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5 posts from January 2010

January 21, 2010

Broccoli and Swiss Cheese Quiche

SCHQuiche

By Beth Sollars - Singingirl Cooks!

Cover the bottom of a one frozen deep dish pie crust shell with 2 cups of grated Gruyere or any good swiss cheese. If you like, you can use part swiss and part cheddar, your choice. Set aside.

 IngredientsIllustration 

Saute in a Tbs. of olive oil 1 small finely chopped onion, 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning or your favorite herb blend, S&P,  and about 1 1/2 cups of chopped broccoli, stems and florets, until soft. Spread over the cheese. Set aside.

Mix together in a blender or with a wire whisk:

 

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk
3 Tbs. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard OR Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. hot sauce


  Preparationillustration

Pour this mixture carefully over the cheese, onions and broccoli.  A little bit of the filling might not fit. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 55 minutes. A knife should come out clean when tested.  The quiche will be beautiful, puffy and golden brown on top from all that Parmesan you put on top, but will deflate as it cools. Serve it hot out of the oven, or just warm, or have it cold for breakfast.... really good!

  HelpfulHintIllustration

Place the pie crust on a cookie sheet before setting in the oven, and you'll avoid any unwanted spills.

You can view a previous blog entry from September of 2009 entitled Yummy Pictures From the Book Singingirl Cooks for a look at some of the dishes in my book, and of course you know it's for sale. Just ask me!

Thanks and see you next time!

 

- Beth

 RecipeBox 

 Click the Recipe Box for a PDF of this Recipe!

January 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies - Yummy!

 PeanutButterCupCookies

By Beth Sollars - Singingirl Cooks!

Could I eat just one of these cookies? I think not. That's why I made some of them with semi-sweet dark chocolate kisses.  I figured dark chocolate is good for you, right? So I feel half as guilty by having eaten one with dark chocolate and one with an unbelievably yummy Reese's miniature peanut butter cup. Oh, whoever came up with this idea, one thousand thank yous!!!  Now, I only changed the recipe up a bit, I can never leave well enough alone. I used a favorite peanut butter cookie recipe of mine, and rolled the dough in sugar before baking. That's all!  Get to the store and buy these ingredients and start baking. You'll be happy you did. I  don't want to get graphic, but I brought these to my hair salon, and the response was that these cookies rivaled a sexual experience.  S'all I'm sayin'.

 IngredientsIllustration

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cp. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
40 Reese's miniature peanut butter cups OR
half and half Reese's and Hershey's Kisses

 Preparationillustration

Cream together the softened butter and sugars. Mix in the vanilla and peanut butter, then the egg. Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour through salt) and add all at once to the creamed mixture, mixing very well. Refrigerate for at least an hour, overnight if you want to do this at another time.

 PeanutButterCupCookies2

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into balls about the size of a walnut, maybe a little smaller. Roll in a dish of granulated sugar and place each ball into an ungreased mini muffin pan. Bake for 8 to 8 1/2 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place a peanut butter cup into the center of the cookie cup, pressing down gently so the candy is flush with the height of the cookie cup. Allow to cool in the mini muffin pan for a few minutes, and they will come out of the pan much easier. You can give them a nudge by sliding a knife carefully around the outside of the cookie to help it out, but you shouldn't have any problem. If you're using Hershey's Kisses, follow the same instructions for placing the candy into the cookie cup. This recipe makes around three dozen, give or take a few.

 HelpfulHintIllustration

Unwrap the candies and place them in the freezer while preparing the dough. It makes a big difference to have the candy be slightly or completely frozen before placing on the hot cookie.


I thought twice about posting a picture with this reeeealllly old mini muffin pan, but I couldn't bring myself to PhotoShop out the worst of it right now, and I wanted you to see what the cookies looked like in the pan. If anyone wants to send me a new mini muffin pan, I'll give you my address ;-)

- Beth

 RecipeBox

Click the Recipe Box for a PDF of this Recipe!



January 14, 2010

Macaroni & Cheese Re-invented

 IMG_4887_8_cc

This wonderful recipe looks positively delicious for these cold days at home.  I think they make a perfect side dish to any meal, and I know for a fact my children will love it!  Anything that has anything to do with Mac & Cheese is at the top of their list.  But how about we try a new twist on an old classic and give Mary Ann Esposito's recipe a try?!  Thank you Mary Ann!

Recipe courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito
Author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen

We are only half way through winter and that tells me that more comfort food is necessary. I'm craving good ol' macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese is an all-American comfort food that even Thomas Jefferson loved and served frequently to his guests. I'm putting a new twist on it though by making this beloved casserole in a cupcake pan. That way I can get twelve individual mini macaroni and cheese "casserolettes". It is a good way to gauge portion control -- something we all need -- and the recipe will not leave you feeling guilty because I use non-fat evaporated milk and low-fat cheese; the texture is velvety and moist. Use a standard, non-stick cupcake pan. Mini macs can also be individually wrapped and frozen for future use. There are so many ways to present them as well; how about at your next ladies bridge lunch, a bridal luncheon, or as a starter to a casual dinner party? The kids will love them too. Mini macs are comfort food indeed.

Mini Macaroni and Cheese

MAKES 12

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 ½ cups fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Grinding black pepper
  • 2 cups grated reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • ½ pound elbow or other small macaroni

Preheat the oven to 350F°.

In a medium size sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and stir in the onion. Cook until the onion is very soft but not brown. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and stir to combine the ingredients well. Slowly pour in the milk and stir over medium heat to combine the ingredients. Add the mustard, salt and pepper and continue to stir until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not make the sauce too thick. Stir in 1½ cups of the cheese and set the sauce aside off the heat and covered.

Cook the elbow macaroni in 6 cups of boiling salted water just until the macaroni is not hard. Do not overcook the macaroni because it will also be baked.

Drain the macaroni in a colander and transfer it to a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the macaroni to combine well. Use a ¼ cup measure to scoop and fill the cupcake pan with the macaroni mixture. Be sure to evenly fill the pan right to the rim.

Place the cupcake pan on a larger baking sheet to catch any spills.

 IMG_4876_2_cc

Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese evenly over the macaroni and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or just until the macaroni and cheese is set.

Turn on the broiler and broil the macaroni and cheese just until the tops are crusty brown.

Let the macaroni and cheese cool slightly in the pan before removing them individually with a butter knife. Serve.

For variation add minced carrot or celery to the onions when making the sauce or throw in some peas when mixing the macaroni with the sauce.

©2010 Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen

Author Bio
Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen, is the creator and host of the long-running PBS series Ciao Italia, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010. She is the author of eleven successful cookbooks, including Ciao Italia Slow and Easy and Ciao Italia Pronto! She lives in Durham, New Hampshire. - Darn, I wish that was Durham, North Carolina, then I could visit her sometime.

For more information, please visit www.CiaoItalia.com.  Enjoy!




January 13, 2010

Fighting the Conventional Life

 ArtQuilts_keikohearts

I've often wondered how it is that some people find it so easy to get up at 4am, get dressed, and go to the gym before showering and then going to work an 8-10 hour day or more.  Just thinking about this makes me tired.  I'm almost convinced that this energy level and mental drive must be genetic.  I certainly don't have it and envy those that do. 

 

ArtQuilts_Minis

Just the other day I received an email from a reader, Janet, who enjoys sewing just like I do, and was a successful quilter at one time, winning a number of contests for her creations, however, she has put up her sewing machine because her "other" job takes up so much of her time.  By the time she gets home from work from her full-time job she is completely wiped out, with barely enough energy to cook dinner and care for her family before retiring for the evening.  The weekends for her are not much better as she spends time cleaning and doing laundry.  So her sewing machine sits in a closet unused.  

I know how she feels.  I have had many moments in my life when I have put my creative energy on the back burner.  It has been during these times, too, that I haven't been my happiest.  It is only when I am creating and doing something that I am passionate about that I find I am my happiest - even when times are tough, if I am painting or sewing or quilting, I am happy.  And, from the tone of Janet's email, I sensed that she wasn't her happiest - and probably because she has neglected her creative self.



 ArtQuilts1

I struggle too.  It's like being stuck in the middle of conflicting voices in our head or a fly between two swatters.  For me, I have so many things going on, I don't know what hat to wear first!  I struggle with organizing my time so that I enjoy all aspects of my life and not just a few.  Getting one's butt in gear while the "energy draining non-artful life" is tugging away at the back of your brain and the "fear of creative failure" is tugging away at the front is exhausting.



 ArtQulitsButterfly

Structure can be a tough nail to hammer too.  If like me, you have a rather unstructured life and kind of wing-it every day, then you may find that that can be just as difficult pulling yourself out of this rut as anything else you want to do.  I sew when I want, paint when I want, nap when I want, and work on this blog when I want.  I also do laundry and clean the kitchen when I want although that needs to be done on a daily basis or I end up with a really nasty situation.  I also homeschool the children and unlike most other aspects of my life, that is structured.  The children know what their assignments are for the day before the day begins and they know that as soon as they finish their breakfast, it is on to the schoolwork.  There is some comfort, I suppose, in knowing what the day holds in store.



 HeatherBaileyStudio

For someone like Janet who works a full-time job and has a family, finding the time to do something that you really enjoy, whether it is a hobby or a second career can't be easy.  If nothing else, it is down-right difficult - but not impossible.  My suggestion to Janet was to carve out 2 days a week to start, to do what she loves to do - and in her case it is sewing and quilting.  In other words, she should maybe choose an hour after work on a Tuesday (or any day of the week) to sew.  She should have her machine and supplies set up and ready to go when she gets home.  She should take some time to make herself some hot tea and relax and get on her slippers.  Then she can focus on her creative wares and after an hour or so, put it away and tend to her family responsibilities.  Janet's next day of sewing should be on the weekend when hopefully, she can devote a few more hours to her craft.  Carving out a time that she won't let anybody in the family distract her and take her away from her plans is important to getting back in the saddle of her creative self.  



 AliciaSewingStudio

As I see it, just having the machine and all your supplies set up is motivation enough to sit down at your sewing machine and create.  She'll probably even discover that she can make more time for what she loves to create once she sets it all up and it is begging her for attention - kinda like the kids.

For endless inspiration, visit some of my favorite places on the web:

Rosy Little Things by Alicia Paulson

Hello My Name is Heather by Heather Bailey

Alice Beasley Quilt Artist

Celebrate Creativity by Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson

Studio Art Quilt Associates

Charlotte Warr Anderson Pictorial Quilts

Embellished Cloth

The Overall Quilter

Barn Quilt Memories

The Quilting Nook

Sew Many Ways

Little Acorns

Nie Nie Dialogues

These are just a few of my favorite creative friends on the web.  Check them out!  In the meantime, pull out your sewing machine, dust it off, dig out some fabric, and play.  You won't regret it.

The beautiful mini quilts featured in this post are from:

Elizabeth Ruffing
www.elizabethruffing.com
www.ruffings.com

 SusanPaintbrushSignature 




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