It's the morning after a weekend of heavy eating, and still you have family and friends visiting, sleeping in, slouching over their first cups of coffee, needing to be fed. By this time, everyone has had their fill of turkey-potato-stuffing leftovers. You want to send them home with a great breakfast, one that's easy on the cook and a bit kinder to the waistline, and you can't go wrong with an egg and cheese casserole packed with vegetables. After just a few minutes' work, and 35 minutes in the oven, something pouffy and tantalizing emerges, and your guests will feel loved and pampered and never know how simple it was for you to create. In this version, combine low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese with a little bit of goat cheese for a creamy texture. Leeks contribute a sweeter flavor than onions, though either would be fine here. Just add toast, orange juice, the Sunday newspapers, and, well... more coffee.
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Mini phyllo cups just might be the best thing that ever happened to appetizers. To be honest, apps aren't really my thing; give me a bowl of hummus or salsa and something to dip, and I'm all set. However, every now and then, especially during the holiday season, I like to present my guests with something a bit more, well... polished, and that's when I turn to phyllo cups. I always have a few boxes stashed in the freezer; each box contains fifteen little cups, which means you don't need a lot of filling, and you can make multiple batches without much more effort. These spinach and feta phyllo cups are one-bite treats (or, for the very dainty, two bites), and offer a burst of flavor without a heavy filling. It takes less time to put them together than it takes to preheat the oven. How easy is that?
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In Something's Gotta Give -- yes, yes, it's a chick flick, and I love it -- the most romantic scene catches Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson in their bathrobes, in her kitchen, at night, sharing a pan of eggs by candlelight. I think eggs are romantic, too. Maybe it's because they're warm and familiar, or just so silky soft and sensuous. If you love eggs, here's a simple little herb and ricotta frittata a deux. All you need are eggs, fresh herbs (whatever's left in your garden), creamy ricotta cheese and a bit of sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano, an onion, candles, and two forks. Or, make this as a treat for yourself, and eat it straight from the pan while watching the movie in your bathrobe.
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As a precaution, for the past few days we've taken to locking our car doors. Here in the country, we usually don't do that -- in fact, people leave their keys in the car, and the car running, in the local supermarket parking lot! -- but it's zucchini season, and we have to guard against the random zucchini deposited on the passenger seat. Yes, it happens, and nowhere -- not the porch, the front stoop, the mailbox or the car -- is safe. One of the recipes in my summer e-book, 23 Zucchini: Fast, fun, easy recipes from The Perfect Pantry kitchen, this zucchini, egg and goat cheese breakfast casserole is a favorite way to cook those gifts of zucchini from gardening friends or the farmers market. Egg and
cheese casseroles are an easy go-to for busy weekdays and lazy weekends; enjoy them for breakfast, or with a green salad for lunch or supper. This is quiche without the crust, which
makes it a great gluten-free main dish. (Please check out the e-book for many more ideas for cooking with zucchini. The book -- for iPad, Kindle, smart phone or computer -- is fun, inexpensive, and people are saying nice things about it.)
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