Quickest Quiche Lorraine

Quiche is a brilliant breakfast. The savoury protein kick is just what the busy mom ordered. My husband is gluten intolerant – not just fad-style – but genuinely cannot indulge in a white flour crust. I am actually adverse to pie crust; I’ve never found it necessary and prefer to scoop out any filling I encounter. I understand many enjoy this mythical flaky, buttery crust that isn’t soggy or tasteless, so you’re welcome to use this filling recipe with a ready-made crust if you like. I prefer to go crustless. It’s faster, healthier and so much easier to serve!

For this recipe, I use greased ramekins to create easy portions and cut down on the baking time. You can fill a pie dish instead, but you’ll need to double the baking time and possibly cover with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent it burning on top. I use Canadian bacon, pre-cooked rounds of back bacon that are easy to chop into pieces and fry off to add some flavour. You could easily use turkey bacon or ham to keep it lean, or back or streaky bacon if you have the time to cook it first. By using pre-cooked bacon, I only need a minute to give it some colour and it’s ready for the quiche.

In the spirit of super fast, I also use frozen chopped broccoli. I let it thaw for a minute before adding it to the bacon pan to help the remaining water evaporate and keep the quiche getting too soggy. Trust me, this added step will add flavour and firmness to your tart, so don’t skip this for the sake of one frying pan.

This is the perfect weekend morning dish to go along with some fresh fruit and toast, or you can make some extras for a quick midweek warm up. My kids love this, and my husband appreciates the lack of crust as much as I do. Give it a try and you’ll see why!

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You’ll need:

  • 4 ramekins greased with a tab of butter each
  • 8–10 eggs
  • ¼-–½  cup chopped broccoli (I use frozen)
  • ½ cup chopped, cooked bacon (I use Canadian bacon rounds)
  • ½ cup shredded cheese of choice (I prefer a sharp cheddar)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (I use a garlic and herb blend)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

The method:

Pre-heat your oven to 190C/375F.

Measure out your broccoli and set it aside to begin to thaw.

Quiche Lorraine ingredients.jpg

Chop your bacon into small pieces and add to a warmed pan over medium heat. Allow the bits to lightly fry for about a minute.

Add the slightly-thawed broccoli and allow to thaw further with the bacon. Allow any moisture from the broccoli a chance to steam off. This usually only takes two or three minutes.

Place your ramekins onto a baking tray and add a tab of butter to each before putting them into the oven.

Butter to grease ramekins

Break your eggs into a nice large bowl and scramble them well before adding the splash of milk. Beat in the dry spices and set aside.

Remove the ramekins from the oven and give them a little swirl to spread the butter around the edges.

Layer a bit of bacon and broccoli into the bottom of each ramekin before pouring the egg mixture to cover the bits.

Add a pinch of shredded cheese to the top of each quiche and use a fork to gently push down slightly below the egg.

Quiche Lorraine ready for the oven.jpg

Slide your baking tray of quiches into the oven for about 20 minutes. Depending on the size of the individual ramekins, it may take slightly longer. Once the quiches are puffing up, they’re only a few minutes from finished.

Allow the quiche to cool for about 5 minutes after removing from the oven, they may sink slightly, but no worries. The individual quiche can be served with or without accompaniments – sometimes they never make it to a plate! Enjoy!

Forkful of Quiche Lorraine.jpg

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Layered enchilada casserole recipe

I grew up in Los Angeles, and Mexican and Latin foods are comfort foods for me. For over a decade, I lived in the UK, outside of London (where there would have been wider choice of ingredients), and I struggled to find the ingredients for most of my favourite dishes. I even imported things like roasted, diced chillies, and chipotle spice via home visits or care packages from my mum. These days, however, even a local Tesco has a good chance of having most of the ingredients for this recipe – the times, they are a’changing.

I am a big fan of enchiladas. They’re especially nice for my husband’s wheat/gluten allergy, as they’re a corn tortilla dish instead of flour. The enchilada sauce (basically watery chili powder) can be bought in a tin or jar, and it saves a step and a pan. You can buy enchilada packs in the supermarket, and it should have corn tortillas and the red enchilada sauce. If you prefer to use Quorn over beef, it’s also vegetarian, and you can also substitute refried beans for meat for the same result.

Most of the time, if you order an enchilada plate in a restaurant, it’s dripping with cheese and sauce, and can be a little overwhelming. This recipe misses none of the flavour, but includes the all-important hidden veg and goes a little easier on the cheese. Casserole presentation allows for several more servings in the baking dish, and is so much easier to put together than trying to roll up each enchilada. I even let the kids help me layering the tortillas, meat, cheese and sauce in assembly line fashion. It’s delicious fun, topped off with a bit of soured cream and salsa or a side salad – the whole family will be coming back for more.

Plated enchilada vertical.jpg

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup chopped white onion (I use frozen)
  • 1 tsp veg oil of choice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried garlic minced
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chipotle pepper powder
  • 1lb lean minced beef
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup chopped coriander/cilantro (frozen or fresh)
  • I packet of small corn tortillas (approximately 10-15 used)
  • 1 8oz jar or tin of enchilada sauce (if you can’t find ready-made, it’s pretty easy to make)
  • 3-4 cups shredded mild cheese (Double Gloucestershire and Red Leicester are lovely for this)

The method:

To begin, I add the onions and dry spices to a hot pan with a bit of oil. Once the onions are coated, I add the beef and mix it all together in the pan.

Fry off the mixture, browning the beef and onions together. This will keep the spices from burning and allows the meat to absorb all of those flavours.

Enchilada casserole ingredients

Once the beef is mostly browned, add the carrots and coriander with about 1/3 cup of water and reduce heat to simmer.

While the beef simmers and reduces, you can begin to layer the casserole in a baking tray.

Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish before adding a layer of tortillas. I usually cut some of the tortillas in half to fit nicely against the sides.

Add a layer of shredded cheese onto the tortillas, and then a layer of meat, before covering with another layer of tortillas. Top the tortillas with another couple tablespoons of the sauce before the cheese the next time to wet them.

kids helping assemble enchilada casserole

Repeat once or twice, depending the depth of your baking dish. The last layer should be just sauce and cheese, for a nice crispy, gooey cheese top.

Bake uncovered at 180C/350F in the top 1/3 of the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden. Allow to rest for 5 minutes or more to cool before serving.

enchilada-casserole-in-the-oven

I usually add a dollop of soured cream and some hot sauce to mine, but the kids like it just the way it is!

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Easy gluten-free macaroni & cheese recipe

My kids were born in Surrey, and they never learned about Kraft macaroni and cheese. I know there are a lot of families out there that rely heavily on the cupboard staple that is pasta and powdered cheese mix, and I’m not judging. But between a gluten-free husband and processed-food hating children, I’ve found myself making mac-n-cheese from scratch many times. I used to think cheese sauces were terrifying, but this method skips making a roux with butter and flour, and is nearly fail proof.

The whole dish is really quite easy, and can even be a one-pot wonder if you can wait for the pasta to finish and reuse the pot. I go all out (thank goodness for dishwashers) and use one for the pasta, one for the sauce and a baking dish to finish it off. This baking bit is especially nice for partially boiled gluten-free pasta, but is easily skipped if you fully cook standard flour macaroni or shells.

This takes about the same amount of time as the boxed version, I promise, and is a million times tastier. Skip the processed cheese and have a go at making amazing cheese sauce to smother your pasta of choice.

Easy gluten-free macaroni & cheese recipe

You’ll need:

  • 8 or 10oz dry gluten-free pasta shells or macaroni (I used a corn and quinoa mix shell)
  • Approximately 6 cups of water for the pasta
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese of choice (mature cheddar is especially nice)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup single cream (or half-n-half if you’re in the US)
  • 1 heaped TB soured cream or crème fraiche
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The method:

My super speedy method is to begin with getting the water boiling for the pasta in a medium-sized sauce pan. Use the kettle for at least 6 cups of water if you prefer.

In a second small saucepan, bring the chicken or veg stock to a boil. I generally use stock concentrate and kettle water, so about ¼ teaspoon of concentrate to one cup of water.

Add the shredded cheese (I’m super lazy and buy pre-shredded) one handful/cup at a time and stir well into the stock over a medium-low heat. I usually use a non-stick pan and rubber spatula for this job, rather than risk the cheese and cream sticking to the bottom.

Pour in the cream once the stock and cheese are well blended and beginning to reduce, keep stirring.

Once the pasta water has come to a boil, toss the pasta in with a bit of salt and reduce the temperature.

Add the crème fraiche or soured cream to both thicken and temper the flavours of the stock and cheese. Blend well until the mixture is smooth and slightly sluggish to run off the spoon.

Have a taste and add pepper and salt as you please. Also extremely tasty: a light dash of paprika or oregano, if you’re feeling fancy.

The pasta should be cooked by now, so take the sauce off the heat while you drain and rinse the shells or macaroni.

If you were going for the one-pot method, you’d simply rinse the pot and begin on the sauce while the pasta drains, but I do suggest a little sprinkle of oil to keep the pasta from getting too stuck together.

If you’re going all out, drain the pasta whilst it’s al dente and pour it into a baking dish. Again, I go non-stick so I don’t lose any shells to the pan. Finishing the pasta in the sauce makes gluten-free pasta especially tasty, soaking up the flavour.

Pour your creamy gorgeous sauce all over the pasta and give it a good stir to coat every noodle.

You can add the pasta back into the sauce if you’ve been draining for the one-pot method, stir to coat well and add salt and pepper to taste. It’s ready to serve once the pasta is back to temperature. Enjoy!

Bake the pasta with sauce in the oven at 350F/180C for 15-20 minutes, or until you’re too hungry to wait any longer. Feel free to top off the pasta with more shredded cheese if you’re indulgent and like the layer of crisped cheese on top. My son isn’t a fan, so I leave it off.

My kids absolutely gobble this up, and it’s done within 45 minutes with the oven method, 25-20 with stove top only. There’s plenty of protein and calcium, without needing meat, and using gluten-free pasta, we end up with hidden veg! If you like, throw in some frozen peas if you’re doing the oven method, they’ll be cooked and add a bit of sweetness. You can try vegetable pastas too, and different cheeses for more intense flavours … make it your own! I’ve used this cheese sauce over vegetables as well, if you’re not interested in pasta, and it’s lovely. Hope you have fun and enjoy!

Macaroni and cheese ready to serve

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Walk-away Alfredo Chicken and Broccoli recipe

Slow cookers are a fabulous timesaver, and one I use more and more as school runs and schedules get into full swing. This is a great back-to-school recipe that can be modified to suit your needs.

We’re a gluten-free household (when my husband’s home), so this recipe features an easy, homemade alfredo sauce that’s gluten free, and gluten-free pasta. You’re more than welcome to use your favourite pasta, and a jar of alfredo sauce, but this easy white sauce may make you think twice about all the other ingredients thrown in with jar sauces.

My kids are both in morning classes, so I use this recipe to start just after lunch time for dinner later (2.5 hours). If your schedule means you need to start it in the morning, go for LOW to allow 5 hours. If you find the pasta gets too mushy (GF pasta can usually handle it), cook the pasta separately 20 minutes before serving, and skip the chicken stock at the end.

You’ll need:

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion (frozen is fine)
  • 1.5 cup frozen broccoli florets (about 6-8 big pieces, hard to measure)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups double cream
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 TB cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp basil pesto
  • 1 cube or 1 tsp concentrated chicken stock (GF)
  • 1.5-2 cups water
  • 340g/12oz penne pasta (GF)
  • salt and pepper to taste

The method:

First things first, give the slow cooker a bit of cooking spray, if you like, and spread the onions across the bottom of the pot.

Dice the chicken breasts into large cubes, trying to keep a similar size for uniform cooking. Spread the chicken cubes on the chopping board and shake on the oregano, black pepper and garlic powder before adding the spiced chicken to the pot.

Slow cooker alfredo prep
Layer in your broccoli, turn the cooker onto HIGH and cover
.

Next, I make the alfredo sauce, it takes about ten minutes total. You can opt for a jar, but this is really very simple.

Using a saucepan on a medium heat, I add the butter, cream cheese and cream.

Stir the butter and a cream cheese until smooth within the cream using a rubber spatula to clean the edges and bottom of the pan.

Add the pesto and mix into the cream before adding the grated cheese.

If you wanted to stop now, you could use this sauce over pasta any time, but for this recipe, we’re going to add the chicken stock for cooking the pasta.

Add the chicken stock with water to the alfredo sauce (I know – what? But trust me). You can mix the stock in a mug first, but I just mix in the concentrate and then top it off with the kettle, right there in the pan.

Turn off the heat once the mixture is smooth (a little oil displacement is fine).

Layer the uncooked pasta onto the broccoli, pour your sauce with stock into the cooker, covering the contents. If the pasta isn’t covered, stir the layers to bring the broccoli to the top, as it doesn’t need to be submerged. Add a little more water if you need to cover the pasta, but tread lightly.

If you prefer the jar option, I suggest mixing the alfredo with the chicken stock before adding it to the slow cooker.

Slow cooker alfredo just before turning it on

Top tip: For added flavour, add bacon bits to the recipe. I keep leftover bacon  (if there ever is any) after I’ve oven baked a tray full at 180C/375F for cooked breakfast.

Cover the cooker, and walk away. This will slowly grow over the next hour. If you happen to be home and walk by, feel free to push any stray noodles down, but by and large, this dish is happy to tick along in the background. It’ll be ready to serve after two hours if the chicken is smaller, 2.5 if larger chunks. Please be sure to check the chicken is cooked through; pressing it against the side of the pot with a spoon should break the chicken easily.

Turn off or onto warm after 2 hours (5 hours if LOW temperature setting) and enjoy! It’s an all in one, so scoop onto a plate or bowl whenever your family are ready to eat.

Slow cooker doing some slow cooking

This dish can be done in the oven as well, at 180C/375F in a deep dish with a cover, or tightly wrapped with foil. You’ll want to spray a non-stick or grease the pan, and may need to check and stir it after half an hour. Cut the chicken a bit smaller and it should be done in 45 min to an hour.
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