Zucchini Onion Appetizer Squares

Zucchini Squares | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old Bisquick recipe and is delicious served as an appetizer or for a light lunch or brunch dish. It’s easy to make and is a good way to use up extra zucchini when it’s in season. I think the addition of oregano adds a bright herby flavor to this dish but you could omit it if you like, or substitute a different herb like thyme or savory.
Zucchini Squares | Pinky's Pantry

ZUCCHINI ONION APPETIZER SQUARES

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano (optional)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 3 cups thinly sliced unpeeled zucchini (about 3 or 4)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of a 9×13″ baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese, oil, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and Bisquick.
  3. Stir in the zucchini and onion.
  4. Spread in prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned at edges
  6. Cut into 1¼-squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding | Pinky's Pantry

This bread pudding was made without the raisins.

My Mom used to make bread pudding for us all the time when we were growing up. It was a good way to make use of stale bread or left-over crusts that she had removed from sandwiches for a party. She would coat her pan in caramelized sugar which would turn into a sort of self-basting syrup for the bread pudding so there was no need to make any kind of sauce to serve with it. We loved it!

The raisins are traditional. I always liked them in my bread pudding but I remember my little sister didn’t so she used to pick them out. It’s totally fine to leave them out if you prefer a bread pudding without raisins. The recipe still turns out delicious even without them!

Rum-raisin is a common and well-loved flavor combination, but sometimes, just for a change, I replace the rum with cinnamon. I mean, who doesn’t love a slice of buttered cinnamon-raisin bread? Right? And that’s what it tastes like.

OLD-FASHIONED BREAD PUDDING

  • 4 cups bread cubes (cut with a knife or tear into pieces by hand)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 4 cups evaporated milk
  • 6 whole eggs
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. rum, optional (or could substitute 2 tsp. cinnamon)
  1. Toss bread cubes and raisins together in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk all the remaining ingredients together with a wire whisk until well combined.
  3. Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes and stir together well.
  4. Let soak as long as possible, preferably overnight.

To Cook Bread Pudding:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place sugar and water into a 2½ – 3 quart metal bowl.
  3. Heat bowl over low heat on stove top until sugar is completely melted and begins to turn caramel-colored, swirling bowl quickly to coat bottom and sides with caramel. Make sure to use oven mitts because the bowl will get hot!
  4. Set bowl aside to let caramel coating cool and harden, about 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry if the caramel cracks as it sits. This is normal.
  5. Pour bread pudding mixture into the bowl that has been coated with caramel.
  6. Cover tightly with tin foil.
  7. Place in large roasting pan and fill roasting pan with enough water to come at least halfway up sides of bowl. This is called a water bath.
  8. Put into oven and bake for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, remove foil cover and jiggle bowl back and forth. You want to see a slight jiggle in the center of the pudding.
  9. When done, remove bowl from water bath and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.
  10. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. You could also eat the bread pudding warm if you want to.
  11. To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it from the pan.
  12. Invert pudding out onto a serving plate with a lip to catch the sauce.

NOTES:

  • If you prefer, you can make the caramel sauce by just melting 1 cup of plain sugar without adding any water to it. This goes much faster, but it can burn faster too, so watch your caramel carefully!
  • You could also cook the caramel in a saucepot or skillet. Once the caramel reaches the color and consistency you want, quickly pour it into whatever container you’re making your bread pudding in, swirling the container to coat the bottom and sides.

Mom also had what she called her TIPID VARIATION (economical variation):

  • 2 cans evaporated milk + 1 cup water
  • 5 cups bread cubes
  • 4 eggs

Real Man Quiche

Real Man Quiche | Pinky's PantryI call this quiche “Real Man Quiche” in homage to the book “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” that was published in the early 80’s. Well, in my family, the men are as real as they come and they do eat quiche – specially when the quiche is a giant, meaty one like this one. Number 1 likes this deep-dish quiche because he feels it doesn’t leave him hungry like a wedge of regular-size quiche does. It’s basically the same as a normal quiche only with more meat and double the base ingredients. A springform pan makes it easy to unmold the big, heavy pie. Serve it with a salad or a nice bowl of soup and you have a filling, man-satisfying meal.

Real Man Quiche | Pinky's Pantry

REAL MAN QUICHE

Crust:

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 lb. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5-8 tbsp. ice cold water
  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until mixture resembles cornmeal.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk with 5 tablespoons ice water.
  4. Add egg yolk mixture to dough and work in with your fingers until dough comes together when squeezed in your hand. If it is too crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough holds together.
  5. Shape dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  6. Sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper.
  7. With a rolling pin, roll out dough into a 13-inch circle.
  8. Lay dough inside a 10-inch springform pan, fitting dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  9. Trim off any excess dough. Freeze scraps for future use.
  10. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Filling:

  • 1 lb. bacon
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 quart milk or half-and-half
  • ½ tsp. salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ lb. smoked ham, cubed
  • 1 (10-oz. pkg.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out well
  • 2 cups shredded swiss cheese
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp, remove from grease and drain on paper towels; then crumble into pieces.
  2. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from skillet, add the onions and cook until opaque.
  3. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  4. In a bowl, beat the eggs together, then whisk in the milk or half-and-half.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir in the crumbled bacon, cooked onion, ham, spinach, cheese and flour.
  7. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  8. Cover loosely with foil and bake 1 hour. and 30 minutes
  9. Remove foil and continue to bake until set and center jiggles slightly, about 15 minutes more.
  10. Cool about 45 minutes to an hour.
  11. Remove ring from springform pan, transfer quiche to a plate and slice into wedges.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Breakfast Egg Puff

Breakfast Egg Puff | Pinky's PantryJessica, one of my co-workers, gave me this recipe some months ago. It’s perfect for breakfast or brunch with the family or to take to a potluck with friends. The eggs puff up into a light, golden, soufflé-like dish that goes really well with sausage, ham or bacon; and the cheese provides a rich flavor that to me makes the addition of salt unnecessary.

This recipe lends itself to some interesting flavor variations so if you don’t want to serve a plain egg dish, you could add any one of the following ingredients to the mixture or try a combination of them:
1 large can diced green chiles
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 stalks green onions, chopped
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/4 lb. bulk sausage, browned and drained well
any other ingredients you might want to try

As with any soufflé type of dish, the eggs puff up while baking but will start to fall shortly after removing from the oven so although it’s not entirely necessary, it’s nice if you can serve this dish as soon after taking it out of the oven as possible.

BREAKFAST EGG PUFF

  • 12 eggs
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 1 lb. shredded cheese (combination of ½ lb. monterey jack and ½ lb. cheddar)
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9×13 rectangular pyrex baking dish.
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in rest of ingredients.
  4. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Leek and Gruyère Soufflé

Leek & Gruyere Souffle | Pinky's PantryA soufflé is one of those dishes that inspires fear in people. I think it has something to do with the fact that people view it as this temperamental dish which will collapse if you shut the oven door a little too hard or sneeze while you’re carrying it from the oven to the table. What people don’t realize is that soufflés always collapse within 5 to 10 minutes of being removed from the oven. That’s just what they do. You haven’t done anything wrong. In fact, the name soufflé comes from the French verb soufflér which means to blow or puff which is basically what happens when it’s in the oven. The dish puffs up airy and high above the rim of the ramekin or soufflé dish, then slowly starts to fall after it’s removed from the oven.Leek & Gruyere Souffle | Pinky's PantryWhether savory or sweet, soufflés are all made from 2 basic components — a base which provides the flavor, and beaten egg whites which provide the lift. Savory soufflés have a base made from meat, fish or vegetable purees, and sweet soufflés have a base of pastry cream or fruit purees. The exception is chocolate soufflé which can be made by simply combining beaten egg whites with a chocolate ganache. As far as equiment, all you need are ramekins or a soufflé dish which has tall, straight sides, an electric mixer or balloon whisk, and a rubber spatula. It’s a lot easier to make than you think. The trick is not to forget the old adage, “The diner waits for the soufflé; the soufflé does not wait for the diner.” Have your guests seated ahead of time and serve the soufflé straight from the oven to the table as quickly as possible. With just a little practice, you could be turning out this impressive and sophisticated entrée which is guaranteed to wow your dinner guests every time. Et voilà!Leek & Gruyere Souffle | Pinky's Pantry

LEEK AND GRUYÈRE SOUFFLÉ
(Serves 6 to 8)

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened,
    plus 5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 leeks, about 1-1/2 lbs. total, trimmed, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 tbsp. flour
  • 2-1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 eggs, separated
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 14-inch oval gratin dish or large souffle dish with 2 tbsp. butter and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1/2 cup of the cheese.
  2. In a large frying pan set over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
  3. Add the leeks and thyme and cook until the leeks are tender, about 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from fire, season with salt and set aside to cool.
  5. In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, melt the remaining 5 tbsp. butter.
  6. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute until combined.
  7. Whisk in the half-and-half and cook, whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.
  10. Stir in the remaining 1-1/2 cups cheese and the leeks.
  11. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  12. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  13. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the leek mixture.
  14. Working quickly but carefully so as not to deflate the whites, fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.
  15. Pour into the prepared dish. You want the dish to be about 3/4 full.
  16. Bake until the soufflé is golden brown, about 25 minutes. To check if the soufflé is done, lightly shake the dish. If the center jiggles, it’s not done. If the whole thing moves back and forth as one mass, it’s done!
  17. Take the soufflé out of the oven and serve it immediately.

Egg Muffins

Egg Muffins | Pinky's Pantry
No. 1 decided he was going to try the South Beach diet. In an effort to help him, I decided to make him a South Beach friendly breakfast. I found a recipe for these little mini frittatas on a site called Kalyn’s Kitchen and decided to give them a try. They turned out pretty good! They’re easy to do and make a great grab-and-go breakfast when you’re in a hurry. They make perfect little snacks, too. You can make them with egg substitute like I did, or use real eggs or even egg whites. You can also add a variety of meats and vegetables. It’s a very versatile recipe and the muffins are really tasty. When you’re pressed for time and rushing to get ready for work on a busy morning, it sure is a big help to be able to reach into the fridge and grab a couple of these for breakfast!

EGG MUFFINS

(Makes 12 muffins)

  • 1 carton egg substitute (you can use real eggs, beaten, if you prefer)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1-2 cups grated low fat cheese (sharp cheddar or a blend of cheddar/Jack cheese, use less cheese if using meat)
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • Optional meats:  diced Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, lean ham, or crumbled cooked turkey sausage
  • Optional vegetables:  chopped red pepper, blanched broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, etc. (using veggies will reduce the fat content)
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.
  3. In the bottom of the muffin cups layer diced meat, if using, vegetables, if using, cheese and green onions. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full, leaving room to pour a little egg around the other ingredients.
  4. Pour egg substitute into each muffin cup until it is 3/4 full.
  5. Sprinkle with a little salt and stir slightly with a fork.
  6. Bake 25 minutes or until muffins have risen and are slightly browned and set.

NOTE:  Egg Muffins will keep for more than a week in the refrigerator without freezing. The muffins can be frozen and reheated in the microwave, but freezing makes them release water when they’re microwaved so it’s better if you can just keep them refrigerated.

Leche Flan

Leche Flan

Leche Flan is one of those desserts that was brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards many years ago. It was quickly adopted and before long, every Filipino household had their own version. I learned to make Leche Flan from my grandmother whose original recipe called for a dozen egg yolks! I’ve since modified it to make it less of a cholesterol bomb. LOL!

There are just a few caveats to remember when making Leche Flan. Number 1 – be careful when you’re melting the sugar for the caramel sauce! It’s very hot and can give you a nasty burn. Make sure you protect your hands with oven mitts when swirling the mold to coat it with the hot caramel.

The caramel will harden as it cools so work as quickly (but carefully) as possible when swirling the mold to coat the bottom and sides. The caramel coating will set in a hard shell. As the shell completely cools, the change in temperature can cause it to start cracking. Don’t be alarmed. This is normal. Just pour the custard into the sugar shell, ignoring any cracks, and proceed with the recipe.

You can make the flan in one big mold or in individual ramekins. Either works fine. I hope you’ll give this rich, creamy, delicious dessert a try. I know you’ll love it!

Leche Flan | Pinky's Pantry

SPANISH LECHE FLAN

  •  ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Place the sugar in a leche flan mold or metal bowl and heat over medium-low heat until sugar is completely melted and begins to turn a golden caramel color. Swirl to coat bottom and sides of mold. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Pour the custard through a strainer into the flan mold which has been coated with the caramelized sugar.
  4. Cover flan mold with tin foil and place in a large roasting pan filled with enough water to come at least half way up the sides of the mold.
  5. Bake at 350° for one hour. Remove the foil cover and check for doness by giving the pan a shake. You want the custard to be firm but still have a little jiggle in the center. If it’s not quite ready, replace the foil and bake another 30 minutes or until done.
  6. Remove from water bath and allow to cool completely before refrigerating.
  7. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  8. Invert onto a serving platter with a lip to catch the sauce. Serve cold.