Bacon and Cheddar Yeast Crust Quiche

If Nick was in charge of dinner, we would more than likely be eating these 4 things on repeat:

Biscuits and gravy. Omelets. Quiche. Steaks.

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Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of all those things, but I’d like them a little more spread out instead of rotating those same things every 4 days.

There have been a lot of days already in the past year that, when asked, Nick requests quiche for dinner. After I finally got a good crust recipe, it was pretty easy to throw them together and it always left pieces for dinner the next day or lunches for us for work.

But when I saw this yeast crust quiche recipe on the Red Star Yeast site, I knew I had to throw my fall-back crust out of the rotation so I could try theirs.

bacon cheddar yeast crust quiche 1

I would have never thought to make a quiche crust with yeast. It’s usually just a mix of butter or shortening, flour, a pinch of sugar, and some ice cold water. This crust is completely different than your typical quiche crust and it’s definitely worth making.

A little fluffier, a little less flaky, but tons of flavor make this a great base on this bacon and cheddar quiche.

And – even though it has yeast – there’s no actual rising time, so this crust takes less time to pull together than my normal one! No cutting the butter into the flour and making such a mess, either.

If you’re looking for a great weekend breakfast dish or something to make for Father’s Day, try this! It’s so easy, but seems so fancy. I think that’s the thing I love the most about quiches. They’re the little black dress for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. Easy, classic, but it looks like you spent a ton of time slaving over getting ready.

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Bacon and Cheddar Yeast Crust Quiche
Slightly adapted from Yeast Crust Quiche
Makes: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp active dry Red Star yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp butter or shortening
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk or cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir 1/2 cup of the flour with the yeast and salt; mix well.
  3. In a saucepan or microwave safe dish, heat water and butter/shortening to 120-130°F (shortening does not need to melt); add to flour mixture.
  4. Mix by hand until it’s somewhat smooth. Gradually stir in remaining flour to make a stiff dough. With lightly floured fingers, press the dough into a greased 9 or 10-inch pie pan. If desired, crimp edges.
  5. Fry bacon until crisp; crumble. Sprinkle the bacon pieces and cheese in the bottom of the crust.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour over bacon and cheese.
  7. Bake at 400°F for 30 to 35 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean and center is set. Serve warm.

This post sponsored by Red Star Yeast – all opinions are my own.

Salted Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Today, Nick and I have been married for 9 years. Together for 10 and a half.

Exactly one-third of my life has been spent with him and to be honest, I don’t know how I got through the first 2/3 without him. It feels like he’s always been here, that we’ve known each other since the beginning, but I know that he tricked me into going out with him the first time…and that makes me love our story even more.

Have I told that story? I don’t think I have. Maybe I’ll save that for next year on our 10th anniversary.

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The best lessons I’ve learned in 9 years of marriage:

Don’t go to bed angry. You won’t sleep well and nothing gets solved.

Laugh, every day, at something, together. When you goof off and have fun together, every day turns out to be a good day.

Keep the little things exactly what they are – the little things. Pick your battles and let the rest go. It’s not worth it to fight about things that don’t really matter in the long run. (Side note: I’m a total peace-maker and hate confrontation, so this works well for me).

Go on dates as much as you can – to a movie, dinner out, a walk in the park, a concert, whatever. Find what makes you both happy and keep doing it.

Let him watch his shows, too. I’m not the biggest fan of Gold Rush or Yukon Men or watch-some-guy-work-on-a-truck, but I’m okay having those as background noise while I read or blog until something I want to watch is on. I watch Gold Rush on Fridays until Fashion Police comes on – it works well. And we only have one tv and no dvr, so it’s every man for himself in our house.

salted chocolate chip pecan cookies 1

Let your husband do what he’s good at and enjoys. If that means pulling an old jeep apart for fun…that’s great. If it means going hunting or kayaking or mountain biking, go for it. Those might not all be things I like, but that’s okay – if it’s not, it gives me time to do something I like….like shopping.

Making big breakfasts together on the weekends is one of the best things in life, I think. Hanging out with coffee or tea, good music, and biscuits/pancakes/omelets sets the tone for the weekend. Lazy mornings at home are my favorite.

If you like coffee, learn how to make good coffee. It makes a huge difference.

Cuddle.

Take naps together whenever possible. Sunday afternoons are the best, followed closely by rainy day naps. Extra points if it’s a rainy Sunday.

Don’t underestimate the power and love of a fresh batch of cookies.

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At only 9 years, I can’t say that we’re experts but we’ve made it through these past few years pretty much unscathed.

I think it’s an equal part incredible parents and families + a good sense of humor (for both of us) + lots of cookies for the bad times.

We’ve had great years and really, really tough ones. But I know he has my back and I have his. And as long as the cookies keep coming, we’ll be good, no matter what gets thrown at us.

For as much as I talk about cookies here, it’s only right that I have a cookie recipe to share today. When I first started cooking a few years ago, I didn’t think I’d be making cookies as often as I do, but it’s one of Nick’s favorite desserts – ever – and is super easy (thank goodness!).

I will almost always pick a classic chocolate chip cookie over any other kind, but Nick likes to have walnuts or pecans added in every now and then. And this batch turned out so good that I had to post. They’re not too different from your typical chocolate chip cookie recipe, but the coconut oil, extra chocolate, toasted pecans, and sea salt make them special.

It’s totally okay to have a cookie cake for an anniversary, right? I may need to make one.

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Salted Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
Makes: 3-4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup Dixie Crystals brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dixie Crystals sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Place a small skillet over medium heat and add the chopped pecans. Toast, stirring frequently, 5-10 minutes until you can smell the pecans and they are warmed through. Remove the pan from heat.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugars together (with a stand mixer or hand mixer) and mix for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Pour the whole wheat flour into the dough and blend. Then add the all purpose flour, baking soda, and salt until everything is mixed together.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and drop dough by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges.

I have an ongoing partnership with Dixie Crystals. All recipes and opinions are my own, as always.

Yogurt has officially become the top snack option in my house.

I always go through phases with yogurt and smoothies with the seasons. When it’s dark and cold in the winter, I don’t want anything to do with either of them because they make me even more chilly. But as soon as there’s a hint of sunshine and warm breezes, I’m filling the fridge with way too many containers of yogurt and making smoothies for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.

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But when you have 10 (or more) containers of yogurt in your fridge, you have to come up with some fun things to do with it besides just spooning it into a bowl with some strawberries and granola.

So I had an idea last week.

Remember those no bake cookie dough bites I made last year? I decided to take that base, add a lot more yogurt, and see how it turned out as a cookie dough frozen yogurt instead of the little cookie bites.

And, after making it, I’ve decided that this could become a problem. This frozen yogurt took no time to mix together, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker!

cookie dough frozen yogurt magic shell 1

And this homemade magic shell is definitely something that needs to be on your to-make list.

My favorite thing in the world to get from Dairy Queen has always been a dipped cup – just their vanilla soft serve, smothered in the chocolate shell. I always ask for extra dip so it pools up around the edges of the ice cream and you get that ring of chocolate as the finale of the sundae.

After figuring out that I have some issues with ice cream, I don’t get sundaes very often anymore, but I can make this frozen yogurt + magic shell at home and it’s crazy easy.

So yogurt is a mainstay for me. Healthy, easy, and it can go from breakfast to dessert in no time. If you’re lactose intolerant or just have sensitivities (like me and tons of other people) The National Dairy Council has a great fact sheet, Fall in Love with Dairy, with lots of tips to help you enjoy dairy every day – without triggering a reaction. If you’re looking for more recipes and tips, make sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and their website and on their blog.

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Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt with Homemade Magic Shell
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Dixie Crystals brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dixie Crystals sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add  the vanilla and beat until combined.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt. Add the chocolate chips or chunks and stir.
  3. Add the flour and chocolate mixture to butter and fold it in gently. Add the yogurt and stir again.
  4. Move the yogurt to a container and cover with lid. Freeze until set, preferably overnight.
  5. Makes a little under  2 cups.

Homemade Magic Shell
Makes: about 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, heat the coconut oil until it’s melted, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir the cocoa powder and honey into the melted coconut oil until all the cocoa is incorporated.
  3. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes until it has cooled down a little before spooning over your frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by NDC – all recipes and opinions are my own, as always. I also have an ongoing partnership with Dixie Crystals.

This isn’t your normal pasta salad.

You know the kind – the classic pasta salad I grew up with was either covered with black olives and Italian dressing or peppers and other veggies and coated with a mayo-based dressing.

But the best thing about pasta salad is that you can make it whatever you want. And last week, I wanted Middle Eastern.

zatar spiced chicken and pasta 1

After spicing it up in Richmond with 16 flavors of hummus and a new spice kit of my own, I couldn’t help but throw some new-to-me flavors into this pasta salad.

One spice mix we tried was a Zatar seasoning. Most Zatar seasonings are a mix of thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds, salt and sometimes sumac. If you haven’t tried it before, here’s the perfect excuse to go buy some! It may have taken me almost 30 years to try zatar, but you can bet I’ll be using it regularly from now on. And I have an almost unhealthy love for sumac now – have you tried it?! It’s so tart and tangy and salty. I want to put it on everything.

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With summer right around the corner, pasta salads are about to be popping up everywhere. They’re the expected dish of picnics and fellowships and potlucks. But you don’t have to bring the same recipe with you every time.

Switch it up. Add a new veggie. Try some new seasonings. Swap out your mayo dressing for hummus (I did – and it’s the best idea ever).

If you’re looking for some new pasta salad ideas and recipes, Dreamfields has you covered – this is their 3rd year of the Pastapalooza which is all about the ultimate side dish of summer: pasta salads. So try something new, throw out your usual recipe, and see what you can come up with this summer.

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Want to win a case of Dreamfields so you can make this pasta salad – or your own version – this summer? Dreamfields is giving one of you fantastic readers a case of their fabulous pasta! The giveaway will end Friday, June 14, 2013 at noon central. Good Luck!

to enter do one or all of the following (each comment acts as an entry):

  1. Visit the Dreamfields website, look around, find a pasta recipe you would like to make, and comeback here and leave a comment telling me which one you chose.
  2. Follow @HealthyPasta on Twitter
  3. Follow Dreamfields on Facebook
  4. Follow Dreamfields on Pinterest
  5. Follow BranAppetit on Facebook or Twitter

* For #2-5, you must leave a comment stating you followed for the entry to be valid.

Zatar Spiced Chicken and Pasta Salad
Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 Tbsp zatar spice mix, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups Dreamfields Penne Pasta
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1/4 parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot of water over high heat. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add some salt and the pasta. Lower the heat to medium and let the pasta cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes until the pasta is cooked. Drain the pasta and pour it back into the pot; set the pasta aside until you’re ready to put everything together.
  2. Cut the chicken into 6 equal pieces, or as close as possible, so they cook in the same time. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the zatar spice mix, salt, and pepper and set the chicken aside.
  3. Place a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chicken to the skillet (in batches, if you need to) and cook, 5-6 minutes on each side until the chicken is browned and cooked through.
  4. Once all your chicken is cooked, set it aside on a plate.
  5. Add the sliced zucchini to the skillet and cook 4-5 minutes until the zucchini is tender. Toss in the tomato and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  6. Pour the zucchini and tomato mixture into the cooked pasta. Add in the last tablespoon of zatar spice mix, chickpeas, sliced olives, hummus, and parsley and stir everything together.
  7. Serve the pasta salad topped with a piece of chicken.

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and recipes are my own, as always.

Strawberry Season

Even thought it’s technically been spring for almost a month now, it hasn’t felt like it. For us, it’s been more like a cross between very early spring and mid-fall: lots of gray days, a ton of rain and chilly breezes, with just a few sunshiney days thrown in.

And for the past month, all I’ve wanted is a strawberry.

Not an apple, not another orange, not anything else. Just one strawberry.

But because of the late start to real spring around here, ours aren’t ready yet. Our plants are loaded with berries – they’re just not ripe. In another couple of weeks, I’ll probably be complaining that I have too many, but right now, I want all that I can get.

Since I’m not so good at waiting (for anything), I walked over to the farmer’s market in town the other day and bought a gallon this week. I just couldn’t take it anymore. And they’ve been even better than I remember.

So….get ready for strawberry season around here. I’ve got about 3/4 of a gallon to get through before ours start ripening this week or next and then – strawberry overload. I can’t even handle it.

strawberries

I’ve got some grand new plans this year for our berries, but some of them will definitely be used in these old favorites:

strawberry_mojito

Strawberry Mojitos

strawberry_rhubarb_pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

strawberry wheatberry

Strawberry Wheatberry Salad

strawberry_rhubarb_pie_bars

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Bars

strawberry_rhubarb_jam4

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

strawberry_feta_skewers

 Strawberry Feta Skewers

shortcake

Strawberry Shortcakes

waffles_jam_butter

And one of my favorite strawberry-season breakfasts: homemade waffles topped with butter and strawberry rhubarb jam.

What’s your favorite way to use strawberries? Leave me a recipe or a link and I’ll add it to my list.

Hummus and Olive Flatbread Pizza

I am a sucker for pizza – especially made-at-home pizza. I like having full reign on toppings and being able to load it up with pepperoni or double the cheese or nix the sauce if I feel like it without having to pay extra or justify my choices. Don’t you hate that? When you order something and people give you weird looks? If I want olives and tomatoes and mushrooms and bacon on my pizza, I’m allowed to have it, thankyouverymuch. This is America.

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Plus, I love making pizza because they’re easy! Besides whatever kind of pizza base you want to use, you don’t really need a recipe, either.

It’s like a salad….on bread. It’s whatever you want! Leftover chicken? Throw it on there. A few hunks of veggies in the fridge that need to be used? Sure, they’ll be great.  Some of our best pizzas at home have been random mixes from the fridge.

hummus olive flatbread 1

FlatOut recently sent me some of their new Thin Crust Flatbreads to experiment with. Have you seen these yet? I went through a huge phase with their wraps a few years ago because they were awesome to have on Weight Watchers and to make little pizzas with. But these flatbreads are even better for a pizza base!

They’re soft, but bake up crisp, and they’re the perfect size for a little personal pan pizza without having to make a homemade dough. For my first trial, I went with something quick and easy: a Hummus and Olive Flatbread Pizza.

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Do you make flatbread pizzas at home? I can’t wait to try some other toppings – these will be nice to have for easy lunches at home or even for breakfast! If you’ve got some more ideas for me, make sure to tune in to our Twitter Party on Thursday April 25 at noon EST  with Susan of Doughmesstic, Angie from Eclectic Recipes, and of course, FlatOut, where we will all be sharing our ideas and PRIZES! Hope to see you there!

You can find FlatOut flatbreads at your local Walmart – or use their product locator. For more inspiration, check out the 30 Days of Grilled Pizza going on over on the FlatOut Facebook Page.

Hummus and Olive Flatbread Pizza
Makes: 1 flatbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 FlatOut Flatbread
  • 1/4 cup hummus (I used Sabra Roasted Pine Nut)
  • 5 olives, sliced
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp each cumin and paprika
  • drizzle of olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the flatbread on a baking sheet and bake 3-4 minutes, just until the flatbread is warm.
  3. Remove it from the oven and spread the hummus on top of the flatbread. Place the sliced olives on top of the hummus, sprinkle on the sliced scallion and the parsley. Top with the cumin and paprika.
  4. Bake the flatbread again for 4-5 minutes until everything is warmed through.
  5. Remove from the oven, drizzle with olive oil, and slice into wedges.

GIVEAWAY: A two night trip for 2 to Taste of Chicago Food Festival – July 10-14, 2013!

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Disclaimer:  I am a paid ambassador for FlatOut Bread.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Prizing is supplied by, fullfilled by, and courtesy of FlatOut Bread.