Thursday, March 5, 2015

Endometriosis Diet - Gluten-Free Spinach Quiche Casserole

I grew up with my mother making a quiche recipe that is very comforting - it was made often enough to reside in my memory and remind me of home, but not so often that it seemed overdone or too common for a weekly meal repertoire. I've made this often over the years for my girlfriends when they come over to talk over a pot of tea, and I've made it to take to school for pot luck lunches. And then I had a child, my endometriosis grew worse, and I wanted to determine a way to made the quiche gluten-free, after learning just how badly gluten affects my health.

In the course of trial-and-error, I can tell you, very easily, that I've found corn noodles to hold up better for hearty meals - spaghetti, a casserole such as this recipe, etc. Use rice noodles for lighter meals - ones that will not be subjected to heating and cooling - pasta salad, etc. The corn pasta needs to cook a little longer to soften more, but be watchful of both corn and rice noodles, as once they soften, they reeealllly soften and can easily become mush.

First things first - set a full package of frozen spinach to thaw. After it is completely thawed (I set it out overnight), I poke holes in the bag and set a heavy pot on it to help squeeze out the extra liquid. Let this drain until you're ready for it.

Here, I cooked 3/4 of a package of corn macaroni. Salt the water very well. I would usually prepare all the other ingredients while these cooked and toss them together as soon as draining the noodles, but my son needed some help and distracted me - it happens! So, I drained these and tossed them in olive oil, which I think actually helped keep them moist as the casserole baked.
I chopped up about 1/2 cup of onion and two cloves of garlic - normally, in other meals, I would prefer to saute the onions and garlic in oil and then toss them with the other ingredients, but I actually really like the extra texture the crunch from the onions brings to the dish.
In order to keep with my endo diet, I used non-dairy cheese. The non-dairy cheese melts just like real cheese - if you're testing which foods affect you, slowly weed out triggers - red meat, gluten, and dairy impact the way I feel the most, so I try to severely limit my intake on those. I do indulge every once in a while, but it has to be negligent quantities or I will feel it much sooner. Here, I used my kitchen shears to cut up already-cooked bacon, the shredded cheese, and the onions and garlic.

I've also added chopped bell peppers, quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, etc. The leftovers in your refrigerator are a perfect way to make this yours! Or your imagination...
For a casserole this size, I use at least 6 eggs, but it honestly comes down to your preference for how moist you want your casserole to be. Whisk the eggs with about a cup of milk (I used rice milk, as my son has a nut allergy and I try to stay away from soy).

Add the drained spinach to the eggs and mix well. It is to this mixture that I also added some leftover brown rice. Make sure you salt and pepper the mixture well.
After mixing all the 'dry' ingredients together, and whisking all the wet ones, fold them together and pour over the noodles in a separate, large container. Mix well. Use nonstick spray on your baking dish, and spread the mixture evenly. Sprinkle more non-dairy cheese over the top.
Bake on 325* for about 30 minutes for this size of a pan. Keep an eye on it, though, as you don't want the noodles to dry out.
Doesn't it look delectable? Yum.
I've made this in a slow-cooker, too, so if you're thinking of a pot luck (I did last year just to make sure I had something I could eat at the luncheon), do not worry. Just watch the time and temperature it is cooking so you don't overdo it.

It is healthy. It is filling. And it keeps my blood sugar in check without exacerbating my endometriosis any worse. And I love the fact that I can toss in nearly any vegetables I currently have on hand with it.

Please let me know if you try this! I want to know how you liked it.

Gluten-Free Spinach Quiche Casserole

3/4 of a pound of corn noodles.
6 eggs
1 cup of milk (unsweetened soy, rice, cow's, or nut)
1 pound frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
2 cups of shredded cheese
1 package of already-cooked thick-cut bacon
1/2 a large onion
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the noodles (salt well) and drain
2. Whisk the eggs and milk together
3. Mix in the thawed and drained spinach (and any other vegetables you prefer)
4. Chop up the onion and garlic
5. Toss with 2 cups of cheese and chopped up package of bacon
6. Toss the 'dry' ingredients with the noodles in a large bowl
7. Add in the egg mixture and mix it all thoroughly
8. Use nonstick spray on your casserole dish
9. Spread the casserole mixture well, making the edges slightly thicker than the middle so it cooks evenly.
10. Bake at *325 for about 25-30 minutes.


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