Friday, June 22, 2012

Mini Quiches

You know I have a good backlog of posts when I still have a Mother's Day related topic and I have already posted about Father's Day! Since Joe and I have lived in this house, we have hosted a Mother's Day brunch for our families. At first I thought it would be nice to give the moms a break and let them enjoy themselves. But once I became a mom, I didn't want to give it up. This was our 4th year, so we have a pretty good system and menu down pat. This year though, instead of making one big quiche, I wanted to try making some mini quiches. Oven space here is at a premium and there is also a ham and a couple french toast casseroles that have to get in there. I figured with mini quiches they would take less time, I could make them in the morning, and then just heat them back up in the toaster oven when it was time to eat. I got the idea from this pin:

Of course that pin was really about freezer meals, but it gave me the idea to make my traditional Quiche Lorraine in mini form. The recipe I have been using for years is from -  you can find it here and below (my adaptations are in red). Here are my pics and the modifications I made along the way:

First up, I prepared my muffin/cupcake pans. I sprayed them with some baking/cooking spray, then cut little circles of premade refrigerated pie crust with the biggest round cookie cutter I had.

cutting the crusts

Then I mixed up the filling. I had actually chopped and measured everything out the night before, so I could just throw it all together in the morning. It was super easy.

fillings all ready to go

I tried two different approaches - with one pan, I baked the crusts for a couple minutes to try and make sure they were crunchy, then I filled and baked the quiches. With the other pan, I just filled them and baked them with the raw dough (like the recipe calls for). Unfortunately, I think because the pans were sprayed well and the dough circles were already sort of hard, the precooked ones floated up to the middle of the quiche. It still tasted good, but they weren't as pretty.

onion, bacon, and cheese all sprinkled on the pie dough

Obviously, since they are smaller then a full sized quiche, I had to play with the cooking times. I had them in the 425 degree oven for maybe 7 minutes, then in the 300 degree oven for maybe 12 minutes. Just keep an eye on them - when they are all puffy and a tooth pic comes out clean they are done.

egg mixture poured on top and in the oven

I forgot to take pics of them in our Mother's Day spread - but I have since made them again one night when we had "breakfast for dinner". I made the same sized batch (makes maybe 22ish quiches) and froze the leftovers. Now its so easy to pop a couple out and throw them in the toaster for an easy (but delicious!) weekend breakfast!

fresh out of the oven

mmmm, bacon.

really need to read up on some photography lessons - I can't seem to get the lighting right!

The Verdict: Delicious. I can't speak for anyone else, but I loved them. I liked this recipe in its pie form, but I think I like it more in a mini form. I feel like the filling to crust ratio is a little better and the convenience of being able to freeze the extras is great (although we only had one left over from Mothers Day!). It was also great for our brunch because no one had to deal with cutting and scooping out a slice. Once we run out of our freezer stash I will definitely make another batch. I might mix it up and try another kind - but this is definitely a standby.

Things to consider: Just watch the baking time. I totally just guessed and it seemed to come out right. Also, I couldn't get enough full circles cut out of the dough - so I had to piece some scraps together for the last couple quiches. It came out fine, just not as pretty. I did notice that they "deflated" a little bit once they came out of the oven - anyone know how to keep them fluffy?

Quiche Lorraine (adapted from

1 9 inch pie crust (I used both crusts that came in the refrigerated package)
12 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled (I used the pre-cooked bacon and just cut it up)
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
4 eggs
2 c. half and half
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne red pepper

Prepare pastry (I cut circles out of the dough and placed them in a greased cupcake pan). Sprinkle bacon, cheese, and onion in pastry lined pie plate. Beat eggs slightly; beat in remaining ingredients. Pour egg mixture into pie plate. Cook uncovered at 425 degrees for 15 minutes (for mini quiches - 7ish minutes).
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Cook uncovered until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean, about 30 minutes (for mini quiches - 10-15 minutes). Let stand 10 minutes before cutting (I waited a few minutes before popping them out of the pan).

We have a lot of events coming up that should generate some more posts: a baby shower, a bbq, JJ's Baptism (finally!) and hopefully some more home-related projects this summer as well - stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls

As I said in my last post, I skipped baking for the second meeting of my book club. It was just not happening that week. Turned out I didn't have much time to bake for the 3rd meeting either. So I searched Pinterest to find something quick and easy. It didn't take me very long to stumble upon these Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls from Make Happy.

Just a few ingredients, no baking involved, and I had everything on hand? Sounds perfect!

I mashed up the pretzels:

Mixed up the "filling"

Made the balls:

Then attempted to dip them after they chilled in the fridge for awhile:

Finished product:

The Verdict:
I thought they were delish. I love, love, love the combo of peanut butter and chocolate. Throw in some salty pretzels too and I am in heaven. They were a bit heavy, so I don't think I could eat too many. They were also pretty ugly - I am a terrible dipper. I don't think I ever get the chocolate the right consistency.

Things to Note/Consider:
Follow the directions. I just dumped everything together and tried to mix it all. Apparently I was supposed to mix the brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter together first. That would have made life easier. Also, they have a tendency to melt if left out (and on your fingers). I think using candy melts might help that. The recipe is supposed to make 22 balls. I think I got less than that and I made them sort of small. Our book club is small, but if I was going to something bigger, I would definitely double the recipe.

Overall, I think I will be making them again. They were an easy dessert option that seemed to be well liked. Marisa even has a recipe that makes this in a bar form - perhaps I should try that since I suck at dipping. Anyone have any tips on how to make it come out a little better?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls
1 1/2 C pretzels
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp butter, softened
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Crush pretzels into small bits
  • In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Stir until all ingredients are completely blended and smooth.
  • Add pretzel bits to peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Add powdered sugar and, again, mix thoroughly
  • Prepare a chilling tray--a dinner plate covered with waxed paper works well.
  • Take about a teaspoon of the peanut butter pretzel mixture into your fingers and gently pat it into a ball with your fingertips. (The powdered sugar will make the peanut butter less sticky, but it's still too sticky to roll well, hence the patting.)
  • If the peanut butter starts sticking to your fingers, your fingers are too warm. Run your fingers under cold water for a minute to chill them, and begin rolling again.
  • Place the peanut butter balls onto the plate. When you have rolled all the balls, place the entire plate into the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • After the peanut butter balls have chilled, prepare your chocolate. Pour the chocolate chips into a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. If needed, microwave for another 10 seconds and stir again. Continue until the chips are completely melted, which means they stir easily into smooth, fluid chocolate with no lumps.
  • Place one peanut butter ball into the melted chocolate and gently roll it around with a fork until completely coated. Remove from the bowl with the fork and place back on the waxed paper plate. Repeat for all other balls.
  • Once all the peanut butter balls are coated in chocolate, return the plate to the refrigerator and chill another 30 minutes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I am not sure we have any male readers - but just in case - Happy Father's Day! I just wanted to share my version of this Father's Day Idea that is all over Pinterest:

I saw this for the first time last June, as I am a follower of Heather Drive in my google reader. I have actually been reading her blog(s) since her wedding planning days! Anyway, while Joe was out with some coworkers, I seized the opportunity to have a little photo shoot in the front yard. It's hard to get a 7 month old to not eat everything in his hands. Here are some outtakes:


A little cloud gazing...

...before a little meltdown. Ok, photo session over!

 But I managed to squeak out a couple good ones. I am still experimenting with my new camera and lighting and all the settings, but I think this is much better than anything I could have done with my old camera.

Here's the finished product:

Cute, right? I think it will look great on Joe's desk at work, and like the original post says, it could be fun to retake the same photos every year.

We are off to our brother and sister-in-laws house this afternoon for a Father's Day BBQ and to celebrate our Dad's 60th Birthday! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Stay tuned for some changes - Shannon and I are working on some new headers/layouts!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Brownie Cookie Candy Goodness

I’ve been meaning to try this pin for quite some time. It reminds me alot of this pin I tried a while ago.

Unfortunately, I do not know the original source site but the picture linked back to couponersunited. There were a few good tips in the comments section – like using Oreos as a substitute for the Reese’s and to use cupcake liners.

I gathered up my ingredients.

I didn’t read the directions well and ended up buying the wrong cookie dough. The directions called for the break apart kind. However, I made it work. I’m sure you could also use a home made recipe as well.

Start by layering the cookie dough in the bottom of the cupcake liners and push down.

I just eyeballed how much cookie dough to put in.

Next up is layer #2.

I decided to try both Reese’s & Oreos.

Then finally, cover the Oreos or Reese’s with brownie batter.

The Reese’s were easier to cover then the Oreo’s.

I baked them at 350 for 17 minutes.

Once I took the brownie treats out of the pan, I noticed the strangest thing. A layer of orange was on the bottom of the cupcake pan. Turns out that the cute, new cupcake liners I used...

didn’t hold up so well and the color ran.

Oh well! Anyway here’s the end result...

The Verdict: This recipe was very easy to make and the Oreo ones were delicious! I would definitely make those again. However, I was not a big fan of the Reese’s ones. The Reese’s completely melted, which made it difficult to eat. All I could taste was the peanut butter.

Things to Note/Consider: The Reese’s ones would probably taste better if I had the pan that they used in the original picture. The ratio of cookie to Reese’s to brownie was off in my cupcake pan. There just wasn’t enough room for all the cookie dough needed to off set the peanut butter.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Brownie Batter Dip

Earlier this year, I joined a book club. (Side note: how is it June already?! I feel like I just ended my maternity leave and I've already been back at work longer than I was out!) So far we have read three books. Of course, like most book clubs, we talk about the book for maybe a half hour and then just drink wine, eat, and gossip. For the first meeting (we read Sarahs Key), I wanted to bring something sweet, but also easy and something that would travel well since I had to bring it to work with me. Shannon suggested I try this Brownie Batter Dip she pinned from Something Swanky:

Just a couple ingredients and I get to eat brownie batter? Sounds good to me. It was literally one of the easiest things I have ever made, so I don't even have pics of the process, just the finished product:

I wasn't sure what to use as dippers (the original post didn't really mention anything), so I bought a couple of things I thought would go well.

The Verdict: It was ok. The girls said they liked it, but like Shannon, I am not a huge cream cheese based dip fan. I feel like all I could taste was the cream cheese. I even added more sugar than the recipe called for hoping that might mask it. I guess I was just expecting it to taste a little more like actual brownie batter. When you get down to it though, its chocolate, so it wasn't terrible.

Things to Note/Consider: Too cream-cheesy, but that could just be me. Like I said, the other book clubbers seemed to like it - although we had way too much food that we barely made a dent in anything. I would probably try it again. It was very easy and paired with all the dippers, I could probably be convinced to eat more of it :)

Brownie Batter Dip
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2-3 c. powdered sugar (varies by desired consistency)
  • 5 tbsp. AP flour
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3+ tbsp. milk (varies by desired consistency)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  1. In a stand mixer, whisk together the cream cheese and the butter.
  2. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and 1 tbsp. milk.
  3. Add the flour, cocoa powder, vanilla, and 1 more tbsp. of milk if needed.
  4. Whisk all until smooth.
  5. Add remaining powdered sugar and milk alternately until dip reaches your desired consistency.

For the second book club meeting, I brought cupcakes from a bakery - it was a long week! But this most recent time, I made these, stay tuned!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast

Well I didn't anticipate us going this long without a post, but I guess life just gets in the way of blogging :) This post has been sitting, 25% typed out in draft form for weeks...

I have had time to make this recipe twice now, so its about time I review it. Balsamic is a favorite in this house. In salad, on subs, drizzled on tuna. Delicious. So when I saw this pin:

 Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast from A Cook's Quest

I knew I had to give it a try. Below are the couple pics I remembered to take.

I browned the roast the night before:
Browning the roast

and also cut the onions the night before and threw them in a ziplock in the fridge. I even mixed up the sauce the night before so all I had to do in the morning was dump it all in the crock pot.

Prep the night before made it easy to dump in the next morning.

The delicious final product (but crappy pic)

Verdict: It was delicious! The sauce was incredible - especially on the mashed potatoes. The onions were tender and sweet and the perfect compliment to the roast. Clearly its repeatable - I've made it again!

Things to note/consider: The first time we had it, Joe made the sauce. He did a much better job. When I tried to separate the fat the second time we had it, I don't think I got one bit out. As a result, the sauce was sort of thin. Still good, but it was better the first time.

To make it even easier to throw together, I had the potatoes peeled and chopped and sitting in water overnight, so they just had to be drained/rinsed and boiled while the sauce was being made. It was a delicious weeknight meal that tasted like it took a day's worth of cooking. The leftovers were great too. Highly recommended!

Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast
from A Cook's Quest

3-4 pound boneless chuck roast
Seasoning Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
black pepper to taste
1-2 T olive oil (depends on your pan)
1/4 cup water to deglaze pan
2-3 large onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1 cup beef stock, reduced to 1/2 cup (can use a can of beef broth, but be sure to reduce it)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Rub meat well with seasoning salt, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Heat heavy pan with small amount of olive oil and brown roast well on both sides. This will take a few minutes; don't rush the browning step.
While roast browns put 1 cup beef stock in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, then let cool slightly and mix in balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce. Peel onions and cut into thick slices. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup water and add to sauce mixture.

Place onions in bottom of slow cooker. Put meat on top of onions and pour beef stock mixture over. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until beef is tender. The meat might be partly submerged in liquid after this much time.
Remove meat from slow cooker and cover with foil to keep warm. Drain liquid from Crockpot and remove as much of the fat as you can with fat separator or skimmer. Cook down liquid by about 1/3, and serve sauce with meat and onions.
In other news, I still have a large backlog of things to post. I hope to catch up this weekend to get some more current stuff up here. Also - my amazing husband got me a fancy new camera for my birthday so the picture quality from me should get better (once I figure it out!). Have a great weekend everyone!
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