Kitchen Adventure: Easy cheesy frittata

For those nights when you can’t get enough cheese… when you want to use as few pans as possible… when you want leftovers you can eat for a week – this meal is for those nights!

cheesy goodness

 

Easy Cheesy Frittata 

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 whole eggs, beat
  • 8 egg whites
  • 2 cups cheese (I used a 4 cheese “Mediterranean” blend of sharp Provolone, feta, Kasseri, and Romano)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved, or two large tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Caramelize the onions in a small frying pan, cooking over medium heat with olive oil until golden.  Remove from pan and set aside in large bowl.
  3. Sauté the broccoli in a pan with water until it’s lightly steamed.  Add chopped garlic and cook until easily cut with a fork.  Add to the bowl with onions.
  4. Beat the eggs and cheese together, add to the bowl with cooked veggies and chopped tomatoes.  Mix together and transfer to large baking dish.
  5. Cook for 25-30 mins or until cheese is melted and eggs are set.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between!

Kitchen Adventures: Broccoli, egg white, and basil frittata

Quiche and I have a solid history – I used to make them for and with my grandma, I made them a ton when I moved to Boston, I buy them for lunch sometimes at this delicious place downtown.  But what do you do when you really don’t need that crust anymore, and would rather save the calories and room in your stomach for something else?

Cue the frittata.

I came up with this recipe, which is the kind of frittata that falls somewhere between “crustless quiche” and “baked eggs”, because I wanted something light for dinner that could also serve as breakfast or lunch, and I wanted it to taste like summer – as fresh as possible.  I ate this for almost a whole week and never got tired of it – so good!

Frittata

Broccoli, Egg White, and Basil Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups broccoli, chopped and steamed
  • 1 cup onion, chopped and cooked
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 carton egg whites
  • 1 bag of shredded, low-fat Italian cheese mix (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 6 tbsp basil (about 10 leaves, chopped)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F) while you steam the broccoli in bite-sized pieces and cook the onion with a little oil and the garlic in a frying pan.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, cheese, and half-and-half in a large bowl.  When blended, add the rest of the ingredients, with the basil last so it doesn’t cook too much in advance.  Pour the entire mixture into two glass pie plates.
  3. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until eggs are set.  Eat hot, and then refrigerate when cool, including freezing some for later!

This recipe and its simple ingredients make two whole pies worth of delicious frittata, for 4 PointsPlus for 1/8 of the total serving.  Since I used similarly sized pie plates, this means I could eat 1/4 of a pie (2 pieces) for less than the value of two pieces of toast with peanut butter.  So good, so simple, so healthy!

What’s your go-to breakfast, for now and later?

Kitchen Adventures: Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts

This simple recipe is great for the end of a busy week and can accommodate almost any ingredients you have around.  Sub couscous for quinoa, add in other veggies, or include other proteins if you have them handy.

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Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 lb shredded Brussels sprouts (I got them precut from Trader Joe’s – one bag will do it!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice – about one lemon worth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • goat cheese (optional, for topping)
  1. Cook the quinoa – one cup of quinoa to 2-3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes for liquid is absorbed.  Let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
  2. Add the oil, onion, Brussels sprouts, salt/pepper, and half the lemon juice to a frying pan over medium heat.  Stir frequently – when the sprouts get bright green, add more lemon juice and bell pepper.  Stir for about 7-10 minutes total, until sprouts are cooked but still crunchy.
  3. Add quinoa to the pan of veggies and mix well.  Serve hot or cold.  (I topped mine with goat cheese crumbles – SO GOOD!)

This made about four salad-sized servings – can’t wait to eat it for lunch later this week.

Enjoy!

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Kitchen Adventures: Stuffed artichokes

There is basically never a time when I don’t want a stuffed artichoke since my college roommate first introduced me to this delicacy. (Hi Jill!)  It’s not the fastest thing in the world to make, but it’s completely worth it, especially when you can start eating it before going out with your friends and finish the rest when you come home starving after a night of dancing… if you can stand to not eat it all in one sitting.

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Stuffed Artichokes

  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs (or plain bread crumbs with Italian seasoning added)
  • 2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic (I use jarred but this is about 1 1/2 cloves)
  • 2 small to medium artichokes
Stuffing in progress

Stuffing in progress

  1. Lightly toast bread crumbs in a frying pan – no oil needed.  Put water on to boil with a steaming basket big enough to hold your artichokes upright.
  2. Cut off the top 1/4 (or so) of the artichoke with a knife, and trim the stem except for the last 1/2 inch or so.  Fan out the remaining segments of the artichokes and cut off the spiky tips with scissors.  You should only need to cut off about the top 1/3 per section but you should make sure you get all the sharp bits even if it means losing a little more of the ‘choke.
  3. Mix everything else together and start stuffing!  Start at the outer pieces and put the bread crumbs as far down in each segment as you can.  If you separate the pieces as you go, you should be able to get a good amount in each section.  When you get near the middle, keep stuffing – that’s the best part!
  4. Stand up the artichokes in your steamer basket over boiling water, cover, and cook for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your artichokes.  Add more water to the pot as needed.

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C’est tout!  Just peel off the segments and eat them from the base, and then attack the middle with the fork once you get past the rougher outer layers.

Did your college roomies ever share tasty treats from home?  What do you put inside your stuffed artichokes?

Kitchen Adventures: Potato pancakes!

Making potato pancakes in the food processor my mother got me at the Republican yardsale (see dated visual below) while listening to Christmas music = multicultural win.

These pancakes made for a delicious and pretty healthy dinner because they were baked instead of pan fried – few opportunities for them to soak in grease!  Make these for a week of lunches, for a party, to freeze, or in advance of a family brunch – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce = dinner of champions

Potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce = dinner of champions

Recipe modified slightly from this WW recipe.

Thyme and Scallion Potato Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and grated/shredded in a food processor
  • 2 small onions, chopped into thin slices
  • 8 scallions, chopped (just the white and some of the green)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 glove garlic, chopped or sliced (just to add some kick!)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Chop/ process the potatoes and onions – press together either between paper towels or within paper towels in a strainer to remove some of the water.
  3. Combine all ingredients (other than spray) in a large bowl and toss – don’t do what I did and mix things first, just do it all together!  And feel free to use your hands – it’s the best way to make sure every piece of potato is coated.
  4. Scoop out 1/4 cup (or so) chunks of mixture and place on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper.   Don’t worry too much about size but make sure all your pancakes are the same thickness so they cook at the same rate.  Spray the exposed sides with a mini-spritz of cooking spray and place in the oven.
  5. Cook for 7-10 minutes (until the potatoes become translucent for the most part) and then remove from the oven to flip over and spray the other side lightly before returning to the oven for another 7-10 minutes.  (The original recipe said these would take 30 minutes to cook but mine were definitely less than 20 each).  Bake until well browned – remove and serve immediately or heated up later.
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Potato pancakes right before being popped in the oven

These are so good, I had to pack them up just so I would stop eating them.  Assuming that you make about 30 total, a serving is about 3 or 4, and they have about 1 PointPlus each.  In other words, they’re part of – or all of! – a tasty dinner… and lunch… and breakfast… and life!  These are definitely going to become a staple in our apartment, even after the holidays.

Other tips:

  • The Silpat mat did not come through for me this time – skip the mat and go straight for parchment paper to get a nice crisp and better texture overall.
  • Weigh your potatoes at the store – I was shocked at how big each potato actually weighed, since I never really cook with them.
  • Not into potatoes?  Got something else around?  I bet these would be similarly delicious with zucchini, some sweet potatoes, curry, etc. – just start from the basic recipe and you can’t really go wrong.
  • Don’t grate by hand, if possible – but if you’re short on time/equipment, you can supposedly buy pre-shredded frozen potatoes at most grocery stores.
My almond-colored, TWO-speed, "made in America (buy American!)" food processor, circa 1987 and courtesy of the local Republican yard sale.

My almond-colored, TWO-speed, “made in America (buy American!)” food processor, circa 1987 and courtesy of the local Republican yard sale.

The other secret win of this recipe is in the machine itself – I have a really bad habit of planning whole dishes without knowing for sure if my appliance is going to work at all/fit the quantity of food I’m making.  Case in point: my Republican blender is NOT as successful an appliance as this one and my beaters are not equipped to handle double batches of tahini bread.  But the fact that this food processor even was able to power up, and then worked exactly as I wanted it to, is a major victory.  Thanks, Mom!

What’s your favorite kind of holiday food?

 

Kitchen Adventures: Easy Bake Tofu

No lightbulb required!

With Christmas approaching, I pulled out one of my great gifts from last year – a Silpat baking mat.  I wanted to see if this mat could amplify my love for tofu (and if starting cooking before I was starving would give me time to bake tofu for once) and I was not disappointed.  Here are a few steps to perfection:

Easy Baked Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz of firm tofu (I used TJ’s small block, but you could just double this if you were working with a bigger block of tofu)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3/4 tbsp soy sauce (or so – I intended to use more but mine ran out!)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder as desired
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut the tofu into thin slabs, about 1/4 or so thick and as wide as you can get them and still have them stay intact when you mix them with the sauce.
  2. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl with a fork.  Add the tofu and let sit for 5 minutes (or longer if possible).
  3. Place slabs of tofu on a baking sheet (I used mine lined with a Silpat mat) and bake for 10-14 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Enjoy!  I ate mine with spaghetti squash and poured the remaining marinade over the whole dish (bonuses of cooking with tofu: you can stop to eat the ingredients at any time AND you can reuse any leftover marinade safely.)

PS: I do actually cook more than just tofu – proof is here!  For Thanksgiving, I made a new Brussels sprout dish and lots of different egg concoctions.  What have you made or eaten lately?

Kitchen Adventures: Tasty Tofu

Kitchen Adventures: Tasty Tofu

Yes, it exists. I love tofu in any form, but this recipe is the only one I can make and want to eat the tofu raw, and a few pieces usually get sacrificed to “taste testing” before they can reach the pan.

All it takes is mixing a few items together:
2 tbps Mirin (a sweet Japanese seasoning made from rice alcohol – keep this in your cupboard for tons of recipes!)
1 tbsp sesame oil (hint: you can get this cheap at the Christmas Tree Shop! I use it basically every day.)
1 tsp Tamari (soy sauce)
1 tsp Teriyaki sauce (I used the low sodium version)

Optional:
Salt
Pepper
Chopped garlic

Cut up the tofu into small cubes and pour the sauce over the top. If you have time, try to marinade for an hour or two, stirring every once in a while. If you’re in a rush, just let this sit while you prep everything else.

You can either add the extra sauce to the pan after, or use it on a side dish – I threw mine, along with some extra Mirin and Tamari, over some asparagus I was cooking at the same time. Incredible!

What’s your favorite way to give tofu some flavor?