Ham and Swiss Quiche

It’s New Year’s weekend and I have three consecutive days off. It’s also the coldest its been in years with wind chills temps of -15 so staying in seems like a great plan. That means I’m also cooking up a storm. This morning, I created a breakfast quiche that would use up more of that leftover holiday ham. Very tasty.

Ham and Swiss Quiche from Pinterest
IMG_05431 Pillsbury pie crust
½ c. onion
1 T. butter
½ lb. ham
6 oz. Swiss cheese
4 eggs
2 c. light cream
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
chives

Remove pie crust from fridge. Let it sit 15 minutes before unrolling. Place crust in sprayed pie pan. Pinch up corners of crust and over with parchment paper and metal beads. Cook at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Sauté onions in butter until translucent. Let cool slightly. Dice ham into small pieces. Cover crust with onions, ham, and cheese.

In a bowl, mix eggs, milk, and seasoning. Pour over mixture in crust. Sprinkle with chives.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before cutting quiche and serving.

Notes:

  • I don’t have those beads for baking pies so I improvised by placing a spoon on top of the parchment paper. It worked.
  • I used one shallot instead of a regular onion. I sautéed it in Wildtree Basil Pesto Grapeseed Oil.
  • I used probably 1 ½ cups of ham. As a result, I only ended up using half the egg/milk mixture.
  • I had some leftover Gouda and Fontine cheeses from Christmas. I shredded probably 2 oz. of these cheeses and combined with 4 oz. of Swiss cheese. The result was a very cheesy quiche. You could also do a Cheddar cheese if you prefer. 
  • I messed up and bought buttermilk instead of half and half. I ended up using Skim Milk. It worked just fine. However, I was only able to get about half half the egg mixture into the quiche. I decided to cook the leftover mixture on the stove top. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able those to get that egg mixture to cook on the stove top – too runny.
  • I didn’t have any chives so I sprinkled with parsley instead.
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National Soup Month

When I think of Beer Cheese Soup, the first thing that pops into my mind is Lazlo’s Brewery. It’s a restaurant in Lincoln, NE. The original location is located in the Haymarket District. When I was in college, my friends and I used to walk down there to eat a lot. To this day, I could still tell you what everyone would order. Dan would get the Lazlo Burger and an Empyrean Amber Ale (made in Lazlo’s owner’s brewery). Rob wasn’t a drinker. He always got the French Dip but added Swiss Cheese and sautéed onions. He also ordered a side of ranch dipping sauce for his fries. Lazlo’s makes these great fries. They are crinkle fries with seasoning salt. And Ben always ordered a cup of Beer Cheese Soup. Ironic because Ben was the baby of the group – just 17 years old his first few months attending college.

After college graduations and break-ups, I ended up working for the owners of Lazlo’s. I worked in their neighboring restaurant entitled Jabrisco’s. It was an unusual Italian restaurant named after the owners Jay, Brian, and Scott. (They also had a financial partner who was a dentist but I can’t remember his name.) They had things on the menu like a PB&J wood-fired pizza, homemade spinach pasta, and this to die for chocolate dessert. We also had this amazing patio where I would sell coffee during the weekly Farmer’s Market. I worked there for about eight months as a host/head host. I could sell the bar area better than most on a busy Friday night or Saturday home football game. Following my college graduation, I left to pursue AmeriCorps full-time. But during the time I worked at Jabrisco’s, I learned some great customer service skills, importance to details, and a lot about the hospitality industry.

Today, Lazlo’s has doubled in size and now occupies the space that was once Jabrisco’s. The food is still delicious, reasonably priced, and the service is top notch. The Haymarket has also turned into this major entertainment district.

Although this recipe is very different then Lazlo’s Beer Cheese Soup, it did make me think back to some pretty cool people and an experience that greatly impacted my life.

Beer Cheese SoupBacon Beer Cheese Soup with Chicken from Pinterest
6 slices of bacon
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼ c. butter
¼ c. flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 c. beer
1 c. chicken broth
2 c. half and half
8 oz. mild cheese
1 tsp. Worchester sauce
chives
croutons

Cook bacon and chicken. In a large sauce pan, cook butter, flour, and spices. Add beer, broth, and half and half. Whisk to combine and bring to a bubble. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Add Worchester sauce, chicken, and bacon. Allow to simmer. Garnish with chives and croutons.

Notes:

  • This recipe is good but spicy. One bowl had me drinking three glasses of water, blowing my nose, and dotting my watering eyes. My recommendation is to cut the spice at least to half or maybe a third of the recipe listed above. That’s my plan for the next time I cook it.
  • I didn’t have chicken stock so I used water and put in about 2 oz. more of beer. Veggie stock is also an option.
  • When I make a soup like this I know I am sharing with vegetarian friends, I make meat more of a topping. Canned chicken is another option. I used about a ½ lb. chicken and pre-cooked bacon.
  • I used fat free half and half. I think our Nutrition Manager at work also said that Fat Free Evaporated Milk is another substitute option to make a creamy soup healthier.
  • I used light beer.
  • I used Velveeta cheese.
  • I added parsley instead of chives.

On the second day, I picked up some chicken stock and frozen hash browns. I added about 1 cup of hash browns and ¾ c. chicken stock. I also added homemade croutons. It decreased the water consumption.

Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies

I ran across this recipe in a Kraft Magazine and thought it sounded good. With a little bit of a kick, maybe this recipe will be perfect for your Super Bowl party.

Bacon-wrapped Little SmokiesBacon-wrapped Hot Dogs by Kraft Magazine
9 slices bacon, cut in half
6 hot dogs, cut into thirds
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne red pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap bacon piece around hot dog. Roll in sugar and pepper to coat. Place seam-side down on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake 22 minute, turning halfway through baking.

Notes: I substituted 18 little smokies for cut up hot dogs. I would also cook them a little shorter – maybe 18 minutes.

Carli’s Chili

A few months ago, we did a soup fundraiser at our Komen office for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My boss made this yummy chili recipe. I think the trick to the success of this recipe is beer, coffee, and brown sugar.

Komen staffChili by Carli Good
2 T. vegetable oil
2 onion, chopped
3 cloved garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound beef sirloin cubed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can of dark beer
1 c. strong brewed coffee
2 cans (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can beef broth
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 1/2 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin seeds
1 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. salt
4 cans kidney beans
4 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded and chopped

Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Cook onion, garlic, ground beef and cubed sirloin in oil for 10 minutes. Mix in diced tomatoes with juice, beer, coffee, tomato paste, broth. Add seasonings, 2 cans of beans, and hot chile peppers. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir in 2 remaining cans of beans and simmer for another 30 minutes. (Copyright Allrecipes.com)

Notes: When I made it for myself, I replaced beef sirloin with ground beef. I added water in place of beer. I didn’t have any peppers so I omited them. I also used three cans of beans. I thought it still tasted good.

Guilt-Free Onion Rings

The interesting thing about food is how we will eat some versions of things and not others. For example, I won’t eat popcorn but I like caramel corn. My aunt Joyce is even a picker eater than me. She has never eaten pizza or ketchup because she doesn’t like tomatoes. Despite the fact she won’t eat onions, Joyce loves onion rings.

This healthier version of onion rings in The Kansas City Star caught my attention. At just 52 calories, I thought I would give it a try. After making the recipe and loving it, I discovered I actually knew who one of the authors. Kathy was in charge of the clown ministry at her church. Back in my days as a Communications Manager and Volunteer Coordinator at Hope House, her absolutely amazing group of 7-12 graders volunteered once a month at our shelter. They did things like indoor snowball fights (with pom poms), cookie decorating, and coloring a giant cardboard gingerbread house with our families.

But my absolute favorite memory of her youth was an encounter with a high girl. When anyone came to shelter, it was my job to remind them why you must maintain the confidentiality of our clients for safety reason. The young lady recognized another high schooler at the shelter. She didn’t say anything to her at school about it and the two developed a friendship because she knew this person was someone she could trust. I always remember her telling me that story like it was no big deal. I’m sure it was a BIG deal to the young lady whose safety she protected.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Over the course of a lifetime, 1 in 3 women will be the victim of sexual or domestic violence by a current or former intimate partner. Let’s not judge these women as nobody falls in love with someone who hits, kicks, slapped, punches, or yells death threats on a first date. I have met women from all backgrounds who have experienced intimate partner violence. To learn more about ways you can help, visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Hope House, or SAFEHOME. In the Kansas City area, call 816-HOTLINE if you need help.

Guilt-Free Onion Ring by Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss
1/4 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. finely crushed cornflakes (I used a chopper)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
1 to 2 medium yellow onions, sliced 1/4 in. thick and seperated into rings
2 slightly beaten egg whites

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. In a shallow pie plate, combine bread crumbs, cornflakes, salt, and pepper. Dip onions into egg whites, then in crumb mixture. Arrange onion rings in a single layer on baking sheet. Spray onion rings with non-stick spray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Notes: Make sure you make the onion rings 1/4 in. or you will over bake them at 12 minutes. They still taste good though.

 Nutritional Facts: 52 calories (7 percent fat), trace of fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, 9 g. carbs, 3 g. protein, 172 mg sodium, 1 g. fiber. Makes four servings.