It was with a tone of equal parts skepticism and very great hesitation that my husband read my list on the kitchen chalkboard and said “Baked Noatmeal….what is that?” In all fairness, his state of dubious reservation was justified as I think we can agree that baked oatmeal without the oats would leave your breakfast decidedly lacking….or so you would think. Unless you had a dietary reason for not eating grains, including oats, it probably never occurred to you to try such a thing. But if you are one of those people, like me, who at times need to clean up your system, then Baked Noatmeal is definitely for you.
Summer vacation is here in Central Pennsylvania, woot woot! Unfortunately, this does not mean that I will be spending the next 2 1/2 months lounging by the pool or sleeping in because I have a job in an office and summer is a busy time of year for us. Despite the fact that my personal schedule remains largely unchanged, I fully celebrate the fact that we have a few months off from arguing about homework and take home folders and launching full expeditions throughout the house in search of someone’s misplaced glasses – which always happens 5 minutes before we need to leave the house to catch the bus. So in celebration of said summer vacation, we’re having S’mores Baked Oatmeal for breakfast!
There are times that I think about taking this blog in a strictly healthy direction. But then I think about things like sugar cookies and I realize that if I could never post about fun treats like that, I would be sad. Besides, what’s more fun than birthday cake-shaped funfetti sugar cookies?
Answer: almost nothing…. if you’re 7, which Bert was when I made these cookies for his class at school. That’s not to say that sugar cookies are just for kids. Don’t let the adults fool you, they are suckers for sprinkles and icing too. Make some and you’ll see.
I think of a recipe as something that requires measurements and specific amounts of this and that, but since this sandwich is absolved from all of that fussiness, I guess you would actually call it a non-recipe. I list below about how much of each component I use for reference but the beauty of this non-recipe is that you can use as much of each ingredient that you think looks good.
I love making frittatas. They are the answer to every single food serving conundrum:
What do I feed our out of town guests?
Eek! It’s the end of the month and my refrigerator is practically empty!
Where else can I attempt to hide this excess of zucchini?
Making a frittata is as easy as making scrambled eggs. You move the eggs around a bit but before they are cooked through entirely, you sprinkle some cheese on top and put the whole pan under the broiler. The cheese gets all melty and the whole thing puffs up and it looks ten times more appetizing than a pan of scrambled eggs. Since you finish cooking the egg mixture under the broiler, it all comes together enough that you can cut neat little wedges to serve it instead of heaping a glob of eggs on your plate. Even if you’re only making it for yourself with end of the month leftovers, it’s still nice if your food actually looks like you want to eat it, don’t you think?
If you’re not already on the quinoa cup train, hop on board! I first pinned these from Iowa Girl Eats and let them languish on my Breakfast board for several months before I finally gave them a try. I make little egg fritattas in muffin pans all of the time but despite putting quinoa in just about everything else, I was skeptical about adding it to eggs. In the end, I’m so very glad I tried them because they have become a staple in my weekly meal plans.
It is my general belief that more people would eat their vegetables if they came in colors as beautiful as those found in swiss chard. The stems are practically hot pink! Why wouldn’t you want to eat that? Don’t even get me started on the fact that swiss chard as a great source of Magnesium as well as Vitamins K and C.
Be that as it may, to some, the idea of eating a plateful of chard is less than appealing (Yes, Ray, I mean you). Here, we pair some sauteed chard with caramelized onions and Gruyere in a quinoa crust. The onions are sweet, the Gruyere is nutty, and you don’t even realize you’re eating something that’s actually really good for you, which is exactly how I prefer my food to be. You could definitely substitute any old swiss cheese here, but one reason you can use so little is because Gruyere has a more intense flavor than your average swiss. If you splurge for it, wrap up the rest and throw it in your freezer, because we’ll use it again in the future!
Do me a favor, and don’t wig out about the prospect of a quinoa crust. It’s actually a fantastic idea. I thought for about five minutes that I was the brainchild behind this whole concept, until I Googled “quinoa crust” out of curiosity and discovered that not only did I not create it, but I’m actually late to the quinoa crust party. I wish I could adequately describe it with a word other than “chewy” or “crispy,” both of which seem entirely too prosaic for an idea that is so innovative. Unfortunately for you, I’m getting nowhere on that front, so I suppose you’ll just have to give it a try and find out for yourself.
If you have never cooked quinoa, don’t be afraid. It is cooked much like couscous or rice. Do make sure to rinse your quinoa before putting it in the pot, otherwise it can have a bitter flavor. Once cooked and cooled somewhat, combine it with a beaten egg and press the mixture into a pie pan to form your crust. I found that getting the mixture evenly distributed was most easily done by using a large dry measuring cup to press the mixture down and around the sides of the pan.