Recipe: Savory Oatmeal Breakfast Bowls

Savory Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl Recipe | Freckled Italian

When I was strict Paleo, I went through a phase where I didn't eat oatmeal for several years. After I got pregnant, my food values shifted a bit as I was open to eating anything that didn't make me feel even more nauseated. Now that I'm nursing, I try to eat oatmeal every day because it's easy, filling, and supposedly good for milk production. Usually I just throw it in the microwave and eat it plain with a little sprinkle of salt, but if I have a few extra minutes I like to make one of these savory oatmeal breakfast bowls. 

I've shared a few pictures on Instagram Stories and every time I get a handful of messages from people asking for the recipe or just expressing their surprise that you can put cheese and onions in oatmeal. I'm not a big sweet breakfast person, so I prefer this over more traditional cinnamon and brown sugar oatmeal. It's also a great way to clean out your fridge, and it makes a delicious lunch as well as a hearty breakfast.

You can customize your bowl however you like, but this is my go-to recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 of an onion, sliced or diced
  • 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • A splash of olive oil or a little butter, for cooking
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheese
  • A big handful of spinach (you could chop this to make it a little easier to eat but I usually just throw it in)
  • About 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder (or a fresh clove of garlic if you have it, chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil or melt butter. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the mushrooms and sauté until browned and a little crispy--another 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan or push to the side to make room for your egg.
  2. Crack egg into pan and cook over medium-high heat. Cook to your liking--I'm a big fan of over medium but you could totally scramble it instead. I've also used hard and soft-boiled eggs I had in the fridge.
  3. While your egg is cooking, combine oats and water in a bowl. Microwave according to instructions (usually 2 minutes) and carefully remove from microwave (the bowl is always hot as hell). Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add the cheese and stir to combine.
  4. Add your spinach, mushrooms, and onion. Top with fried egg and a little hot sauce. 

I've made these with bacon and broccoli and every other meat or veggie that I have in the fridge. I love coming up with new combinations based on whatever leftovers I have. If you come up with a fun one, let me know! Enjoy!

Recipe: Vietnamese Meatballs (for Pho)

This post is sponsored by La Crema.

Vietnamese Pho Meat Balls | Freckled Italian

My brother and I always cook together whenever we're lucky enough to spend time together (one of my favorite recipes is his tropical crème brûlée), so when he was staying with us for Christmas and New Years, we decided to whip up some homemade pho broth and delicious Vietnamese meat balls. It was the coziest way to start the new year, and we ended up eating it for breakfast, a snack, and dinner later that night--with enough leftover for me to have lunch the next day when he and his girlfriend flew home.

Pho has always been one of my favorite comfort foods--my friend Corri and I used to meet for lunch or get takeout so much that now when I visit Charlotte, we always have to get pho together. I couldn't think of a more relaxing way to celebrate New Years Day than a slow morning with Sean, Jane, Rob, Sophie, and Ender all cuddled up together on the couch as rich, spice-infused broth bubbled away on the stove.

IMG_2256.JPG

I was surprised by how easy it was to put it all together (although to be fair, Sean did do most of the work setting up the broth), and our meatballs turned out absolutely delicious. Usually you'll find beef meatballs when you order pho, but we decided to use pork instead to switch it up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or pork
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well until everything is incorporated. Use your hands to work the meat mixture together until it becomes slightly sticky (this can take 10-15 minutes). If you have time, place the bowl in the freezer for 20 minutes or so to really let the meat firm up. (You could also use a food processor or electric mixer.)
  2. Roll heaping tablespoons of the mixture into balls with your hands. You want them to be on the larger side of bite-sized so you can pick them up and eat them in one bite or use a spoon to cut them in half easily.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and fill another bowl with ice water. Carefully lower the meatballs into the boiling water and allow them to cook until they float to the surface, then continue to simmer for another 3-4 minutes. (7-8 minutes total.) Remove from pot and transfer to ice water for 3-4 minutes.
  4. When you're ready, reheat the meatballs in pho broth and serve. 
Vietnamese Meat Ball Soup | Freckled Italian

The company was great and the wine, of course, was delicious--we paired our soup with La Crema's Monterey Chardonnay, which is one of my favorites. We set out all the toppings and let everyone doctor up their own bowls the same way you do when you're at a restaurant, only we enjoyed everything from the comfort of my couch, complete with sweatpants and a whole lot of Netflix.

Vietnamese Meat Balls | Freckled Italian

Don't forget to stop by the La Crema blog today to get my pho broth recipe! I hope you love it.

Chinese Food for Christmas & a Recipe: Crispy Veggie Egg Rolls

This post is sponsored by La Crema Winery.

Chinese Food for Christmas | Freckled Italian

After an incredibly busy past few months, I'm really enjoying a slow holiday season and have been planning a super low-key Christmas at home with my little family. I've always loved the idea of doing something non-traditional for Christmas dinner (my family has been known to do seafood on Christmas Eve), and if you know me at all you know my love for Chinese food knows no bounds.

We could always go super easy and order takeout, but I started thinking it might be fun to make our own as a family, so I put together a simple menu of chicken chow mein, beef and broccoli, and some delicious crispy egg rolls to get the whole thing started. Stop by the La Crema blog today to get the two entree recipes, but keep reading here to learn how to make your own egg rolls! (And don't forget to put a few bottles of La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay in the fridge to top it all off.)

Crispy Veggie Egg Rolls | Freckled Italian

Ingredients: 

  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 10 ounces of mushrooms, sliced (I like regular ol' button mushrooms but you could use shiitake)
  • About half of a small cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped 
  • 1-2 handfuls of fresh bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Spring roll or egg roll wrappers
  • Cooking oil (olive or canola), for sautéing veggies and frying the rolls

Instructions: 

  1. In a large pan, sauté garlic, ginger, and green onions together in a little oil for 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots and mushrooms and sauté for another 4-5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are browned slightly.
  2. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, stirring well to combine. Add the cabbage and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the cabbage has wilted slightly. Remove the entire mixture from the pan and set aside.
  3. To assemble the egg rolls, take a wrapper and lay it down flat. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the veggie mixture onto the wrapper and begin to roll from one side, tucking the edges in as you wrap the roll up. Use a little water on your fingers to seal the whole thing. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
  4. Add more oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Fry each egg roll for 1-2 minutes per side, or until the wrappers are golden-brown. Serve immediately with your favorite spicy Asian dipping sauce (there's a spicy peanut one at Trader Joe's that I like) or a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot chili oil. 
Chinese Food for Christmas | Freckled Italian

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and delicious holiday this year.