Make-ahead Breakfast Sandwiches!

I made an amazing discovery – did you know that you can freeze and reheat breakfast sandwiches!? So of course I had to try it! I made eight of them and froze six. I just ate the first one and aside from the fact that I over-toasted the top of the muffin it worked out quite will!

This will help to ensure that I have food for the upcoming week. How did I make them?

  1. Caramelized some onions with sage, thyme, and pepper. I didn’t add salt because the bacon and cheese will do that for me later. I poured a dozen eggs (beaten)* on top and baked that whole concoction for about 20 minutes. Who knew that it took such a hot oven (450F) to bake eggs?

*although next time I will use 10 eggs.

2. It takes a slightly lower oven to cook bacon (375 F) but takes about as long. Bake it and put it on a paper towel to drain. That’s what’ll crisp it up. Also, do this on the top rack of your oven for greater success. I had to do some re-arranging mid-way through. You may prefer vegan bacon, (coconut bacon, tempeh bacon), peameal (Canadian), or none at all. All are fine. They’re your sandwiches, after all.

3. Toast your English muffins just a little bit. You can use the lower rack in your oven while you cook the bacon up top.

4. Assembly. Each muffin contains: 1/8th of the onion-egg (is this a frittata?), a slice of bacon broken in half (some got a bit extra) and a couple slices of cheese. Layer in standard sandwich format.
 Sorry for the weird perspective here! (I had to wedge in beside the fridge to take this picture).

Wrap each sandwich individually in tinfoil, put them together in a (clear) bag, and freeze. To reheat them take the tinfoil off and put your muffin on a paper towel. I microwaved it for 90 seconds but I think I’ll try reducing that to 75 or even 60 seconds the next time. I toasted the top half of the muffin in the toasted oven. I thought that I’d like the crunch but the texture was too different. I need to reduce the time there, too.

Pretty delicious, though! And now my breakfast woes are solved!

Pancakes!

Specifically, banana-buckwheat pancakes (or buckwheat-banana pancakes). I used this recipe with modifications; firstly I doubled the recipe so that I’d have enough for the freezer (so that I can have breakfast during the week). And because I had two bananas that were going. I also used more milk than she suggests (possibly up to 1/3 more – not entirely sure as I went by eye) and I replaced the last cup of buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour instead.

I ate them with jam on top. Success!!

Pot Roast: day two

 

 

Now it’s time to add the vegetables!

After cooking all day I added potatoes, carrots, and pearl onions. This is where the weakness of my cookbook was really apparent. I thought that 45 minutes in a slow cooker wasn’t quite long enough for potatoes – and I was right! Both they and the carrots were hard even though I gave them extra time. Veggie fail! In the future I will pre-cook my vegetables. That’s a tip, kids.

At the very end I added peas and corn. The corn needed to be added because it was going bad; I’d gotten 5 corn for a dollar at the grocery store for that reason. The rest will go into the chili that I want to make in the next few days.

This is what it looked like before I added the gravy:

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Ready to eat

And then, with gravy on my plate and ready to go:

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My first attempt at making meat and potatoes!

American Pot Roast

 

For some reason my cookbook differentiates between American pot roast and Italian. The difference seems to come down to pancetta (Italian) vs mirepoix (American – who knew! I thought it was French!) as the main seasoning. So I started it tonight, because pot roasts were 30% off at the grocery store. Which, when you find meat at the store that’s 30% off, you need to cook it post haste. So I started tonight. I’ll finish tomorrow. Thus far it looks like this:

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Would you believe that there’s a pot roast under there?

Thus far you’re looking at a pot roast (hidden underneath the gravy) which after being dredged in flour, salt, and pepper, was browned in butter for ten minutes. Then the mirepoix was cooked in the same browned butter with a teaspoonful of thyme and sage (I love these two!) and a pinch of rosemary. Then more flour as a thickening agent and three cups of veggie broth. I was supposed to use beef broth but I don’t keep that lying around. So that’s the gravy.

Tomorrow it’ll cook for eight or nine hours (can you overcook a roast? I hope not as I have some errands to do) and have pearl onions, potatoes, and peas added to it at the end. Planning ahead for post-work dinners!

Would you believe that I’m about as organised as a real grown up?

Taco Salad Skillet

Tacos are one of my favourite foods. But I’m spoiled and the hard shells from the grocery store just don’t do it for me. Unfortunately for my taste buds ever since I moved away from having a tortilleria a mere two blocks from my house (now it’s almost two kilometers away!) I eat them less frequently. Enter the amazing budget bytes and her wonderful Taco Salad Skillet! I’m saved!

Mine ended up being vegetarian because I didn’t feel like going to the store. So it had pinto beans and corn (you can see them peeking out the bottom) and was topped with avocado, tomato, a shredded romaine heart, and green onion.

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I ended up adding a lot more spices, too. I hadn’t yet gotten around to getting chili powder (that whole not going to the store thing that I mentioned earlier) so instead I used cumin, and a bit of oregano. A jalepeño helped as well.

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Oh, and as a final embellishment, sour cream! I needed it for that jalepeño.

Buckwheat Pancakes

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I’ve been told that buckwheat flour is very hard to find in the US – if that’s true please let me know! I buy it at the local food co-op and then keep it in my freezer for sudden pancake cravings.

It’s strawberry season now. I don’t like to eat out-of-season berries. They’re too sour as they don’t develop their sugars when they’re forced to ripen against their will. Yes, even berries have free will and they don’t want to be eaten out of turn. So that means that when the berries are in season I have to eat as many as possible to make up for the 11 months of the year that I haven’t been eating this particular kind. The yellow is mango because I’m worried that I’m catching a cold. I’ve spent way too many days riding through rainstorms on my bicycle these past few weeks.

So this morning I woke up and walked to the store to buy strawberries, eggs, yoghurt (I use it instead of milk for these pancakes) and milk for my tea. On the way back I stopped along the way to eat mulberries. This was my reward for my productivity 🙂

This recipe makes enough for two people. If you want to try it too it is:

  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

Combine these in a small bowl. Start preheating your frying pan (especially if it’s cast iron like mine). In a slightly bigger bowl combine:

  • 6 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat because it’s what I had on hand)
  • 6 tbsp buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, or other savoury spice that you like in your pancakes
  • I added in 2 tbsp of wheat germ because I think that wheat germ is important. This is optional. If you do this add a little bit of extra yoghurt to make up for the dryness.

Make a well in the bowl of ‘dry’. Pour the yoghurt mixture into the well. Using a scoop-stir method combine the wet and the dry. Do not overmix!

Melt some oil (I use coconut) in your frying pan. Using a 1/4-cup measuring scoop (or a very large spoon) dollop out the pancake batter into the pan. The trick with these is that they don’t seem to bubble around the edges the way that normal pancakes do to say “flip me!” so just keep an eye on them every few minutes. While they’re cooking chop your fruit. You will be much happier with fruit on your pancakes.

I keep mine warm in the toaster oven while I wait for the rest of the batch to cook. That way I have warm pancakes when it’s time to eat!

Bread

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Just some cracked wheat bread. It’s made with molasses so it’s really dark. This might be my favourite texture yet for homemade bread. Plus it’s a good way to use up some of my kasha. I made it before going to work the other day which was just cruel as my apartment smelled of freshly baked bread and I needed to run off before I could eat any. So I had some when I came home. I’ve been eating it with my pickled cheese. Divine! The second loaf is now in my freezer.

Pickles!

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A co-worker if mine told me about this a few weeks ago and I’ve been longing to try it ever since. So I found a recipe! Marinated soft cheese is originally a Czech bar food that doesn’t seem to really exist outside of that region. So of course that meant that I had to try it. I figure that it’s a great use for those cheap supermarket camembert wheels. One wheel fit perfectly in this jar so I’d say so.
I’m not yet sure how it tastes. It needs to marinate for four days. I’ll be sure to provide an update when I find out!

I also made pickled eggs. I’d never made them before but I do love a good pickled egg. I can picture them being a great thing to bring on picnics this summer.

UPDATE: Four days later. Pickled cheese is AMAZING. Because I’m classy I put it on Triscuits because I’m classy like that. It is definitely something that I’d love to have around all summer, which means that I’ll just have to keep making more. I can see why this is a bar food, but I believe that it would also be delicious on those warm summer evenings outside with friends – those evenings when the days are so long that after dinner it’s still dusk and you’re all hungry again. It’ll be perfect for such an occasion.

Salad in jars

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I think that I’ve finally figured out why everyone was making such a fuss about salads in jars. They’re pretty rad and are definitely a force for good in my life. These ones are my first attempt. I needed to use up the dressing that I’d made for dinner with my in-laws. So on the bottom there is orange-pomegranite dressing. The bottom veggies of this salad are cucumber, red onion, and shredded carrot. On top of that is some penne that I made (left over from a pasta-tuna salad) and native rice. In the lettuce are dried cherries (don’t like them/trying to use them up) and dried cranberries (must get more) and toasted pumpkin seeds.

I’ve eaten two of them already. I need to eat the last one so that I can have my jars back. I want to make more salads! I love having easy meals readily available at all times.

Preserved Lemons

So I tried my hand at making preserved lemons today. This is ostensibly because I found lemons for 50% off, and of course I only bought half as many as I needed. I had to run out and get more today as a result. Now I have extras so I suspect that lemon-cranberry muffins will be happening in the near future.

There were other reasons too. One of them being that I’ve been stressed lately and being in the kitchen is a nice way for me to take my brain off of that and focus it on something productive. Deliciousness plus an hour of stress-free living is a pretty good deal! The other was that I’ve been looking for a way to spice up my quinoa. I don’t like quinoa nearly as much as I feel like I should.

Preserved lemons seem like they would be easy (salt! lemons! and a sterile jar) but in actuality I couldn’t figure out how to pack them in there, nor get juice out of them. So I ended up needing about as many lemons as I kept just to juice. It felt like making lemonade.

On the upshot I can open them in a month (given that February is shorter I’ll peg the date at March 1st)  and then I’ll know whether this is worth trying again or not. I hope it is. I’ll be sick of winter food by then anyway, and likely need to wait another couple of months before anything fresh has grown.