Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Double Dark Chocolate Creme de Menthe Cookies

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is holiday baking.  I spend a month or so before holiday time combing through pinterest and my favorite blogs looking for inspiration of what treats I want to bake.  I love making a variety of treats to give to all of the people in our lives.  This year I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to do it though because of our new little man, but luckily he took a couple of good naps on the Sunday before Christmas so I was able to whip up a couple of different treats.  It was later than I usually get my baking done, but at least I got some made.

I don't know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of chocolate and mint.  I love mint chip ice cream, thin mints at Girl Scout Cookie time, peppermint bark, Andes mints.  If it is mint and chocolate, I want to eat it.  I knew that if I only made one treat this holiday season it had to include some combination of chocolate and mint.  I really wanted the Hershey's mint chocolate chips but I couldn't find them at any local store.  Then I saw these Andes Creme de Menthe baking pieces.  When I was a kid my mom's parents always had Andes mints in a dish on their coffee table and I was definitely guilty of sneaking more than my fair share.  I LOVE those things so these baking pieces practically leapt into my cart.

I wanted to make a really rich, decadent cookie and these definitely fit the bill.  They combine dark cocoa powder with chopped dark chocolate, the Andes baking pieces, and because I'm a firm believer that you can't have too much chocolate I threw in some semisweet chocolate chips in as well.  

Start out by creaming 2 sticks of butter with some sugar and brown sugar.  Don't skimp on this step.  Take the time to get it really nice and fluffy, this is what makes your cookies have a nice light texture.

After about 5 minutes or so, add in some peppermint extract and the dark cocoa powder.  You can use regular cocoa powder if you don't have dark, but the dark is so much richer.  Look at that deep chocolate color, yum!

Crack in both eggs and mix again.  At this point you will really want to eat the cookie dough, try to resist, but if you can't, I won't tell anyone.  After all, what are friends for?

Add in some corn starch, baking soda, and flour.  Then wrap your mixer with plastic wrap (to help prevent a floury mess) and mix until it is well combined.  I recommend starting off slow and then speeding it up so that your flour stays in. 

Now for the fun part.  Chop up some dark chocolate, I used Trader Joe's pound plus bar.  (You can use dark chocolate chips or chunks instead but they won't give you the same melting pools of chocolate that chopped up chocolate will.) Pour in the dark chocolate, some chocolate chips, and the creme de menthe baking pieces.  This is a lot of mix-ins and they are delicious!!

The dough will be very thick so I enlisted my husband to stir in all of that chocolatey goodness.  You can either stir it in by hand or use your mixer.

Use a cookie scoop to drop the cookies about 2 inches apart on your parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes.  

These can be baked right away, without refrigerating, and they will stay nice and puffed, yay!  I hate it when I make cookies and then I have to wait hours before baking.  I am impatient and want cookies in my face as soon as humanly possible.  

These cookies are mint chocolate bliss.  The combination of the semi-sweet chocolate chips, the melty dark chocolate, and the creamy creme de menthe pieces makes a soft, gooey, ultra-chocolatey minty cookie.  Have an ice-cold glass of milk ready and eat some when they are still warm from the oven.  

Then give away the rest as quickly as possible or you may end up eating a lot more cookies than you had planned on.  

Double Dark Chocolate Creme de Menthe Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen cookies
 Adapted from Back For Seconds
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 heaping tbls. cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup Andes creme de menthe baking pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in cocoa powder and peppermint extract and mix until the cocoa is completely blended in.
  4. Crack in both eggs and mix again until well incorporated.
  5. Add baking soda, cornstarch, and flour and mix until the dough is completely brown with no white showing from the flour.
  6. Stir in all the chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, and Andes pieces.
  7. Use a cookie scoop to put on your cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 8 minutes.
  8. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. 
I'm linking up with Whimsy Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Pin Junkie, Link Party Palooza, Super Saturday, Show Stopper Saturday, Inspiration Monday, and Tasty Tuesdays.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Crockpot Lamb & Barley Stew

We've been doing a lot of eating out of our freezer lately.  We had a boneless lamb roast in the freezer that Josh made for dinner the other night (Sundays are his night to cook) and it was delicious, but way bigger than we could finish on our own.  We had a lot of lamb leftover so we decided to make lamb and barley stew with the leftovers.

This is a recipe that my mom used to make with leftover lamb that was on the bone.  She makes it on the stove but I thought it would be perfect for the crockpot.  If you aren't a fan of lamb, this would work with leftover beef as well.

Start out by cutting up the leftover lamb into bite sized chunks.  Chop up three medium carrots, three stalks of celery, and a medium onion.

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray and put in your meat, chopped veggies, and 4 cloves of minced garlic.   Add in some pearl barley, a couple of bay leaves,  and some dried rosemary.  Pour in 4 cups of beef stock, give it all a good stir and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.

I like to top mine with a little bit of Parmesan cheese, but that's partly because I have a small obsession with Parmesan.  I also serve it with some sourdough bread.  It is wonderful dipped into the broth while you are waiting for the stew to cool.

This is a great meal for a cold night and the hands on time is minimal.  I love using my crock pot because it is so easy and it makes the house smell wonderful all day, so break out your crock pot and get a home cooked meal on the table without a lot of work.

Lamb & Barley Stew
  • leftover lamb or beef roast cut into bite sized chunks, about 1 1/2 cups of chunks
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 4 cups beef broth
  1. Chop the carrots, celery, and onion.
  2. Spray crockpot with cooking spray.
  3. Add all ingredients to crockpot and stir to combine.
  4. Cook on high 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.
  5. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve with sourdough bread if desired.

I'm linking up with Thrifty Thursday, Create It Thursday, Link Party Palooza, Inspiration Monday, and Pin Junkie.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Over Thanksgiving my sister was raving about the Pumpkin Coffee Cake recipe she found on one of our favorite blogs, How Sweet Eats.  I had most of the ingredients on hand so I decided to try it out for one of our weekend "special breakfasts."  Even though pumpkin is generally thought of as a fall flavor, I think this would make a great breakfast for Christmas (in case you haven't decided what to have tomorrow morning).  The original recipe calls for yellow cake mix and some pumpkin pie spice but I had a spice cake mix so I decided to use that instead.

I also followed my sister's recommendation and instead of making a big 9 x 13 I split the batter between an 8 x 8 baking dish for that morning, and a square foil pan for the freezer.  Then I will have something on hand for when I need a quick but delicious brunch dish.

Start out by mixing together a small can of pumpkin, water, vanilla, and 2 eggs.  Once that is all combined add in the spice cake mix and a little baking soda.  That's it, your batter is ready.  Pour it all into 2 square (or a 9 x 13)  baking pans sprayed with cooking spray.

Now for the delicious crumb topping.  In a separate bowl melt half a stick of butter.  Add in a half cup each of flour and brown sugar and mix it all together.  I used a fork because I think that is the best way of breaking it up without having to use my hands (I'm kind of prissy).  Then sprinkle the topping all over the top of the batter using a fork (or your fingers).

Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes (since I used two pans I rotated them halfway through).  When it is almost ready, make your glaze.  In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup milk (I used skim, the original recipe calls for heavy cream), and 2 tsp. vanilla.  Bring it to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and stir until the sugar is all disolved.

When you pull the coffee cake out of the oven poke little holes all over the top and then pour the glaze all over it.  YUM!!!!

For those of you who are going to be freezing half of this, I only made a half recipe of the glaze and then I wrote the instructions for it on the freezer bag I put my foil pan in.  When I am ready to eat it, I will just thaw it, reheat it, and then pour the fresh glaze on top.

This recipe came together really quickly and was delicious!  I highly recommend trying it out.  The original recipe called for walnuts in the crumb topping, but I am not a fan so I just left them out.  If you like walnuts, feel free to add them back in.  I think next time I will substitute with some chopped pecans instead of just leaving the nuts out entirely.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Adapted from Heather Disarro via Tasty Kitchen

For the cake:
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbls. vanilla
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
For the crumb topping:
  • 4 tbls. butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
For the glaze (if freezing half, halve amounts of glaze):
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer combine the water, pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Add in the spice cake mix and baking soda and mix until combined.
  4. Pour into a 9 x 13 or 2 square baking pans coated with cooking spray.
  5. Make the crumb topping: Melt the butter, then stir in the flour and brown sugar with a fork until you have crumbs but it is well combined.  Sprinkle all over the top of the cake batter.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. When the cake is almost finished make the glaze: In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup milk, and 2 tsp. vanilla.  Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  8. When the cake is baked poke small holes all over the top and then pour the glaze all over.
  9. Let the glaze soak in for a few minutes, then serve warm.

I'm linking up with Flashback Friday, Retro Pin Party, Whimsy Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Link Party Palooza, and Inspiration Monday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fresh Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Blondies

I've never been a big fan of white chocolate because it is overly sweet to me, but I heard that the white chocolate chips that Trader Joe's has at holiday time are really good so I picked up a bag.  They've been sitting in my cupboard waiting for inspiration to strike.  A bunch of people have been posting copycat Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars and they got me thinking.  Those usually use dried cranberries, but I thought that might be a little too sweet for my taste with the white chocolate.

Since I bought the big bag of fresh cranberries at Costco I decided to make my own version of Cranberry Bliss Bars but with fresh cranberries and no frosting.  I started out with a plain blondie base, kicked up the vanilla flavor by using vanilla paste, if you haven't tried this stuff it is basically vanilla extract on steroids, and then stirred in some fresh cranberries and white chocolate chips.

I bought mine at Sur La Table but Williams Sonoma and Amazon have it too.
It comes together really quickly, all in one bowl, so you can have a delicious holiday treat with minimal effort and minimal dishes.  The sweetness of the blondie and the white chocolate with the tart bursts from the cranberries are the perfect balance for each other and leave you with a delicious, seasonal treat.

Start out by creaming your butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy.  Then beat in an egg and the delicious vanilla paste. (If you don't have vanilla paste you can use vanilla extract instead.)  Once that's all mixed together, add in some flour, baking powder, and a little salt.

Stir in the cranberries and white chocolate chips and then spread the batter in a square baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.  The batter is very thick so you will need to spread it around.  I forgot to take a picture before I put it in the oven so I pulled it out after about 3 minutes so you can see how thick the batter is.

Bake at 350 for about half an hour or until the top is golden brown and it's puffed up.  You want it to be fully cooked, but think of this like a giant cookie, keeping it a little bit underdone when you pull it out will keep your blondies soft and chewy.  They will continue to cook a bit after removing them from the oven from the residual heat of the pan.

Once they are baked, let cool for a half hour or so before you cut into it.  If you let it cool completely, it will cut even more neatly, but if you are impatient, 30 minutes is enough to be able to get a piece out without it falling apart and you won't burn your tongue.

Fresh Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Blondies
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla paste 
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (depending on how sweet you like it)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and spray an 8 x 8 in. pan with cooking spray.
  2. On medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in the egg and the vanilla paste.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined.
  5. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  6. Spread in the prepared baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  7. Cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.

I'm linking up with Whimsy Wednesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Less Laundry More Linking, Pin It Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Create It Thursday, Pin Junkie, Link Party Palooza, Show Stopper Saturday, Future Expat, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Marvelous Monday, and Whimsy Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Suiza Casserole

I've never been a big fan of enchilada sauce, but everything else about an enchilada is right up my alley.  Then one day I discovered that there are enchiladas made with verde sauce.  I was thrilled!  I started ordering them all the time when we went out for Mexican food but I wanted to make them at home.  That being said, I'm super lazy so I decided to make a casserole out of the same ingredients to save myself the step of rolling up the individual enchiladas.

I usually make these with diced, grilled chicken but I had a couple of huge chicken breasts in my freezer so I decided to make them in the crockpot instead.  I literally put them in still frozen, dumped on a jar of Trader Joe's salsa verde, and cooked on high for about 4 hours.  Partway through Josh shredded the chicken for me so that it would absorb more of the flavor.

Start out by mixing up your sauce.  Take some salsa verde, fat free Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and chopped cilantro and stir it all together.  I like to use the little cubes of chopped cilantro TJ's carries in their freezer section when I'm running behind (and I was today because our dishwasher broke, hence the paper plate).  Since there was a full jar of salsa in the chicken this time, I used less than I normally would in the sauce.  The recipe at the end is the way I usually make it but I'm including the modifications if you want to make it how I did today.  It was so moist and flavorful that I will always make it this way in the future.

In a separate bowl combine your chicken (either the shredded salsa version or the diced, grilled version), some jack cheese, and some roasted peppers that have been chopped up into bite sized pieces.  I like to use this jar of red and yellow peppers from Trader Joe's.  They are really flavorful and super easy to chop up.

We are a small family so I usually split this into two square pans, one to eat and one to freeze, but you can make this in a 9 x 13 instead if you have more people to feed.  Spray your pan with some cooking spray and then spread a little bit of your sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.

Cover the sauce with a layer of corn tortillas.  I usually just tear them up to make a full layer, but if you are feeling fancy you can cut them into strips and then lay them on.

Cover your tortilla layer with some of the chicken mixture and then a little more of the sauce.

Repeat the layers (tortillas, chicken mixture, sauce) one more time.   Then put on another layer of tortillas and pour on the rest of your sauce, using a spoon to spread it around.  Cover it all with the rest of your shredded jack cheese.

Cover your baking dish with foil and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.  Then take it out, take the foil off, and bake it for another 10 minutes or so, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Let it cool for a few minutes before you cut into it and serve.  It doesn't look as beautiful as if you rolled them into enchiladas but it tastes just as delicious.  That being said, you can choose to roll these into enchiladas instead if you want.  Just pour some sauce on the bottom of your pan,  put a little of the chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll it up, and place it in the pan.  Once all of your enchiladas are rolled up, pour the rest of the sauce on top and follow the baking and cheese instructions as written.  Enjoy!

Chicken Enchilada Suiza Casserole
  • corn tortillas
  • 1 1/4 cups green salsa
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups diced, cooked chicken
  • 8 oz. jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 jar roasted peppers, diced
  1. Mix salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.  Spread a little over the bottom of your baking dish.
  2. In another bowl, combine chicken, 2/3 of the cheese, and the roasted peppers.
  3. Place a layer of tortillas on top of the sauce in the baking dish.  Top with chicken mixture and some more of the salsa mixture.
  4. Repeat layers one more time.
  5. Put on one more layer of tortillas  and top with the remainder of the salsa mixture.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
**If using crock pot chicken instead, combine 2 large frozen chicken breasts and a jar of salsa verde in the crock pot and cook on high about 4 hours.   Shred chicken.  Then change your sauce amounts to to a scant cup of salsa and a full cup of Greek yogurt.

I'm linking up with Whimsy Wednesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Less Laundry More Linking, Pin It Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Create It Thursday, Pin Junkie, Link Party Palooza, Show Stopper Saturdayand Strut Your Stuff Saturday.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vanilla Chess Pie

A couple of weeks ago we had our annual Friendsgiving dinner and I made this delicious Cranberry Chess Pie.  It was amazing so I wanted to make it again for Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, my father-in-law doesn't eat fruit, or vegetables for that matter, but that's not important to this story.  In an effort to be a nice daughter in law I decided to make it without the cranberries or the orange zest so that everyone could enjoy it.

Because I was taking out two strong flavors, I added more vanilla paste to amp up the vanilla flavor.  This pie was A-MA-ZING!  This was only my second experience with a chess pie (the cranberry version was my first) and all I can say is, "where have you been all my life?!"  If you are a fan of custardy desserts then this pie is for you.  It is also super quick and easy to whip up.

Start out by preheating your oven to 350 and putting a pie crust into a pie plate (I used a refrigerated one because it's faster and easier for me).

Put some unsalted butter and sugar in your stand mixer and mix on medium until it is nice and fluffy.  Doesn't that look good?  I could seriously eat it like that (pregnancy makes these feelings totally normal).

While your butter and sugar are getting friendly, in a small bowl combine some flour, cornmeal (I used polenta because that's what I had), and a little salt.

In a measuring cup combine some buttermilk and the vanilla paste.  Look at all of those beautiful specks of vanilla in there.  Whoever created vanilla paste deserves a holiday, or at the very least some sort of plaque acknowledging their contribution to mankind.

Once your sugar and butter are ready, add in your eggs, scraping the bowl between each one.  Then alternate adding in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Give it one last stir/scrape and then pour it into the pie crust.

Bake it for about 40 minutes, rotating it after 20.  I loosely covered mine with foil 30 minutes into the baking time so it wouldn't get too brown.   Let it cool to room temperature.  You can serve it like that, but I like mine cold so I refrigerated it and then just pulled it out of the fridge about an hour before we were going to eat it.

I seriously cannot get enough of the vanilla bean flecks.  I have a small obsession with the vanilla paste if you can't tell.

This pie is also really yummy for breakfast but don't tell anyone I said that.  I never eat dessert for breakfast.

Vanilla Chess Pie
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 7 tbls. flour
  • 1 tbls. cornmeal or polenta (not quick cook)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tbls. vanilla paste
  1. Unroll pie crust into a pie plate and preheat oven to 350.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in stand mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping after each.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, and salt.
  5. Measure out buttermilk and stir in vanilla paste.
  6. Add flour mixture and vanilla buttermilk to sugar mixture, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  7. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 40 minutes rotating halfway through.  If the top starts to get too brown, loosely cover with foil for the last 10 minutes.

I'm linking up with Thrifty Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Less Laundry More Linking, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Pin Junkie, Link Party Palooza, Show Stopper Saturday, and Inspiration Monday.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's a Boy! (and one last maternity outfit post)

Sunday, 1 day late, we welcomed our newest little man, Luke, into the world.  These outfit photos were from our last date night before we became a family of four so I thought I would share them today since I can't share pics of Luke (Josh doesn't want me posting photos of the kids on the blog).

One of our dear friends was kind enough to watch Jake while we used a gift certificate to Morton's.  It was a perfect last date night since it is fairly safe to say that we won't be dining anywhere that nice for quite a while.

I don't know about you, but I love Morton's so I knew I was probably going to overeat.  That meant I needed something that was not too tight on my stomach.  These ponte maternity pants from Target were perfect because you can pull the belly panel up as a full panel or fold it down underneath.

Then I wore this blousy non-maternity top to draw attention toward the girls and away from my ever expanding belly.

All in all, it left me feeling comfortable while still looking dressed up for my hubby.  Things might not be quite as regular on the blog as I adjust to life as a mommy to two but I hope you will bear with me.

Top - Nordstrom Rack - old
Kitten Heels - Nine West Outlet - old 

I'm linking up with Style Sessions, I Feel Pretty,  and The Pleated Poppy.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Hi everyone.  As you know, I am expecting a baby any day now.  I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do about my blog when that happens.  I want to keep a regular schedule because I know that I always like it when blogs that I follow post regularly.  That being said, I know how busy life with a newborn can be and this time around I'll have a preschooler as well.

My current plan is to change to posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I think I'll be able to keep up with 2 posts a week.  If not, I hope you will bear with me.  I'm loving my little blog and hope you are too.  Happy Friday!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - Ready to Pop

You know you are ready to pop when you can see your belly button through a thick sweater.  I'm due on Saturday so we wanted to squeeze in one last date before our days of getting out without kids are gone for the foreseeable future.  We decided to meet for lunch and a movie while Jake was at school.  Since I knew I would be sitting in a movie theater for a couple of hours, I wanted something extremely comfortable.  I had planned to wear something else, but when I put on the top, it was too short because my belly has gotten enormous.

Luckily, I had this tunic sweater in my closet from my pre-pregnancy days and it was perfect.  Long enough to cover my rear end and super warm and cozy.  Add in my leggings, which are rapidly becoming my favorite article of clothing for comfort's sake if nothing else, and some wedge boots and I was ready to go. 

 Tunic Sweater - The Limited - old
Leggings - Old Navy
Boots - Cathy Jean - old, similar here

I'm linking up with What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty, and Style Sessions.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Spinach Quiche

I have a strange child.  He dislikes most normal kid foods.  He doesn't like chicken strips, he just recently decided he will tolerate pizza, and he loves vegetables.  For the last couple of years if you ask him what his favorite food is he will tell you quiche.  This of course is wonderful for me because it is pretty healthy and is really quick and easy to make.  Added to that, it is really good leftover so I can make it in advance if I need to.  It is also really easy to customize, in fact I almost titled this post Quiche, Any Way You Like It.

Start out with a pre-made pie crust.  If you prefer not to serve your family packaged foods, feel free to make your crust from scratch, but we are working on being imperfectionists in this house so pre-made it is.  Honestly, my best results are with the store brand crust from Stater Bros.  The Pillsbury one is good too, but in my house we go Stater Bros.  You will need to take the crust out of the fridge about 20 minutes in advance otherwise when you try to unroll it, it will stick together and you'll have holes to fix.  While your oven or toaster oven (I have an extra large toaster oven which I love because I can bake without heating up my house) preheats to 425, unroll your pie crust into a pyrex pie dish and prick it all over with a fork.  Bake your pie crust for about 8 minutes.  This will prevent you from having a soggy crust.

While your crust is baking it is time to make your filling.  Start out by pouring 1 cup of milk into a large measuring cup.  I use skim because that is what we drink but you can use whatever you have on hand.  You can use a bowl if you want to, but if you mix your filling in the measuring cup it is easy to pour into the crust and you have to measure the milk anyway so you are using one less dish.  Crack in 4 eggs.  Add in some garlic powder, white pepper, and onion salt.  Whisk it all together.

At this point you can add anything combination of cheeses, meats, and vegetables you would like.   Jake's favorite combination involves spinach and the Trader Joe's swiss & gruyere blend.  Josh likes it better when I add some crumbled cooked bacon or sausage but I usually keep it vegetarian because it's easier healthier.  I do not recommend using fresh spinach.  I am rarely a proponent of frozen spinach but when I use fresh it all floats to the top of the quiche and I like it mixed throughout.

If you want to be like me, pour about a 1/3 of the bag of frozen chopped spinach into a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Then drain the spinach and add it to the egg mixture along with the cheese.  My super easy way to drain the spinach involves using my plastic kid bowls and placing an empty one on top of the one with the spinach and then pressing down on it while I dump the water out.  This is way easier to clean up than how I used to do it (pressing it in a fine strainer).

By now your crust should be ready.  Add some cheese and the drained spinach to your egg mixture.   Then pour it into your crust.

Turn the oven down to 375 and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the eggs are set.  Then take it out and cover it loosely with a paper towel.  Wait 10 minutes, then cut and serve.  You can also make this in advance, refrigerate it and then reheat each piece in the microwave.  I love to take the leftovers for lunch the next day.  You have to love a one dish meal that can be so easily customized and is just as good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

*If you are going low carb you can make this without the crust.  Just skip the instructions about the crust, spray the pie dish with cooking spray, and follow the rest of the instructions.  You can also pour the mixture into muffin tins to make individual quiches and then freeze those to always have a quick breakfast on hand.

Spinach & Cheese Quiche
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 cup skim milk 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss/gruyere blend
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Unroll pie crust into pyrex pie dish and prick all over with a fork.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Then take it out and reduce oven temperature to 375.
  2. In a large measuring cup whisk together milk, eggs, garlic powder, white pepper, and onion salt.
  3. Put frozen spinach in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes to defrost.  Then drain completely and add to the egg mixture along with the cheese.
  4. Pour into the prebaked crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or until eggs are set.
  5. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving. 

I'm linking up with Tasty Tuesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Made By Me, Whimsy Wednesdays, Real Creative Life, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Create It Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Less Laundry More Linking, Pin Junkie, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Best of the Weekend, and Show Stopper Saturday.