GF Bisquick For Breakfast Sanity

Need boundless breakfast choices on the fly for gluten-free eating?  New options from Bisquick can be your salvation.

I’m somewhat non-creative in the morning. It takes my brain a few hours and at least 2 pots of coffee to engage properly. And frankly, one of my pet peeves is beginning the day with a giant mess in the kitchen, even though I love a home cooked breakfast. If there is anything worse than crawling out of a warm bed, it might be the thought  of creating catastrophic kitchen destruction within minutes of waking. Ewww. I’d be willing to offer room and board to a stranger  just for this very reason, but sadly, haven’t located a homeless waffle chef yet in my county.

In the meantime, Betty Crocker’s newest addition to their specialty product line, “Gluten-Free Bisquick” is just the ticket.  Gluten AND dairy free, it brings the same comforting feeling  of the traditional Bisquick yellow box that was a pantry staple of our moms and grandmas. I call it, “creativity in a box.”  Yeah, I know- Bob’s Red Mill and a host of other companies offer GF pancake mixes. But few, in my opinion, do the thinking for you like Betty Crocker.  Savory banana nut waffles, blueberry sour cream pancakes (along with old dinner favorites, like “Cheeseburger pie”) await you.  Hop on Betty Crocker’s GF website and you’ll find a nice assortment of recipe ideas that unleash culinary genius with minimal thought and limited mess. Total cook time- 20 minutes and 5-6 ingredients on average. Even I can do this in the morning

If you are casien free, simply substitute dairy-free, soy items for the sour cream, butter or cream cheese in these recipes. (We like the Willow Run Soy Margarine for a great tasting butter substitute btw.) You can also make your own dairy-free sour cream to have on hand for mornings such as this with this recipe.

Here are three easy options from the Betty Crocker website for making breakfast on the fly– without trashing a kitchen too horribly and without engaging your brain too much.  If you try these, leave a comment and let me know how you like them. While you can’t substitute cup for cup with GF Bisquick in all recipes (it’s a bit dry in some recipes) it’s pretty close. Make sure you use level cups of Bisquick and are accurate in your measurements. I sift mine quickly and then measure to lighten the mix a bit. Yeah for Betty Crocker!

Impossibly Easy Breakfast Bake (Gluten Free)

Prep Time 20 Minutes

Total Time 55 Minutes

Makes 12 servings

1 package (16 oz) bulk pork sausage (make sure it’s GF label)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes (Ore-Ida are gluten-free)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz) (or use soy cheese)
3/4 cup Bisquick® Gluten Free mix
2 cups milk (or milk substitute, soy or almond)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 eggs

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage, bell pepper and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Mix sausage mixture, potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in baking dish.
  2. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, pepper and eggs until blended. Pour over sausage mixture in baking dish.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake about 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Banana-Pecan Waffles (Gluten Free)

Prep Time 10 Minutes

Total Time 35 Minutes

Makes 5 waffles

1 1/3 cups Bisquick® Gluten Free mix
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 ripe medium banana, mashed
1/3 cup chopped pecans
  Maple syrup, if desired
  Sliced bananas, if desired
  Chopped pecans, if desired
  1. Heat waffle maker. (Waffle makers without a nonstick coating may need to be brushed with vegetable oil or sprayed with cooking spray.)
  2. In large bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, oil and egg with whisk or fork until blended. Gently fold in banana and pecans.
  3. Pour about 1/2 cup batter onto center of hot waffle maker. (Check manufacturer’s directions for recommended amount of batter.) Close lid of waffle maker. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops. Carefully remove waffle. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with syrup, bananas and pecans.


Blueberry-Sour Cream Pancakes (Gluten Free)


Total Time 20 Minutes

Makes 4  servings

Top these gluten free pancakes with butter and pure maple syrup.
1 cup Bisquick® Gluten Free mix
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream (use substitute if dairy free)
1 cup fresh blueberries
  Butter, if desired

In large bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, oil and egg until well blended. Stir in sour cream; gently fold in blueberries.

  1. Heat griddle to 375°F or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. (To test griddle, sprinkle with a few drops of water. If bubbles jump around, heat is just right.) Grease griddle with vegetable oil if necessary (or spray with cooking spray before heating).
  2. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto hot griddle. Cook pancakes until dry around edges. Turn and cook other side until golden brown. Serve with butter.
Bisquick Ingredients: Click here.

Break-the-Fast With Van’s Waffles

As part of my spotlight on breakfast this week, I’m selecting family favorite products and tossing in a few recipes to beat the morning “blahs.” Stay tuned as we go through a week of GF options to recharge your diet and your appetite.

A great reason  to get up and face the world comes from Van’s Natural Foods. You’ll love Van’s gluten AND dairy-free frozen waffles in a variety of truly scrumpteous flavors- Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Totally Natural, Flax, and Buckwheat. BTW, don’t let the Buckwheat variety scare you off.  Buckwheat, in spite of the name, is a  fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel and is 100 percent gluten-free. (whew) Packed with hearty flavor, buckwheat also is nutrition-dense and full of flavonoids and magnesium, so it makes a perfect choice to start your day.

Our family favorite is  blueberry, but each of Van’s waffle varieties are consumed en masse here with much enjoyment.  You’ll also find in some stores, the Van’s “Minis” – which like most small items–are favored by kiddos and make a nice snack. All of Van’s GF Waffles are  made with whole grain brown rice flour and are  fruit juice sweetened. Van’s regular sized frozen waffles are readily available in most mainstream grocery store chains and in health food stores, but you might have to hunt a bit in some areas for the minis.


Quick Breakfast Ideas: Gluten-Free Frozen Burritos

It’s Monday and no doubt you’re scrambling around for a way to jump-start your week.  If you’d like a delicious “quick and easy” gluten-free morning, grab one of these items from our friends at Glutenfreeda Foods. The newest addition to their product line are  Glutenfreeda’s Burritos– which score a home run with my family for taste and ease. Not only are they the first gluten-free breakfast burrito on the market, they also have amazing flavor and actually possess the same texture as a “real” wheat flour burrito.  Glutenfreeda’s Burritos are honestly so good, you might enjoy waking up a little more– even if it’s Monday.

 According to  Glutenfreeda Foods, “Our burritos are made from all natural ingredients, contain no  trans fats, no hydrogenated oils and are a cinch to prepare.  Simply take the frozen burrito, tear off the top strip and microwave in the bag (eliminating any possibility of cross contamination) for about 1 minute per side – the cooking time will depend on the strength of the microwave, but this is a fair approximation.  Burritos come in 4 flavors – Breakfast Beef, Chicken & Cheese, Bean & Cheese and Vegetarian & Dairy Free.”

The “Vegetarian & Dairy Free” burrito is the only one of these that isn’t laden with cheese or dairy, so if you’re watching caseins opt for that variety. However, with ingredients like “vine-ripened fresh peeled tomatoes” and Serrano peppers, you won’t miss the meat or the dairy in this veggie burrito. Top with a little salsa and you’ll be on your way out the door, doing the macarena all the way to work.  Pick these up from your local health food store or order online from the Gluten-Free Mall. You can also pop a frozen burrito in your lunch and heat up at school or work, which provides a nice option for kiddos who need a change of lunchtime pace.

Note: Check with retail stores for discounts on case lots. While not pricey compared to many other GF foods, you’ll usually save a bit on bulk purchases.

Rise and Shine!!!!




55 Reasons to Leave Gluten

Gluten intolerance can be an insidious condition. Those who’ve suffered through years of  gluten-induced physical maladies know this all too well. And yet, there are those well-meaning, but annoying folks, who look at us like fad diet drama queens and hypochondriacs.Eating gluten-free makes sense.  And for many of us, gluten-free living is a necessity– born out of seeking health.  

For my daughter, Haley, latent celiac disease caused years of seemingly unrelated illnesses. When  persistent joint pain lingered in spite of multiple doctor’s visits, and caused Haley–a talented athlete and prize winning sprinter– to drop track and field, a red flag sounded in my head. Yet, the orthopedic specialist felt it was a benign condition she’d grow out of with some exercises.

Rashes appeared on her legs, blister-like and horribly itchy. We mistook these for flea bites from our cat’s forays or perhaps allergies to skin-care products and began using a wide variety of hypoallergenic items instead. It never occurred to us this was in fact a gluten reaction called dermatitis herpetiformis

Once in a while, she’d have some tingling or problems with an arm or leg, but the doctors found nothing abnormal in visits. There were canker sores occasionally. My once sunny and cheerful daughter became anxiety-ridden and irritable. She was 17, and we attributed this to the emotional nature of teenagers- certainly not to wheat proteins.

Then it was off and on again “stomach flu” — but no one else in the family contracted these bouts of “flu.” We determined this was perhaps related to milk and switched to lactose-free milk, which offered some relief, but never cured the situation. About the time I was ready to take her to a doctor for a full workup and evaluation for the gut problems, she became weak, light-headed, confused, short of breath during even limited exertion.

Given her symptoms, the doctors first investigated parasites, thinking our old drinking well had been a source of contamination. A blood draw had shown a very high level of eosinophils and basophils- types of white cells related to parasites or allergic responses.  We didn’t know that some very credible sources, including  the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center,  had linked elevated eosinophils to celiac disease as well as parasites and allergies. And of course, after two more weeks of testing, there were no parasites.

But Haley worsened, deteriorating before my eyes each day. Another blood test showed a very low ferratin (stored iron) level…dangerously low in fact, for a teenager.  For a kid who took a daily multi-vitamin with iron and ate a very balanced diet, she was horribly anemic with no apparent cause. 

At last, celiac disease was found to be the issue.  The day the doc scrawled the words, “gluten-free” on a paper and told me to “Google” it and start Haley on this diet  immediately and permanently. It was hard for me to believe this disorder could be connected to all these symptoms. Could ingested wheat be causing joint pain or blisters on her legs?

It took months of weekly hemoglobin interveneous treatments to bring her iron levels up to even low normal levels–and a gluten-free diet– to change all her symptoms. Gone were the joint pain, the rashes, the irritability and mental confusion, canker sores, odd neurological symptoms and the stomach complaints.

Through all of her illness, she never lost weight, failed to “thrive” or presented with classic symptoms of celiac disease. Even her bouts of nausea and diarrhea were very intermittent until the last month prior to her diagnosis, when she completely bottomed out and became very ill.  Gluten can and does cause many severe reactions in individuals– even without classic symptoms. In Haley’s case, she’d been sick for years, the doctors conjectured, to have iron levels as low as they were.

Mark Hyman, who is a medical doctor and a blogger with the Huffington Post, best summarized  the link between gluten and a range of disorders. Below is a brief from his excellent post.

“A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten.  These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric  and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression,  schizophrenia,  dementia,  migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage).  It has also been linked to autism.

We used to think that gluten problems or celiac disease were confined to children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive. Now we know you can be old, fat, and constipated and still have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.” To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause–which is often gluten sensitivity–not just the symptoms.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone–but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness.”

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