Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making Muffin Quiches with a two year old

My little girl is home sick today, so I'm looking for interesting ways to feed her, and also keep her out of her daddy's hair at the same time.  I kept imagining involving her in the cooking process, and even better watching the consumption of a complete protein laced with green vegetable, so we decided to make mini quiches today, from a recipe that I half made up half cobbled together from various other recipes I've read.  But who wants to mess with pie crusts with a two year old.  Here's what you need:

A regular size muffin tin.  I only have a 12 muffin pan, but you could probably adjust the recipe to fit whatever size you have.
Refrigerated biscuits in a can, the kind with the layers
Shredded cheese
Eggs, I used 7 in a 12 muffin pan, but after seeing how they turned out I think I should have only used 6
and then you have the quiche add-ins, feel free to change these if you like...
Diced ham, we had some ham left over from dinner earlier this week so I just diced it up after the little girl went to sleep last night.
Frozen broccoli florets, I like the Birdseye for this application because they're really small, the smaller the better for throwing stuff in quiche.

Gratuitous eating of grated cheese from the bag ahead!

Preheat the oven to whatever your bread in the can says it needs.  There are going to be leftovers so we're going to cook those first.
Spray your muffin cups and a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Open your biscuits and take out one biscuit.  Use the layers to pull your biscuit apart into thinner rounds, and try to get three fairly even pieces from your biscuit.  Hand each third of a biscuit to your two year old and tell him/her to put one in each muffin spot.  Once your muffin tins all have a biscuit piece the bottoms you can have your two year old put the rest of the leftover biscuits on the cookie sheet and bake them according to the directions (minimum cooking time worked for me).

Check to make sure the biscuit thirds are fairly even in the bottom of the muffin tins and have your two-year-old sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese on top of each biscuit.    Go back behind and even out the cheese where she added to much or not enough.

Add a little bit of broccoli and ham to each cup, this turned out to be about three florets per cup with the Birds Eye broccoli.  You'll have help for this too (not just eating cheese).  Then have your two-year-old add more cheese (that's were more eating cheese comes in).  Hide the cheese before the whole bag gets dumped on the muffin tin, but not before a fair bit makes it on the floor.

Break your eggs into a small mixing bowl, add a little salt and pepper, and scramble them with a fork.  My two-year-old likes to crack eggs, so I had to wrestle one out of her hand when she wanted to add an 8th egg.   While I was scrambling eggs I had the two year old add a touch more cheese to each muffin cup on top of the veggies and ham.    Then hide the cheese again.  Add a little egg to each cup.  It won't be even, but try for as even as you can.  My two-year-old wanted to add more cheese to the tops.  I thought they were done, but she didn't.  You can guess who won.  I should have hidden the cheese.

Bake for the maximum length of time recommended for your biscuits then check them every two minutes or so for jigglyness.  Yes, "jigglyness" is a word despite what spell check might say.  "Jiggles" just doesn't cut it.  Anyway, check them every two minutes.  Notice that one of them seems to look wet on top.  Keep cooking them, even though most of them look done.  After a few checks decide that maybe the wet spot isn't uncooked egg but instead could be ice that was attached to the frozen broccoli.  Cook them a little longer anyway, just to be on the safe side.  I ended up baking mine for about 20 minutes.  Try not to step on the cheese on the floor while you're checking your quiches.

When they come out of the oven they're pretty delicate, like a souffle, but after about 5 minutes cooling you can run a butter knife back first around them and they pop out pretty well.

Sweep up the cheese on the floor even though your toddler is still eating it.  Catch her raiding the pile as you're sweeping it.  If you can't see to much lint and garbage in your pile of cheese, just resign yourself to what is happening and put your swept up cheese in a bowl and give it to your two year old.  Remind yourself that the human body is designed to build up immunity to germs, which it can't do without at least some exposure.  So by allowing your child to eat off the floor you're actually giving him a stronger immune system.  You're welcome.

Now try your quiche.  Pretty good isn't it?  Now try to give one to your toddler.  Try to bribe your two year old to take it.  Break off a single bite size piece to wave under your two year old's nose.  This finally garnered a reaction.

"I don't like quiche."
"You've never had it before."
"I don't like it."
Taking a bite yourself, "It's really good.  It's eggs, you asked for eggs this morning."

Waving tiny bite under toddler's nose, "It's eggs with cheese and other stuff you like.  Just try a little."

"You can't have any Skittles until you eat breakfast.  Just take one bite."
Watch hopefully as she takes the small bite your holding, looks at it, holds it up to her mouth, he teeth meet and she consumes maybe three molecules of quiche... and spits them out.  Seriously, there wasn't anything to spit out, so it was just spit!  Then go take a bubble bath with your two year old.

I refrigerated my leftovers (seriously, nobody but me is eating these things) and they heat up well in the toaster oven.  They're pretty good cold too.  If you're going to eat your feelings they might as well be a complete protein with a green vegetable embedded.  And cheese is comfort food... so are biscuits for that matter.  Feel comforted.

Recipe alternatives:
A lot of the quiche recipes I ran across call for onion that you've cooked before you add it to the quiche.  I was going to do this the night before when I diced the ham, but it turns out we're out of onion (grocery list, check).  I think scallions would be great in these, and you wouldn't have to pre-cook them.  You could experiment with other types of vegetables, I think frozen spinach would be good if you broke it up quite a bit.  I might try mushrooms some day, but I'd want to pre-cook those too and I'm not generally a huge fan of canned mushrooms.  Anyway, feel free to add whatever leftovers you have.

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