Meal Prep “Kitchen Sink” Quiche

One of the harsh realities of adulthood is the fact that not only do you have to prep lunches for the work week, but you also have to prep breakfasts (unless you want to wake up an extra 20 minutes earlier each day, which I don’t). I literally have my morning routine down to the minute so I can get every ounce of sleep possible. That’s probably an issue I need to face sooner rather than later, but until then I will continue to prep my breakfasts as well.

Some days, I keep it easy and just make a smoothie. I don’t need to think about it and just throw everything into the blender. However, when I want something more substantial, I reach for egg casseroles of any kind. When I was paleo, I would painstakingly homemake crusts that fit within the confines of that diet. That method is awesome if you’ve got the time (and they always turned out delicious), but I found that it took the ease out of the whole process and I dreaded prep days because of it.

Nowadays, I just use store-bought pie crust. I know you’re all SHOCKED. But, I can’t tell a lie. It’s always flaky, always buttery, and never falls apart like a homemade crust. It rocks. I will say that I’m picky about the ingredients that go into the store-bought crusts, so I usually reach for an organic brand such as the crusts from Immaculate Baking Co. However, the generic crusts will definitely work in a pinch, or if you don’t care about the ingredient list.

For the filling, I’ve experimented a ton based on the ingredients we have on hand, but the combination in this recipe is one that we’ve consistently wanted to remake each week. It combines hearty broccoli with sautéed peppers and shallots on the bottom, a layer of shredded gruyere cheese, diced ham, and a final layer of goat cheese. The flavor combination is amazing, and the quiche itself is pretty healthy. I absolutely love it. I call it “kitchen sink” because this quiche really takes to any combination of produce/meat/cheese you have laying around, so feel free to go crazy! If you aren’t feeling creative and would rather just stick to a pre-written recipe, then this one is the perfect one for you.

Quick note on these quiches: they were inspired by my boyfriend Jeff, who used to eat a greasy breakfast sandwich (that he homemade, but still, it was greasy) every day. He asked me to brainstorm ways he could still get his egg fix without the heavy feeling after, and thus the quiche idea was born. He simply reheats his slices in the microwave at work, but you could also opt to heat them in the oven at 375 for a few minutes.

This recipe makes two quiches, and I usually wrap them in individual slices in foil, then store in a bag in the freezer for easy breakfasts. Alternatively, this makes a great addition to any brunch table to feed a crowd! If you make these quiches, don’t forget to share your recipes and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram so I can see how you served ’em!

Ingredients

2 9-inch pie crusts, homemade or store-bought, at room temperature

16-20 eggs

1 cup broccoli, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

2 large or 3 medium shallots, diced

2 cups ham, diced

1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

1 4oz log goat cheese, crumbled

1/8 cup whole milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease two 9-inch pie dishes and line each one with a pie crust.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add broccoli, peppers, and shallots, and cook until lightly browned and mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the vegetables cook, crack 16 eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, salt, and pepper, and whisk to combine.
  4. Spoon 1/2 of the vegetable mixture into one pie dish, and the other 1/2 into the other pie dish, followed by the gruyere cheese. Divide the ham evenly between the two pies (on top of the vegetables and gruyere), then crumble goat cheese evenly over the two quiches.
  5. Fill each pie pan with roughly 1/2 of the egg mixture. If more eggs are needed to completely cover the filling, feel free to beat eggs one by one and add to fill each quiche. I prefer to start with 16 and add as I need, so I don’t waste eggs. Some days I use more filling, which requires less eggs to fill the pie dishes, and vice versa.
  6. Bake the quiches for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is set and lightly browned.
  7. Allow the quiches to cool slightly before slicing. Serve immediately, or wrap slices individually in foil and store in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

The pure joy I felt when I flipped this cake out of the pan is comparable to few things in life. It was magical. I mean, I did grease the pan like a crazy person, so I also wasn’t that surprised, but still. Magic.

This Nectarine Upside-Down Cake was inspired by the traditional pineapple variety. It’s made almost the same way, by layering fruit with a quick homemade caramel sauce and spreading a dense cake batter over the top. However, because nectarines are less sweet than pineapple, the final product is subtle and delicious. I don’t love overly sweet desserts, plus the muted sweetness really lets the in-season nectarines shine!

I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m allergic to peaches. I found this out later in life (after I had already tasted the delicious fruit many times), which totally stinks. Luckily, I can get somewhat of a peach fix by eating nectarines, which don’t cause my throat to close! The point in mentioning this is that you can absolutely feel free to substitute peaches in this recipe. It would be so delicious, and I’d be jealous if you did.

A quick note on the cake batter- it will be dense and not as wet as you probably expect. That’s ok! Simply spread it over the fruit and caramel using a silicon spatula, very gently, so as not to disturb your beautiful fruit pattern.

I serve this cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or fresh whipped cream, but it’s also delicious as-is with a cup of tea. Whatever way you choose, make sure you share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram so I can see your cakes in all their glory!

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, plus more for greasing

3-4 ripe nectarines

1 cup sugar, divided

¼ cup water

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground nutmeg

3 eggs

Whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, if desired, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter, and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. For good measure, grease the parchment too.
  2. Remove the pits from the nectarines and slice into ½ inch wedges. Arrange in a circular pattern on the bottom of the greased/lined cake pan.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup of the sugar with the water. Bring to a rolling boil and let cook until it turns light brown, about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the caramel is finished, immediately remove from heat and pour over the nectarines at the bottom of the cake pan. 
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat remaining sugar and butter until fluffy and light in color. Add the eggs.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then add to the wet ingredients in the mixer. Pour batter over the peaches carefully, trying not to disturb the pattern. You may need to spread the batter using a rubber spatula.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool slightly, then run a knife along the edges and flip the cake out onto a plate or serving tray. 
  7. Serve cake at room temperature, with whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!

Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

I know what you’re thinking…. why would I ever make a hot curry in the summer? I normally would agree with you! Unless of course you live in the Philadelphia area, where it has decided to rain/thunderstorm every single night the past two weeks. Thunderstorms call for comfort food, and this easy curry hits the spot.

Healthy enough for a weeknight dinner, this curry features the usual Thai-inspired aromatics such as garlic, ginger, and coconut milk. I also throw in a jalapeño for heat, and fresh-squeezed lime juice for brightness. I absolutely love loading in all the spinach as the recipe calls for, and occasionally some broccoli or zucchini for extra veggie content. The meatballs make this curry feel more fun, plus the meatballs themselves are loaded with flavor as well!

I serve this dish over steamed rice or rice noodles for a complete meal, but I’m sure it would be delicious over other things such as cauliflower rice or mashed sweet potato. Get creative and don’t forget to load on that sauce!

I absolutely love seeing what recipes you all are making, and there’s nothing better than getting a tag on Instagram (@theardentcook) with a photo of a finished dish from a reader. I can’t wait to see how your photos of this curry turn out! Enjoy!

Ingredients

2lbs ground chicken 

1 jalapeno, minced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 4-inch piece ginger, minced

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

3 cups baby spinach

1 14oz can full-fat coconut milk

3 tbsp soy sauce, divided

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp honey

Juice of ½ lime

Salt and pepper, to taste

Steamed rice, for serving

Instructions

  1. Finely mince the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger. Add half to a large mixing bowl and set the rest aside. 
  2. To the large mixing bowl, add the ground chicken, cilantro, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and a few cracks of salt and pepper. Mix and form into several 1 ½ inch meatballs. 
  3. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the meatballs until they are evenly browned. They may not be fully cooked through before browning occurs, which is okay. They will finish cooking in the broth. 
  4. Once all the meatballs are cooked, set them aside and lower the heat. Add the remaining half of the minced ginger mixture and saute until lightly browned and fragrant, about a minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, honey, and remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce. 
  5. Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat and allow it to simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the meatballs back in and cook the soup for another 5-7 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. 
  6. Stir in the spinach and lime juice, and taste for salt and pepper. Season accordingly. 
  7. Serve immediately over steamed rice, or store in an airtight container for an easy meal prep throughout the week. Enjoy!

Cheesy Black Bean Skillet Dip

Looking for a change in your week’s meals? One of my favorite things to do when I’m bored of the weekly meal rotation is to have an ‘appetizer night’ for dinner. We’ll lay out vegetables and hummus, cheese and crackers, the occasional frozen taquito (the BEST), and this black bean dip. It’s so yummy, and it’s not loaded with crap like some store-bought black bean dips.

Start by caramelizing some aromatics, add in your black beans, and bake it to melt the cheese. It takes about 15 minutes start-to-finish, including chopping and gathering of ingredients. It’s SO perfect.

If appetizer night doesn’t appeal to you, you can also stuff this delicious stuff inside of tacos or burritos, or spoon it over rice for a fun take on rice and beans. Just don’t skimp on the cheese. Promise?

Let me know if you make this bean dip by sharing your photos and tagging me @theardentcook on Instagram! Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 4oz can mild diced green chiles

¼ cup tomato paste

3 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp crushed red chili flake

½ cup water

1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a 9-10 inch cast-iron skillet, fry the garlic in a few tablespoons of oil until it turns light brown, 1-2 minutes. Add the green chiles, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, and chili flake and stir to combine. Cook for another minute.
  3. Add the black beans and water, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Top the skillet with both cheeses and bake until everything is melty and bubbling, about 5-7 minutes. If desired, let the skillet cook under the broiler for 1-2 minutes for additional browning. 
  5. Serve immediately with fresh tortillas or tortilla chips for scooping, or stuffed inside tacos or burritos. Enjoy!

Blistered Green Beans with Garlic and Ginger

Weeknight dinners are tough in the summer. All I want to do is get my workout in, shower, and relax in the backyard for the rest of evening. Spending an hour on dinner just isn’t realistic every night, which is why I turn to quick sides that are packed with flavor and can be made in 10 minutes.

These green beans are utterly perfect. They get a quick blanch in some hot water, a plunge in an ice bath to keep them crisp, and a toss in a hot skillet to blister along with tons of minced garlic and ginger. While the combination of garlic and ginger is Asian-inspired, don’t be afraid to serve these with various proteins to suit your taste. I love having them alongside fresh summer rice-paper rolls, or with grilled Asian barbecue chicken. Even better? Throw them on top of a huge chopped salad with shrimp, corn, bean spouts, and peanuts. The combo of the hot green beans with the cold and crisp salad is awesome for summer.

Give these green beans a try when you need a change-up in the weekly rotation for no time at all. Don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram so I can see all that you’re cooking up.

Ingredients

1 ¼ lb green beans, washed and trimmed

1 inch piece ginger, grated

3 garlic cloves, grated

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

Oil, for cooking

Instructions

  1. Bring ¼ inch of water to a boil in a wide, deep pan with a lid. 
  2. Add trimmed green beans and blanch until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. When the time is up, transfer the beans immediately to a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green beans, ginger, and garlic, and cook, tossing frequently, until the beans become slightly blistered and the ginger and garlic are fragrant, approximately 3 minutes. 
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the soy sauce and rice vinegar. Serve immediately!

Crunchy Sesame Coleslaw

In the summer months, I’m constantly looking for side dishes that are quick, cold, and don’t have ingredients that will spoil if left out in the sun for a few hours. This crisp coleslaw is the perfect option!

I chose to add bean sprouts and sesame oil instead of the traditional all-cabbage and mayo blend. It’s unexpected but absolutely delicious, and the ingredients themselves are cheap to feed a crowd. Pair it with all of your summer favorites, and don’t be afraid to walk away from the table for a yard game… it won’t spoil all too fast!

If you give this coleslaw a try, don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram! Have a great weekend!

Ingredients

3 cups shredded cabbage

2 cups bean sprouts

1 cup broccoli slaw

½ cup scallions, diced 

¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1.5 TBSP)

Juice of ½ lime

2 TBSP plain Greek yogurt

1 TBSP sriracha, or more to taste

5 TBSP toasted sesame oil

2 TBSP sesame seeds, toasted in a pan 

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, bean sprouts, broccoli slaw, and scallions.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine garlic, ginger, lime juice, greek yogurt, sriracha, sesame oil, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with an additional squeeze of lime and more sesame seeds. Enjoy immediately with grilled seafood, such as shrimp or salmon, or on top of warm rice noodles! 

Quick(er) Chicken Shawarma with White Sauce

Living in the northeast has its ups and downs, but one of the biggest ups has always been the ease at which I can travel to New York City for a weekend. Jeff and I always joke that we hope to have friends in NY for the rest of our lives so we never have to actually live there.

One of my favorite things to do in the city is get Halal food. Something about watching the chefs move with effortless speed tossing heavily-spiced chicken on a flat top paired with the heavenly smells just does it for me. Not to mention the classic debate over red or white sauce, or both? I’m a both gal, but I haven’t had much success making my own red sauce. That’s why this recipe only features a white. I’ve heard talk of mixing ketchup with red chili flakes and lots of vinegar, but I haven’t loved the outcome, so I tend to just use my favorite hot sauce instead. Whatever floats your boat, really.

The white sauce, however, is non-negotiable. Simply mix plain Greek yogurt with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. So creamy and delicious.

I serve this chicken shawarma with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and whatever other toppings I have on hand- sometimes olives, or capers, or fresh herbs by the bunch. Stuff everything inside a flatbread, or serve it over rice or couscous. Either way, it’s flavorful, healthy, and comes together on one sheet pan.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try by tagging me in your photos @theardentcook on Instagram. I can’t wait to see!

Ingredients

For the Chicken

3lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 large breasts)

Juice of 2 lemons

½ cup olive oil

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 ½ tsp ground cumin

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp turmeric

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¾ tsp crushed red chili flakes

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

1 large red onion, peeled and quartered

For the White Sauce

½ cup plain, full-fat greek yogurt

2 tbsp mayonnaise 

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and spices. Add chicken and toss to combine. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. 
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a rimmed sheet tray greased with olive oil. Toss the red onions briefly in the remaining marinade and arrange on the sheet tray around the chicken. 
  3. Roast the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes. 
  4. While the chicken roasts, make the white sauce. Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, and pinch of salt. Stir to combine and chill in the fridge until ready to use. 
  5. Slice chicken and serve with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and sides of your choosing, such as rice or couscous. Alternatively, stuff it inside a pita or flatbread, slathered in white sauce and your favorite hot sauce.  Enjoy!

Za’atar Couscous with Plums

One of my favorite grains to make is couscous. It’s more flavorful than rice on its own, and literally cooks in 5 minutes. I love to mix it up with each season by adding roasted vegetables in the winter time or fresh green peas and burrata with mint in the spring. Now that it’s summer, I capitalize on juicy stone fruit and all that it has to offer. I’ve used plums in this recipe, but peaches, nectarines, or apricots would be equally as delicious.

I love the deep purple color of the plums against the pale couscous, especially when it’s served on a plate next to colorful summer vegetables. Add in the toasted walnuts and it’s not only beautiful to look at, but a flavor bomb.

Serve the couscous alongside your favorite grilled proteins, such as my Mediterranean Grilled Strip Steak, and tons of vibrant sides. Perhaps my Herbed Carrot Salad? Don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram. I absolutely love seeing what you guys makes! Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 10oz box plain couscous, cooked according to package instructions

3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for finishing

2 TBSP za’atar

2 tsp fresh lemon zest

2 ripe plums, pitted and quartered

½ cup walnuts, pan toasted and chopped

Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook couscous according to package instructions. Fluff with a fork once cooked. 
  2. In a dry medium skillet, toast the walnuts over medium heat, swirling them around the pan constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop the walnuts.
  3. To a large mixing bowl with the cooked couscous, add the olive oil, za’atar, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and arrange the plums over the top. Top with the walnuts and a swirl of olive oil. Enjoy!

Herbed Carrot Salad

I’ve been sitting here trying to write this post for about 34 minutes. I’m getting tired, so here it is, and it’s underwhelming!

What isn’t underwhelming is this carrot salad. It’s addictive. If you love warm spices (think cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, etc.) and a combination of herby, sweet, and salty, then you’ll crave this just as much as I do.

The carrots get grated on a box grater, which is arguably the most labor-intensive part of this whole recipe. Then, simply mix the spices, juice a few lemons, and add in your favorite dried fruit for a healthy, Mediterranean-inspired side dish.

I love serving this dish with other Mediterranean-inspired dishes, such as my Mediterranean Grilled Strip Steak or Grilled Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Zesty Oregano Chimi. It’s also GREAT to make ahead, as the flavors mingle and it only gets better with time. Enjoy, and don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

6-7 medium carrots, about 1lb 

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp parsley, chopped 

2 tbsp mint, chopped 

Juice of 1 lemon

¼ cup olive oil

Handful raisins

Handful dried apricots, finely chopped

½ tsp salt

¼ + ⅛ tsp cumin

¼ tsp coriander

⅛ tsp turmeric

⅛ tsp cinnamon

Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Crushed red chili flakes, to taste

Instructions

  1. Finely grate carrots on a box grater or mandolin with grater attachment.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, and chili flakes.
  3. Add grated carrots to a large mixing bowl along with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, mint, and dried fruit. Mix well, then add the spices and mix thoroughly again.
  4. Let chill for 30 minutes prior to serving. While chilling isn’t completely necessary, it really allows the flavors to mingle and therefore is highly recommended. Stir once more after chilling to reincorporate any juices that may be sitting at the bottom of the bowl and serve! 

Grilled Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Zesty Oregano Chimi

We’ve had a string of 90 degree days here in the northeast, and it’s brutal. All I crave on hot days are foods with fresh flavors that can be cooked quickly. This grilled zucchini is perfect to fill all of those voids.

The zucchini gets grilled over high heat for less than 10 minutes total, and is finished with chunks of salty feta cheese and a delicious oregano chimi sauce drizzled on top. Fresh oregano, especially when grown in a home herb garden, adds an almost-spicy taste to the overall dish, and it’s amazing paired with the creamy squash. Not to mention the addition of za’atar, a punchy mediterranean spice blend including dried oregano, sumac, and roasted sesame seeds (among other things, as za’atar recipes differ depending on the region), which really adds to the overall flavor of this vegetable side.

I love zucchini for it’s deep green color on the plate, but this dish would also be excellent if you subbed other varieties of summer squash, or even eggplant! I usually make a double batch of the oregano chimi, and spoon it over everything from eggs to chicken to avocado toast. It’s that good.

I hope you love this super quick summer side dish! Serve it up with my Mediterranean Grilled Strip Steak and some Best-Ever Grilled Corn for a summer meal you can’t resist. Don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram when you make this zucchini!

Ingredients

2-3 medium zucchini, roughly quartered

½ cup feta, coarsely crumbled

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

¼ cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped

½ tsp za’atar 

¼ – ½ tsp salt, to taste

Pinch fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash and thoroughly dry zucchini. Cut lengthwise in half, then into smaller quarters, large enough that they will not fall through the grill grates. Brush with olive oil and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Grill zucchini on medium-high heat for approximately 4 minutes per side, or until the zucchini is charred and tender. Be careful not to overcook the zucchini, or it may become soggy and break apart as you try to remove it from the grill. 
  3. To a small mixing bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, za’atar, salt, and pepper. Whisk with a fork. 
  4. Arrange grilled zucchini on a serving plate and top with the feta. Spoon the oregano chimi over the top, and garnish with a few more sprigs of fresh oregano. Enjoy!