Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Almond milk quiche

My boyfriend introduced me to almond milk last year and I have to say, this stuff is amazing (see my post on making pudding with almond milk here). Almond milk is great for anyone who doesn't use enough milk to use it before it spoils. Almond milk will last unrefrigerated for months as long as you haven't opened it, so it's great to keep on hand for cooking. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks after it's opened (I think the box says 10 days but we've kept it much longer without a problem).

For the most part, you can substitute almond milk for cow's milk in recipes but sometimes, it will change the taste of what you are making or the chemistry of using milk is important, so you have to be careful and maybe give it a trial run before you serve it at a dinner party or something. There are also lots of different types of almond milk - sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla - which you'll want to take into consideration when buying some to keep on hand. There are problems with this at my house because I will use a small amount for cooking and would prefer the unsweetened, unflavored but the person who ends up finishing it has different preferences when it comes to using it in coffee or on cereal...these are the issues of small household management.

Keeping this in mind, I wanted to make a quiche. Normally, I would use light cream (or maybe heavy mixed with a little milk, depending what was in the fridge) but this requires the purchase of dairy products, ergo advance planning. After a little online research, it seemed like making quiche with almond milk was possible so a I gave it a whirl, doing what I normally do but using almond milk instead (see my post about my first time making quiche (the standard cream way), a bacon-cheddar quiche here) .

This quiche turned out fluffy and delicious! If I hadn't told you I made it with almond milk, you never know the difference. Not only do I not have to make a trip to the store for cream, using almond milk instead of cream is much healthier. Enjoy!

To make a quiche with almond milk:
1 cup almond milk to every 4 eggs, ideally you want an unsweetened vanilla almond milk but I actually used a vanilla flavored one and we could not taste the difference.

The quiche shown above used:
1 pre-made crust
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups almond milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup lightly sauteed mixed pepper strips (originally frozen)
6 strips chopped bacon
1 Tb Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute (or other seasoning you like on eggs)
1/2 Tb of garlic salt (I was trying to counteract the vanilla flavor)

Baked 28 minutes at 350 degrees.

Different quiche recipes will call for different numbers of eggs, amounts of milk but honestly you will probably have to adjust depending on the depth of your pie plate and how much cheese/toppings you put in. It's pretty hard to screw up, don't be afraid because it has a fancy French name!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sausage Tortellini Soup

It's not really the soup season anymore (or so I would like to think, the weather has been crazy) but I've made this soup twice recently and it was very good, especially for a 20 minute dinner!

I found this recipe via pinterest and you can find the original here and I've put the directions below.

3 cups cooked Italian sausage (see my change below)
3 cups uncooked tortellini
4 cups water
1 can evaporated milk
6 chicken boullion cubes - (I only used 2-3, seemed like a little bit much to me?)
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. chives
salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Put all ingredients except tortellini in medium size sauce pan and bring to boil.  Allow to simmer about 15 minutes.  Add tortellini and allow to boil according to pasta pkg. instructions.  Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.

I did not have any pre-cooked sausage. I had uncooked Italian turkey sausage, I sliced my sausage up and cooked it lightly in the olive oil in the bottom of the pot. After my sausage was cooked I added all the other ingredients except tortellini per the directions above.

Cooking the sausage in the same pan you are going to use for the soup will add all the juices from the meat to the soup = extra flavor!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bacon quiche

Why have I never made a quiche before? Don't let it's French nature make you think it's complicated.

I made a fritata a while back and I thought that quiche would be more or less the same just with a crust. No, no, no. This quiche was amazing, much better than a fritata. It was one of those times I was glad to live alone, so no one was around to see how much I ate.

I adapted a bacon quiche recipe because frankly, I wasn't willing to purchase two different milk products. What am I going to with all the leftover half and half and cream? Also, I'm just saying half and half is part cream and part milk, am I wrong here? So the simpler much Lacey version is below, so this might not be super authentic but I assure you, it was delicious.

Lacey's easy bacon quiche

1 frozen pie crust, 9" deep dish, thawed
5 eggs
1/2 pint light cream (aka 1 cup but the package at the store says a 1/2 pint)
2 Tb flour
8 strips of bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded swiss
1 Tb of Tradder Joe's 21 seasoning salute *this is great in eggs but if you don't have a TJs around, you can substitute another seasoning blend
dash salt
dash pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs and cream thoroughly. Mix in flour, cheeses, bacon and seasonings. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until center of quiche is firm.
EDIT: I have recently moved and thus have a new oven. It bakes this same quiche in 25-30 minutes,  you definitely want to check the time the first time you make a quiche in your oven.

I cannon stress enough how good this quiche was. It does take quite a while to bake all the way through, mine was in the oven at least 45 minutes, so be prepared for that. Also, the pie crust will be really full, I spilled it all down the cabinet, my dog had a great morning licking it up while I was putting the quiche in the oven. The (very limited) leftovers are going to work for lunch tomorrow. Now, go be fancy and make yourself a quiche!

One strange thing that happened, possibly because it was so full, the crust popped right out of the plate! I've never seen that happen!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cheesecake brownies

If you've been on pinterest ever, you've probably seen some of these brownie + other dessert recipes (mostly they're brownie cookie combos). I recently saw one for cheesecake brownies. I love cheesecake and I love brownies. Cheesecake because it's delicious and brownies because they're easy and delicious.

The inspiration for the cheesecake brownies came from this recipe for frosted cream cheese brownies but to be honest, it looked a little complicated and I thought that frosting brownies was overkill on the sugar.

My version went like this:

Brownie mix, family size, prepared

Cheesecake mix*
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt

*You might want to double the cheesecake mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9 x 13" pan. Prepare your brownie mix according to the package directions and set aside. In a medium sized bowl beat the cream cheese, egg, vanilla and salt together. Pour brownie mixture into your pan, reserving 2 cups. Scoop the cheesecake mix on top and then the remaining brownie mix. Using a knife swirl the brownie mix and cheesecake together. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

The cheesecake was a little lacking in the brownies, so you might want to double that. The pan will be full so definitely use a 9x13 pan, you'll get pretty thick brownies even with the larger pan.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Pumpkin cupcakes with buttercream icing

It is officially Fall. Alright, it's been Fall for a while but the weather has been surprisingly warm during early Fall in DC so I wasn't feeling very Autumnal. However, that has changed now and I'm ready to bake with pumpkin, make butternut squash soup and drink hot coca!

Plus I've been seeing pumpkin recipes on Pinterest since at least July.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's pumpkin cupcakes


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly (be sure the butter mixed in well). Fill  muffin cups with paper liners and then fill 1/3 full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 2 dozen.

Buttercream icing

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2-3 cups of powdered sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract

In medium mixing bowl, beat the stick of butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar and the vanilla until well mixed. While mixing, add additional powdered sugar until it reaches the desired sweetness.

*Note: You can also add 1-2 Tb of heavy cream to get a fluffier icing

These cupcakes were amazing. I already want to make more. The biggest compliment was my boyfriend (who doesn't eat) eating 3 before 1pm. My biggest mistake was taking them to work and giving a bunch away instead of eating them all myself. Unfortunately the photos did not turn out well but trust me - they were so, so good.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane baking

Hurricane Sandy is currently dumping rain on the East Coast. Thankfully, DC is further inland than a lot of other cites and we don't (so far at least) have any high winds, just lots and lots of rain.

What to do when there is a hurricane and you can't go outside? Why bake of course! Gotta use all the eggs in case the power goes out. Plus, baked goods are already prepared and make a great high calorie food source should the need arise (hopefully, it won't).

Alright, I was planning to make banana bread anyway, I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. Since I really can't (and shouldn't try to) go anywhere, I found the time!

There are hundreds of banana bread recipes out there. Why do I like this one? It makes one loaf. Most quick bread recipes make at least two. Now, breads do freeze very well so if you want to make more, go for it.

You can find the recipe here. If you want to add chocolate chips (like I did), mix 1 cup of chocolate chips into the batter.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Make pudding with almond milk!

You may have noticed a small notice on the back of instant pudding boxes warning users that instant pudding can't be made with soy milk. The internet tells me this is because something in cow's milk it what causes the pudding to set up.

I unfortunately noticed this little moniker after coming home from the grocery store, intending to use almond milk to make pudding for dirt cake. There was no way I was going back to the store.

Enter cornstarch.

You can make instant pudding (I made butterscotch) with almond milk! This is what you need:

1 (small) package instant pudding
2 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 cups almond milk

Mix the corn starch in with the pudding mix and slowly add the almond milk while whisking all of the ingredients together. Allow the pudding to chill.

Update: this has become one of my most popular posts of all time. Tell me, what are you making with your pudding/almond milk? How is it working for you?