February 23, 2015
I am sure you heard that some of the greatest discoveries are made by accident and it’s no exception when it comes to food.
You haven't? I have to assume you have heard of yogurt, Popsicles, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, corn flakes, chocolate chip cookies, ice cream cones and raisins? And that's just to name a few.
I also firmly believe quite a few were also created due to laziness (raises hand).
I couldn't get any lazier than with this breakfast dish I made last week. It turned out so good that I have made one every morning (including Sunday) for a week.
While I have the luxury of working at home and can cook my breakfast every day, this breakfast quesadilla is so versatile, it can be made ahead, frozen and nuked. Make enough for a week.
I have done the research on the best tasting healthiest ingredients so you don't have too.
You will need to buy Louis Rich Turkey Bacon and if you can't find that brand, Perdue is the next best.
Laughing Cow Original Creamy Swiss Cheese
La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Low Carb High Fiber 6" Tortilla
Pure Cooking Spray with Natural Butter Flavor by Mazola
You will need:
A 8" non-stick skillet
A lid that fits the skillet
There is no recipe just a technique, so...
Let's get cooking.
Heat the skillet on high heat while you slice two pieces of turkey bacon into thin strips. Spray the pan with the Mazola and saute the bacon until it starts to brown.
When the bacon is crisp, add 1/3 cup egg beaters. Once it starts to set around the edges....
....add a slice of Swiss (or 1oz other) or open 1 wedge and spread on one side of a tortilla. Cover the egg mixture with the tortilla, cheese side down.
Spray the top of the tortilla with the cooking spray, and when you press on the top and no uncooked egg squishes out, loosen the bottom and flip the quesadilla over.
Cover again for 1-2 minutes to heat the tortilla to achieve some color.
When the eggs puff, fold the quesadilla in half. It will settle, just like an omelet, in the time it takes to plate it.
At this point it can be served with some grapes or citrus segments. I am an egg & ketchup gal but in a pinch I have been known to sneak in salsa. Add the condiment of choice right before you flip the eggs over.
To freeze, it must be completely cooled. Wrap in wax paper and place in the freezer.
To heat, nuke for 90 seconds. If still cold in the center, nuke for 30 seconds more. Additional packets will heat for 2 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave. Wrap in a napkin and eat on the go.
I think these are just as good (if not better) than any flat bread breakfast sandwich you can buy.
Sausage instead of bacon, I like Jimmy Dean's turkey patties.
You can sub any wedge cheese you like. I do believe Weight Watchers has them as well. Not into those wedge cheeses (they can be expensive), a slice of Swiss cheese will do fine.
Jarlsberg has the most punch for the dollar.Not into either....a Canadian bacon or low sodium ham is also a great choice, just cut them into bite-sized pieces.
I had some creamed spinach left from dinner and my version will include that for a vegetarian option.
I made one for hubby while he was working from home this week and he was surprised it was that good. When I told him how low the calorie count was, he told me, pack up a few for me to take to work.
While it might take a few tries to get it just right, it doesn't have to be perfect. It will taste great any way it comes out of the pan.
February 17, 2015
While the meal planner says pork chops with roasted apples and leeks, my head is shaking "NO" as I take out the eggs, bacon and cheese for a quiche. How does that happen? I mean, pork and apples sounds really comforting as the thermometer needle hits below that God awful 20 mark and roasting the whole thing in one pan in one shot in under 45-minutes does make it soooo doable.
A quiche isn't anything to sneeze about either. Cheesy, creamy, salty, come on, it's got it all. Slightly more work but there is always a crust in my freezer.
So, as yet, once again, I change the line-up from what was planned to what I am craving, I thought that maybe I should find out why we crave certain foods at certain times. So to WebMD I clicked.
One popular myth is that people crave certain foods to fill a nutritional deficiency.
Does this sound familiar "Gee, I'm craving potato chips. I must need the salt"? Really, how many of us -- aside from runners in hot weather -- are deficient in salt?
The other avenue of thought heads down the ole Pavlov's Dog theory of classic conditioning.
If you have a cookie every day after school, just walking into the house cues you to have a cookie and if you don't get that cookie right away, your mind obsesses about it and turns it into a craving.
Nice but no dice. So, let's try another.
Gender, men for example, were more likely to crave pizza, pasta, and soup over cakes and cookies. Why? Reminds them of mommy giving them attention "I made your favorite food for dinner".
Women, on the other hand, associate those foods with preparation and cleanup, so they tend to want hassle-free snacks, such as candy, cookies, ice cream, and chocolate.
Are you buying that?
How about moods? A bad mood can become a conditioned cue for eating but test show that happy moods might be even more likely culprits. Studies have shown that 86% of people craved comfort foods when they were happy, and 74% had cravings when they wanted to celebrate or reward themselves. Sad or bored barely broke the 50% mark.
While they all sound doable, none of them applies here. I think that I will simply chalk this one up to my craving for dairy or maybe, it's simply because I just didn't feel like chewing. Oh dear, now I will wonder about the psychology of food cravings being established in the womb.
Time to put the research away and start the quiche. To make it slightly heart healthy, I lighten it up a bit, I used a neuchatel cream cheese. It is a French cheese, so they won't get upset, too much.
I also used 2 whole eggs and 1/2 cup Egg Beaters. If I used turkey bacon The Nudge would have my head, so I did both, he will never know that I simmered the turkey bacon in the milk to infuse it with flavor and added two slices of real bacon for the texture.
There is one thing that I do have to insist on in a quiche but less of a good ingredient is all you need. For the nutty flavor that is Gruyere, I halved that by adding miso to the mixture. You could also use nutritional yeast (basic Vegan sub) but I like to use that as I would a finishing Parmesan.
One more thing. I added caramelized onions for the sweet to balance out the tart cream cheese.
While the calories are all around the 400 level, did you know that one slice of a traditional Quiche Lorraine can have up to 75% fat per slice? Not if I can help it.
My slice weighs in at 232 calories and 26% fat. Not bad, huh? Oh, and for an added bonus, some chia seeds for a burst of Omega 3's!
The only thing left to do is eat!!!
makes one 8" deep dish quiche
* 3 slices turkey bacon
* 2 slices regular bacon
* 1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
* 3 whole large eggs + 2 yolks
* 6 ounces unsweetened almond milk
* 4 ounces neuchatel cream cheese or low fat
* salt & pepper
* 2 teaspoons sriracha
* 8 ounces whole milk
* 1 teaspoon white miso
* 1 tablespoon chia seeds
* 1 crust, packaged or homemade
* 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1. Slice both bacon's into 1/4" slices, crosswise. In a skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil, saute the bacon until the fat renders. Add the onions, lower the heat, cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes.
2. Add the almond milk to the skillet and simmer until the liquid is half. Add the cream cheese and whisk until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. Add the cream cheese mixture to a bowl with a spout and add the whole milk until you have 2 cups.
3. Add the miso, sriracha and the eggs. Whisk until incorporated and season with salt & pepper.
4. Press the crust evenly into an 8" spring form pan or a 2" high cake pan.
5. Preheat the oven to 350° and dock the bottom with a fork. Line the pan with parchment paper or foil and then with pie weights (I use beans). Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and lift off the weights and paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle the crust with a handful of cheese and reset the oven to 325°.
6. Pour the milk/egg mixture into the crust and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over.
7. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the quiche from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.
I served this with a salad of baby Italian salad greens, sliced pears, walnuts, blue cheese, olives and crispy shallots. I found a very good Pomegranate Vinaigrette that I am addicted too.
February 12, 2015
Tonight was supposed to be an off night for me but no sooner had I unloaded the car when The Nudge called to inform me he cancelled his business dinner and will take them to lunch instead.
It's times like this I rely on a good pantry. While I do cook most dinners from scratch, I also plan on semi-homemade goods coming to my rescue on those nights when I forget to defrost or forget to buy something for dinner. In the last two weeks, the weather and a recipe challenge disrupted my usual meal plan. Today was my first chance I got to hit the market hard, but I wasn't planning on cooking for anyone. I bought a store-made 4-cheese pepperoni calzone. Oh well, another day.
I did buy cod that was on sale and actually looked very fresh.
I remembered a can of Progresso Cream Tomato Soup (using ricotta), so a fancy tomato bisque served under a prosciutto roasted cod it was and it will taste like the best takeout but be on the table in 20 minutes. While the fish roasts, a handful of haricot verts flavors the pasta cooking water and the dinner rolls bake while we eat the salad.
Nothing wrong with using canned soups these days, they are so much healthier than the 'cream of ' soups used for casseroles.
I added a sprig of fresh thyme to the simmering soup, just to add something fresh.
Let's get semi-cooking......
Prosciutto Roasted Alaskan Cod with an Italian Tomato Bisque
makes 4 servings
* 1 pound Alaskan Cod
* 14oz container Tomato Bisque
* 1 sprig fresh thyme
* 8 slices prosciutto
* black pepper
1. Cut the cod into two 8oz pieces. Lay 4 slices of prosciutto side-by-side on a baking pan, slightly overlapping each edge by 1/2". Place a piece of cod lengthwise on the prosciutto and wrap and roll the cod.
Place seam side down on the baking pan, brush with olive oil and roast in a 425° oven for 10-12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile simmer the soup with the thyme, stirring occasionally.
3. In a pasta bowl, ladle a spoonful of soup in the bowl and place a piece of cod on the soup.
Serve with green beans, broccoli or spinach.
I also made angle hair pasta and a salad.
For dessert I made a sugar free Chocolate Kahlua Pudding, yum.