Easy Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Pies are one of my favorite desserts. There are so many variations and recipes to experiment with! My past as a chubby child, though, has made me hyper-aware of how bad white flour can be for your waistline.

Every time I indulge in a dessert, actually, I usually think about how bad it is for me. Call me a worrywart, anxious, etc. but it’s how I live my life. For this very reason I decided to make a whole wheat pie crust.

It’s true that the sugar in any dessert is just as bad for you as the white flour. With a whole wheat crust though, you can feel less guilty! Or eat more dessert and have the same amount of guilt. Either way you win.

Following this recipe, here’s what I did:

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • cinnamon to taste (optional)

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Put all the dry ingredients in a 9-inch pie or cake pan. Mix in the oil (or butter) and then put the milk in. Take a fork and continue mixing it for a few minutes. With clean hands, push the crust into the edges of the pan. Put it in the oven for 15 minutes to harden. Fill with your favorite filling and voila!

I only used this pie crust for a pumpkin pie, so I’m not sure how well it fares for a savory pie like a quiche. If you do decide to use it for a savory dish, omit one teaspoon of sugar and definitely do not use the cinnamon.

This pie crust is also grainier than a store bought one, or one that would require more time. This is meant to be used in a hurry, though personally I loved the taste and will keep experimenting with this pie crust. It especially goes with pumpkin filling, and a pumpkin pie made from this recipe will also not get as soggy as a “normal” pie crust. For those reasons, I will keep on using this recipe. Cheers!

Sauteed Spinach with Feta Cheese

Spinach is a great way to meet your nutritional goals. It’s filled with vitamin K and fiber, as well as a whole bunch of other good stuff.

Personally, I love spinach because it reminds me of home. Spanakopita (which I swear I will make one day!) is a popular Greek dish that translates to as “spinach and feta pie” in English. That dish is my inspiration for my sauteed spinach with feta cheese. It’s almost a deconstructed spanakopita!

I followed this recipe and then made my own. Here’s what I did (for two servings):

  • 5 oz of frozen of fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 oz of feta cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice to taste (optional)

Put the olive oil in a pan and put it over medium heat. Add the spinach and water, as well as the onion and garlic powder. Let it cook for about five minutes. Add the feta cheese and let it cook for one more minute. Put it on a plate and the add the salt and pepper. The lemon juice is optional, some of my roommates did not like the taste of lemon juice when I made it for them. However, I think it adds that extra burst of acidity and flavor.

This dish really reminds of home. I want to make it for my mom one day, and see if she has any improvements.

Sauteed spinach with feta cheese is an easy way to get some nutrients and enjoy them as well. Cheers!

Shakshuka… With Cheese!

Eggs are a college student’s best friend. Seriously.

Last month, I bought 60 eggs for about four dollars at Walmart. I had to ask an employee if the huge carton was priced correctly, because I couldn’t believe it. Buying in bulk really came in handy.

You’ve seen me use many eggs in a recipe before. However, I have never been as excited to cook some eggs as I was with this recipe. I was craving a cheesy, tomato-y breakfast one day and immediately knew what I wanted: shaksuka with cheese.

I followed this recipe but here’s what I did differently:

  • 1/2 jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I use a chunky vegetable sauce)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan on medium heat. After it melts, put half the jar of the tomato sauce in with all of the seasonings except the parsley. After the tomato sauce is boiling, crack both of the eggs in the pan. Let them poach for around 5 minutes. Put the mozzarella cheese and the rest of the parsley and remove the pan from heat. Toast the slices of bread and then butter them and put them on a plate. With a spatula, place the poached eggs on the toast. Let it cool for a little and bite in.

I definitely overcooked this the first time I attempted my shakshuka. However, even overcooked it wasn’t that bad. A perfectly poached egg, though, should be your goal. When perfectly cooked, a poached egg is soft and a little bit runny. The taste is amazing.

The cheese really gives this dish a bit more appeal; after completing this recipe I now want to make this for breakfast every day. I see it in my future! Shakshuka with cheese every day. I can’t wait. Cheers!

Iced Tea/Simple Syrup Recipe

I’m convinced tea is something that will help me live forever. Knowing I’m drinking something with a plethora of antioxidants fills me with optimism. Also, tea just screams “life-sustaining.”

Even if it isn’t, I still like to drink tea because of its strong flavor and my control over how sweet I can make it. It’s a good alternative for soda as well. Water is great and I appreciate its necessary value to our existence, but sometimes I want something with more flavor to quench my thirst.

It’s lead me to drink about two to four cups of tea a day. So, I decided to start making iced tea. I now make a pitcher almost every day.

I used a mixture of hibiscus and green tea, here’s my recipe:

  • 2 hibiscus tea bags
  • 1 green tea bag
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • sugar/ simple syrup to taste (recipe further down)

Heat up two quarts of water. Remove the strings from the tea bags. Put all three tea bags in the pitcher. Pour almost all the hot water, leaving a little room to stir. If you want it mildly sweetened, I recommend at least four tablespoons of sugar. If you want it to taste like sweet tea, I recommend one and a half cups of sugar.

I personally like it mildly sweetened. Sometimes, though, I’m in the mood for something with a dangerous amount of sugar. This is where my simple syrup comes in handy. I can pour it straight into my cup before I pour my iced tea. Here is my recipe:

  • 1 part brown (or any type of) sugar
  • 1 part boiling water

Put the brown sugar in a container. Slowly pour hot water into the container, stirring often. Depending on how thick you want the syrup, add enough water to suit your tastes. A near 1:1 ration usually works for me.

The best part of having iced tea ready. Having simple syrup handy makes this an easy and rewarding task. Cheers!

 

Beef, Spinach, and Corn Burritos

This summer I discovered an authentic Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood. Boy, what a tragedy to my wallet… Yet I will never forget the explosions of flavor I experienced. It was an easy cop-out; if my mom was too busy to cook and I was too lazy to feed myself, I would just order in.

Now, almost 200 miles away from home, I yearn for flavor. I’m thinking to myself, what can I make that’s both flavorful and healthy? The frozen pack of spinach I’ve had for a few weeks seemed to be calling my name. I got the perfect idea, then picked up some beef, some spices, and some tortillas.

My beef, spinach, and corn burrito was born. It proved to be a hearty and flavorful meal.

I followed this recipe for a simple burrito as my base. Here is my recipe:

  • 1/4 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 4 tortillas
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cups white rice
  • 1 and 3/4 cups water
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 can corn
  • salsa to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put the rice, black beans, and 1 and 1/2 cups of water in a rice cooker. Press the button for white rice. Wait for it to (nearly) finish before continuing with the recipe. In a pan, cook the spinach for about four minutes. Then add the 1/4 cup of water, ground beef, spices, and corn. Cook it until it absorbs all the water. Set the rice and beans and the beef mixture in separate containers. Pour the cheese in the container with beef. Place 4 tortillas on plates. Place a few scoopfuls of the rice and beef on each tortilla. Scoop as much salsa as you want. Fold the tortilla’s two sides over the scoops, and then repeat with the the top and bottom sides.

I love using spinach in meals and sneaking in vitamins. The corn adds an element of sweetness that works well with the spiciness of the beef. If you can handle more spice, I suggest using some Sriracha sauce.

This burrito is hearty and easy-to-make. It’s perfect for the typical college student. Cheers!

Single Serving of Maple Soufflé (5 Ingredients)

I had a fear of soufflé growing up. Cartoons I watched would occasionally refer to this exotic, French dessert as being so fragile that a loud sound could deflate it. I knew I wanted to taste that. When I came across a recipe for a two ingredient soufflé, I saw my chance.

All it requires is eggs and maple syrup, cooked in a ramekin (a personal-sized baking dish). While I appreciate the recipe’s convenience, I found that the maple syrup flavor wasn’t significant enough to mask an overwhelming egg taste.

I tried it again with the changes I had in mind: cinnamon to mask that taste and butter to grease the bottom and add a more familiar dessert scent.

.Here’s my recipe for a single serving of a maple soufflé:

  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • butter to grease ramekin

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Put the egg white in a bowl and add the cream of tartar/lemon juice (these serve as an acid that make soft peaks form more easily). Whisk it until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk and the maple syrup. Fold the whipped egg whites and cinnamon into the bowl. Grease the ramekin, and whisk the mixture once more before putting it in the bowl (the maple syrup will separate from whipped egg whites) Put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off, but do not open the oven right away. Let it cool for a few minutes before taking it out.

You will learn that soufflé does deflate quite easily. The hot air gives it a structure, so the soufflé flattens as the temperature decreases outside the oven. If you don’t serve it within a minute of it being out of the oven, it will begin to sink.

It’s hot upon digging in, and meant to be eaten slowly and in moderation, so I found that savoring it really made me appreciate the flavor. My only alteration would be to fill up the ramekin to the top next time, I really wanted the soufflé to stick out more.

My other soufflé flattened, so I put aluminum foil over it and put it in the fridge. I had part of it for breakfast the next morning. It was moist, almost like custard, but not better than the hot version.

If you’re looking to impress someone, this maple soufflé would do the trick. This recipe can be adjusted  (doubled, tripled) to make more servings. Cheers!

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Quiche

In high school, my mom signed me up for several after-school activities to keep me busy. Whenever I entered the car to get taken to SAT prep, regents tutoring, or church where I was a Sunday School volunteer, my mom always greeted me with a bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel.

I was reminiscing about this the other day and realized how much I miss these delicious breakfast sandwiches. It was dinner time and I felt creative so… my bacon, egg, and cheese quiche was born.

(Note: I’m aware quiches already have eggs in them. The Brooklyn part of me sees that redundancy, yet remains unconvinced to call it something else.)

I looked at this recipe and made some adjustments. Here is what you need to make a bacon, egg, and cheese quiche:

  • A 9-inch pie crust
  • 8 large eggs
  • 6 slices of turkey bacon
  • 2 cups of cheese (choose your favorite, I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • 2 tablespoons medium salsa
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt to taste

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then, fry the bacon as you normally would. After it’s been cooked, set the bacon on a cutting board horizontally and cut each slice vertically so that there are 6 or 7 small pieces from each slice. Put the bacon slices at the bottom of the pie crust. Then, get a bowl to crack the eggs in and whisk them. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust. Leave it in the oven for 30 minutes, and check it every 10 minutes or so. When the top has browned a little, turn off the oven and leave the quiche in there until it cools a little… and voila! Your quiche is ready!

You may have noticed that I didn’t use milk, which is what the original recipe calls for. It’s because I glossed over the recipe a little too quickly and didn’t realize I had no milk by the time the quiche was ready to go in the oven. When I realized the pie crust wasn’t filled all the way because of this mistake, I added 3 eggs more than the original recipe called for as well as another tablespoon of salsa. I think I would prefer it the way it came out, because I am proud of the outcome.

The quiche was hearty, cheesy, and full of flavor. Two slices of it were filling enough for me. If I add vegetables next time I can make a more nutritious version.

I will be experimenting with quiche again. It’s not a lot of preparation, yet filling, and can be served for breakfast or dinner. Cheers!