One Ham, Two Dinners, Part 2: Ham and Cheese Quiche

Tuesdays are worse than Mondays.

I don’t know why. They just are. Mondays at least you can talk to your coworkers about what you did over the weekend, and somehow in retelling the weekend fun, you can kind of extend it beyond the two days. But Tuesday? Tuesday is like okay for real now, you have to work. No excuses.

So I’m even more excited about the ham we made Sunday being in the fridge and ready to be transformed into a super easy super yummy dinner than I was yesterday.

Yesterday was all about the Croque Monsieur. Today, we’re going to take the same ingredients (minus the bread) and make a ham and cheese crustless quiche!

So easy. If you made the Croque Monsieur yesterday, you’ll have all the ingredients on hand. If not, the shopping list is still super simple.

  • ham, cut into one inch cubes
  • cheese, shredded (any kind works- mozzarella, swiss, cheddar- whatever you have)
  • five eggs
  • splash of milk
  • butter, for greasing the pan (you can use cooking spray too)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a pie pan.

To the buttered pie pan, add your chunks of ham in an even layer.


Then sprinkle over your shredded cheese.


In a bowl, crack five eggs


Add a splash of milk


And whisk until combined.

Pour your milk and egg mixture over your ham and cheese.


Bake for about 30-45 minutes, until the center is firm.


Slice and enjoy.


To continue the French theme, serve with a salad of greens topped with a mustardy vinaigrette. It will cut through the richness of the eggs, ham and cheese, like it did yesterday with the Croque Monsieur.

And there you have two meals from a few simple ingredients- eggs, milk, ham, cheese, butter and bread.

That’s two itty bitty city kitchen friendly meals from 6 ingredients!

Huevos Rancheros

There is no food in the house.

You can’t make a delicious and satisfying meal

You must order takeout.

Have you found yourself in this frightening situation?

It usually hits just at the time when your favorite take out place is about to close and you end up debating being that jerk who places an order just before closing and makes the delivery guys work late (you will give him a good tip, you promise) and just taking a second look in the fridge.

9 times out of 10, I do actually have some ingredients that I can toss together and make into something.

Usually, it’s huevos rancheros.

Really, all you need is onion, peppers, beans and eggs. I tend to have all of these ingredients on hand. This time, there was also chorizo and some shredded cheese in the fridge. Score.

Chop up your onion and pepper and chorizo (if you have it) and toss into a pot with some olive oil.

Cook over medium heat until the veggies soften.


Add in your beans. I had refried pinto beans in the cabinet, but you could  use black beans, pinto beans, refried black beans, kidney beans. Really, whatever you have.



Let this cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.


Toss in a handful (or two) of cheese



and stir.



In a skillet, fry two eggs, sunny side and runny and gooey.

Place a scoop of the bean and veggie mixture on your plate and top with the fried eggs.



And there’s a delicious and healthy meal from the contents of your pantry.

If you have, you can top with salsa or avocado or both.

You will feel better about whipping up something yourself and your delivery guy will thank you.

Jacky’s Greek-Inspired Salad

Anyone who is actually Greek (my fiance and future father in law included) will probably cringe at this salad. It’s not a real Greek salad. Notice how I call it Jacky’s Greek salad.

It takes some of my favorite elements of a Greek salad and Greek food and some of my favorite things in general (like an egg with a runny yolk) and combines the two to make a salad worthy of a meal.

Start by preheating your oven to 400.

Slice up some white button mushrooms and some zucchini and lay them on a foil-line baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.


Toss those in the oven to roast for about 10 minutes.

Prepare the base for your salad. I layered baby spinach, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and feta cheese on a big plate.


Then I added the zucchini and mushrooms when they were done roasting.


I love the combination of cool crisp spinach with warm and slightly mushy zucchini.

Top the salad with two fried eggs


And there you have my Greek inspired salad.

Mushroom and Leek Frittata

Frittata is basically the Italian version of quiche.

Only it’s better.

Not because it’s Italian

But because you make the whole thing in one pot.


Mushrooms and leeks are a fantastic combination. Leeks, if you’ve never had them, have a very mild onion flavor and, because of their light flavor, crispness and pretty green color, they just feel so springy!

Only word of warning, leeks are sandy and gritty. you have to really wash them thoroughly. Preferred method? Slice them in half length-wise, then cut into small slices. Fill a large bowl with water and the drop slices in. The sediment will fall to the bottom.

For this dish you will need

white button mushrooms, sliced

2 leeks, cleaned and sliced

4 eggs

splash of milk

shredded fontina (optional)

olive oil



Drizzle olive oil in an oven-proof skilled. If you don’t have one, then you’ll just transfer the whole thing to a baking dish and wind up with a two pot dinner instead of a one pot. Still not terrible.

Toss in the mushrooms and cook over medium heat.


when the mushrooms start to brown, add in the leeks and let them cook for about 10 minutes, until soft.


season with salt and lots of black pepper and stir.


Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together 4 eggs and a splash of milk.


If you are using, add the grated fontina to the eggs and stir


Lower the heat on your mushrooms and leeks (or transfer them to a baking dish) and pour the eggs over the veggies.


If you’re using the frying pan to bake them, bring the heat back up to medium and cook the eggs a bit, maybe 5-7 minutes.

If you’ve transferred to the baking dish, skip this step and instead pop into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Either way, cook until the eggs are set. Frying pan method requires less time in the oven as we pre-cooked the eggs a bit.


Slice up and enjoy.


Indian Spiced Baked Eggs

In keeping with yesterday’s post about expanding our spice palate, today’s dish takes some plain old ingredients on an exotic Indian spice journey.

This recipe comes via the New York Times, though, in my usual fashion, I tweaked it a bit. Also, I started with my oven at 375, but it just was not cooking the eggs. At least not in the 8 to 13 minute time frame they gave. So I upped it to 400. Sorry New York Times, but you may want to double check that.

You will need:

  • 5 yukon potatoes, boiled until tender
  • 1 white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 eggs (2 eggs per person)
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt

Drizzle olive oil into a skillet and toss in the onions and the spices.


Let these cook over medium until they have softened


Then add the can of tomatoes and let them cook with the spiced onions


Meanwhile, slice the potatoes into coins and line a 9×13 baking dish with the slices


Check on your tomatoes and onions and break them up with the back of a spoon.


When the mixture is cooked, carefully pour over the potatoes. Pop this into a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes so the tomatoes and onions bake into the potatoes a bit.


Remove from the oven and, using a spoon, make four wells in the mixture and carefully crack an egg into each. I suggest cracking into a bowl and the sliding the egg into the well to avoid breaking the yolk.


Each egg will be surrounded by the warm tomatoes, which will start to cook the eggs. Back into the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the eggs are set.


The garam masala and coriander take eggs and potatoes from boring and basic to anything but.

Breakfast on the Fly

Good, good, goooood… good morning! ba ba ba abababa.

No I’m not this chipper in the morning. But that’s what I wake up to.

My alarm sings good morning.

Isn’t that so much better to wake up to than some high pitched beeping?

It makes me giggle before I’ve even opened my eyes.

So why am I setting an alarm on a Saturday?

Well, we have to head to Jersey for some family time. So it’s up and breakfast and coffee and out the door.

Breakfast is my favorite meal. I can eat breakfast foods all day. Speaking of which, breakfast for dinner hasn’t happened in a while… hmm… maybe this week.

It doesn’t even have to be some fancy homemade breakfast to make me happy. I’m such a cereal junky. I could eat cereal all day. All day.

I love opening the cabinet, pulling out a box of cereal and transforming it. Transform cereal? Yup. Add some fruit or some chopped nuts. Change up your milk. A hint of coconut milk over otherwise boring bran flakes and you have a tropical start to your day. A sprinkle of cinnamon and some peaches over corn flakes and you have a peach cobblery start to your day.

This morning?

It’s summer and it’s berry season.

Blueberries and raspberries tumbled over some honey nut Cheerios. A tiny sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts for a nod to Italian flavors.


He, on the other hand, is the egg master. Check out those perfectly yellow, gooey yolks! Those red flecks? Armenian red pepper. Does it have a real name? Yes. Can I even begin to spell it or say it? No.

But any Middle Eastern food store would know what you mean. It’s spicy. And it gets spicier as you cook it. (I learned that the hard way the first time I added it to my lentil soup.)


It took us maybe ten minutes to brew coffee, make eggs and concoct a cereal blend. You have ten minutes in the morning. And if you don’t, it’s totally worth waking up a little earlier to have your breakfast at home, on your couch, instead of while walking to work or while sitting at your desk.

Try it!

Leftover Veggie Crustless Quiche

Friday night’s calzones left me with a half a bag of spinach and a container of mushrooms in my fridge.

Much as I wanted to stop at the store and peruse the produce section ( I like grocery shopping. I know. I’m strange), I knew I had food to use in my fridge.

I hate having food go to waste.

Usually when I have leftover veggies, I sautee them up and toss them over pasta.

Unfortunately, we just had pasta last night.

So I racked my brain.

And came up with this.

Leftover Veggie Quiche.

This is a crustless quiche so it’s super quick to prepare and needs only a few ingredients:

  • some veggies (I’m using spinach and mushrooms and some scallions)
  • parmesan or another shredded cheese (optional) (I also scooped in some ricotta because the sell by date’s approaching)
  • 4 eggs
  • milk
  • butter (to grease the pan, you can use cooking spray too)

Sautee the veggies in some olive oil and black pepper over medium heat. Remember they will cook some more in the oven, so don’t cook them all the way.

Meanwhile, grease a pie pan or a baking dish. You can use whatever you have on hand – glass pyrex casserole, a brownie pan – I’m using a pie pan because I have one and because it’s dishwasher safe. One less pot to wash!

When the veggies are cooked, dump them into the greased pan in an even layer.


I, for whatever reason, cooked the spinach first, put it in the pie pan as my bottom layer, then cooked the mushrooms and laid those on top of the spinach. I tossed the chopped scallion over.

In a bowl, crack four eggs, pour in some milk, sprinkle in some cheese, scoop in a spoonful of ricotta, add a few grinds of black pepper if desired and whisk away.


When the yolks are broken and well combined, pour the egg mixture over the veggies.


Bake in a 350 degree oven until the eggs are set. About 30 minutes.


Slice, serve with a side salad and some crusty bread.


I’m starting to notice just how often I type the words crust bread, and, subsequently, just how often I eat crusty bread.

I think I have a problem.

Is there a crusty bread eaters anonymous?


This is a crustless quiche.

No crust means no bread. An otherwise breadless meal.

And I need carbs.

I did have yogurt today for lunch. And fruit.

Totally healthy. And totally breadless.

So, I’m perfectly entitled to my crusty bread tonight.

What say you, Rachael Ray, is that the correct girl math?

I was always bad at math. I’m an English major.

Oh well.

The math I can handle? Dinner ready with only five minutes of prep + a nice long hot shower during the thirty minutes while the quiche bakes + only one pan to wash = a very calm and relaxed girl ready to settle in for some Game 7, Blackhawks vs Red Wings old school hockey!


Zucchini Pasta – or home alone tonight!


My boyfriend is the love of my life.

He is my best friend, my soul mate, my sous chef.

We live together, play together, laugh together and cook together.

At the end of a long day, all I want to do is hang in the kitchen with him, prepare a nice dinner and then sit down to it with some good wine and some good conversation recapping the day.

I love that he lets me try recipes on him and I love that he will eat almost anything I make.

Except for one thing.


He hates it. Can’t stand it. Turns up his nose at anything containing it.

I love it.

How could you not like it? I always ask.

It tastes like whatever you cook it with, I argue.

You eat yellow squash, and they’re in the same family, I reason.

Turns out. They’re not the same.

Not for him at least.

Much as it pains me to admit, on this one, he was right.

I was flipping through Good Housekeeping and stumbled upon an article about allergies. Food allergies fascinate me. Thankfully neither of us have any, but they are on the rise today.

Scanning through the article, my eyes see two words: zucchini and ragweed.

People with ragweed allergies often have a sensitivity to zucchini. Not an allergy, just a sensitivity.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

All those times he wrinkled his nose and told me zucchini tasted like a** to him were because of ragweed, not his taste buds.


I hate when he’s right.

So, now I don’t argue with him.

I just make zucchini dishes when he’s not home.

This is one of my favorites. And one of the easiest.

You will need

  • 1 or 2 zucchini depending on size and your hunger levels
  • olive oil
  • garlic, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • eggs

Cut the ends of the zucchini and peel the skin. With a vegetable peeler or a mandolin, or a sharp knife and a steady hand, peel the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons.


Rotate the zucchini, peeling from each side until you hit the seeds.

Repeat on the other zucchinis.

When you have a pile of ribbons, drizzle some olive oil in a pan and toss in the ribbons.


Turn to medium heat and toss in the chopped garlic.

I put the garlic on top of the zucchini and stir it around because I have a tendency to burn it otherwise.

Sprinkle some salt and grind some black pepper and continue to cook until the zucchini is cooked through. It will start to turn a bit translucent.

If you are using a big enough pan, push the ribbons to the edge, leaving a space in the center.

Crack one or two eggs (depending on hunger again) and cook until sunny side up. Feel free to cook to over easy if you prefer, but you really want a runny yolk on these.


If your pan is too small to accommodate, just put the ribbons into your bowl and cover to keep warm.

Top with the fried eggs.

Sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top if you wish.

Run your fork through the egg, cracking the yolk, and letting the yellow gooey center seep over the green ribbons, forming a sauce for your “pasta.”

The slightly crunchy, tender zucchini that’s a little sweet and a little spicy from the pepper.

The rich warmth of the egg coating the ribbons.

This is spring in a bowl.


If you want to make this a vegan recipe, leave out the egg and parmesan. Squeeze some lemon juice to make a lemon garlic sauce. Or, treat the zucchini as you would pasta and add your favorite tomato sauce.

The Essentials: Part 1, Mission Dessert – pantry staples and shortbread

Yesterday’s emergency made me realize something. I had been so excited to start telling you about the wonderful and delicious food you can make in your tiny kitchen, that I forgot to go over some basics.

We covered kitchen equipment, but I completely left out pantry staples.

If I didn’t have a well-stocked cabinet and fridge, I would have had to make a stop at the store (which I didn’t have time to do) or, worse, a stop at the bakery. Now, we have a fantastic bakery near our apartment. But 1. I couldn’t bare the thought of ordering takeout pizza AND giving  my guests store bought baked goods, no matter how homemade they may taste and 2. while our bakery is probably one of the cheapest in Manhattan and the occasional cupcake or banana pudding for two doesn’t break the bank, the cost adds up when you’re getting into the dozen zone.

I break my pantry into two categories, dessert staples and quick dinner staples. I’m going to start with dessert staples for now and then cover dinner in another post. But some of these things, like butter, eggs, vegetable oil and heavy cream really live in both worlds.

So, here are the things I keep on hand so I can always whip up some sort of a dessert.

  • Box cake mix
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • vanilla
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Heavy cream
  • Chocolate (I prefer bar over chips because bars melt more easily due to stabilizers in chips and you can easily chop up the bar to use as chunks in cookies. I like to get one item that can do double duty instead of two when I can.)
  • vegetable oil

I know eggs, heavy cream and butter have shorter shelf lives than the other items. But, if you’re like us, you always have eggs on hand. I make egg sandwiches to take for lunch, he makes eggs on Sunday mornings and eggs find their way into dinner at least once during the week. Butter lasts in the fridge for a while. Or can be frozen.

I go for unsalted butter always. It’s better for baking and if I am going to use it in my cooking, I’d prefer to have complete control over the salt content. Only child. Control issues.

Heavy cream may seem like the only odd ball thing to have. But I end up using it more than you’d think. Adding creaminess to soup, a splash to a smoothie for some richness, and who doesn’t love some homemade whipped cream on ice cream or cake or a brownie?

It may seem like a lot to buy flour and baking soda and baking powder, but it will just be the initial stock up purchase that will hit your wallet hard. Baking soda and powder last me a good six month or more. Flour can go for a few months before needing a restock.

Chocolate never lasts. Ever.

It may seem like a pain to buy all of this stuff, but I promise you, it’s worth it.

With the above ingredients, you can whip up cupcakes or a cake with homemade butter cream frosting, cupcakes or a cake with a homemade and oh-so-fancy-shmancy-but-secretly-super-easy chocolate ganache, shortbread cookies, shortbread cookies dunked in chocolate ganache, chocolate chip shortbread cookies,  sugar cookies, glazed sugar cookies, chocolate dipped sugar cookies, a cake or cupcakes with a glaze… oh, and of course, yesterday’s emergency whoopie pies!

Yup. All that. From those 11 ingredients.

There’s more too, but that’s what comes to mind because those are the things in my arsenal.

The easiest one really, and the one I’ve found to be the biggest crowd-pleaser, is shortbread.

It is so deceptively simple.

It tastes like you’ve spent hours slaving away.

It also tastes like you will need to spend hours slaving away in the gym.

Only the latter is true.


  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 10 oz flour
  • (1 oz corn starch- the recipe calls for it, but I’ve left it out and they taste fine. I have it on hand for thickening soups or for making puddings, but don’t panic if you don’t and if you know you will never use it again)

Preheat oven to 300

Cream together the sugar and the butter.

When smooth, stir in the flour.

Press into a round or square greased baking tin. I use my square pan I use for brownies.

Prick holes in the top with a fork.

Bake for one hour.

Cut into squares upon removal from oven, when shortbread is still soft.

Place the bars on a plate to cool.

Your kitchen will smell like butter. And warm sugar.

Your defenses will be down.

You will be worried about whether your aunt will notice the dust on the TV, or if your boyfriend’s grandma will judge you for ordering mezze from the middle eastern restaurant down the street instead of spending the day in the kitchen making hummus and babaganoush and lamb kebabs (you had to work!) or if you can crack open the bottle of wine and pour yourself a glass without anyone noticing how much liquid has gone missing….

But then you will look at your shortbread squares arranged daintily on the plate.

And you will realize that no one will notice if one of those has gone missing.

Butter and sugar will dissolve in your mouth.

And all will be right with the world.

Last minute visitors – Emergency Whoopie Pies

Remember that amazing, bright, springy, wonderful pesto I made this morning?

Remember how much I was looking forward to dumping it over a bowl of angel hair pasta and curling up with it on the couch after a weekend of running around celebrating graduation?

Well that went out the window.

My phone rang.

My cell phone never rings during the day.

My boyfriend is always too insanely busy at work to call me during the day, so when I saw his name pop up on my phone I knew something was either wrong or that something had come up.

I was praying for the latter.

But I’ll admit I was a bit flummoxed when he said that a bunch of his family wanted to come over tonight.


We were just with your family all weekend.

We were with them all weekend, and because we were with them ll weekend, we weren’t at our place this weekend.

Meaning, our apartment was a mess.

My mind went immediately to the still unpacked bags and the piles of laundry and the dust bunnies that needed vacuuming.

Then, my mind flew to the fridge.

Besides the pesto, there was nothing in there.

I hadn’t food shopped yet.

What would I feed these people?

I calmed down when he said everyone was cool with just ordering pizza.

But still, I couldn’t not make anything.

I’m a firm believer in offering anyone who comes to your house something homemade.

Which is why I try to keep a few key things in the apartment at all times:

  • box of cake mix
  • eggs
  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla

With these on hand, you can at least make a semi-homemade dessert to go with your takeout dinner.

So here are my Emergency Whoopie Pies

You will need:

  • 1 box cake mix (any flavor)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing until blended. Some lumps are okay.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter onto the cookie sheet.

They will spread a bit, so leave space. I can get 4 rows of 3, so a dozen on a sheet.


I usually don’t care about things being the same size, but in this case, size does matter. You’re going to sandwich two of these together, so you want circles that are roughly the same size.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

One batch of mine was done in 8, one was done in 11. Depends on how thick you made your cakes.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

I only have one cookie sheet, so I remove the cooked cake cookies and then dollop the next batch of batter on for round two.

While the second batch bakes and the first batch cools, it’s time to make the filling.

Super simple buttercream recipe.

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

You can double this or triple this or half this to suit your needs.

This amount fills a dozen whoopies pies.

Mix together butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. You can add more sugar if you want it a bit sweeter, or, if the frosting is too thick for your taste, you can stir in a little bit of heavy cream.

This is one of those feel recipes. You make it and you get a feel for the consistency.

You also, I’m sorry to say, might just have to taste it.

I know.

Horrible fate it is of the baker.

Tasting frosting.

Feel free to add more sugar or more vanilla as you like.

You can also add food colorings, or if you want to be more adventurous, different flavorings like mint or coconut.

I’m pressed for time, so vanilla it is.


When the cookie cakes are completely cooled – you really have to let them cool all the way-

Patience is not a virtue I possess.

My mom gave me the middle name Grace, after my grandmother, so that’s the virtue I have.

I really think you only get one. So I am, unfortunately a very impatient person. Which is probably why I prefer cooking to baking, but I digress.

Let them cool completely. Otherwise you will have a runny, melty, sticky mess on your hands.

Flip a cookie cake over and frost the side that was face down on the cookie sheet. Find another one of roughly equal size, and, placing the cookie sheet side down, sandwich the frosting.


It should ooze out the sides a little bit.

Continue making sandwiches until you run out of frosting and cookie cakes.

If you did it right, there will be a small spoonful of frosting in the bowl begging to be eaten.

If you did it really right, you will savor the frosting for a moment, admire your plate of whoopie pies and then buzz the family up to the apartment.

Throw the cookie sheet and the bowls into the sink.

Cover your sink (and the mess) with your over the sink cutting board.

None the wiser.