It's that time of the year again when our busy schedules seem to taper down quite a bit. During the winter months, with the cold, snowy weather outside, I tend to hibernate in the warmth of my home.
With a little more leisure time, I often pick up my favorite cookbooks and start leafing through the pages. Ah what to fix for dinner? That seems to be the puzzling question.
After the holidays, I quickly become a "creature of habit" and fall into this routine. I have become bored with the same meals week after week. It's time to take a break from the old favorite dishes and substitute them for a few new ones.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Debbie Wilson
The variety of quiche are endless, depending on your individual taste. Create your own favorite blends of cheese, vegetables and meats for different meals.
Since I was gifted with the ''Pioneer Woman Cookbook'' recently, it was the first cookbook I reached for. I often watch Ree Drummond on the Food Network and I am impressed with how simple and delicious her dishes always appear to be. So I was excited to see what her cookbook had to offer to help bail me out of my dinner boredom.
As I started flipping pages, I immediately found a recipe that caught my attention. Quiche!
Quiche is a dish that I was never adventurous enough to try until I saw it on a buffet. To my surprise, it was really good.
If you have never tasted quiche, let me tell you - it is not what you expect. As Wikipedia describes it, "Quiche is a savory custard with cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables." It is excellent for breakfast, lunch or even dinner and it is very easy to make.
When preparing dinner, I like to take shortcuts when I can in order to save time. Therefore I used a Pillsbury Ready Crust to line my pan. This recipe makes one 9-inch deep dish quiche or two, 8-inch quiche. I made both of these.
The first one was made in a 9-inch deep pie dish and for the second one I cut the recipe in half and put it in an 8-inch quiche/tart pan. You can also use an 8-inch pie pan if you do not have a quiche pan.
The great thing about quiche is you can tweak the recipe to satisfy your own taste. Since Swiss cheese is not a favorite of mine, I decided to use a blend of Monterey jack and Colby cheese instead. I also added about 1 cup of cooked, chopped broccoli for a touch of color and additional flavor. I added 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard to the egg / milk mixture for an extra kick.
The 8-inch pan took 45 minutes to bake where as the 9-inch pan took exactly 1 hour. I made sure to set the timer for a little less time than suggested and reset the timer for additional time, to assure that it would not be over done.
Different ovens vary in baking time. To check for doneness, insert a knife into the center of the quiche. The knife should come out clean when it is done. I did notice that it cooked faster on the outside.
The variety of quiche are endless, depending on your individual taste. For breakfast, I prefer a richer blend of a more cheesy quiche, but for dinner I enjoy one that has a few more ingredients, such as mushrooms, sausage, bacon, seafood, peppers or even broccoli, in order to make a more substantial meal. Don't be afraid to experiment and be creative using some of your favorite meats, cheeses and vegetables to create your own special quiche.