On any given Sunday morning, you can find me standing at the butcher block counter in my kitchen, all-important first cup of coffee within easy reach, eggs and shredded cheese and odds and ends of vegetables arrayed before me. Even without coffee -- even in my sleep -- I can preheat the oven and whip up a breakfast casserole in less than ten minutes. And half an hour later, when my household wakes up, something like this broccoli, mushroom, egg and cheese casserole will be there to greet them. I'm a huge fan of protein-centered breakfasts, and I also love egg and cheese casseroles for lunch or worknight dinners. Unlike souffles, egg casseroles aren't fussy, which is good to know if you're planning to cook while not quite fully awake.
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What's in a name? In the case of this egg, spinach and two cheese crustless quiche, you could call it an egg casserole, breakfast casserole, even a frittata. In our house, we use the generic term "eggy cheesy thing". Crustless quiche -- the dish we make when we're watching what we eat, and don't want the added calories and carbs in a crust -- accommodates mix-ins of leftover cooked pasta, vegetables, beans, or even shredded rotisserie chicken, in any combination. At least once a week, we eat eggy cheesy things for dinner, because I always keep eggs and cheese in the pantry and the dish comes together with a minimum of work. When I have dark leafy greens like spinach in my refrigerator, I like to make this quiche and portion it for a week's worth of breakfasts, so I know I'm eating my vegetables right at the beginning of the day.
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When my husband Ted traveled to Tanzania last summer to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, he ended his trip with a few days of rest and relaxation on the island of Zanzibar, famous as a crossroads of the spice trade. And because Ted has lived with me for a whole lot of years, he never once considered not taking a tour of a spice farm. For months I've been having fun cooking from the packets of curry powders, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, and more that Ted bought from Butterfly Farm. This Zanzibar tandoori grilled turkey recipe pays homage to the Indian, Arabic and African fusion cuisine on the island. Tandoori masala, which you can find in Indian markets, colors the marinade a beautiful pinkish-red, and my photos don't do justice to the resulting color of the grilled turkey. Make friends with your butcher, and ask him (or her) to butterfly the turkey breast for you. Then, serve with some homemade tomato nectarine chutney or dried cranberry and pear chutney, and imagine yourself on a Zanzibar beach at sunset, watching the dhows float across the horizon. Oh, my.
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Halfway through the cooking time for this soy-braised chicken, as the
aroma filled the kitchen and spilled out into the living room, I began to have
regrets. I regretted finding only one package of chicken thighs in the
freezer. I regretted not doubling the recipe. I regretted offering to share what I did make with my husband Ted. I want you to make this dish, without feeling the way I felt, so please, pull out your 4- or 5-quart slow cooker and double, triple or quadruple the recipe. Most everything you need is already in your well-stocked pantry. Serve the chicken warm, over rice, or wrap it in lettuce leaves or in a spring roll, with shredded lettuce and bean sprouts. Just be sure to cook enough chicken. You won't regret it.
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