Puffy Pancake Omelet

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Growing up I loved making German Oven Pancakes. They only included a few ingredients, were super easy to throw together, and were a special treat I made for my brother and I. They are meant to be made in an oven, and I never thought about making them in a sandwich maker until the other day. I didn’t think they would puff up enough, but they turned out better than I expected. Instead of making a sweet version as is common, I decided to pair it with the ingredients I had on hand which included cheese (of course), veggies, and ham. I have made omelets before in my sandwich maker, but sometimes the egg flavor is too overwhelming for my taste. This recipe combines the best of both worlds.

The “pancake” batter is made first with just three simple ingredients.

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batter

A basting brush isn’t something most college students (even ones who really enjoy cooking) tend to keep lying around, so I improvised with a piece of broccoli which was used to grease the sandwich maker after I poured melted butter into the maker.

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Only the bottom of the sandwich maker plate gets greased, and batter goes right on top of the butter.

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Topping options are endless, but I just used what I had in my fridge.

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Pile the toppings onto the pancake/egg mixture, and top with the rest of the egg mixture. It might get really close to overflowing, but the higher the batter, the better it cooks and the cleaner the omelets come out of the sandwich maker.

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Four mini omelets serve one person almost perfectly (unless you aren’t very hungry in the morning).

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PUFFY PANCAKE OMELET

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Pancake: 

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp butter

Omelet Toppings: 

  • 1 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 tbsp diced ham
  • 1 tbsp diced onion

Combine the egg, flour, and milk. Melt the butter and pour equally into the different compartments of the sandwich maker. Use a broccoli floret to spread the butter around and evenly grease the sandwich maker plate. Drop batter by tablespoons into the maker. Top with each of the desired toppings, and complete with the remainder of the batter. Bake until the indicator light changes color or approximately 5 minutes. Let set for 1-2 minutes after the sandwich maker is turned off. Carefully take out and sprinkle with more cheese if desired. Eat fresh.

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Alternative BLT Mini Panini

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I pretty much take anything that is free—especially when it comes to food. There is always a way to use ingredients even if they aren’t normally paired together…or they aren’t that appealing to me. Such was the scenario when Christina, one of the girls I was living with, moved out and left me with a bunch of random food items I would have never normally purchased. A few of the ingredients included: guacamole, roasted red bell peppers, and creamy swiss cheese. “I don’t even like guacamole,” I thought to myself. But, I really couldn’t afford to be picky.

What I could afford, however, was Jimmy John’s Italian bread. If you don’t already know about this, it is a college student essential. Just ask for day old bread—its only $.50…okay, $.54 with tax. But, lets be real, I could almost find that much change on the sidewalk during my trip downtown to buy the bread! You can use other bread if you don’t have a Jimmy John’s nearby, but just make sure it has a smaller diameter.

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Since I had the bread, I couldn’t resist making a sandwich because the grill plates on my sandwich maker allow me to make the most delicious panini. (If you don’t have a sandwich maker with interchangeable grill plates, I highly recommend it. You can purchase the kind that close completely so it doesn’t leak grease like a George Foreman grill does. I am allowed to have a sandwich maker in my dorm but not a George Foreman grill or normal panini press. Every dorm will have their own rules, so check on this before purchasing anything.)

Personally, I don’t care for BLT sandwiches, but I decided to take the general idea and plug in the ingredients I had.

I didn’t have lettuce, but guacamole is green, so that seemed to be the best logical substitute which gets spread right on the bread.

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You can guess what’s next. Roasted red bell pepper, in place of the tomatoes. Both are red, so they look about the same. I’m not a fan of raw tomatoes, but bell peppers have been growing on me.

Oh, and you always have to add some cheese—one of my favorite ingredients. I never buy spreadable cheese, but it melts beautifully into the rest of the sandwich toppings. If  you can splurge on it, that is highly recommended. If you don’t have the spreadable swiss version, you can always use some other variety of cheese.

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Last, but certainly not least…BACON. The phrase, “Everything is better with bacon,” is most definitely a fact in my book. It is a rare occasion that I have bacon on hand, but this was a lucky day. If you aren’t familiar with cooking bacon in a microwave, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure to use a microwave safe plate (I accidentally burned a hole through a roommate’s plate once because the bacon grease was so hot…needless to say, I replaced the plate and learned this tip the hard way…sorry Bekah.)
  • Line the bottom of the plate with two pieces of paper towel, layer the bacon in the middle, and top with two more layers of paper towel. Using approximately three slices of bacon at once has provided the most even cooking results in my experience, but this will depend on your plate size and microwave power. I recommend starting with one minute and 30 seconds and then adding more time in 30 second intervals after that until the bacon is golden and crispy.

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Layer all the ingredients on the sliced bread. Yes, it is slightly a balancing act.

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Depending on the size of your sandwich maker, three sandwiches usually fit at once. It is a tight squeeze to close the top, but this helps the outsides of the panini to brown well. Most sandwich makers have an indicator light to let you know when the food is cooked, and for my maker, that takes about four minutes. Once the sandwiches are cooked, leave them in the maker for a few minutes so that it doesn’t smoke profusely when you open it. (Setting off the smoke alarm in a dorm room is never a pleasant experience. My dorm always has a few false smoke alarms due to burnt popcorn every year. Don’t be THAT person.)

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The goal is a tasty lunch, and I recommend trying this even if you don’t think you are going to like it. You never know till you try!

ALTERNATIVE BLT MINI PANINI

Serves 1

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

  • 6 slices 1/2 inch thick Italian bread
  • 1 tbsp guacamole (or guacamole dip)
  • 2-3 pieces of roasted red bell pepper, sliced into thin pieces
  • 1 (.67-.75 ounce) wedge of creamy swiss cheese (size of wedge varies based on brand: I have used both Crystal Farms and Laughing Cow and had good results with both)
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • butter for greasing the grill plates

Spread the guacamole on three slices of bread. Top those same pieces with roasted red bell peppers. Spread the cheese on the other three slices of bread. Break pieces of bacon in half and pile on top of the guac and peppers. Close sandwiches with other slices of bread. Grease sandwich maker grill plates with butter. Place sandwiches on the grill plates and tightly close the maker. Plug in or turn on the sandwich maker. Cook until the indicator light changes colors or for approximately four minutes. Unplug or turn off sandwich maker and let set for a few minutes. Open, and remove sandwiches using a fork or knife. Serve warm.