What has everyone been doing to keep some measure of normalcy during these days? I can tell you we’ve seen the inside of many a grocery store.
Like probably some of you, we started the shutdown by having a special evening. A couple Saturday nights involved take-out dinners and a movie in front of the living room TV.
But the kitchen soon called me to cook, trying new recipes, mixing them with those of old that have become our favorites.
I recently made a recipe that mixed old with new. A spinach-sausage quiche had its origin in a long-ago brunch cookbook, put out by HP Books that I bought in the 1980s.
I made it back then because it sounded like it would be good and it was. I recently found today’s recipe, which is actually a casserole version of that quiche, in a cooking magazine.
It’s less complicated in the measurement of ingredients. Both the quiche and casserole had stuffing inside the mixture; I switched to crumbs and put them on top.
You could add a little poultry seasoning to the crumb mixture to incorporate more of a “stuffing” taste. I think poultry seasoning and sausage is a marriage to embrace.
The recipe successfully made the transformation from quiche to casserole. It can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, then baked the next morning.
If you do prepare it a day early, omit the topping of crumbs and Parmesan until right before baking.
You might be tempted, as I once was, of using a dry Stovetop stuffing for the crumbs, mixing it with the butter.
It was too salty in the finished product, and I figured out why. The stuffing mix is made to have water added, which dilutes any saltiness. The water didn’t happen in my stuffing/butter rendezvous.
We’ve thrown “brunch” around regarding this recipe, but you don’t have to wait for daybreak.
It can be assembled and baked the same day and served as a side dish or even a very tasty dinner entrée.
If you like spinach and sausage, enriched with cream, eggs and cheese, simply bundled together and topped with an herb-flavored crunchy topping, this one’s for you.
It has just about all the components you need — vegetable, protein and dairy. Just add fresh fruit or a terrific greens salad with a great bread and you’re good to go.
The mention of Idahoan brand potatoes a column or so ago brought several responses. All were in favor of the product.
And through the messages, I picked up a few more cooking and eating tips. Cora Teel, a Huntington resident, sent her amen to the mashed potatoes: “They are delicious, especially with real butter and cream added. I want to put in a plug, also, for the Idahoan boxed Au Gratin potatoes.”
Teel says they are a great substitute, again with added butter and cream, for the “real” thing. She also noted she still uses the Riverside High School recipe for pepperoni rolls I printed several years ago.
In a follow-up message from Peggy Thompson, who previously wrote of the potatoes, she mentioned using McCormick’s gravy mixes, adding thyme and Montreal steak seasoning to give the gravy a little zip.
That led to a wonderful backstory linked to her allegiance to thyme. She learned its taste value from her amazing grandmother.
“Cherie Collard, my grandmother, was among some of the earlier Belgian glasswork settlers in South Charleston,” she wrote. “She had a small confectionery, Collard’s Place, across from the former South Charleston Jr. High School, where she fed the school children before the school instituted a lunch program. She made meatloaf sandwiches, hot dogs, barbecues and homemade vegetable soup. No doubt thyme played a part in all those offerings.”
Thompson also noted her grandmother never let a child go hungry. Collard certainly was well ahead of her time with a welcoming kindness for providing nourishing meals to South Charleston students.
I didn’t let Thompson off the hook on giving me her flavor tips for the gravy mix. She said she’s an old “pinch of this, dash of that” cook. But she provided the directions here.