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.

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.

Greek Beef Stew

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Continuing to post ways I used lovely leftovers during the holidays! We had a family favorite on our table for Christmas – Pancetta and Rosemary wrapped Beef Tenderloin. The pieces of leftover beef  and roasted potatoes were perfect in this pot of Greek Beef Stew, and fed a bunch of us again!  The spices keep holiday fragrances and flavors too!

Do not let the long list of ingredients keep you from trying this!  The many layers of flavor are so worth a little measuring!

2-3 cups cubed beef (I used leftover beef tenderloin.  If using uncooked beef, brown meat in olive oil)

1 onion,chopped

3 cloves of garllic, minced

1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

several grinds of freshly cracked black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 Tablespoon brown sugarr

1 (28 ounce) can roasted diced tomatoes (do not drain)

1/2 cup water (add more if stew is too thick

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces or equivalent of leftober roasted potatoes

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

salt to taste

In stew pot, heat several Tablespoons olive oil, add beef, onion, then  garlic. Pour in the red wine, red wine vinegar, and beef broth; stir in the tomato paste and mix well..Mix spices and add along with bay leaves and brown sugar..Pour in tomatoes and their juice; rinse the can with 1/2 cup water and add. Stir in potatoes and carrots.  Cover the pot and simmer until vegetables ae desired tenderness. Serve with crusty hot bread.

Olive Piccanti

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Olives all by themselves are a treat, but with the addition of a few ingredients, a jar of large pitted olives becomes the star of the party!  This recipe is one I adapted from a tiny recipe book by Frances Mayes: Bella Tuscany, The Sweet Life in Italy. I have Mayes’ larger Tuscan cookbook and have used recipes in several other books she wrote, but this one was a freebie with one of the book purchases. It has lots of “want to try” recipes. This one is certainly a keeper!

Olive Piccanti

2 cups large green olives

2  hot peppers, 1 red, 1 green, minced

1/4 cup onion, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I use Meyer lemons from our tree)

1 thinly sliced lemon

Put all ingredients in a bowl with cover, mix, and refrigerate.  Best after about 24 hours.

 

 

 

Breakfast Ramekin with Sherried Eggs and Ham

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Perfect for breakfasts for lazy Saturdays, times when there are guests in the house, or for a light meal any time of the day – this is a tasty individual dish that is something old and familiar and something with a new twist at the same time!

Once again, I found a great starting recipe in my copy of Breakfast in Bed which has recipes from Northern California to British Columbia B&B’s. This is a variation of a dish served at the North Coast Country Inn in Gualala, California.

Breakfast Ramekin with Sherried Eggs and Ham

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set desired number of buttered ramekins on baking sheet.  This recipe is for 2 individual servings, but may be multiplied by as many servings as you need.

3 Tablespoons finely chopped ham

4 eggs

2 Tablespoons half and half

2 teaspoons dry sherry

1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Worcestershire sauce

sea salt

black pepper

paprika

Put finely chopped ham in bottom of buttered ramekins, Break 2 eggs onto top of ham. In a small bowl, mix half and half, sherry, a dash each of Worcestershire sauce and Tobasco, salt, and pepper.  W ith a teaspoon, carefully drizzle this mixture (divided evenly) over top of eggs. Sprinkle with shredded cheese on each cup and sprinkle with paprika.  Bake about 20 minutes, or until eggs are set. Serve hot.

Warm Green Lentil Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

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I have cooked brown lentils in one of our favorite soups for many years.  When I was experimenting with various Indian foods, I used different colors and kinds of lentils, even grinding them once to make a lentil flour in my attempt to make a good masala dosa.  But when I saw this recipe a few months ago on one of my favorite blogs I knew I wanted to try Green Lentils! These tiny dark green lentils are harder to find, but Whole Foods has them in their bulk food section.

Another attraction to the recipe posted in http://www.backroadjournal.wordpress.com was its billing as a French Bistro meal.  For that recipe, spicy lamb sausages called Merguez  were used, but I used what I could find, which was a lovely Italian spicy sausage.  So maybe my version of the salad is an Italian bistro meal!  Serve with a crusty loaf of bread.  Leftovers can be eaten cold (the flavors have already been soaked up in the lentils and vegetables) or warmed.

Warm Lentil Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

4 servings, or 2 generous ones!

Shallot Vinaigrette

2  Tbsp. of either sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

pinch of sea salt (about 1/8 tsp.

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. finely minced shallot

2 tsp.Dijon mustard

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Mix vinegar, salt, pepper and the minced shallot.. Let sit for about 5 minutes to soften shallots. Stir in the mustard, then whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream. Taste and adjust for more oil or more vinegar, salt or mustard if needed.

Lentil Salad

1 or 2 spicy sausages, sliced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

1 stalk of celery, diced

1/2 small bulb of fennel, diced (optional)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 cup green Lentils de Puy, rinsed well

2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried French Thyme (I use Penzey’s)

1 bay leaf

1 potato (I used Yukon Gold), peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced (here I used a lovely yellow carrot from the Farmer’s Market)

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh chopped thyme or parsley for garnish if you wish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the sausages and brown until they are a little crispy. Remove from the pan and keep warm. In the same saucepan, add the onions, celery and fennel, sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Add the lentils, and broth to cover by about 2 inches. Add thyme, bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pan with a lid and simmer the lentils until they are just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the diced potatoes and carrots with cold, salted water. Cook over moderately high heat until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and place in a large bowl, toss with a little of the vinaigrette.

When the lentils are done, drain well, place in the bowl with the cooked potatoes and carrots. Discard the bay leaf. Add the rest of the vinaigrette and toss well. Let sit for a few minutes until the vinaigrette is absorbed, taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. If the lentils seem dry, you can drizzle with a little olive oil. To serve, transfer the lentils to individual plates or bowls and top with the sausages.

Be sure to add the vinaigrette while the lentils and vegetables are hot so that they can absorb all the flavors.

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Baked Antipasto Ring

IMG_1815There are so many recipes that use crescent roll dough as the ingredient which makes the recipe both quick and delicious. This antipasto ring is simple enough to make for supper on a busy night and just right  for an appetizer for guests. Everyone loves antipasto, and you can stuff this pastry with a variety of antipasto ingredients.

Baked Antipasto Ring

2 cans crescent roll dough (I like to use Immaculate Baking Company’s product

1/2  cup well drained roasted red bell peppers, about 4 pieces

8 slices provolone cheese, halved

1/4 pound sliced peppered salami

1/4 pound prosciutto

1/4 pound sliced deli ham

pickled yellow hot pepper rings

1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped

optional:  sliced black or kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 8 rectangles. On ungreased 12-inch pizza pan, arrange rectangles in ring so short sides of rectangles form a circle in center. (Dough will overlap and part of the ends will hang over edge of pan. Dough ring should resemble a sun.)

Spread roasted red bell peppers towards center of ring on bottom halves of rectangles. Top with half of the cheese. Layer salami, ham and prosciutto slices over cheese. Arrange pepper rings over top. Sprinkle with olives if desired. Cover with remaining half of cheese.

Bring each dough rectangle hanging over side of pan up over stacked filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around sandwich until entire filling is enclosed. Sprinkle with black peppe and chopped fresh rosemary. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before slicing.

Mary Ann’s Favorite Morning Casserole

IMG_1062 There are hundreds of make- ahead  egg based breakfast casserole recipes! Our church has a famous sausage and egg casserole recipe that gets passed around every year at Easter when we all have breakfast together in between an early Easter service in the prayer garden and a later one at regular worship time. I love that recipe because it reminds me of Easter and our church family. I am fond of another recipe that uses hash browns along with eggs, peppers, and onions. There are Southwestern style breakfast casseroles served with plenty of salsa that are delicious.  But this casserole is my hands down favorite for making breakfast special.  I like to make it when we have overnight guests and pop it into the oven to bake while we have coffee in the kitchen.  I found the original recipe in a cookbook called Breakfast in Bed collated by Carol Frieberg which is a collection of wonderful breakfast recipes from various B&B’s and inns in the Pacific Northwest. This one is a favorite at Pensione Nichols in Seattle, Washington – located in a residence that is over 100 years old in the historic Pikes Place Market in downtown Seattle. I modified the recipe’s seasoning, and have used a variety of toppings.  It is delicious served with fresh fruit.

Mary Ann’s Favorite Morning Casserole

Prepare the day before:

16 slices white bread (thin slice) with crusts trimmed

16 slices Canadian bacon

16 slices sharp cheddar cheese

6  large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

3 cups whole milk

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

For topping  – add the next morning before baking

1/2 cup butter

1 cup crushed cornflakes or other unsweetened cereal of your choice

 

In a large Pyrex baking dish (9X13 inch), place 8 of the bread slices. On top of this, layer all slices of Canadian bacon. Then ladd all slices of cheese. Place remaining 8 slices of bread on top.  In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, then add milk, all seasonings, onion and green pepper. Pour evenly over the layers of bread, cheese, and Canadian Bacon, pressing slightly with back of spoon.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and drizzle evenly over top of casserole.  Crush cornflakes and sprinkle on top.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour.  Remove from oven, let stand for about 10 minutes, and serve.

Cook’s notes:  I like to stand my stick of butter in a small ceramic cream pitcher or pyrex liquid measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute or until melted.  Then it is easy to drizzle the melted butter evenly on top of the casserole.  For the crushed cornflakes, place cereal in a Ziploc bag and crush with the heel of your hand on top of counter. Easy!

Marinated Cucumbers with Basil

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A variation of sliced cucumbers seasoned with salt and pepper and covered with vinegar, my new favorite side for grilled fish, meats or sandwiches is this delicious Marinated Cucumber and Basil.  This is derived from a Japanese style pickle which uses Shiso instead of Basil. Shiso is an aromatic Asian herb which is becoming more popular but I do not have a good source for it, and I love basil. I added a just picked glossy jalapeno pepper, and the result was a perfect combination of sweet and heat served with a crunch.  If you can’t take the heat, leave out the pepper, but be sure to try this. Try the marinade on carrots, radishes, onions, or almost any other summer vegetable.  I like zucchini rounds!

Marinated Cucumber and Basil

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons sweet  Mirin, a Japanese rice wine

1 Tablespoon sea salt

2 English cucumbers

1 seeded, sliced jalapeno pepper

8 or 10 large fresh basil leaves

Mix sugar, vinegar, Mirin, and salt in glass or pottery bowl (non-reactive).  Whisk until salt and sugar are dissolved.  Slice cucumber very thin.  Wash and pat basil leaves dry, then stack them and roll them. You may shred with a small sharp knife or cut across with kitchen shears..  Add cucumber slices and basil to marinade, tossing to cover as well as possible.  They will shrink as they marinate.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

 

 

Mushroom Quiche

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Quiche is one of those versatile dishes that can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Add to that the fact that ingredients can be swapped out in any number of combinations. The base recipe is milk, cheese, and eggs.  Add your choice of chopped vegetables and/or a variety of meat or seafood.  Make your own crust or use a prepared pie crust. Substitute some or all of the milk with half and half or even heavy cream.

Mushroom Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package)

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

5 cups sliced sliced mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg plus a pinch for topping

1 teaspoon dried thyme  (I use Penzey’s French Thyme)

1 1/2 cups grated Swiss or Fontina cheese (about 7 ounces)

preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F. Unroll crust completely. Press firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch deep-dish pyrex pie dish. Bake until light golden brown, pressing on sides of crust with back of spoon if crust begins to slide down sides of dish, about 17 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Melt butter in heavy skillet.  Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown.

Whisk eggs,, milk,  salt,  pepper, and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina cheese and sautéed mushrooms, reserving remainder. Pour filling into crust. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the filling and dust with nutmeg.

Bake until  golden brown, and set in center, about 45 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, then cut into wedges.