Posts tagged breakfast

Quick Crustless Quiche

Crustless quiche

Santa, please bring me a better camera so I can take decent pictures...

Quiche is pretty much a glorified omelet. But you can only have omelets for dinner so many times before it gets dull.

I like the standard quiche, but there’s something about the crust that just makes me think dessert instead of dinner. It could be that I once tried to save myself some time by buying the crust instead of making it from scratch and I inadvertently bought a dessert dough (not the savory, sugarless variety). Hey, I like to try new flavor combos, but ew. Just ew.

My solution? Go crustless.

Without the crust, quiche becomes a lot more versatile. And leftovers are literally soaked up with an egg custard and a generous helping of cheese. Pair yesterday’s ham and roasted potatoes with sharp cheddar cheese for a quick comfort food dish. Or spruce up spinach and bacon with some Swiss cheese.

Are you seeing where I’m going with this–easy dinner during the holiday rush that also cleans out the fridge? Ah, now you’re starting to brainstorm how to use what you’ve got and refashion it in a pie tin.

I’ve included a recipe with specific directions, but I like to think of this as a guideline, so let me explain crustless quiche construction. First, you need to grease your pan, easy enough. And don’t feel like you have to stay with the pie shape—an 8×8” square pan works well too (this recipe doubles well too). Then it’s all about what your family likes—add ham, sausage, bacon, or veggies to the bottom of your pan. Once that’s in the pan you pour the egg mixture on top to seal the ingredients together, of course the cheese in the eggs helps with keeping things together. I also like to add a little extra cheese and herbs (fresh or dried) on top of the quiche, just to spruce up the appearance.

The quiche doesn’t cook quickly, but while it bakes you can do a little online shopping or wrap a present or two. I usually serve a hearty slice of crustless quiche with a salad and a muffin.

Recipe

Servings: 4-6

Prep time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients

4 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 cups milk

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

pepper to taste
¾ cup-1 cup shredded cheese

1 cup chopped ham, cooked sausage, bacon or cooked veggies like broccoli, mushrooms

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and flour using a hand mixer. Add the spices and ½ cup of shredded cheese (I like to use a combination of Parmesan and sharp cheddar).
  3. Grease a 9” pie pan or small casserole dish.
  4. Place your cooked meat and/or veggies on the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
  5. Add the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through and browned slightly on the top.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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Cinnamon Rolls take two–Nutella Rolls

Nutella cinnamon rollsAh, any excuse to use Nutella, right?

Well, not exactly. I really like cinnamon rolls, but Mr. Squid, not so much. Whenever I make cinnamon rolls I tend to be the one to finish off the pan (even the kids get a little bored with the standard variety). I wanted to craft a roll that my crew wouldn’t be able to resist. In the past, I’ve tried adding golden raisins instead of regular ones, dried cranberries, orange frosting instead of the powdered sugar glaze. But nothing seemed to really set the cinnamon roll apart from something you could get at pretty much any decent bakery.

Then, I opened the cupboard–Nutella.

For the uninitiated, Nutella is a creamy mixture of chocolate and hazelnuts. And like many tasty discoveries, Nutella came about by accident.

In the 1940s, Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker in Italy, was trying to make his rations of chocolate go just a little bit farther so he added in crushed hazelnuts, which were plentiful in the area. I learned more about Ferrero when I visited Nutella’s website. Along with historical tidbits, I found that if I saved 5 proofs of purchase, I could get a Nutella t-shirt (I’m going to start clipping!).

So here’s the deal on making the Nutella cinnamon roll. I have the complete details below, but for a quick summary, just spread Nutella in place of butter on the dough before rolling, then sprinkle with chocolate, coconut, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon that you’ve pulsed in a food processor.  It’s almost like a German chocolate cinnamon roll. I finished these off with–what else–a glaze made from Nutella.

These are good without frosting too!

Recipe

Servings: 24 rolls

Prep time: 45 minutes + 1 ½ hours rising + 30 minutes baking

Ingredients

I jar Nutella

2 Tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup coconut

1 teaspoons cinnamon

dash of salt

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup  walnuts

1/4 cup almonds

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Frosting ingredients

2/3 cup Nutella

2 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream

1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 batch of easy-to-make bread

  1. Prepare the bread recipe above, substituting one of the cups of warm water with warm milk (for a total of 2 ½ cups liquid—so 1 ½ cups water, 1 cup milk). Proceed to the step where you divide the dough into two equal parts. Instead of making loaves of bread, divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 9 x 13” rectangle.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the filling ingredients (except for the Nutella) until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. With a kitchen knife gently spread the 3-4 tablespoons of Nutella over the dough (straight from the can:).
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 of the coconut blend over the first dough rectangle. Going from one long side to the other, roll up the dough, careful to make the dough tight enough so that the filling will stay in but not so tight that it can’t rise.
  5. Cut the rolled dough into 6 equal pieces Place the pieces onto a large cookie sheet that has been lightly greased.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. Let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the rolls are lightly browned. Let the rolls cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan before frosting.
  8. In a small bowl whip together the frosting ingredients, adding more powdered sugar until the glaze has a slightly thicker consistency than corn syrup. Drizzle over rolls and let the frosting set before removing from the pan.
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Fast, Light Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rollsMy mom never made a pan of cinnamon rolls–she’d make 4 or 5. There would be a couple pans draped with cotton kitchen towels on every counter and the table would disappear underneath a cinnamon roll shroud. The whole house would be bathed in the aroma of yeast, cinnamon, butter. Mom’s rolls were always about 2 inches across, golden on all sides and peppered with dark raisins and bits of walnuts and topped with a powdered sugar frosting. It seems every baker has a slant on how to craft rolls. Some like to use the buttery, rich brioche roll for the dough. Some swear by melting butter for the gooey interior, others don’t use butter at all—just cinnamon and sugar. And raisins—that’s a matter of debate at our house. I’m not a fan of raisins in my rolls—in cookies, yes, cinnamon rolls, big chunks of walnuts please. And as far as cinnamon roll construction—well, I loved my mom’s rolls, truly, but I like a bigger roll. I don’t use a cookie sheet like my mom, I use a casserole dish so that I can have tall, thick rolls that push together as they rise and bake.

Now maybe my cinnamon roll philosophy differs because I don’t have leftovers. I make two pans, 18 rolls and that’s it. My mom would make enough rolls to feed my brothers and sisters (all six of us!) for a couple breakfasts and then she’d fill the freezer with leftovers.

My rolls differ from my mom’s in another way too. They’re fast and foolproof. I borrowed my no-fail bread recipe to craft these rolls. The recipe goes together quickly and isn’t as heavy as a standard roll. I save the butter for the filling—there’s none in the dough making this a lighter, but still good-sized, breakfast treat.

Recipe

Servings: 16 LARGE rolls

Prep time: 45 minutes + 1 ½ hours rising + 30 minutes baking

Ingredients

4 Tablespoons butter, softened, divided

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

dash of salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

Frosting ingredients

5 Tablespoons butter, softened

2 ½-3 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 batch of easy-to-make bread

Directions

  1. Prepare the bread recipe above, substituting one of the cups of warm water with warm milk (for a total of 2 ½ cups liquid—so 1 ½ cups water, 1 cup milk). Proceed to the step where you divide the dough into two equal parts. Instead of making loaves of bread, roll out each piece of dough into a 9 x 13” rectangle.
  2. In a small dish blend the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. With a kitchen knife gently spread the 2 tablespoons of the butter over the dough. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and sugar blend over the first dough rectangle. Going from one long side to the other, roll up the dough, careful to make the dough tight enough so that the filling will stay in but not so tight that it can’t rise.
  3. Cut the rolled dough into 8 equal pieces—dividing it first in half, then in half again and each piece in half. Place the pieces onto a 9 x 13” casserole pan that has been lightly greased.
  4. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  5. Let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the rolls are lightly browned. Let the rolls cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan before frosting.
  6. In a small bowl whip together the frosting ingredients, adding more powdered sugar until the glaze has a slightly thicker consistency than corn syrup. Drizzle over rolls and let the frosting set before removing from the pan.
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Green Eggs & Ham Sandwiches

Clover-shaped sugar cookies might be the expected St. Patrick’s Day treat, but this year I’m trying something different. I must admit I drew my inspiration not from notions of leprechauns, but instead from one of my youngest daughter’s favorite books, Green Eggs and Ham.

Earlier this month my youngest had a read-in day at school—all centered around Dr. Seuss. Turns out March 2nd was his birthday so in class they brought as many Dr. Seuss books as they could and read them for the better part of the day. For a week or two, when she wasn’t reading a Dr. Seuss book, she was spitting out lines like, “I do not like them Sam I am,” and “One fish, Two fish, Red fish, blue fish.” Despite having to hear these lines over and over…and over…again, I was thrilled that my daughter was reading. Usually she begs me to do the reading and she’s content to listen, but with Dr. Seuss I didn’t “read it right, mom” so she had to do it.

So this St. Patrick’s Day, we’re adding a little green not to our dessert, but to our main meal. We’re having Green Eggs & Ham sandwiches. I was surprised how easy it was to color scrambled eggs—a few drops of green food coloring and they turned a bright shade of shamrock. I wasn’t sure if the color would hold after cooking—it did and even got a bit brighter. To assemble the sandwiches I used sesame seed bagels (thank you, Costco) and placed a heaping scoop of green scrambled eggs followed by a slice of American cheese on the bottom half of the bagel. I heated this for a few seconds in the microwave then topped it with a couple slices of smoked ham. One tip to keep in mind—with bagels, I pull out some of the dough on the inside so that the sandwich is easier to squeeze together, and then eat. You can use any type of bread; English muffins are also a yummy choice.

If you’re looking for something quick, easy—and literary—for a fun St. Patrick’s Day meal, try these bright, tasty sandwiches. And if you don’t get a chance to make them in March, try them out on April Fool’s Day instead.

Green Eggs & Ham Sandwich

Green eggs might look strange, but they're tasty!

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Brinner, anyone? Yeasted Waffles for Dinner

Brinner, maybe dinfast? I’m not really sure what to call our family’s breakfast for dinner habit. But having some hearty scrambled eggs and crisp waffles for dinner is not only easy—it’s very satisfying.

Crisp, Yeasted Waffles

Crisp, Yeasted Waffles

So the next time your scrambling (forgive the pun) to come up with a dinner idea, grab some eggs and flour and make this tasty meal.

First, a word on waffles. Waffles can be flat and tasteless if you use a mix or throw together a quick batch. I’m not saying quick waffles can’t be good. In fact, I have a great recipe here for making a fast batch. If you plan just a little bit ahead—in the morning—you can make these super-crisp, oohs and ahhs-inspiring variety. The secret is yeast. By adding a little yeast to the batter and letting it sit out for a few hours, the waffles have a more complex flavor—and a flakier texture. The first time I made these I thought their closest comparison was the funnel cakes you get at the carnival—they’re that good (but not as sweet or greasy). You can definitely play around with the flavor of the waffles. Add a little whole wheat flour to the batter, orange zest or even almond extract. And of course, you shouldn’t forget to top off your waffles with some good, high-quality Michigan-made maple syrup. One additional tip: keep the cooked waffles warm by heating the oven to about 200 degrees and storing finished waffles on a baking sheet until all the waffles are ready.

While your waffles are cooking, whip up some scrambled eggs to complete your meal. Bag the whisk and use a hand mixer for fluffier eggs. Thoroughly blend the eggs first and then add some fixins’. I make my eggs more filling by adding grated sharp cheddar cheese and smoked ham during the last moments of blending. If I’ve got some handy, I also add just a little bit of minced onion (no more than a tablespoon). The kids never notice the onion but it gives the eggs a little bit of zing. The other key for really good scrambled eggs is to make sure that you add at least a tablespoon of butter or margarine to your skillet and bring it up to a medium-high heat before you add your egg batter. After you’ve added the eggs, go ahead and let them cook for a couple minutes before you start stirring them. Cook only until just barely cooked then turn off the heat and let the eggs finish cooking off heat. By using a few tweaks and tips, your eggs will be extra fluffy—and tasty.

Ready for some dinner-breakfast? Me too!

Quick, Hearty Waffles
This recipe is my version of a favorite from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. The original recipe calls for buttermilk, which I never seem to have on hand. As a substitute, I add a tablespoon of white, distilled vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for at least ten minutes or until it starts to look slightly chunky. If I have a lemon on hand, I’ll use a tablespoon of fresh squeezed juice to sour the milk instead of vinegar. Either way, the soured milk makes for a tangier waffle.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I usually use 1 ½ flour, ½ whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons cornmeal (fine ground or masa if you have it)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 ¾ cups soured milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:
You’ll need three bowls to make these waffles—but don’t worry, they’re easy to clean up afterwards. In one small bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients. In the large bowl crack your eggs, being careful to separate the yolks from the whites. The yolks go into the larger bowl, while the whites should go into a smaller bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until they become just barely stiff. You can add a pinch of cream of tartar to help this process along, but I’m usually just fine without it.

Add the wet ingredients to your yolk bowl. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the dry ingredients into the yolk batter. Warm the waffle iron. Finally, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. Cook the waffles.

Crisp, Yeasted Waffles

This recipe comes from one of my all-time favorite recipe books, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. If you don’t have a copy, I highly recommend it. I’ve even been known to give a copy—along with a baking dish—as wedding gifts. This recipe requires you to plan ahead, but just a little. And the results are well worth it!

Ingredients:
½ teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups flour (I often use 1 ½ cups all-purpose, ½ cup whole wheat)
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
8 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)
2 eggs, separated

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients then add in the milk, along with the butter and vanilla, if you’re using it. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for at least six hours. You could mix this before you head to work or at the same time as you’re putting together your kids’ school lunches.

When you’re ready for dinner, heat the waffle iron. Separate the eggs and stir the yolks into the batter. In another bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until soft, stiff peaks form. Gently stir the whipped egg whites into the yolk/milk batter. Bake the waffles and serve warm.

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