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Brie, Caramelized Onions & Asparagus Quiche

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It’s all about the Brie baby! This quiche recipe does disappoint in the flavor department and you can make it n advance and heat when ready. However, if you ask me, the best time to eat it is 30 minutes after you remove from the oven. This will ensure that the egg and cheese set a little but are still soft enough that you can cut through a little easier.

Quiches are a big thing in my house, like potatoes. I love that I can make so many different flavors in a pie shape and you really can have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I will say though, they don’t last long at all in my house.

If you want to go the extra mile and make the crust, I applaud you, I, however, love the frozen ones and there are 2 per pack. You can leave them in the freezer until you are ready to make them and all you have to do is get the filling ready.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and while the oven preheats, you will start with the onions. In a medium non-stick saute pan, add the olive oil and onions and cook on medium-low until the onions are a golden brown color. If you want to start with a higher heat, by all means, but you will quickly want to lower the heat so they don’t burn. Once they are cooked to your liking, remove from the pan and set aside. Don’t clean the pan because you will reuse for the asparagus.

Remove the pie crust from the freezer and let sit for about 10 minutes. Poke a few holes at the bottom with a fork to make sure they don’t bubble up. Place in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, remove and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

While the pie crust is in the oven, Cut the tips of the asparagus off. The easiest way is to take one and start bending from both sides. When the spear snaps, that will be your base to cut the rest of the asparagus. After you cut the tips, cut the spears again either in half or in threes, depending on how large they are. I personally like them to be about 2 inches long each.

In the same non-stick pan on medium-high heat, add the rest of the oil and the asparagus and cook for about 2-3 minutes and then remove and layer the bottom of the pie.

In a  large bowl, add the eggs, salt, pepper, onion powder garlic powder, and dry oregano. Beat well so it looks like all the spices are incorporated. Don’t worry if the oregano floats to the top, right before you pour into the pie, you will beat them once more.

In a separate medium bowl, mix the asparagus, onion, and brie together. Feel free to cut the brie however you like. Since brie comes round or triangular, I usually will cut thin slices and then cut those in smaller pieces. Pour the onion, brie and asparagus mix inside the pie and spread throughout the pie as evenly as possible so each slice gets an even amount.

Pour the egg mixture on top, but remember to beat a little before. Place the pie on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Remember to let the quiche sit for about 30 minutes before slicing.

Happy Cooking!

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Cauliflower Fried Rice

Who would think that Cauliflower could actually be made into fried rice? Well, I am here to tell you, it can and it is delicious. I think the biggest misconception about eating healthy is that you have to sacrifice flavor. With the number of options, there are with alternative ingredients, I am here to tell you that is just not true.

My husband and I lost a lot of weight in 2016-2017 and the hardest thing about that is maintaining. Why? Well because you automatically start thinking just a little bit won’t hurt and if you say that too many times, you end up right back where you started. However, if you entertain your taste buds with options that are tasty and healthy you won’t stray too far. This is one of those recipes.

I first attempted the recipe with fresh cauliflower and it was really good, but there is a lot more prepping to get the cauliflower ready. If you prefer to go the extra mile, go for it, but with this recipe, you don’t have to. The cauliflower that comes frozen and already states “cauliflower rice” is just as good and much less tedious.

Start with your mise en place (a French term for everything in its place) and prep all the veggies. I like to use classic flavors, mirepoix – carrots, celery & onion and then I also add garlic, ginger, and mushrooms (button and shitake). You want to chop the veggies equal in size so they cook evenly and so they are not much larger than the rice itself. You can certainly add any additional veggies you may want or swap out some as well.

In a large wok on medium-high heat, add some olive oil and then the veggies in this order – onions, celery, and carrots first. Let that cook for about 3 minutes stirring them around until the onion is translucent. Then add the garlic, ginger, and mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the cauliflower rice to the wok and stir so all the veggies are well incorporated with the rice. Lower the heat to medium. In a small bowl beat the eggs. Then make a well in the center of the wok and pour the eggs in. Stir them with a rubber spoon until they look like scrambled eggs. Once they are cooked, start mixing them into the rest of the rice until they are spread out evenly. If you don’t like eggs, you can skip them. **If you are adding protein to the meal, I would recommend you cook separately and then mix into the rice. The reason for this is time and temperature. If you have ever been to Hibachi, note that they cook everything in different piles and then blend together.

This is the point that I like to add my seasonings. Some people will add salt and pepper at the beginning, but I feel I can control the flavor better if I season at this point. Add all the seasonings, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Mix well and lower the heat to low. Add the butter and soy sauce, mix and you are ready to serve. Some people may want to add more soy sauce so I would place some on the table.

I served this meal with seared lemon pepper scallops and when everyone was done, this is what their plate looked like, which is what makes me the happiest.

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Popcorn and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Yes, you read it right, Popcorn and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. This recipe was inspired by my love of mixing popcorn and snow caps at the movies. Ever since I can remember, that is what I always ate, until the stopped selling snow caps. But I did not let that stop me; I would buy my pack at CVS and then sneak them into the theater ; ).

However, I am sure you are wondering why I would think to make this into ice cream. Well here is my story… in 2008 my husband and I went to San Francisco for my birthday and on the plane ride home, I sat next to a man that was telling me about his experience at French Laundry. After raving about the restaurant, he told us about the most original dessert he had eaten, popcorn ice cream. That stayed with me for quite some time until I created this recipe.

I not only have a passion for cooking the classics and make them my own, but I also love creating things that are out of the box, and this is one of those recipes.

Place a bag of “movie theater butter” popcorn in the microwave and follow the instructions. Pour the milk, cream, and sugar in a medium-size pot on medium-low heat until the sugar melts and then remove from the heat. Add all the popcorn to the milk mixture and let stand for 15 minutes. This will infuse the milk with the flavor of the popcorn.

Remove the popcorn with a skimmer and discard in the garbage (unless that looks appetizing to you – lol – have at it). Allow the milk mixture to cool completely in the refrigerator for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Once the cream has cooled, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker as it is running. I have the Cuisinart and it works well! If you have questions, leave me a comment and I will respond.

So with this ice cream maker, it takes about 30 minutes to double up in size and get thicker. Once it looks like it may start coming out of the machine is when you turn it off. With the machine off, pour the chocolate chips and then mix with a large spoon. At this point, the ice cream is soft enough to mix.

Once you have all the chips you want in there, then you want to transfer to a freezer safe container and place in the freezer. For best results, leave in the freezer overnight.

Be sure to make enough to share. Here at my house, this batch went in 2 days. ENJOY!

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Turkey Picadillo

Turkey Picadillo is my way of being able to eat this amazing dish without eating meat. I actually make it for my vegetarian son and his girlfriend and I replace the turkey with Gardein Beefless Ground and the flavors are so good, you have no idea!

Picadillo is also that meal for me that I probably would not order in a restaurant, but no self-respecting claimed Cuban should ever say they don’t have a recipe for Picadillo (no matter the protein you choose). So if you do not have a recipe, you can use this one or you can use my original Picadillo recipe. Either way, I hope you thank me ; ).

So the trick to my Picadillo or any meal I make is my mise en place. This means everything in its place. Why is that important? Well, for one, it helps with the stress of timing all the ingredients. It’s also important to chop the veggies so they match what you are cooking. In this recipe, I am chopping my veggies with a small dice, since the ground turkey is small. This will ensure that all the food is proportioned, cooks evenly and you don’t get some random large piece of vegetable that seems out of place (LOL).

Once you have the ingredients ready, then you want to get ready to cook. Place your medium size saute pan on medium-high heat and when ready, add the olive oil and then the onion, green and red peppers and saute for about 5 minutes. You will know because the onions will start turning translucent. At this point, you want to add the garlic and cook that for about 1 more minute. That is one of my favorite smells!

Now it’s time to add the turkey. Make sure to break it up and mix all the veggies into the turkey so it looks evenly coated. Once the turkey is browned, add the spices, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder, cumin, turmeric, and smoked paprika.  I think turmeric and the smokiness of the paprika add a unique flavor to the dish.

Now it’s time to add the tomato paste and/or tomato sauce. I say and/or because they have the same flavor just provide a different consistency. The sauce will make it a little more liquidy and the paste will leave it a little thicker. Once you mix it well and all the turkey is coated, then add the bay leaves lower the heat to simmer and cover. Leave cooking for about 25-30 minutes. Most people add olives to their picadillo, if you are one of them, add them before you cover the dish.

You can serve it with rice & black beans, pasta and you can even add an egg to the rice, like the photo above. An egg on top means montado a caballo (mounted on a horse).  I would not even know where to start explaining that one (LOL).  No matter how you eat it, I think you will like it.

Please leave a comment and/or share it with someone you think will benefit from this recipe. ENJOY!

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Banana Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Buttercream

Banana bread is my staple recipe, so what better way to make them then as individual cupcakes.  When you make banana bread, it’s a little different because, you slice a piece and then you can add butter, cream cheese or honey. However, like a cupcake, you need a little somethin, somethin…I decided on honey, cinnamon buttercream. The frosting is so good, I need to create a few other recipes to add it to.

I am always experimenting with my banana bread recipe and while creating this one, I added poppy seeds. Well, needless to say, it was a great addition!

These are simple to make, but having ripe bananas are very important to the flavor and texture. You want the skin of the banana to be yellow with a few black specs. If there is a large bruising, don’t worry, just cut that part out.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees before starting to prep the recipe. This always allows enough time for the oven to reach temperature, by the time you are done. 

Also, line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners to have those ready. You can also prep a 24-cup muffin pan if you want smaller cupcakes. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. You can use a hand mixer if you want or simply use a rubber spoon. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Once everything is mixed together, add the poppy seeds and stir.

Scoop the batter into each individual liner using a scoop spoon; if you are using the 12-cup muffin pan, use a 5 cm scooper and if using the 24-cup muffin pan, use the 4 cm scooper.

Place in the oven and bake about 25 – 30 minutes for 12 or 24 cupcakes. I always start with a smaller amount of time and then test with a toothpick. If still not cooked through, I continue to cook in 5-minute intervals.

Remove cupcakes from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack and let cool completely (30 minutes to an hour). 

Pipe the buttercream frosting on each individual cupcake and ENJOY!

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Glazed Pineapple Cake

When I think of spring dessert, I think pineapple cake. Why? It is the perfect tropical dessert and since I’m Cuban, tropical is in my blood.

I always have canned fruits in my pantry because there is always some recipe I can create with them, pineapples are one of them.

Start by mixing the sugar, butter, vanilla extract, milk and eggs and beat well with a handheld mixer. You want to be able to see a figure eight on the mixture and it should look creamy.

Stir in the pineapple with a spoon until well incorporated (reserve the liquid of the pineapple for the glaze later).

In a separate bowl, you want to sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. I usually use a fine strainer if you don’t have a sifter and it does the job just fine.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients with the wet until everything is smooth and then pour into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze for the cake. Simply add the pineapple juice to the powdered sugar and mix. For a thicker glaze add more powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time).

With a toothpick check and see if the cake is ready. You will know when there is no residue left on the toothpick. If you don’t have a toothpick, you can use a knife and make a small incision.

You want to let the cake cool a little before you remove from the pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. With a knife or an icing spatula, simply go around the edges of the cake to separate from the wall of the pan.

Take a large plate and place over the pan and then flip over and the cake will pop out. If for some reason it is a little stuck, give it a soft pat until it pops out.

Let the cake cool before pouring on the glaze, another 15 – 30 minutes. I like to reserve some glaze to pour on each individual slice.

This goes great with a good, hot cup of coffee!

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Simply Hash Browns

Who says hash browns have to be for breakfast only? This recipe can accompany several big hitter entrees, as well as any breakfast egg.

You can certainly make this recipe with fresh potatoes and a food box grater or you can use Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns that are very good. For this recipe, you want to get the potatoes that are not flavored.

The best way to have them ready and thawed is to place them in the refrigerator overnight.

Since I am using the Lipton onion soup mix I am not adding fresh onions or any other veggies to keep it simple. You can certainly add whatever you like to the hash browns if you want to change up the texture.

I recommend you cook the potatoes before the rest of the meal and then let them stay warm in the pan while you finish the meal. This will ensure that the potatoes cook all the way through and have the texture you want.

I served these with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce or avocado hollandaise sauce.

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Cinnamon Apple Chips

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These apple chips are a great way to crave your snacking craving. I started making these because I love apples and I love chips…so why not eat apple chips? I am always trying to make snacks that are healthy but delicious. This is just that snack.

These snacks have 2 ingredients and that’s it. You can make them ahead of time and store them in a sealed container to take to work or school.

The trick to making this great snack is patience. To get the apples to the perfect crunch, you need to cook them slow and low. I good idea is to bake as many as possible at the same time, without overlapping the apples.

You also want to make sure the apples are sliced thin, so using a mandolin is the perfect tool for this recipe. One apple can make you about 20 chips. You can also experiment with the type of apples and see if it changes the flavor or texture.

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Onion & Mushroom Quiche

Quiche is a very popular dish in my home. I serve it any chance I get, whether just for dinner, brunch for an event or as a gift. There are many options for flavors also, so you can make a different one each time.

Since I have two vegetarians in my home, if I am only making one, then it is always vegetarian. This quiche is a deep dish pie crust, that I actually like better because there is less spillage with the egg mixture and you can fill with more of the start ingredients. You can certainly use a regular pie thickness, just make sure to adjust the quantity.

When I make a quiche, I like to cook all the ingredients prior to adding them to the quiche. I also season them separately, especially if I am going to create layers. In this case, I sauteed the onions first with a little olive oil and salt and then removed from the heat. To the same pan, I added the mushrooms with a little more olive oil and some salt. Since mushrooms soak the olive oil, you want to make sure that you add enough so the mushrooms will sear nicely and get golden brown.

Mix the mushrooms and the onions together before you add to the pie to make sure that every bite has a little of everything.

When you mix the egg and milk together, that is the time you want to season the eggs to make sure it’s well incorporated throughout the mix. Then you pour that in the pie and top with the cheese. If you see the egg mixture is overflowing a little, place the pie on a baking sheet to avoid a mess in your oven.

Allow the quiche to rest after cooking for at least 15 minutes. This is to make sure the egg doesn’t fall apart when you slice into it.

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