Holy Guacamole!

Since the 4th of July (and lots of barbeques and picnics) is only a week away, I thought I’d share my (somewhat) famous guacamole recipe with you. It’s quick and easy to whip up and can satisfy a crowd for only about $10.

Jess’ Holy Guacamole

prep: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

4 large ripe Hass avocados
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced fine
1 medium yellow onion, diced fine
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt
pepper

Prep:

  1. Dice the jalapeño, onion, tomato, and garlic and add to a large work bowl. Add the lime zest and juice.

  2. Halve the avocados and scoop out the flesh into a separate work bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, squish them until they look like the Hulk in a blender.

  3. Fold the other ingredients into the avocado. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Enjoy with tortilla chips, fresh veggies, or use it for a topping on your favorite burger. We added pureed chipotle peppers in adobo, goat cheese, and bacon to a freshly grilled burger, then topped it with our homemade guacamole all on a toasted kaiser roll. It was, hands down, the best burger we’ve ever made here at the Little House!

What do you put guacamole on? Do you have a go-to staple for your summer get togethers? What was the best burger combination you’ve ever had?

Leggo My Eggo

Is it just me or does it seem like forever since I shared a recipe (EDIT: It was three weeks ago)? With us being gone on vacation for a week and Kevin traveling for work, I haven’t been cooking much (I eat like a college kid when Kevin’s not here).  Thankfully, we’re both home this week, so I’ve been able to get in the kitchen. And since yesterday was Meatless  Monday, I have a great meatless recipe to share with you that would be easily adaptable to a not-so-meatless version: Eggplant Parmesan.

Eggplant  Parmesan

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes (ish)

Ingredients:

1 small eggplant
1 1/2 c. Panko breading
1 c. flour
1 egg
3/4 c. shredded mozzarella
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan (or more if you’re like us and LOVE Parm)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 box whole wheat pasta
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
salt
pepper
olive oil

Prep:

  1. Wash, peel, and slice your eggplant into about 1/2 inch slices. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Set up a dredging station with your flour, egg, and panko. Season the flour with salt and pepper and add the thyme and oregano to the panko. I prefer to work front to back and set up my dredging like this (in uber classy tupperware).
  3. Begin by coating the eggplant lightly in flour. This allows the egg to adhere to the eggplant better. Next, transfer to the egg. Once coated, move to the Panko. When you’re done, you should have eggplant that looks a little like this (ignore the yellow photo, I forgot to white balance). 
  4. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Don’t use too much olive oil; eggplant is very absorbent and will soak up any excess oil, leaving you with soggy, oily eggplant. Fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel.
  5. Place your golden brown and delicious eggplant in a baking dish. Sprinkle on the Parmesan, then coat with spaghetti sauce. Finally, top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake until the mozzarella is melted and starts to brown, about 15 minutes.
  6. Serve over whole wheat pasta (or eat by itself). Enjoy!

Kev and I couldn’t stay away from this last night and both ended up going back for seconds. It was delicious! The recipe could easily be adapted for chicken parm (you would just pound chicken breasts until about 1/2 inch thick then dredge, fry, and bake like the eggplant).

Baby Spinach and Onion Quiche

At the time of my writing this post, we have 3 days, 9 hours, 27 minutes, and 47 seconds until our plane takes off from DFW airport bound for London Heathrow… not that I’m counting. I’m finishing up laundry today so that I can decide what I want to wear today, pack tomorrow, and work on spiffing up the house/yard on Thursday.

We’re also trying to empty the fridge this week so we don’t have any fuzzy surprises when we get back. That means making every meal this week out of things we already have in the fridge or pantry which includes (bus isn’t limited to) eggs, one half eaten jar of pickled beets, hummus, week-old deli swiss cheese, half a roll of store bought cookie dough, slightly sprouting onions and potatoes, tortillas, and a can Skyline Chili. It felt like an episode of Chopped in the kitchen last night as I tried to come up with what to make for dinner. In the end, I came up with one of my all-time favorite clean-out-the-fridge meals, quiche.

You can put almost anything you have floating around your fridge and pantry in quiche: random cheeses, lunch meat, leftover ham, lone veggies, even leftover cooked potatoes or pasta. Quiche’s fluffy, eggy goodness is a catch-all.

I chose to use our nearly expired eggs, week-old deli sliced swiss cheese, the (only slightly) sprouting onions, and baby spinach picked fresh from our gutter garden. I’d also use up the rest of the flour in the canister and a half stick of butter that was floating around the fridge since who-knows-when.

Onion and Baby Spinach Quiche

Prep: 30 mins
Cooking: 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the crust

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. shortening
1/4 c. butter (very cold, cubed)
ice water

For the filling

6 eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. milk
2 small onions, sliced
about 4 c. baby spinach
1 c. swiss cheese
olive oil
salt
pepper

Prep:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine flour in salt in the work bowl of your food processor. Add in shortening and butter and pulse until pea sized balls form. If you do not have a food processor, use a pastry tool or fork to cut the fats into the flour.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of ice-cold water to the dough at at time, pulsing until incorporated. Continue to add until the dough just comes together to form a ball. The perfect pie crust will be two things: tender and flaky. To get a tender crust, work the dough a little as possible to avoid forming gluten in the dough (you almost never knead pie dough). To ensure a flaky crust, use ice cold water and butter. A crust’s flakiness develops in the oven when the solid butter in the dough melts and releases steam. If the butter is already melted, this can’t happen.
  4. Roll out your dough and place in a pie pan. Crimp the edges and trim the excess dough (my mom always saved the scraps and made pie dough cinnamon rolls with them. Yum!). Bake at 350 F for 5 minutes. Turn your oven up to 425 F when it’s finished.
  5. While your crust is baking, slice the onions and wash (and dry!) your spinach. Saute the onions in a skillet with a little olive oil just until they’re translucent. Turn off the heat and add the spinach to the pan, tossing with the onions until the spinach is just wilted (or slightly blurry). Set aside.
  6. If you’re using sliced deli cheese, you’ll need to cut it into small pieces. Set aside.
  7. Combine the eggs, milk, cream, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
  8. Begin your assembly. Sprinkle cheese on the bottom of your pie shell, then add the spinach and onion. Finally, top it off with the egg mixture.
  9. Place in a 425 F oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 300 F and bake an additional 40 minutes.

This is another one of those dishes that makes you look like you really know what you’re doing in the kitchen (even if you’re a little shaky). The finished result is absolutely gorgeous (I admired this one so long Kevin had to take it away from me so that we could actually have it for dinner). I had a better photo, but accidentally sent the wrong one to myself last night. Oops.

If the thought of homemade pie crusts scares your pants off, go ahead and use a premade or boxed crust. Some of my other favorite filling combinations include prosciutto, Parmesan, and rosemary, bacon, tomato, and cheddar, and shredded chicken, Monterrey jack, black beans, and jalapenos. Really, the possibilities are endless.

What is your go-to fridge emptier? What is your favorite quiche combination? Can you tell I have French food on the brain?

prosciutto

Mediterranean Mushroom Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

Yesterday, I shared our new Meatless Monday meal plan.  For health and the environment’s sake, we’re cutting meat out of our dinner one night a week.  Several of you mentioned that you might like to take up the challenge, so I thought that I’d share another Meatless Monday recipe: Mediterranean Mushroom Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries. We made them last night with some gorgeous portobello mushroom caps and sweet potatoes from our Greenling local box. It was a quick and easy meal that we threw together after a bike ride… and it was delicious!

Mediterranean Mushroom Burger

Ingredients:

For the Burgers
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large portobello mushroom caps, stem removed
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 c. loosely packed salad greens (we used simple leaf lettuce)
1/2 c. feta cheese
1/4 c. sliced Kalamata olives (unless you’re like Kevin and think olives are the devil)
2 whole wheat hamburger buns

For the Fries

2 large or 6 small sweet potatoes, peeled
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Prep:

  1. Using a damp paper towel, gently clean your portobello caps. If you buy them from the supermarket they’re usually cleaned before packaging, but if yours come from a direct source like ours, you’ll want to make sure to get all the compost off.
  2. Combine olive oil, vinegar, sugar,  garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl with a whisk, then transfer to a large zip-top bag. Add the mushrooms and allow to marinade for at least an hour (we went on a bike ride while ours were doing their thing).
  3. Preheat your oven to 475 F, then julienne the sweet potatoes into half inch square match sticks. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and salt, then spread onto a cookie sheet. Bake potatoes for ten minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the fries. Return fries to the oven, repeating this process until the fries reach the your desired crispness (ours baked for about 35 minutes).
  4. Grill your mushroom caps until tender (about 3-4 minutes per side) over medium flame, reserving the marinade.
  5. Using the reserved marinade, dress the salad greens, tomatoes, feta, and olives as you would a salad.
  6. Place the grilled portobello caps top side down on the hamburger buns (we like our buns toasty 😉 ), then top with the salad mixture. Serve with the sweet potato fries.

You could make this recipe substituting a burger for the mushroom (and we probably will at some point). The mushroom is a blank canvas, though, and we’re hoping to get more portobello caps so we can try other variations on this theme!

What are your favorite burger toppings? Anyone else obsessed with sweet potato fries?