Easy Cheese Straws With Caraway Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound feta cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 pound all purpose white flour
  • 1-2 egg yolks (for glazing the cheese straws)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pound butter
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Preparation:

Mix the flour, grated feta cheese, yogurt, butter and baking powder, until you get a firm dough. Cool it in the fridge for 1 hour. Divide the dough in 4 parts. Roll each of them until you get a 1/8 inch thick sheet. Try to shape it rectangular, if you can. If not, it’s not a problem, use a knife to cut the round edges and mix them into another dough ball.

In a small bowl, separate the egg yolks. Save the whites to use for other foods. With a pastry brush, glaze the dough sheet generously. Spread caraway seeds all over it.

Cut the dough sheet in stripes about 1/2 inch wide. The length can be anything you wish.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put baking paper in a tray, then transfer the dough stripes on it, carefully not to break them.

Bake the straws for 10-15 minutes. Watch them closely after 10 minutes, because it’s easy to overcook them.

Serve them at room temperature. If you have any of them left (although I doubt that) you can store them in the fridge and eat them the next day.

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Mushroom Quiche With Potato Crust

Yummy quiche with pickled beetroot decor

Yummy quiche with pickled beetroot decor

Basic quiche recipes call for pastry for the crust. However, if you want, you can replace the pastry with potatoes. I did this and here’s my potato crust quiche recipe, which you can use as base for any kind of quiche you like: mine has mushrooms, red bell pepper, parsley, dill and onions, but variations are welcome.

The first step is to make the crust. You need two onions…

Two peeled onions

Two peeled onions

and about 6 medium size potatoes. Don’t ask me why my onions were one yellow and one red. Use whatever you have, the color makes no difference in this situation.

Peeled potatoes

Peeled potatoes

Peel and grate the onions. Here’s the part where you start to cry, so take your time, wash your face, grate some more, cry some more… the whole operation shouldn’t take you more than 5-6 minutes.

Grating onions

Grating onions

Peel and grate the potatoes. I grated them coarsely, but if you want a finer crust, use the fine side of the grater box.

Grating potatoes

Grating potatoes

Pre-heat the oven at 450F.

Squeeze the grated onions and potatoes very well to drain the liquid, then put them in a bowl and mix them.

Mix grated potatoes and onions

Mix grated potatoes and onions

Use both your hands, not one like I did. You won’t have to hold the camera, I guess ;)

Add a teaspoon of salt, some ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons of all purpose white flour. If you want, you can add spices. I added about a teaspoon dried thyme. Mix everything very well.

Grated potatoes - onions - flour mix

Grated potatoes - onions - flour mix

Oil a baking dish (bottom and edges). Shape the onion-potato mix into a pie crust, trying to get even thickness all over.

Raw potato quiche crust

Raw potato quiche crust

Bake the potato crust at 450F for about 15 minutes.

Take the baking dish out of the oven, brush the crust with extra virgin olive oil and put it back in the oven again for 10 more minutes. If you don’t have a special brush, you can use a folded paper towel to oil the crust evenly.

Oiled quiche crust

Oiled quiche crust

While the crust is baking, we are going to prepare the filling for our quiche. You need one onion, 15-20 button mushrooms, half red bell pepper, parsley and dill.

Button mushrooms

Button mushrooms

Peel and chop the onion. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan, add the onion and fry it for about 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Chopped red onion in pan

Chopped red onion in pan

Thoroughly clean the mushrooms, chop them and add them to the frying pan. I also added about a teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced, but that’s optional.

Chop about half of a red bell pepper. Add it to the food. Stir and cook over medium heat. Chop the parsley and the dill and add them to the pan.

Vegetables in pan

Vegetables in pan

Continue cooking and stirring until the vegetables are soft and there’s a lot of liquid from the mushrooms in the pan. This process should take about 10 minutes.

Remove vegetables from heat, transfer them into a colander and drain them very well. You can use a wooden spatula or a spoon to squeeze them dry.

Draining stir fried vegetables

Draining stir fried vegetables

Pour the vegetables over the quiche crust, spreading them evenly onto the surface.

Quiche recipe - work in progress

Quiche recipe - work in progress

Grate the cheese. You’ll need about 1 cup of grated cheese. I used feta, but you can use any cheese you want such as Cheddar or Swiss cheese.

Grated Feta cheese

Grated Feta cheese

Spread the grated cheese on top of the baking dish.

Spread the grated cheese over the quiche

Spread the grated cheese over the quiche

In a small bowl, beat 3 eggs. Please note that there are only two eggs in the photo, but after I beat those, I decided to add one more.

Beat three eggs and add milk

Beat three eggs and add milk

Add about 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon paprika powder and some freshly ground black pepper.

Beaten eggs - milk - spices

Beaten eggs - milk - spices

Mix well and pour over the grated cheese layer in the quiche dish.

Quiche - ready to bake

Quiche - ready to bake

Bake over medium heat for one hour.

Mushroom quiche with potato crust

Mushroom quiche with potato crust

Let the quiche cool for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven. Cut and serve hot.

Mushroom quiche slice

Mushroom quiche slice

Serving suggestion: decorate the quiche slices with pickled beetroot or gherkins.

Mushroom quiche with potato crust topped with beetroot

Mushroom quiche with potato crust topped with beetroot

Ingredients for this quiche recipe:

  • 3 medium size onions
  • 20 button mushrooms
  • 6 medium size potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose white flour
  • 1 cup parsley and dill, chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated cheese

This recipe serves 4-6 people. I ate two big slices while writing the recipe for you, however :)

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Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuffed bone-in pork chops

Stuffed bone-in pork chops


Although at first sight stuffed pork chop recipes might seem complicated, they are just as easy as any other pork recipe. All you need to take into account is that the total cooking time will be longer, because you have to prepare the stuffing, then to cut pockets in the chops, then to fill them with the stuffing.

Anyway, to start with, let’s take two beautiful bone-in pork chops, about 1 inch thick:

Thick, bone-in pork chops

Thick, bone-in pork chops

Most recipes call for boneless pork chops, but I think bone-in ones are nicer: cooking meat on the bone gives it a special flavor, a sweetness which I really like.

Wash the meat in cold water, then dry it on some kitchen towels. Take the sharpest knife you have and cut a pocket in each pork chop, like this:

Pocket cut in the pork chop

Pocket cut in the pork chop

Sorry I couldn’t take a photo of me slicing that chop, but these two are the only hands I’ve got and they were both involved in the cutting process. Anyway, here’s the result:

Pork chops prepared for stuffing

Pork chops prepared for stuffing

Salt the meat, season it with your favorite herbs (I used a mix of garlic powder, thyme and basil) and put it back in the fridge while you work on the stuffing.

Take one medium sized onion, cut it in half and peel it.

Halved onion

Halved onion

Chop the onion. Coarsely chopping is just fine, you don’t need to try too hard on that, because it’s going to be cooked for quite a long time anyway.

Chopped onions

Chopped onions

Take about 10 white mushrooms. I chose medium to small ones, like you can see in the following photo, and they were more than enough for stuffing the two pork chops you’ve seen. Wash them very well.

White mushrooms

White mushrooms

Chop the mushrooms and the stems. Don’t worry about making them really small.

Chopped mushrooms

Chopped mushrooms

In a non-stick skillet, heat two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the onions. Cook them over medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Add the mushrooms, stir and season with salt, pepper, red chili flakes and any herbs you like.

Mushroom-onion meat stuffing

Mushroom-onion meat stuffing

Cook the mushrooms and the onions over medium heat, for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, take the parsley and the dill, wash them very well and chop them.

Chopped parsley and dill

Chopped parsley and dill

Add the parsley and the dill to the skillet and keep on cooking and stirring:

Meat stuffing getting cooked on stove top

Meat stuffing getting cooked on stove top

The stuffing still needs something to hold everything together. I used a slice of feta cheese. Other options are: any type of cheese that melts nicely or eggs. Here’s my cheese, crumbled, just before adding it to the skillet. There’s nothing special about this photo, I just want you to see how much cheese I’ve used.

crumbled feta cheese

crumbled feta cheese

Add the cheese to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, over low heat. Stir frequently, otherwise the cheese will stick to the skillet.

Pork chop stuffing

Pork chop stuffing

When most of the cheese melted and mixed with the other juices in the pan, turning into a sauce, remove the skillet from heat. Spoon the stuffing into the pork chops.

Stuffed pork chops - work in progress

Stuffed pork chops - work in progress

You’ll notice you’ve got more stuffing than needed. Don’t try to fit it inside the chops, because we are going to use it later on. Just use only as much stuffing as to allow you to secure the meat pockets with toothpicks. As you got here with the work, you may want to pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Stuffed pork chops - more work in progress

Stuffed pork chops - more work in progress

In a skillet, heat two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and brown the stuffed pork chops for about two minutes on each side:

Stuffed pork chops browned

Stuffed pork chops browned

Transfer the chops from the skillet to the baking dish. Take the remaining stuffing mix, put it in the skillet, add about half cup of water and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Your purpose is to mix the flavored brown stuff on the bottom of the skillet with the mushroom-onion mixture. Eventually, you are going to pour it over the pork chops, before baking them.

Stuffed pork chops ready to bake

Stuffed pork chops ready to bake

Cover the baking dish and bake the pork chops for about one hour. You may now relax for 40-45 minutes. Just before the chops are done, you’d better get back to the kitchen and prepare some side dish. I boiled some potatoes, then drained the water and mixed them with butter and salt.

Stuffed pork chops served with potatoes

Stuffed pork chops served with potatoes

Serve the stuffed pork chops hot, with freshly ground pepper sprinkled on top. If you can, arrange with somebody else to do the dishes, as you’ll use plenty of them :)

Here’s the list of ingredients for two big chops (enough for two not-very-hungry persons):

  • 2 bone-in pork chops, 1 inch thick
  • 1 medium-sized white onion, chopped
  • 10 white mushrooms, medium sized, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 slice feta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • herbs of your choice (dried thyme, basil, red hot chili flakes, garlic powder)
  • 2 toothpicks

Last but not least, I thought you might want to see how those stuffed pork chops look on the inside.

Stuffed pork chops - interior

Stuffed pork chops - interior

Yummy, isn’t it?

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Spinach Quiche

Spinach quiche is a permissive recipe. You can add other goodies such as bacon, mushrooms, chicken, turkey or ham, thus getting rid of your food leftovers in a delicious and easy way. This is the basic spinach quiche recipe. I used frozen spinach, because we are now in winter time, when fresh vegetables are hard to find. However, if you cook this quiche in the veggies season, you are welcome to use fresh baby spinach leaves.

Ingredients:

For the pie crust

  • 8 oz all purpose white flour
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 2 pounds spinach
  • 1 pound feta cheese, shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Directions:
In a bowl, mix together all ingredients for the pie crust. Make sure the butter is at room temperature when you do that, because you want to obtain a homogeneous composition. Don’t be afraid to use your hands.

After you make the dough, put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, then shape it round and flat. The diameter should be large enough to cover the bottom and the edges of the baking dish.

Butter or oil the baking dish, then put the pie crust in place.

While the dough is resting in the fridge, don’t check your emails, don’t watch movies, don’t step out of the kitchen, because you have more work to do: make the filling.

Thaw the spinach, drain it very well and chop it. Peel and chop the onion. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, then add the onion and cook it for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Gradually add the shredded cheese, the eggs and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix everything very well, then pour the composition on top of the pie crust. Bake in the oven at 350 F for about 40-45 minutes.

The spinach quiche is best hot, but some people like it cold as well.

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Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Baked macaroni cheese right from the oven

Baked macaroni cheese right from the oven

Ingredients:

  • 300 g pasta (spirals, elbow macaroni or any other type of short pasta)
  • 300 g hard feta cheese, grated
  • 100 g Emmental, Gouda or Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 100 g sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions:

Get 300g (about 10 ounces) macaroni. I used spirals for this recipe, but any other type of short pasta will do.

Spiral pasta

Spiral pasta

You’ll also need a block of feta cheese (at least 100g or about 3-4 ounces weight):

Feta cheese

Feta cheese

Boil the macaroni as per instructions on the pack. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the water to prevent the pasta from sticking. Since we are going to bake it later on, there’s no need to strictly respect the cooking time. Just make sure to, at least, cook it “al dente”. Here’s my cooked pasta, draining over the kitchen sink:

Macaroni boiled "al dente"

Macaroni boiled "al dente"

While waiting for the macaroni to cook, grate the feta cheese in a big bowl.

Grated feta cheese

Grated feta cheese

You want a big bowl because you are going to add the boiled pasta later on. Set aside about 1 tablespoon grated feta.

In the big bowl of grated feta add two eggs and mix everything very well.

Cheese - egg mixture

Cheese - egg mixture

In a separate bowl, beat the two remaining eggs together with the sour cream and the milk.

Drain the macaroni very well and let it chill out.

Meanwhile, put the butter in a Pyrex dish and let it melt on low heat, making sure it spreads evenly on the bottom of the dish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the pasta to the feta cheese-egg mixture and mix it very well with a fork. Spoon the mixture into the Pyrex dish and shape it flat. Pour the egg-sour cream-milk mixture evenly on top, then sprinkle the dish with the remaining grated feta.

Macaroni cheese ready for baking

Macaroni cheese ready for baking

Bake the macaroni cheese on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle the grated Emmental cheese on top, then bake it on medium to high temperature for 15-20 more minutes or until you see it getting a nice light brown, crispy crust.

This is how the macaroni and cheese looks when it's done

This is how the macaroni and cheese looks when it's done

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