Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fabulously Frugal French Food at Home

French food has a reputation for being pricey and, let's face it, pretentious.  But, I am here to show you a few French-inspired dishes that are not only easy to make, but down-right cheap.  Even though they don't cost a lot, they still come out looking like a million bucks!  Impress your friends with these fabulously frugal french dishes.

This first recipe is based on a dish my husband loves from Picadilly.  I don't know if there are Picadilly restaurants in places other than the south?  It is a cafeteria-style restaurant that serves down-home cooking.  Anyway, he loves this dish.  I know it's technically not French, but it is a souffle.  It's sort of a French-Southern fusion.  Here it is:


2 cans of sliced carrots, drained and rinsed
2 eggs, separated
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a food processor, add carrots, sugar, flour, baking powder, butter, vanilla and egg yolks.  Puree very well.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.

Then, fold the egg whites into the carrot puree very gently.

Put into a baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

It may be slightly cracked on top, that's o.k.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.  This dish is sweet and velvety.  Just delicious!

This next recipe is one I've been making since junior high school.  A former French teacher of mine shared it with me and I loved it.  I use to make it with a plain pie shell and you can do that if you want. But, I recently found a super-easy way to make a pie crust using cheddar cheese.  Yum!  So worth the extra few minutes.  You can use any left over ham you might have or just use deli ham, that's what I do most of the time.  This is great for dinner or brunch or even breakfast.  One of my very favorite recipes!


1/2 lb. of ham, chopped
1/4 lb. cheese, shredded (cheddar, swiss, jack, whatever you have)
1/2 can evaporated milk
3 eggs, beaten
Deep dish pie shell (or use the special cheese crust recipe to follow)
1 Tbs flour
dash pepper

Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
Mix milk, eggs, pepper, flour and 1/4 of the cheese to make the batter.  Set aside.  Layer the pie shell with half of the ham:

Half the remaining cheese:

All of the batter:

The other half of the ham:

Then the other half of the cheese:

Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet with sides just in case your quiche bubbles over.  No one wants a mess in their oven!  Bake at 320 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until just set and golden brown:

Let cool a bit before slicing to serve:

This is gooey and salty and so good!  You could substitute anything you want for the ham: bacon, turkey, cooked breakfast sausage, etc.  You can add any veggies you like, too:  broccoli, spinach, peppers, etc.  But my favorite is plain ham and cheese.

Here is the special cheese crust I was telling you about:


1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a bowl mix cheddar, flour and salt.  Stir in melted butter until evenly moist.

Press into a pie plate.  Fill with quiche batter as directed in above recipe.

Super easy and delicious!

So, I hope you try these fabulously frugal French recipes.  It's so nice to have a few recipes that will please everyone but won't break the bank.  Au Revoir and Bon Chance!  (good bye and good luck)

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