Saturday, September 29, 2012

Healthy & Cheap Egg McMuffins

Uhhh, yeah. Welcome to my Saturday morning. This was the kind of breakfast that I was literally drooling over as I took this picture. It was painful and embarrassing how much I was withering inside as I took this picture because it was 3 additional seconds that I couldn't eat this.

I've always deeply loved McDonald's Egg McMuffins. My favorite part? The egg. Weird, I know. I've always wondered how they got it to be so perfectly round and soft, with the yoke still semi-in tact.

Then when I got to thinking too hard about the egg perfection I had to tell myself to stop, because really, it's a fast food place, and how right can that be?


This morning, ladies and gentlemen, I nailed the egg. As in, I made a perfectly round, soft,scrumptious egg. In the oven. I actually made 6 of the buggers, and could have eaten every last one on the spot if I didn't know I had to put it onto a sandwich.

The recipe states that you should use a jumbo muffin tin, which I had on hand. If you don't, you can use ramekins or another round oven-proof dish. The main goal here is to get your baked egg the appropriate size so it fits on the sandwich. I could have probably made my eggs a little bit flatter, so a wider dish might work better.

What ignited this McMuffin-making endeavor was this post that I found via Iowa Girl Eats. I love this idea, because not only are they super cheap to make (I calculated it to be around 92 CENTS per 'wich), you can make them however you want to according to your taste buds. Plus, there is the added benefit that you can grab one and go on busy mornings, only taking time to microwave it.

I used whole-wheat English muffins, but Udi's gluten-free bread (or any gluten-free bread, really) would work great since the size is similar to that of a smaller muffin. For my protein, I used Morning Star Soy-Based Bacon, and then threw on some cheddar cheese. This morning was special (you know, to celebrate my baking-of-the-eggs) which meant pesto and tomatoes were added to the mix. You really can't go wrong.

I'm pumped to make more varieties, not to mention more baked eggs (!!!). I can foresee this being a long-term relationship.

DIY Egg McMuffins
Adapted from The Yummy Life
Makes 6 sandwiches

You need:
12 slices of smaller-sized bread, or 6 English muffins
6 eggs
cheddar cheese
meat of choice - I used Morning Star Bacon

How you do:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your jumbo muffin tin or ramekins.

2. Crack an egg into each tin or ramekins and lightly break the yoke so it spreads a little. Add some ground pepper and/or garlic salt if you desire. I definitely desired.

3. When the oven has preheated, bake the eggs for about 25 minutes, until baked through and slightly browned at the edges.

4. While the eggs are baking, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Slice the cheese, prepare your protein, and toast the bread if you're into that kind of thing. I didn't add any condiments to the sandwiches that I was going to save for later, since I figure I will just do that when I am ready to eat them.

5. When the eggs are done, use a knife to gently scrap them from the muffin tin or ramekin. I assembled my sandwiches by adding the cheese first, then the facon, and lastly the egg. For those that you are freezing or refrigerating for later eats, wrap them in wax paper and then covered in a baggie.

*I have not yet tried re-heating these, but according to the original poster, you microwave thawed ones for a minute and frozen for 3 minutes.

Yes. Future presents to myself.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Penne and Cheese Bake (Gluten-Free)

My marathon training has finally hit it's peak, and man, is my appetite feeling it. All I want is a carbohydrate or 10 in my belly, every second of the day.

Do I want half your sandwich? Sure, but first you need to take all that crap off the bread and then we have a deal.

Would I care for another serving of pasta? Uhh yeah, but a serving is too small. I'll take an additional three.

DO YOU SEE THAT?! It was so good it was gone too fast for it to even seem real. This recipe came from yet another cookbook that was neglected for sometime. This one Cooking Light put out, and it's their Gluten-Free Cookbook. We received it as a wedding gift, and I started out with a bang making recipes out of it after we were first married. Then it gradually faded away to join the other crying books until I yanked it out under the dust last week and finally cracked it open again.

What a good decision.

Naturally, there were kale chips involved. A nice, well-rounded (meaning it will make me rounded, balance schmalance) meal.

I used vanilla rice milk instead of regular milk because it's all we had on hand, and the taste was surprisingly very delicious. The vanilla taste was definitely present, but it made it seem almost creamier, and not in a weird I'm-eating-dessert way.

Let me know what you think! I'm sure you could throw in whatever veggies or protein you want to this. I would have done that...but that would take away my precious carbs, which just wouldn't do.

Penne and Cheese Bake (Gluten-Free)
Adapted from Cooking Light's Gluten-Free Cookbook

1 small onion, diced
12 oz. gluten-free penne (I used Trader Joe's) 
1/4 cup corn starch
4 cups milk, divided (as mentioned above, I used vanilla rice milk)

salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Put the pasta water on to boil. Since gluten-free noodles need frequent stirring while they cook and need to be mixed with sauce immediately after being drained to prevent them from sticking together, you will want this to be your final step before putting the casserole in the oven.

3. Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat; when it's heated, add the onion and saute until soft.

4. Add 3.5 cups milk to the onion in the pot and bring to a boil. Combine the corn starch and remaining 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl; gradually stir cornstarch mix into the boiling milk and stir constantly for about 2 minutes so the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

5. Add salt, pepper and the cheeses and stir to thoroughly melt the cheese.

6. At this point, your pasta water should be boiling, so add in the noodles and stir frequently until just al dente. Drain and immediately stir into the cheese sauce.

7. Pour the pasta mix into the baking dish and cook for 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and the top is slightly browned.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Yes, I am aware that I have a very slim selection of dessert recipes, and that I should not be "wasting" one on a recipe I already have posted. But these darn cookies are so good! And they're slightly different, with a slight coconut taste thanks to the coconut flour and coconut oil. Maybe I should put that in the title "Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Slight Coconut Taste." Mmmm.

These make nice balls of cookies, and have a slightly chewy texture with the oat flour. This recipe made about 18 cookies, and all of them were gone within 18 hours. (Maybe I should now re-name them to the "Magic Number 18 Cookies"?).

Look at them, all cute and ready to be destroyed. Go forth and destroy these cookies! But first...make them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a slight coconut taste)
adapted from Love and Lemons
Makes about 18 cookies

3/4 cup oat flour (grind 3/4 cup oats in a food processor)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup rice milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 flax egg (or 1 whipped egg)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda and salt together until thoroughly combined. Add in the brown sugar coconut oil, milk, vanilla and egg and mix all together. Stir in chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.

3. By the tablespoonful, drop dough onto a greased baking sheet (or silpat) and bake for about 10 minutes. These are delicious warm, but of course still tasty after they have cooled.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quinoa Casserole with Buffalo Cauliflower Sauce (Gluten-Free)

I've never been a huge fan of buffalo wings. I guess you could blame it on the fact that I was never properly introduced to the concept of "it's wing night!! I'msopumpedIgettoeatwingstonight!" To me it was just people sloppily eating chicken with naught a care given to the orange covering their entire body.

Then I met my husband who likes Frank's on ALL OF IT. All the dinners, all the snacks,  and definitely all the casseroles.

Like the stellar wife I am, I go to Costo and see a saintly two-pack of the stuff and heft all 80 pounds of it into the cart and get it home and he still hasn't made it through the first bottle. I don't know, maybe it lost its charm when it was in abundance but it has taken the man for-ever-er to make it through half the first bottle.

I was sitting here contemplating what the heezy to do with all this buffalo sauce and then Cassie went and posted this stellar dish and I knew I had to adapt it to make it ours. So that was done.

Oh, and  be sure you pair it with kale chips (bonus points if they're covered in salty cheesy nutritional yeast) because it was a combo you won't soon forget.

I topped our casserole with leftover rice cripsy coating and sliced tomatoes, but feel free to use gluten-free breadcrumbs or whatever else you delight in.

Quinoa Casserole with Buffalo Cauliflower Sauce
Inspired from Back to Her Roots

half of a large cauliflower head (about 2 cups chopped)
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup Frank's hot sauce (or any other buffalo-style sauce)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup chredded cheddar cheese (divided)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
toppings of choice

1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and lightly greasing an 8x8 baking dish.

2. Steam the cauliflower until tender. While the cauliflower is steaming, saute the onion and zucchini together over medium-heat until tender. When it's done, remove from heat.

3. In your food processor, add the steamed cauliflower, buffalo sauce, minced garlic and 1/4 cup water and combine. If the sauce is still too thick for your liking, add additional water until it reaches the desired consistency.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, buffalo cauliflower sauce, and the zucchini/onion mixture. Scoop into the baking dish and cover with your topping of choice. Bake for 15 minutes, until hot.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Breaded" Zucchini Sticks (Gluten-Free | Vegan)

I'm going to just start off by saying I have a new found appreciation for Rice Crispies They are an absolute lifesaver when it comes to both gluten-free baking and meals.

Need a gluten-free sweet on the fly? These peanut-buttery delights. How about a snackity snack, like these energy balls?

They also do great at trading places with bread crumbs, an ingredient that I swear is in 1/4 of all recipes I see that I get excited about.

So you can imagine how stoked I was to see this post - straight up gluten-free "breading" for all sorts of foods! This might turn into the deep fry craze. Rice crispy coated snickers? Rice crispy coated doughnut? Rice crispy coated zucchini? YES!

For all you carnivores, I'm pretty sure this would work well as a coating on chicken or fish as well. I'm thinking I want to try it sprinkled on roasted broccoli  next. And on a casserole. And as a hair conditioner.


The timing for this recipe was perfect, since I had a nice fatty zucchini sitting on our counter fresh from my parent's garden. It's demise was a delicious thing. 

"Breaded" Zucchini Sticks
adapted from The Fitnessista

1 large zucchini, sliced into sticks
1.5 cups rice crispies
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t garlic salt
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
3 tablespoons water

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees; cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with oil.

2. Combine the rice crispies, oregano, thyme and salt in a food processor until finely ground. In a separate bowl, use a fork to mix the flax seed and water. I suggest using a larger bowl with a wider mouth than the one I used so your zucchini and get fully coated.

4. Dip the zucchini sticks in the flax seed mixture and then coat with the rice crispy mixture. Bake until tender, about 15 minutes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mexican Tortilla Cups (Gluten-Free)

I have completely, 100% neglected my cookbooks. I got caught up in all this bloggy business and paying more attention to what my Google reader feeds me than the books filled with more than enough recipes sitting on my kitchen counter can.

So I busted one out the other night - The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen. My parents got this for me for a birthday a couple of years ago and I really don't know how I haven't used it in awhile because there are sticky notes on every other page.

The recipes in this book are simple, nothing is complicated or intimidating. All the ingredients are those that you most-likely have on hand, nixing that dreaded trip to the store that can totally throw off your making dinner time.

These little babies had a flag on them that has probably been there for about 3 years, so hey! I made them.

Yeah, they're pretty cute.

And you can eat them with one hand.

And you can eat them for breakfast. Cold.

And you can store them in the fridge so they will still be good for breakfast.

Oh, and they're great for dinner, too.

That blurry picture sucks and makes me realized how awful melted cheese is to photograph in a tasteful fashion.

But you get the idea. These are soooo filling (I had 2 for dinner, husband had 3, and we responsibly called it quits). They taste exactly like the innerds of a burrito, but they're made like a taco with the corn tortilla. Then when it gets thrown into a cup, it has a nervous breakdown over all the identity issues going on.

I made the first batch in our large muffin pan, which has cups that double the size of a standard 12-count pan. The tortillas fit perfectly in these when you mold them into cups.

I then experimented with our standard muffin tin, and the tortillas were a little too large. The book suggests trimming off the ends a bit, but I just shaped them into cones instead of pressing the tortillas all the way into the cups, and they turned out great.

As with practically everything on this blog, make it yours and add in whatever taco fixins' float your fancy. 

Really, there's no way to go wrong with these. As long as you don't forget the tortillas. That would take all the fun in cups away.

Oh, and these pair well with kale and "bread"ed zucchini sticks - recipe coming soon. Pinky swear.

Mexican Tortilla Cups
Makes a dozen in a standard muffin tin (depending on how full you make them)

1 can vegetarian refried beans
1 cup cooked rice 
1/3 cup salsa
a slash or 2 of your favorite hot sauce
1 t cumin
1 can green chilis
1/4 cup sliced olives
approximately 12 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup queso fresco
sliced tomato (or whatever you want for the tops)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the beans, rice, salsa, hot sauce, cumin, chilis and olives.

3. When the oven is hot, place 12 tortillas on a baking sheet to warm in the oven for about a minute. This makes them more pliable and less likely to crack or fall apart when you're making them into cute little cups.

4. After the tortillas have been warmed, cut about a 3-inch slit in each of the tortillas so they can easily be maneuvered into the muffin cups. Fit the tortillas into the muffin tin by either making a cone out of them or pushing each tortilla all the way down into the cup.

5. Fill each tortillas with enough of the mix to fit almost to the top and bake for about 10 minutes. Take out after 10 minutes and top with a tomato slice and a sprinkle of cheese, and bake for about 8 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted.