Greek Crustless Quiche

Quiche is one of my favorite recipes.  It is incredibly versatile and easy to make.  Just change up the cheese and the veggies and IMG_0584you can have a new creation at any time.  My version is loaded with vegetables and low-fat cottage cheese and only three eggs and one egg white in the entire recipe.  Taking the crust off the quiche is another trick to cut down calories and fat.  The base is so delicious and flavorful that you will not miss the crust at all.  Traditional quiche recipes use a full fat crust, a dozen eggs and heavy cream.  My recipe is a lot more health conscious so there is no need to feel guilty eating this any day of the week.

The kosher link up for this month is a dairy dish in honor of Shavuot (see below!)  This is a Jewish holiday where it is customary to not eat meat.  Unlike other Jewish holidays filled with chicken soup and brisket, this holiday is known for blintzes, cheese cake and other dairy delights.  This quiche is perfect for Shavuot, and truly any other time of the year.

I often make this on a Sunday and then cut it up into six individual servings.  I wrap each piece in plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer bag in the freezer.  Just defrost a piece in the microwave for a healthy breakfast any day of the week.  It can also be served with a side salad, whole grain toast or veggie sausage for a great breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner.

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 – 55 minutes

Yields: 6 – 8 servings

 

 

Nonstick cooking spray

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small zucchini, diced

1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted

½ pint grape tomatoes

3 large eggs and 2 egg whites

8 ounces of crumbled low fat feta cheese

8 ounces of part skim mozzarella cheese

12 ounces low fat cottage cheese

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sauté the onion and zucchini over medium heat until softened in the olive oil, about 5 minutes. Season the vegetables with a pinch of kosher salt and ground pepper.  Let cool.

IMG_0556

Defrost the spinach and squeeze out all excess water.  It is important that all the water is taken out of the spinach otherwise the quiche will not be right consistency.

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, eggs, egg whites, cottage cheese and cheese. Add the onion, zucchini and spinach and mix well.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Coat a 7 x 11 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Add the mixture to the dish and make sure it is in a smooth layer going to all edges of the pan.

IMG_0568

 

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes. The top should be golden and firm.  Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving in order for the quiche to set.

IMG_0572

3 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Dairy

Easy Baked Ziti

Today is the end of Passover 2014. For those of you who are not aware, Jewish people are not supposed to eat anything that is IMG_0541leavened (called chametz) during Passover.  No bread, no pizza, no bagels, no pasta – no fun!  It is a nice holiday and I can appreciate the traditions, but anything that takes me away from my favorite foods for eight days is tough.  The kosher link up for this month is chametzfest – the celebration of getting to eat chametz again (see below!)  Since I have been a young child my tradition is to eat Italian food once Passover has ended.  Pizza and/or pasta is always on the menu.  For that reason I decided to share one of my favorite pasta recipes – baked ziti.

This recipe is great in that it is quick, easy and feeds a ton of people!  It can be easily doubled to feed two tons of people.  Using a jarred sauce saves time, although you can always make your own.  I use part-skim ricotta and mozzarella cheeses to make the dish a little bit lighter.  Since the ricotta is seasoned so beautifully you never miss the full fat version.  I use a foil backing pan so clean up is a cinch.  It is good enough to serve for company and a nice treat for a family dinner.  Leftovers are delicious the next day or day after.  You can also make this the day before you plan to serve it, put it in the refrigerator and then bake before eating.

Whenever I make this I get a lot of compliments and requests for the recipe.  Serve the ziti with a salad and some garlic bread and you have a great Italian meal – one that is good enough to celebrate the end of Passover :-)

 

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Yield: 6 – 10 servings

 

1 (16 ounce) box of ziti

1 (26 ounce) jar of your favorite marinara sauce, or you can make your own

1 (16 ounce) bag of shredded mozzarella cheese (I use part skim)

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

1 (15 ounce) container of ricotta cheese (to make it lighter you can use part skim)

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the pasta in a pot of heavily salted boiling water according to the package directions, or to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking combine ricotta cheese with garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well.

IMG_0529

Drain pasta into a colander. In a deep baking dish or foil pan place a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of the dish. Create a layer of pasta using approximately a third of the ziti. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the pasta then add one third of the mozzarella cheese. Add a thin layer of the sauce. Repeat one more time.

IMG_0531

For final layer add one third of the pasta, a layer of sauce and one third of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan cheese to the top.

IMG_0532

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The cheese should be completely melted and bubbling on top

IMG_0537

2 Comments

Filed under Dairy, Pasta

Meyer Lemon Martini

The kosher link up for this month is cocktails (see below!)  I was excited when I heard that this would be the theme as I do enjoy a IMG_0500good cocktail!  I then realized that I have never posted a drink recipe on this blog.  Well, it is high time that I do so!  I picked this martini because it was the first cocktail that I created on my own and it is delicious!

This recipe came about as many of my recipes do – totally on the fly.  I was having my sister and brother-in-law over for dinner.  I had prepared a fabulous meal and felt that I needed to serve a fabulous cocktail.  I had just picked up some meyer lemons from the store so I had them on hand, and I always have a bottle of vodka in my freezer :-)  I put the two together and it was perfection – the the perfect balance of tart and sweet and very refreshing!

I love meyer lemons.  I only discovered them a few years ago from watching cooking shows (a favorite pass time before having IMG_0490kids!)  I had never noticed them in the store, but came upon them one day and decided to give them a try.  I use them for drinks, salad dressings, with fish and chicken.  I describe them as a cross between a tangerine and a lemon.  They are shaped like a lemon, but are more orange than yellow.  The taste is tart like a lemon, but slightly sweeter.  You can find them in most regular supermarkets or Whole Foods.  The only downside is that they are not always available all year long.   When you do see them in the produce section pick some up – you will not be sorry!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup waterIMG_0482
1/4 cup sugar
6 meyer large lemons (if you cannot find them you can substitute 4 lemons and 2 tangerines)
3/4 cup vodka
2 sprigs fresh mint

Create a simple syrup by combing 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir the sugar until it is totally dissolved and remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely.

Juice the meyer lemons and place into a pitcher. Add the vodka, simple syrup, sprig of mint and stir.

If you are not serving the martini right away you can allow the drink to chill in the refrigerator. You can also pour it into a martini shaker with some ice and shake until frothy and ice cold right before serving. Garnish with a mint leaf.

IMG_0499

6 Comments

Filed under Drinks

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I am doing something I have never done before on this blog.  I am posting a recipe that I have already posted once before.  The reason isSpinach Artichoke Dip Close 2 that the kosher link up for this month is Superbowl food (see below!).  There are two recipes that I think are essential for the big game, my game day chili and spinach artichoke dip.  Since I did the game day chili recipe last year for the Superbowl I decied that I would do the spinach and artichoke dip this year.  Plus it has been two years since I posted this last and there are a lot more readers on the blog now. This dish is so good and I want everyone to try it!

Who does not like spinach and artichoke dip? With tender artichokes surrounded by a hot, bubbly and creamy spinach mixture, what is not to love? Whenever I am at a restaurant and I see spinach and artichoke dip on the menu I HAVE to order it. My recipe is an attempt at re-creating the dip that I love, but making it a bit more health conscious. That way I don’t feel guilty making it for my family and friends all the time. It’s made with spinach and artichokes which are good for you, right?

I am not going to say this is a fat free recipe, but I did reduce some calories and fat. My version is made with low fat dairy products as opposed to full fat cheese, cream and mayonnaise which are the typical bases for the recipe. The best part is that there is absolutely no sacrifice to the flavor. I have made this many times for lots of different people and no one has ever been able to tell that this is made with reduced fat products. It is always a huge crowd pleaser and is great for game day or any other day!

You can make the dip a day ahead, keep it refrigerated and bake it before you want to serve it. It can be served with tortilla chips, pita chips, baguette slices or crudites for an even healthier alternative.

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30-35 minutes

Yields: 6-8 servings

 

1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts packed in water (not oil)

8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese

8 ounces low fat sour cream

2 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise (not fat free)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or very finely chopped (depending on how garlicky you like things)

Freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray

 

Bring your cream cheese to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain artichokes and rinse. Finely chop and let dry. Defrost spinach and squeeze ALL excess liquid from the spinach.

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheeses and garlic in a large bowl. Add artichoke hearts, spinach, cracked pepper and stir until well combined.

Spray either a square 8 inch baking dish, or 9 inch round glass baking dish with cooking spray. Pour mixture into dish and bake until mixture is hot and bubbly, about 30-35 minutes.

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Chips - Rotated

2 Comments

Filed under Dip, Vegetarian

Edamame Salad

I want to start off by wishing everyone a happy new year!   ‘Tis the time for new year’s resolutions.  This year I made the same two resolutionsedamame salad 2 that I make every year – to loose weight and to eat healthy.  That is why my first posting of the year is a fabulous recipe that can help accomplish both of these goals.

This salad is colorful, delicious and good for you too!  It has lots of healthy veggies – red pepper (which has more vitamin C than an orange), lettuce, carrots and cucumber.  It also has protein with the edamame.  For those of you who are not familiar with edamame you really must try it.  I love it steamed or dry roasted as a snack or salad topper.  It is low in calories and fat, and provides lean protein as an added bonus.

Another great thing about this salad is that it is very easy and quick to prepare.  I use pre-washed lettuce as well as pre-shredded carrots to save on time.  You just have to do a little chopping, make a quick dressing and voila!  A pretty, healthy and delicious salad that is ready in no time.   This can be a nice starter salad or even a main course.  If you are serving it as a main course it would be great with some grilled chicken or salmon.  When you are trying to keep a new year’s resolution this is exactly the kind of food that can help you stick to it!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 0 Minutes
Yield: 4 – 6 servings

5 oz. bag of mixed salad greens (I like a sweet butter lettuce mix for this recipe)
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
1/2 red bell pepper, dicedIMG_0375
1/2 English cucumber, diced
4 scallions, chopped on a diagonal
1 cup shelled frozen edamame, defrosted
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Defrost the edamame (I usually defrost in the microwave for 2-3 minutes).

In a large bowl toss the lettuce, carrots, red pepper, cucumber and scallions. Pile the cooled edamame on top of the salad.

Combine the sugar, rice vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the sesame oil and sesame seeds and whisk some more. Slowly stream in the canola oil while whisking vigorously.

IMG_0376

Dress the salad right before serving.

edamame salad

2 Comments

Filed under Pareve, Salads, Vegetarian

Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

I did a soup posting last week and I normally would not do another soup recipe so soon.  I do have a reason.  The kosher link upIMG_0310 for this month is “comfort food” (see below!).  There are plenty of foods that I consider comfort food – spaghetti and red sauce, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, the list could go on.  However, if I was to pick my ultimate favorite comfort food it would be a hot bowl of chicken soup.  There is just something about walking in the door to the smell of chicken soup cooking on the stove.  It is what makes you feel better when you are sick, when you are cold and when you are down.

Part of the reason chicken soup is my favorite comfort food is that it reminds me of family.  Everyone has at least one grandma with a chicken soup recipe that was probably passed down from her grandmother.  Since I have already posted my family’s chicken soup recipe on this blog I decided to post my husband’s grandmother’s recipe.  Unfortunately Grandma Shirley (aka Rue) is no longer with us.  I am so lucky that I was able to sit down with her one day in her kitchen and for her to tell me how she makes her chicken soup. I only had it once, but I remember it being delicious. You could taste the love.  She never did write it down, or give me exact measurements, so I just experimented and added my own touches until I came up with what I think is a pretty darn good chicken soup.

Being that I love chicken soup I am pretty picky when I eat it out or at someone else’s house.  I find that people often go overboard with the dill, or that the soup does not have a lot of flavor.  You won’t have that problem with this recipe!  It has rich and delicious and perfect.  The key ingredient (according to Grandma Shirley) is the sweet potato.  Funny enough, this is the secret ingredient in my carrot ginger soup as well.  It adds a sweetness and great color.  I have made it without the sweet potato and it is just not the same.  You just want to be sure not to put it in until an hour before you serve as it could fall apart.  The other 2 ingredients that are key are the parsnip and turnip.  I know these are not items you buy every day, but they make a big difference in the flavor of the dish.

The soup is very easy to make.  You basically just throw everything in a pot, add water and come back to stir every once in a while.  The time commitment comes from letting it cook for hours.  I say two hours is the minimum, but the longer the better!  You can leave it cooking on the stove and get on with whatever else you need to do.

I personally like this soup with matzah balls, but it is also great with noodles, rice or just with the vegetables.  You can either shred the chicken and add it to each bowl, or leave it out.  Leftovers are delish and it also freezes well.  Just be sure to serve it HOT.

 

Prep Time: 15

Cook Time: 2 – 6 hours

Yield: 8 servings

 

Cooking SprayIMG_0296

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large carrots, cut into coins

2 large celery stalks, cut into medium sized piecedIMG_0293

2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into coins

1 large turnip (or 2 small ones), peeled and chopped

1 pound chicken thighs or legs and 1 pound chicken breast, skin removed on the bone

1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks (not small, they will break up)IMG_0303

6 sprigs fresh parsley

6 sprigs fresh dill

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 large bay leaves

3 quarts water

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Coat the bottom of a very large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium temperature.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips and turnip.   Allow vegetable so soften, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

IMG_0297

Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Fill the pot with water until the chicken and vegetables are covered by at least 5 -6 inches.  Again add a few pinches of salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Tie parsley, thyme and dill together with twine and add to pot along with the bay leaves.  Stir well.

IMG_0301

Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low so that the soup is simmering.  Skim the fat and any solids off the top of the soup.  Let the soup simmer.  Come back every 30 minutes to stir and skim any fat or solids.

About an hour before you are going to serve the soup add the sweet potato.  You do not want to add it in the beginning because it will fall apart in the soup.  When you add the sweet potato bring the soup to a boil again by raising the heat.  After it boils reduce to simmer.  Keep it over medium-low heat until you are ready to serve.

IMG_0305

4 Comments

Filed under Poultry, Soups

Carrot Ginger Soup

After long last – a new post!  For those of you who regularly follow this blog I must thank you for coming back to the site even thoughIMG_0283 I have not posted in months.  It is amazing that I am still getting traffic and that people are telling me to keep posting new recipes.  I actually really miss blogging, but my priority these days are taking care of my two little ones and my day job.  I have so many recipes that I am dying to put pen to paper, but alas, there are just not enough hours in the day!

So, why a new recipe now?  I have been making this dish a lot lately.  I love soups and the fall/winter time is the perfect time for it.   The reason I am finally getting around to writing this recipe up is because my mom is taking it to a  “Sweets, Snack and Soup Swap”.  Everyone at the party is supposed to bring either a sweet, snack or a soup for every person at the party and then they all get to take home the treats along with the recipes. Cute idea!  My mom loves this soup so I told her I would make it for the party.  Since she needs the written recipe I figured I might as well post it here.  I have been meaning to anyway….

I know I am not the first person to make carrot ginger soup.  However, I believe my recipe is unique and one of the best out there (at least I think so!).  There is a restaurant that I really like, and makes a great carrot ginger soup.  One day I had a craving for it, but did not have time to get to the said restaurant, and to be honest the place charges an arm and a leg for a bowl of soup.  So, I did what many people do and went to the internet to find a good recipe.  I found one that I thought fit my three criteria – it has to be easy, it has to be quick and has to be GOOD.  The recipes I found were quick and easy, but not really good.  In fact, most were pretty blah.  They just seemed to be missing something.  So, I started from scratch and came up with my own creation.

There are a couple of elements that make my version of this dish easy, quick and GOOD.  Using baby carrots is key.  They save time on peeling carrots and I also find them to be sweeter.  Another big time saver is using already pureed ginger.  You can find this in a jar or tube in most grocery stores.  Another alternative is to use frozen crushed ginger.   Dorot is a brand that I like and can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store.  The easiest way to puree the soup is to use one of my favorite kitchen tools, the immersion blender.  If you do not have an immersion blender you can use a blender or food processor.

I have a few ingredients in this recipe that are not typical to carrot ginger soup, but I think make a big difference.  I love the sherry in this soup as it adds a certain warmth.  I have made it without, and it is still a delicious soup, but is even better with the sherry.  The sweet potato is not traditional in this recipe, but I think it makes a big difference to the texture and layering of flavors.  At this point I even like this soup better than the one I had at the restaurant!  Another perk is that it is low in fat, high in vitamins (actually good for you!) and pretty filling.  It makes an excellent starter dish or main course with a piece of crusty whole grain bread.  I am so happy to finally be able to share this recipe as I have been making it so often.  Stay tuned next week as I am planning a new posting so that I can participate in the kosher link up for December – comfort food – yum!

 

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time:  25 Minutes

Yield:  4 – 8 servings

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, choppedIMG_0273

1 lb. baby carrots, chopped

2 tablespoons of ginger puree or grated ginger (if using frozen ginger cubes you need 6)

1 tablespoon sherry (optional)

1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubedIMG_0277

32 oz. of vegetable broth (I like the Imagine brand)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ground black pepper

 

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and cook until they just begin to soften (about 5 minutes) stirring often.  Lower the heat if the onions begin sticking to the pot.  Add the ginger and sherry and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, but not brown.

IMG_0271

Add the chopped baby carrots and sweet potato, salt and ground black pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often and then add the vegetable stock.  Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.

IMG_0279

After the soup has come to a boil, give the soup a good stir, lower the heat to medium and cover the pot.  Cook covered for 20 minutes.  You want to be sure that the soup is still simmering, but not at a rolling boil.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is a smooth consistency.  Serve hot.

IMG_0288

3 Comments

Filed under Pareve, Soups, Vegetarian