Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Baked Oatmeal from Steel Cut Oats

Twice a month I have the privilege of cooking breakfast for the students at one of the high schools in my home town. I always go in the day before and ask the kids, "What do you want for breakfast tomorrow?" Yesterday, one of the boys replied with something I had never heard of - baked oatmeal. I said I had never heard of it, and did he have a recipe. He said what was in his, but didn't have amounts. I told him I would 'Google' it. So I went home and search the Internet. WOW! Was I surprised to see there lots of recipes on line for baked oatmeal. On one site - which just happens to be a blog similar to mine, there was a comment asking if the writer had a version for using steel cut oats instead of rolled oats. Since I use steel cut oats myself, I was interested in her reply. The writer said that it would need a lot of 'tweaking' because steel cut oats take a lot longer to cook, and need more liquid. I decided to try to make baked oatmeal with steel cut oats, and it was a big hit! Here is my version.

What you need:  2 cups of steel cut oats; 2 large eggs; 3 cups (2%) milk; 2 tsp vanilla; a pinch of salt; 1 tsp baking powder; 1½ cups of dried blueberries.

What you do. Preheat your oven to 325°  F

In a large bowl, use a whisk to beat the eggs. Add milk and whisk together. Add vanilla, salt and baking powder, and whisk again. Add the steel cut oats, and blueberries, and stir. Grease a 9 x 11 baking dish. Pour in the mixture, spreading oats out carefully with a spatula. cover tightly with foil, and bake for 1:40  to 2 hours. Cut into squares. Place each square in a bowl and pour milk over to serve. Steel cut oats have a wonderful nutty flavour and a texture quite different from rolled oats.  Enjoy.

If you have never used steel cut oats, you can make baked oatmeal using rolled oats instead -( do not use instant oatmeal).You will need to reduce the milk to 2 cups. Bake at 375 ° F for 45 - 50 minutes.

Today, since I only had skim milk, I substituted some of the milk for whipping cream, about 3/4 of a cup, to add a little richness.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Easy Taco Salad -- Gluten free option

Easy Taco Salad

My family has always loved a supper we called burritos, although soft taco would have been a more accurate name. We would have tortillas with a spiced blend of ground beef topped with salsa, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. I discovered that many restaurants serve a similar dish in a tortilla bowl and call it taco salad.  Since I do not want the deep fried tortilla bowl, I have substituted a plain whole wheat tortilla, although most of the family prefer white ones. I also really enjoy the multigrain tortillas.

Now that I have an empty nest, and Wil is working out of town, I am often cooking for 1 person -instead of 6, and need to shrink my recipes accordingly. This is a very quick and easy to make dinner for one, and you can multiply by the number of servings you wish to make. This is easy to convert to a gluten free dinner, as when I bought my tortillas today, I saw packages of gluten free tortillas on the shelf. Corn is gluten free, of course, but some corn tortillas have wheat flour in them as well.

What you need:  180 gr lean ground beef; 1/4 of a red pepper, sliced thinly; 2 Tbs of taco or Sloppy Joe seasoning mix - (or a gluten free blend of spices*); 1/4 cup water; 2 or 3 leaves of lettuce, shredded; 1 oz of cheddar cheese, shredded; 1/4 cup of chopped tomato; 1/2 an avocado, in thin slices; 1 tortilla, 10 inch size. 1/4 cup of salsa is optional.

What you do:  In a small skillet or saucepan, brown the ground beef and add the spices or seasoning mix. Add water and pepper strips. allow to simmer about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the salad blend of lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and avocado. Place the tortilla on a large plate. Add meat mixture then top with salad mix. Toss lightly. Serve at once. Goes very well with a crisp white wine sangria. You can add any other kind of veggie you like to your salad. I do not use any dressing, as the meat has plenty of juice to moisten the salad ingredients.