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It’s Only Quiche

Quiche has a long history dating back to the late 1300′s and maybe earlier.  Quiche, a French word actually is of German origin and called “Küeche“, in English, cake.  In English cuisine, recipes for quiche appeared in an early cook book of the day written by the chefs of King Richard II called “The Forme of Cury”.  These custard pastries were made with meat or fish in a custard and baked in a pastry.  Today we add cheese and other vegetables like onion or spinach.

Whether in King Richard II’s time or today, all I know is that quiche makes a breakfast everyone in my family enjoys and I can make one on a Saturday morning in about an hour with things I already have in the pantry and ‘fridge.  If there are eggs, cheese, meat, vegetables, flour, butter or shortening and spices this can happen.  Today I used:100_0161

  • 6 farm fresh eggs
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (about a cup)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup broccoli chopped in very small pieces
  • 1/2 cup cubed meat (I used ham)
  • a few dashes each: salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley flakes
  • 1 pastry shell in a deep dish pie plate

First, preheat the oven to 375° and prepare a pie crust either store bought or using the method (this makes two shells) in the link in the last ingredient.  In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs and combine all the other filling ingredients.  Pour everything into the prepared pastry shell and carefully transfer to the oven’s top rack and bake for 50 or 60 minutes or until the eggs are set.  It’s OK  if it is a bit jiggly but no liquidity.

Allow this to cool for about 15 minutes and the eggs will continue to set.  Slice up the desired servings and enjoy.100_0167

Paleo ‘Taters

My sister in law made these when we visited them in Houston on Valentine’s Day and I absolutely fell in love with this side dish.  I could even make a meal out of it if 100_0134others 100_0131didn’t have to have some too.  What makes these “potatoes” Paleo, is they are potatoes at all but cauliflower.  Toss in some bacon, cheese, and sour cream and you’ve got a carbless companion to any roast or steak.  I made everything in one large frying pan using these proportions:

  • Three slices of bacon
  • 1 cup water
  • One large head of cauliflower
  • one tablespoon butter
  •  3/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese (about one cup)

100_0137100_0139First fry up the bacon until crispy and crumble it in small pieces.  Drain off the fat leaving one tablespoon in the pan.  While the bacon is cooking, steam the cauliflower in the water and butter (I do it in the microwave covered and on high for 3 or 4 minutes) until it is nice and tender.  Pour off the excess water and place it in the pan with the bacon fat.  Mash the cauliflower until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes…with lumps of course.  Stir in the sour cream, season with salt and pepper, maybe some freshly minced garlic if you have it and top with the cheese and bacon.   Place a lid on the pan until the steam of the cauliflower causes the cheese to melt and dig in!

If you are trying to trim down for bikini season using a low carb diet this dish will allow you to have it all…you may never want real potatoes ever again!   100_0140

Lets Have a Hand for Arm Roast

100_0096Sometimes the cheaper cuts of meat make the most delicious dishes.  Most times they are enough to feed a good size crowd too.  The part I like best is that they are an easy plate to prepare… those set and forget it meals.

100_0100A while back I purchased a good enameled cast iron dutch oven.  I’m getting lots of use out of it this winter.  It makes great stews, soups and is great for roasting about anything.  Arm roast was my latest item on the menu and it sure turned out great.  To begin this is some of the prep work:

  • Sear in olive oil a 3 lb. arm roast on both sides
  • cut six medium red potatoes in quarters
  • chop four carrots  in chunks
  • add a half cup of dehydrated onion
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated mushroom or 5 fresh in slices
  • pour in 1 cup red wine, a cup of water and halfway through, a 12 oz. beer
  • season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and dehydrated onions and mushroooms

100_0105Preheat the oven to 350°.  Once the roast is seared on both sides right in the dutch oven throw a few of the potatoes under the meat to keep it from sticking to the bottom.  Add the wine, a cup of salted water, some pepper, garlic powder and a 12 100_0113oz bottle of good beer.  Put the lid on and let it all cook for the next three and a half hours.  Make sure there is enough liquid bubbling around the 100_0115meat at the half way point.  It should reduce a bit and become an unctuous gravy but if your lid doesn’t fit tight all the liquid might evaporate.  Add more wine or beer if necessary. Sometimes using aluminum foil is better for sealing the pot well.  Do what ever it takes to keep the liquid from drying up.

After the cooking time give it a little rest and let the juices stop bubbling so you can eat it without blistering your tongue.

It was tough for us to wait with all the delicious aroma filling the house, but we managed.  Applause to the way the dutch oven cooks up a tender arm roast.  I didn’t have to do anything but fill it with meat, veggies, seasonings and leftover libations.  The results were outstanding!100_0118

Steak Soup

100_9898A while back Mr. Delicious and I bought a portion of a grass fed cow.  We have a freezer full of a nice variety of meat now…some of the best meat I’ve ever tasted.  Even the cheaper cuts turn out to be something special.  I’ve already posted a 100_9922recipe for Swiss Steak made with the round.  It was so good I had to make another one.  I did it the usual way, pounding and pricking, salting and searing, adding flour then liquid, then onions and mushrooms and letting it braise for hours in the electric skillet.   Being a rather large piece of meat there was plenty left over.

You could never overcook round steak.  Cooking it only makes it more tender and that’s what makes it the perfect meat for a hearty soup.

100_9929I began by cutting up the remaining steak into tiny cubes.  The gravy made by braising the steak really offered tons of good flavor so I made sure to reserve a bit of it to add as well.  In a heavy 100_9931enameled pot, I sauteed the usual vegetables…carrots, celery, and onion.   Frozen green beans cut in small segments were also added.  I want this 100_9934soup to have good body so I sprinkled about three tablespoons of flour over  the vegetables, stirred it all in and let it cook a minute or so to form a brown layer on the bottom of the pan.

A few more seconds and this brown layer could turn to a burnt layer so I quickly poured in some water to capture this perfect stage of golden brown and prevent it from going over the edge.  100_9937The water soon began to blend everything together and thicken.  I added the rest of the water, totaling two quarts then added the meat and remaining gravy with all of its sumptuous flavor.  At this point some final seasoning needed to go in the mix.

100_9938Red wine added a deeper color as well as deeper flavor so about a quarter of a cup went in.  As the soup began to boil, two teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of pepper didn’t hurt.  100_9943Finally, to give it a hit of zippy tang I added about three tablespoons of A-1 sauce (I would never put this on a steak but I love how the stuff adds brightness to sauces and soups like this).

All that this soup needed now was to simmer and let its variety of colors and flavors blend and become a very special tasting soup.  In the wintertime in St. Louis (or really anywhere) enjoying a soup like this is a perfect way to stay happy and warm.

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Classic Tuna Casserole

101_0002Hey, tuna casserole can be classy!  Why, I believe James Bond himself would approve of this dish.  I will share this culinary secret if you promise to stay home one evening and cook this meal instead of going out and spending your hard earned money.  Should you accept this mission, read carefully to learn how to save money, get your kids to eat vegetables, and allow yourself to kick back and watch the six O’clock news.

First, boil some noodles for ten minutes…a one pound package of wide egg noodles in salted water.  As they cook, saute in olive oil, one carrot, two ribs of celery with the leaves, an onion, and a clove of garlic all finely sliced and diced and cook until the onion shows some golden brown color.

101_0004101_0003With the noodles drained and put back into the pot, open two cans of tuna (tuna packed in oil has much more flavor but a few more calories) and one 15 oz. can of diced tomato.   Add these ingredients with all of their juices to the noodles and stir.

Shred 4 or 5 oz of jack Cheese  and dump that into the pot as well. Season everything with salt and pepper.  Add a touch of half and half cream…about a third of a cup.  Heat the cream until it bubbles around the edges, add 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, season again with some , salt and 101_0007pepper, and a bit of garlic powder.  Shut off the flame and stir everything together.  With the oven preheated to 400° pour everything into a 13″x 9″ baking pan in an even layer and pack it all down a bit.

101_0016101_0013The biggest secret to the success of this mission is using home made bread crumbs, The food processor makes this step a breeze.  Using four or five slices of old bread ends, hopefully some good quality bread like French or sourdough, break it in pieces and pulse it in the processor 101_0017until you’ve made a little more than a cup and a half of fine crumbs (I used some day [or two] old home made bread).  In a bowl or pie plate season the crumbs with salt and pepper, maybe some herbs you like, drizzle on some olive oil, add 1/4 cup of Parmesan and toss everything together.  It should still be a fluffy light mixture

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101_0020Now coat the noodles with the crumbs and bake for about 30 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the noodles are heated through and bubbly once again.101_0024

Congratulations on the success of your mission! In the last 45 minutes, you’ve not only saved yourself about thirty dollars, but you’ve gotten your family to eat  four vegetables, fish with its valuable omega three fat,  And so what about the cheese, this meal tastes superb!  Now you have time to enjoy the rest of the evening and as a bonus you might even have enough casserole left over to take to work tomorrow.101_0031

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Swiss Steak with Grass Fed Beef

100_9901I have an admiration for the folks of Switzerland.  From their awesome pocket knives to yodeling, skiing, banking and watches, they seem to have it all…zest for life and knowing how to live it with efficiency, frugality, agility and style.  I mean yodeling…one must have an agile tongue to communicate across the mountains without having to pay for long distance…and what a style of vocal expression!  I’ve admired them so long that back when C.B. radios were the latest craze, I hung out on the airwaves with all the radio geeks proudly proclaiming my handle as The Swiss Miss.  I’m not Swiss in any way…rather American mutt with strong ties to Wales and England.

I’m not sure if the Swiss really invented it but the Swiss steak is a good example of how to be frugal and efficient.  This inexpensive cut of meat could easily wind up having the texture of a brand new leather belt but braising, or cooking in liquid, is the technique used to transform this cheaper cut into a tender piece of delicious meat.

It helps to have a really good piece of meat to start.  Grass fed beef certainly has a quality that doesn’t begin to compare with anything you would find in the supermarket.  A local rancher that raises beef in such a way is a good person to know.  My husband and I lucked into such a connection and purchased an eighth of a cow 100_9883with a group of friends.  Since the round steak was the first steak brought out of the box, I decided to make a good supper out of it.

100_9896First, I gave the steak a really good pounding right inside the package to help tenderize the meat.  I dug the electric skillet out of the pantry and set it on high with a bit of olive oil in it, then placed the steak in it to sear off the one side.  To the other side I sprinkled a couple of tablespoons of flour, some salt and lots of pepper.  When a little fat rendered I turned the steak over and let the floured side sizzle a bit.  I sprinkled a little bit more flour around the edges to let it form a pasty roux 100_9898then added two cups of water and a touch more salt.  The water bubbling together with the flour and caramelized juices from the meat soon thickened into a rich brown gravy.

100_9899It was then time to add a couple more layers of flavor.  I used some chopped fresh oyster mushrooms I grew (that is another story) and some dehydrated onions (also another story).  I let this bubble away with the lid on for the next three hours.  About midway, I added another half cup of water.  In the end I added some more pepper and parsley flakes as a finishing touch.

I could really taste the freshness and naturalness in the meat.  Wow!  What a difference!  I could also cut this meat with my fork.  Round steak is naturally chewy but not as much as I expected.

An eighth of a cow measures out to be about 60 pounds of meat so I’d say that the future can only get better from this point.  There are sirloins, roasts, porterhouse steaks and a good amount of ground beef, all look so good I think I might need to work out a few days before I tackle any more meat cooking projects…but they will happen.  Stay tuned!100_9900

Stuffed Cabbage to Send Them Home After the Holidays

Life was so good over the Christmas break.  We celebrated with family and friends like no tomorrow.  Since we had visitors, there was always a need to feed.  I’m happy when my people have something delicious and nutritious to eat.

This  fancy take on meat loaf really hit the spot for the ones who had to do some traveling…in particular my son who lives in Chicago.  He was heading back today and this meal sent him on his way with a nice full tummy.100_9791

I had the following ingredients in the kitchen with which to do my work:

  • 1 cup tap water100_9792
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1  15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1  5 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs of celery thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion chopped finely
  • 1 whole fresh egg
  • 1 slice of sourdough processed into fine crumbs
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce100_9794
  • 1 tbsp steak sauce or Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • lemon pepper seasoning (containing garlic)
  • salt and pepper to taste100_9797

First, I steamed the outer leaves of a head of cabbage (about 8 leaves) until they were pliable or about ten mintues.  I poured the liquid into a heavy enameled cast iron Dutch oven.  To that liquid (why waste those good vitamins) I added the tomatoes and tomato paste, along with a pinch of the parsley and basil then heated it on the stove top until it was bubbly and hot.

In a large skillet I sauteed the onion, 100_9806carrot, celery and half of the remaining head of cabbage (finely chopped) in the olive oil until the onion became a bit brown on the edges This was set aside while I mixed the beef, 100_9809egg, bread crumbs, steak sauce, soy sauce and the remaining herbs in a large mixing bowl.

Each leaf of cabbage was loaded with a good dollop of meat mixture, rolled up tightly and placed seam side down, each nestled in the tomato sauce in the Dutch oven.  I  sprinkled the lemon pepper seasoning over the top then with the lid on this was baked in a 375° oven for about 40 minutes.

100_9812Now the  house was filled with delightful aromas that had our appetites reeling.  We plated 100_9813up this wonderful meal and enjoyed the last few moments of each other’s company.  I took my son to the station where his sister and I waited with him a while.  When his bus came, we gave him a long hug goodbye.  I’m glad he was sent on his homeward journey with love and a good meal.  I can’t wait to see him again!100_9816100_9819

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