Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hash Brown Vegetable Quiche

I've prepared many a quiche for my family (and a couple of my clients as well), but I don't ever eat it because it's usually loaded with cream and cheese, two ingredients that don't agree with me. I stumbled upon a recipe without cream in a recent issue of Vegetarian Times, and knew I could adapt it for my lactose-free lifestyle. I've also been curious about using shredded potatoes as a quiche crust - not a new idea, but one I'd never tried. So I took both ideas and created one very tasty quiche!

Notes about serving and making: I would happily eat this any time of the day (as a matter of fact, I have); it reheats wonderfully in the oven or the microwave. Any combination of lightly sauteed or steamed vegetables would work in this. Next time I'm going to try broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes. If you are not dairy-free, ignore my notes about dairy- and lactose-free cheeses and use whatever kind you like.

Hash Brown Vegetable Quiche

Makes 1 quiche

1 bag of Alexia frozen shredded hashed brown potatoes, thawed
4 T. Earth Balance or butter, melted
2 t. oil - coconut or olive recommended
1 small onion, peeled, halved and sliced very thin
1 small bulb fennel, top and bottom trimmed, sliced very thin
salt and pepper to taste
1 small jar roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and chopped
a pinch of dried basil (fresh would be even better!)
6 large eggs
1 cup Lactaid cottage cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar, dairy-free if need be
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a deep pie dish.

2. In a large bowl, combine the hash browns with the melted butter. Press into the prepared pie dish to form a crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the edges are brown and crispy and the center is beginning to get light brown. Remove from oven and reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.

3. While the crust is baking, heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Saute the onion and fennel until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the roasted red peppers and basil. Set aside to cool a bit.

4. Also while the crust is baking, combine the eggs, all cheeses, and salt and pepper in a blender. Mix until smooth.

5. When the crust is done cooking, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. (I know I said that twice. It's important.)

6. Pour the sauteed vegetable mixture into the crust and spread it around so it covers the bottom of the crust. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables. Bake (at 350!) for 35 - 45 minutes, or until eggs are completely set in the middle (no jiggling) and top is nice and light brown.

7. Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Slow Cooked Peanutty Chicken

After getting home from a monster cook date (six different entrees, six servings of each, plus side dishes), I was short on both cooking mojo and time before I had to pick up the kids at school. What I did have was a package of chicken breasts, a hankering for peanut butter, and my trusty slow cooker.

If you've ever read this blog before, you'll know that my slow cooker is actually a fast cooker. Aside from the fact that it cooks everything in half the time it should, I love the slow cooker because it's pretty hands off, which is great when you have to drive 30 minutes each way to get your kids, or are sick of standing at the stove all day and it's not even dinner time yet. Guilty on both counts.

Because of my experience with this "slow" cooker, I knew for a fact that my boneless breasts would be cooked within 2 1/2 hours. Even 5 minutes longer turns them into dry, dusty throat-cloggers. Your crock pot/slow cooker may be different; all I can suggest is that you use it (a lot) until you figure out exactly what timing works for you.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled, and will fill the crockpot better if it is. If you don't have/can't find ginger and garlic in the tubes, substitute about 1 T. of fresh ginger and garlic for each "squeeze" I call for.

Slow Cooked Peanutty Chicken
Serves 3 - 4

nonstick cooking spray
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 T. low-sodium tamari (soy) sauce
1 squeeze of fresh ginger from the tube
1 squeeze of garlic from the tube
1 squeeze of Sriracha or other hot sauce (or crushed red pepper flakes)
about 1/4 cup of low-sodium chicken broth
1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Spray the crockpot with nonstick spray. Turn to LOW.

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, hot sauce and broth in the crockpot and whisk to combine. Place the chicken breasts in the pot and use a spatula to coat them with the sauce. Cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours (or longer), or until chicken is cooked through. You will definitely have to stir this once or twice while cooking to make sure the sauce doesn't burn on the bottom of the crock pot, if yours is as hot as mine. :)

Serve with wedge of lime, a grain (I went with quinoa) and vegetable (I went with baby spinach, julienned and stirred into the quinoa) for a very delicious dinner.