Healthy and Easy Crustless Summer Vegetable Quiche

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I have never been so determined to make a dinner from scratch as I was when I forged ahead and baked this quiche, even though I didn’t start it until 8pm on a work night, knowing full well it wouldn’t be ready to eat until at least 9:30pm; and that’s if everything went smoothly. (It did).

Perhaps a saner person would have looked at the clock and resigned themselves to leftover Annie’s Mac and Cheese, or even a fresh salad, but I would not give up the dream of quiche. It came out of the oven so late that Mike didn’t even eat it (he had already eaten the mac and cheese and a fresh salad with toast on the side, like a smart thinker).

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But I made sure to ooo and ahhh over this quiche as I helped myself to not one but THREE (small) servings, trying to savor it as the clocked ticked rapidly toward 10pm and my bedtime loomed near. I try not to eat close to going to bed, but quiche night was an exception.

It’s good. Good enough to wait well into the night for, and good enough to risk going to bed with a quiche hangover. I also need to note that the reason it didn’t maintain it’s pie-slice shape in the photos was because I insisted on eating it within a few seconds of taking it out of the oven. Let this thing cool – it’s worth it!

What You Need:

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  • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno or habenero pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped kale (spinach would work well too!)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other milk of your choosing)
  • 1 cup shredded muenster cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 very thin slices of zucchini
  • 6-8 very thin slices of tomato

Quiche (4)What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 375F.

In a lightly oiled medium skillet, heat the garlic and onion on medium heat until the onion becomes soft and translucent.

Add the jalapeno or habenero, and bell pepper, and chives, and stir.

Add the broccoli florets and stir well to combine with the onion mixture. Add a tablespoon of water if necessary to keep the pan moist, and cover, cooking on low-medium until the broccoli has reduced, about 7 minutes.

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While the broccoli mixture is cooking up, grab a small mixing bowl and combine the eggs, milk, cheeses, mustard, black pepper and salt, stirring well.

Set aside.

Before taking the broccoli mixture off the heat, add the kale and stir well.

Pack the broccoli mixture into a well-greased pie dish.

Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli filling, using a fork to gently nudge the broccoli around to let the egg mixture seep through to the sides and bottom of the pie dish. (There should still be a healthy amount of egg mixture over the top of the dish.)

In any pattern you like, place the zucchini and tomato slices around the top of the quiche. Make a happy face if you want!

Place the pie dish in the oven for about 40 minutes (check after 20-30 though – you want the egg cooked through and the top to be slightly browned and crispy but not burned, obviously).

Let cool for a few minutes before delving in, if for no other reason than to keep it in pie-slice shape 🙂

Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Have it for breakfast! Experiment with different cheeses too – I think Parmesan or feta would be absolutely delish.

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Spanish Rice Baked Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes

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Do you KNOW how many recipes there are in the world for stuffed tomatoes where the stuffing is nothing more than breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper? I’m sure it’s delicious, really. You could put bread product in basically any food and I’d eat it for days. But I feel like I couldn’t quite get away with serving mostly breadcrumbs to Mike for dinner.

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Besides – there are so many awesome ways to stuff a tomato, right? I was going to do quinoa and kale for this recipe, but got to thinking about other grains and other dishes and remembered suddenly how much I loved Spanish Rice when my mother would make it when I was a kid. (If my mother is reading this, I want to be candid that I do realize I could be remembering this incorrectly and perhaps I did not love it as a kid, but I certainly consider it a food that I recall eating as a kid and enjoy eating today. So same thing, right?)

I also wanted to share this adorable farm stand that I discovered while running to work one day. (These are the perks of not driving – I tend to pay more attention to what’s going on around me). Check this out:

 

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This person keeps a little bucket near the veggies for your money and it’s completely an honors-system operation. I love it. So I got a few of the tomatoes for this meal from this little stop on my way home.

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This dish is super yummy and has the added benefit of providing probably all the lycopenes a person needs for a successful week! The rice you use is completely up to you. I used Jasmine because as I have mentioned it is by far my favorite type of rice, but I imagine a wild or brown rice would also be spectacular in this dish.

What You Need:

  • 5-7 medium red tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes if you can get your hands on them
  • 1 small onion, chopped OR 1/2 of a medium-large onion, chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 small or 1/2 of a large red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1-8oz can diced tomatoes in their juices
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp cilantro (finely chopped fresh or ground)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Bring the vegetable broth to boiling in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the rice. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is gone and rice is cooked.

While the rice is cooking, heat a 2 tsp olive oil in a medium skillet and add the chopped onion, garlic, jalapeno (if using) and bell peppers. Stuffed Tomatoes (2)

Let simmer, stirring frequently, until softened and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Take your tomatoes and using a small paring knife, slice off just the very top to remove the stem area.

Cut in a circle around the perimeter of the inside of the tomato, basically hulling out the middle stem part and goopy insides, being careful not to slice into the body of the tomato or through the bottom.

Using a spoon, scoop out the insides and carefully clean around the inside to open up a nice space for filling, still being careful not to cut into or damage the body of the tomato.

Arrange the hollowed-out tomatoes in a large baking dish with a small amount (1/4 cup) of water in the bottom.

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Combine the onion mixture with the rice mixture, and add the diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro, and stir up well to make the stuffing. Add salt and pepper and mix again.

Using a tablespoon, scoop the stuffing into the hollowed-out insides of each tomato, packing it down and letting extra stuffing flow out the top of the tomatoes.

Combing the panko breadcrumbs and shredded Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over each tomato.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are pinched and the breadcrumbs begin to brown.

Add more water to the bottom of the baking dish if necessary after about 20 minutes.

Enjoy!!

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Pro Tip: As noted above, I think this would be marvelous with another rice such as wild or brown! Also, in a pinch you can use salsa instead of diced tomatoes and just add less garlic and probably nix the cilantro.

Rhubarb and Green Bean Dijon Potato Salad

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I have to admit, this post is kind of a cheat on my part. I do not think it’s ACTUALLY rhubarb season anymore, although to be fair I did see some at the grocery store…

But I didn’t want to go the whole summer without posting this recipe, which I made awhile back, DURING rhubarb season, from farmer’s market rhubarb with the intention of making it part of my Five Days of Farmer’s Market Meals. But since I failed to do that, I figure now is better than never right? Like most things.

And what’s summer without potato salad? It’s traditional anyways, but this summer was an even bigger hit because of this amazing Kickstarter campaign that gave potato salad the attention and fame it has always deserved.

Potato Salad (1)What You Need:

 

  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound green beans, sliced in half
  • 2 stalks of rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 pound red potatoes, chopped into 1 1/2” cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6-8 tbsp dijon mustard (I like the pub style with the mustard seeds)

 

What You Do:

Simultaneously boil a large pot of salted water and heat a nonstick skillet over medium.

Once the water is boiling, add the potato cubes and lower the heat so they simmer. Cook until a fork easily goes through them.

Drain and pour potatoes into a large bowl.

In the skillet,heat the rhubarb, stirring frequently, until JUST cooked. Do not leave it in the pan for too long or else the rhubarb will become very soft. You want it to remain firm.

Add onion, green beans, rhubarb, garlic, green pepper and celery to the potatoes and stir to mix well.

Add the mustard to taste and stir well. You may find you need more mustard (or less) so add gradually and see how you feel. Taste tests are the best part of cooking!

Pro Tip: Add other vegetables, or something crazy like bacon! Everyone loves bacon, right?

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Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

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I love guilt-free dinners more than probably anything. It justifies me eating more of it than is likely acceptable, and topping off that meal with a hefty portion of Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack. If you haven’t tried that kind, but have a potential affinity for chocolate-covered potato chips enveloped in vanilla ice cream and creamy caramel, then go pick a pint up right now. I’m not kidding.

Anyways, back to the food.

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This is super good. And if you don’t want to eat your sandwich fillings between crispy lettuce leaves, just use bread and put the lettuce on as a topping. BUT IT’S NOT AS FUN! 🙂

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What You Need:

  • 6-8 large, full Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 6-8 thin boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

What You Do:

Cook the chicken in a medium pan with a tbsp of olive oil, covered, flipping after 5 minutes. Remove when cooked through and while it’s still moist – we don’t want dry chicken!

Slice and chop the chicken into tiny pieces. Put in a large bowl. Yogurt Chicken (7)

In a small saucepan on low heat, slowly toast the pecans, stirring in the pan frequently to keep them moving and keep them from burning. They’ll start to smell pretty pungent when they’re almost done. Be careful not to burn them.

Add the pecans, chopped cranberries, celery, scallions, salt and pepper to the chicken and mix thoroughly.

Add Greek yogurt and mix well.

Add the tarragon and mix well.

Place on lettuce leaves and wrap, and enjoy!

 

Pro Tip: Add a dab of honey mustard before wrapping these babies up for a little zing.

 

Garden-Destroying August Hail Storms

New England weather is notoriously unpredictable (If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute, as they say) because of days like last Thursday, August 7, when giant hail fell from the sky around 4pm over a 10-mile (ish) area of the Seacoast that included my garden.

When I pulled into my driveway after work, I had to pinch myself to make sure I hadn’t gone through a time warp.

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My dog Madison, a Husky, was psyched. Winter had arrived 4 months early and it was glorious. I, however, immediately ran to the backyard, remembering only one thing – years ago when a freak summer hail storm hit and ruined cars in sale lots all over the Seacoast. If hail could dent the hood of a car, what would it do to my garden?!?

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 THIS IS WHAT IT DOES.

It not only dents your tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash and kale (which, let’s face it, is pretty indestructible) but it makes all those fresh green tomatoes drop to the ground in peril just days before they would realize their red, ripened potential.

Sad.

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So I’ve got a bunch of these green tomatoes now, which I’ve bagged and frozen. This post is basically to lament the loss of my tomato plant and get sympathy, as well as warn you that there are some green tomato recipes on the horizon! Fried green tomatoes anyone?!

Thai Peanut Tofu Stirfry with Kale

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For the FIFTH (but let’s face it, certainly not final) day of Five Days of Farmer’s Market Meals, I give you a ridiculously easy but totally delish vegetable explosion in a pan.

For the fact that I have this crazy amount of kale in my backyard, I realize I haven’t made nearly enough kale-involved recipes this week. So I’m making up for it right now.

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I have a not-so-secret addiction to Thai food – particularly Tofu Pad Thai. But a long time ago I decided it was silly to keep buying it when the ingredients are really so super simple. However, I’ve never been able to give my tofu that golden crispiness, probably because I cook them in oil and not in a fry-o-lator 🙂

This dish is a farmer’s market-friendly spin on Pad Thai, with homemade everything. Sometimes I make these meals to ensure I will have a lunch in the fridge at work the next day that I truly look forward to eating. No shame in that!

The Farmer’s Market ingredients used in this recipe are:

  • Kale (from my garden)
  • Garlic scapes
  • Red and green peppers
  • Bean sprouts
  • Scallions

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What You Need for the Stir Fry

  • 1 bunch kale (about 15 leaves) hand shredded
  • 1 package firm tofu, cut into small squares
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped into small rounds
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch bean sprouts, cut into 1-inch strands

What You Need for the Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (about 1-2 tsp)

 

What You Do:

To make the peanut sauce, simply combine all ingredients. Easy!

Set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat a tbsp of olive or coconut oil and cook the tofu, covered, stirring often. It will be done when the tofu begins to brown and stick slightly to the pan.

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In a large wok or skillet, heat the olive or coconut oil and add the scallions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until soft.

Add garlic scapes, cook for about 2 minutes. Add peppers, stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the tofu and kale. Stir and cook for about 5-8 minutes or until the kale is soft.

Pour the peanut sauce over the tofu stir fry, mix well, and serve topped with bean sprouts, or add the bean sprouts into the mix just before serving.

Pro Tip: Substitute the tofu for chicken, beef or shrimp if desired. Also, you can spice up this dish quite a bit by adding some chopped jalapeno or serrano pepper.

Zucchini, Tomato and Corn Gratin

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Ah zucchini.

I like squash a lot. I really do. But I’m at that point in the summer when, to be honest, the level of squash present in my life is getting to be slightly overwhelming. Not only am I harvesting a small bumper crop in my backyard, but I for some reason keep thinking that purchasing additional summer squash at the farmer’s market is a good idea.

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One of my zucchini plants, going strong.

So the chain of events is as follows: Buy fresh squash at the FM –> feel compelled to use said fresh squash before it goes bad  –> neglect picking the actively-growing squash in my garden –> end up with giant backyard squash.

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This isn’t even the biggest one. My latest monster creation is at LEAST 3 Hershey’s bars long, and probably half of one in width.

So Mike has been subjected to an onslaught of zucchini recipes lately, which have included zucchini bread, zucchini pizza boats, and zucchini-topped pizza, and this is basically fine as he doesn’t mind squash. (But he might after this summer!) I’m still fine with it too, but the ongoing challenge is cooking it in different ways so we don’t get sick of it.

You don’t have to love squash to like this dish, though. It is really very good. This recipe post reflects a few changes that I would most certainly employ if I cook this again, which I will, so don’t lose faith in me if you feel the photos don’t quite do it justice.

The farmer’s market/my garden ingredients used in this meal are:

  • Zucchini and Summer Squash
  • Corn on the cob
  • Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic

What You Need:

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  • About a pound of zucchini and summer squash sliced into thin rounds (I used a mandolin for this)
  • 1 1/2 cups panko or your favorite bread ground up to make breadcrumbs
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 corn on the cob, with corn sliced off the cob
  • 1 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced thin (I also used a mandolin for this)
  • Salt
  • Olive or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

 

What You Do:

The Squash

Preheat oven to 350F

Here’s an important step you should never, ever ignore when cooking squash, but I always do anyways. Salt your squash to help remove moisture. This will help it cook better and faster, and overall just taste better.

So, toss your squash rounds with 1-2 tsp salt and set aside in a colander to let it drain (about 10 minutes).

After, lay the slices out on a VERY LIGHTLY oiled baking sheet, and place in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until the slices look slightly translucent and soft.

Leave the oven on since the whole dish needs about 10 minutes in there at the end.

The Filling

Warm a tbsp of olive or coconut oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When hot, place onion slices in and cover, letting the onions caramelize. Remove them when they smell sweet and look translucent with just a touch of brown.

Gently toss your corn with a tiny bit of salt, black pepper and olive or coconut oil, and mix with the caramelized onions.

The Topping

Melt the 2 tbsp of butter over low heat.

In a small bowl, mix your grated cheese and panko, adding a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

Pour the melted butter into the panko mixture, add the minced garlic and stir it up.

The Finale

Line a baking dish with the cooked squash and raw tomato slices, alternating as you go. After you have one layer down, sprinkle some of your onion and corn mixture over it.

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Add more squash and tomato slices, covering them with onions and corn each time you have a new layer, until both toppings are gone.

Top the entire dish with the panko mix.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until the topping starts to brown and the tomato juices are bubbling. Then – enjoy!

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Pro-Tip: I would recommend making this a wild rice gratin to replace the panko and make it a gluten-free meal. Cook up some wild rice, mix it with an egg and the onions and corn and cheese. Put it on the bottom of the pan and line the tomato and squash on top. Sprinkle with some additional cheese. There ya go!