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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Crustless Broccoli Quiche

Although typical quiche recipes call for pie crust, if you want a low-carb recipe, you can enjoy a healthy, crustless version of this delicious dish. It can make a perfect breakfast, nourishing and full of vitamins.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups broccoli, florets only
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli florets. Cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring often.

In a bowl, mix the eggs with milk, cheese, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add the sauteed broccoli and stir gently.

Oil a baking dish. Pour the broccoli mixture inside. Bake it for about 40 minutes at 350 F. Serve hot.

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Shrimp Broccoli Quiche Recipe

If you want a quiche recipe which is quick and tasty, suitable for breakfast as well as for dinner, then this one is a winner for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie shell, pre-baked
  • 4 fresh, free-range eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shrimps, cooked, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less, if you prefer)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • herbs & spices according to taste

Directions:
Mix together the broccoli, shrimps, green onions and garlic cloves. Evenly spread them over the pie shell. In a bowl, beat the eggs, then gradually add the cream, salt and pepper, any other herbs and spices you like, stirring well until the custard becomes homogeneous.

Pour it over the quiche filling, making sure to have all filling ingredients evenly covered.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the quiche for about 40 minutes. After 30 – 35 minutes, you can try it with a toothpick: insert it in the center and if it comes out clean, remove quiche from heat. If not, keep it in the oven for 10 minutes more, then try it again. Serve hot, but let is cool for about 10 minutes before cutting it.

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French Onion Soup Recipe

It somehow amuses me how a basic dish for poor people managed to become gourmet. If you didn’t know it, find out that onion soup was a popular dish in ancient Rome. Onions were widely available and very easy to grow, so one didn’t need to have advanced gardening skills to be able to cultivate onions in their own backyard.

Another interesting finding is that the word “soup” comes from the Latin “suppa”, which means “bread soaked in a broth”. So, croutons are also originating from ancient soups.

The modern version of this onion soup with beef broth and croutons was born in the 18th century, in France, hence the name “French onion soup”.

What makes a good French onion soup recipe? Although the ingredients are pretty much standard, not everybody can cook a delicious onion soup. Some chefs claim the secret lays in the cooking time, because caramelized onions make the difference, therefore it’s important to cook the onions as slowly as possible to unleash all their wonderful flavors. Caramelization is the process in which the onions are very slowly cooked in olive oil or butter, with the purpose of bringing out the flavors of onions sugars. After the onions turn brown, wine is used to deglaze the skillet and to enhance the flavors.

The French onion soup is made from beef broth and caramelized onions, served with croutons and cheese toppings. The most popular cheese used to top the French onion soup is Gruyere. Various recipes, though, use other types of good melting cheese such as Swiss cheese, mozzarella, Cheddar or even parmesan.

The easiest French onion soup recipe is the one that uses canned beef broth or beef stock and dehydrated onion soup mix. Although it’s easy to just buy, heat and mix, I’m not a big fan of such ingredients which may be full of preservatives, thus not so good for you. I’m for the old-fashioned cooking style, which means starting from scratch and using fresh foods as much as possible.

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 5 yellow onions, medium sized (sweet onions are best)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (if you can’t find it fresh, replace with 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
  • 4 cups homemade beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 slices of white bread, toasted
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere or Emmentaler cheese, grated
  • salt, pepper

Directions:

Get five medium-sized yellow onions:

Five yellow onions

Five yellow onions

Cut the onions in halves, peel them and slice them thinly. You don’t need to worry too much about how the slices look like, because you’re going to cook them for a long time anyway.

Sliced onions for French onion soup

Sliced onions for French onion soup

I have to tell you that my chopping board is small, so what you see in the above photo is only a part of the whole quantity. This is how five chopped onions look like:

Chopped onions ready to turn into soup

Chopped onions ready to turn into soup

In a heavy bottomed cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil, then add the onions and a bit of salt. I used a large, thick-bottomed stainless steel pot, as you can see from the image above.

Saute the onions over medium to low heat, stirring from time to time. After 1-2 minutes, set the heat to low, cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Don’t stir too often, because you do want the onions to turn brown and to caramelize.

Caramelized onions

Caramelized onions

After the onions get brown, add the fresh thyme and the garlic. Gradually pour the wine and scrape the burnt onions off the skillet bottom.

Pour red wine over the caramelized onions

Pour red wine over the caramelized onions

Keep on cooking and stirring for a few more minutes. Pour the beef broth, add a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. If the soup is dark brown, you know you’ve done a great job with caramelizing the onions.

French onion soup with homemade beef broth

French onion soup with homemade beef broth

Ladle the soup into four oven-proof soup bowls, making sure to put some of the caramelized onions in each bowl. If you have a traditional onion soup bowl set, use it, because those bowls have a special shape that makes the soup stay hot until the last spoon. Float the toast croutons, one on top of each soup bowl. Lay the grated cheese on top of the croutons. I found it easier to first set the grated cheese on the toast, then place it on the soup.

Toast floating on French onion soup

Toast floating on French onion soup

Put the soup bowls in the oven and broil them until the cheese melts and starts to get brown spots. This will happen in less than one minute. Make sure to closely watch the food at this stage, because it’s extremely easy to burn the cheese and spoil the whole meal.

French onion soup in the oven

French onion soup in the oven

This last photo was taken with the soup still in the oven, just before it was done. The cheese had already melted, but it looked like it was going to sink, so there wasn’t time for a proper table setup before taking the final shot.

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Crustless Vegetable Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chopped vegetables (mushrooms, zucchini, onions, broccoli, corn, asparagus or anything else you may like)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Let them cool down. Meanwhile, take a large bowl and mix the eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Oil a quiche dish. Layer alternately vegetables and Swiss cheese until you finish all vegetables. Pour the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 40-45 minutes.

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Tomato Soup Recipe

Tomato soup is considered one of the most popular comfort foods in the US. It can be made from scratch, but it is also available in shops in powder form. Although instant powder soup is very fast to prepare, it may contain food additives and preservatives, which make it not so healthy. Besides, a homemade soup made with fresh, high quality ingredients will always taste much better.

Ingredients for 4-5 servings:

  • 7-8 medium size, ripe, fresh tomatoes
  • 1 medium size yellow onion
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (for a vegetarian version of this tomato soup recipe, use vegetable broth instead)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Peel and slice the onion. Core and chop the tomatoes. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.

In a pot, melt the butter, then add the onion, garlic, Stir, cover and cook over low temperature for about 5 minutes. You don’t want the onions to go brown. After 5 minutes add the garlic, stir, then add the tomatoes. Gradually add the chicken broth and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup using a food processor or a blender. Return the purred soup into the stockpot, add salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and fresh basil and bring it to a boil.  Serve the soup hot. Croutons are a nice addition.

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Bacon Potato Soup Recipe

Ingredients for 4-5 servings:

  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 celery root, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 4 bacon slices, crispy, freshly cooked, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups water

Directions:
In a covered pot, boil the onion, potatoes, celery and parsnip in salty water for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrot and the bacon and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat. Serve hot, topped with sour cream and fresh parsley.

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Macaroni Cheese With Parsley

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb macaroni (penne, shells, fusilli, elbow macaroni or any other type of pasta you like)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • salt, pepper

Directions:
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water with a teaspoon of salt, respecting the cooking time indicated on the pasta pack.

In a pan, heat one tablespoon of butter, add the shallots and saute them until they turn light brown. In another pan, melt the remaining butter and add the flour. Cook it on low to medium heat, stirring continuously. Start adding the milk gradually, stirring well, until the composition becomes smooth.

When the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat and keep on cooking for about two more minutes. Remove it from the heat, add the cheese and stir until it melts.

Drain the pasta, put it in a pot, then pour the melted cheese over it and stir until it gets evenly coated. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and with parsley and serve hot.

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Vegetable Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 celery root, chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt, pepper

Directions:
Put the onions, celery, carrots, parsnip, beans and potatoes in a soup pot, half filled with water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt, tomatoes, cabbage, corn and bell pepper. Simmer until all vegetables are tender (which is probably 10-15 minutes). Add parsley. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot, with fresh ground black pepper sprinkled on top.

Recipe variant: for more flavor, you can saute the onions in extra virgin olive oil before adding them to the soup.

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Mushroom Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust (frozen or homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups Emmentaler cheese, shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten (always buy free range eggs, they taste so much better)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • nutmeg (just a pinch)
  • salt, freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the onions until they are translucent (3-4 minutes should be enough, but make sure you stir quite often). Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. The mushrooms should turn golden brown and the liquid they released during cooking should evaporate almost completely.

In a bowl, beat the eggs, add the cream, about 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg and the shredded Emmentaler cheese. Stir well. Pour the mushrooms into the egg mixture. Make sure let the mushrooms cool for about 10 minutes before doing this, otherwise the eggs will scramble.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake it for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and bake for about 30-40 minutes. In order to check if the quiche is done, insert a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s ready. Let the mushroom quiche stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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