Swiss Cheese Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with Crispy Potato Crust

With winter fading into the background, I have been eager to whip up as many comfort foods as I can. I still eat a few casseroles here and there in summer, but I tend to eat on the lighter side when it’s hot out. So, with the still chilly air, I feel like I need to stock up on warm, yummy, comforting food that I won’t be enjoying again for a few months.

Today I have decided to share one of my favorite comforting dishes. This quiche has a crispy potato crust and is filled with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, spinach, and eggs. I love having this with a big, full-bodied glass of wine and a light soup or salad to start. Hope you enjoy!

To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate with 1 tablespoon (or less) of butter. Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the potatoes.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, onion, cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer the potato mixture to the skillet and pat into a 10-inch disk. Cook about 10 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.

Loosen potatoes and place pie plate top side down onto crust. Flip over, browned side up, onto the pie plate. Using your palm, move crust so edges are even around rim of plate. Bake about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, heat the skillet over high heat. Add the spinach and ¼ cup water. Keep turning with a tongs until completely wilted. When cool enough to touch, squeeze out as much water as possible by hand, then wrap in paper towels and squeeze again. Chop in small pieces. Reserve.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until brown and liquid has evaporated, stirring several times, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach to the mushrooms and season with salt. Put half of the spinach mushroom mixture in the crust, sprinkle the Swiss cheese evenly over, then the parmesan. Put the remaining spinach mixture on top.

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, egg whites, milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoons pepper and nutmeg.

Pour over the filling in the pie plate. Elevate the top mushrooms that are submerged so they will show when finished – you want it to be pretty! Bake 20-25 minutes until set. Let cool about 20 minutes before cutting.

Swiss Cheese Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with Potato Crust
Serves 4
Recipe taken from Cook and Be Merry

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
4 Idaho Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 12 ounces), peeled
½ cup finely minced onion
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Two 5-ounce containers fresh baby spinach, stems removed
¼ cup water
8 ounces mushrooms, ¼-inch slices
3 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (I used mostly Gruyère)
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch glass pie plate with 1 tablespoon (or less) butter.

2. Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the potatoes. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, onion, cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer the potato mixture to the skillet and pat into a 10-inch disk. Cook about 10 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.

4. Loosen potatoes and place pie plate top side down onto crust. Flip over, browned side up, onto the pie plate. Using your palm, move crust so edges are even around rim of plate. Bake about 20 minutes.

5. While the crust is baking, heat the skillet over high heat. Add the spinach and ¼ cup water. Keep turning with a tongs until completely wilted. When cool enough to touch, squeeze out as much water as possible by hand, then wrap in paper towels and squeeze again. Chop in small pieces. Reserve.

6. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until brown and liquid has evaporated, stirring several times, about 10 minutes.

7. Add the spinach to the mushrooms and season with salt. Put half of the spinach mushroom mixture in the crust, sprinkle the Swiss cheese evenly over, then the parmesan. Put the remaining spinach mixture on top.

8. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, egg whites, milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoons pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the filling in the pie plate. Elevate the top mushrooms that are submerged so they will show when finished. Think presentation.

9. Bake 20-25 minutes until set. Let cool about 20 minutes before cutting.

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Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Ever get sick of plain jam?

Me neither! But I had a lot of apples to use up recently and thought I’d make some good, old fashioned apple butter. Before I made my own, I actually never liked apple butter in the past. It was always too sweet and tasted like apple sauce gone bad. So, to get a good recipe, I searched a few of my favorite bloggers and landed on Jaimie’s recipe. I knew it had to be good.

And boy was I right! This apple butter is perfectly smooth and spiced, and pairs wonderfully with bagels, whole grain toast or even apple slices! I personally thought this went nice on a cinnamon raisin bagel. It was such a scrumptious breakfast (for the amount of time it lasted)!

To begin, place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well. Cook in your slow cooker on low for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.

Uncover, stir in vanilla and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours.

Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until smooth. Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Yield: 2 pints
Recipe taken from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:
3 1/4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used honeycrisp)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well.
2. Cook in slow cooker on low for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
3. Uncover, stir in vanilla and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours.
4. Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until smooth.
5. Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.
6. Serve on breads, muffins, pork chops or just eat it with a spoon!

Tuxedo Cake

When I have an excuse to make cake, I go bonkers.

Like, bananas with excitement. This cake has been on my mind for a while. A Pastry Queen creation. A genius idea.

AND, a Valentine’s Day dream! I served this up the other night while entertaining some friends and every step of this cake was like creating a baby. Sweet and tender loving, hunny.

This year for Valentine’s Day, I’m not sure what the boy has planned. I decided to be a spoiled brat this year. I’m a lady, and this lady right here is going to take some serious time to be treated like a Queen. Valentine’s Day is about the lady anyway, right?

Plus it’s an excuse to eat more cake. And I’m ok with that.

To begin, spray 3 8-inch pans with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 350. Get your cake’s baked (directions at the end) and cooled, and let’s get rocking! Why do my cakes have funny squares on them? Because they cooled on the racks top side down. They like it that way.

To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream on high until soft peaks form.

Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Level the cake layers. You want them to be flat on the top, so if your cake looks like mine:

Chop that top off!

Top the first layer with ~1/2-2/3 cup frosting, spread evenly.

Now top with the second cake layer. Repeat.

Cover the cake with remaining frosting and refrigerate for one hour.

You should probably get your chocolate dipped strawberries ready now. Make extra, you won’t regret it.

For the ganache, heat chopped chocolate, heavy cream, and golden syrup in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between. Stir in vanilla and stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to cool. Stir after chilling. The glaze should be pourable but very thick. Pour the thickened glaze over the top, gently pushing it towards the edges so it will overflow. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Top that beauty with your berries and eat that chocolate sucker up!

Tuxedo cake
Recipe taken from Confections of a Foodie Bride who adapted it from the Pastry Queen
This cake is BIG. It serves anywhere from 12-16 people.

Ingredients
For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil
3 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or fat-free Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla

For the frosting:
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the glaze:
4 oz (100g chocolate bar + 4 squares more) dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 tsp vanilla
Chocolate-covered strawberries (optional)

Instructions
Cake:
To make the cake, spray 3 8-inch pans (or two 10-inch pans) with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 350.
Combine the butter, water, and canola oil in a medium sauce pan set over medium heat and cook just until butter has melted.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar, flour, and cocoa. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and mix on low. Increase to medium and add one egg at a time. Add the buttermilk (or yogurt), followed by the baking soda, salt, and vanilla.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Let cool 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely, about one hour.

Frosting:
To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream on high until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Level the cake layers, if necessary.

Top the first layer with ~1/2-2/3 cup frosting, spread evenly, and then top with the second cake layer. Repeat and then cover the cake with remaining frosting.

Refrigerate for one hour.

Ganache:
Heat chopped chocolate, heavy cream, and golden syrup in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between. Stir in vanilla and stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to cool.

Stir after chilling. The glaze should be pourable but very thick. Test a small spoonful down one side of the cake – if it stops running before it hits the bottom or just as it hits the bottom, it’s done. If it’s too thick, add a Tbsp or two more golden syrup or heat for 10 seconds in the microwave.

Pour the thickened glaze over the top, gently pushing it towards the edges so it will overflow.

Refrigerate until time to serve.

Serve with chocolate-covered strawberries (optional). Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the fridge for a few days.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

All of the Valentine’s Day posts popping up around the blogosphere are making me super excited. Heart shaped cookies, heart cupcakes, heart shaped s’mores galore! The internet needs a little more pink in it’s mix, don’t ya think?

Here is my contribution – deliciously sweet and creamy red velvet whoopie pies. These babies have a soft outer cookie with a cream cheese filling that will melt your heart.

I ended up making these this past weekend at my boyfriends parents house. We went to visit their new most adorable puppy ever puppy and while I was there I thought I’d get some Valentine’s baking in. These turned out great. Enjoy!

To begin, preheat your oven to 375˚ F. Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets. Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat.

Blend in the food coloring. I used a full bottle almost.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide.

Bake 6-9 minutes or until the tops are set but not hard, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip. Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear.

I like a lot of frosting…

Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. Awwwww…now these are just pretty.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
For the cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 oz. red food coloring

For the frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets. Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat. Blend in the food coloring.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide. Bake 6-8 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip. Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear. Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

OMG

When I think of February I think of chocolate. It’s inevitable with all the Valentine’s day prep in retail stores, grocery stores, and on the intertubes. Right now I’m looking forward to baking a Valentine’s cake of some chocolate variation, baking brownies, and even with all this chocolate coming in my future, I thought it would be a good idea to bake some cookies too. I’m a growing sideways girl after all.

I need to tell you something. Listen, ok? It’s important. You need to put Oreos in your cookies. It will change your chocolate-chip-cookie-loving life! You won’t regret it! I like adding a little Oreo to the mix, because it adds a bit of crunch at first bite when the cookie is warm right from the oven (awesome) and then on day two the Oreo chunks soak up some of the moisture from the cookies turning this cookie into a moist, chewy, Oreo cream filled blast of heaven!

Now that’s pretty:

Shall we begin? Preheat your oven and cream butter, and sugars until well combined in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.

Place flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl, stir to combine.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

Stir in those smashed Oreos and chocolate chips.

Stir until just combined.

With a medium cookie scoop (or small spoon), scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cooked, but still soft.

Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Waiting is hard…COOL ALREADY!

Eat that beautiful cookie…or sing to it. It depends how much time you have today.

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies
Recipe adapted from Picky Palate
Makes just over 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
6 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 Oreo Cookies, chopped up into pieces
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.
3. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl, stir to combine.
4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in Oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.
5. With a medium cookie scoop (or small spoon), scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
6. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.