Taking a "day off" means different things coming from different people. When I decided to take Mother's Day off it did not mean sitting in a lounge chair with my feet up while beads of condensation lazily rolled down my gin and tonic glass (not that I wouldn't have enjoyed that version immensely). My day off had both sides of our family coming over for two completely separate Mother's Day celebrations.
It was a lot of work to pull it all off but we didn't have to coordinate any toddler napping, organize multiple layered outfits, pack multiple food offerings, or squeeze in a toddler nap on the fly. With everyone coming to us all we had to do was spruce the place up and present some beautiful food. And, I did it all in heels! Okay not the cleaning part, or the day before cooking part, and by the end of Sunday when I removed my shoes there were no defining lines left on my toes and I could barely walk. So perhaps that part was not worth celebrating...
To create my version of taking the day off I begin prepping and cooking the day before using other people's recipes. This way I could be free to enjoy my sun-drenched kitchen without standing in front of my pantry wondering what to mix together. It worked for the most part, except where I still swapped ingredients for what I had on hand, or when I adjusted the amounts called for because I wanted more or less of the finished product, but for the most part, I stuck to my plan.
Sunday morning we threw white cloths over our tables and pulled out all the chairs we could find. I gathered armloads of lilacs from our just blooming bushes. They looked dramatic and smelled heavenly. After a few more little touches our concrete slab patio was transformed. I almost couldn't believe it was our backyard. My family began arriving for party number one and brought crackers, soft cheese, plump shrimp, and most importantly orange juice and champagne.
From the kitchen, I could hear all the laughter and debate while quickly throwing together 4 quiches. I used store-bought pie dough that I partially baked the night before. I diced some Canadian Bacon, green onion, and grape tomatoes, wilted spinach in the microwave, and grabbed a bowl of onions I caramelized the night before. The four quiches were all different two had shredded monterey jack cheese and two had herbed Chèvre (soft goat cheese). Two had Canadian Bacon, one was meatless, and the fourth wound up with some of the shrimp (and a pile of dill) that was meant for pre-lunch nibbles.
My planning ahead worked beautifully. I filled the crusts with the prepped ingredients, whisked together a rich but sneakily light egg mixture, and popped them all in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes. The quiches were served alongside my aunt's salad of garden-fresh lettuces, homemade vinaigrette, and more Chèvre. The al fresco meal received rave reviews from around the patio. Everyone was so satisfied that I was actually turned down when I offered to make a batch of Blue-Barb Mini Pies - perhaps it was a misunderstanding.
Here are my super stealthy healthy quiche tricks:
- Use fewer yolks and more whites than the traditional recipe. I have a recipe that calls for 3 eggs and 2 additional yolks. I pretty much swapped that and used 2 whole eggs and 2 whites per quiche.
- Try low-fat buttermilk and light soy milk in place of the traditional cream and whole milk. Both of these liquids contain fat so you will still have a creamy texture but they are way lower in calories and fat than the traditional ingredients.
- Don't skimp on the veggies! Fill that pie crust with as many veggies as will fit. The eggs will find their way into all the nooks and crannies but more veggies mean less liquid is needed and the overall quiche will be lighter.
- Think about using Chèvre in place of shredded cheese. I did use some Monterey Jack cheese because I love how well it melts but the goat cheese has less fat and calories*, a super creamy texture, and fantastic flavor.
*1 oz of the Cherve mentioned above has 70 calories and 6 grams of fat. 1 oz of the Monterey Jack used has 100 calories and 8 grams of fat. Read labels to verify the details for specific brands.
Part 2: BBQ Chicken Burgers will be coming next week!