Crustless quiche

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Quiche is one of my go-to recipes for an easy dish that works for breakfast, lunch or dinner (aka, a BLD).  It’s nutritious and tasty, while being affordable and quick.  Quiche is also very versatile.  Eggs and milk are the foundation, and you can add to them any combination of savory ingredients you like: cheddar and onion, broccoli and prosciutto, mushrooms and goat cheese…  You get the idea.  For all those reasons quiche is a winner in my book.

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There’s just one problem.  I hate making pie crust.  In my quest to spend just $200 on groceries last month I lost my mind and thought I’d be inspired to make a homemade crust for quiche using the ingredients I had on hand.  I even found a very simple recipe that requires no rolling. But for two weeks I still avoided doing it, messing up the meal plans I had made and leaving me scrambling for several days.

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In a normal month I would just buy the crust.  Fall is a great time of year to do so as you can often find sales on frozen pie crust (both white and whole wheat).  (It seems I’m not the only one that doesn’t enjoy making crust, even for the holidays.)  They might run $1-2 each, and they are very handy to have in the freezer.  Pumpkin pie, anyone?

The truth is, I don’t really like eating the stuff, so you can imagine how I feel about paying for it.  While pumpkin pie is somewhat compromised when made without a crust (ask me how I know), quiche is not!  As long as you adequately grease the pie pan, the slices come right out.  Other than not having to make or buy the crust, my favorite thing about this technique is that it allows me to save my carbs and calories for something much better than soggy pie crust.  Like bread or potatoes.  That’s a win-win!

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Another thing I learned from my $200 grocery challenge is that quiche does not require the 1 ½ c of cheese I have always included in the recipe.  After a month without buying cheese we were down to just a bit of parmesan and Grana Padano.  So I swapped 2T of parmesan for the pile of grated cheddar I typically use.  The result is different, obviously, but still very good.  Any compromise in taste is offset by the savings (in both calories and dollars) from foregoing the mound of cheese.  Just so you know, I’m not advocating for permanently eliminating large quantities of cheese from quiche.  I just think it’s nice to know we have options.

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Speaking of options, the filling for quiche can be made of almost anything.  This particular recipe draws on items I had in the freezer and needed to use up (i.e., spinach and bacon).  Make it with this combo, use what you’ve already got or buy something that looks good in the store.  Be creative.  Don’t worry.  This recipe can take what you throw at it.  Just note that the egg-milk mixture needs to reach the top of the filling so it can hold it all together.  If you use a ton of filling you may need to add more eggs and milk, maintaining the 1 egg to ¼ c milk ratio, until the surface is mostly liquid.

Enjoy!  And report back on your favorite or most wacky combination you’ve tried.

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Recipe
Time: 15 hands-on, 50 minutes total
Yield: 1 quiche (6-8 slices)

Ingredients
6 eggs
1 ½ c milk (whole or low fat)
½ lb spinach (about 1 ½ c once wrung out if using defrosted frozen or steamed fresh)
4 slices bacon
½ t dried thyme
½ t garlic salt (or plain salt)
2T parmesan cheese

Directions
1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Defrost spinach in the microwave or in a colander in the sink (depending on your timeframe). Squeeze some of the excess moisture out of the defrosted spinach and set aside. (Note: you can use fresh, steamed spinach instead. It works best if you chop it up a bit. Be sure to wring it out, too.)

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3. Cut bacon strips into small pieces and cook on medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Remove the cooked bacon and save the drippings. (If you prefer you can cook the bacon strips whole and then chop into small pieces with a knife once cooked. I cut it first with kitchen scissors because it created fewer dishes that way, but it does take a bit longer.)

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4. Crack eggs into a medium-size bowl and whisk until foamy. Add the milk, thyme and garlic salt. Whisk well to combine.

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5. Pour 1t of bacon drippings (or oil/butter if not using bacon) into the pie pan. Using a paper towel, generously grease bottom and side of the pan. (Consider using a deep pan just to be on the safe side. It is less likely to spill when transferring to the oven.)

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6. Spread spinach and bacon evenly in the greased pie pan.  Pour the egg mixture over the top. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.

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7. Carefully transfer the dish to the hot oven. (If the pie pan is very full, consider putting a cookie sheet directing underneath the pie pan or on the oven rack below.)

8. Check quiche after 25 minutes. (I do this by grabbing the oven rack with a potholder and shaking it a bit. If the center of the quiche still sloshes a bit, I leave it and check it again in a few minutes. If it appears firm like the sides I take it out to cool.  A more objective method is to insert a clean knife into the center of the quiche. If it comes out clean it’s done. Note that this will leave a crack in your quiche – no biggie, but not ideal if you’re making this to impress.)

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9. Allow the quiche to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Be sure to run your knife around the edge of the pan to loosen it from the sides, too. Serve hot, warm or cold (preferably with a delicious carb *wink*).

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