Tag Archives: cheese

Spinach Custard Pie

It’s almost Thanksgiving which means it’s appropriate to eat as much pie as you want, right? Well, maybe not. Pies in general are pretty easy to make yet seem so daunting. I admit, I’ll plan on making a pie for dessert next Thursday but this week, I still need to try to eat healthy. But who says you can’t have a healthy pie? Not all pies have to be sweet or have to have crust. So, when I came across this recipe for Spinach Custard Pie, I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for.

Frozen chopped spinach is the base for this pie which has a little onion, red pepper, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Fat-free (or light) sour cream pulls all of this together, giving the mixture the consistency of spinach dip. Topped with a dash of paprika, this vegetarian pie bakes until golden brown and fragrant. Because it’s easy to portion out, this pie is a perfect option for the quick grab-and-go meal that’s packed with veggies. I’m eating this all week for lunch but one could argue that because of the eggs, this could be a breakfast option too. Pie for breakfast or lunch? Yes, please!

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain well. Place spinach in a large bowl.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes or until tender.

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Add onion mixture, eggs, and egg whites to spinach. Add flour, cheese, butter, salt, pepper and sour cream; stir to combine.

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Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with paprika.

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Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

 

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New England Turkey Burger

This summer has been a struggle for me to a keep up with my blog. If I’m not traveling for work, I’m working from home and sometimes just can’t stand to be in front of my computer any longer. So, thank you for those of you who are hanging on and checking in here for my periodic posts. The thing is, I still cook and still take pictures. I’m just bad and getting the blogs written up. Every time I think maybe I should just give this whole thing up, I remember why I did it in the first place. Because I enjoy cooking, I enjoy writing and I have to eat anyway, right? Well, my typical diet this summer has basically been burgers and pizza so here is yet another burger I made: this New England Turkey Burger.

This turkey burger is flavored with beer-infused caramelized onions which help to keep the meat juicy and vibrant. I used the seasonal beer Sam Adams Porch Rocker instead of Summer Ale but any beer can be used. A mayonnaise-mustard spread, cheese, tomato and lettuce top this burger – oh and another big dollop of caramelized onions. For someone who absolutely hated onions as a kid, I’ve found a newfound respect for this veggie, especially when it’s softened up with some beer! So, it’s summer and it’s another burger. But isn’t that what summer is for?

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Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl. Add onion; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add beer; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes or until onion is golden and liquid almost evaporates; stir occasionally. Cool.

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Preheat grill or pan to medium-high heat. Remove 1/4 cup onion mixture from pan; finely chop. Combine chopped onion mixture and turkey.

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Divide mixture into 4 equal portions; gently shape each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in center of each patty. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place patties on grill rack or pan coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes. Turn patties; grill 3 minutes.

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Top with cheese; grill 1 minute or until cheese melts and turkey is done.

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Combine mayonnaise and mustard. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise mixture on bottom half of each bun; top each with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tomato slice, and 1 patty. Divide onion mixture evenly among servings; top with top halves of buns.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Sharp cheddar
  • Seasonal beer
  • Spinach

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Sausage, Manchego, and Pepper Pizza

My pizza obsession is getting out of control. I’ve been making my own pizza for a while but lately I’ve taken to eating box after box of frozen pizza. Um, I can’t help it. Don’t judge. It’s easy, inexpensive and it tastes so good with beer on a Friday night. Hey – I don’t have a sophisticated palate. My only saving grace is that I’ve kept myself from picking up the phone and having pizza delivered. So, while I’m fooling myself into thinking that eating frozen pizza is better on my waistline (it is to a degree), I know I’m even better off making my own pizza at home where I can control the ingredients. So, here we are with this Sausage, Manchego, and Pepper Pizza I made recently.

Refrigerated pizza dough is glazed with a tasty topping of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and oregano and then topped with chicken sausage, manchego cheese, and fresh yellow bell peppers. A little sprinkling of red pepper flake adds a kick at the end. I was able to portion out this pizza and save some for the next couple days rather than eating the whole thing in one sitting (not that I ever do that – ha!). The balsamic vinegar adds enough flavor to keep this pizza from being bland which sometimes can happen with tomato-less pizzas. The sausage was hearty and the yellow pepper adds a bright, slightly sweet burst. I loved this pizza but that is no surprise. I think I love all pizza. Even the pizza I don’t eat. I heart it.

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Place the dough in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; pierce liberally with a fork. Microwave at HIGH 10 seconds. Discard plastic wrap. Combine garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano, oil, and vinegar in a small bowl.

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Roll pizza dough on a lightly floured surface.

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Carefully remove pizza stone or baking sheet from oven. Sprinkle cornmeal over pizza stone; arrange dough on stone. Brush dough evenly with oil mixture; top with sausage, bell pepper, and cheese.

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Bake at 450°F for 13 minutes or until edges are browned. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and crushed red pepper.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Basil

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Blush Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes

Pasta? What’s pasta? I haven’t had it in so long, I think I’ve almost forgot. How crazy it is to me that I eat so little pasta these days when it was my dinner EVERYDAY when I was a vegetarian ten years ago. When people would ask what my favorite meal was? The answer was easily pasta. Now? I don’t even consider it. How did this happen? I don’t even recognize myself anymore. It’s amazing how when you are careful with what you eat, your tastes can change when you aren’t looking. I’ve dabbled in low-carb diets for years. Initially, they were impossibly hard. But now, I’ve found that I feel better and have fewer cravings so it’s easier. I still eat carbs, clearly, but now I can have pasta once in a while and truly enjoy it. This Blush Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes is a fun way to make an old classic pasta dish new again.

A creamy cheese sauce is made vibrant with additional flavors of tomato, shallot, garlic, thyme and spinach before being mixed with corkscrew pasta and topped with juicy, roasted grape tomatoes. The cheese sauce isn’t as cheesy as typical mac and cheese but the addition of the tomato paste and spinach make this feel more like a grown-up version of our childhood classic. I used quinoa pasta instead of regular pasta (but only because I couldn’t find whole-wheat) so my overall texture was a bit different than expected but still good nonetheless. The roasted grape tomatoes add a burst of sweetness and the spinach provides a nutritional boost. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider this mac and cheese, it didn’t disappoint.

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Preheat broiler to high. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. While pasta cooks, place tomatoes on a jelly-roll pan lined with foil. Broil 8 minutes or until tomatoes are beginning to blacken.

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While tomatoes cook, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add diced shallots, minced garlic, and thyme; sauté 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

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Add tomato paste; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, black pepper, and salt; bring to a boil. Cook 4 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

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Add spinach, stirring constantly until spinach starts to wilt.

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Add shredded cheddar cheese, and stir until smooth.

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Stir in cooked pasta.

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Top with the roasted tomatoes.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Quinoa pasta

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Pita Pizzas with Kale Pesto, Tomatoes, and Bacon

Pita pizzas…you are my savior. I’ve been trying so hard lately to track my food which means watching my calories and everything I eat. This can be tough when you have a food blog but the real key (as they always say) is portion control. I don’t know about you but it’s hard for my to control myself around pizza. There is a thin crust frozen pizza at my grocery store that I have eaten all by myself in one sitting before…more than once. Not good. My new obsession: pita pizzas. Specifically, these Pita Pizzas with Kale Pesto, Tomatoes, and Bacon.

Whole-wheat pitas are the base of these personal-sized pizzas which are topped with a bright kale and basil pesto, tomatoes, and bacon. With both Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and a light dusting of nuts, this pizza is packed with flavor and perfectly portion controlled. The pesto is the real star. Making pesto out of kale is a perfect way to get a ton of flavor into this nutrient-rich vegetable. I’ll admit, I made this pizza nearly everyday for lunch last week until I ran out of pitas. Any leftover pesto was eaten with eggs at breakfast and on top of roasted chicken at dinner. I couldn’t get enough of it. The pesto – and the pizza – is a real winner.

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Place a baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. (Keep baking sheet in oven as it preheats.) Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add kale; cook 1 minute. Drain and plunge kale into ice water. Drain; squeeze excess liquid from kale.

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Place kale, basil leaves, 2 tablespoons nuts, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor. Process until chopped. Add 1 tablespoon water, juice, and salt; pulse 5 times. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended.

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Spread about 2 tablespoons pesto over each pita. Top evenly with tomatoes and bacon. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses; top evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon nuts. Remove pan from oven; place pitas on pan.

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Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until crust is browned and crisp.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Slivered almonds
  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

I’m really into going to the produce stand lately because the produce at my grocery store isn’t so great. I don’t like how the peppers, apples, and zucchini at the store are twice as big as the produce at the stand. What in the world are they putting in those fruits and veggies anyway? Well, the good part about getting produce at the stand is that it’s inexpensive, quality, and abundant. The problem? It’s abundant. What do I do with so much broccoli? It’s cold out who might as well make soup! This Broccoli-Cheese Soup is a perfect way for me to use up some leftover veggies while still eating healthy.

Broccoli, carrot, and onion are simmered in broth (substitute veggie broth for a vegetarian option) before being blended together and mixed with a little half-and-half and cheese. The result is a creamy, warm, and healthy soup that is cheesy enough to be satisfying but not enough to be unhealthy. I have to admit that at the end of blending this, I decided to throw in a handful of baby spinach just because. I mean, why not? The soup is already green and plenty healthy but because I throw spinach in my smoothies, it doesn’t seem natural for me to not add spinach to whatever is in the blender. You don’t have to add spinach, obvi. This soup is perfectly satisfying just the way it is.

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Combine stock, broccoli, onion, carrot, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

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Pour soup into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).

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Blend until smooth.

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Return soup to pan. Stir in half-and-half and 2 ounces cheese. Top evenly with remaining cheese and parsley.

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Additions:

  • Handful of baby spinach

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Grilled Tomato, Smoked Turkey, and Muenster Sandwiches

I was talking with my friend the other day about how the best food to eat at a diner at 3am is a grilled cheese with tomato and French fries. I haven’t actually had such food in a really long time because I haven’t been to a diner, let alone at 3am, since I don’t know when. And that scenario at that time of night is the only time I will let myself eat such food. Since that conversation, I’ve had grilled cheese and tomato on the brain. It’s no wonder I found myself dying to make these Grilled Tomato, Smoked Turkey, and Muenster Sandwiches.

Slices of sourdough bread are smothered in a sour cream/Dijon mustard sauce, topped with turkey, tomato, and Muenster cheese before being buttered and browned until perfectly crunchy and oozing. This sandwich didn’t stand a chance with me. Fresh tomato with gooey cheese and yummy turkey? Sold! If only I had some French fries. And I was in a diner. And it was 3am.

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Combine red onion, sour cream, Dijon mustard, and thyme in a bowl. Spread 1 teaspoon butter on one side of each bread slice.

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Spread 2 tablespoons mustard mixture over unbuttered side of each of 2 bread slices; top each with 3 turkey slices, 2 tomato slices, 1 cheese slice, and 1 bread slice (with buttered side out).

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the sandwiches; cover and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Red onion

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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