April 18, 2014

Easter Quiche

Looking for a quick idea for Easter brunch? Look no further than a classic quiche! I think quiche is the perfect thing for brunch; you can make it ahead, put anything in it and it transports easily. Start with a great crust (or a premade one if you are really in a hurry!) add your favorite combination of ingredients, whip up your eggs and cream, pour into the shell and bake…that is it! We often make one with meat and one vegetarian. You will notice that we used a tart pan below, but a regular pie pan works great. I like the tart pan because you get a thinner piece of quiche (and I don’t really love eggs). Make sure to wrap the pan in aluminum foil so you don’t get a leaky quiche or get ready for a smoky kitchen! Below is one of our favorites but get creative with yours.

Take it to your brunch for a guaranteed hit! Happy Easter!

Kelly

Classic Quiche

1 pie crust

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

8 oz sliced mushrooms, sautéed until tender

1 cup cream

3 eggs

Salt & pepper

Make a pie crust add pie weights to keep the crust from bubbling up and prebake at 425° for 20 minutes.

Allow the crust to cool a few minutes and then layer the ingredients into the crust.

Blend the eggs and cream with salt and pepper until combined. Pour the egg mixture into the crust.

Bake for 35-45 minutes at 375° until golden and cooked through.

Enjoy warm or room temperature.

February 23, 2014

Welcome to Boulder Joe’s!

Trader Joe’s opened over the weekend in Boulder. I’ve been waiting SO long. Since 1993, in fact. When I lived in Redondo Beach, I worked two doors down from TJ’s. Unfortunately, I was in San Francisco during the Boulder opening so I did my due diligence and asked everyone what they like to shop for at Trader Joe’s.

Here’s the consensus:

 
 

Sweets:

·      Soy Chocolate Ice cream

·      Biscotti

·      Chocolate Chip Cookies

·      Chocolate Bars

·      Cookie Butter (this is not one of ours, but I do not stop hearing about it)

 
 

Packaged foods:

·      Almonds (how are they so much better than other Almonds?)

·      Trail Mix

·      Fancy Crackers

·      Corn Salsa

 
 

Frozen:

·      Orange Chicken

·      Teriyaki Chicken

·      Brown Rice

·      Mac & Cheese

·      Edamame

·      Green Beans

In general, we think the frozen veggies and fruit are good

 
 

Toiletries:

·      Tea Tree products

·      Shaving Cream

·      Sponges

·      Vitamins

 
 

 Others:

·      Fresh Basil

·      Fresh Flowers

·      Bread

·      Broccoli Slaw with Carolina BBQ Sauce

·      Marinated Steak

·      Pesto Chicken

·      3 buck chuck (formerly two buck chuck) the couple I was sitting next to had people bring it to their wedding in Colorado. Not sure I’d put this on my own list.

 

Anything we missed?? Everyone finds their own Joe’s Gems. J

Mary

 

Boulder Trader Joe’s Post Opening Day Craziness

February 10, 2014

Work Lunches

Continuing our healthy eating theme of late, I thought I would share my Sunday routine for making 5 days of lunches in one afternoon. Being well prepared makes life SO much easier for the rest of the week. With BF needing the equivalent of two full lunches every day, it is much easier to have them all done before we get wrapped up in the week. In order to easily accomplish this, I start by making the carbs…usually brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. All of those things can cook while I work on the other things. Next comes chicken breasts (seasoned and baked for 45min at 375°), flank steak (marinated and grilled or stir fried), and chicken muffins. Finally the veggies…I usually just steam tons of broccoli and green beans. I try to mix things up, but these are the staples for sure! I also love that if I have leftovers, I can use it for easy dinners or freeze things for later. Next, I pull out the trusty food scale and lots of Tupperware. An assembly line makes things super easy and I can do exactly what is right for each of us.

Usually I start with the carbs so it cools while I do others and then add protein and veggies.

By the time I am done all we have to do is grab and go in the morning!

Between this and the egg muffins, you can have most of your day covered. A couple hours of work really pays off later in the week. Do you have ideas you use to make your healthy habits stick? We always need new ideas!

Kelly

PS- You can see my little lunches in the back row. Measuring also helps me to stay on track with what I need to be eating while looking at all that food!

February 4, 2014

Happy Homemade Soup Day!

Happy Homemade Soup day! A great day for soup in Boulder since we’ll have a high of 16 degrees today.

It makes me sad if I don’t have some homemade chicken stock around. There’s so much you can do with it. Adding to sauces, a base for other sauces, chicken noodle soup.

Of course there are a million recipes for this, but you don’t really need one. Whenever you trim vegies or bone a rotisserie chicken freeze these things in a container or zip lock bag. Then when you get enough trimmings, rinse with water and put in a pot with more quartered onion, a couple cloves of garlic, a bay leave and some black peppercorns add a few cloves if you like that depth.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Skim off the foam and keep doing this for a while. The more you do this the clearer looking the stock and the cleaner tasting. If you move the pot a little off the burner, it’ll make it easier. Sometimes I forget and if you do…it’s still better than the canned!

Strain and cool. When the stock is cooled put in the fridge.

The next day, you can skim the fat off the top and use in Chicken & Sausage Bites or Risotto. For a quick and easy dinner get some store bought tortellini and simmer in your stock for Tortellini Soup!

Mary

 
 

February 1, 2014

Super Bowl Party!

Here in Colorado, people have gone Super Bowl crazy! We have some die-hard fans in our state and they have been decked out in their orange and blue for weeks now. From the TV news anchors to my office, everyone has Bronco fever. If you are planning your own Super Celebration, here are some of our best ideas to impress your guests!

First, get the grill warmed up and get a smokey twist on Chicken Wings to start things off! While you have that grill all ready, fancy up some Burgers starting with homemade buns. The perfect side for burgers is potato salad, in our family we do it German Style. For an easy main dish that will keep all day, just throw some Chili
together and let guests eat at their leisure. What is a Super Bowl party without Guacamole? Try it Traditional or with a Sweet Twist! Try BBQ in wontons for something different. If you are looking to lighten things up a bit make a colorful Veggie Display or some Baked Chicken Fingers with tons of flavor sure to be a hit. Or bring stadium food home with Soft Pretzels.

 

GO BRONCOS!

January 29, 2014

Cooking Staples

We started talking earlier this week about healthy eating and how to make it easier. When you live with someone who eats roughly 4,000 calories a day…all clean…you have to do some prep work to make things practical. On the weekend, we sit down together and make a menu for the week for dinner, but that doesn’t always help with breakfast and lunch. I am getting better at planning leftovers in for lunches, but it is much easier to just pack everything at the beginning of the week and be able to grab and go. I start by cooking about egg muffins, 2 cups of brown rice, 6 organic chicken breasts, 4 sweet potatoes and steaming a bunch of veggies. With these staples always in the fridge, you can make a lot of things happen. Sometimes chicken becomes Chicken Tinga, or enchiladas. Often it gets chopped and sent in lunches. By having a bit of an assembly line with the food scale, I can get through things pretty quickly with already cooked foods. Bonus, whatever we don’t get to, I just freeze and use that in meals down the road. Shredded chicken is awesome to have in the freezer…a great time saver! I try to mix in something I haven’t tried before once a week. It doesn’t always happen (read: the lentils I meant to make still in my pantry) but I try for variety. We usually mix in one fish meal and one lean red meat meal each week. I swear all of this is much easier than it sounds! It really does make the rest of the week go much smoother. Here is an example of a dinner I made from our staples in the fridge. You can see our fully stocked fridge is how we make it without take out for every meal! Chicken and Brussels sprouts with brown rice. MMMM. This was great too because it saved well and became the perfect lunch later in the week. Gotta love multitasking!

Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

2 Chicken breasts cooked and cubed

12-15 Brussels Sprouts, shredded

3 T Dried Cranberries

2 T Sliced Almonds

2 T Honey

2 T Butter

Crushed red peppers

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat add Brussels sprouts and sauté about 2 minutes. Add chicken, cranberries, and almonds. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and drizzle with honey. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

Serve over brown rice.

January 26, 2014

Healthy Beginnings

I don’t know about you, but for us 2014 has come in like a wave; it seems like we are busy all the time the last few weeks! That can make a healthy beginning to the year a challenge. BF is on a new meal plan where he has to eat clean but huge volume. The only way I know how to make that happen is to prep ahead. We got ourselves a food scale and I spend a few hours on Sundays making rice, chicken, veggies and lean meat and measuring for the week. I know I have talked before about our menu planning and our favorite easy lunch food, chicken muffins, as well as my own fitness tracking. We try our best to plan ahead and it is the only thing that keeps me on track in the middle of a busy week! Bonus, planning ahead really helps us to manage our budget as well. When I know we can use the same ingredients for multiple things, we waste less and really maximize our dollars. In the next few weeks, I will share with you a few of our staple meals and how we handle long work weeks while trying to be healthy.

To kick off the series: Healthy Egg Muffins. I am not a huge egg fan, so I spend a lot of time trying to make eggs that don’t taste like, well, eggs. I am fairly accomplished at this task, especially when it comes to scrambles. I subscribe to Jacques Pepin’s scrambled egg method which makes for perfect and fluffy eggs every time. The single biggest purchase we have made to help us in healthy eating quest is our VitaMix. WE LOVE IT…seriously, we use it at least once a day. (More on that to come.) It is such a quick easy way to make a quick green smoothie, or soup for dinner (it comes out steaming hot!), or mix some eggs for scrambles. We use it for so many things! In this case, I have been making egg muffins to have for an easy protein-filled breakfast during the week. It is an easy and healthy thing to grab and go. BF seems to like them anyway! Look out for more ideas to come!

Healthy Egg Muffins

12 eggs

3 egg whites

½ bell pepper chopped

2 cups spinach chopped

4 T finely chopped leeks

1 T your favorite seasoning (I mix it up between Adobo or fresh herbs, whatever is on hand)

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a muffin tin and place on top of a cookie sheet to prevent spills. Crack 12 eggs into blender. Add egg whites, milk and seasonings to taste and blend until combined.

In each muffin cup, add chopped veggies.

Pour eggs into each cup until completely divided. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and puffy. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge and use as needed.

You can certainly put whatever fillings you like into these and it is a great way to clean out the fridge! I do highly recommend a good nonstick muffin pan for this, they pop right out of mine, but I can see it being a big mess in the wrong pan!

December 22, 2013

Salmon with Champagne Citrus Beurre Blanc

Cooking is a creative outlet for me and I probably make much fancier at home meals than most people, but not usually this fancy. This dish is special. It all started with me trying to find a way to use up the last bit of champagne in our fridge from a spontaneous celebration. After a night of sitting in the fridge, champagne is not particularly drinkable, but it is perfect for cooking! We still had some Alaskan salmon in the freezer brought home to us straight from the source…the gift that keeps on giving. That with some salad and bread to sop up the wonderful sauce made for the perfect date night in. This is my riff on beurre blanc but certainly not typical. By replacing the vinegar with extra citrus you get a bright sauce. Most of the time you would strain this sauce, but I left the shallots which added some texture. I also cut down the butter by about 75%. You still have a rich sauce, but without 3 sticks of butter. I am sure French cooking purists would not call it beurre blanc, but this is my show! This would be a perfect holiday meal and may be repeated in our house for New Years. Put this sauce on anything and enjoy!

 

Salmon with Champagne Citrus Beurre Blanc

1 + pounds of salmon (about ½ pound per person)

2 finely chopped shallots

1 clove finely chopped garlic

2 cups dry Champagne or white wine

Juice of 1 lemon, 2 tangerines, and 1 orange

1/2 stick of butter, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Kosher salt

 

Preheat oven to 400°. Season salmon fillet with salt and pepper place in a baking dish. Cook for 12 minutes then turn off the heat and allow to stand in the hot oven for an additional 3 minutes.

Prepare the sauce while the salmon cooks. Add 1 T butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the shallots and garlic cook until soft and fragrant.

Add the wine and bring to a boil allow to reduce by half, stirring frequently. See the pretty bubbles from the champagne?? Add the citrus juice and simmer about 10 minutes until reduced by about half and it begins to thicken.

Reduce heat to low; gradually add butter, 1 piece at a time, stirring after each addition, until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place sauce on the plate and top with salmon. Garnish with more sauce. Serves 4.

December 6, 2013

Happy Friday!

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Happy Friday from snowy and COLD Colorado! Sending warm and cheery holiday season wishes to you!

November 26, 2013

Turkey Day Changeup

This year’s Thanksgiving had been a bit turned on its head in our house. Some of our Thanksgiving family had a conflict so we decided to move the festivities to Friday so we could all be together. It has kind of thrown us for a loop in terms of planning and prep because we have a whole extra day! Nothing to complain about, I know but it does change the things you always do. The other big change for us is the menu…we didn’t want to just repeat Thanksgiving in all its glory, but have an upscale riff on leftovers. So, our planning has turned to making things a little differently and centering everything around sandwiches! How can you go wrong?? We have found that there are some traditional things that people can’t live without. So far, we have made dough for rolls and cookies, stuffing, cream puff shells, cranberry relish and chipotle cranberry sauce. Here is our menu (in progress as always):

 

Thanksgiving Menu 2013

 

Appetizer:

Shrimp Cocktail

Sweet Potato Croquettes

 

Dinner:

Roasted Turkey Sandwiches

Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches

Wild Turkey Casserole

Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes

Caesar Salad Spears

Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Chipotle Sauce

Sweet Potato Rolls

Gravy

Onion Jam

 

Dessert:

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Cream Puffs with Pumpkin Mousse and Chocolate No-Moo Mousse Filling

Ginger Snaps

 

If you would like to see our regular schedule, check this out! Countdown Day 7, Day 5, Day 4, Day 1

 

It will be a great way to spend the day after turkey day! Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours! Back with more recipes post-Thanksgiving.

 

PS—I think the patrons at Whole Foods today need a good reminder of the spirit of the season since it seems we need police presence in the parking lot and a near riot over a lack of whipping cream! I am still trying to kill it with kindness and a smile! Thank goodness for some friendly employees. J

Kelly

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