Any time open-faced egg sammie

I LOVE egg sandwiches. I’ll eat them any time, anywhere. Tonight, I had one for dinner and added avocado for creaminess. With the healthy fat of the avocado, I didn’t miss butter or mayo at all. But, if you want to make it a bit more decadent, spread some butter on the muffin. To spice it up, a drizzle of Sriracha or red pepper garlic sauce, or a smattering of sliced jalapeno will do the trick.

Here’s how I did it:

  • Toast half of a whole wheat English muffin
  • Slice 1/4 of an avocado and put it on top of the muffin
  • Add an over-medium egg with cheese melted on top (cook the egg a little more than over easy so not as runny)
  • Top with diced tomato
  • Enjoy any time, anywhere!

 

Hot artichoke dip… totally unhealthy, perfectly delicious

Scoop it with buttery crackers and… oh my…
You will be a hero for doing nearly zero!

This is a staple on my list of things to bring to holiday gatherings, but is also amazing for game day or any get together.

I found this recipe in the “Thru the Grapevine” cookbook put out by the Junior League of Greater Elmira-Corning, which I’ve had for about 25 years, but is still available on Amazon! (I have the 1991 version, but think the recipes were the same each year it was printed).

Here is the recipe, straight from the book, as well as a few shots of how it looks as you make it. I cut my artichokes into eighths – in quarters lengthwise, then in half – instead of mashing them with a fork. Make sure the edges are bubbling like crazy and there’s a nice golden brown on the dip when you take it out of the oven.

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I love this medium-sized oval dish for this recipe, but an 8″ X 8″ square pan or a 9″ pie plate would also likely work well.

 

 

Low-fat cheese… I knew better

Today, I tried a low-cal recipe for mac and cheese with veggies. I have to admit, it was not a home run. It was more like a foul ball. But, with a few tweaks, I think it could be good. Here’s the story…

I modified the recipe from one I found when searching Pinterest. I added more veggies, and also non-fat plain Greek yogurt for creaminess – both of which I liked.

What would I change next time? I’d stay completely away from low-fat cheese, I’d use more cheese, I’d add kale, and I’d trade the gluten-free pasta for the protein-packed kind. Those changes alone could take this dish to a very good place.

Next time, I’ll use these ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked high-protein pasta (my recipe called for gluten-free pasta)
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 very large handful of kale, tough ribs removed, then cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 individual-serving size tub of non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese – 2 cups in the mix, and one cup on top to get bubbly and crispy (my recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of low-fat grated colby jack – 1 cup in the dish and 1/2 cup on top)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

And here are the steps:

  • Cook the pasta til al dente (remember, you’re also going to bake it!)
  • While the pasta cooks:
    • Heat a large skillet on medium-high (7 out of 10) for about a minute
    • Add 1 tsp olive oil to the skillet and let heat for about a minute more
    • Add chopped peppers and onion, and cook for about 2 minutes
    • Add the chopped mushrooms and corn, and cook for 3 minutes more
    • Add the kale and cook about a minute longer (the kale should be bright green and softened a little)

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Wouldn’t kale have looked pretty and added some healthy leafy greens?

  • Remove from heat, pour veggies in a large bowl, then add milk, yogurt, 2 cups shredded cheese, and black pepper
  • Add the cooked pasta to the bowl, then mix everything together
  • Put into a 9X12 baking dish, and add the remaining cup of shredded cheese to the top
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until the top is brown and bubbly (use the broiler for a minute or two if needed to get a good crisp on top)

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This definitely needed more cheese on top!

Enjoy!

Mini vegetable pot pies…

For when you have a single pie crust, leftover roasted veggies, cream of something soup, and coffee creamer!

Nope, I’m not kidding… I accidentally opened a pre-made pie crust thinking it was crescent rolls the other night. So, I needed to use it up before it dried out. All day, I was concocting this one in my head.

I knew I had some kind of cream soup, some leftover veggies from the other night, and non-fat coffee creamer (which I often use in recipes in place of milk, which I never have in the fridge).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A single pre-made pie crust at room temperature (or homemade for you overachievers)
  • One can of cream of mushroom (or celery, or chicken) soup
  • About a cup of milk, or coffee creamer (I used the fat-free kind, and it was yummy)
  • A couple of regular-sized potatoes or 10 baby ones (mine were baby Yukon Golds)
  • A good mix of veggies – I used broccoli, carrots, onions, corn, peas, and kale
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • A pint glass
  • A sharp knife
  • A muffin tin

Note: You could easily get 10 pies from this recipe of you have another pie crust. Or, you can have leftover filling for another night!

Here’s how you do it:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium high (7 out of 10) for about a minute.
  • Add a generous drizzle of olive oil (about 1 Tbsp) and heat for about another minute.

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  • Add finely diced potatoes, onion, and any other uncooked fresh veggies, and cook for about 5 minutes – I used 10 baby Yukon Gold potatoes and 1/2 of a large sweet onion, but you can use any kind of potato and onion, and the measurements don’t have to be exact – it’s fine!!! Reduce heat to medium, then cover and cook for another couple minutes to make sure the taters are softened.

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  • Add already cooked leftover or frozen veggies – I used already roasted broccoli and carrots, diced small, and a generous sprinkle of frozen corn and peas. Use whatever you like and have on hand, it’s fine!!!

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  • Add some finely chopped kale, large stems removed and cook covered for about a minute, until it turns bright green and softens a bit.

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  • Add 1 can of cream of celery (or mushroom, or chicken) soup, then use the empty soup can to measure out the milk. Use just less than half a can. Pour into the skillet.
  • Add a very generous sprinkle of black pepper and stir together.

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  • Take off the heat and stir occasionally, so it doesn’t form a “skin.” (Ewwww!)
  • Roll out your pre-made pie crust, then use the wide end of a pint glass to cut 4 large circles and about 5 long strips of dough.

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  • Take the dough leftover around the circles, push it into a ball, then roll with a rolling pin to cut one more circle with your pint glass.
  • Roll each circle a little with the rolling pin so that it will cover your muffin tin better.

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  • Spray 5 openings on your muffin tin with non-stick spray, then push 1 dough circle into each.

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  • Using a teaspoon, spoon about 2 heaping teaspoons full into each crust.
  • Trim the long dough strips (cutting the long ones in half) to make an X across each little pie. Fold the ends over, and try to push the X into the pie shell so they fuse together when cooked, making a tiny pie.
  • Crack an egg into a small bowl, beat lightly with a fork, then brush the runny yolk over the top of the pie crusts with a pastry brush.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bubbly.
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes, run a butter knife around the edge of each pie, then remove very carefully. The longer you let them cool, the more they’ll keep their pie shape when you try to get them out of the muffin tin.

Jalapeno, kale, and cheese quiche

Shout out to my local farm stand, Janowski Gardens, for this one!

I modified this recipe slightly, but this meal is largely based off of a great recipe I found online and is written by the owner of a local farm stand here in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, Janowski Gardens. The direct link to the recipe is: http://www.janowskigardens.com/rellanos.html.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pie crust  (I just buy it from the grocery store; it’s delicious!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk (you can use a kind higher in fat if you want to, but I don’t think this recipe needs it)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 15 or so pickled jalapenos, diced, straight from the jar (use less to reduce the heat)
  • 1 large handful kale, tough stems removed and chopped into bit-size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp hot Mexican style chili powder (use less to reduce the heat
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Clockwise from left: Kale, shredded cheese, diced pickled jalapenos

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Spread dough into a non-stick 9-inch metal pie pan
  • Put eggs in a large bowl and beat slightly with a whisk
  • Add breadcrumbs, kale, jalapenos, cheese, milk, breadcrumbs, olive oil, and spices
  • Mix together well
  • Pour mixture into the pan
  • Roll over and crimp edges of dough so that it’s even with the top of the pie pan
  • Brush top of dough with egg wash (crack an egg in a small bowl, beat it a bit, then use a pastry brush to scoop out the yolk and spread it over the crust)
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until done (I cooked mine about 38 minutes)
    • Note: When the crust starts to brown, make a foil wrap to protect it as the egg mixture cooks. To make the foil wrap, cut off a long piece of foil, 18″ or so. Fold it down the middle, lengthwise, pushing on the fold firmly, then rip in half along the fold. Put one half on top of the other, and fold one end over several times, to join the halves. Open up and mold around the pie plate, just covering the crust.

Sorry for the wrinkley foil, but this was an afterthought… I should have made a video for this…

  • When the quiche is done, the middle will not wiggle when you jiggle the pan, and a butter knife will come out of the center of the quiche clean

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Serve and enjoy! I served mine with a green salad. Soup would also be delish!

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Modifications: leave out the spicy ingredients if you don’t like the heat; replace the jalapenos with diced bell pepper, diced onion, or very small, sligtly cooked broccoli florets; add a little diced ham – use your imagination!

Leftovers crescent wrap

The list of ideas for this one is long…

But, here are a few: Try this with leftover veggies, cheese, or cold cuts from a party tray; leftover meat; pizza sauce and toppings; leftover goulash or mac and cheese… Yum!

Here’s how I did it:

  • Cube one chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken
  • Dice 10 or so raw asparagus stalks
  • Dice 1/4 of a red onion
  • Grate a 2″ X 2″ block of sharp cheddar cheese (or use a couple of handfuls of shredded cheese)

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You can judge amounts based on the size of these piles vs. my hand.

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (7 out of 10) for about a minute
  • Drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil into the hot pan, and heat for about a minute more
  • Put asparagus and onion in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften
  • Add cubed chicken to the pan
  • Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray
  • Roll out a whole package of crescent roll dough onto the sheet – DO NOT separate
  • Pinch the seams together to help them stay closed
  • Slice diagonal strips along each long side, about and inch wide and 2 inches long
  • Pile on veggie and chicken mixture, then top with cheese
  • Starting at one end, bring the dough strips over the filling, alternating sides and being sure to tightly wrap the ends (you don’t want to lose any cheese!)
  • Bake according to crescent roll instructions (about 375 degrees F for 10 minutes)
  • Enjoy with a salad, or by itself!

Note: Recipe based on this one: http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/ham-and-swiss-crescent-braid/7ca00a43-2dce-4c69-8cd5-fd9b963b2b6d

Comfort-ish food

For the adult who knows better, but wishes she didn’t care

I was starving after work today, and all I really wanted was some comfort food – creamy pasta and beer. I’d have felt too guilty after a heaping bowl of ooey, gooey, crusty-top mac and cheese, so I went for something a little less sinful.

Start boiling water for your pasta – any shape you want – and cook according to cooking directions while you complete the steps below. Pull off of heat and put into a colander when done.

Heat a large skillet on medium high (7 out of 10) for a minute, then drizzle some olive oil in the hot pan. Heat for another 1-2 minutes, then add 1/4 of a diced sweet onion and 1-2 cups of largely diced mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add 3 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/3 cup white wine, 2 cloves garlic, 3 Tbsp plain coffee creamer (I used fat-free because it’s what I had in the fridge, but any plain liquid coffee creamer, half and half, or heavy cream will work), a generous sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper, and 1 tsp fresh time (or 1/2 tsp dried). Turn heat to simmer, then let cook for another couple minutes.

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Put the pasta in the skillet and fold everything together to coat all of the pasta with the creamy sauce (tongs work well for this).

Serve, making sure you get some of the yummy, saucy goodness on the bottom of the pan.

Top with Parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, crushed red pepper, and a tiny drizzle of olive oil. And drink some Crabbie’s ginger beer with it if ya like – YUM!

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