Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Gravel"-Based Impossible Pies Will Save You HOURS in the Kitchen!

The ease and speed with which I got dinner on the other day, thanks to "Impossible Cheeseburger Pie" (yesterday's post), was so slick, I thought we ought to look for other "Impossible..." recipes and keep this trend going! Well I found a treasure trove (my Aunt Annie was a great cook--I inherited her recipe collection and in it were the very jewels I was looking for)! Here are three more fast and easy meals for you, but remember, the speed and ease is predicated on having "gravels" on hand (see "Gravels Make Dinner Hour Possible")--they will save you about a month's worth of time over an entire year--so don't cook without them anymore.

One last note: Impossible Taco Pie and  Impossible Lasagne Pie convert well to vegetarian dishes. Just substitute black beans for the ground beef in the Taco Pie and substitute finely diced tomatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, etc. for the ground beef in the Lasagne Pie. And by the way, it's not just ground beef and sausage that can be "gravelized" (probably not a word, but it works). Diced veggies can be spread out on cookie sheets, frozen, and bagged for future use also. The idea is to fill the freezer with as much pre-prepped ingredients as we can. Do it NOW so we don't have to do it later, so to speak.

OK, now for more Impossible Pies. Please let me know if you like them, and if you have your own time- or energy-saving tips for kitchen work, please do share--we're all in this together, remember. So until next time, here's to easily and speedily making family dinner hour possible!

Impossible Taco Pie  (Serves 6-8)
1 lb ground beef ("gravel", remember "gravel")
1/2 C chopped onion ("gravel", remember "gravel")
1 pkg (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies, drained
1 1/4 C milk
3/4 C biscuit mix (this is a Bisquick recipe, so they hope you'll use theirs)
3 eggs
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 C shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese ("gravels", remember "gravels")

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 10 inch quiche dish or a 10 x 1 1/2 inch pie plate. If you're not using "gravels" (shame on you), then cook and stir beef and onion over medium heat until beef is brown; drain. Stir in seasoning mix. Spread in plate; sprinkle with chilies. Beat milk, biscuit mix and eggs until smooth, 15 sec. in blender on high or 1 min. with hand beater. Pour over ground beef mixture. Bake 25 min. Remove from oven and top with tomatoes; sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake another 8 min. or until knife inserted into center of pie comes out clean. Cool 5 min. Serve with sour cream, chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce if desired. Really good.

Impossible Lasagne Pie (Serves 6-8)
1 lb ground beef (you're using "gravel", right?)
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese (it's less expensive to buy the ball, shred your own, and freeze--"gravel", remember?)
1/2 C small curd creamed cottage cheese
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese (the dried works great)
1 C milk
2/3 C biscuit mix 
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease  10 x 1 1/2 inch pie plate. If you're not using "gravel" (more shame on you), then cook and stir beef over medium heat until brown; drain. Stir in oregano, basil, tomato paste and 1/2 C of the mozzarella cheese. Layer cottage cheese and Parmesan  cheese in plate. Spoon beef mixture over top. Beat milk, biscuit mix, eggs, salt and pepper until smooth, 15 sec. in blender on high or 1 min. with hand beater. Pour evenly over ingredients in plate. Bake 30-35 min. or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cool 5 min.

NO-Crust Spinach Pie (Serves 6)
The fat is reduced in this easy recipe and topped with creamy yogurt instead--it's delicious and nutritious! (Make this ahead of time and refrigerate--it'll hold for two or three days.)

1/2 C shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (2 things: "gravel", remember; any Cheddar works fine)
2 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 eggs
1 container (24 oz) 1% low-fat cottage cheese
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/8-1/4 tsp pepper
1 container (8 oz) plain low-fat yogurt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray. Reserve 1 Tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese for topping.

In large bowl, mix spinach, next 6 ingredients, 2 Tbsp cornstarch, and remaining Cheddar cheese until blended; spoon into pie plate.

In small bowl, combine yogurt and 1 Tbsp cornstarch until well blended; spread over spinach mixture to cover. Sprinkle with reserved Cheddar cheese. Bake 1 hr or until set. Let stand 10 min. for easier slicing.

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