Cajun Spice Mix

>> Monday, March 2, 2015

Joe uses this spice mix in stews, gumbos, side dishes, and as a rub for meat, poultry, or seafood.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crushed cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cumin seeds

Mix together spices, herbs, and sugar and place in an airtight container.

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Mini Confetti Quiches

>> Friday, February 27, 2015


Quiche crust in muffin cups


The Hungry Lovers home is very busy these days - Joe's working long hours to build his financial practice while studying for his next set of securities licenses, and I'm working on a bunch of new cooking and writing projects. With him off to early appointments and studying late at night, I decided to come up with a make-ahead healthy and hearty breakfast for him to eat on the run.

These mini quiches can be made with any combination of ingredients. To make a pretty confetti-colored quiche, I used egg whites and low-fat Swiss cheese,  then added broccoli, red pepper, fat-free ham, and green onions. I froze these in their cupcake papers so Joe can pop them in the microwave while he's packing his briefcase, and then take them on the road.

Even though I have only a ten-second commute to my office, I love these as much as he does. It's nice to have a tasty breakfast all ready the moment I wake up.

Ingredients

1 10" low fat frozen pastry crust (if you don't like frozen, you can make your own)
3 cups egg whites or egg substitute, or 12 eggs
1/4 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 slice low-fat ham, finely chopped
1/4 cup Swiss or provolone cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsp basil, minced
1 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place parchment baking cups into a 12-cup muffin pan. Lay the thawed pastry on a cutting board.  With a round cookie cutter or water glass, cut the pastry into 12 circles. Press one circle into the bottom and partway up the sides of each baking cup.


If using whole eggs, beat them together. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the eggs. I mixed these in a large glass measuring cup with a nice pouring spout, so I could easily pour the mixture into each paper cup. Fill them to nearly the top; leave a 1/4" space for the eggs to expand.


Mini quiches ready for baking


Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the eggs are fluffy and set, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the quiches comes out clean. Let cool.

These can be heated up in 45 seconds from the refrigerator, or about 1.5-2 minutes from the freezer.

Makes 12 mini quiches.

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Chinese Five-Spice Acorn Squash Soup

>> Monday, February 23, 2015


Chinese Five-Spice Acorn Squash Soup


This is recipe number 2 from Joe's Valentine's Day dinner. I planned to make a fairly healthy soup full of that beta-carotene goodness, and the acorn squash was looking mighty good at the grocery store. The end result was a super-easy, super-creamy soup without the calories that come from cream.

One thing we noted is that the five-spice powder ingredients contain cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, which all turn bitter with long cooking. If you know you'll be warming the soup for a long time - we were serving it a few courses down the road - add the spice near the end.

Joe's Valentines' Day Dinner

Ingredients

2 large acorn squashes
2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6 oz. fat-free cream cheese
2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp chopped chives

Instructions

Cut the squashes in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut-side down on a plate, and microwave for 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Let cool until they are easier to handle.

Heat a saucepan to high and and throw in the pecans. Shake and cook until the nuts are slightly golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and put in a bowl so they don't cook any further in the pan.

Puree the squash, garlic powder, salt and pepper, broth, and cream cheese in a blender. Pour into the pan and heat to a simmer. Stir in the five-spice powder, then heat through. 

Serve in bowls topped with the pecans and chives.

Serves 4-6.

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