Friday, July 12, 2013

From The Kitchen - Cooking With Friends

      After a long hiatus due to summer vacations, our cooking club is once again  busy in the kitchen making a variety of  healthy foods.  To start the day off we made these cute little spinach 'Quiche Cups to Go'.  This is from the South Beach Diet  and  is perfect if you are in a hurry and need to take something with you to eat.  And they taste delicious.


Vegetable Quiche Cups To Go

1 - 10oz pkg of frozen chopped spinach 
3/4 cup liquid egg substitute 
3/4 shredded reduced-fat cheese
1/4 cup each of diced green bell pepper and diced onion
3 drops of hot-pepper sauce (optional)

Defrost spinach in the microwave and drain excess liquid.
Line a 12-cup muffin pan w/ foil cups.  Spray the cups with cooking spray
Combine the egg substitute, cheese, peppers, onions, and spinach and mix well.  Divide among the muffin cups.  Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

When you spray the muffin cups the egg mixture just falls away from the foil.  If you don't use the spray then give it a little cooling time and the wrap is easy to peel off.

One thing I added to the recipe.   I just can't eat eggs without salt.

Quiche cups can be frozen and reheated.  Any combination of veggies and reduced-fat cheese can be used.

Sangria was made the night before and was chilling in the refrigerator until  lunch was ready. In Spain they drink their Sangria with straws and I always have straws on hands for any little kids that may grace my home.  For lunch we had decided to do some chicken and to use eggplant since it is in season.  This is another  recipe from the South Beach Diet.

Chicken and Eggplant Casserole

1 - eggplant, peeled and cut into 12 slices
2 Tbl shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove minced
3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast - chopped
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
3/4 tsp dried Italian seasonings
1/4 ground black pepper
1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

(we added salt, but the recipe in the book doesn't have it listed)

Arrange in slices on a nonstick baking sheet.  Mist slices with cooking oil.  Broil 4 inches from the heat for 2 min.  Turn over and mist other side. then top with garlic powder and Parmesan or Asiago cheese. Broil 1 or until golden brown. Set aside.

Heat nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray for 1 minute over medium heat.
Add the chicken and cook stirring often for about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms,   Italian seasonings, and black pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes

Preheat  oven to 375F.  Coat an 8 x 8 dish with spraying oil and arrange half the slices on dish bottom.  Top with chicken mixtures.  Arrange the remaining eggplant on top of chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for  30 min.

We doubled the recipe so our dish was much bigger.  We increased our bake time to 35 min since we doubled the recipe. 

If we make this again there are a few things we would do differently.  It was very good but we all thought the veggies cooked too long.  We had two solutions -  either cook the dish for about 20 minutes instead of 30 or better yet keep the eggplant separate from the chicken mixtures all together.  The eggplant  looks really wonderful when you take it from the broiler.  It is nice and crisp and slightly browned.  It may be better if you leave it alone and bake the chicken by itself.  Then at time of serving take a few slices of eggplant and layer it with the chicken mixture. That way the veggie will keep its crispness and not lose its texture.

After the eggplant/chicken combo we finished the meal with a fruit salad covered with a smidgen of
whip cream.  Whip cream is not exactly healthy but the fruit is.  And the chocolate we had afterwards was 72%  dark chocolate. 

Buon Appetito.

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