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Dorothy Dean Presents: Round up the leftovers and stir them into quiche

Quiche (Audrey Alfaro/For The Spokesman-Review)
Quiche (Audrey Alfaro/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

While some dread cleaning out the fridge to use up random odds and ends, and leftovers – like that Easter ham – I see a smorgasbord of possibilities.

From soups to sandwiches, and salads to pastas, there’s countless ways to use up last week’s groceries. One of my favorites is quiche.

Quiche is a savory custard, made with the combination of eggs and milk or cream, that’s filled with a variety of ingredients and usually baked in a pie crust.

Served hot or cold, it’s popular for brunch, but is a great meal for any time of the day.

Quiches are fairly simple to whip up, especially when your recipe calls for a frozen pie crust, like this one.

And you’ll have to blind bake the crust – that means pre-baking it – which will keep it from being soggy. And if you don’t have pie weights – like myself – I find plain old sugar to be the best substitute, as it can be cooled and used as normal.

Filled with the delicious combination of mushrooms, spinach, ham, and Swiss cheese, it’s a rich and flavorful dish that will have you exclaiming love at first bite.

I made it again using feta in place of Swiss, and it was amazing.

Of course any cheese of your choice, along with meats and veggies, can be used. Try it with bacon, sausage, chicken, beef, crab, or shrimp. And for veggies, asparagus, onions, broccoli, bell peppers, or tomatoes. Just be sure to precook your meat and veggies, and to rid them of excess moisture.

And using a homemade pie crust would definitely score some extra points – I opted for convenience, so don’t judge. Or, you can just skip the crust and pour your filling directly in the dish. Just be sure to grease your pie plate first so it doesn’t stick.

Individual quiches can be made using pastry tart shells, muffin tins, or even hollowed-out bell peppers.

Served with fresh fruit or a spring mix salad, this versatile dish will have looking forward to cleaning out your fridge!

Spinach, Mushroom, and Ham Quiche

1 (9-inch) deep dish frozen pie crust

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 cup ham, chopped

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided

4 eggs

1 cup half-and-half

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thaw pie crust for 10-20 minutes, and then line crust with a double-thickness of aluminum foil and fill with pie weights (or dry beans, rice, or sugar). Place on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 9-11 minutes, or until just golden. Remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add in the sliced mushrooms and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, spinach, ham, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook until spinach is wilted and liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, remaining salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of Swiss cheese and the cooled mushroom mixture.

Place pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet, pour in egg filling and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until center is set. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

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