Egg Foo Yung

Confession: when I was growing up, I was wary of Egg Foo Yung. I wasn’t 100% certain what it was, and, frankly, when I looked at it, it seemed like something I wouldn’t like.

Ah, the mistakes of youth! Egg Foo Yung is, basically, an omelette. A simple, vegetable-filled, delicious, customizable omelette. For a gluten-free, mostly plant-based athlete, it’s also a great way to get lots of protein after a long run. I have a habit of making breakfast-for-dinner meals on Saturday nights since my body is craving loads of protein, and this gives me that plus lots of veggies.

Black Pepper Tofu Curry

As my diet has become increasingly plant-based, I find my self paging through my favorite magazines and mentally substituting plant-based proteins for the animal proteins. It’s actually a great exercise, if only because I love messing with recipes.

I’m also trying to add more vegan recipes to my diet, so this recipe also checks that box. I’ll admit to be intimidated by vegan cooking in the past, but now that I’ve wrapped my head around the basics, I’ve discovered that cooking vegan meals isn’t as hard as I’d once thought…though, yeah, the meal prep does take a bit more time.

Thus, this fantastic (and fast!) black pepper curry. The original recipe calls for chicken, and you can certainly use chicken if you prefer. The black pepper gives a hint of heat and loads of flavor, and it’s a great way to add vegetables to a meal.

Oh, like all curries, it’s even better as leftovers!

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Topping

I think gluten-free versions of “cream of anything” soups are like unicorns. Very expensive unicorns. I’ve heard rumors of companies like Progresso making GF cream of mushroom soup, but haven’t found it at my local store. And I use soups like this so infrequently, it doesn’t make sense to order from my usual sources.

Luckily, I stumbled across a great Smitten Kitchen version of a green bean casserole with homemade mushroom sauce that was easily (easily!) converted to gluten-free. Add crispy fried onions, and you’ve got yourself that most traditional of Thanksgiving dishes — one nobody will ever know is GF. Though they will know it’s incredibly delicious!

Meatloaf with Ketchup-Vinegar Glaze

I grew up eating really bad meatloaf — it was dry and covered with ketchup. Yet I still loved the stuff. I love it even more now that I’m an adult because, as with many of the foods from my childhood, I’ve discovered and refined recipes that suit my more adventurous tastes. But I admit it: I still frequently use a variation on the traditional ketchup glaze.

Traditional meatloaves are made with a bread-and-milk panade. Unless you’re doing a lot of gluten-free baking, chances are you don’t have much GF bread to spare. Another option is gluten-free breadcrumbs, or…you can do as I do and use meaty, tasty mushrooms to your meatloaf. In addition to adding incredible flavor, mushrooms help keep your meatloaf moist and increases flavor.

This recipe includes basic seasonings. Use them as suggestions. Fresh herbs and different spices can change up the flavor in great ways. Like heat? Add some cayenne or fresh jalapeno. I sometimes add about a 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese to my meatloaf mixture. There is no one way to make a meatloaf.

One thing: while you can make your meatloaf in a loaf pan, I like this freeform style because it keeps the loaf from stewing in its juices.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Instead the ketchup glaze, serve with mushroom gravy.[/box]

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom gravy is a one of those things — it can be vegetarian or meat-based, depending on your mood. It can be smooth or chunky, depending on your mood. I personally love it on the chunky side with meatloaf.

As with all gravies, the key to making a flavorful, richly colored gravy is a roux. And patience. You need to stir your flour and oil over medium-high heat until it is a rich caramel brown. This cooks off the raw taste of the rice flour and adds additional flavor.

[box type=”note” border=”full”]The amount of mushroom and onion in this recipe seems massive. It is! But they will cook down to a reasonable level very quickly. And please note that the rice flour thickens quickly. You may need to add additional liquid to make it pourable![/box]