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Monday, December 28, 2009

Waste Not

This Christmas season, I did A LOT of baking. In fact, I have done so much baking that I have nearly used up a 25 pound bag of flour that I picked up at Costco just after Thanksgiving. Between Christmas cookies and pies, my stand mixer, food processor, and oven have been going almost non-stop.

I decided to make apple pies to share at two different get-togethers with friends and family. At the same time, I have been experimenting with the idea of making things ahead and popping them in the freezer until I am ready to use them, so I actually ended up making 3 pies (two have been eaten, but one is still in my freezer). Because apple pies require two crusts each, I had to make 3 recipes of pie crust.

When you buy pie crust at the store, it is usually already pre-measured and pre-cut in a pretty little circle that will fit your pie plate. However, when you make your own pie crust there is always some left over when you cut out the circle for your pie plate.

In the past when I have cut off the excess crust I have just thrown out whatever I didn't use, but I have really been trying to cut back on waste recently so I decided to keep the excess dough from each pie crust. Once I was finished making all the apple pies I realized I had enough left-over dough to make at least one more pie, but I didn't need another pie. That was when I got the idea to make a quiche; however, my husband is not a fan of quiche.

I knew that making a whole quiche would also be wasteful because there was no way I could eat the whole thing all by myself before it went bad. That's when I got the idea to make single serve quiche using my standard size muffin tins. I was able to make 22 quiche with the crust dough that I had left-over.

Single-Serve Spinach Quiche (12)
Pie Crust
1 Muffin cup liner
1 10oz pkg. Frozen Spinach, thawed
1/2 stick (4 TBSP) Butter
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400.

Roll the pie crust dough out as you would to make a full sized pie or quiche. Flatten a muffin cup liner and lay it on dough. Using a sharp knife, cut around muffin cup liner leaving about 1/2 inch of excess. Repeat until you have made 12 crusts.

Grease a twelve-cup muffin tin with Pam. Place one piece of dough in each muffin cup and prick the bottom several times with a fork.

Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes. You will probably notice that the crust shrinks up a little bit when baked. After 10 minutes, remove from oven, and reduce oven heat to 375.

Melt butter in a large frying pan. Saute spinach in butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and garlic. Continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and put 1 TBSP spinach in each crust. Divide cheese up evenly between crusts.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream, egg, salt, and pepper. Pour 2 to 3 tsp. of egg mixture over spinach in each crust.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is set.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan on wire racks. Once the quiche are cool enough to handle, remove them from the pan and let cool completely on wire racks.

TO FREEZE: Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Place quiche in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours. Put frozen quiche in a ziplock freezer bag.

TO REHEAT: Preheat oven to 375. Place desired number of quiche on a baking sheet. Bake 20-22 minutes or until heated through.

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