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Spiralized Hash Brown, Egg, and Bacon Bake

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Crispy potatoes and bacon topped with baked eggs and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. A hearty breakfast, brunch, or breakfast for dinner casserole!

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I really wanted to get this post up a week ago, but time was just not working in my favor. Seeing 600+ children a week with coughs and runny noses had me fighting off a cold. I had activities scheduled for every evening, and even had work events on the weekend. I tried to sit down and blog on Wednesday evening and nearly fell asleep at the computer! I really don’t want to give up writing this blog, so I’m going to try to stick with a short and sweet post this week. I’m sorry I missed out on getting this up last week!

Strangely enough, the last recipe I posted was also for a breakfast. You’d think that with getting up at 6am most days, then being at work by 7am, I would not be making many complex breakfasts. Somehow, that seems to be where most of my food creativity has been lately! Once it’s the weekend I just want a breakfast that isn’t as boring as the same old weekday stuff.

This “hash brown”, egg, and bacon skillet is definitely more of a weekend breakfast/brunch item. Maybe even breakfast for dinner type of food. It’s hearty and filling!

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This recipe started with me really enjoying using my spiralizer. I use it all the time for dinners, but less often for other meals. Sure, I could just use (and have used) a grater to make hash browns, but spiralized potatoes seem more exciting! I like this breakfast with a combination of white and sweet potatoes to keep the flavor interesting and include more nutrients than usual white potato hash browns.

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Add some diced bacon, eggs, and a handful of cheese to the cooked potatoes and you have an all-in-one meal. Just pop in the oven on broil for a few minutes to cook the eggs! Believe it or not this breakfast/brunch doesn’t take forever to make. It’s not quite quick enough for a rushed morning, but can easily be cooked from start to finish in under 30 minutes! Totally worth it for special weekend morning!

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Spiralized Hash Brown, Egg, and Bacon Bake

This serves 2 – 4, but is easily variable. Choose larger potatoes or crack a few extra eggs on top to increase the number of servings.
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small white potato
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 4 slices of bacon (regular or turkey bacon both work)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c mozzarella cheese
  • cooking spray
Directions
  1. Spiralize both potatoes using the medium sized blade. Alternatively, you can use a julienne peeler or mandoline to cut the potatoes into thin strips.
  2. Generously spray an oven-safe skillet with cooking spray. Add the spiralized potatoes to the skillet, mix a bit to even out the two varieties if need, and then turn the burner on to medium heat. Let the potatoes cook for about 10 minutes on the first side. Use a spatula to peek at the bottom of the potatoes every once and a while to see if they are browned.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, dice the bacon and sprinkle it over the cooking potatoes.
  4. After about 10 minutes, or once the bottom of the potatoes are browned flip them. The potatoes will have cooked together pretty well, but may still separate. Just do your best, and flip in a few smaller sections in you need to.
  5. Let the potatoes cook on the second side for another 10 minutes or so, until the bottom is just starting to brown. When you notice the bottom is getting crisp and light brown crack the eggs on top. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the eggs.
  6. Put the whole skillet in the oven, on broil, for about 5 minutes, for soft yolks, or a few minutes longer if you want fully cooked yolks. I test egg-doneness by shaking the skillet a bit. You’ll be able to see how firm the eggs are by how much they move.
  7. Remove from the oven and cut into wedges to serve.

 

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Crispy Parmesan Chicken

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There’s no breading in this crispy baked chicken! Perfectly moist on the inside, crunchy on outside, all without any gluten or grains!

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Sometimes experimental cooking goes well, other times it goes poorly. This chicken is an example of experimental cooking success. In fact, it turned out far better than expected! I never intended this chicken to be a food blog recipe, or even especially good. If this chicken had turned out mediocre I would have, sadly, been totally okay with that. I just wanted a quick and easy protein to go with dinner.

Well, this is quick and easy AND delicious. The chicken takes all of 5 minutes (if that) to prep. It comes out of the oven with a crisp, golden crust. The chicken is moist and juicy on the inside, with a strong parmesan flavor.

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My super, not-so-secret ingredient in this recipe is almond meal. Sure, you can use bread crumbs to make a crispy coating for chicken, but it’s not always that simple when you are on a gluten free diet. Store bought gluten free bread crumbs are expensive, and making homemade GF bread crumbs isn’t exactly quick and easy.

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You might be thinking “but almond meal is also expensive”! It’s true! That’s why I make my own. I get raw almonds in bulk, and grind them up for a few seconds in my blender. This almond meal doesn’t have the same perfectly consistent texture as the store bought kind, but it’s good enough for almost every need I have. It also ends up being cheaper per pound than gluten free bread crumbs (at least the varieties I can find locally). By using almond meal instead of bread crumbs you’re also making the dish healthier – adding protein and cutting some carbs! It’s a great grain free alternative to breaded chicken.

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The other part of the crispy coating is parmesan cheese. Another money saving idea here – check the price of parmesan wedges at your local grocery store. I’ve found the normal price for a 1 lb wedge of parmesan is less, per pound, than a jar of the brand name, pre-grated cheese. With a grater, it will only take a couple minutes to shred the entire wedge. Freshly grated parmesan beats the pre-grated parmesan in flavor hands down! That’s part of what makes this chicken taste so good – a little bit of fresh parmesan goes a long way!

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 Crispy Parmesan Chicken

Ingredients
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 5-6 chicken tenders
  • 1/4 c almond meal
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  • cooking spray
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 375° F.
  2. Combine the almond meal and parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl.
  3. Trim the chicken of any excess fat.
  4. Spray each piece of chicken with cooking spray, then lay it in the bowl with the almond meal and parmesan mixture. Press each side of the chicken down, to get the coating to stick. Place the coated chicken on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
  5. Press any extra parmesan coating that is in the bowl onto the tops of the chicken pieces.
  6. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Thin chicken tenders will need less time to cook through than a thick chicken breast. When the chicken is done the outside will be golden and crispy, and the internal temperature should reach 165° F.
Serve this with:

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies (GF)

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Here’s the deal with these cookies: They are amazingly delicious!

Flour-less peanut butter cookies are a wonderful thing for anyone on a GF diet. So tasty, so simple, and maintaining all the qualities anyone thinks of a normal cookie having. Why even bother with mixing all of those expensive flours when you can combine some PB, sugar, and eggs and end up with a perfect cookie? These cookies take the basic flour-less PB cookie to another level. Adding cocoa powder gives the whole cookie a chocolatey flavor. And the pretzels make the cookie. The slight crunch and saltiness from the pretzels combined with the soft chocolate and peanut butter dough is mouthwatering.

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I decided to bake these cookies on Tuesday afternoon. I bake a minimum of once a week in the hope of improving my baking skills. Sometimes my weekly baking is a flop (Like, two weeks ago, when I melted candy corn into cookies (accidentally) and the entire pan turned to mush). Other times, the baking is a success. In the mood for a success, I figured a modification of my Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies recipe would surely lead sometime edible.

Once the cookies came out of the oven and had cooled for a few minutes and ate one and was happy with the results. Chocolate, peanut butter, pretzel – I knew that combination couldn’t turn out badly! Steve got home from work and a little while later and was excited to see the cookies and gobbled down a bunch. How that guy eats so many cookies and stays so slim I do not know!

On Tuesdays we go to the climbing gym with some people, and I often bring desserts. We packed up all but four of the remaining cookies and were handing them out to our climbing friends. People were really loving these cookies. Almost everyone took seconds. One lady said it was the best cookie she ever had. Everyone was talking about the cookies and asking me how to make them. We got home from climbing, hungry, and finished off the remaining few cookies. Yup, all the cookies eaten in one day, really, one half of a day. That’s proof of how amazing these cookies are!

The coolest part is that these are so simple to make compared to other GF baked goods. Since these cookies are flour-less you don’t have to measure out half a dozen different flours. In fact, the ingredient list is short, and consists of basic ingredients you probably keep on hand. With a stand mixer, you can be done mixing up the cookie dough in under 10 minutes and then its just shaping the cookies and baking them. These cookies are a great last minute dessert. You can whip up a batch quickly and easily and you’ll still get that “wow” factor from everyone who tries them!

Flour-less Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

 
Ingredients (makes about 20 cookies)
  • 1c creamy peanut butter
  • 1c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2c GF pretzels, broken into small pieces (I used Glutino’s pretzels)
Baking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (if you don’t have a stand mixer just use a large bowl and mix by hand) add all ingredients except the pretzel pieces.
  3. Mix on medium speed, with the paddle attachment, until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Scrape down the bowl a few times if needed.
  4. Add in the pretzel pieces and stir into the dough on the lowest mixer setting, or by hand.
  5. If desired, refrigerate the dough for about half an hour. (I prefer to work with cooled cookie dough, but this step isn’t necessary)
  6. Using your hands, shape the dough into cookie shapes. These cookies will not expand, so the size you shape them is the size they will stay. If larger pretzel chunks are falling out of the dough as your shape the cookies, but just shove them back in.
  7. Place cookies on 2 baking sheets lined with either parchment paper or silpat. Since the cookies won’t expand, you can place them fairly close together on the baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 8-12 minutes, and then let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. The cookies will be very soft on top when you first take them out of the oven. The key to knowing they are done baking is to watch for the bottom and sides to set.
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