Two months ago, grocery store shelves were raided.
Many of the basic items we all utilize were not always available. Most of us found ourselves stocking up on anything and everything. However, over the course of the last two months, a lot of our needed items have changed along with the ingredients that fill our fridge and pantry. I’m certainly not cooking the same things now I was cooking then. I knew my cravings would change, along with the season, but I had no idea how much. As a result, many of the items we stocked our refrigerator with, I am finding ways to use before I lose.
Yesterday, I reorganized the fridge and realized I had six dozen eggs. We have definitely still been eating eggs, but we certainly haven’t kept up with what we expected to devour. How had something that takes up so much space in the fridge still not been used? I instantly decided to use the eggs for a pre-made quiche. Quiche not only can be partially cooked and frozen to use at a later time, but they also take up little space in the freezer.
Quiche, one of the most well known dishes of the open-faced egg tart family, is a mixture of cream, and or cheese, meat, veggies, seafood, or anything else that could be combined with eggs, poured into a pastry shell, and baked in the oven until it puffs and browns. You can invent your own combinations and keep your diet healthy and interesting.
This affordable, choose your own adventure meal can be enjoyed in the convenience of your own kitchen. Quiche became popular in England sometime after World War II for just that reason. The tasty trend found its way to the United States during the 1950’s. Today, different forms of quiche, strata, and other savory egg custards and casseroles are staple appetizers and entrees on the American table.
My first experiences with quiche were my mother’s delicious made-ahead meals. It was the mid 1980’s and both of my parents were in chiropractic college in Kansas City, Missouri. I was four years old and my mother was pregnant with my brother David. Between studying and family, with no extra help there simply were not enough hours in the day, and this was coming from a 4 year-old.
Mom would have a quiche making night and we would make 20 plus quiche at a time. The quiche were all sorts of different flavor combinations. Mom would bake the quiche partially and then fill the freezer from top to bottom with deliciousness. The quiche was the perfect make-ahead dish that never became boring. It was also an activity that I could help with and loved eating.
The slice of pie always felt special. Mom would make a small salad with greens or fruit and serve with a slice of hot buttery bread. Just typing this description, I am getting hungry for a homemade quiche. Quiche can be served in so many different ways ranging from crustless (gluten-free) to hash-brown crust (gluten-free). The original quiche Lorraine had a bottom crust made from bread dough, but has since evolved into pie crust. But let’s not drop the dough just yet.
All of today’s recipes may be made with or without pie crust. I’ve included a basic pie crust recipe, but if it’s easier for you don’t worry about it and just buy the premade. Sometimes I just don’t have the time or desire and the premade save the day. Not only are there a variety of pre shaped crust and ready to roll out crust available, but gluten-free are also available in stores.
NOTE: No matter what crust I’m working with I always prick the bottom of the center of the crust with a fork several times before filling it with ingredients and bake for about five minutes or until the crust has started to get a little color on it. Just be careful not to overcook before filling with the good stuff. This gives it a little more crunch.
Good luck and enjoy!
Basic Pie Crust
1 ¼ cups sifted all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp shortening
3-4 Tbsp cold water
Sift flour and salt together into a bowl. Cut the butter and shorten it into flour with a pastry blender or fork. Do this until the mix resembles coarse meal. Add 3 Tbsp water and mix with a fork or your fingertips until the dough may be gathered into a ball. If the dough is very crumbly, sprinkle a few drops of water over the dough, adding only enough to make the dough stick together. Wrap the dough in wax paper and chill in the refrigerator one hour before rolling.
Roll the dough out onto a floured board. Using a nine to ten inch pie pan or quiche tin, fit dough to fit the surface. Cover pastry with a sheet of aluminum or parchment paper, pressing firm on the sides and along the edges of the pastry. Fill with uncooked rice or dry beans and bake in a preheated four hundred degree oven for seven minutes.
Carefully remove rice or beans and covering. If making quiche now, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and continue baking for five more minutes. Crust should not brown and should be only partially baked unless otherwise directed. Allow pastry to cool for about five minutes before filling and baking. If making the quiche crust for use at a later time, remove rice or beans and covering, allow to cool, cover, and place in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
Quiche Lorraine (Cream and Bacon Quiche)
The classic version of this creamy dish contains no cheese. Diced ham sauteed in butter is especially delicious to use in place of bacon.
8 servings/preheat oven to 375 degrees
1 nine inch pastry shell (optional)
4 ounces lean bacon (6-8 slices medium thickness)
1 quart water.
8 inch pastry shell, partially cooked (7 min)
3 eggs or 2 eggs and 2 yolks
1 ½ to 2 cups heavy whipping cream or half cream and half milk
½ tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 to 2 tbsp butter cut into pea sized dots
Cut bacon into pieces about an inch long and ¼ inch wide. Simmer for 5 minutes in the water and rinse in cold water. Dry on paper towels. Brown slightly in a skillet. Press bacon pieces into the bottom of the pastry shell.
Beat the eggs, cream or cream and milk, and seasonings in a mixing bowl until blended. Check the seasonings. Pour into the pastry shell and distribute the butter pieces on top. Pour into the pastry shell.
Set in the upper third of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes to 30 minutes, or until the quiche has puffed and browned. Slide quiche onto a hot platter and serve.
Beef Tostada Quiche
2 avocados, peeled, seeded and mashed
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tomato, chopped
1 four ounce can diced green chillies
¼ tsp hot sauce
¼ cup chopped onion
8 ounces ground beef
1-2 Tbsp taco seasoning mix
1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese, about six ounces
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups half-and-half or milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to four hundred degrees. In a small bowl, mix avocados, garlic and lemon juice. Stir in one chopped tomato, one Tbsp green chillies and hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate.
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, combine beef, onion, remaining green chillies and taco seasoning. Stir occasionally, or until beef is brown and onion is tender. Drain mix.
Layer cheese and then ground beef mix in the partially cooked pastry shell.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, half and half, salt and pepper. Whisk until mixed but not frothy. Pour mixture over ground beef in pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted off center comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes before serving. Garnish with shredded lettuce, tomato and avocado mix, chips, and more cheese. Or place dishes or shredded lettuce, corn chips, additional chopped tomatoes, and the avocado mix on the counter for folks to top their slices of quiche themselves.
Crab and Mushroom Quiche
8 servings/preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 nine inch pastry shell (optional)
½ pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
½ pint diary sour cream (1 cup)
½ pint small curd cottage cheese (1 cup)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 drops Tabasco
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese cake (½ pound)
6 oz. Fresh or frozen crab-meat, thawed and well-drained
In a medium skillet, saute mushrooms in butter until tender. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. In a blender or food processor, blend eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, flour, onion powder, salt and Tabasco.
Pour mix into a large bowl. Stir in sauteed mushrooms, Jack cheese and crab meat.
Pour into a 9-10 inch pie dish or plate. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Quiche should be puffed and golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into pieces.
The recipe and photo used in today’s article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz ([email protected]) with a little help from her mother, Dr.Rita Goldman.