonRolls1CinnamonRolls2
  1. In large mixing bowl of stand mixer, combine 1½ cups of flour with yeast.
  2. Combine milk, potato, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan, then heat on medium heat until butter starts to melt.
  3. Remove from heat .
  4. Add slowly to flour mixture and mix with regular mixing paddle on low speed for about one minute.
  5. Add eggs and continue beating 2-3 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  6. Switch to dough hook.
  7. Add the rest of the flour (3 cups) and mix for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternately, you can knead by hand.
  8. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Make sure to turn dough in order to completely coat the dough with the grease.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  11. Punch dough.
  12. Turn it out on a lightly floured board and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.
  14. Also, prepare pan (13 x 9 x 2 inches) by greasing or spraying with non-stick spray.
  15. Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
  16. Roll out dough until you get an 18 x 12 inch rectangle.
  17. Brush the surface with melted butter and evenly sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  18. Roll into a log, starting with the long side.
  19. Cut the roll into 12 slices.
  20. Place in prepared pan.
  21. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes or until double in size.
  22. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  23. Cool slightly before drizzling with icing (if using).
Glaze
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of milk.Whisk until smooth and just glaze the rolls before serving.
I like to zest a little orange peel or lemon peel into this, optional.
Whisk until smooth and just glaze the rolls before serving.
Make it ahead:Once the rolls have been cut and placed in the pan, they can be refrigerated overnight. Remove from fridge and let stand at room temperature (covered) for about 30 minutes before baking (as per instructions).

Pepperoni Breakfast Casserole

Pepperoni Breakfast Casserole

I developed a habit the first few weeks of my marriage that has served me well for over 52 years now.  I like to do a quick survey and make a mental list of what is available or needs to be used in the pantry and refrigerator.  Then if I am going to make a meal that has not been planned and prepared for, I can browse a cookbook or Pinterest category and pair the “what we already have” with a recipe that looks worth trying. Only rarely does that produce anything but a thumbs up from my family.  That was certainly the case with this breakfast casserole. Back to my favorite Breakfast in Bed Cookbook compiled by Carol Frieberg for this recipe from Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza in Healdsburg!   I am sure it is lovely, but I love our own B&B right here in Richmond, Texas.  For my version, I used sourdough bread cubes and shredded Swiss cheese and increased the amount of pepperoni..

Pepperoni Breakfast Casserole

2 cups sour dough bread cubes

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

5 large eggs

2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

1/2 cup chopped pepperoni

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place bread cubes in greased 10-inch square baking dish. Cover with cheese. In a bowl combine eggs,milk, and seasoning; pour over bread and cheese. Top with pepperoni. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

Saturday Pancakes

Pancakes3Saturday after a week of unpacking and resettling seemed like a good time to celebrate with a hearty breakfast. While Joe lined a baking sheet with foil and a rack to bake a pound of peppered bacon,  I pulled out ingredients for pancakes.  I enjoy Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog and television series so I try her recipes often and thought I would try her recipe for Perfect Pancakes!

Now that there are 5 of us regularly around the table again (and soon to be 6!), it is necessary to cook quite a stack of pancakes, so Pioneer Woman’s method fit the bill. I did not vary from her offering except for using regular unbleached all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. I could have made a substitute cake flour by substituting part of the flour I used with corn starch, but silly me, I did not look that up until after we had eaten the pancakes and declared them delicious!  I thought they were a tad dense, so I checked and sure enough, that was the reason.  The main difference in the 2 flours is the protein content (which becomes gluten). The protein content of cake flour is about 8%, while the protein content of flour is about 10-11%.   Next time I will either have cake flour on hand or try this simple substitution:  For each cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons and add back in 2 Tablespoons of corn starch!

When we were clearing the table, my son declared these pancakes the best he had ever eaten!  Thank you, Ree Drummond! And next time I will do it right!

Perfect Pancakes

  • 3 cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • Butter for the table
  • Maple  Syrup

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.

Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined.

Melt butter and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine. Stir in more milk if needed for thinning. Batter will not be smooth. Do not overmix.

Pancakes1
Ladle about 1/4 cup for each pancake onto a greased or sprayed griddle over medium-low  to low heat until golden brown. The pancakes will brown too quickly if the heat is too high. When they dry slightly around the edges and begin to bubble, turn and cook a few seconds more on the other side.  Serve with a pat of butter and maple syrup.
Pancakes2
My parents owned a small cafe when I was growing up and Daddy made the best pancakes. I think he would have liked these.

Dessert Meringue with Raspberries and Ice Cream

 

When we lived in San Antonio early in our marriage,Joe introduced me to one of his commanding officers when he served in the U.S. Army at Fort Baker, California in the 60’s.By the time I met them, Major Kneesy and his wife lived in officer’s housing on base at Fort Sam Houston.  We visited with them in the living room of their home, and Mrs. Kneesy served us coffee and dessert.  The dessert was a small meringue shell filled with ice cream topped with a drizzle of chocolate. It was the most elegant dessert I had ever eaten, and I fell in love with meringues.  She told me she kept some in the freezer so she would have them to offer on occasions such as our visit. A young bride and fledging cook, I was of course, duly impressed. I have since made them many times myself.

Later, when we lived in Indonesia, I was introduced to Pavlovas, large meringues topped with whipped cream and mixed tropical fruits and my admiration of meringues increased. The ingredient list is very simple, preparation requires an electric mixer and patience, but this remains one of my very favorite things to serve guests in my home for dessert.  The variety of toppings makes it very versatile.

Recently I learned that this is a Downton Abbey dessert. In one episode, Mrs. Patmore the cook makes Raspberry Meringues for the Crowley’s and their guests. However, her eyesight is failing and when reaching for sugar, she measures salt, resulting in inedible meringues!

Dessert Meringue with Raspberries and Ice Cream

5 egg whites

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla.

Prepare 2 large baking sheets by lining with Silpat or parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Let egg whites sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes.  Place in bowl of electric mixer, and begin beating slowly.  When egg whites begin to froth, add cream of tartar. Increase mixer speed to medium and continue to beat until egg whites will hold a hard peak.  Begin to add sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time and beat at medium-high speed after each addition until all sugar has been added.  Turn mixer speed on high and beat for 5 to 6 minutes until egg whites are glossy and hold sharp peaks.  Remove and fold in salt and vanilla.

Meringues will spread, so do not crowd on baking sheets, adding 6 to each sheet.  With a large spoon, add dollops of meringue and spread slightly to 3-inch circles.  Make an indention in the middle of each by pressing with the back of the spoon. Place baking sheets into preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Reduce heat by 25 degrees if they begin to brown. Turn oven off, leaving meringues in oven with door shut for at least 2 hours.  Place in air tight containers and when ready to serve, fill with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and top with raspberries or other berries of your choice.

Note:  If using whipped cream, a nice variation is the addition of  a splash of orange liqueur.