September 14, 2015

Foodgasms: Skinny Crustless Spinach Quiche

Wow, It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe on this blog. Well, all that’s about to change.

I am a sucker for spinach. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, baked or salad, boiled or creamed. I freaking love spinach. And I’m a huge sucker for spinach quiche or souffle. BUT. I’ve been on a diet for the last few weeks (which was temporarily interrupted by the bronchial infection I came down with that also caused me to gain all 5 pounds that I had lost – damn antibiotics) and quiches and souffles aren’t exactly good for that. But I desperately wanted a delicious hot spinach dish when the weather turned crazy cold a couple weeks ago and so the idea of a skinny version was born.

What, you may ask, is the difference between a crustless quiche and a souffle? Not too much. However, a souffle requires milk or cream in it’s base to make it light and fluffy. A quiche generally does not. And cream isn’t exactly “skinny.” So a crustless quiche it was! And I have to say, I was surprised. It was a delicious, hot, filling and LIGHT meal. Not just in calories, but the quiche pretty much melts in your mouth. My roommate and I both had seconds that night.

I apologize for the not so great photo – it didn’t survive long enough for a better photo op…

At a whopping 243 calories per slice (may vary depending on the cheeses that you choose to use) you can indulge in this dish and not feel bad. We had it with a side salad with light Italian dressing and we were completely full. And yes, you can change the cheeses to whatever you want. Just keep it at a total of three cups and keep an eye on the calories. The cottage cheese is great for keeping it light and tastes just like ricotta.

Skinny Crustless Spinach Quiche:
Adapted from Allrecipes.com Crustless Spinach Quiche
Serves: 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, chopped
16 ounces of fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) spinach
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup reduced fat mozzarella
2 cups fat free cottage cheese
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
a pinch of nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon
salt
a pinch of white pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9″ pie plate (I couldn’t find mine, which is why I didn’t use one)
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add shallots, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft. Stir in your spinach and continue cooking until any excess moisture has evaporated.
3. In a large bowl, beat your eggs, salt and pepper together. Add the cheeses and stir. Add your spinach mixture and stir until completely blended. Pour into your pie plate.
4. Bake until eggs have set. Check after 30 minutes, but you may need 40 total. Let stand to cool for about 5 minutes and cut into six slices before serving.

I hope you like this recipe! What is your favorite “skinny” recipe? Let me know in the comments!

April 29, 2014

Foodgasms: Five Cheese & Parsley Chips

There is nothing better than a great tasting, crunchy chip. Especially for a light snack. But most of the store bought chips are super salty, have trans fat or I have a hard time finding the flavors that I like. So when I came across a recipe in the Food Network Magazine (December 2013) for some amazing pesto crackers, I jumped at the chance. Yes, the recipe they published called them crackers. But I consider them chips as (to me) they are too thin to be considered crackers. But whatever you choose to call them, they were amazing. So after trying their recipe, I went off on my own and created these magnificent snacks.

Five Cheese & Parsley Chips

How amazing do those look? Lightly crisped along the edges, melted and browned cheeses and bright green parsley. And the crunch is heavenly. It literally is the perfect snacking chip. And with summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect appetizer to make and take to a party or picnic. They are easy to make, last for several days in an air tight container and retain that crunch the whole time. Even better? You don’t need a dip or salsa to accompany these chips as they have enough flavor already. Let’s get a close up!

Closeup of Five Cheese & Parsley Chips

The best part about this recipe is that you can easily switch the cheeses and herbs. Want something simple? Try Parmesan and Parsley. Or how about Asiago and Green Onion? Or even Romano and Basil. Find a combination you like and run with it. Get creative and feel free to share your flavor combinations in a comment as I’d love to hear from you!

Five Cheese & Parsley Chips:
Inspired by Food Network Magazine’s Festive Crackers Recipe

1 package of won-ton wrappers
1 cup of Italian Blend Cheese, finely shredded (mine was a mix of asiago, romano, mozzarella, provolone & fontina)
1/3 to 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2/3 cup of chopped parsley
1.5 tsp of kosher sea salt
1.5 tsp ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheets with either foil or parchment paper (either will work – do not use wax paper as the wax will stick to the chips and become useless)
2. Measure out your salt and pepper and mix together in separate small bowl.
3. Cut your won-ton wrappers in half, either diagonally to form triangles or vertically to form rectangles.
4. Place your won-ton triangles or strips in a single layer on your baking sheet and lightly brush with the olive oil. Then lightly sprinkle with your cheese of choice or cheese blend, top with a sprinkling of parsley and season with a pinch of salt & pepper.
5. Bake for 6-8 minutes (I discovered that 8 minutes was perfect for my oven) or until your chips are browned and crispy. Lay flat on cookie racks until cool.
6. Either serve immediately after cooling or store in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.

March 16, 2014

Foodgasms: Dark Chocolate Guinness Brownies with Brown Sugar Frosting

I have a confession to make.

For many years I thought that I hated beer. I thought that I was strictly a liquor girl. But I was wrong. As it turns out, I merely hadn’t tried the correct beers.

I LOVE beer. As long as it is dark. Stouts and Porters specifically. And especially:

Guinness.

Guinness is love.

Delicious, dark and decadent Guinness. Which deepens the experience of any chocolate dessert that you could think of. And just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, I made these gooey and fudgey brownie bites with a super rich brown sugar frosting. And I happen to think that you’ll quite enjoy these as well.

How cute are these?

These little brownie bites are just so adorable. And so … yummy is the best word to use the taste explosion that will occur as soon as you pop one of these little babies into your mouth. If you’ve never cooked with alcohol and are worried about the flavor or the alcohol content, don’t be. While I would make sure that these remain an Adults Only treat, you will not get drunk or even buzzed from eating these. Approximately 40-50% of the alcohol is burned off when baking these and you’re not using all that much of the Guinness. What is left is a darker, more dense chocolate flavor that will leave you wanting more.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Dark Chocolate Guinness Brownie Bites:
Adapted from Ghirardelli’s Classic Chocolate Brownies Recipe

4oz Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Ghirardelli Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips
1/2 cup Guinness, reduced

First things first. Pour your Guinness into a small saucepan and while simmering, reduce until a 1/4 cup of concentrated Guinness is left. Guinness has a tendency to foam up so keep an eye on it. You may be able to prevent the foaming if you use room temperature Guinness. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place mini baking cups in a mini cupcake pan. Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into 1″ pieces.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Slowly fold in the Guinness until blended and fill the mini baking cups 2/3’s of the way. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remember, do not overcook! Brownies should be just slightly undercooked. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes.

Brown Sugar Frosting:
Taken from King Arthur Flour.
Additional notes (in italics) added by me.

7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts. This can take some time. Will start to look like a thin caramel sauce when it’s ready. Add the milk, bring to a boil (this will seriously thin out the mixture, so don’t be alarmed by that) and pour into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat well; if the mixture appears too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.

Frost the brownie bites while frosting is still warm. Otherwise, the frosting hardens considerably and can be difficult to spread.