Basic Quiche

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I don’t know about you, but I love eating breakfast for dinner. I will gladly accept things like pancakes, waffles, eggs and bacon, or omelettes for dinner. I pretty much love eating breakfast foods ANY time of the day. Now you can understand my excitement when I was flipping through the latest issue of Food Network Magazine and saw the ‘formula’ for the perfect quiche. It gave the proportions of vegetables, meats, cheese, and eggs (1/2 to 1 cup total veggies, up to 1/2 cup meat, 3/4-1 cup cheese) and also provided a few suggestions on which paired well together.

The beauty of the quiche is that you can literally put whatever you want inside! I have made quiches before, but  I think this is a great base recipe, which I will be able to customize it in many different ways in the future. I chose to do a combination of green pepper, red onion, bacon and cheddar cheese for this quiche. I may have a hard time venturing out to try different ingredients next time because it was utterly DELICIOUS. We packed up the leftovers to take to work the next day and it was gone in less than 24 hours.

It does take a bit of prep time, but if you plan it well, you will be enjoying your piping hot meal in no time. I used a homemade pie dough that had been hanging out in my freezer for a few months. You can use your favourite pie crust recipe, or a store bought crust. You can even fly with a crustless quiche if that’s your thing. I will say that if you do use a crust, pre-baking it is an essential step as nobody wants to eat raw dough.

As I said, this can be customized to your liking, just keep the proportions of veggies-meat-cheese the same (or you can substitute the meat for more veggies and vice versa if you are a veggie or meat-atarian. Although I don’t recommend you being a meat-atarian…green is good!)

This would be the perfect addition to your Mother’s Day brunch, or even to your next dinner. I don’t even care if you eat if for dessert, just make this quiche a part of your life! You won’t regret it!

Basic Quiche

Recipe from Food Network Magazine, May 2012

  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, finely dicedIMG_1586
  • 1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (if you’re feeling especially indulgent, use cream)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (add more or less, and use whatever spices or herbs you like!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9inch pie plate with pie dough (store bought or homemade). Line with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans (this is just to prevent the crust from puffing up when you prebake it!). Bake until crust is set, about 20 mins. Remove foil and weights and bake for an additional 5-10 mins until crust is golden brown. Let cool.

Combine chopped vegetables, meats, and cheese in a bowl and set aside.

Whisk eggs, salt, pepper, and milk in a large bowl. Stir in any spices or herbs. Spread the vegetables, meat and cheese in the crust. Pour the egg mixture over top.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake quiche until filling is set, 40-50 mins. Let cool for 15-20 mins before serving.

**I probably baked mine for 50-55 mins until it looked set. We did not wait the 15-20 mins before serving and it was a bit runny. As we were eating it definitely firmed up, so I will advise that the waiting time is a good idea! The quiche will fully set and firm up in that time to make for a more pleasant texture.

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Baked Oatmeal

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There’s something so comforting about waking up on the weekend, and being able to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and actually take a little time to prepare a delicious breakfast. During the week, breakfast is always an afterthought through the hustle and bustle of getting ready and getting out the door on time for work. I never skip breakfast, but it usually consists of something quick and cold like a bowl of cereal. Don’t get me wrong, I looooove my cereal, but a warm breakfast is always welcome every now and then. Usually on the weekends I will make some oatmeal, or pancakes, but I have been meaning to try baked oatmeal for a while now as I have seen it popping up all over the blogosphere lately.

Baked oatmeal is somewhere between regular oatmeal and a muffin. It’s denser than a muffin, but it does have that ‘cakey’ texture to it. Basically, it is AMAZING! I was able to throw this together pretty quickly and we enjoyed ourIMG_1546 coffee while it was baking away in the oven. I improvised a little to use what I had on hand, and I can see so many ways to customize and change this base recipe in the future by adding different fruits or nuts.

If you’re looking for something warm, comforting and FILLING for a lazy weekend morning, give this a try. It’s healthy too so you can feel good about starting your day right, and it will keep you full for hours on end!

There is no sugar added, so if you favour a sweeter oatmeal, you can add a little brown sugar or honey, but we found it delicious as is. The banana and apple add a natural sweetness, and you can  serve it with fresh fruit or a drizzle of maple syrup as well. 

This makes enough to serve 6, but you can always keep leftovers in the fridge to reheat during the week!

Baked Oatmeal

Slightly Adapted from Peanut Butter Fingers

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oatsIMG_1538
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups  milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce*
  • 1/3 cup yogourt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup coconut, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, steel cut oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine milk,egg, applesauce and yogourt and mix to fully combine.

Add milk mixture to oat mixture and stir to combine. Stir in bananas, almonds and coconut.

Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish (mine was a square dish, but as long as it holds 8 cups of liquid, it should be big enough no matter what shape it is)

Sprinkle cinnamon on top and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown.

Serve with fresh fruit, milk, yogourt, maple syrup or to your liking!

*I didn’t have any applesauce but I did have a lonely granny smith apple hanging out in the fridge. I peeled and chopped it into small pieces, and microwaved, covered, with a bit of water for 2 minutes. Mash it up and you have makeshift applesauce!

 

 

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Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

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I hope everyone is surviving after that frigidly cold weekend we just experienced. Maybe you all didn’t feel it, but I definitely felt it in Ottawa and I was not too impressed that I had to drag my winter coat out of the closet this weekend. If there’s one thing that puts Toronto above Ottawa, it’s the weather! It’s so freakin’ cold in Ottawa! It’s not even natural sometimes! Thank god summer is on the way…I am already dreaming about patios, beaches, swimming, hot dogs, ice cream, and SUN! Remember when you were a kid and summer seemed to last f0r-ev-err. All you had to do was wake up, find your friends and run around outside all day everyday eating popsicles and filling up your little paper bag with 5 cent candies at the convenience store. Do they still sell 5 cent candies at the convenience store? I may have to check this out one day soon.

Anyways, this treat can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike! I am very interested in finding ways to reduce the amount of processed food that I buy at the groIMG_1516cery store. While we don’t buy granola bars all the time, they are good to have on hand for a quick snack when time is short. I am obsessed with these chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels found at the bulk barn, so this recipe really caught my eye. The peanut butter-pretzel combo is almost magic.

I changed the recipe only slightly from the original  only to use what I had on hand. I used Cheerios instead of the puffed rice, and canola oil instead of the butter. I also used salted peanuts to increase the salty factor a bit. I think the recipe is pretty forgiving, so use what you have on hand, keeping the liquid to dry ratios as they are.

These are really really good, and my intentions of keeping them on hand for emergency snacks didn’t work so well once I tasted them. But, at least I can feel relieved because I know EXACTLY what went into these granola bars, and I can be confident that I’m not ingesting anything weird with a long chemically-sounding name.

Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

Slightly Adapted from How Sweet EatsIMG_1521

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Cheerios cereal
  • 1/2 cup salted pretzels, crushed
  • 1/8 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used the natural kind)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp + 2 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (I used the mini ones)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine oats, Cheerios, pretzels, flaxseed, brown sugar and flour. Stir to combine.

Add peanut butter and mix well with a spoon to incorporate (You will have to stir it for a few minutes, and it will begin to resemble a ‘dough’. Everything should be fully combined).

Combine canola oil with vanilla, and add to dough. Add honey and stir to fully moisten and combine everything. Stir in chocolate chips.

Press dough into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting or it will be crumbly!

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Banana Chocolate Swirl Muffins

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I have an outrageous stash of bananas in my freezer right now. Just when I feel like it’s going down in size, I shove a few more in there. You see, I have a verrry small window of opportunity for banana eating. Once they start developing a few brown spots, I’m done with them..into the freezer they go! I was starting to get a little tired of bananas smashing onto my feet every time I opened the freezer, so the only logical solution was..banana bread!

Now, I already have a billion favourite banana bread recipes, but of course I had the urge to try something new, something different. Let me tell you there are lots of variations on banana bread out there that look amazing. Peanut butter banana bread? That has my name written all over it. Lime coconut banana bread? Delicious! I will definitely be making those sometime soon since my banana pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller!

However, this time I wanted something that I could whip together with ingredients that I already had on hand at home, so I settled on a chocolate banana marbled loaf. I switched up a few things and Banana Chocolate Swirl Muffins were born! The chocolate swirl adds just a hint of decadence to take the muffins to a new level of banana bready goodness.  These have a nice presentation and are a welcome change of pace from the standard banana bread, without straying from the classic flavour too much.

Make a loaf, make muffins, make mini muffins, whatever you want! I now have a stash of these muffins in my freezer, along with the ever growing stash of bananas. I’m not complaining!

Banana Chocolate Swirl Muffins

Adapted from Cooking Light

Makes 1 loaf, 12 muffins, 36 mini muffinsIMG_1467

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (or plain yogourt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute.

Add banana, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and beat until blended.

Gradually add flour mixture, stirring by hand just until combined. Set aside.

Put chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish and microwave on medium power in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted. Let chocolate cool for a few minutes.

Add 1 cup of batter to melted chocolate and stir to combine.

For muffins, add alternating scoops of chocolate and banana batter to lined muffin tins and swirl with a knife or toothpick. (For mini muffins, I put a small spoon of each batter into the tin and swirled it around with a toothpick). For mini muffins, bake 10-15 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean. For regular muffins, bake 20-25 mins.

For a loaf, alternate scoops of batter into a greased loaf pan, and swirl with a knife. Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Skinny Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

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Hello friends! I am finally starting to wake up from my Easter food coma. After all the deliciousness of the main meal, followed by the discounted Easter candy that I consumed this week, I am ready to get back on track. I see this recipe as sort of like a bridge between the indulgent and the healthy. 

I am always intrigued by recipes which claim to be ‘healthy’ versions of alfredo sauce because I’ve tried quite a few in the past with very limited success. This one uses greek yogourt which I think is a great idea, and we all know greek yogourt is all the rage these days.  The dish is actually really quick to put together, and the end result is pretty impressive. Though It definitely cannot replace a full on alfredo sauce, it is a pretty good substitute for a once and a while treat. If anything, I suggest purchasing a good quality cheese for this recipe, it will make a huge difference in the final product. The original recipe called for parmesan, but I used pecorino romano only because it was what I had on hand. I only ask that you don’t use the powdery kind of parmesan, as it is probably not even 100% cheese, and will compromise the creaminess of the sauce! The nutmeg is optional, but it just adds a little something something to the sauce. Any creamy sauce will perk up with a pinch of nutmeg!

I found this recipe on what may be my new favourite blog, Iowa Girl Eats. Every recipe I see there looks delicious and speaks exactly to the kind of foods that I like. She is also interested in focusing on fun healthy recipes, which is right up my alley as well! Go check the blog out, I guarantee you will find many delicious things and great ideas.

Skinny Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Barely adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 2 chicken breasts, seasoned to your taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 8 oz pasta of your choice ( I used gemelli -  use about half IMG_1450of a 500g box)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogourt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • 3/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated

Cut chicken breasts into cubes, and cook in a pan over medium high heat, remove from pan and set aside.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water. Add broccoli to pasta water during last 3 minutes. Drain pasta and broccoli and set aside.

Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute stirring constantly. The garlic will burn, so adjust the heat and stir stir stir!

Sprinkle flour into skillet with garlic and whisk to incorporate for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in chicken broth and milk. Whisk in greek yogourt, and salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken.

Turn off the heat and stir in cheese and chicken until combined. Mix with pasta and broccoli and stir to coat.

Serve with additional cheese on top if desired. Enjoy!

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Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’ve gone on in the past about oatmeal raisin cookies, and how my non-dessert loving boyfriend requested them every week for about a month. So I was a little surprised when he requested oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for a change.

I saw this recipe on How Sweet Eats and I am so glad that I tried it!! The texture of this cookie was perfectly chewy and soft. There is a hint of cinnamon in the dough, which I think brings the whole cookie together. If your mom ever made those Quaker oatmeal chocolate chip muffins when you were a kid, this is them IMG_1412in cookie form! I am not a fan of pre-made baking mixes, but those muffins are soooo good. I should try to replicate them from scratch one day… hmmmm.

These cookies did not last long in our house, I really had to restrain myself from eating 5 in one sitting because they really are THAT good. These have less oatmeal, and more flour than my oatmeal raisin cookies, so upon first glance, the oatmeal may not be overly noticeable, but once you take a bite, the distinguishable texture is there.

Of all people, I definitely know how tempting it is to go back to your trusty favourite standby cookie recipe when you get the baking urge, but try these ones out next time, you won’t be disappointed! I will definitely be adding these into my favourite cookie rotation. Don’t tell me you don’t have a cookie rotation….whaaaaat?!

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe from How  Sweet Eats

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room  temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar IMG_1404
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1-2 tbsp milk (if needed to make dough come together)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine butter and sugars and beat with a mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients into wet by hand. Stir in oats and mix until dough comes together. If dough is very crumbly, add in 1 tbsp of milk until it comes together. You can keep adding milk by the tbsp until the dough comes together, I didn’t have to add any milk to mine, so you should be fine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and flatten slightly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Mine were perfectly done in 9 mins. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute, then move to a cooling rack.

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Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl

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I remember the first time I tried quinoa. It was around 7 or 8 years ago and we spotted it at the bulk barn, and after reading about its super powers, decided to try it out. Let’s just say that the end results were less than amazing. This was probably due to a complete lack of knowledge of how to prepare it, or what to eat it with. Fast forward a few years, I gained a little Peruvian influence and quinoa made another appearance in my diet. Only this time, I loved it! Once you realize all the health benefits it has, and how easy it is to prepare, you’ll love it too!

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I literally went straight to the grocery store to get the ingredients because I knew I had to have it as soon as possible! It is a unique way to incorporate quinoa into a dish, and reminded me of a fried rice dish that I used to looooove from a food court Thai place. This recipe has so many flavour levels. The quinoa develops an intense flavour from the coconut milk, but combined with all of the other flavours, it isn’t too overpowering. This is officially my new favourite way to eat quinoa, and one of my new favourite dishes and I’m already thinking of when I can make it again!

Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl

Barely Adapted From Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast  IMG_1349
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup coconut milk (light)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger (minced or grated)
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • juice of half a lime
  • chopped peanuts, lime wedges for serving

Cut chicken breast into cubes or strips, and season with salt and pepper. Saute in a lightly oiled pan about 6-8 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.

Combine quinoa, chicken broth and coconut milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn to low-medium and cover. Cook until liquid has been absorbed about 15-20 mins.

In a lightly oiled wok, combine green onions, garlic, and ginger and cook over medium-high heat for one minute. Stir constantly or garlic will burn.

Add peas, pineapple and cilantro to wok and cook for 1 minute.

Create a space in the centre of the wok by pushing the ingredients to the sides. Pour in the 2 eggs (you can whisk them together in a small bowl before adding to the wok to make this easier). Stir the eggs until they are scrambled and cooked, and then combine with other ingredients.

Add cooked quinoa, chicken, soy sauce and lime juice to wok and combine with other ingredients. Cook for a couple more minutes.

Serve with chopped peanuts on top and additional lime wedges on the side.

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