Tag Archives: preparation

Giving Old Vegetables New Life – My first Quiche


Why have I never tried making a quiche before?  I assumed it would be difficult.

I also have always thought of quiche as a breakfast food and generally, when I’m scavenging for breakfast, I’m drawn to the easier methods of preparation.  Cereal, yogourt and granola…you know, mix-y stuff rather than cook-y stuff.

But making my first quiche was eye opening.  Can be eaten anytime and is so freaking easy!

Especially if you cheat *wink*

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

If you have been following my blog, you have likely read about the homeless produce.  I mention it in my Beet Salad entry.  Some friends gave us a mountain of produce as they went away on vacation and this quiche is one of three items I was able to make with it all.

So, as I mentioned, I cheated.  I bought a pre-made pie crust.


…and I cooked it as directed on the package.  I figured I was making the filling for the first time, why complicate matters? 😉

While the pie crust was cooking, I chopped all the veggies I’d decided on for the filling: broccoli, spinach, onion and red pepper.  Oh, and of course I planned to add some cheese!

The nice thing about quiche is that it allows you to use up vegetables that are on their way out.  Wilting, wrinkly veggies are perfect for this dish! 🙂

I guessed at the size of broccoli bits I would need.

Wilting spinach? No problem!



Chopping and dicing is so relaxing.  In my career as a sign language interpreter, I have interpreted cooking classes and had the chance to watch students practice their knife skills.  Once they got the rhythm down, you could actually see the stress leave their arms, the knife becoming an extension of their fingers.  I have attempted to duplicate what I saw in those classes and have been somewhat successful.  Every so often, if I have enough to chop, I start to feel that rhythm as well.  My arms start to relax and the I think about how it feels…and I lose it! Ah well…more practice.

Another new ingredient for me in this recipe was nutmeg.  Well, I have used nutmeg before but never have I actually grated it.


I actually found the grating much simpler than I expected and the inside of the nutmeg was actually quite lovely.

Who would've thought? Such a remarkable pattern inside such an unremarkable seed.

 

In a large bowl, I beat together the eggs, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Once mixed well, I added my chopped veggies.  I found the mixture to be quite attractive 🙂


Then, simply pour it into your cooked pie crust.

Simply?  Not so much.

Ooops, a little overfull!

My recipe made a bit too much filling and I was left with an overfilled pie crust and about 1/2 cup of extra mixture.  In hindsight, I wish I’d made a whole bunch of little quiches in tart shells.  They’d be much easier to freeze and keep for future meals.  Ah well…next time 🙂

In the end, it turned out as it should.  Delicious!

Veggie Quiche

My first quiche, served with sauteed beet greens.


 

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups filling ingredients, chopped & diced to preference (I used broccoli, onion, pepper and spinach.)
  • 4 eggs
  •  1/2 – 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used marble cheese.)
  • 1 – 9 inch unbaked pie shell
  1. If you are using a premade pie crust, cook as per the directions on the box.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Beat together eggs and combine with cream and desired seasonings.
  4. Add chosen vegetables.
  5. Carefully pour mixture into the cooked pie crust.
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the centre comes out clean. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.
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What can you do with pre-cooked shrimp?


When I was considering what to make for dinner the other day, I decided to do what any normal person would do…I checked my freezer for inspiration.  There I found a bag of pre-cooked shrimp.  I’m not sure how long it had been there but it’s time had come.  I offered a few other options to B but we agreed that it was a shrimp-y kind of night.

Next problem?  What to do with said shrimp?

Hmmm....what to do? What to do?

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

I jumped online and looked for some ideas around pre-cooked shrimp and what to do with it.  I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again…and again….The internet is a wonderful thing!

Within minutes, I had a few ideas brewing around in my head.  The end result involved pasta, veggies and shrimp…not to mention some seasoning and spices.

Started off by boiling my pasta.

I tend to always put a drop of oil and salt in the water.  Not sure where that habit came from…whether I saw my mother doing it (which isn’t likely since I avoided the kitchen like the plague as a teenager, especially around meal time!), or whether someone suggested it to me when I moved out on my own for the first time.  However it came about, I find it helps keep the pasta from sticking together after it has been boiled and drained.

I have also added a drop of soy sauce or a dash of another seasoning to the water to add a bit of flavour.  Whatever works 😉

So, once boiled and drained, I set the pasta aside and moved on the frying part of the recipe. (The pics I took at this point were blurry but I’m confident that most of my readers don’t need pasta-boiling pictures anyway.)

I was working from a recipe I had found online in a Q&A forum, altering bits and pieces, changing the vegetables and seasoning to whatever I had handy.  What I didn’t change was the initial frying pan preparation that called for 1/4 cup of butter in a pan on medium heat.

It seemed like a lot!  But I figured it would add a lovely buttery flavour to the shrimp and in the end, the pasta soaked up the rest…so if you decide to try this, don’t worry if there seems to be a lot of butter.

Next, I added the garlic.  How I LOVE garlic!  I decided to take the easy route and added a few teaspoons of pre-chopped garlic.  It was probably more than the 6-8 cloves called for but hey, you can never have too much garlic!

(Well….yes, you can…but that’s another story! lol)

Mmmmm...the glorious smell of butter and garlic!

Medium heat at this point turned out to be quite important because you don’t want to burn the garlic…something I seem to *always* inevitably do.  This time, I kept my attention on the heat and managed to avoid any major browning.

Also, a lid at this point is quite helpful.  From experience, I can say that a hot piece of garlic that has decided to pop out of the frying pan and stick to your foot isn’t exactly pleasant.

The rest of this meal preparation was insanely quick and easy.  I added the thawed shrimp (well, mostly thawed) to the pan and allowed them to simmer in the butter/garlic mix for a few minutes.

Then, I added about a cup of frozen vegetables.  All I had on hand was a bag of frozen “Asian style Stir-fry” vegetables, so I used those.  But any number of veggies would work here, so be creative! 🙂

Adding the frozen veggies

I sprinkled some lemon pepper and a bit of all-purpose seasoning, as well as a dash of chilli flakes and a few drops of lemon juice.  Again, I covered the mix and let it fry for probably 5 minutes or so (this timing will obviously depend on the type of veggies you use and whether they’re frozen or not).

Lastly, I added the boiled pasta.  No pics at this point as they turned out quite blurry…but it was pretty much as it sounds.  I dumped the pasta into the mix and continuously stirred for another few minutes.  The pasta helped to soak up any remaining liquid and when it started to stick to the bottom of the pan, I decided it was done! 🙂

Between the chilli flakes and the garlic, the dish had a little zip!  It was yummy and quite easy to make.  I don’t know why, but I seem to always assume that a seafood dish will be complex and difficult.

This little shrimp concoction taught me different!

Cheers!

Shrimp-y Pasta

 


* 1 lb medium shrimp, thawed and drained (I used a bag of med 31-40 pre-cooked shrimp)
* 1 lb spaghetti noodles (more or less, depending on family size)
* 6-8 garlic cloves, according to personal taste, minced
* 1 cup of frozen veggies (what type, frozen or fresh…completely up to you)
* 1/4 cup butter
* lemon pepper
* all-purpose seasoning
* few drops of lemon juice
* dried chilli flakes
* olive oil (for pasta)
* pepper/salt to taste
1. Boil pasta in water (with a little added oil and salt) till tender. Drain and set aside when done.

2. Melt butter over medium heat.

3. Add garlic and cook about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Watch so as not to burn the garlic (and cover it so as not to burn your feet! 😉

4. Add the shrimp. Let heat up about 2-3 minutes depending on how frozen they are.

5. Add veggies and seasonings (lemon pepper, lemon juice, pepper/salt, all purpose seasoning, chilli flakes) and allow to simmer another 5 minutes or so, again depending on the veggies you decide to use.

6. Add pasta to skillet.  My pan had a good amount of liquid but at this point, feel free to add some if needed.  The pasta will soak up much of the excess.

7. Keep tossing all ingredients around in skillet till all is incorporated.

8. Enjoy! (With a glass of white wine!)


What do you do with one rogue chicken breast?


A whole post about cooking a chicken breast?  Yep.

I’m still figuring out the basics and when I have a piece of food in front of me, with no attached instructions of any kind, I still feel quite lost.  What to do? Where to start?

I would love to know what you do with a random piece of chicken?  What the fastest way you know to prepare it?  (Without a bbq I should ask, since I don’t have one.)

The other night, I arrived home fairly late from work so I wasn’t really in the mood to cook a huge, involved dinner.  What I *did* have on hand was a can of green beans and a skinless, boneless chicken breast.  Sounds simple enough but as I was tired, not inspired, I stood staring at this piece of chicken without a clue what I should do with it.

I hopped online and googled something along the lines of ‘chicken breast boneless skinless recipe’.  It brought up some awesome preparation suggestions but all were still much too involved for me.  I didn’t want to have to bread it or stuff it or do much to it beyond slap it on a grill and watch it cook.

I called one of my cooking friends.  Yep, I have a mental list of Cooking Friends.  These are the people I can call when I have random questions.  The friends who are cool with receiving frantic phone calls such as:

“Hello?”
“Help!”
“Hmmm…what did you do now? And why do you sound so far away?”
“My dough is waaaay too sticky!  It’s so sticky I’m calling you with my feet!” *sob*

***This is simply a hypothetical situation and in no way represents an actual phone call that has taken place!***

I have many friends who I can contact when I have questions.  Cooking Friends vs Baking Friends…which is then broken down further to Sauce Friends, Beet Friends, Bread Friends, Granola Friends, and so on.  Of course, many friends fit into more than one category. 🙂

This particular day I reviewed my Meat/Marinade friends list and made the call.  His suggestion?  Salt and pepper and a hot frying pan.
That’s it.  So simple!  And the key?  To keep in the moisture.  He warned me to not lift the lid over and over.

Once I had the basic idea in mind, I of course had to dress it up.  A contradiction, I know. Was I not tired?  I think what happened was that he gave me a base to start with and build on…so I did.

I mixed up salt, pepper, a slight amount of garlic powder and a wee bit of an all-purpose spice mix that I had on hand and used it as a rub.  Heated my pan and once it was hot, began frying the chicken.

First things first, I had the pan too hot.  Luckily, I didn’t burn the chicken.  Came close…but saved it just in time.  Due to the high heat, I was worried about drying it out so I began adding water, just a bit each time I removed the lid and flipped the chicken or checked the temperature.

One day, I hope to be able to tell when my meat is done by feel.  I have friends who can tell by sticking the meat with a fork and feeling the resistance.  I’m not there yet.  Instead, I stick my meat over and over again with my trusty digital meat thermometer.  Handy and accurate, but in this case, not conducive at keeping in the moisture.  So, more water each time…just enough to almost cover the bottom of the pan and create a bit of steam.

I don’t remember how long it cooked…probably upwards of 15 minutes on med heat…it was a thick piece of chicken to start with but in the end, success!  It was moist, it was yummy, it was easy!

And the side dish? ‘Nuked green beans.  You can’t get much simpler than that!

Rogue Chicken Breast - Yum!


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