Category Archives: cheddar cheese

Bacon and Broccoli Mini Quiches

Mini quiches are a classic part food. They are quintessentially French and really easy to eat. They can be made ahead and reheated quickly on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees. Though it would be very easy to buy these in the freezer section, when you make them yourself they are truly exceptionally. These were a huge hit with the father to be.

Bacon and Broccoli Mini Quiches

Crust:
3 cups flour
2 sticks of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Pull out about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a round, place it into a mini-muffin pan to form a miniature pie shell.

Filling:
6 eggs
¾ cup milk
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 8 oz package shredded cheddar cheese
½ lb thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
10 oz bag broccoli, defrosted, drained and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrease. Beat the eggs, milk, mustard and seasonings with a whisk until well combined.

Fill half of the pastry with broccoli and the other half with cheese. For the broccoli quiches, top them with a bit of the cheese. For the cheese quiches, top them with a bit of the bacon bits. Slowly fill the mini pies with the egg mixture until you can see the egg peaking out of the filling.

Place the molds on top of a baking sheet and bake the pans for 30 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Cheddar Broccoli Chicken and Rice

It has been really cold outside here in NYC. So that means comfort casserole time. I normally default to mac and cheese when I’m having these sorts of cravings, but I wanted to produce a healthier version. This has all of the warmth and comfort but with the addition of veggies and protein.

Cheddar Broccoli Chicken and Rice

3 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 ½ pound chicken thighs, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 pound bag of frozen broccoli, thawed
½ cup ricotta
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 12oz bag shredded cheddar
½ cup milk
½ cup parmesan
olive oil

Place the rice and the butter in a large pot. Melt the butter and toast the rice grains. Add the water, salt, garlic and bouillon. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium low and place the lid on the pot. Cook for 30 minutes.

Transfer the rice to the final casserole dish. In the same large pot, heat the oil, chicken, and seasoning on medium high, stirring occasionally. Keep cooking the chicken until it is done and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the broccoli to the chicken and cover to steam and heat through. Remove the cover and allow the rest of the liquid to evaporate.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Return the rice to the pot and add the cheeses and milk, except for the final amount of parmesan. Mix the rice mixture to fully combine. The cheese will melt as you mix. Transfer the rice mixture back to the casserole dish. Smooth the top of the rice mixture and spread out the remaining parmesan cheese over the top. Spray or drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil over the parmesan cheese.

Bake the casserole in the oven for 45 minutes or until the cheese on the top forms a nice crusty brown. You can also switch the oven to boil to finish the browning process.

Valentine’s in New York

Today is Valentine’s Day. It is freezing out. The streets are lined with roses spilling out of the Korean bodegas and everyone seems to be in a couple but me. Therefore I’m going into hibernation mode. Glorious warm hibernation. This dish was inspired by the need to clean out my fridge and cabinets but I think the results turned out so much better than I expected. Serve it with a crisp green salad to convince yourself that you are eating healthy. Also pop a good bottle of wine or bubbly and forget that it is a marketing holiday.

To make regular mac and cheese, omit the Bolognese and seasonings, and substitute elbow pasta for the shells and cheddar for the mozzarella.

Italian Mac and Cheese

1 lb package of whole wheat Conchigliette (shell) pasta
1 stick butter, reserve 1 tablespoon for the topping
1 cup flour
1 quart milk
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon parsley
3 cups Bolognese sauce
8oz grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons French friend onions

Boil the pasta according to package directions. Sit it aside in a colander to drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrease.

In the same large pot that you cooked the pasta, melt the stick of butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the flour, whisking to combine. Slowing whisk in the milk so that no lump forms. Add all of the seasonings and continue whisking as the mixture thickens. Add in the Bolognese sauce and whisk to combine. Add in the cheese and continue whisking so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Taste the sauce to check for seasoning. Once the cheese has started to melt, fold in the pasta and transfer everything to a large glass ovenproof dish. Melt the reserved butter and mix with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and friend onions. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole, trying to seal to the edge.

Bake the casserole for about an hour till the mixture is hot and bubbly and the topping is nice and golden brown and crispy.

The Most Important Meal of the Day

I’ve always loved quiche. It’s the perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack. You can practically make anything into a quiche: salmon and asparagus, mushrooms and goat cheese, sausage and peppers.

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

¾ cup flour
½ stick butter
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 cold water
1/2 package bacon, I prefer the thick slab kind
frozen spinach, drained
shredded cheddar cheese
9 eggs
½ cup milk
salt
pepper

Mix the flour, butter and salt in a metal mixing bowl until the butter is 100% incorporated and the mixture resembles course meal. Slowly add in the water, a little bit at a time and pull the dough tougher, being careful that it isn’t too wet. Roll it out so that it fills a 10-inch pie pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the bacon into chunks and cook in a pan on medium, till crispy and brown. Drain on a paper towel. Layer the pastry first with the spinach, then the bacon and then the cheese.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk and salt and pepper till it is smooth. Pour the eggs, gently, over the filling. It should be just at the top of the filling.

Bake the quiche for 1 to 1.5 hours until it is golden brown and puffed up. Let it cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.