Mile High Quesadilla Pie

November 16, 2009


Here’s another cool party recipe,

compliments of Elizabeth W. Gift Baskets


Now don’t everyone panic when I say, “springform pan.” This recipe is really easy and, thanks to a tip I found in Everyday Food magazine about trimming the tortillas to fit the pan, it’s even easier! This is an impressive for casual entertaining because it looks a lot harder than it is. Once I served it on a cakestand and really wowed my guests! Accompany the pie with soft polenta, a crisp green salad, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and tortilla chips.


1 pound lean ground beef

1 (1-ounce) packet of taco seasoning mix

5 (10-inch) flour tortillas

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

1 (4-ounce) can chopped roasted mild green chilies, drained

2 ½ cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (or a mixture)

fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)


Combine the beef and taco seasoning mix to make taco filling according to directions on the seasoning mix packet. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a paring knife, trim tortillas to fit a 9-inch springform pan, using the removable bottom of the pan as a guide. Assemble pan with bottom upside down (this makes the pie easier to remove after baking) and lightly oil bottom and sides.

Place one tortilla in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the corn and ½ cup of the cheese. Top with a second tortilla. Using a slotted spoon, top the second tortilla with the meat filling, spreading evenly. (You may have some left over.) Sprinkle with ½ cup of the cheese. Top with a third tortilla. Spoon the beans, scallions, and ½ cup cheese on top of the third tortilla. Top with a 4th tortilla. Spread the chopped green chilies and ½ cup of cheese on top of the 4th tortilla. Top with the last tortilla and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.

Bake until hot and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan; remove sides. Sprinkle with scallions and garnish with cilantro, if using. To serve, slice into wedges.




Ham & Asparagus Quiche

September 11, 2009


Whoop-de-do! The world’s longest short work week is finally over! Celebrate with another party recipe, compliments of Elizabeth W. Gift Baskets.

Happy entertaining!


Everyone (except maybe your cardiologist) has a favorite quiche recipe. This is mine. This old fashioned classic is great make-ahead party fare. It’s sinfully rich, but it won’t kill you if you only eat it on special occasions. Substitute ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese for the cup of cheddar, if desired.


(Serves 6)

1 disk prepared piecrust dough

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

8 small stalks fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

Pinch cayenne pepper

3 large eggs

1 cup half-and-half

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

¼ teaspoon salt

Ground black pepper, to taste

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

¾ cup smoked ham, cubed


  1. Line a 9-inch glass pie plate with the pastry and prick it all over with a fork. Chill at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet and add the onions, asparagus and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes over medium high heat until the mixture is fragrant and the vegetables have begun to soften. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Cut out a 10-inch circle of parchment paper or aluminum foil and place it in the pie shell. Pour 2 cups of dried beans or pie weights into the shell. Bake the piecrust until it has begun to turn a pale gold color, about 15 minutes. Remove the pie plate from the oven, lift the parchment and beans from the shell, and return it to the oven. Cook the shell until it is golden, another 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Keep the oven on and increase the temperature to 375 degrees.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  5. Scatter the asparagus mixture across the bottom of the pie shell. Sprinkle with the ham cubes. Pour the egg mixture into the shell. Bake the quiche until the filling is just set and slightly puffed, about 30 minutes. If crust starts getting too brown, cover it with a piecrust baking shield or crimped foil. Let cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack and serve it warm, or let it cool completely and serve at room temperature.