Sunday, September 11, 2016

John's Big Bad Breakfast

One of my favorite meals to make AND eat is a big breakfast on a weekend morning. I got a chance to do that over the weekend as we had house guests. The big breakfast needed to be gluten-free. I wanted to make one of my favorites, the breakfast casserole. It usually uses a layer of bread on the bottom, but omitting the bread still makes a very tasty egg casserole. I started making it without the bread several years ago when we were cutting out the carbs. 

I start by browning a pound of breakfast sausage. 

Whisk up 10 eggs with about a cup of milk. 

Spread the cooked sausage over the bottom of a greased baking dish (I use nonstick spray). 

Cover the sausage with a mix of shredded Swiss & cheddar cheese. 

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the cheese & sausage. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. 

More $1.99 peppered bacon! I'll cook that in the oven since it's already on. 
Cover cookie trays with foil and lay down the bacon. Luckily, there's an equal number of pieces (9) on each sheet!

I diced up a few potatoes to make some home fries cooked in peppered bacon grease. I season them up with a mixture of seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. I cover them to start so they'll cook a little better, then stir them up and get them crispy on the outside. I also like to use leftover baked potatoes for this. It gives them a really deep potato flavor. 

Sometimes I'll add some diced onion and some diced green peppers, but not today. 

Bacon is done! I also uncovered the casserole so it can brown a little. 

The finished breakfast casserole. Everything tasted great. I love big breakfast!

Gluten Free Seafood Chowder

I've seen a lot of seafood chowders on Food Network lately, so I thought I would give it a shot. I've only made clam chowder once, and I make lobster bisque once a year. Had some fish & shrimp in the freezer, along with a can of clams in the pantry. My attempt at serving a gluten-free meal to our houseguest failed yesterday (sorry, Paula...who knew soy sauce wasn't gluten-free? I mean, isn't it soy? Guess they should rename it soy/wheat sauce). 

I wanted to make up for that mistake by making my seafood chowder gluten-free. 
I start by using all those raw shrimp shells & tails I've saved and frozen over the past several months to make a basic shrimp stock. Cover with water and simmer for 45 minutes or so. 

I peeled and diced up 3 potatoes. 

My dad always put bacon in his clam chowder when he made it (and bacon is pretty awesome!), so I'll dice up a package and cook it. I'll also use some for our baked potatoes tomorrow night. Jo got mad because I bought this bacon during an apparent "meat buying ban", but it was peppered bacon for $1.99 a pound. I bought 3 packages!

Diced up and into the pan to brown. 

Had about 1/2 pound of raw shrimp in the freezer, along with a couple Swai fish fillets. We love the taste of Swai and it's very inexpensive at Aldi. 

I strained the shrimp stock and have about 4 cups of stock. 

I did a quick boil on the diced potatoes to soften them up just a bit. 

Bacon is all crispy. 

Now for the roux to thicken the chowder up. I use a little of the peppered bacon grease and about 3 Tablespoons of butter. 

To make it gluten-free, I'm using rice flour to make the roux. 

Looks pretty normal. This might work!

After cooking the roux for a few minutes, I start adding the shrimp stock and whisk. 

Next up is a pint of half & half. 

Then I added some milk. I keep whisking and adding milk until the consistency is very chowder-like!

A can of clams from the pantry. 

Chopped clams & juice into the mix. 

The potatoes...

And the raw shrimp & fish. 

The shrimp were a little big for soup, so I cut them in half. 

Added the cooked bacon, too. It's all in there! Simmer, covered for an hour or so. 
Add a little Old Bay seasoning and some salt & pepper til it tastes awesome. 

Nice chunks of seafood in the chowder. 

Tasted great! Had it for lunch, then had 3 containers for the freezer. Rice flour thickened it up just like regular flour. Gluten-free worked for the seafood chowder. 

One casualty on the favorite all-purpose plastic bowl. I've eaten bushels of popcorn out of this bowl over the years. It has been filled with my Chex mix every winter. I stupidly put it down on the stove on a burner that had just been turned off. Goodbye, old friend. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Bang Bang Shrimp

John is a big YouTube fan. He often falls down the rabbit hole while looking for a video. A couple of hours later he's watched bootleg footage of the Eagles, toured a cruise ship and watched cooking demos. 

One such demo became tonight's meal. 

It started with shrimp. We have a couple sizes in the freezer. (Which is to capacity AGAIN!). John chose a pound of the bigger ones and put them in water to defrost them. 

Now for the Bang Bang sauce. It has 1/2 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce and about 1 TBSP siracha. 

All mixed together, we added more siracha for the heat. 

John peeled all the shrimp, saving the tails and skins for a future seafood stock. 

After drying the shrimp, he dredged them in cornstarch. 

We started the pasta. 

Then we dropped the shrimp in the fryer. 

It came out perfectly. 

Right in the Bang Bang sauce. 

A little butter and garlic to flavor up the pasta. 

All stirred together to finish it off. 

The flavor was great. The shrimp was crispy. It could have been spicier and we are thinking of adjusting the mayo. It seemed heavy. Overall, we really enjoyed the meal.