Crustless Bacon & Cheese Quiche

With a change in jobs and a new addition to our family, the last few months have been busy to say the least. I have to confess that my passion for cooking these last few months has been stifled and ordering take out has become more frequent. As we ring in the new year I don’t expect to become any less busy, but I do hope to get back to my passion of cooking and sharing more with you.

When I started Erik Eats a year ago, I told myself that if my mom and a few other family members would read my food blog, it would be a success. Well, I have been more than surprised in this last year by the number of you that have visited my blog, over 1,000 people per month! One of my first posts included a video on how to make restaurant quality pizza at home. To my sheer amazement that one video on YouTube has been viewed over 20,000 times, incredible!

Today I bring you a dish that is easy to make and just perfect for sharing on New Years day for breakfast. Bacon & Cheese Crustless Quiche. What’s even better is that you can make the quiche in advance, and just heat it up in the oven in minutes. While great for breakfast you could eat the quiche at any meal, hot or even cold. Prep is simple and can be done in 10 minute or less. You can serve them hot out of the oven, reheated the next day or freeze them to have on hand.

What you need -

The instructions are for one quiche, but you will have enough eggs & bacon to make 3. (A dozen eggs and precooked bacon usually comes with 12 strips) purchase some additional cheese and pie tins and you could make all three. You could always freeze the remaining 2 in ziplock freezer bags or feed a big group. One quiche will serve 3 – 4 people.

8″ Store bought aluminum pie tin
Precooked bacon – 4 slices diced
4 large Eggs
1 cup of whole Milk
1 8oz Package Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Black Pepper
Nutmeg
Cooking Spray
Sliced Tomatoes (Optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Spay your pie tin with cooking spray.

In a food processor add the 4 eggs. (I crack mine into a bowl first incase any shell decides to jump in). Add a cup of milk and a pinch of black pepper. Blend together for about 20 seconds. This will make the quiche light and airy. Next add the whole package of cheese, blend again for about 5 seconds. Then add the chopped bacon and blend very briefly. You just want to mix it in, if you over blend, the bacon will become chopped to finely. Next pour the entire mixture into your pie tin. If adding sliced tomato lay them over the top. Lightly sprinkle with nutmeg and pop it into the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until the top becomes golden brown and the center is no longer runny. Once they are done let them rest for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

*I don’t add any salt, the bacon and cheese makes them plenty salty. If made ahead (or defrosted from the freezer) to reheat place them in the oven for 8 minutes at 375 degrees fahrenheit. From my family to yours, Happy New Year!


Tomato & Spinach Tortellini Soup

A few weeks ago my aunt made this delicious tomato and spinach tortellini soup for me. She had it for the first time while visiting a friend in Europe. (We can think of the recipe as exotic, since it comes from overseas). One bite, and I knew I would be sharing it with you. It’s a perfect spring time soup, and packs tremendous flavor in each spoonful. It’s also a soup that can be paired with a salad or piece of bread and enjoyed for dinner. It’s very easy to make and can be thrown together in no time. When I’m putting my meal plans together each week, I’m always careful to include a few meals that are really fast and easy to make. We are all busy and don’t always have the time or energy to make a complicated meal. With this soup, the hardest thing you will have to do is chop an onion. If you can operate a can opener and open a bag of spinach you will have no problems putting together this great meal. This soup has everything, a little bacon, fresh spinach and cheesy tortellini. At dinner time I am usually pretty hungry and a bowl full of soup won’t cut it for me. This soup is different, with the bacon and tortellini it’s both satisfying and filling, but light enough that it won’t weigh you down for the rest of the night. Make one night this week a soup and salad night.

Tomato & Spinach Tortellini Soup
Recipe Inspired by a family Friend

What you will need -

2 Tbs Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic chopped
1 Large Yellow Onion chopped
4 oz Bacon or Pancetta diced
9 Cups Chicken Stock
8 oz Fresh Spinach
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
9 oz Cheese Tortellini (I used a spinach and plain mix which is usually easy to find)
28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper

In a large thick bottomed pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta or bacon and let cook for 3 minutes, then add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add a few pinches of salt to season the onions. Once the onion becomes soft add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, don’t let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. At this point your bacon should be browned and the onion and garlic cooked through, but not browned.

Add the chicken stock and crushed tomato, and let come to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook for 7 minutes. Add the spinach and parmesan cheese to the pot.

The cheese will melt and the spinach will wilt immediately. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a slice of bread or a fresh salad.


Coal Miners Spaghetti ~ Pasta Carbonara

I admit it, I’m a pasta junky! I have made my fair share of different pasta dishes, but Carbonara has alluded me until just last week. I’m really not sure why? Maybe it was the egg yolks that concerned me? It turns out those egg yolks make the most amazing rich sauce, that perfectly coats each fine strand of spaghetti! I think I might have thought that Carbonara was harder to make, but it’s actually very easy. The peas pop in your mouth adding great texture. The salty bacon and the hint of sweetness from the peas will almost guarantee you help yourself to a second portion.

The exact origins of Carbonara is a little foggy, but it is thought to have been invented in Rome, Italy around the time of World War II. Eggs and bacon were being rationed out by U.S. Soldiers, the basic components of this tasty treat. While on post, U.S. Soldiers couldn’t get enough of the newly invented pasta dish and it made it’s way back to the United States with them. Overall an easy dish to make that is simple in terms of ingredients, but shockingly flavorful!

Oh yes, in case you are wondering ~ Carbonara means charcoal burner and is sometimes referred to as coal miners spaghetti.

What you will need -

1 Tbs Olive Oil
10 oz Frozen Peas
8 oz Bacon
¼ Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese (plus extra for topping)
3 Large Eggs (2 whole eggs, one yolk) Room Temperature
¼ Yellow Onion Chopped fine
2 Cloves Garlic Chopped
¼ tsp Pepper
¼ tsp Salt
1 lb Spaghetti

You are going to need a bowl to mix the pasta in (use a metal bowl if you have one). Place that bowl under your pasta strainer in your sink. We want to warm the bowl with the pasta water, so that it helps to keep the pasta hot to cook the eggs once they are added. Defrost your peas (I heated mine in the microwave for a few minutes).

Start your water boiling. Once the water boils add your spaghetti and cook according to the directions on the box. While the water is heating up, in a large frying pan add your olive oil and heat your pan over medium heat. Once your oil is hot add your bacon and cook until browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil in the pan… I’m sure you will try a piece, I did! Add your chopped onion to the frying pan and cook until translucent 3 – 5 minutes. Add your garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, don’t let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. Once the onion and garlic is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Poor off any excess fat, leaving about 1 Tbs in the pan. Return the bacon to the pan. The bacon, onions and garlic must be finished before you can strain your pasta.

In another bowl crack two of the eggs. Then for the third egg you need to separate the yolk from the white. This is pretty easy, you crack the egg over a separate bowl and pass the yolk back and forth between the halved egg shells. The egg white will fall into the seperate bowl and you will be left with just the yolk. Add the yolk to the bowl with the other two cracked eggs.

Add the Pecorino Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously to add some air to the mixture.

Timing at this point becomes critical, because you are going to use the heat of the pasta to cook the eggs (or bring them to a temperature that is safe to consume) and not scramble them.

Strain your pasta making sure to collect the water in the bowl placed under the strainer. Quickly shake you pasta to remove any excess liquid. Pour the spaghetti into the frying pan with the oil, bacon, onions and garlic, toss together. Carefully pour the water out of the bowl. Pour all of the ingredients from the frying pan into the now heated bowl. Add the egg mixture and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to coat all of the pasta with the egg mixture. Add your peas and mix them into the spaghetti. Plate, top with a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano cheese and eat at once!

{Top Photograph taken by Carly Dunn}


Stuffed Cabbage… It’s Good!

Saturday mornings in our house usually include, a cup of fresh brewed coffee, maybe some music for background noise and a stack of cookbooks to peruse for meal ideas for the upcoming week. My son will usually be tugging on my PJ’s looking to sit in my lap, which always makes me smile.

After evaluating the weeks activities we usually pick a few of our GO TO meals, which we conveniently keep listed in Evernote (I highly recommend it). Evernote is perfect for storing recipes or even just pictures of recipes, and both are searchable.

I like to try at least one new recipe each week. Those new recipes may just turn into GO TO recipes in the future. I also like to keep things new and fresh. Food boredom is for the birds. I will either choose a specific recipe that excites me or search for inspiration. I might look at 2 or 3 recipes for the same dish and pull out what I believe are the best aspects of each, creating a hybrid of sorts.

This weeks “lets try something new dish” turned out to be stuffed cabbage. We have a new Slow Cooker Essentials cookbook by Williams-Sonoma and have found several great recipes in it. I was a little skeptical at first, but  the recipe called for bacon! What’s not to like? It was outstanding! Cabbage isn’t always a family favorite, but the way you slow cook this dish you almost don’t taste the cabbage. Sometimes cabbage dishes can be bitter, not this one! Get out of your comfort zone, take a risk, you won’t regret it!

Stuffed Cabbage – Adapted fromEssentials of Slow Cooking, Williams-Sonoma

Serves 4 to 6
1 Green Cabbage about 2 lbs
1 lb Lean Ground Pork
1/2 cup Cooked Rice (I used brown rice)
1 Egg
3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper
4 Slices Bacon
1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Rib of Celery, Chopped
1 Carrot, Chopped
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
1  28oz  Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

Fill a pot with water large enough to boil the cabbage. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees if you are crunched for time and only have an hour and a half for cooking. 200 degrees if you are going to slow cook the stuffed cabbage for several hours. (I slow cooked mine for 4 hours). Chop your vegetables and set aside. Once the water comes to a boil, place the cabbage in the water and boil for 5 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set the cabbage aside to cool. In a Dutch oven (I use a Le Cruset) cook the bacon over medium heat (don’t let it burn). Once the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate covered with paper towels. Add your chopped vegetables, the onions, carrots and celery to the Dutch oven and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove one or two of the outer leaves from the cooked cabbage and chop, about 1/4 cup. In a bowl add your pork, green onions, rice, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp  Pepper, the 1/4 cup of  chopped cabbage and a beaten egg. Mix all of the ingredients together with your clean hands. As the Barefoot Contessa would say “the two best tools in the kitchen.”

Once the vegetables are soft, add to the Dutch oven the caraway seeds, crushed tomatoes, red wine vinegar and the bacon crumbled. Simmer over low heat.

The cabbage should be cool enough to begin peeling the  leaves from the cabbage. Carefully peel off about 12 leaves. depending on how much of the pork mixture you put in each cabbage leaf, you may only yield 8 total. Take a small handful of the pork mixture and gently roll it into a large meatball. Once pealed the cabbage leaf will take the natural form of a bowl, place the pork meatball into the thicker end of the cabbage. Fold in the sides and roll forward. Place the stuffed cabbage into the Dutch oven with the tomato sauce seam down. Repeat until all of the pork is used. Spoon some of the sauce over all of the stuffed cabbage. Cover and place in the oven.

As mentioned above – I cooked mine for about 4 hours at 200 degress, but if you are in more of a hurry you can cook it at 325 for about an hour and a half. If you decide to slow cook the stuffed cabbage for 4 hours, cover the Dutch oven with a sheet of tin foil before placing the lid on it. This will ensure that the liquid does not evaporate. Once the stuffed cabbage has cooked, plate and enjoy!


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