A & S Test Kitchens: Easy Spinach Quiche

QuichePixEasy Spinach Quiche

Spinach quiche is a go to meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Served with a side salad it is a perfect meal. This quiche was modified quite a bit from what on I found at Celebrity Parents Magazine. Since I use recipes as guidelines instead of actual rules I changed quite a bit.

A real bonus is that it is packed with important nutritional values (like A, C and K) with the added benefit of being easy to grab a piece straight from the fridge.


1 10-inch frozen piecrust, unbaked. I used Pillsbury, which, I keep handy in the freezer for quick ideas like this.

¼ Cup Cabot Sharp Cheddar Cheese that I cut this in half for this recipe. I go easy on the cheese because of salt restrictions in my home.

5 eggs, beaten

1 Cup half and half (you can use skim or 2 % milk)

I Can Spinach (13.5 oz.), any brand (drain completely)

¼ Cup chopped, cooked Jimmy Dean sausage, crumbled (can use bacon bits)

1 small diced yellow onion, optional

1 Roma tomato, diced

Preheat over to 425 deg. Lay thawed piecrust in the dish used for quiches. Lay thinly sliced cheese on bottom of piecrust.

Mix eggs, milk, spinach, sausage, and onion; pour mixture over sliced cheese.

Top with diced tomato. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 deg.; then reduce heat to 350 deg. Bake additional 20-25 minutes until set, or toothpick comes out clean. Let stand for 10-20 minutes.

Can be served at breakfast with fruit. Or serve at lunch or dinner with salad.

Best quiche this side of the Pecos River! Or the other side too, enjoy!





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The Impatient Gardener: Xeriscaping in Central Texas

12191534_1222190104461573_2142600566728630340_nXeriscaping in Central Texas means, what? What is xeriscaping for our neighborhood? Taking a look around at yards that are using plants/turf/hardscape materials to alleviate overworking the water system in Central Texas is a good place to start with. The advantages to xeriscaping include:

  • Substantial cost savings in water bills.
  • Conservation of diminishing water resources.
  • Prevention of pollution from environmentally harmful run-off.
  • Reduced yard maintenance requirements.
  • Pride in knowing that you are protecting our fragile environment and limited resources.
  • Aesthetic beauty and increased homeowners options for plant material.

Xeriscaping takes thoughtful planning but in the end it will be much more carefree so that we can spend our time doing other things we enjoy. Soil preparation, plant selection, and maintenance need to be considered.

One garden tip to have at our fingertips is the PDF file called “Native and Adaptive Plants”, a plant guide for homeowners who want to be involved and aware of conservation xeriscaping. I use this one regularly. (https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Watershed/growgreen/plantguide.pdf)

Here are few tips to begin with for Water Conservation:

Buy a garden hose and use it more than the sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems do cover a yard well but the run off can be notice in any neighborhood.

Talk to a neighbor or a friend about how those who have made the obvious shift towards xeriscaping made it work. Find out what they did, how it harmonizes with keeping the neighborhood looking nice.

Our local water utility service offers rebates for installation of rain barrels as well as drought tolerant trees and plants. Let your effort make money for you.

Keeping lawns mowed at about 3” is a good rule of thumb for Central Texas. Mowing regularly also prevents weeds from blooming and spreading as well as keeping snakes, mice and other unwanted critters in the green belt where they should stay!

Mulch. Mulch. Did I say MULCH!!!! Best source you have to protect the plants you spent so much money on.

TIP: Water plants BEFORE a night of freezing temperatures. The water protects the roots from freeze damages. Dry freeze damages or kills root/plants.

Be patient! It takes a good three seasons to get the quality of plant you desire. The rule of thumb experienced gardeners know is, first year they sleep, second year they creep, and third year they leap into action with a well-established root system!



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A & S Test Kitchen: Slow Cooker Cream Corn

Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

Thanksgiving was hectic so when I found this idea for a slow cooker creamed corn I could tuck in the corner while we were putting all the other dishes together. It didn’t take long to decide to make it.

Slow-Cooker-Creamed-Corn-FoodieCrush.com-174 cups of frozen corn in the slow cooker.

1 1/2 cups milk, stir into the corn.

Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. white pepper.

Without stirring add on to the top 1/2 cup of unsalted butter. (one stick) Cut into small pieces, and the spoon on 8 oz. of creamed cheese. I used a tablespoon to make dollops on the top.

Cover and cook for 4 hrs. (Trust me you don’t have to look and/or stir at this time).

After 4 hrs uncover, stir until butter and cream cheese are completely combined. Cover again and cook an additional 15 min.

Stir in 3/4 tsp dried thyme.

Serves 8

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A & S Test Kitchen: Beef Barley Soup

Nothing warms us up like a hardy soup in the fall. Beef Barley Soup is a family favorite. Here is my recipe. 

Beef Barley Soup

1- lbs sirloin tip steak

1 4.6 jar of sliced mushrooms

1/3 yellow onion, diced

2 glove garlic

1 1/2 celery stalk, diced

1 cup diced canned tomatoes

1 cup of water

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen carrots

1/2 cup barley, pearled, raw

6 oz. of merlot wine

2 tbsp. thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese for garnish

Put sirloin steak, diced canned tomatoes and water in dutch oven on low. In a skillet saute put in enough olive oil to caramelize the onion then add garlic and mushrooms. Add in salt and pepper to taste and 2 tbsp. thyme. Add to dutch over and continue to cook for 40 minutes. 

Then add merlot and barley for another 40 minutes. After this time add peas and carrots until warmed through. Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Can be served with a nice crusty bread like Ciabatta. 

Barley Soup - Nutrition

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A & S Test Kitchen: Pulled Pork Tacos

IMG_0624August is a time I do not want to cook so this easy slow cooker meal is just right for me. Hope you try this perfect summer recipe. It is perfect for a summer meal. Low effort to make with high yield in enjoyment.

Pulled Pork Tacos

1 (3 lbs) boneless pork loin. (a butt roast works too and cost much less)

¼ c. of lime juice

1-2 glove minced garlic or to taste

½ tsp. salt (or to taste)

1-2 tsp. Cumin

1 cup fresh chopped cilantro

To make sauce put in a bowl and mix together lime juice, garlic, salt, cumin and chopped cilantro.

Coat interior of slow cooker with cooking spray. No need to add extra liquid it will make enough with the lime juice. Place pork in slow cooker and pour sauce over the top.

Cover. Cook on low for 6 hours or when instant-read meat thermometer inserted into pork reads 145F-150F. Shred and serve with guacamole, salsa, corn, black beans and shredded cheese on corn or flour tortillas. Or both!

Homemade Guacamole

1 large Haas avocado, halved, seeded and peeled

2 teaspoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon extra hot cayenne

½ medium onion, diced

½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

3 tablespoon cilantro chopped

Mix well and refrigerate. Top homemade tacos with this guacamole and homemade salsa. Yum!

A & S Test Kitchen: Lemon Meringue Pie

First time I have ever made one in six decades! So simple I wonder, “what was I thinking!” Enjoy!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie



1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoon flour

3 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups water

2 lemons, juiced and zested

2 tablespoons butter

4 egg yolks, beaten

1 (9 inch) pie crust (baked)

4 eggs whites

6 tablespoons white sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make lemon filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in ½ cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.
  3. To make meringue: in a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing edges of crust.