Saturday, February 12, 2011

Firehouse Breakfast Bake, Take 2

This recipe was sent to me by my friend Kara (hi, Kara!!!).  The first time I made this, the only change I made was omitting 1 teaspoon of garlic salt from the recipe.  This is fantastic and a great choice if you want something that is a little different than the usual egg breakfast bakes.  The consistency of this is like that of a quiche, but there is no actual crust. 

I made the egg bake again this morning and I've made a few changes that I think make it a little easier and a little better.  Next time I make this I will also add a cup or so of diced fresh mushrooms.  It may be clear by now that I am a relentless recipe tinkerer.

-12 eggs
-2 cups rice, cooked (I use Trader Joe's frozen packs of brown rice--no cleanup!)
-1/2 stick butter, melted (I used unsalted)
-16 oz. cottage cheese, small curd
-1 envelope Knorr Leek Soup mix
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-1 package (16 oz. bag) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed of excess water
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add the cooked rice, melted butter, cottage cheese, soup mix, pepper, drained spinach and mix together.

Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the bottom of a 13x9" greased baking dish to make the "crust". Spread the egg mixture in the dish, covering all the cheese.

Cover and refrigerate overnight (I didn't have time to do this the first time I made it, and I just baked a few minutes longer). Remove from refrigerator 30 min. prior to baking. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Cool 15-20 min. before cutting.

Serves 12

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shrimp Enchiladas

This recipe was on the cover of Bon Appetit last summer.  I saved it and then didn't come across it again until recently when I had company on the way for the weekend and a craving for Mexican food. 

The actual title of the recipe is "Shrimp and Cotija Enchiladas".  Cotija cheese is a hard, white Mexican cheese made from cow's milk.  If this is an ingredient you think you'll have trouble purchasing, you can substitute feta cheese.  I was able to make a trip to Reyna Foods in the Strip District of Pittsburgh to get most of the ingredients for this dish that I would have trouble getting at my local Kroger store.  It's a great little store that carries lots of Mexican/Latin American staples, novelties, various fresh guacamole and salsas as well as in-store-made tortillas and corn chips.  I was able to get the only other ingredient that isn't readily available to me at home in Wheeling, which is Crema Mexicana.  This is the Mexican version of sour cream (which, of course you can use as a substitute in this recipe).  True Crema is sour cream's richer, more decadent cousin.  If you can get your hands on it, you won't regret it.  It's delicious!

For the first time making this dish, I did follow the recipe closely.  I thought it was wonderful, but I do have just a few changes that I will make when (not if, WHEN!) I make these enchiladas again.  

  • I will substitute flour tortillas for the corn tortillas called for in the recipe.  This is really a matter of personal preference.  The one modification I did make was to use both flour and corn tortillas in this dish.  The recipe directs that both sides of each tortilla be dredged in the freshly made salsa verde.  I liked how the flour tortillas soaked the flavor up more (and I have to be honest, I just don't care for the texture of corn tortillas--again, personal taste should guide you, here)
  • The recipe calls for the finished enchiladas to be topped with thinly sliced avocado and red onion for serving.  The next time I make these, I will dice the avocado and red onion and marinate it in lime juice then top each enchilada with the mixture along with fresh cilantro.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cast Iron Skillets and Quesadillas

Let's also call this post a few other things.  Such as, "Sneaking more healthy food into your kids' dinner" (yes, that again).  Or, "Feed your inner child" (or your real children).

Quesadillas are a popular quick meal in my house, and there are so many things you can do with them.  Of course, my kids are partial to the standard "chicken and cheese, please".  This isn't so much a recipe post, but a way to start thinking about all the fillings you can use for these quick-to-the-table lunch and dinner options.

I found a way to hide some more nutrition in our chicken and cheese quesadillas.  I pureed a can of great northern beans (used my food processor and added just enough water that they blended into a smooth paste) and spread them on one of the tortillas, then added shredded cheese and diced chicken breast.  The color and mild flavor of the great northern beans make them virtually undetectable by even the pickiest eater.  Yay!  

Now, onto the real fun part.  I'm sure many other people have thought of this before it popped into my mind, but go with me anyway:  S'MORES QUESADILLAS!  I had some leftover whole wheat tortillas, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.  I always have butter and my trusty cast iron skillet.  Oh my.  Where have these been all my life?  Easy.  Yummy.  Go make yourself one, or two.  Or ten.  I won't judge you.

Some other quesadilla ideas:
  • peanut butter and jelly
  • peanut butter and banana
  • pizza
  • nutella and cherries
  • use some leftover Buffalo Chicken Dip as a filling
  • Ranch Chicken (diced chicken, ranch dressing, cheddar cheese and diced red/yellow bell pepper)
Just think of all the things you can do!  Do you have any favorites?