Recipe: Light Cheese Quiche

This is a healthier take on the traditional egg and cheese quiche. It is very light and fluffy, yet still plenty filling. I use store bought pie crust, but you can make your own crust if you are into that kind of thing. I also like to add diced ham or crumbled bacon along with the onion. If you add a salty meat, you can leave out all but a pinch of the salt.

Ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust or pie dough for single crust (deep dish works best)
2 teaspoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup shredded hard cheese such as Asiago, Romano or Parmesan (I like using a blend of all 3); or Gruyere
1 1/2 cups low fat (1%) milk
1/2 teaspoon salt (you can cut this in half if you use one of the saltier cheeses like Asiago)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Press dough onto bottom and against side of a pie plate, crimp edge. Instead of pricking the crust to keep it from bubbling, line the dough with a sheet of foil and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil with beans/rice then continue baking for another 5-10 minutes until crust is golden. Set aside on wire rack to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Melt butter in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Spread onion (and added meat if desired) over bottom of pie shell. Pour egg mixture over onion and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.

For a more tender edge, carefully cover edge of crust with foil for half the remaining cook time. Bake until quiche is golden and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. If you use a foil pie plate, you may want to bake on a light cookie sheet. Glass pie plates work fine directly on the oven rack.

Recipe: Healthy Guacamole!

I know it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well as Holy Guacamole! but this healthy treat is anything but holy. Add some healthy home-baked chips, and you have a tasty (mostly) guilt-free snack to occupy your mind while you wait in an endless game queue (you know who you are!). And this is so easy to make, you could whip up a batch while you wait. I’m not a fan of really spicy guac, so this has no spice or heat to it, but you can improvise and add your favorite pepper or spice. Red onion and fresh garlic are also nice additions.

LimesIngredients:

1 medium avocado, Haas, peeled and pitted
15 oz can white beans, small, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 medium fresh tomato, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
8 oz baked low-fat tortilla chips

guacInstructions:

Combine avocado, beans, and lime juice in a food processor; process until blended and smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, mash ingredients together with a fork.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and fold in tomato and cilantro (or other added flavor enhancers). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yields about 1/4 cup of guacamole and 1 ounce of baked chips per serving. Serves 8.

Halloween Week Sweet Treats: Grilled Bananas Foster

In honor of Halloween, that annual celebration of candy and costumes, this week’s recipes will be chock full of sweet and delicious temptations.

While it may be getting cold, the snow hasn’t yet fallen where I live. My grill still has gas and I haven’t covered it yet, so there is still time to make this amazing grilled treat. There are a few versions of this recipe floating around the Internet, but I like this one the best because it has both rum and Kahlua. rum bananas cinnamon sticks

Recipe makes 4 packets of yummy gooey goodness. You can share or keep one to yourself, I won’t judge.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup Kahlua (or other coffee flavored liquor)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ripe bananas
cinnamon

Fold a foil square in half (do this on a curved plate to keep juices from spilling before you crimp the packets)
On the bottom half, place 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon of Rum, 2 Tablespoons of Kahlua, 2 Tablespoons of butter and one banana (sliced in rounds). Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon. Fold the foil over to form a packet, crimping the open edges to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients. The packets can be prepared up to 1 hour ahead and kept at room temperature.

Grill for 5-7 minutes. Open carefully and pour over bowls of ice cream (if you want, I like them straight from the packet myself).

I Ate This: Two Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Finger food is one of the greatest things to have on hand for snacking while you game. Muffins are especially great, come in all different flavors, and don’t have messy frosting to deal with like cupcakes. My sister-in-law shared a picture claiming you could make muffins using only two ingredients, a cake mix and a can of pumpkin. I had to try it!

pumpkin_muffins

I have to say, these turned out really well. I changed things up a bit and used a cake mix with Splenda to drop the calorie load down slightly. A 15 oz can of pumpkin mixes in really well and creates a perfect muffin batter consistency. I also added some pumpkin pie spice, but have heard you can use a spice cake mix instead of the classic yellow mix. This made 12 big muffins, plus some extra that I put into a ramekin. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, game food nirvana.

Recipe: Spicy Peanut Roasted Butternut Squash

By popular demand, I’m going to share one of my favorite ways to cook butternut squash. This one requires a few special ingredients, but you can find them at most grocery stores, especially those selling organic goods.

This serves about 8 people. Cut the recipe in half for a single pan.

Ingredients:

1 (approx 5 lb.) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup powdered peanut butter (you must go with powdered, not regular peanut butter)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (smoked rather than normal, much more tasty!)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray.

Cut the peeled and seeded squash into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle squash with olive oil, then toss to coat evenly.

In a small bowl, mix together powdered peanut butter, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

Using a silicon spatula, toss the squash while sprinkling the seasoning mixture over it. Continue to toss until all of the squash is well coated.

Transfer squash to prepared baking sheets, using the spatula to scrape the oil and seasonings from the bowl. Arrange the squash in an even layer. Roast 25 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the squash, then roast another 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender.

Recipe: Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Herbs and Garlic

DillRosemaryToday’s recipe is brought to you by my out of control dill and rosemary plants. They need clipping, badly, so I plan to use the herbs in a tasty way. Fingerling potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes, and they have a higher fiber to starch content than most other types. This recipe can be made with any combination of fresh herbs you have on hand, but rosemary really makes this dish smell great.

Ingredients:

1 pound uncooked fingerling potatoes, washed and dried
2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced (or to taste)
Herbs: 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped dill, 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped basil (thyme, sage, or other savory herbs also work well)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F; warm your baking pan in oven while preparing potatoes.
In a large bowl, toss potatoes with 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and sea salt until well coated.
Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees F, carefully remove hot pan from the oven. Spread potatoes onto the pan; roast for 20 to 25 minutes.
While potatoes are roasting, combine 1 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, herbs and pepper in the bowl you used to toss the potatoes. After the potatoes have roasted for 20-25 minutes, remove from the oven and carefully toss with herb mixture.
Return the potatoes to the roasting pan; roast until they are crispy outside and soft inside, about 5 to 10 more minutes.
You don’t want the herbs to burn, so be sure to only add them toward the end of the cooking time, or just toss once the potatoes are fully roasted.

This serves about 4 people at 1/4 cup of potatoes per serving, approximately 100 calories per serving.

Kitchen Tips: How to Slice a Mango

I love eating mangoes. I often get the pre-cut frozen chunks and eat those, but that is expensive. I used to hate peeling and slicing fresh mangoes and worried that I’d cut myself handling the slimy things. Then I learned how to do it properly.
sliced mango
First, you need to  find a ripe mango. Look for ones that are colorful and mostly red and yellow but still firm. There can be a little bit of green color, but the more red and yellow they are, the better.

Don’t try to peel the skin off of them, that just makes them harder to handle. As you will see from the picture, you will be cutting segments off from around the pit, then scoring the flesh, turning it inside out, and pushing the chunks off the skin.

Start with the “cheeks” of the mango. First, make a shallow cut along the base where the stem was to make it easier to stand the fruit on end. You should be able to tell approximately where the pit is by finding the top ridge of the fruit and starting your first cut about a half inch from the ridge. Cut as close to the pit as you can without cutting into the pit. Do the same for the second cheek.

This will leave a ring of fruit around the outside edge of the pit, and there may be some along the pit you can shave off it you want. Carefully cut the ring of fruit off the outer edges of the pit.

Now, carefully slice in a grid pattern along the cheeks, trying not to cut through the skin. Then turn the skin inside out, which will separate the chunks (or wedges if you prefer), making them easy to pull off the skin. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to separate the chunks from the skin. Enjoy!

I Drank This: Affordable and Tasty Red Wine

Yellow Tail blend
I went to a wine club a while ago and someone shared an absolutely amazing Zinfandel. I loved it! I promptly forgot what it was called. Now, when I have a wine I really like, I take out my phone and snap a picture of it. This one is a really nice Shiraz Cabernet blend, slightly fruity, not too dry and really affordable. I’ve only had the 2013 vintage so far. Yellow Tail has some really solid wines.