Bacon and Leek Quiche

Bacon and Leek Quiche

Bacon and Leek Quiche

What food comes to mind most often when planning a menu for brunch?  Is it quiche?  I’m not surprised.  Quiche may well be the most versatile brunch dish.  A rich eggy custard encased in a flaky crust, it can be made with an almost endless variety of herbs, meats, cheeses and vegetables.  It can also be served hot or at room temperature, making it an ideal choice it you have other dishes on the menu.

We know that bacon can never go wrong, it seems, in any dish; so that’s beyond question in this quiche.  But leeks?  Probably not high on the list of favored ingredients.   If you are not familiar with leeks, they are a member of the onion family and have a mild oniony taste.  In most dishes where they are used they sort of blend in and their flavor is hard to identify, but not in this dish.  Their mild distinct flavor is noticeable and goes especially well with Gruyère cheese.

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My best description for the filling in this quiche is that it is “silky”.  The leeks are sautéed in a little butter until tender before adding to the crust with the bacon.  Once the egg, milk, cheese mixture is added everything melds together and bakes into a fabulous, silky, smooth custard, with bits of salty bacon throughout.

I made this dish one evening for our dinner and served it with a large mixed vegetable salad.  It seemed like the perfect meal.  The portion that was left over I rewarmed for lunch, and once again we enjoyed it immensely.

If you are someone who really like leeks, bacon and Gruyère cheese, (or even if you don’t) I encourage you to try this quiche.  I think you will be really glad you did.

BACON AND LEEK QUICHE

Yield:   makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • single-crust flaky pastry doughIMG_9505
  • Smoked bacon, 4 slices, coarsely chopped
  • unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp.
  • leeks, 2 small, white and pale green parts, chopped
  • half and half, 1 cup
  • large eggs, 2
  • kosher salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp.
  • freshly grated nutmeg, 1/8 tsp.
  • Gruyère cheese, 1 cup shredded

Directions:

1.  Use your favorite recipe for pie dough, or use refrigerated store-bought pie dough.  Roll the dough out into a round about 12 inches in diameter.  Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish or tart pan.  Trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.  Fold the overhanging dough over and into the pan, pressing it firmly against the dough on the sides of the pan; the dough should be doubly thick at the sides and rise about 1/8 inch above the pan rim.  Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper, and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the pie shell and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the pie shell and chill for 30 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375*F.  Place the dough-lined pan on a baking sheet and fill the parchment paper with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake until the dough is set and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

Fill pie shell with pie weights and bake till set.

Fill pie shell with pie weights and bake till set, about 20 minutes.

3.  While the crust is baking, make the filling.  In a fry pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.

Fry bacon till crisp, remove and drain on toweling.

Fry bacon till crisp, remove and drain on toweling.

Pour out the fat, wipe out the pan with clean paper towels, and add the butter.  Melt over low heat.  Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Saute leeks in butter till tender.

Saute leeks in butter till tender.

Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

4.  Remove the baking sheet with the tart pan from the oven.  Remove the parchment and the weights/beans.  In a bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until combined.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half and seasonings.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half and seasonings.

Scatter the bacon, leeks, and cheese evenly in the pastry shell.

Layer in bacon.

Layer in bacon.

Cover bacon with leeks, then cheese.

Cover bacon with leeks, then cheese.

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the shell.

Pour in egg mixture.

Pour in egg mixture.

Return to the oven and bake until the filling is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then serve.

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SOURCE:  Comfort Food, warm and homey, rich and hearty,  by Rick Rodgers

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Ketchup Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Ketchup Sauce

Meatloaf, you got that right.  Meatloaf wrapped in bacon.  All the men I know love meatloaf,  and they love bacon.  Well, women do too.  This is another one of those times when bacon just makes it better.  Bacon that gets all crispy surrounding a thick, meaty meatloaf that’s been baked with a catsup sauce over it.  (Please excuse the drool, here.)

This is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, of The Food Network.   It’s superb!  And it’s an equal opportunity dish;  equally comforting to both men and women–and kids, too.

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This recipe is very easy to make, and takes very little time to put together.  You bake it on a broiler pan so the fat drips away into the pan below, allowing the loaf to bake faster, and gives the bacon a great crisp.  You can bake this in one big loaf, or divide it into two smaller ones and freeze one for a night when you need something quick.  If you have a big family you’ll need it all, and don’t count on leftovers.

Put some foil in the bottom pan to catch the drippings and make clean-up easier.

Put some foil in the bottom pan to catch the drippings and make clean-up easier.

When I made it I used a package of meatloaf mix that was about 1.25 lb. and halved the other ingredients so it stayed proportional.  For two people we ate about half of it,  and I promised Mr. D. a meatloaf sandwich on a hard roll for his lunch.  He just about swooned at that!  See, the psychology here, is that if I make one for him, then I can have one too, and not feel guilty.  🙂

BACON WRAPPED MEATLOAF

Yield:  4 – 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 slices white bread ( any bread will do, even whole wheat)
  • 2 pounds ground beef (can also use 1 pound each ground pork and beef)
  • 1 heaping cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp. regular salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 10 slices bacon, thin, not thick cut.

For the sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • (reserve 1/3 of the sauce for serving)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line the bottom of your broiler pan with foil and spray the top part with non-stick cooking spray.  Have it ready to go.

2.  Place bread slices in a large bowl.  Pour milk over bread.  Allow it to soak for a few minutes.

3.  Add ground beef, onion, Parmesan cheese, salts, pepper and parsley to the bowl with the bread.  Lightly beat the eggs and pour over all of this.

4.  With clean hands, dig in and start squishing and mixing it up until everything is well-blended.  Shape the meat mixture into a loaf, (or two smaller loaves) and place on the broiler pan.   Now lay the bacon slices over the loaf, tucking the ends underneath the loaf.  If you made two loaves, cut the bacon slices in half.  You may need to stretch them a little, but thinner bacon slices will become crispier.

Wrap meatloaf with bacon slices, stretched thin.

Wrap meatloaf with bacon slices, stretched thin.

Note, I didn’t have enough bacon to completely cover the loaf, so I wrapped lengthwise.  If you have enough bacon, wrap crosswise, so the meatloaf is completely covered by the bacon.

5.  Once the meatloaf is wrapped, take 2/3 of the ketchup sauce and spread it over the loaf with a spoon or spatula.

Spoon ketchup sauce over the meatloaf to cover.

Spoon ketchup sauce over the meatloaf to cover.

6.  Bake for about an hour and a half, if making the full recipe.   This is great served with mashed potatoes.

You won't be able to wait for dinner when this is on the menu.

You won’t be able to wait for dinner when this is on the menu.

SOURCE:  The Pioneer Woman via The Ranting Chef, then modified

 

Huevos Rancheros with Bacon and Corn Tortillas

Hoevos Rancheros with Bacon and Corn Tortillas

Hoevos Rancheros with Bacon and Corn Tortillas

I admit that sometimes I’m just weird, like when I jump out of bed thinking about what I’ll make for breakfast.  I’m not talking OJ, toast and coffee or a bowl of cold cereal here.  I mean really cooking up something good.  This happens mostly on a weekend morning, like today, Saturday.

It would be eggs, with bacon included, but in a not so ordinary way.  Like huevos rancheros.  That means eggs on the ranch,  or eggs ranch-style.  See, I’m fluent in Spanish.   I’m also fluent in cooking by the seat of my pants, which means no recipe in sight.  OK then, here’s how it unfolded.

Walk to the refrigerator and take out eggs ( natch), bacon, corn tortillas, an open jar of salsa and some grated cheddar jack cheese.  Do I know what I’m doing?  Not really,  I’ve never made huevos rancheros, but I have seen a recipe with a picture of the finished dish.  What I intended to produce was my own version of what I thought they must be like.  Be on notice: that’s open to wide interpretation.

Begin by cooking up 4 slices of bacon till crisp.  Save a small amount of the drippings in the pan.  Add two corn tortillas to the bacon drippings and cook until puffed and golden.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Keep any drippings remaining in the pan and add a small pat of butter.   Prepare eggs in the usual way for scrambling,  add to pan and cook until just beginning to set.  Sprinkle with grated cheddar-jack cheese.  Cover and turn off heat, allowing cheese to melt, and eggs to finish cooking.   Place a crisp tortilla on each plate,  cover with a portion of scrambled egg,  spoon on some salsa, and top with strips of bacon.  Olé.  Mue Bueno!

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HUEVOS RANCHEROS WITH BACON AND CORN TORTILLAS

Yield:   Serves 2   Increase quantities accordingly to serve more

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices lean bacon
  • 2  (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 jar salsa, mild or spicy, your preference
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small pat butter
  • grated cheddar-jack cheese or Cotija cheese or queso fresco

Directions:

1.  Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp.  Drain on paper towels, reserving the drippings in the skillet.

Cook the bacon first and save some of the drippings for the tortillas.

Cook the bacon first and save some of the drippings for the tortillas.

2.  Cook the tortillas:   heat the bacon drippings in the skillet, add the tortillas and cook until golden brown on the bottoms, 3 – 4 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the other side, about 3 more minutes.  Wrap in foil to keep warm.

Corn Tortillas get crispy and puffed when cooked in a little oil.

Corn Tortillas get crispy and puffed when cooked in a little oil.

3.  Make the eggs:   in a small bowl, whisk the eggs together to blend,  add 1 -2 tablespoons water, salt and pepper to taste, and continue whisking to mix well..   Add the butter to any remaining drippings in the skillet, and allow to melt and become hot.  Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and cook on medium heat until the eggs are set, lifting the edges and letting the liquid portion run underneath.  When the eggs are almost completely cooked sprinkle on the grated cheese.  Turn off the heat, cover , and allow the cheese to melt before serving.

4.  To serve:  Place a warm tortilla on each plate.  Top with a portion  of the eggs,   Spoon on desired amount of salsa, and lay two pieces of bacon on the top.

Layer it all up with some salsa and bacon on top.

Layer it all up with some salsa and bacon on top.

 

This is probably not the most appetizing-looking meal I’ve ever made, but it sure tasted good, and got a weekend morning off to a great start.

 

SOURCE:   A Carolyn Original

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLT Pizza

BLT Pizza with White Sauce

BLT Pizza with White Sauce

All the world seems to love bacon.  Although I am not really a bacon fanatic, I do love a good BLT sandwich, so the thought of enjoying all the flavors of the classic sandwich in the form of a pizza seemed fantastic.  I wish I had thought of it myself.   I knew that I had an open package of bacon from our favorite meat shop in the fridge, and some fresh ripe tomatoes from our local farm stand.  I also had a package of arugula and baby greens intended for a salad, so the moment I saw this pizza, I knew it was meant to be.

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This turned out to be so good I thought about it for days afterwards.   Mr. D. says it’s the best pizza I’ve ever made.  All the components of your favorite sandwich are here including the mayonnaise.  By adding some oil to the mayo it makes a creamy sauce that is used to fully cover the dough and gives a richer taste to the pizza.   We both enjoyed this pizza so much that I know that I’ll be making this one again and again.   It’s a keeper!

BLT PIZZA WITH WHITE SAUCE

Yield:   1 10-inch pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, or green onions (tops only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated, or finely minced
  • 4 center-cut slices lean bacon
  • 1 pound fresh pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup baby arugula
Roast tomatoes, cook bacon, prepare sauce.

Roast tomatoes, cook bacon, prepare sauce.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Place a pizza stone in the oven to preheat.  (If you don’t have a pizza stone, use a round or flat baking sheet)

2.  Arrange tomato slices on a piece of parchment paper;  sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Place on a baking sheet or pizza stone, and bake for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are no longer wet.  Remove tomatoes and and allow to cool slightly while you make the sauce and prepare the dough.

3.  Combine mayonnaise, oil, chives, and garlic in a small bow.

4.  Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp;  drain on paper towels.  Break into pieces.

5.  Increase oven temperature to 450*F.  Using floured hands, pat dough into a 10-inch circle.  Place on the baking sheet or pizza stone that has been sprinkled with corn meal.  Pierce dough with a fork; transfer to preheated oven.  Bake at 450*F for 5 minutes.

6.  Carefully remove from the oven.  Brush mayonnaise mixture over crust, leaving a small border;   top with tomatoes.

Cover crust with mayo mixture then top with tomato slices.

Cover crust with mayo mixture then top with tomato slices.

Sprinkle with bacon and cheese; coat crust edges with cooking spray.

Add bacon and cheese next.

Add bacon and cheese next.

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7.  Bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts and crust browns.  Before serving top with arugula.  Cut into 8 wedges.

A BLT on a pizza--the best of both.

A BLT on a pizza–the best of both worlds.

 

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Open-Faced Salmon & Avocado BLT’s

Open-faced salmon and avocado BLT's.

Open-faced salmon and avocado BLT’s.

Our weekly menus this summer have been plentiful in these two things:  hearty sandwiches and salads.  Somehow they seem like the right thing to have on a warm day when cooking is out of the question, so I’m always on the lookout for new combinations, especially for sandwiches.  I want them to be dinner-worthy which means they need to include the major components of a meal, be filling and nutritious.  This combination of tender salmon fillet with fresh tomatoes and lettuce plus crispy bacon on a focaccia roll is perfect.

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I made this one evening a few weeks ago, on a night when I was starving, so I don’t know if I was having an exceptionally good cooking night or if I was just incredibly  hungry, but it was just soooo good.

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OPEN-FACED SALMON & AVOCADO BLT’S

Yield:    Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices diagonally cut ciabatta bread or 2 large ciabatta rolls, cut in half

    Get all the vegetables ready.

    Get all the vegetables ready.

  • 4 center-cut bacon slices
  • 4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned, about 3/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives, or green onions, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) tomato slices, halved
  • 1/2 peeled ripe avocado, cut into 8 wedges
  • 4 lemon wedges for serving

Directions:

1.  Preheat broiler to high.

2.  Arrange bread or rolls on a baking sheet; broil 1 minute or until lightly toasted.

3.  Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan.  Add salmon fillets to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Cook bacon till crisp, then cook salmon in the drippings.

Cook bacon till crisp, then cook salmon in the drippings.

4.  Combine canola mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon water, 2 teaspoons minced chives, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

5.  Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over bread slices; top each with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 bacon slice,  2 halved tomato slices, 2 avocado slices and 1 fish fillet.

Building the sandwich layer by layer.

Building the sandwich layer by layer.

Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 teaspoon chives.  Serve with lemon wedges.

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SOURCE:    Eating Well

 

Tortellini and Broccoli Salad

Tortellini and Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Tortellini and Broccoli Salad with Bacon

There’s a certain kind of math that goes on in my head every time I stare into my refrigerator and try to decide what to make for dinner.

It goes something like this:  6 eggs,  1/2 bag of cheese tortellini, part of a head of broccoli, 1 stick of butter, some leftover chicken soup, a block of cream cheese, 4 slices of bacon, and  half a loaf of Italian bread.

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There’s also a strange correlation at work–the less time I have and the hungrier I am, the harder it is to process all this math.  Let’s see, if  I scramble the eggs and mix them with warm garlicy broccoli, and sprinkle toasted bread crumbs over the top, would that work?

Oh, wait–how about if I cook the tortellini, mix it with broccoli, and treat the mixture like macaroni salad with a mayonnaise dressing.   Top if off with a sprinkle of bacon?    Yes, now is there enough mayonnaise?   Do I have a lemon?   And what’s this?—one romaine heart hiding at the back of the crisper drawer!   Perfect, I’ll serve the salad on a bed of romaine.  Whew!  That was a tough one.

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I’m wishing you the same kind of success when this happens to you. 🙂

TORTELLINI AND BROCCOLI SALADIMG_7632

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 0z. refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Romaine lettuce or spring greens mix
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (vegetarians can omit bacon)

Directions:

1.  Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Add broccoli florets in the last 5 minutes of cooking time.   Drain, and rinse with cold water to stop cooking action.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

2.  In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients, i.e.. mayonnaise through salt.  Pour this over the tortellini and broccoli, and mix well to coat evenly.

3.  On a large platter or serving dish, arrange the salad greens,  Spoon the tortellini salad on top.   Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and serve.

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This salad is good slightly warm or at room temperature, or thoroughly chilled.  Try it on a warm day when you want a quick, cold meal.

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SOURCE:   Another of my own creations!

Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Comfort Foods!  Just those two words bring to mind certain foods that we grew up with, or crave at one time or another.  Maybe you’ve had a bad day, and just want a familiar meal that you know you love.  Perhaps it’s mid-winter, freezing cold, and you want something to eat that feels like being wrapped up in a warm quilt.  Or you just broke up with your boyfriend, best friend, or had to have a pet “put to sleep”.  You want food that will make you feel better, if that’s possible.  Food that gives you comfort is naturally called “comfort food”.

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Well, here’s a question that I’ve been pondering;  do you crave comfort foods in hot weather?  Aren’t comfort foods warm foods that give you a “warm fuzzy”?  I can’t think of any cold foods that do that, and in hot weather don’t we usually want cold foods to cool us off, so where do comfort foods fit in?

That is the dilemma I faced last week.  The weekend had served up warm, sunny days in the mid to high 80’s.  It was hot, we ate salads!   Come Monday, the temperature is in the 60’s, and its raining, cold and damp outside.  Then I go for my dance lesson, where every move I make gets corrected, and I can’t seem to do anything right.  (That’s an exaggeration, but it felt that way).  And to top it all off, I forgot to take something out of the freezer for dinner.  Does this day qualify for a comfort meal?  I thought it did.

This recipe for a variation on Mac and Cheese is my solution to wanting, no needing, something comforting to eat, but little time to prepare it, so let’s call this “Quick Comfort Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon”.  Even though the calendar tells us it’s late spring or early summer, this dish was perfect for my needs.  And Mr. D.  loved it too, saying it was fabulous, and “hit the spot”.

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Note:  included here is a trick I learned at one time:  a little bit of turmeric enhances the color, making you perceive the sauce as cheesier than it actually is.  It adds no additional flavor of its own, it’s only there for color, so if it’s not in your cupboard, just omit it and use a yellow cheddar cheese.

BROCCOLI MAC AND CHEESE WITH BACON

Yield:  Serves 4IMG_7492

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces uncooked large or regular elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups prechopped broccoli florets
  • 3 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
  • 1 cup 1 % low-fat milk
  • 1 jar Alfredo Sauce with cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions, adding a little salt to the water.  Add broccoli to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking.  Drain.

Add broccoli to end of pasta cooking time.

Add broccoli to end of pasta cooking time.

2.  While pasta cooks, place bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat;  cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon.  Reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in the pan.  Add chopped garlic and the turmeric, if using.  Cook 1 minute, stirring throughout.

3.  Combine the milk with the Alfredo sauce, stirring with a whisk to blend well. Add to skillet with garlic, and mix together.  Bring to a simmer, and add 3/4 cup shredded cheese.  Stir to melt and blend in the cheese, stir in half the bacon.  Taste sauce and add salt and pepper if needed.

Making the cheese sauce with Alfredo sauce.

Making the cheese sauce with Alfredo sauce.

4.  Add the drained pasta and broccoli,  toss to coat.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese and remaining bacon over the top.

Add macaroni and broccoli to cheese.

Add macaroni and broccoli to cheese sauce.

Preheat the broiler to high.   Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and just begins to brown.  If time allows,  this dish could be baked for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the top a little browned.

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Broccoli Mac and Cheese served with a salad.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese served with a salad.

 

SOURCE:   a Carolyn’s Originals

 

 

Hash Browns, Bacon and Egg Bake

Hash Browns, Bacon and Egg Bake

Hash Browns, Bacon and Egg Bake

It was a holiday weekend with time to prepare a leisurely breakfast.  One of our favorite breakfasts consists of bacon and eggs with home fries or hash browns.  But instead of preparing them all separately, my thought was to mix them all up into a baked casserole.   This is how it all came together….

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It took about 15 minutes to assemble, and 45 – 50 minutes baking time, so while it baked I was able to make a fresh fruit salad to go along with it.  This turned out to be a savory mixture of eggs, cheese, bacon, hash brown, and spices, that got us off to a great start.  Keep this one in mind if you’re planning a busy weekend, and need a hearty start to get you going.

HASH BROWNS, BACON AND EGG BAKE

Yield:  about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes,
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese blend
  • 6 eggs,  or 3 whole eggs, and 1/2 cup egg beater substitute
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic-herb seasoning blend
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper sauce
  • 4 – 5 slices bacon, precooked and crumbled
  • jarred salsa, if desired, for serving

Directions:

1.  Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick spray.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes, crumbled bacon, and 1 cup of cheese.  Spread evenly in the baking dish.

Spread potatoes, bacon and cheese evenly in bottom of baking dish,

Spread potatoes, bacon and cheese evenly in bottom of baking dish,

3.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly with a wire whisk.  Add the milk,  herb blend seasoning and hot sauce.  Blend well.  Pour over potato-cheese mixture.

 

Mix up egg mixture and pour over potato layer,

Mix up egg mixture and pour over potato layer,

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over all.

Top with remaining cheese.

Top with remaining cheese.

4.  Bake in 350* oven for 45-50 minutes.  When cooked, a knife inserted just off-center, should be “clean” when removed.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares for serving.  Serve with salsa if desired.

 

Cheese on top gets browned and crusty.

Cheese on top gets browned and crusty.

Cut into squares to serve.

Cut into squares to serve.

Nice with a little salsa to spice it up.

Nice with a little salsa to spice it up.

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SOURCE:   A Carolyn’s Original

(Lighter) Spinach-Bacon Quiche

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Spinach Bacon Quiche

If brunch is in your plans in the near future, one favorite menu item is quiche.   Quiche, however, can contain lots of hidden calories and fat.  One wedge can contain in the neighborhood of 600 (or more) calories.  Yet we love it, so the dilemma is how to lighten it up, and still get all the creamy goodness that we love.

One way would be to eliminate the crust, but really, who likes a quiche with no flaky crust to support all that eggy, cheesy filling.  This recipe uses a crust made with olive oil instead of the traditional butter or shortening.  The heart healthy olive oil lends a “green”, flavor to the crust.  The filling is bulked up with mushrooms and spinach, adding few calories, but great nutritional value.  A nutty flavored cheese like Gruyère, or Swiss is the perfect compliment to the vegetables, and only 2 ounces go into this quiche.  The egg custard is made using mostly low fat milk (I used skim milk) plus a splash of half-and-half that adds richness but fewer calories and fat than heavy cream.  The quiche is finished off with a sprinkle of crisp bacon on the top, which you taste first, so you get a savory crunch in every bite.  One sixth of this quiche is a 317-calorie slice of heaven.  Vegetarians would find this quiche very satisfying even without the bacon, or could use a substitute.

I tested out this recipe earlier this week, served it for dinner with a side salad, and Mr. D.  loved it,  never suspecting it was a “lighter” version. I thought it was luscious.

This quiche with salad and bread makes a complete meal.

The quiche with salad and bread makes a complete meal.

(LIGHTER) SPINACH-BACON QUICHE

Yield:  Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 5.6 ounces all-purpose flour, about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons

    Ingredients ready to start cooking.

    Ingredients ready to start cooking.

  • 3/4 kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • cooking spray
  • 3 slices bacon, lean center cut, if possible (vegetarians can omit bacon)
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 cup 1 % low-fat milk (I used fat-free)
  • 1/3 cup half and half, or light cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (swiss cheese, or any good melting cheese may be used instead)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  ** Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup.  Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and baking powder in a food processor; pulse 2 times to combine.  Combine oil with 3 tablespoons water.  With processor running, slowly add oil mixture through food chute; process until dough comes together.  Turn dough out onto slightly floured surface.  Knead 1 minute.  Press dough into a 5-inch disk; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 20 minutes.

3.  Roll dough into a 12-inch circle.  Fit into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray.  Line dough with foil;  arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil.  Bake at 425*F. for 12 minutes until edges are golden.  Remove weights and foil; bake an additional 2 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

4.  Reduce oven temperature to 350*F.

5.  Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings;  crumble and set aside.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Add shallots to drippings in pan; sauté 2 minutes.

Bacon crisped, shallots being sautéed

Bacon crisped, shallots being sautéed

Add mushrooms and thyme; cook until tender, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until it wilts.  Remove from heat.  Drain any excess liquid.

Mushrooms and spinach added to skillet.

Mushrooms and spinach added to skillet.

6.  Place milk, half-and-half, eggs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender; process until smooth.

Prepare egg custard in a blender.

Prepare egg custard in a blender.

7.  Arrange half of cheese over bottom of crust; top with spinach mixture and remaining half of cheese.

Cheese goes into the crust first.

Cheese goes into the crust first.

Next goes the spinach mustard mixture.

Next goes the spinach mustard mixture.

Cover with remaining cheese.

Cover with remaining cheese.

Carefully pour milk mixture over cheese.  Sprinkle with bacon.

Sprinkle crumbled bacon over all, and pour in milk mixture.

Sprinkle crumbled bacon over all, and pour in milk mixture.

Bake at 350*F for 45 minutes or until filling is set and top begins to brown.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Bacon Spinach Quiche

**As a time saving step, and if calories in the crust are not a concern, you could use a frozen pie crust.  Bake as directed in step #3, according to package directions.

Serve with salad.

Serve with salad.

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SOURCE:     Cooking Light Magazine

 

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Did you ever think you would be eating bacon and eggs with spaghetti?  Carbonara means with bacon in a light egg sauce.  So today we have an entree that includes both bacon and eggs.  Paired up with spaghetti, this is a simple peasant-type meal;  add asparagus for its added nutritional value, green color of spring (you can tell I’m waiting here), and textural crunch.  What results is a dish that is so well balanced with flavor, texture and “dish appeal” that you’ll want to taste it right off this page if you could.

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You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry to make this meal, except the asparagus.  If they are available where you live, I urge you not to waste any time in getting some and making this delectable dish.  You won’t be sorry.

SPAGHETTI CARBONARA WITH ASPARAGUS

Yield:    Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Just a few ingredients.

Just a few ingredients.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 1 bunch asparagus, , ends trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and cheese.

Mixing the eggs and cheese together.

Mixing the eggs and cheese together.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, adding the asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

2.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Add the hot pasta and asparagus to the egg mixture;  toss to coat.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until crisp; stir in the garlic.

Cooking up the bacon.

Cooking up the bacon.

Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.  Stir the bacon mixture into the pasta, adding enough of the reserved pasta water to moisten; season with salt and pepper.

This is delectable!

This is delectable!

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Serve with more grated cheese at the table to sprinkle on top.  A tossed green salad completes this meal.

SOURCE:   Everyday with Rachael Ray