August 17, 2011

Summer Veggie, Bacon & Mozzarella Quiche

I like that quiches are versatile enough that they work well paired with fruit salad for a nice brunch or with a green salad for an equally acceptable dinner. Breakfast foods rock, in my opinion, and I love to break them out for dinner every once in a while.

This particular quiche is chock full of good for you summer vegetables, such as summer squash and zucchini. If you have a garden, it's a great way to use up your overstock of fresh zucchini or squash. Although it's tasty, one can only eat so much zucchini bread before you need to find other uses for this summer time vegetable!

While the original recipe includes directions for making your own homemade pie crust, I omitted this since we're trying to serve up good meals that won't require us to be in the kitchen for hours on end! A store bought crust works well, especially if you're short on time. I had a frozen pie crust on hand way too long, which is the reason why I chose to make this recipe. My hubby reminded me that I had promised to make him a pie with that crust...oops! Oh well. He got a key lime pie on graham cracker crust instead so don't feel bad for him ladies and gentlemen ;)

Serves: 8 (supposedly - if you want to serve 8 I recommend making 2).

Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hr 15 minutes


1 tablesppon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (1/8 inch thick) slices yellow squash
2 cups (1/8 inch thick) slices zucchini
1/4 cup chopped shallots (I used onions since I didn't have these on hand)
1 tablesppon chopped fresh thyme (I used one teaspoon of dried instead)
1 cup 2% reduced fat-milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used more - probably 6 slices, since bacon is one of man's best friends, at least according to the man in my household)
3 large egg whites
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add squash, zucchini, shallots and thyme. Sauté for 5 minutes or until squash and zucchini are tender, stirring frequently. Cool slightly.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1 cup reduced fat milk and the next 5 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Arrange squash mixture evenly over crust and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack.

Nutrition information for 1/8 of quiche: 265 calories, 14 grams fat, 11 grams protein, 22 grams carbs, 1.2 grams fiber

August 8, 2011

Chocolate Brownie Trifle

Ever get those intense cravings for the chocolately-ist chocolate dessert imaginable? By the way, if you don't, sorry, I just can't relate. This Chocolate Brownie Trifle will hit the spot and is absolutely gorgeous when layered in a pretty glass trifle dish. How can you go wrong with brownies, chocolate pudding and whipped cream? My mom made this dessert for a scrap-booking party we had with some friends and us ladies went nuts over it. I literally ate it by the plateful, so naturally, I had to have the recipe.

The great thing about this dessert, besides being fantastically yummy and pretty, is that it makes A LOT. When my husband and I had ten of his friends over (including their little ones) for a dinner party I whipped this up and still had some leftover afterward.

My mom found the recipe on one of our favorite sites: If you look it up on the website you'll see that my instructions below are slightly different, as I modified it to incorporate the site's recipe reviewers' suggestions. When you decide to make this (notice I say when, not if), make sure to allow plenty of time for chilling - at least 8 hours.

Prep Time: 30 minutes (about 10 minutes more if you make your own whipping cream)
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Ready In: 8 hours, 55 minutes
Serves: 12

1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup water (or you can use coffee in place of water to intensify the chocolate flavor, as I did)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (or you can use 1/2 pint heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar to make your own, as I did)
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used french vanilla flavor instead of regular but any kind you like is fine)
1 (1.5 ounce) bar chocolate candy
Raspberries or strawberries for garnish (optional)


1. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares.

2. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water (or coffee) and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain. To make your own whipped topping, combine 1/2 pint heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a very cold bowl (tip - put your bowl and beaters in the freezer to chill them quickly). Whip until you achieve the desired consistency, which typically takes about 10 minutes. If you have the time to spare, I recommend refrigerating this pudding mixture for a little while before layering in the trifle dish to prevent it from getting runny.

3. In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place one-third of the brownies, one-third of the pudding mixture and one-third of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping. Repeat layers. I added fresh raspberries on top, which added a beautiful burst of color and great taste. Strawberries would also work well. Then, shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish. Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.

Enjoy! PMS is no match for this dessert :)

August 2, 2011

Goat Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

If you eat a lot of chicken, like I do, it's great to find new recipes to keep it from being same old, same old. I was immediately drawn to this recipe that adds a Mediterranean flare with spinach, artichokes, olives and feta. Plus, it's healthy (courtesy of Shape Magazine). I made this for a romantic dinner with my husband and it was perfect for the occasion. It turned out amazing! We were so impressed that we added it to our list (ok more of a mental note than a list but you know what I mean ;) of go to recipes for dinner guests. Juicy, flavorful, and unique - what more could you ask for?

Although it takes a total of about 45 minutes to make, it is well worth the wait. You can work on making your sides while it finishes cooking in the oven. I paired it with rice pilaf and fresh green beans with garlic (with a squeeze of fresh lemon), but I could also see this being a good dinner served on top of a bed of wilted spinach. 

Grab your apron and stuff those breasts ;)

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

2 large (10 to 12 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 ounces goat cheese crumbles (I used feta)
1 cup coarsely chopped spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 tablespoons pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice chicken breasts almost in half horizontally and open them like a book. Combine goat cheese with chopped spinach and divide the mixture between the two chicken breasts. Season with salt and pepper.

Roll each breast into a tight log and secure with toothpicks or kitchen twine.

Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet and brown chicken evenly for about 10 minutes total. Add artichokes, olives, and vinegar and cook for 2 minutes, or until most of the vinegar evaporates. Add chicken broth and cover pan tightly with foil (I just slapped on an oven safe glass lid instead).

Place the skillet in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes. The original directions instruct you to remove the toothpicks or twine and then slice chicken into 1/2 inch thick pieces and divide among 4 plates. I just removed the toothpicks and gave a whole piece of chicken to both my husband and myself - we like food :)  Lastly, top chicken with artichokes, olives, and pan juices and serve.

Source: Shape Magazine, September 2008

For a 1/2 stuffed breast with toppings
344 calories, 15 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 7 grams carbs, 43 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 112 mg calcium. 1 mg iron, 955 mg sodium