Spinach and Canadian Bacon Egg Cups

Spinach and Egg Canadian Bacon Cups

It’s been a while since I posted here. I’m not very good at accomplishing things that I don’t feel like doing, and I just haven’t felt like blogging for a few months. It’s been a combination of adjusting to a new job and schedule, traveling quite a bit, and needing a break from staring at my computer 24/7. But now I’m back — and hopefully will be regularly.

A lot has happened since posted my last entry (those sad, overflowing “celebration” Funfetti cupcakes)! As I mentioned, I’ve been at a new job for about four months now, and it is going well. And I also got engaged to this guy over Memorial Day weekend:

Jonah and Kate at Fast Eddies
Despite the misleading appearance of this picture, no, we did not get engaged at this bar — this is from the next day!

We are getting married next October (2015) in Kansas City, and we are very excited! So, there may end up being a few wedding planning posts on here, too. They won’t all be food related, but there should be a few of those, too — I’m planning to host a morning-after brunch for out-of-town guests and close friends… and I’m cooking everything myself (well, with my mom). If I can’t get my sh*t together enough to share recipes beforehand, there will certainly be photos & recipes after the fact.

Now back to these bacon-and-egg cups. I put together this recipe the week before my first day of work back in March as a way to streamline the whole “breakfast” thing while I was getting used to my new schedule. They’re simple, packed with protein, and completely delicious. I tried these two ways — three cups used whole eggs, and for the other three, I beat the eggs before adding to the cups. I opted for spinach and cheese filling and Canadian bacon bottoms, but you can customize these with whatever you’re in the mood for or have on hand. If you want to use regular bacon bottoms, go for it — just make sure to line the sides and bottom with slices to avoid egg filling leakage. If you’re not in to spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, or really any other veggie (or more meat, for that matter!) will work just fine.

Spinach, Egg, and Canadian Bacon CupsThese are perfect to bake ahead of time, store in the fridge, and heat up for 15-30 seconds in the morning when you’re ready to eat. They should keep for about a week in a tupperware container in the fridge. Scroll down for the ingredient list and recipe instructions. Enjoy!

 

Spinach and Canadian Bacon Egg Cups

Spinach, Egg, and Canadian Bacon CupsMakes 6

What You’ll Need:

6 rounds Canadian bacon
6 eggs
2 handfuls fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray, oil, or butter.

What to Do:

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease six muffin cups with cooking spray, oil, or butter (your choice).

Line each cup with one piece of Canadian bacon. (I like using Canadian bacon because it fits perfectly in the cups!)

If you are using whole eggs: On top of the Canadian Bacon, place 1/6th of the cheese and 1/6th of the chopped spinach on top of the bacon. Crack an egg into each cup, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

If you want to use beaten egg filling: In a small bowl, combine the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper. Beat until well combined. Stir in spinach and cheese. Pour the mixture evenly into the six cups.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg whites (or beaten egg) appear to be completely set.

If eating immediately, let cool for 2-3 minutes, and enjoy! If saving for later, let the cups cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

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Be My Valentine Pancakes

I’m not usually one to go out of my way to make crazy holiday-themed meals. Yes, I will without a doubt use any holiday as an excuse to cook up a special meal, but it’s never specifically holiday themed. In other words, Christmas means quiche and champagne, not tree-shaped green pancakes with a piped chocolate star on top.

But this weekend, I got this idea in my head, and it wouldn’t leave me alone. So I knew I just had to see if that idea could translate to real life. And it did! Sort of. After one or two (or five) test runs.

Heart PancakesWhen I was little, we had this crazy awesome Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake mold. Occasionally, if I was really good at whining and could charm (read: guilt) my Dad into making pancake batter, we would enjoy these mouse-shaped delights for weekend brunch. I have very fond memories of these mornings, and for some reason have been thinking about that pancake mold a lot lately.

This, combined with all of the heart-filled cupcakes I’ve seen on Pinterest lately put the idea in my head for a regular old pancake with a perfect pink heart in the middle. Plus, I have a set of two heart-shaped cookie cutters, and I don’t think I’ve ever used them (sorry, Mom) — this was the perfect opportunity!

Fancy brunches in bed always feel more celebratory and special to me, so I’d always much prefer a leisurely meal at home like this than a fancy dinner. Since Valentine’s Day is during the week this year, I plan to make these beauties the morning after instead. That way, they can be enjoyed (with Saturday morning mimosas)!

Heart Pancakes for BreakfastThe best thing about this recipe? It’s super easy: Whip up a batch of your favorite pancake batter, divide the batter into two bowls, and add a few drops of pink or red food coloring to one of the bowls. Now, I just used Bisquick Gluten-Free this time around, but you can really use whatever recipe or mix you prefer. (My oat pancakes — minus the blueberries — would work great!)

Also, I chose to use regular food coloring, but if that’s not your thing you could easily use natural food dye, beet juice, strawberry purée, or even a tablespoon of cocoa powder (and a bit of extra milk) to one half of the batter for a similar two-tone effect.

Be My Valentine Pancakes

Valentine's PancakesServes 2 (plus leftovers, depending on how hungry you are!)

What You’ll Need:

1 batch pancake batter (I used Bisquick Gluten-Free)
2-3 drops red or pink food coloring (or your favorite healthier alternative)
2-3 tablespoons butter
Heart-shaped cookie cutter
Toppings to serve: maple syrup, strawberries, bananas, butter — your choice!

What to Do:

Make 1 full batch of pancake batter, and divide into two bowls. Set one bowl aside.

To the second bowl, add a few drops of pink food coloring, or whatever your dying-agent of choice is.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. The pan is ready when a few drops of water dropped onto the surface of the pan dance around before evaporating. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in the pan.

Heart Pancake_in panPlace the heart-shaped cookie cutter in the center of the pan, and fill with one of the batters until the bottom if just covered (no deeper than 1/4 inch, about). (I made a few with pink hearts and white outlines, and a few with white hearts and pink outlines.)

Next, take the other color and carefully pour right around the edge of the cookie cutter. Do your best to get the batter to touch the cookie cutter, but you can also use your finger to spread it out a bit if you’re having trouble reaching the very edge. Immediately after the holes are filled in, remove the cookie cutter. The side that’s touching the pan should be set up perfectly, but soft enough that the edge of the heart will stick to the surrounding color. The side that’s facing up will be much softer and will blend together a bit more.

Once the first side is cooked (edges are firming up, bubbles appearing on the surface of the pancake), flip and continue to cook on the other side.

Serve these up with whatever toppings you prefer, and enjoy. (A mimosa on the side wouldn’t hurt, either!)

What’s your favorite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? 

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Lemon Chia Muffins_wide

These. These were special.

Lemon Chia Muffins_stacked

On Thursday morning, I was loading the recipe for these muffins into Greatist’s content system, and they sounded so good I had to stop what I was doing and make them immediately. (I guess that’s what I get for trying to work before feeding myself.)

The recipe comes from my friend Kelli at The Corner Kitchen. She uses Meyer lemon, lemon greek yogurt, chia seeds, and olive oil to make a healthier version of classic lemon poppyseed muffins.

Lemon Chia Muffin_side

I was missing a few of the ingredients Kelli used, so I improvised a bit: regular lemon instead of Meyer, and plain Greek yogurt instead of lemon-flavored. I also used gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose. And I didn’t fill the muffin cups enough. Oops! (They still taste great.)

I can see how the Meyer lemon would have enhanced the flavor quite a bit, but they were just fine with regular lemon, too. I do recommend doubling the amount of lemon zest if you skip out on the lemon-flavored Greek yogurt. The sweetness level of these was perfect for me with the plain Greek yogurt, but they could have used a bit more lemon flavor.

Head over to The Corner Kitchen for the recipe

A (Few) Week(s) in Greek

On my Instagram account, I usually end up sharing the random breakfasts and lunch I throw together while simultaneously trying to do a million other things. Oftentimes it seems that yogurt — and more often than not higher-protein Greek yogurt — tends to be at the center of or at least plays some part in those meals. Here are a few of my favorites from the last few months, rounded up with (semi) recipes to help you make them yourself at home.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt (for Breakfast OR Dessert)

2 parts Greek yogurt (I used 2% plain Chobani) + 1 part fresh berries + 1 proportionate drizzle of sweetener, like agave

Combine, blend (in a food processor or with a stick blender), freeze, stir every hour until mostly frozen. Scoop.

Greek Yogurt with Berries and Graham Cracker

1 serving Greek yogurt (I used 2% plain Chobani) + 1 cup berries of choice + 2 graham crackers, crumbled (I used Shar gluten-free honeygrams)

Scoop. Top. Crumble.

Coconut Greek Yogurt with Berries and Granola

1 6oz container coconut Greek yogurt (I used 2% coconut Chobani) + 1/2 cup blueberries + 1/4 cup raspberries + 1/4 cup granola (I used vanilla Udi’s granola)

Key Lime Pie for Cheaters

1/2 6oz container key lime Greek yogurt + 2 graham crackers, crumbled (I used Sharr gluten-free graham crackers)

Just crumble the crackers over the yogurt.

Creamy Pesto Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt + 1 tablespoon pesto (homemade or store bought)

Mix until smooth. Dip whatever you want — I went with a veggie “quesadilla.”

Creamy Smoothie Bowl

1 thick fruit-only smoothie of your choice + 1 scoop plain Greek yogurt + chia seeds, honey/agave, cinnamon, any other toppings you want

Blend, swirl, sprinkle. Eat from a bowl.

Key Lime-Banana-Blueberry Waffle

1 frozen waffle, toasted + 1/2 cup blueberries + 1/2 banana, sliced + 1/2 6oz container key lime Greek yogurt (I used 2% Chobani)

Berry-Coconut Breakfast Waffle

1 frozen waffle, toasted + 1 scoop yogurt (Greek or regular work, any flavor or brand) + 1 cup blueberries + 1/2 banana, sliced + 2 tablespoons toasted coconut

Toast, top, sprinkle.

Oat-Yogurt Mess Bowl

1 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup raw plain quick oats + 1 banana, sliced + cinnamon + peanut butter + agave/honey (optional)

Mix it all together, or make it pretty like this! (Yogurt on the bottom, oats in the middle, banana around the sides, cinnamon and PB all over.)

Dilly Veggie Dip
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt + 1 teaspoon lemon juice + 1/2 teaspoon dried dill

Mix, eat with veggies.

Blueberry-Flax Greek Yogurt Pancake Muffins

I’m not a “get up and make breakfast” kind of girl. I need at least two hours after I wake up before I am a fully functioning human, and I usually need to prepare breakfast for myself before that two hours is up. So, the answer? Things that I can make ahead of time and are easy enough to throw in a bowl/microwave and start eating in less than five minutes.

Blueberry-Flax Greek Yogurt Muffins_longNow, on the weekends, I’m a huge fan of whole-grain, gluten-free pancakes for brunch. But during the week, they don’t exactly fit my “less than five minutes of prep” requirement. But sometimes, you just want to enjoy a pancake-like delight in the middle of the week. The answer? Pancake muffins! Basically, you make pancake batter and spoon it into a muffin tin instead of into a pan. Brilliant! Here’s one of my favorite combinations — oats, flaxseed, Greek yogurt, and blueberries. Top with a bit of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup for some real pancake flavor. Another favorite combination? Crumble one of these muffins over a bowl of plain yogurt with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of maple syrup — perfection! (Check out THAT creation on my Instagram!)

Blueberry-Flax Greek Yogurt Pancake Muffins

 Blueberry-Flax Greek Yogurt MuffinsWhat You’ll Need:

3/4 cup  gluten-free pancake mix (or gluten-free flour mix)
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2–3/4 cup milk (any type)
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey (or agave, or maple syrup)
3/4 cup blueberries

What to Do: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Combine pancake mix (or flour), oats, greek yogurt, milk, egg, oil, and honey in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until smooth and there are no lumps.

Fold in blueberries. The mixture should be moist, but not soupy and not doughy. If your mix is too doughy, add milk until it reaches the desired consistency (which should sort of resemble the consistency of frosting).

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 to 4/5 of the way up, making sure the top of each is level (so that the muffin cooks evenly). Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool in the tin at least 1 hour. Then, enjoy!

Note: These muffins keep great frozen. I make a batch, remove them from a pan, place in a tupperware container and freeze for weeks! Then, just microwave for 30 seconds when you’re ready to eat, or stick them in a toaster oven for a few minutes. 

Apple n’ Oatmeal Pancakes

Apple n' Oatmeal Pancakes

Sundays are my happy days. I try to sleep as late as possible, I usually have the apartment to myself, I let myself page through magazines for way too many hours, and I typically also try to cook something to have for dinner for the rest of the week. That time spent alone in the kitchen is, I think, pretty much what keeps me sane. Usually, I’ll skip breakfast on these days in favor of nibbling on whatever I’m cooking throughout the day. But then there are those Sunday mornings I just really want to settle on my couch with a big café au lait and a hearty breakfast. Last Sunday was one of those days.

Having to avoid gluten, brunch foods are pretty limited: eggs, oatmeal, yogurt. But on this day, I was sick of all the standbys. I wanted something heartier, something a bit more special. So I decided to create a little twist on the classic oatmeal. Voila — oat pancakes. Maybe this was just an excuse for me to smother oatmeal ingredients with butter, but regardless, they came out great and will definitely be on my Sunday brunch rotation regularly from here on out. I used apples here, but you can very well use any other fruit you like — I think pears, mango, banana, blueberries, peach would all work very well!

Maybe I’ll tackle one of the soup recipes from that Bon Appétit next…

Apple n’ Oatmeal Pancakes

Apple n' Oatmeal Pancakes_doubleServes 2 (3 small-ish cakes each)

What You’ll Need: 

2 cups oat flour (you can make this at home by throwing 2 cups rolled oats in a blender or food processor)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup milk
1 apple, cored and diced small
Butter, for cooking
Extra apple slices and honey  or maple syrup for serving

What to Do:

In a mixing bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, cinnamon, honey, and milk.

Stir until evenly combined.

Add in the apple chunks, and stir again to incorporate.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add butter to melt.

Once skillet is hot and butter is melted, cook the cakes in batches, 2-3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through. You’ll want to add a little more butter before each batch. (Note: If you have a cast iron skillet, use it! That’s the best way to get those perfect crispy edges!)

To serve, stack, spread with butter, top with apple slices, and drizzle with honey or maple syrup and a little sprinkle of cinnamon. Voila!

The Savory Muffin: Butternut Squash and Feta


Butternut Squash Feta Muffins

Now, when I first came across savory muffins, I was skeptical. Muffins are supposed to be sweet, tender little treats that are acceptable to eat for breakfast, but should probably qualify as dessert.

But when I had to make and photograph these butternut squash-based muffins for work, I sucked up my preconceptions and baked up a batch. And boy were they fantastic.

This recipe is a combination of a Cheesy Butternut Squash Muffin from Food52, and a Pumpkin Feta Muffin from 101 Cookbooks. I liked elements of both, so I combined the two for my batch!

Butternut Squash and Feta Savory Muffins

Butternut Squash Feta Muffins

Makes 12

What You’ll Need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons Grey Poupon mustard
2 eggs
3/4 cup non-fat milk
2 cups flour (I used gluten-free flour from Bobs Red Mill)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

*Note: I often find when baking with gluten-free flour that I need to add a little extra liquid to get the batter or dough to the right consistency. So, when throwing these together, if the batter looks a little too sticky, don’t be afraid to add a little extra milk — I did (probably about 2 tablespoons). 

What to Do:

Heat the oven to 425F.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer.

Stick in the oven, and roast until tender, about 20-30 minutes. (Be sure to stir ’em up every 5-10 minutes). They should be slightly browned, but not burnt! Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Turn down the oven to 400F, and grease a muffin tin with a bit of EVOO.

In a large bowl, combine 2/3 of the squash, the spinach, parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the feta.

In a small bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and mustard, and stir until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the larger bowl, and stir.

Add in the flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Gently stir until evenly combined (but not over mixed!)

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan. Top each muffin with the leftover squash and feta, and sprinkle with a generous grind of black pepper.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of  one muffin comes out clean.

Remove, and let cool. Enjoy alongside soup, crumbled over a salad, or as a savory breakfast or snack!