Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dinner tonight - easy as pie!

Think about it, my friends: we are on the hook for up to 365 dinners a year, minus a few meals out. Multiply that by how long you’ve been cooking for yourself and others and you get an idea of the magnitude of the challenge we face to keep it fresh and interesting. That’s not even talking about breakfasts, lunches, birthday parties and dog biscuits. It’s a miracle we don’t unionize!

This is all to say that I bet I’m not the only one who gets tired of the same old same old. My husband and I both like to cook but we also like a variety and surprise now and then. Today I’d like to share a recipe that is easy, looks great, tastes different and can be adapted easily. Naturally (because I am sharing it) you can trust that it takes very little ‘hands on’ time.

This is an update of a recipe I found in the original Joy of Cooking. I like mine better! I think it looks great, tastes different every time and reheats well (if there’s any left). I used old cheddar and havarti for this because that’s what I had, but you can use any mix of cheese you have hanging around. Of course, eggs save the day.

Easy as pie dinner

· 8 inch pie crust shell, purchased is fine (partially baked if you’re a purist – I’m not)

· 1-3/4 cups (425 ml) milk or cream (I used cream)

· 1 cup (225 ml) shredded cheese (whatever you have on hand!)

· 1/2 tsp (2 ml). salt

· 1/4 tsp (1 ml). paprika

· 1/2 tsp (2 ml). chopped green onion (green parts)

· Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or dried if you’re stuck

· A few grains of cayenne

· 3 eggs beaten (room temperature if you remember – makes a puffier filling)

· Optional: 6 oz bacon – in one-inch pieces, cooked (vegetarians – ignore this!)


· Preheat oven to 325 degrees (175 C.).

· Scald the milk or cream over high heat.

· Reduce the heat and add the shredded cheese, stir until melted.

· Add salt, paprika, green onion, cayenne.

· Remove mixture from heat and beat in eggs slowly.

· Scatter bacon on the crust

· Fill pie crust and bake it until the custard is firm, about 45 minutes.

How easy was that? And you can vary the seasonings to suit yourself! It tastes great and it's pretty enough to serve to guests for lunch or brunch too. I'm planning to try it with a bit of jalepeno next time. Gotta love eggs. By the way, it's perfect for a rainy day and around here we've had plenty of those around here lately. It's rich so all you need to serve it with is a simple, crisp green salad and crusty bread.

I need fast and easy recipes like this to meet my writing schedule, promote my latest Charlotte Adams book, The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder and have a life. I'd love to hear of any ideas you have for varying this Maffini family favorite.

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder: a Charlotte Adams mystery (April 5, 2011)
A Top Pick in April RT Book Reviews - 4 1/2 stars

Devotees of the classic mystery can do no better than this clever twister. The Globe and Mail

Now here's a little 'treat' for dessert from our own MLK gal Wendy Watson!

A Parfait Giveaway

In honor of the June 7 release of A Parfait Murder (the third Mystery a la Mode), which features a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant, I'm giving away a little cowboy couture: a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a "rodeo queen" keychain.

Eligibility: This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada. One entry per person, please.

How to Enter: Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book, by e-mail to Put the words "Parfait Giveaway" in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17. I will randomly select one entry, announce the winner on MLK on Saturday, June 18, and contact that person via e-mail. If I do not get a response within 7 days, I'll draw another name.


  1. *Can* we unionize? Because that sounds like genius to me!

    This sounds scrumptious, MJ! I like your idea of adding jalapeno to it next time, too. Mmm!

  2. Easy and impressive-looking, too. One-pot (or one pie pan!) lunches and dinners are real keepers and I'm adding this to my recipe box.

    Have a great weekend, you busy woman murder-writer, you,

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. Thanks, Elizabeth and Cleo. Great minds think alike! I am always adding your recipes to my recipe box too.

  4. You are so right, MJ. It's a challenge to keep things fresh, delicious, and not so much work that we drive ourselves nuts. (May be too late for me).

    Great recipe. Love your little comments throughout. Remember the old ad "The Incredible, Edible Egg"? I think this recipe is eggsactly what they had in mind!

  5. MJ, you know I love quiche. This is pretty and lovely. Yum.

    And Wendy, your new contest sounds like fun. Love the jewelry!


  6. MJ, that picture is gorgeous. It would make a nice breakfast or brunch, too. It's hard to beat bacon, but since I don't always have cooked bacon on hand (and I'm very suspicious of bacon in boxes that doesn't have to be refrigerated), I'm thinking bits of ham might be nice. Not very different, though. Leftover asparagus? Oooo, spinach!

    ~ Krista

  7. What great ideas...I always go for easy. Thanks, MJ.

  8. Count me in on the overworked & underpaid cook's union, please!

    Your pie looks wonderful, MJ. And I love Krista's suggestions. How about the addition of quickly sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers or zuchinni, or any leftover grilled veggies, even ratatouille?

  9. Thanks, Erika and Lynn. I like these veggie suggestions too! Keep 'em coming!

  10. I'm not a big egg fan, yet somehow I enjoy quiche. This one looks so easy ... and so flexible! Sauted veg and maybe some soy sausage crumbles? Yum.

  11. Good thinking, Wendy! Vegetarians always bring a fresh perspective.

  12. My niece is vegetarian. My kids are fiends for bacon. With dishes like this quiche - or my scratch mac and cheese - I cook up bite-sized bits of bacon that can be added as a garnish (or not).