Sweet Potato Crust Quiche

Sweet Potato Crust Quiche

I’ve made a quiche with hash browns for a crust that turned out great. Then I saw this video for sweet potato crust quiche. And I have to say I’m inspired. I’m going to make it this week. I have some spinach, eggs, and cheese in the fridge.

Watch the video and see what you think:

What would I change

The recipe calls for canola oil I’d use grapeseed or olive oil. And I’d use a shredded blend of Swiss and Gruyere cheese that I buy from Trader Joe’s.

Spice-wise, I prefer a little nutmeg in my quiche. And I’m not that fond of putting hot pepper flakes in everything.

I’d probably get one large sweet potato and use a smaller pie plate or ramekin.

Also, I get a bit grumbly when I need eggs and egg whites. I’d rather just use four eggs and be done with it.

Using a Mandolin

I don’t have a food processor. I do have a Kitchen Aid with the rotating slicer attachment. That works great on potatoes and sweet potatoes. I know that I can’t cut that thinly or uniformly. And I think getting the slices thin enough is the key for a good crust.

I do have a mandolin. They’re inexpensive. Just remember to use the guard so you don’t tag your fingers. A trip to the emergency room is never fun.

Then you just use a consistent motion to ensure that the slices are similar.

sweet potato crust

Make It A Meal

I think all you need to make it a meal is a glass of wine.  But a nice crisp salad could be enjoyable as well.

I love quiche for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s really funny since I say I dislike eggs. I love eggs that are doctored up with cheese and vegetables now. I still can’t eat a plain scrambled or fried egg. And I can’t stand omelettes. but enough about me.

Other Ideas In A Quiche

There are so many options for adding to the egg to make a good quiche. There’s Swiss and bacon for the classic Quiche Lorraine. I love pancetta and spinach. You can add in leftover ham or chicken.

You could use Swiss chard or kale. I would cook them a little bit before putting them in.

If you don’t have fresh spinach, use frozen. Just be sure to thaw it out a little before adding it in.

Quiche is a great money saver since you get a whole meal with inexpensive ingredients.  Just remember to watch your portion size. And make it with a vegetable crust instead of the standard pie crust.

What’s your favorite quiche filling?

One Day No Sugar Plan

One Day No Sugar Plan

One of the latest ideas is a no sugar or low sugar diet. As we were talking about yesterday, there’s different diets for different people.  My preference is to eat reasonable amounts of everything. And doing as much cooking from scratch as possible.

I am a health book and cookbook junkie. Some state we’re eating too much sugar, and that’s affecting our obesity levels instead of gluten. Others say it’s simple carbs. I think each body is different, and we need to eat according to what’s best for our body.

I know there’s sugar hidden everywhere, and the best way to counter that is by cooking everything.

One Day No Sugar Plan

Additional Ideas

Their clickthru is vegetarian meals with no sugar added.  I believe eating more vegetables will help us be healthier. I still like my meat.  One really fun cookbook is Meat On the Side by Niki Dinki.

That may inspire how you use meat.

Is Sugar That Bad?

A relative went to Thailand and was astonished at how much sugar everyone ate. He said everything was super sweet to his North American palette. But everyone was slim. They ate six or seven times a day. Each meal was small. And everyone walked everywhere.

So, maybe it’s not the wheat. Maybe it’s not the sugar. Maybe it’s how we eat, and how we live our lives.

Still, I know I don’t feel great if I eat a bunch of jelly beans or cookies. Although, we may have a disagreement over Reece’s pieces, Good N Plenty and meringues. Just kidding.  But let’s face it….some days you really don’t feel like carrot, celery, and jicama sticks.

Cook It Yourself

Currently I’m reading this book on making stuff from scratch. It includes toaster pastries and ketchup. Reading the book is fun as well. I love reading the stories of her kids and how she was able to create some items. Let this inspire you to cook reduced sugar. Then when you want a treat, it will truly be a treat.

 

 

Slow Cooker Paleo Chili

Slow Cooker Paleo Chili

The slow cooker can be a super handy tool in your kitchen when you’re cooking yourself thin. I found this cool video that demonstrates making paleo chili. That means no beans but it does have lots of meat and veggies.

Slow Cooker Paleo Chili

You can find the recipe on Paleo Newbie.

What Would I Change

I’d use my Instant Pot and pressure cook it instead.  It’s faster. Plus, I’d make less since I don’t want that much chili.  I also would have raw red onion as well as the avocado. I think Paleo allows cheese, so I’d have some shredded cheese on it.  If not, I’d roast some pumpkin seeds (pepitos) and put that on top for a delicious crunch.

This would definitely be a meal in itself with nothing else needed. And it will warm you up on a cold winter’s day. We just had a ton of rain in Silicon Valley. The last few days are warm (high of about 56-59F) with sunshine after about 1030am.  And that also means I need to get outside and walk.

Don’t Forget to Walk

http://www.bragg.com/A good brisk walk is a great way to increase your metabolism. I enjoy walking slowly after I eat to aid in digestion. But I’ve noticed that when I walk too briskly after eating, I have troubles digesting. So be kind to yourself.

Paleo and Whole 30 and Fasting, Oh My

I know a lot of people are into Paleo and Ketosis and a few others are doing the Whole 30 to start off the new year. Sometimes I think it’s good idea to hit a reset switch.

Patricia Bragg of Bragg’s Live Foods believes in a two day fast the first two days of the month.  One friend gives up all alcohol in March (calling it Parched in March).

I think that if there’s times when you’re going down an unhealthy path, it can be good to hit a reset switch. But if it’s just a day or two, then eat smaller portions or walk a little bit more to get back into balance.

I’m going to re-read French Women Don’t Get Fat. I believe in a real lifestyle that embraces things rather then keeping things off the list. And yet, I do know people living the Paleo and Ketosis lifestyle who are really happy and don’t miss certain carbs.  So I go back and forth about whether or not to go Paleo for a few months as a reset.

The Whole 30 book is interesting if you’ve never read it. You don’t eat certain things strictly for 30 days. If you mess up, the clock starts again. Then you go back to normal eating.  Still it reminded me of that joke about giving up wine for a week and all I lost was seven days.

I want to make this work for the rest of my life. And I want to help provide you with great resources and options so you can find what works best for you.  Leave a comment with your thoughts.

 

 

Mussels and Clams for Dinner

Mussels and Clams for Dinner

I love cooking mussels and clams. It’s usually quite inexpensive for the two of us. And it feels like a much more fancy dish than it really is.

I picked up 30 clams and 16 mussels for less than $10. It’s important that you trust your fish person. I have had good luck with three of my five supermarket. The other two I learned by mistake. If the majority of the clams and mussels don’t open, it’s a waste of money. So go with quality.

How to Prep the Shellfish

When I get my shellfish home, I pop them in the refrigerator. Then about an hour before I cook, I put together some salty water and let them hang out. They naturally clean themselves and spit out the grit.

If the water gets really dirty after 30 minutes, I’ll prepare another salt water bath. Then I gently pour out the shellfish. I don’t want to crack any shells. And then clean out the container and pour in more salt water. It’s important to use cold water. Think ocean.

Then when I’m ready to cook, I need to spend some time cleaning the mussels.

What to Make With Them

My mom and I used to go to a local place and get a bucket of steamed clams. I am happy with just that and some crusty bread. My husband prefers something a bit more composed. One of his favorite dishes at Buca di Beppo is the Linguine Frutti di Mare.

So I’ll make steamed mussels and clams with water and fresh chopped parsley in my Instant Pot. On the stove, I’ll cook up linguine or fettuccine and then add in some butter. I then toss in the clams and mussels with the shells. Then I sprinkle some chopped parsley on top and maybe some grated fresh Parmesan cheese.

Sometimes I’ll add in some canned diced tomatoes and sprinkle fresh basil over the top. I cut them into small ribbons called a chiffonade.clams in pasta dish

And I always have some fresh lemon wedges. It adds a nice burst of freshness that makes everything taste so good. And really that’s one of the keys to cooking yourself thin.  Eat something delicious that makes you feel satisfied. Then you won’t be tempted to grab more food later.

In warm weather, I’ll make zucchini noodles and toss those in. That way I don’t have to make a separate veg. Tonight I’ll make a salad with a lighter lemony vinaigrette. (when you sign up for my email list, I send a lot of those recipes like salad dressings and salsas, etc.)

Because the shellfish taste so rich, you don’t end up eating much. They’re low in calories and full of really good vitamins and minerals.

So embrace your shellfish. Of course, my fish markets also sell oysters for about $1 each. I’m still too afraid to buy them. I keep thinking I need to get a special knife or glove and that it requires skills that I don’t have.

What do you think?

Making Cheese Taco Shells

Making Cheese Taco Shells

If you’re hopping on the low carb bandwagon, but you still love your tacos, you can make your own cheese taco shells. It does require some preparation, but once you learn how to do them, you will want taco Tuesday every day.

Plus, tacos are a great way to use up leftovers. And if you’ve been wanting to have a few vegetarian meals rotating in, you can stuff the shells with tempeh crumbles, beans, rice and vegetables.

Get Inspired to Eat Tacos Again

Watch this video to learn how to make the cheese taco shells.

You can see the full recipe here at the Food Network.

How Would I Modify

I wouldn’t do much. I think you could blend up some cheeses. I would try pepper jack with the cheddar. One person commented that if you add in Parmesan, it gets really salty.

If I made them with straight Monterey jack cheese, I would think about stuffing them with lamb. Then I’d add on tzatziki sauce, diced cucumbers and tomatoes. Who said tacos had to be strictly Mexican.

With the jack cheese, I’d also consider doing some grilled fish. Look for a firm fleshed white fish like tilapia.  If I got cod or halibut, I’d probably end up wanting to bread and fry them and that would defeat the purpose of the low carb meal.

But I am always saying to balance things out and find the right formula for you.

Other Ideas

I don’t own a microwave. It’s a long sad story about how three broke in three years. The first one had lasted us about seven or eight years. The other two lasted less than a year each. So I said “Enough” and wouldn’t let myself own another microwave until I could learn to take care of them. I sometimes miss it. But the truth is I’m eating less packaged food that’s easy to toss in and microwave.

But I do miss it for quickly cooking bacon. And you could use the microwave to quickly make these taco shells.

You could add in adobe sauce or diced jalapenos and have spicy taco shells.

If you’re pressed for time, just buy a bag of pre-shredded cheese.  The finely shredded ones will melt together faster than the thickly grated ones. So keep an eye on them in the oven.

What’s your favorite taco?

Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Cauliflower Rice Bowl

A cauliflower rice bowl can make a quick and easy lunch or dinner and it’s complete protein whether you use egg or tofu. I was reading about fried rice bowls in the new Thug Kitchen 101 book. They used leftover brown rice.  I am enjoying using cauliflower in place of rice in a lot of dishes.

Go Prepared If It Helps You

My friend Elaine swears by packaged riced cauliflower. She prefers the frozen Trader Joe’s version over any fresh version. She cooks for one, so it’s easier for her to take out smaller amounts and not have to worry about the cauliflower going bad.

I’m all for spending the extra money on prepared vegetables. I love precut jicama. I buy the bags of lettuce. Whatever it takes to get you eating more veggies.

Now, let’s get inspired to make cauliflower fried rice.

I also prefer buying pre-riced cauliflower. I don’t own a food processor. Now that the kid is in college, I’m cooking for two. So I try to be aware of portions. It’s kind of awkward ending up with so much roast potatoes. But that’s another blog.

You can find the full recipe at Shape. Be warned. The video starts right away and has a loud soundtrack. And if you don’t pause it right when it finishes, they start to play ads that you can’t pause.

What Would I Change

I would use grapeseed oil to cook everything and then lightly drizzle the sesame oil on top along with some sesame seeds instead of almonds. But I definitely love the green onions.

One other tip I ran across is to scramble the eggs in the pan. I was hemming and hawing when I heard that. Then I started cracking the egg right into the pan when I make my veggie scrambles. I then use a wooden fork and just quickly scramble it up and then mix it to get it all evenly cooked and blended with the veggies.

I have a confession. I really don’t like eggs all that much. But I find I enjoy them when there’s veggies and cheese. So I enjoy quiche. I need to find the recipe for a cauliflower or potato crust instead of pie dough.

The matchstick cut carrots are a nice touch. But I wouldn’t hesitate to use the frozen peas and carrots mix that has diced carrots.

Frozen vegetables are a great way to always have the right amount of veggies on hand to quickly prepare.

Make It Dinner

If you wanted to be vegan, you could substitute tofu crumbles in place of the egg.  You could expand on this dish with leftovers. If you had made a pork roast, you could dice up the leftover pork and mix that in.

Overall it’s a complete dinner by itself. It’s rather low in fat so you may find yourself getting hungry again in a shorter period of time.

You could also make this a side dish with barbecued pork spare ribs. Or add in some dumplings. I buy a bag of pork gyoza from my freezer section. This rice bowl is very light in calories, so you can balance it with something that’s not so super healthy. That’s not to say you can open the door to something drenched in sauce or grease. So just be mindful.

And be conscientious of sodium that’s in soy sauce.

How About Some Pork Chops for Dinner?

How About Some Pork Chops for Dinner?

Let’s cook some pork chops for dinner! Pork is a very versatile meat. You can cook it in a wide variety of ways. It’s easy to make ethnic as well as hearty home style. And the price is usually less than beef.

Watch this video for some inspiration on a healthier fried pork chop for dinner.

What Would I Change

Ree suggests olive oil. I’d use grapeseed oil and have a higher temperature for a good sear on the chop. After I flip, I wait a minute and then turn down the heat a bit while it finishes up cooking.

The smoke point of an oil is important.  Olive oil has a low smoke point. That means you don’t want to be cooking at a temperature over medium or else the good stuff in the oil starts to break down. Also the flavor tastes off.

Grapeseed oil is like peanut oil. You can crank up the heat with those two.

Now you don’t want it to be too hot or you’ll scorch the flour. You just want to find that nice medium high that sears the meat, renders out the fat, and slowly cooks the insides.

Also, I know some people recommend around 150F for their pork. I’m a bit old fashioned. I don’t like any pink so I cook mine to 160F and then let it sit under foil for ten minutes. It does loose some of the crispiness when you let it rest under foil. That’s a decision you’ll have to make as the chef.  Try it out and see.

Pulling It Together

I do love some fresh lemon juice on my pork chop. It makes everything taste brighter.

My husband likes putting red wine vinegar on the spinach. I like a splash of balsamic vinegar.  And if I were really feeling it, I’d put a little olive oil in the second pan and add in some chopped shallot. After that cooks a minute, I’d put in the beans and then the spinach to wilt.

The flour makes a nice crust. If you’re gluten free, I’d suggest looking at cornstarch or rice flour for a more neutral taste.

You can find the 16 minute pork chop recipe here at the Food Network.

One last tip. There’s a lot of people that recommend cutting off all the fat before you cook. I wouldn’t do that. It cooks up better with some fat. Just cut it off before you eat it. Remember, some fat is necessary for absorbing all the nutrients in vegetables. So don’t short change yourself.

Skinny Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Skinny Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I don’t know about you but there are some days when I really need something warm and gooey. Skinny cauliflower mac and cheese will be a great balance of healthy fiber and veggies to heavy carbs. Plus, I have some suggestions for lightening it up even further.

Stick to Your Ribs Goodness

Watch this video to get inspired to put veggies in to your rich and gooey dinner. You can pull the full recipe from the Betty Crocker website.

 

How to Make It Healthier

There are some things I’d change, of course.

I would use whole grain pasta. I’d even consider looking into the alternate graid pasta. I’ve enjoyed amaranth in the past.  I think rice pasta is a bit gummy. You’ll need to test a small batch.

Also, I’d use Velveeta instead of cheddar cheese. It’s lower fat and melts into a more smooth goo. I confess to loving the boxed stuff. You know what would be interesting and fun? Using the Velveeta Mexican for a spicier dish. I probably wouldn’t add in the cayenne if I did use that though. I may add in some cumin to round out the flavor profile.

Undercooking the pasta a bit allows it to absorb more of the milk and cheese while it’s baking. Now, I like that. It’s a personal choice. I also like the flavor that the dry mustard adds.

Make It A Meal

I would serve this as a meal with a crisp salad. You definitely want to start making your own salad dressings. I’ll put together a post on some of the easiest ones and then link it to here. The nice thing about blogging is that you can update it as you post more info, right?

Anyway, this could make a great vegetarian meal. You could make it vegan by using milk  and cheese substitutes.

It would also make a good side dish with some ribs or rotisserie chicken. I’m all for as many veggies as possible. It increases your fiber intake and feeling of fullness. So you could do salad or peas or green beans.

What do you like eating with your mac and cheese?

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Baked Shrimp Scampi

One of the best ways to cook yourself thin is to take a normal recipe and look for ways to make it healthier for you. I love shrimp scampi and don’t often make it even though shrimp is quite low in calories.

Slimming Up Baked Shrimp Scampi

Ina Garden’s recipe calls for a lot of butter. I would halve the butter as you don’t need that much for good flavor. The olive oil is healthy, so I’d leave that alone. Plus, we need to not be afraid of fat. It helps us feel fuller for longer.

I’d also save some time and buy pre-cleaned shrimp so you don’t have to spend the time de-veining which can get pretty gross.

Shrimp is a fairly rich tasting protein as well. Most people don’t need a lot of shrimp to feel full.

In this video, you’ll see the steps laid out.  You’ll need to go to Food Network to get the recipe.

 

The panko will add a nice crunch so you won’t miss having bread.  I would also consider using 8 Tbs (1 stick) of butter and adding in some spiralized squash on the bottom so it would seem like scampi pasta. It would all bake at the same time.

With my taste preferences, I’d leave out the red pepper flakes, and I’d increase the garlic.  I love garlic.

Finally, I’d use unsalted butter and then season to taste with some good kosher salt. Too much salt makes me retain water. And since I’ve been cooking more for myself, I find that I’m more sensitive to salt. I cook with a little salt to build up flavor. So for this recipe, I’d salt it as you go along. You’ll have more control with unsalted butter.

Plus, if you have some really large flake salt, you can finish the dish with it and make it look really pretty.

Strategies On How To Cook Gourmet Food

Strategies On How To Cook Gourmet Food

Are you a person who loves all kinds of different foods? Can you never get enough sweets, and find yourself craving them? Do you like food from different ethnic backgrounds? You may have always wanted to figure out how to go about cooking these types of food at home. Well now you can, thanks to the information provided in the following article. The tips in this article can teach you how to cook tasty meals.

When you are going to be cooking for someone important, whether it’s a boss or a potential love interest, make certain you are cooking something you are familiar with. That would be a bad time to experiment with the unknown, whether it is an untried recipe or ingredient. This will help you feel less stressed when preparing your meal.

Quick Cooking Tips

Leave raw potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes before frying them to make crispier French fries. Soaking potatoes accomplishes two important things for your French fries; it takes out sugar and starch during the soaking process.

They’ll just simply work as a sponge and soak up the majority of the water. A better option is to use a clean, damp cloth to hand-wipe each mushroom.

Get the freshest garlic you can when making a dish that you must add garlic to. It’s well-known that fresher garlic equals sweeter taste. You can see fresh garlic when it is not shriveled, soft, bruised and the skin is firm.

Make your own dried tomatoes. You can use Roma tomatoes cut lengthwise, or ripe tomatoes sliced about a half inch thick. Take a cooling rack and place the tomatoes on it. Sprinkle them with salt. After placing the rack atop a cookie sheet, allow the tomatoes to dry for 10 hours in an oven at 190 degrees. Finally, place your dried tomatoes in freezer safe bags and store in the freezer. Dried tomatoes may also be stored in a jar containing fresh herbs and olive oil. This jar should be used within 2 weeks and kept refrigerated.

Quick Healthy Tips

If you want to eat well and lose weight, it’s a good idea to decrease the amount of oil you use in cooking. Oils and butters generally contain needless fats. Consider using a nonstick cooking spray as replacement for oil.

You should read the labels when you are buying ingredients for a recipe. Most common cooking supplies have hidden ingredients that are unhealthy. Look for hidden amounts of sodium and sugar that will contribute over time to reduced health.

Replace the standby liquids of milk and water in recipes to mix things up. Substitute plain water with juice, broth, or the water that you cooked your vegetables in. Instead of milk, try sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk. Changing up the liquids in your recipes can add nutrition, while livening up a standby dish.

Quick Lifestyle Tips

If you enjoy utilizing herbs and spices, keep them fresh and flavorful by storing them in an area that is dark and cool. Keeping herbs and spices in cabinets above the stove or other warm locations will cause them to lose their flavor.

Organization is key to cooking efficiently and not letting anything burn. A well-organized cooking area is conducive to great results. Get organized to cut back on unnecessary food waste.

Blotting ground meats prior to preparing them is advisable. Take a paper towel and soak up any extra moisture on ground beef before you cook it. If there is too much liquid left on the meat, the cooking process will boil it off. Sizzling will occur. This could cause your meat to steam, instead of searing.

If you follow the above tips, you will be steps closer to creating meals you will love! Use your creativity to try out new and unique spices and flavors. Maybe in the cooking process you discover a new food that becomes your favorite! Follow your tips and experiment with new things to become a better chef.