Ham, Cheese and Quinoa Frittata Muffins

March 18th, 2014

Quinoa Frittata Muffins 1


I am always looking for interesting breakfast options.  There is something very special about food that can be picked up on the run when you have very little time.  When you add to that a healthy alternative to heavy egg and cheese concoctions, I am delighted.  I found this quinoa muffin recipe on Pinterest from Iowa Girl Eats.  Kristin actually made her muffins in mini muffin cups and figured the calorie count to be 48 calories for each.  I made mine in a standard size muffin pan.  I was not so much interested in the calories as I was in the healthy ingredients.

Quinoa Frittata Muffins 4


The quinoa takes the place of flour in the muffins.  There are only two eggs and two egg whites in the mix.  The other ingredients are zucchini, cheese, ham (I used Canadian Bacon), green onions and parsley.  But what is so special about the ingredients is that you can use anything that you would like.  Leave out the ham and you would have a good vegetarian muffin, substitute spicy cooked sausage and you would have an added kick.

Quinoa Frittata Muffins 2V

I plan to tuck these muffins away in the fridge and freezer for future quick breakfasts. We will be traveling back to Lake Lure at the end of the month.  David usually likes to stop for a chicken biscuit at MacDonald’s.  Even though he eats just the bottom half of the biscuit with his fried chicken patty, these muffins are a far better choice.  The only down side that I see is that Daisy, our dog, won’t get her favorite top biscuit treat.

Quinoa Frittat Muffins 3

I am entering the recipe in Tasty Tuesday over at The Comforts of Home.  I hope you will give these tasty muffins a try.


2 cups cooked quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced ham
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 green onions, sliced
salt & pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. Liberally spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and spoon mixture to the top of each cup. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cups are golden brown. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the mini muffin tin.
  2. TO FREEZE: Place baked cups on a baking sheet then freeze until solid and transfer to a freezer bag. Microwave for 20-40 seconds depending on how many you’re reheating.
  3. FOR REGULAR-SIZED MUFFIN TINS: Bake for 25-30 minutes

Printable recipe

Cast-Iron Skillet Focaccia

February 12th, 2014

Focaccia in a Skillet 1


Whether you make your own pizza dough or get a store-bought round of dough, there is nothing easier than this focaccia.  With a simple topping of red onion shards, olive oil, rosemary and Parmesan cheese, you can have a special bread on the table in no time.  It is also adaptable.  With ingredients like pizza sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni you could turn it into a deep-dish pizza.

Focaccia in a Skillet 2
I bought a round of multi-grain pizza dough from Publix.   The cast iron skillet is preheated in the oven before adding the dough so that it develops a nice brown crust on the bottom.  We will be making this again with variations.

We are in North Carolina until Saturday.  A snow and ice storm is heading our way.  Hopefully we will not lose power.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  Perhaps you could serve this special bread with whatever special meal you are planning.

CAST-IRON SKILLET FOCACCIA (Recipe adapted from Jamie Deen)

One 1-pound package store-bought pizza dough
All-purpose flour for dusting
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on the center rack as it preheats.  Bring the pizza dough to room temperature.

Dust the counter-surface with flour.  Stretch out the dough to a 12-inch circle.  I rolled it with a rolling pin dipped in flour.  Drizzle the hot skillet lightly with just 1 tablespoon of oil.  Lift up the skillet by the handle and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan completely.

Add the dough to the hot skillet and carefully stretch it to go halfway up the sides.  Press your fingers into the dough to make small indents.  Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the red onions and rosemary.  Top with the freshly grated Parmesan.

Bake on the middle rack until lightly golden brown, about 35 minutes.  Slice into wedges and serve.

Printable recipe

Chorizo, Cheddar and Chive Scones

December 26th, 2013

Chirizo Scones 1


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  We have been enjoying our time with the family in North Carolina.  Kristen made a delicious Christmas Day brunch that included these savory Chorizo, Cheddar and Chive Scones.  I have always loved sweet scones, but this savory version is very similar to sausage biscuits and is very festive.  Kristen adapted a recipe from King Arthur Flour for Bacon-Cheddar-Chive Scones.  I will give you her recipe here but you can go to their link for the original recipe.

Chirizo Scones 2

I love the way Kristen cut her scones.  Because we were serving children as well as adults, she formed the dough into a rectangular log and then cut wedge shapes from it on an angle.  This made many smaller scones which were perfect for everyone’s appetite.  It also has the advantage of more of the crispy edge surface which I love.

Chirizo Scones 3


Our Christmas breakfast included the scones, scrambled eggs and a tropical salad of pineapple, mango and blueberries with mango bellinis for the adults and mango sparkling water for the children.  These scones will be making a repeat appearance on my New Years’  brunch table.


2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Perfect Pastry Blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) cold  butter
1 cup (4 ounces) very coarsely grated or  diced cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (about 1/2 ounce) snipped fresh chives, or finely diced scallion tops (the  green part, 3/4 ounce)
1/2 pound chorizo sausage links, casing removed, crumbled, sauteed and drained on paper towels
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) heavy cream or whipping cream, or enough to make the dough cohesive

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

1) Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.

2) Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly, with some of the butter remaining in larger pieces.

3) Mix in the cheese, chives, and sausage until evenly distributed.

4) Add ¾ cup of the cream, stirring to combine. Try squeezing the dough together; if it’s crumbly and won’t hang together, or if there are crumbs remaining in the bottom of the bowl, add cream until the dough comes together. Transfer the shaggy dough to a well-floured work surface.

5) Pat the dough into 2 smooth  disks about ¾” thick. Transfer the disks to the prepared baking sheet.

6) Use a knife or bench knife to cut the disks into small wedges, spreading the wedges apart a bit on the pan.

7) Brush the scones with a bit of cream; this will help their crust brown.

8) Bake the scones for 20 to 24 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Printable recipe

Savory Pumpkin and Cornmeal Quick Bread

December 10th, 2013

Pumpkin and Cornmeal Quick Bread 1


One of the first blogs that I ever followed was Clotilde Dusoulier’s Chocolate and Zucchini.  Back almost ten years ago, the number of food blogs were relatively small and the bloggers with foresight and talent took the blogging world by storm.  Many of them have cookbooks now and belong in a hall of fame of food blogging pioneers.  Clotilde started her blog in 2003.  She was born and raised in Paris and had an early career as a software engineer in California and Paris.  She created her blog Chocolate and Zucchini as a creative outlet.  When it became a hit in 2005, she quit her engineering job and concentrated on her food writing, cookbook publishing, and travel writing for several magazines.

Pumpkin and Cornmeal Quick Bread V


Over the years, she has honed her cooking style and is now known for her vegetarian, sustainable, and seasonal fare.  Her latest cookbook, The French Market Cookbookis a reflection of her current Paris kitchen.  Although she is not a vegetarian, vegetables play a major part of her cuisine and shopping the markets in Paris are part of her daily routine.

Pumpkin and Cornmeal Quick Bread 2


The French Market Cookbook is divided into seasons.  This pumpkin and cornmeal bread is a part of the winter recipes.  I loved it from the first glance at the picture.  It is a rustic loaf, golden orange from the pumpkin and studded with roasted walnuts.  But don’t expect a sweet pumpkin loaf.  This is a savory loaf with herbal overtones from the parsley, a pleasant bitterness from the walnuts and an unadulterated pumpkin taste.  Clotilde says it pairs well with a soup or salad.  I love it toasted with a cup of tea or coffee.  I love all of the recipes in this book.  I have a feeling it will be on someone’s Christmas list.

I did make one major change to the recipe.  Because of time constraints, I used a can of pumpkin puree instead of a whole pumpkin or winter squash.  The below recipe appears as written.

SAVORY PUMPKIN AND CORNMEAL QUICK BREAD (Adapted from The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier)

1 3/4- pound wedge of baking pumpkin or winter squash
2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup fine-grind stone-ground cornmeal, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup walnut halves, toasted
3 large organic eggs
1 cup chopped fresh chervil or flat-leaf parsley leaves

Peel and seed the pumpkin and then cut it into 1/2-inch chunks.  Set up a steamer.  Steam the pumpkin, tightly covered, until sloft, 8 to 12 minutes depending on the pumpkin.  Put through a ricer or food mill.

Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve and set over a bowl to cool and drain for 1 hour, stirring gently from time to time to encourage the juices to drain; pumpkins tend to release a fair amount of liquid, but if you’ve used another type of squash, there may not be much to drain at all.  This should yield about 2 cups drained pumpkin flesh.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with oil, line the bottom with parchment paper, and sprinkle the sides with cornmeal until entirely coated.

In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and walnuts.

In a large bowl, beat together the cooked pumpkin, eggs, 2 tablespoons oil, and the chervil or parsley.  Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula just until no trace of flour remains; avoid over mixing, or the texture of the loaf will be heavier.

Pour into the prepared pan and level out the surface.  Bake until the top is crusty and golden and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.

Transfer to a rack.  Let cool for 20 minutes before turning out, and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Printable recipe


Boston Cream Pancakes

October 5th, 2013


Do any of you remember Long Johns?  No, not the underwear version.  I am talking about the doughnuts. When I was young, my Father would always go to the local bakery on Sunday mornings and come home with a bag of doughnuts.  There would be cinnamon twists, elephant ears, round jelly filled doughnuts and, my favorite, long johns.

Long Johns are a cake-like doughnut with a pastry cream filling and chocolate ganache smeared on top.  I adored them.  Recently I got a request from a family member who was going to be here for the Labor Day Weekend.  He asked if I would please, please make a recipe for Boston Cream Pancakes that he had seen online on the Country Cleaver website.  The pancakes are based on the Boston cream pie which was created by Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel in 1856.

I made them for breakfast one morning during the Labor Day weekend but never got a picture because they were devoured so quickly.  All I could think of when I ate them were those wonderful long johns that I had eaten as a child.  The fluffy pancakes, the smooth pastry cream and the decadent chocolate ganache all conspired to bring the flood of memories back.  I tucked the leftover ganache and pastry cream in the freezer because I knew that they would be making a repeat performance in my kitchen.

We had them for breakfast again on this beautiful Saturday morning, a day after my birthday. They were a welcome indulgence.  Sometimes you just have to eat like you are a kid again and stop worrying about calories, fat and sugar and how old you really are.  The pancakes themselves are an easy combination of yellow cake mix and Bisquick.  They are light and fluffy.  The pastry cream can be made way in advance and the chocolate ganache is easy.  I would recommend these pancakes to you for any special occasion, whether it be for a birthday or just because  it is a sunny day.  Indulge!

BOSTON CREAM PANCAKES (Country Cleaver Website)


Pancakes: Makes about 12 pancakes
1 cup Yellow Cake Mix
1 cup Dry Pancake Mix such as Bisquick
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
2 whole Eggs

Pastry Cream:
1/3 cup Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 cup Milk
1 cup Half-n-Half
1 Vanilla Bean, split and seeds scraped (or 2 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract)
1 Tbsp Butter

Chocolate Ganache:
8 oz. Chocolate
1 cup Heavy Cream



Pastry Cream: Make up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate until 1 hour prior to use.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, heavy cream and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Temper the eggs by whisking in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk slowly.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Press through a fine mesh strainer to remove any curdled bits and remove husk of vanilla bean. Cover strained pastry cream with plastic wrap, and press the plastic wrap on top of the pastry cream to make sure it doesn’t form a skin. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve

Chocolate Ganache:

In small saucepan, heat heavy cream. Stir in chocolate and whisk until melted and the two are completely combined. Remove from heat and set aside.


In large bowl, whisk together pancake mix and cake mix. Stir in milk, eggs and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Heat a large griddle or large pan over medium high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into pan or griddle and allow to cook until golden brown on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Gingerly flip pancake over and continue to cook until the other side has turned golden brown – about 1 ½ minutes. Remove from griddle/pan and allow to cool.

To assemble – stack pancakes and layer with prepared pastry cream between each pancake. Pour chocolate ganache over the top and promptly devour.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.