Sunday, December 23, 2007

Layered Peanut Butter Bar

Okay, so I know I promised Monster Cookies...but I LOST my recipe!!! I will find it, I promise! But not in time for Christmas.

Yesterday in the mail, I received a Betty Crocker 2008 Calendar. Honestly, it's a cruel joke, right? Every other recipe on the calendar contained one of their cookie mixes or known flour containing ingredients! YEAH, RIGHT! Well, truly, for me, now I look at a recipe and say to myself "How can I make THIS gluten-free" and set out to do that!

Well, one recipe just really caught my eye as and absolute must try! It was a Layered Peanut Butter Bar. So I made it. To take to my parents house on Christmas Eve. The only modification I had to make was to the Peanut Butter Cookie Layer. Which, instead of their Peanut Butter Cookie Mix, I used my 2 Cups of Peanut Butter Cookie Batter.

I pressed the cookie batter into the bottom of an 8" square pan, baked and then added the rest of the layers according to Betty Crocker's Recipe.

MMMMM...is there ANYTHING better than peanut butter and chocolate?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Cookie Baking - Ultimate Snickerdoodles

Okay...so I used to have this recipe, which is actually posted here at my old blog. I had thought about trying to adapt it. And then I remembered just how much I loved the Star Cut Out cookie from Land O Lakes list of gluten free recipes.

So...to make my Ultimate Snickerdoodles this year, I used Land O Lakes Gluten-free Star Cut Out Cookie recipe and I added 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients.

I also rolled into balls and rolled in cinnamon sugar (1/4 sugar, 2 tsp ground cinnamon), instead rolling them out and making shapes.

I greased the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass and pressed the cookies to about 1/4" thick.

Baked for 14 minutes at 350. I was using a stoneware pan, however, so cooking time might need to be adjusted slightly.

I got about 4 dozen 1 1/2" cookies out of it...and they were melt in your mouth delicious!

In the picture in the post below, they are the center cookie.

:)

Christmas Cookie Baking - Peanut Butter Cookies


I'll admit that the thought of not being able to bake Christmas cookies hit me in January last year when I started my gluten free life. I was afraid I'd never taste a chocolate chip cookie, or a snickerdoodle, or even a peanut butter cookie.

Well, I should not have been afraid at all, I was able to make Christmas cookies. As a matter of fact, I've been baking for the last 6 hours! All to make this beautiful tray for my husband to take to work for his workmates. A joy he relishes all year long. And this year, I'm grateful I did not disappoint him by buying cookies to put on the tray.

The first thing I did was mix up a big batch of gluten free flour which was based on the Land O Lakes recipe. I did not have enough potato flour, so this is what I did:

6 Cups White Rice Flour
1 Cup Tapioca Flour
1 Cup Potato Starch
1 Cup Corn Starch
1 Tbs. Xanthan Gum

I mixed this all up in a big bowl and set aside because I knew I'd be making four different types of cookies. Okay, the Seven Layer Bars didn't need the flour, so now I have a little bit left for baking again later in the week.

I'm going to start with the Peanut Butter Cookie, because I have to say that it was my favorite. Favorite one to make, favorite one to smell baking and also my favorite because I did not use the flourless recipe for the first time this year. I actually used flour. I know we all smile and eat our gluten free flourless peanut butter cookies and pretend we don't miss the texture. I've done it for a year. I will no longer.

For the normal Chocolate Chip Cookies, I used the recipe available at Land O Lakes. It turned out really well, very "tollhouse" like, for sure. I am really pleased with this flour blend and how recipes turn out when I use it. Bravo Land O Lakes for recognizing us! We so appreciate you! If you haven't tried these cookies, you should give them a try!

I took my recipe for Peanut Butter cookies and used Land O Lakes flour blend and they turned out awesome. MMMMM...Awesome!!! I also liked that I didn't need to do the tedious task of squashing with a fork dipped in sugar!


Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 Cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 Cup gluten-free flour blend
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum (in addition to what's in the flour)

Sift together gluten-free flour blend, salt, baking soda and Xantham gum and set aside.

Cream peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add sugars and continue to cream together. Add egg and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoonful (I used a small cookie scoop) onto a cookie sheet about 2" apart.

Bake for 10-13 minutes until lightly browned around the edges and the center is set. They will be slightly puffed but they will flatten upon cooling.

Cool on cookie tray for about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from tray to cooling rack and allow to cool completely before moving again.

Enjoy! :D

I will post Ultimate Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles tomorrow! :D

Monday, December 10, 2007

Party Popcorn


Okay, so this is a last minute, makeshift gift for some teachers for my kids. I miscounted and had to come up with something quick.

Thanks to watching "Pairings" on Fine Living last week, I learned a new trick regarding popcorn. I did not like her choices for seasonings for it, so I made that a little my own.

It's a nice twist on homemade popcorn, and put in festive bags, makes a nice gift for a neighbor, or acquaintance.


Party Pop

1/2 Cup Whole Kernal Popcorn
3 Tbs Canola Oil
2 Tbs Butter
Season Salt Blend* (recipe to follow)

Season Salt Blend:

1 Tbls sea salt
1 Tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper


In a large skillet that has a lid, heat to medium high heat, add oil and butter. Cook until butter is melted and bubbly. Add season salt blend and mix well. And popcorn. Cover.

Continue to cook over medium high, once it starts popping, shake constantly. Allow to pop until there is about 1 to 2 seconds between pops.

Remove from heat and allow to finish popping before removing lid. Dump into a large bowl and mix well to make sure all the popcorn is coated well.

Allow to cool before packing into plastic bags. OR Enjoy for yourself!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Seven Layer Bars


I have to admit, I was slightly afraid of making this one this year. My fears were finding the ingredients gluten free that didn't cost an arm and a leg. These are one of my husband's favorite cookies, and one that is usually eaten before any others when I make a tray and send it with him to work.

Traditionally, they would be made with a graham cracker crust on the bottom. Today, I substituted the Mi-Del Arrowroot Animal Crackers. Adding a touch of honey seemed to mimic the flavor nicely. Yes, I do know that somewhere out there is gluten free graham crackers - but I'm saving tracking them down for Nanaimo Bars (Recipe will come as soon as I'm confident they'd be totally gluten free - another of my husbands favorites).

I toyed with the idea of making my own gluten free graham crackers BEFORE making this recipe...but I quickly dropped it! :D

Please make sure to check the "gluten-free" status of all of your ingredients. This list can easily get you glutened if you don't read the ingredients. There are many NON Gluten Free brands out there - so make sure what you choose IS gluten Free. I used ALDI brand for all of mine. While they do not have a gluten free list, they have announced they will label if it contains Wheat, Barley and Rye...and I have not reacted from any of their products that are truly gluten free, so I gave them a try.

So...Here we go...


Seven Layer Bars

1 1/2 Cups cookie crumbs (I used Mi-Del Arrowroot cookies)
1 Tbs honey (do not use this if you use a fake grahm cracker cookie)
1 stick butter (1/2 Cup)
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Butterscotch Chips
1 Cup chopped walnuts
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Cup Flake Coconut (BE CAREFUL, there are MANY brands that use flour to keep it from flaking!)


Melt butter. Mix butter and honey and cookie crumbs in a bowl...press into the bottom of an 8" or 9" square pan.

Spread chocolate chips over top. Then the butterscotch chips, then the walnuts.

Pour sweetened condensed milk overtop in an even layer - cover as much as possible. I didn't end up using the whole can - but just about.

Sprinkle coconut overtop, spreading as evenly as possible.

Bake in a 350 oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely, the refridgerate. Cut into 1" squares. Enjoy!

They are VERY RICH... :D

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas is Coming!

Not a moment too soon!

I got to spend Black Friday my absolute favorite thing in the whole world. We spent the day in Frankenmuth, MI. Michigan's little Bavaria. It had snowed on Thanksgiving, so there was still remnants of snow on the ground around town.

We started our visit to Frankenmuth at the world's largest Christmas Store, Bronners. It was a tad overwhelming this year. We arrived early, but by the time we left it was PACKED. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting Wally Bronner and having our picture taken with him (I'll post later). In my 13 years of knowing of Bronner's existence, I'd never seen nor met him. It was a real treat.

We had lunch at the Kaffe Counter at Satow Drugs. Where I picked up a calendar which is always a lot of fun to read, quite a hoot! I did my best and ordered a salad with grilled chicken.

Then it was time to shop around town and hit the Cheese Haus, the Mac's Fudge, and the leather shoppe. We also strolled further uptown to the new shops at River Place. We finished the afternoon with a horse drawn carriage ride around town, so beautiful. Dinner was at Bavarian Inn. Usually it would have been a flour laden dinner of noodles, fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, beets, etc....a german chicken dinner. Once we were seated I started to look at the menu to see what I could possibly have. I was nervous, to say the least. When our waiter Teddy arrived, I said "I have Celiac"...he said, "Oh would you like our Gluten Free Menu?". BAVARIAN INN HAD A GLUTEN FREE MENU!!! I was ecstatic!!! Teddy was amazingly up to date on the procedures of what I could and couldn't have and if he was unsure he ran to the chef to find out. Not only do they have a gluten free menu, but all gluten free items were prepared in a separate kitchen to avoid cross contamination. To say I was impressed was an understatement.

So, if you ever find yourself in Frankenmuth, MI, be sure to check out the fabulous gluten-free service at the Bavarian Inn.

:)

So...now, it's official, Christmas is coming. The tree will go up over the weekend and the shopping has started. Soon, the task of relearning all of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes, and making them gluten free will begin. The first will be the "Monster Cookie" which I plan to make in a few days. I'll post the recipe as soon as it's successful!

:)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cranberry Sausage Cornbread Stuffing/Dressing


"Just Keep Moving Forward" For those of you who have seen "Meet the Robinsons" you'll understand that. "Keep moving forward" is the motto of the movie. Basically, each failure is a stepping stone to success. I have to say I love the message of that movie...but, this is about cooking.

Moreover, this is about stuffing.

I was afraid I would live a live devoid of the good stuff. That on Christmas Day, family and friends would be sitting around my table staring at the obvious lack of stuffing and saying "oh great, she wouldn't even make the regular kind for US...".

Thanks to Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl (her link is in my list, give her a look, she's got some great recipes over there), I decided to try again today.

Now mind you, in my gluten eating days, I lived on stuffing. We had the Stove Top kind at least twice a month, either as a side or factored into the recipe in some way. I have not had ANY stuffing since going gluten free.

Well...The recipe starts with Corn Bread. Instead of baking in a 8" square or pie plate, I actually baked in a 13X9 so it was a REALLY thin layer, and made smaller/crustier bread cubes.


Cranberry Sausage Cornbread Stuffing/Dressing (w/Walnuts)

Corn Bread Cubes:

1 "loaf" cornbread (recipe link above), cut into 1/2" cubes
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tsp Poultry Seasoning
1 Tsp Salt

Place cubes in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil. Mix gently, but well, to coat all sides with the olive oil. Sprinkle over the salt and poultry seasoning. Mix again, very gently.

Lay in a single layer on a large sheet pan and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes OR until the cubes are crispy. Set aside to cool.

1 lb bulk pork sausage
1 medium white onion, small dice
3 stalks celery, small dice
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
dash pepper
2 cups chicken stock (I used Pacific Foods)
2 Herb-ox boullion cubes

Brown bulk sausage in a large saute pan. When almost all complete add onion and celery. (do not drain off fat, I know that sounds odd, but you need it for cooking the veggies and it adds sooooo much flavor!) Add poultry seasoning (sprinkling around pan) and pepper (I did like 10 grinds of fresh pepper). Saute for about 5 minutes until veggies are crisp tender. Add cranberries and walnuts. Stir thru just to warm them up.

Pour pork/veggie mixture over the cooling cornbread cubes.

Return pan the the stove and add the chicken stock and boullion cubes. Heat until low boil and cubes are dissolved.

Add 1/4-1/2 cup at a time to the bread cubes/pork/veggie bowl. Gently stirring thru each addition. Leave about 1/4 cup left in pan.

Once all but 1 cup of the liquid is incorporated, lay into a 13 X 9 Baking dish (greased). Gently sprinkle remaining liquid overtop. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 to reheat (cover with cooking spray covered foil).

OR...allow to cool completely and stuff in the bird. I have not stuffed it yet b/c we're not having a full bird for Thanksgiving. But you can bet cash money that I'll be doing it for Christmas!!!

I hope you try this. I hope you enjoy this. :D And again, thanks a BUNCH Ginger Lemon Girl for encouraging me to keep moving forward! :D

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"O Take THAT" Candies


Okay, after a week of flopped stuffing recipes, I've just decided to put it on hold.

Pre gluten free days, were filled with "Take 5" Bars by Hersheys. I was convince the name had more to do with the addictive nature of the candy, that you can't just take one, you have to take 5! LOL. Very delicious. Of course, they could be considered the perfect food. A pretzel, covered in peanutbutter, carmel, peanuts and then chocolate enrobing it all. Crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet. Heaven. :D

I have missed them.

I set out this evening to recreate them! And I did. Or in my best "Rocky Horror Picture Show" audience response in Dr. Scott voice "Unt I deeed".

OH SO GOOD!

I started with Wylde Gluten Free Pretzel "O"s by EnerG.

I took half a milk caramel (like Kraft) and cut it in half, rolled into a circle and flattened. I then "mushed" (yes, that's the culinary term....mushed) the carmel under the "O".

I then filled the O with crunchy peanut butter and topped with another O.

I chilled them for about an hour, and then rolled in melted milk chocolate to cover. Yes, I used Hershey's. And Yes, I do know that they won't guarantee gluten-free-edness....but I've not had a problem from them yet...and living about 60 miles south east of Herheys mean's it's plentiful and cheap!

I rechilled them...

And I ate half of them.

If you miss Hershey's Take 5 Bars, and don't mind a little work, I recommend trying it. :D

Friday, November 16, 2007

:( Just not going as planned!!!

I had really hoped to share with you all a yummy recipe for Cranberry Sausage Stuffing w/ walnuts this week. To no avail. My attempt has been a HUGE failure.

I have one last try I'm doing.

I'm going to prepare a loaf of Lorka Gluten-free Flax Bread and then try again.

I've been given a recipe from Whole Foods, that I may try to adapt by adding the sausage, cranberries and walnuts.

If I get it to work, I'll post for you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

THANKSGIVING RECIPE: Pumpkin Squares


Okay, so I'm still not brave enough to try a pie crust. And being that we'll be travelling, I'm not sure I want to try a pie crust on the road, especially.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts was a recipe from my husband's Stepmother, Joyce. Though Joyce may never admit to it, she is one of the greatest "country" cooks I've ever known. You know the kind I'm talking about. The ones who can whip up fresh biscuits without looking at a recipe. Or the ones whose recipes in their box are written in "old fashioned" writing, are dusty and flour covered, folded and stained from overuse.

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to her cranberry mold this year for Thanksgiving dinner, it has been close to 7 years since I've had it last. I will post this recipe too, but, I confess I've never been able to replicate it. There's just something special about how she does it.

Anyway, I digress. Pumpkin Squares were a favorite dessert of mine. And for a person who's not all that keen on pumpkin, this one just won me over. Cakey crust, creamy moussy type filling, crumbly top. Oh, and add a dollup of whipped cream and I'm a total goner.

The original recipe called for a boxed cake mix. Well, we all know THAT is not gluten free. So, I adapted the Gluten Free Yellow Cake recipe - omitting wet ingredients, and halving the recipe to match this. To make it an "easy" recipe, feel free to use a prepackaged gluten-free yellow cake mix - Like Gluten Free Pantry, Cherrybrook Farms, or Pamela's. Just make sure it's a size that makes a 9" round cake or 12 cupcakes. (Note for gluten gluttons replicting this recipe...I've posted the original recipe on my OLD blog, here!)


Pumpkin Squares

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

CRUST:

3/4 Cups White Rice Flour
1/4 + 1/8 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Xantham Gum
3 Tbs Dry Milk Powder
3 Tbs Vanilla Pudding Powder
1/2 + 1/8 Cup sugar (granulated)
1/4 Cup melted butter
1 egg white

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Reserve 1/2 cup and set aside to be used for crumb topping. Combine the remaining dry ingredients with melted butter and egg white. Press into the bottom of a greased 8" square cake pan (or 9" round, or pie pan will work too).

FILLING:

1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Mix all together very well and spread over pressed cake mix layer in pan. (NOTE: You can use 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice in place of all of the spices).

TOPPING:

Reserved 1/2 Cup of cake ingredients
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Mix cake mix, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or pulse a few times in a food processor to make crumbly). Sprinkle liberally over the pumpkin layer. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top is browned but not burned.

Allow to cool completely, and refridgerate for a couple hours, or overnight. (honestly, like you'll really be able to wait that long! LOL :D)

Serve with whipped cream. OR ice cream! :D

The recipe will double easily to make a 9X13 pan. I recommend baking for 45-50 minutes if you increase the size of the squares.

If you try them this year for your holiday, PLEASE let me know if you liked them as much as we do! THANKS!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thanksgiving is Coming...

Okay, so for lots of folks their favorite holiday is Christmas. Well, for a long time, Thanksgiving has been much more important to me than Christmas. I have A LOT to be thankful for. I have a wonderful husband who works very hard so that I can be home to take care of and educated my 3 beautiful children. And they are beautiful! I live in a nice warm home. I have food on my table every night. And I have no serious, life threatening illnesses and neither do any I love. That's a good thing.

Well, as we get close to Thanksgiving, I'm hoping to update a few of my favorite recipes and make them gluten-free. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it with some! corn bread stuffing with cranberries and walnuts is the one that is going to be toughest, I think. Of course, there's also my husband's stepmothers (did you follow that one?) Pumpkin Squares, which traditionally uses a boxed yellow cake mix. Or how about Green Bean Casserole when you cannot use cream of mushroom soup OR french fried onions.

These are my goals in the next week to test these recipes and make them work in gluten-free lifestyle.

I will only post my successes!

As the day draws near, lets take time to remember all the things we have to be thankful for. And lets give our troops our thoughts and prayers as they are across the ocean, away from their families, defending the freedoms we hold so dear.

:)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars


Okay, so Banana Oatmeal Breakfast bars were a favorite treat of my kids before I went gluten free. I admit, I like them too. I've missed oats and am so glad to have certified gluten-free brands out there again. Yes, I know that they are costly. But sometimes, you just gotta do it!

I also received a free bag of Teff from a friend (THANKS ANNE!). I am beginning to really love this flour, I would definitely say you should expect to see it in future recipes of mine. I love it's soft, non-gritty texture AND that it's higher in protein. The protein content being higher lends to a higher rising, fluffier yield in a baked good, and teff's protein mimics gluten really well.

I hope you enjoy these - I've given the recipe as "bars" because that is how I usually make them. This last time I made them as mini muffins (hence the picture), there's a slight adjustment in cooking time (about 12-15 minutes vs. the 25).

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

1/2 Cup Teff Flour
1/2 White Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 Cup corn starch
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (can use up to 1 cup if you want them sweeter)
1 egg
3 med mashed bananas (overripe)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup raw quick cooking oats (certified gluten free, of course)
3/4 cup chopped nuts, raisins, or dates (optional)

Preheat oven to 425. Grease & flour 13 X 9 inch baking pan. Sift together flours, salt, soda and spices, set aside. In large bowl, beat until light & fluffy: butter, sugar, egg. Add bananas and vanilla beat until smooth.

Gradually stir in flour mixture & oats until well combined. (if seems to be getting a little thick, slowly add 1/4 cup milk as needed). Stir in nuts.

Bake until golden (about 25 mins).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Chocolate Sour Cream Cheesecake


WARNING WARNING WARNING: EXTREMELY RICH AND DECADENT DESSERT!!!

I hope no one out there is trying to diet! I'm in a baking frenzy lately. Wednesday night, my MOPS table got together for a Mom's Night In. We left our young ones with the Dad's and got together at the one woman's house where she had only 1 young one...sleeping.

I told them I'd bring something Chocolate, and then spent the next week wondering WHAT would I do.

A chocolate cake?

A chocolate ice cream? (I debated on this one).

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. In my brain all day (actually, it was resonating as "chocol- EIGHT" because my son just started Math-U-See this week and we're learning the blocks! LOL :D).

Well, a long long time ago, in another life (i.e. before I met my husband and I was working for ADP), the secretary gave me a recipe for a sour cream cheesecake. For the last 15 years this has been the only true cheesecake I've made. I rarely waver from the recipe.

Of course, it wasn't chocolate.

Here is my rendition of her Sour Cream Cheesecake with Chocolate (chocol-EIGHT).


Chocolate Sour Cream Cheesecake

2 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla

Crust:
1 package Mi-Del Chocolate Creme Sandwiches
2 Tbs butter


Preheat oven to 350.

Pulse Mi-Del Chocolate Creme Sandwich Cookies to crumbs in a food processor. Add softened butter and pulse until the crumbs will stick together when pressed.

Press into a 9" springform pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes until glossy. Cool COMPLETELY. (if you do not, condensation will form between the cheesecake layer and the crust and it will not adhere right).

Reduce oven temperature to 325. Add a pan full of hot water into the bottom rack of the oven. Set second rack in the middle setting.

Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between (my microwave took 1 1/2 minutes). Allow to cool (but not resolidify).

Mix sour cream, eggs, vanilla and sugar in a blender for about 8-10 seconds until fluffy. Slowly add 1 softened cream cheese block thru the opening in the top, while blender is blending. Slowly spoon melted chocolate in the blender while blending. Then slowly add last block of softened cream cheese. Blend until very smooth.

Pour into cooled crust.

Place in the oven and bake 35 minutes until the cheesecake is set. Turn off the oven and leave cheesecake in there for 15 minutes while oven is cooling.

Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge for AT LEAST 4 hours - preferrably overnight.

Break from springform and cut into wedges.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars


A good friend of mine shared this recipe with me. Of course, it was not gluten free when I received it - but now, thru cunning adaptation, here it is! LOL :D


Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Shortening
3/4 Cup White Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 Cup Corn Starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Xanthum gum
1/2 cup jelly - favorite flavor

Cream together sugars, peanut butter, shortening in a bowl. Mix flours, starches, baking powder, soda and xgum together well. Slowly add to the sugar/PB mixture.

Reserve 1 Cup of batter. Press remaining into a 13 X 9" pan. Spread jelly over top. Crumble reserved batter overtop.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack before cutting.

Enjoy with a glass of milk. :D

Thursday, October 4, 2007

PB & J bars....coming....

tap, tap, tap, Dear one, where is our new recipe!

Testing, Testing, Testing....had a few flops lately, won't post them!

Working on PB&J bars! Friend gave me a recipe, hoping to give them a try over the weekend, I want her to test them out too so I know how close to the original they are.

Look for that, hoping Monday.

Please come back!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Product Review - Kinnickkinnick Hamburger Buns - DINO-myte!

Okay. My son's sixth birthday party was this weekend. We planned a BBQ fare menu to go with the Dinosaur Theme. Bronto-burgers, Dinodogs, Herbivore salad, all the BBQ trimmings.

I don't know about you, but my heart sinks when I think of going to a BBQ, or hosting one, and not being able to eat my burger or dog on a bun. The thought of having a burger between two rice pancakes, or a dog by itself, almost made me cry.

Well, Friday night I had to run out for some more ingredients to make the Gluten Free Birthday Cake. The store I went to is in the same shopping center with my favorite health food store. A nice, owner run, little health food store. The owner has given me many free gluten-free items, just for my opinion on them. I went in looking for bread or maybe english muffins or something to put my burger on. New in the case were the Kinnickinnick Tapioca/Rice Hamburger Buns. They were a little pricey (most likely b/c it's a little store, they can't order in as much bulk).

When I got home, I pulled one out to defrost so that it would be ready for my burger on Saturday. Truly, I did not hold up much hope. But, I was willing to try ANYTHING besides those pesky pancakes!

Saturday came, I toasted my bun because I thought it would taste better, gluten free things ALWAYS taste better toasted, right? Let me tell you, I was near tears after my first bite. The taste and texture were AMAZING. Hands down BEST gluten-free food I've tried since January. SO GOOD. Plan on buying a BUNCH of them to keep in my freezer for all sorts of things. I'm imagining a sloppy joe. MMM...or wait a pizza crust....or wait...hmmmm....I'm dreaming of all sorts of uses!

If you get the chance, CHECK THEM OUT! :D

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mexican-Mac

Sorry no picture - will fix that I promise!

Okay...so the basis for this recipe is not original. Woman's Day magazine in September of 1998 printed the original recipe and called it Turkey Lasagna. Over the years, I've adapted and changed the recipe to totally our liking. We are preparing to go on vacation to the beach next week. As always, when I know I'm going to have a kitchen, I try to do some "freeze ahead" meals so that I can relax as well. I've been busy this week freezing spaghetti casserole, tortilla soup with chicken, swedish meatballs, chili, and just today, I made this!

It makes A LOT, no lie! So you could half it if necessary. Also, if you desire to make it a traditional lasagna - the adaptation will follow


Mexican-Mac

16 oz Tinkyada Pasta Joy Elbow Macaroni
2 lbs ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 4 oz cans diced green chiles
1/2 cup salsa
4 cups frozen corn kernals
4 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbs Garlic Powder
1 Tbs Onion Powder
1 tsp dried Oregano
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (I suggest buying the block and shredding yourself b/c of how they preserve shredded cheese - sometimes flour is used dfor separation).


Brown meat in pan and drain well (especially beef!). Add tomatoes, green chiles, salsa, corn and spices. Heat until just combined flavor-wise. Turn off heat and allow to cool. (this will keep the pasta from over absorbing the liquid and turning to mush).

While browning the meat cook pasta - cut time shy by about 5 or 7 minutes...they should be REALLY al dente.

Drain and rinse the pasta REALLY well.

Mix meat mixture and pasta together. Add 2 cups of the cheese and mix well.

Spread mixture into two 9X13 pans. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese

NOW....to bake immediately - set oven to 350 and bake for about 35 minutes until all warm and bubbly.

OR...fridge overnight (or for up to 3 days in fridge) and bake for about 45 minutes.

OR....fridge overnight, then freeze for up to 2 months (covering well with foil). Bake at 350 for about 1 1/2 hours (covered for the first hour).


Actual LASAGNA directions:

Use 2 boxes of Tinkyada Pasta Joy Lasagna noodles INSTEAD of elbow macaroni. Soak noodles for about 10 minutes in luke warm water - and rinse well...they'll still be hard....but gummy.

In 1 9 X 13 pan (or two 9X9 pans - which I like better b/c the noodles fit better). Place a little meat mixture sauce on the bottom and layer bottom with noodles. Top with meat mixture and cheese. Repeat layers twice...ending with cheese.

Baking instructions are the same temp, but extend each by about 15 minutes.

If you make the lasagna, you will have leftover meat mixture (unless you really load it up!), serve in taco shells or add a can of chicken broth to turn into a taco soup. :D

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Swedish Meatballs - Bork Bork


Okay...am I the only one who remembers the Muppets? And the Swedish Chef? Bork Bork! :D A favorite from my youth, to be sure! :D

Wait...why am I thinking all this????

WELLL.....a couple years ago, we moved from AZ to PA - well, BACK to PA. Before the move, we streamlined and sold a lot of our things...including our furniture. As a matter of fact - my husband sold our bed right out from under me! We hadn't planned on selling the mattress too...but someone said they would give us our price on the furniture if we included the mattress - it was 10 years old...we let it go. And slept on the floor that night, yes. Well, I digress. Since we had sold all of our furniture, when we got to PA (and after our lovely stint in a townhouse rental with no real furniture except our bed we bought when we got here!) we bought a house. A blank slate. We needed almost everything. :D

Being back in PA meant we would do shopping at IKEA. We love IKEA. Our kids love IKEA - who wouldn't love a store that has childcare, huh? We loved looking, dreaming, scheming, coming up with ideas on what to do and how to do it. But I think the favorite for the kids would be after we would finish shopping, we'd pick them up from the child care room and then go upstairs to the cafeteria and have lunch. My eldest's favorite, by far, was the swedish meatballs in gravy with roasted red potatoes. Little tiny balls of meat, smothered in a creamy dreamy sour cream gravy. Makes my mouth water just thinking about them. IKEA even has a little food store in it where you can buy the premade meatballs, and the sauce mix and make them at home. And I did, often. Well, until January when I went gluten free. Of course, premade meatballs have bread crumbs in them, and a cream sauce mix would have wheat flour in them. Yes. They do. BOOO HOOOOOO!!!!

My husband made swedish meatballs a few times, and while the meatball was right, the gravy just wasn't the same. The following recipe is part his, part mine, but all delicious. It started again a few nights ago, we mentioned IKEA and my daughter said "I want swedish meatballs". So...with the love of my daughter in my heart, and 2 lbs. of ground turkey defrosted, I set to work to create a substitute for IKEA Swedish Meatballs.

Please note, I use powdered spices in this recipe - and while normally, I'm a purist using whole ingredients, I detest watching my children pick out onions and stuff from their food! Hence the powdered spices in meatballs! :D

Bork Bork.

Swedish Meatballs in Sour Cream Gravy

2 lbs ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken)
2 Tsp garlic powder
2 Tsp onion powder
1 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp ground nutmeg (freshly, if you have the means)
dash of salt & pepper
1 egg
1/2 Cup gluten-free bread crumbs (I use the breadcrumbs I make from Gluten-Free Flax Bread)

1 boullion cube (I use Hormel Herb-Ox brand as it is on their gluten-free list)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light cream or whole milk
1 cup sour cream


In a large bowl, mix meat, spices, gluten-free bread crumbs and egg together.

In a large skillet, preheat with 2 tbs olive oil. Using a small cookie scoop (or tbs measure) make 3/4" meatballs and place around the preheated pan. Cover and allow to cook for about 5 minutes - or until the bottoms are slightly crusted (the tops will be "steamed" from covering the pan). Carefully flip the meatballs around. Cover and cook another 5 to 10 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl heat the boullion cube and water (I crushed up my cube slightly so that it would dissolve). Mix the water/boullion mixture with the cream and sour cream well. Set aside.

Uncover meatballs and add the sour cream mixture...making sure to scrape up bits from the pan as you stir it in. Allow it to come to temperature, and cook almost to boiling for about 3 minutes - stirring to coat all the meatballs as you do this.

Serve immediately. I served with oven roasted red potatoes - I cut into bite sized chunks, added about 3 Tbs olive oil, salt and pepper and mixed....baked for about 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven...stirring every 20 minutes or so. :D

ENJOY :D

Monday, August 20, 2007

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting



Okay, so when I was listing my favorite things, I should have included the recipe for the Gluten-free Yellow Cake from Allrecipes.com . I alter the recipe slightly. I half it - to make 12 cupcakes - and I add 2 to 3 Tablespoons of vanilla pudding powder to the dry ingredients. I feel this gives it more punch of vanilla taste, and it also gives it more of a texture of a "cake mix" cake.

I make these as cupcakes. This last time, my daughter wanted chocolate frosting. I'm not a pro at frosting yet, so I tried my hand at a ganache. In a recent article in Food & Wine magazine they had listed a whipped ganache frosting. I lost the magazine of course, so I decided to guess what it would be like.

This turned out so yummy and fudgey on top of the cupcakes, that I made them two days in a row! LOL.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs milk
2 Cups powdered sugar

Mix chips, butter, milk in a microwave safe bowl. Melt at 30 second increments, stirring each time.

Once chips are melted, pour into the mixer bowl with the whipping attachement. Add 1 cup powdered sugar while on lowest setting - 1/4 cup at a time. Once that is in well, add the 2nd cup (see note) same way. THEN...let hit whip on high speed for about 4 minutes.

Dip the cupcakes in, swirl around a little bit to get them coated ontop. I continued swirling as I lifted them off the ganache to give them that little swirl effect on top.

NOTE: I would start with the 1 cup powdered sugar, add the 2nd cup 1/4 cup at a time and stop when the consistency is where YOU like it. If you like it thinner, etc...use less...if you want it more like a true frosting, use more).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

These are a few of my favorite (gluten-free) things...

Okay, so no singing on hillsids, or convents, or clothing made out of drapes, mind you....but a few things that have grown to favorites over the past few months of going gluten-free for better health. These are in no particular order because I like them all!

1. Laurie150's Gluten Free Flax Bread - okay, so this one is not a convenience food, but it's worth all the effort to have a bread that tastes real. Since I'm the only true gluten free person in the house, I usually eat about half of the loaf and grind the rest for bread crumbs after about two days.

2. Van's Wheat Free Waffles - I know there is controversy over this one, and that some in the gluten-free world won't partake. I have eaten Van's waffles for 8 months with no glutening issues from them. I'm pretty sensitive, too, so to me, no reaction for 8 months puts them on my safe list. My favorite are the Gluten-free Flax waffles. The flax seed adds extra flavor and definitely fiber!

3. Glutino Plain Bagels - recently, my Whole Foods gave me a package of these bagels. I had gone in looking for Foods By George English Muffins, they clerk said they were out and not sure if they were getting more back in any time soon. He took a package of the Glutino Bagels up front, had them mark it paid for me so I could try. I was quite hesitant, the last free offering I got from anywhere was something I did not enjoy too much. These are DELICIOUS! Taste very similarly to a regular gluten bagel, texture is somewhat different...but they toast so nicely and are great with cream cheese, jelly, or as a pizza bagel! :D

4. Jigsaw Bars - now, I received a free box of these when I first started this blog, and promised to give a review and never did (please forgive me! Pleed three kids, homeschooling two!). My kids absolutely adore the chocolate ones, which are so rich even they cannot get thru a whole bar and must split one! I love the fact that they are getting something they feel is a chocolate treat, but are also getting some great vitamins and Omega-3's in there to boot! BRAVO Jigsaw! My favorite is the coconut almond, nice chewy texture and a great coconut flavor with the crunch of almonds. I love having one in my bag in case I'm faced with a place where I'm hungry and cannot eat!

5. Wendy's Ulitmate Grilled Chicken Sandwich, bunless of course. Our local Wendy's does this one up pretty proud. Verfied on Wendy's site as all gluten free. I have not been glutened once! I do avoid the fries even though they say they go in a separate fryer...I'd rather be safe. I love the juicy chicken with the lettuce and tomato and the sauce. Very tasty, and filling without sides.

6. Envirokids Panda Puffs. Yes, I know this is supposed to be a children's cereal, but being one who used to indulge in a box of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch every now and then (and would hide it from the kids!), these fill the bill without making me sick!

7. Thai Kitchen Soups - okay, so my favorite is Bangkok Curry with some shrimp added. The fact that the company has a list of gluten-free items, and seems to go out of their way to make something easy and delicious, puts them in top billing in my book!

8. Club Lettucewiches....well...okay, so there's no bread in my club. I love using a Romaine Leaf as the bread - not to mention the lettuce in a club. Wrap turkey, american cheese, tomatoes and bacon in a romaine leaf, and you have a Club Lettucewich! So good! :D

9. Homemade Ice Cream. Something that I had tried only a few times prior to going gluten-free. However, my fears of cross contamination have caused me to try it again. I am now addicted to homemade frozen treats of any sort! If you walk in my house, you'll most likely hear the whirring of my Cuisinart!

10. Corn tortillas. Okay, so this is something I liked before going gluten-free....but I like them even more now. Whether it be big white corn tortillas stuffed with all sorts of taco goodness, or the corn chips that I crunch on top of my salad like croutons, they are delicious! :D

Okay, that's my 10 top favs right now. Who knows how it will change in a year! :D

Monday, August 6, 2007

Hong Shao Rou - Red Pork


Well, Julia has left us. On Sunday morning she boarded a bus to take her to the airport. She'll be on the west coast for 7 days and then will return home to China. I have shed many tears over the last two days. I'm amazed at how attached I got to this stranger in just 3 short weeks. They seemed to go by in a blink. I had so much fun having her here, and even though there was a little extra work and extra driving, every minute was worth it. She was such a joy to have here, and I hope she had as much fun with us as we did with her.

Our last full day with Julia was a relaxing one. She and I again went to the Asian Market and got ingredients for dinner. She made Hong Shao Rou - or "Red Pork". It's basically a chinese barbeque pork, with a little more kick. Again, we had to sub some ingredients b/c of the gluten issue, but we were able to come up with alternatives that were just as good. So, although the dish is mostly a "chinese" dish, it was cooked in more of a South Korean method.

The recipe calls for a "glutenous" fermented rice drink. WE had to be a little careful on this one. Basically, it is a fermented sweet rice drink - the gluten is a RICE gluten, but there were a few that had malt added. You could always use rice milk and add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar to make it sweeter.

Also, she used Pork Loin which ended up being a little dry in the end product. I would recommend using a pork butt instead since that cut lends itself better for braising - or get a whole loin and don't cut it until after it's braised in the cooking liquid for the allotted time. We purchased boneless loin chops and cut it into square. It was very tasty. We made Chinese French Fries to go with it - amazingly similar to american fries - basically deep fried potatoes, nothing extra! :D


Hong Shou Rou - Red Pork

1 1/2 Cup Water
2 Cups Fermented Glutenous Rice (don't let the name scare you) - SEE ABOVE NOTE
2 Tbs sugar (only add if you don't use rice milk as a sub for the FGR)
1/4 Cup Gluten Free Soy Sauce (We again, used San-J Wheat Free Tamari)
1/2 Cup Hot Bean Paste (I was wondering what we were going to do with that from last week!!!)
2 lbs Pork Loin - or another cut that lends itself to braising for a long time

Mix water, FGR (or rice milk and sugar), soy sauce, hot bean paste together and stir well. Bring to a boil. Add pork. Return to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cook on low for 4 hours (you could also move to a slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours).

There are two ways - we used pork loin chops and cut into 1" squares BEFORE COOKING. I think that if you did a whole loin roast and cut after the fact it would be a little juicier - or use a Boston Butt Cut and it would be more like a shredded pork.


SO YUM... :D

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hui Guo Pork (Back to the Pot Pork)


Yes, another chinese pork and pepper dish, but this one was MUCH different. The peppers were a little spicy, the sauce was a little spicy. It was not overpowering at all, and had a cumulative effect on the spice, so by the time you finished, you had a nice little spice burn going in your mouth. It was very good.

Pork bellies are basically uncured bacon in large slabs. There are quite a few steps to this, and I do recommend if you can get the porkbellies with skin on, it DOES make a difference in the flavor.

The other caution I have is look at the Hot Bean Paste VERY CAREFULLY. I ended up buying a store brand of it b/c it did not contain wheat...we went thru SEVERAL AISLES of bean and pepper pastes before we found one without wheat. The one we ended up with was made by the store we went to and was fresh. VERY GOOD. There are recipes for Hot bean paste in chinese cookbooks, so you can make your own, but it does take a long time.


Spicy Pork Belly & Peppers

4 lbs Pork Bellies with skins
5 or 6 Korean Green Peppers (look like an Italian Sweet Pepper or a Cubano)
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Hot bean paste (see note above!)
Salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boiling. While it's boiling cut pork bellies into 1/2 lb portions. Scrape the skin with the back of the knife to remove any hair or dirt. For now, leave skin and fat in tact.

Also, cut peppers, remove seeds, and cut in long thin strips (julliene)

Once water is boiling, place pork bellies in the water for about 5 minutes. This step is to wash and cleanse it. I couldn't tell if it was a "spiritual" step or just a cooking step! After about 5 minutes, pull meat out of the pot and allow to drain. Cover with foil and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, cut skin and MOST (not all) of the fat off the pork. You can leave the skin. We did. BUT it is not necessary at this step. It did seem to really increase the flavor of the end product, but you don't eat the skin, we all kind of had a little pile of pigskin on our plates when done.

Slice the pork meat (with some fat) into long thin strips.

Heat 3 Tbs Oil in a wok or large skillet. Add pork strips. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add peppers. Again, cook for 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, bean paste and a small sprinkling of salt. Stir until all of the meat and peppers are well coated. Remove from heat and serve over rice.

Julia is here for 4 more days and promises to cook for us again! We cannot wait!!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Very Berry Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Sorbet


Okay, so the Ice Cream maker has been working overtime lately! :D I've been trying a new recipe. I'm not usually one for fruit ice creams, but I love smoothies. Long ago, I thought you could just freeze a smoothie and it would be like ice cream. No. Sure does make good popsicles, though. I've always been a fan of Italian Ices (can you say Rita's anyone??), and definitely a sorbet fan. Sorbet, though, is about $4 a pint if you get a good kind. And sherbet, well, that's just sugar and water with food coloring. No thank you!

Well, I did a little reading about fruit ice creams, fruit ices and frozen yogurts and have come up with the following for your review and approval (LOL Do I sound official???). There are a few steps, but do not fear, hard work and patience are rewarded with a delicious, creamy, fruity frozen yogurt sorbet.

Very Berry Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Sorbet

1 16 oz bag frozen mixed berries (make sure they are not sweetened JUST the fruit)
1/4 Cup Sugar (feel free to use less if you like, but you'll need sweetness to counterbalance the tart fruits)
2 tbs water
2 cups Stoneyfield Farms No Fat Vanilla Yogurt


In a medium sauce pan, place berries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and stir often. Cook for about 10 minutes - until juice is thickened.

Allow fruit to cool to "warm" and pour into a blender. Thoroughly blend the berries until smooth. Strain seeds and reserve the sauce. Place in refridgerator 2 hours (or more) until completely chilled.

In a blender mix the 2 cups Yogurt and the fruit puree in a blender until smooth and well mixed. Refridgerate again, for about an hour. Pour this mixture into the ice cream makers bowl and process for 20-25 minutes according to directions from the manufacturer.

From this point, you have two choices. Serve as "soft serve" and enjoy thoroughly. Or if you have a strong will, you can freeze 2 hours until firm and THEN serve. :D I'm even considering scooping out with my mini cookie scooper and covering in a chocolate shell type stuff to make frozen bon-bon type stuff.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chinese Peppers and Meat


Having an exchange student in the house has been much more fun and rewarding than I ever imagined. We have had such a fun time getting to know Julia, and more about her home in China. Julia and I are baking together almost nightly. We made Banana Walnut Muffins one night, then we made Chocolate Chip Cookies and last night we made my Marbled Cinnamon Swirl bread into muffins.

On Saturday, we took Julia to a local Asian grocery store where she was excited to see items from her hometown of Cheng-du. She bought a jar of peppers that are so hot, the tiniest drop of oil burnt my nostrils just breathing it in. She eats it like it's candy! I have a new treat I'll be buying my Dad...I know it's right up his alley!

Well, Saturday night, she made Peppers and Meat for us. We would normally see it in a Chinese Restaurant as Pepper Steak. She used pork instead of steak, and I'm finding that pork is the meat most often chosen in her province. Below is the authentic Chinese dish she made for us. And it was better than any chinese food I've ever gotten from a restaurant.

NOTE: The key to the success of this recipe seems to be how you slice the pork. Julia cut it into thin strips THEN cut the thin strips into even thinner strips! For a 15 year old, she had amazing knife skills. The other key is to place the wok/large saute pan on the highest heat possible, and heating the oil to almost smoking before adding the meat.


Chinese Peppers and Meat

1 lb. Pork Loin Chops (deboned), julienned very thinly
1 large green pepper, julienned
2 tbs tapioca flour (you can use cornstarch or white rice flour also)
2 tbs soy sauce (San-J wheat free tamari)
3 tbs oil (we used canola)

In a large bowl, mix the thinly slice pork strips, tapioca flour and soy sauce together. Mix well to coat ALL of the pork. Set aside for 5 or so minutes.

Using a LARGE wok or LARGE skillet, heat the 3 tbs. of oil on HIGH heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork, reduce heat to medium high. Stir fry meat in the oil. When the meat is ALMOST done, add the peppers. Stir around in the pan just to quickly cook the peppers. They need to be tender crisp.

Serve over rice.

***I know we Americans would very easily lose the oil in the hopes of good health, BUT don't miss the awesome opportunity to taste the food the way it was meant to be.***

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chinese Sweet Tomatoes

This last week has been very busy in our house. For the first time, ever, we are hosting an exchange student from China. Our student's american name is Julia. She is 15 and is just a wonderful girl. We are enjoying ourselves. My friend was in charge of picking the students to go with each family, and since she knew me well, hand picked this girl for me because her English was fluent and because she loved to cook. My friend thought, if nothing else, we could help each other in the culinary world. Julia is very kind, patient and sweet. She is not only blending into our family well, she is helping in the kitchen trying to soak up as much American cooking she can. I am working on a bunch of recipes for her to take home with her...I'm hoping to put them in a nice recipe book and giving them as a gift before she goes.

Yesterday, when I picked Julia up from her class, she asked if she could make us a traditional Chinese dessert for after dinner. Of course, I jumped at the chance to do so. Then she said "We need to go to the supermarket and get tomatoes". Did I hear her right??? Did she say "tomatoes" and "dessert" in the same sentence? No...she must have meant apples, I thought I would help her when we got to the store.

Well, I had heard her right, she said "Tomatoes". She proceded to buy 2 lbs of nice vine ripe tomatoes. Inside, I was thinking "oh...you will need to be polite and eat this dessert and smile". I also was worried how the children would react to tomatoes as a dessert.

She cut the tomatoes in wedges. She put sugar over top, mixed well and refridgerated.

Meanwhile, I showed her how to make Spaghetti with Meat sauce. We ate our dinner and out came dessert afterwards.

I was surprised just how great this tasted. It had the consistency and sweetness of watermelon with just enough of the tang left from the tomato. Julia told us that it is a popular dessert in the summer because it is cool and refreshing. I whole-heartedly agree and quickly wrote down the recipe so that I never forget.

I would have liked to post a picture as well, but, we ate almost all of them! :D Even my kids loved it. My son asked me to make sure to make them again soon!

So...

Chinese Sweet Tomatoes

2 lbs Vine Ripe Tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 Heaping Tbs white sugar

Mix tomatoes and sugar together well in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours prior to serving.

ENJOY and pretend you are in Cheng-du! :D

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer Cool Down Treats...

Theres another beautiful appliance in my kitchen. My Ice Cream Maker. After getting glutened by a bowl of ice cream a few months ago, I realized that I would just need to get an ice cream maker and make my own. I had owned one when we had lived in Phoenix, but sold it before moving because I had used it only twice. It was easy, and it was fun, but who has time with three kids to make homemade ice cream???

So...I posted my wish on freecycle.org . I was absolutely shocked when someone had one and offered it to me! I picked it up only to discover it was missing a crucial piece, the stirring paddle insert. Undaunted, I went online to Cuisinart's site and found the part, ordered it. Once my unit was complete, I had gotten a $50 Ice Cream and Sorbet maker for $13.00 (part and shipping). I can get into a good deal.

I have used it several times since getting that part.


First was:

Chocolate Almond

3 cups whole milk
1 package Chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup slivered almonds*
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, chopped*

*added during last few minutes of freezing. I ran it thru the ice cream machine for about 25 minutes (adding the almonds and chips at 20 minutes), then I froze it for about 2 hours after pulling it out of the machine. The pudding made it very rich and sweet but not overpowering. A nice evening treat. It was okay for about 2 days more, but haver that it was very hard to scoop, so eat quickly :D.


A Mock Frosty (tasted even better than a Wendy's Frosty)

1 qt. Half & Half
1 Cup Chocolate Syrup (I used U-bet, kosher/parve)

Mixed it up and poured in the machine. I froze it for about a half hour and served right away. The leftovers don't freeze too well - becomes very crystally...so I would cut the recipe if your making smaller servings - I was serving 4 people and still had leftovers.


Last night's was a true gem, I added a bit much sugar so the next time I try it I'm going to pull back a little on the sweetness, but it was OH SO GOOD.

Hazelnut Ice Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 pint light cream
1 cup hazelnut flavored coffee syrup (I used Aldi, but Tiranni is a good one too)

I mixed the creams and syrup (I also added sugar, but won't next time). I let it chill 2 hours before pouring in the ice cream freezer. After it froze for about 1/2 hour, I poured into a quart container and froze it for about 2 hours. It was a serious treat! I would say this would keep for about a week. I don't plan it lasting THAT long, however! :D

My next summer treat feat will be to make ice cream cones so that I can enjoy a hazelnut ice cream CONE.

If you'll note, none of mine are cooked. I know there are recipes for custards that need to be cooked and are super creamy. I have neither the time, nor patience. Some day, maybe. I might even try Gluten Free Mommy's Gelato.

Keep cool!

Monday, July 2, 2007

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Pan Cookies


SAY THAT 10 Times FAST! I'd apologize for the long title, but there is just NO other way to describe them sufficiently...unless, of course, you call them "YUMMY" and be done with that.

Both Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray have a version of this cookie on Food Network. Rachel Ray's are more brownie like, where you mix it all up and bake in a pan. Sandra Lee mixes the coconut and nuts in the cookies, then drizzles the white chocolate on top. This is a combo of the two recipes - adapted to be gluten free of course!!!

Start off with a half batch of the Land O Lakes Gluten Free Star Cutout Cookies, add a 1/2 cup each of flaked coconut, macadamias and white chocolate chips.

I mushed (yes, that is the technical term!) them into my 9" springform pan. Baked them at 350 degrees for a little over 20 minutes.

I let them cool before cutting, but it was HARD to wait, they smelled soooooo goooooooooood...I with internet had scratch and sniff so you could smell for yourself. Guarantee if you were to smell them, you would bake them!

(Now, before you go to get the ingredients, please remember to wipe the drool off your screen and keyboard!)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kielbasa Hash


I'm usually not a processed meat product fan. Well, except for maybe Hebrew National Hot Dogs. My husband loves processed meat products, kielbasa, bratwurst, hot dogs, bologna, if it's salty and no longer resembles the animal it came from, he likes it! (just kidding, dear!). Well, Kielbasa - in my gluten eating days, the only way I'd eat it is with a healthy dose of pan fried pierogies! If I ever figure out how to make gluten free brown rice pasta that I can stuff with potatoes, onions and cheese, I'll let you know. I'm DYING for a pierogi!!!

We have not had kielbasa since I went gluten free. It took some doing finding one that was Gluten Free, and still had some health benefits. I chose the Hillshire Farms Turkey Kielbasa - contacted the company after purchasing and was assured it was, in fact, gluten free.

So...I was left pondering with just how I could serve it so that I wouldn't miss my beloved piergies. Below is how I did it. It was REALLY good. I don't usually go out of my way to have kielbasa, but after this, I'm actually looking forward to buying it again.

I'm posting as how I did it - at the end, I'll add my husband's suggestions for next time I do it.


Kielbasa Hash

1 16 oz Gluten Free Kielbasa ring, cut into half moon shapes
4 medium red potatoes
1 medium onion, sliced and cut in half moons
2 cloves garlic, freshly minced
Olive Oil

Poke potatoes with fork and cook on high in the microwave for 4 to 6 minutes (mine did in 6, but start checking at 4 b/c you don't want to over cook them. When potatoes are cooked, cut in half and cut into half moon shapes. They will be still a little bit uncooked - that's good...they'll finish in a pan. In a large flat skillet, place two tbls olive oil. Heat, and add potatoes in a single layer. Cook until crispy on both sides (about 6 minutes a side).

In a separate large skillet, add 2 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add kielbasa coins. Saute until onions finish carmelizing and kielbase cooks and gets a little cripy on the edges (don't over cook, you want the outside just a little crispy, but the inside warm.

Add potatoes to kielbasa mixture. Saute for a few minutes while the flavors blend well.

Serve Hot. I served with scrambled eggs and fruit (yes, it was Breakfast for Dinner night again!). It was truly delicious. I dipped mine in sour cream and pretended the potatoes were pierogies. It was just as good!


Hubby's suggestions for next time - dice in smaller pieces, add diced green pepper, serve with poached eggs on top. I think even I could get into Kielbasa that way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

O Give me a Home...



Where buffalo wings roam, and the skies are not cloudy all day!!!

Okay, so we're a little far south of Buffalo (about 6 hours to be precise), but wings are still a hit in this house. Even my seven year old likes a wing or two! Although, she prefers the "southwest" way of dipping in Ranch vs. Blue Cheese. Well, she did spend some of her formative years in Phoenix! Explains everything.

Well, this recipe is really easy. The hardest part is the oil...deciding on deep frying or not. Deep frying works best. You can pan fry in about 1/4" of oil, but they don't have the same crispy texture on the outside. Don't get me wrong...still delicious, but not over the top! :D

There's a place in Phoenix that has pretty good wings, our best guess is that they deepfry, sauce, bake, sauce again...so that's the method we follow.

I serve with the traditional celery sticks, carrots sticks, and as if there's any other dipping method, Blue Cheese Dressing. I chose Kraft because of the companies reputation for reporting allergens.


Gluten Free Buffalo Wings

20 to 30 chicken winglet pieces, cleaned with skin left in tact
1/2 cup rice flour (prefer white rice)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
tiny dash baking powder

1/3 Cup melted Butter
1/2 Cup Franks Red Hot Sauce

Mix hot sauce and butter together well and set aside.

Set oven to 425 degrees.

In a gallon sized plastic bag, put in the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and baking powder. Close up and shake for a few shakes to mix it all up. Add chicken pieces (divide into two batches if necessary). Close again and shake well to be sure to coat all the pieces.

In a deep fryer (or large dutch oven) heat 1 qt oil to 375 degrees. Add wings 10 at a time. Cook about 12 minutes - be sure to flip about halfway thru. Remove to drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all of the wings are done (allow oil to regain temperature between batches - I find a thermometer handy for this).

After all the chicken wings are fried, coat them in about 1/2 of the sauce. Mix around so well coated with the sauce.

Place wings in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes.

Coat with last half of sauce just before serving.

NOTE: you can skip the "frying" step and to a pan fry in 1/4" of oil instead of deep frying. Again, they will not have as crispy a texture.

ENJOY!!! (with LOTS AND LOTS of napkins!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Super Summer Smoothie

These are a FAVORITE in my house!

When the mercury rises, we pull out the blender and laugh at the thermometer! I hope you enjoy them!


Super Summer Smoothie

2 Cups Frozen Strawberries
1 Cup OJ
1 large, ripe, banana
1/2 Cup Stoneyfield Vanilla Yogurt (only one I've confirmed gluten free status on!)


Add strawberries, oj and banana to the blender. Start blending away. Remove the little center thingy (you know, the technical term!) from the lid, add the vanilla yogurt by spoonfuls while still blending. Once all the fruit is completely pulverized, you can stop the blender.

This makes about 3 8 oz servings.

Another thing to do is put the finished product in an ice cream freezer (like a Cuisinart Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker). Let it get even stiffer, freeze in a quart container for about 4 hours. MMMMMMM.....it's kinda like gelato! VERY GOOD.

Mix it up, don't be afraid to experiment with different frozen fruits, juices and yogurt flavors (just make sure to confirm gluten free status!)

ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not Giada's Nutella Brownies


Okay, I'm going to confess big time here. I do watch Giada DeLaurentis. I certainly get annoyed with words like "spagitteeee" and other unreal pronounciations! BUT, she usually has some great recipes. And she always does something with Nutella. I love Nutella. I have recently confirmed with the company that it is, in fact, gluten free. For those of you who need to be nut-free and casein free, this recipe is not for you.

I also have the good fortune to live less than a 1/4 mile away from Bova Food Distributors, which is an Italian food supplier to restaurants and chains, etc. As a matter of fact, I found out in the store the other day that they are actually the 2nd largest supplier to Italian restaurants in the tri-state area! And not only are they so close, but they open the showroom to the public and you can go in there an buy a lot of italian specialties. I go there for my tomato paste (I know, strange to go there for one thing, but truth be known I love walking around the restaurant supply side and dream of one day owning my own Gluten free bakery or restaurant). Well, my eldest daughter loves to watch cooking shows with me, and to cook with me. She saw the Nutella on Giada's show the other day, when in Bova, we saw the jar...we decided to get it. Now...not being able to spread it on bread (well, okay Van's Waffles work nice as a transport too!), I decided to do something with it.

Well...they started out as cookies. I am learning though, when making gluten-free cookie recipes, bake a couple and decide if you need to alter before baking the rest. After baking my two test cookies, I decided this recipe would be better as brownies.

I looked at a ton of recipes that used Nutella to determine if it could replace fat. It can somewhat...but because it has add in ingredients, it needs something to help it along fat wise. I was kind of dissapointed that the recipe didn't work as cookies, well, that was until they came out of the oven. OH GOSH, I ate 4 brownies while taking pictures! :D

Below is my recipe for Nutella Brownies:


Nutella Brownies

1/2 Cup Nutella
1/4 Cup Butter, softened
1/4 Cup shortening, softened
1/2 Cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup Gluten Free Flour Blend (I used a combo of Land O Lakes recommended blend and Bob's Red Mill - I didn't have enough of either to make a full cup - use your favorite blend - one that already includes the Xanthum Gum)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt


I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with paddle arm (but you could use electric hand mixer). Beat Nutella, butter and shortening together with sugar. Beat on medium speed for aobut 2 to three minutes until really really fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, continue beating.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Gradually add flour to wet ingredients.

Beat very well.

Pour into a greased 9 X 9 square pan (I actually used my 9" springform pan). Bake 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. (I would also recommend allowing it to sit in the oven as it's cooling - crack the door a little - this will keep it from falling like mine did. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Now...send it over the top with homemade ice cream, I DARE ya!

Thai Kitchen - Product Review

My SIL is an inspiration to me, often, and to my blog, especially. Anne (see Cooking with Anne in my Places to Visit) does the occasional product review and I thought that it would be a great idea to do the same. Navigating the processed foods available to Celiacs is daunting, confusing, and often frustrating because the products are tasteless and sometimes nutritionless.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my parents. My parents are a great support to my new gluten free plan, especially since it means I'm healthier and happier to be around. My dad, quite the chef himself, and usually a food inspiration to me, made me a noodle soup. I was skeptical at his suggestion and asked to see the package of noodles he was using. He handed me a package of Thai Kitchen Noodle Soup, Bangkok Curry flavor. Right on the back of the label it said "Gluten Free". I smiled and said, "Oh yes, I want to try it!". He proceede to make the soup, adding a few extra ingredients, Shrimp being one of them. It was the best bowl of soup I've had since going gluten free. So very yummy.

The noodles are very light and not gummy at all, like you would expect with rice noodles. The broth has a nice light spice to it. The addition of the shrimp put this soup WAY over the top.

After having the soup and coming home that night, I set out to find Thai Kitchen's website, thinking to myself "Wow, if they have one soup, maybe there are others!". Not only did I hit the jackpot, but they post all of their allergen info right on the website. You can find locations of where to buy their products, or if you live in parts unknown, you can order them direct from the site.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Over the Top Peanut Butter Brownies

I'd like to say I have a picture of these. I was actually thinking there would be some left. I even thought I'd just take a picture of the empty pan as a joke! But I cannot!

Today was our homeschool co-op's field day (which was a monumental blast, by the way). I took these brownies, thinking, "ya know, everyone's bringing treats I can't have, I'm gonna bring myself something yummy." WELL, they were a hit. One person I've met a few times was recently diagnosed as well and was ecstatic to know there was a treat she could eat! I had several others ask about "gluten free", which was an encouragement to me. I always feel odd man out, and this makes me feel sometimes Iike I have a bullseye on my head. Well, today, I actually felt like the "in crowd". No one looked at me strange at all!

Even the kids liked them. And, when I went to get my pan, it was EMPTY. NO CRUMBS, NO NOTHING. Didn't even look like I had put anything in there.

So, I promised I'd post the recipe, and here it is. It is an adaptation of the gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipe that floats around out there. This was recently posted on the Celiac.com Forum, of course, I tweaked it! :D

Over-the-top Peanut Butter Brownies

2 cups peanut butter (1 16 oz jar, I used natural pb)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional, makes them a little "gooey")

1 12 oz package milk chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, with mixer set on medium (or use a hand mixer, I would not try this one by hand) mix peanut butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. While beating add in the maple syrup. Beat very well.

Pour into a greased 13 X 9" pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes - oven's can vary, so I check after 30 minutes, then check every 5 minutes until "done" to your liking. Mine ended up taking a total of 45 minutes....but start watching after 30, just so they don't get over done.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER taking the pan out of the oven, sprinkle the chips on top. Cover lightly with foil or something to hold the heat in a little. After about 5 minutes, the chips should be melted enough that you can spread like frosting.

I do recommending allowing them to cool completely before trying to cut and serve. I store them in the refridgerator.

:) I hope you like it! When I make them again, I'll come back and add a photo! :D

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sara's Superior Sangria




I debated a LONG LONG time about posting this recipe. I don't want to paint us as lushes who spend every waking hour with a bottle in hand. That simply is not the case. I just wanted to share one of our summer favorites. I don't want to portray us as ones who regularly drink. We don't. This is an occasional indulgence for a specific reason. This recipe lends itself well to non-alchoholic substitutions. Feel free to use 100% grape juice instead of the wine OR buy a non-alchoholic wine (such as Fre by Sutter Home).

When we lived in Phoenix, we had friends who had an in-house tap system. Two of the taps were tied to differnt kinds of beers. But one tap was exclusively Sangria. And it was full for every party they had. I think their taps held 10 gallons of the stuff, kept it cold and very sparkly. Our friends shared the recipe with us, and this was it. Of course, I lost the recipe card so this is as best as I can remember it!

Sara's Superior Sangria

1 quart red wine (don't buy good stuff, cheap red wine!)
1 cup apple juice
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup lime juice
1 cup sugar (feel free to cut this down if you like)
1 cup lemon-lime soda - chilled

2 oranges
4 limes
2 lemons

Mix the wine, juices and sugar together very well (so that the sugar dissolves). Slice the oranges, lemons and 2 of the limes in big slices. Drop in with the wine mixture. Chill for a couple hours.

Just before serving, gently stir in the soda - trying to keep as much fizz as possible.

Serve with the extra limes, sliced up, OR pick some of your favorite fruits. Works well over berries too! :D

Please enjoy responsibly.

Monday, June 4, 2007

"Island of Blue Dolphins"



FIRST, sorry it's been so long everyone. Homeschooling has way occupied our time the last few weeks. Decided to take a little break this week. The first full week we've taken off since Christmas. If my eldest didn't love school so much, I'd take breaks more often! FINALLY posting something I started WEEKS ago!

Recently, my beautiful 7 year-old has her favorite thing of all - Book Club. We read "The Island of Blue Dophins" by Scott O'Dell. It is a historical fiction about a woman found on the Isle of San Nicholas in the 1800's. It's a beautiful story. Very touching and heartwarming. I thought that she would struggle with all of the tragedy in it, but she seemed to do well and understand a lot of it. It's a 5th grade reading level and she read it like a champ! She and I alternated, I read some to her, she read some to me. Granted, I had trouble a few chapters because I would start to cry. Poor kid. SO GLAD she didn't have to read the Velveteen Rabit, still can't get thru the part about becoming real by the Skin Horse without crying my eyes out! I'm a sap, what can I say.

Well, in our monthly adventure to the local 6-finger country flea market and junk swap a couple weekends ago proved fruitful. We stopped at the cookie cutter vendor who had well over 800 different designs available for sale. We got 3 cookie cutters for $2.50!!! We got a dolphin, a shell and a german shepard cut out. This guy litteraly had every cookie cutter shape you could imagine. I don't think I'd ever seen so many.

Well, how do you make cutout cookies gluten free? My "google" search turned up a ton, and I didn't have to do any thinking at all, our friends and Land O'Lakes have thought of EVERYTHING. I was REALLY impressed with how easy this recipe was to make, and how well they turned out. Cruncy/chewy sugary cut out cookies. The shells didn't work to well....and I did determine if you made them too thick, they spread out way way tooo much. So I suggest getting as close to 1/8" inch as you can. I put mine between two layers of wax paper and then flattened them. Seemed to work very well. It makes A LOT OF COOKIES.

Land O Lakes Gluten-free Cut-Out Cookies

When you're there, make sure to checkout the other gluten-free recipes that they have. They are well worth the look. I did use their flour blend, and it worked beautifully. I daresay, I'm going to make a big batch of their blend and keep on hand. It worked so well. I cannot wait to try the pound cake! :D

Less of a quandry was the frosting. I always use the same recipe for icing sugar. I like it because it adds a nice sweetness to the cookie and it dries so shiny and hard that you can stack the cookies on each other between layers of wax or parchment paper. Once the icing is hard, they travel really well.

Vanilla Glaze Icing

While at Diana's Kitchen, be sure to check out some of her other recipes. It's got a lot of stuff on the site.

I realize this post is quite a cheat, but I haven't been doing much cooking or baking lately. The heat wave we had here really squelched any urge I had to bake. Any urge I had to do anything, really!! THANK GOD for grilling out. :D

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WHAT???? May is almost over????

Okay, I blinked and may totally disappeared!!!! WHAT HAPPENED!

I have not posted in a while, but will very very soon!

Krista

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Chicken Cristedori


Okay, so technically, it's a cacciatore, but....I like this name better is it is a play on my pre-married name! I created this recipe a long, long time ago. As a matter of fact, it is the first recipe I recall making for guests. When I first made it, I would use my mom's homemade spaghetti sauce. Now I use my own, but make it on the fly with the recipe.

Another thing I like about this recipe is that it is EASY, and uses only two pans. One for the rice pasta, one for the sauce. Easy eat, easy cleanup! :D Of course, it is my husband who does the dishes, so, he's the one who appreciates most that it's easy cleanup! Thank you dear!


Chicken Cristedori (pronounced kreestayDOORee)

1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
Salt & pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium green pepper, cut in thin strips
1 small red onion, cut in thin strips
3 cloves garlic, sliced really thin
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dry italian seasoning

Season chicken strips with salt & pepper and mix well to coat all pieces. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add chicken. Cook until chicken is almost cooked thru (about 5-10 minutes depending on how hot you get your pan). Add green pepper, onion and garlic. Reduce heat to medium. Saute for 5 minutes until peppers turn a bright green. Add tomatoes and spices. Allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes until flavors are well blended.

I like this served over brown rice pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Chocolate Chip Torte


Well, the last time I made chocolate chip cookies, I divided the dough in three and froze two thirds of it. That way, when I wanted cookies, I could have cookies without a lot of work. See COOKIE post below for recipe link for the cookie dough, or use about a lb of cookie dough from your favorite recipe.

I made this last night, for company. It is loosely based on my MIL's family recipe for "Chocolate Squares". Since I cannot have part of the base of the squares, I had to adapt it. Also, the cream layer is often too dense and rich for me, so I wanted to lighten it up a little bit, so I managed to add some stuff to that cream layer as well to lighten it up.




Chocolate Chip Torte

CRUST:

1/3 Cookie Dough recipe

Press into the bottom of a 9" spring form pan and bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven (or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Remove from oven and allow to cool. As it cools, it will sink in the center creating a well for the cream layer - now how perfect is that!!! Cool COMPLETELY. Leave springform pan in-tact for now...don't spring it! LOL :D

CREAM LAYER:

4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz butter, softened
3 Tbs. Vanilla Pudding Powder (I used Walmart's French Vanilla - labelled gluten free right on the box!)
3 Tbs. Milk
2 Cups powdered sugar

(I used my KitchenAid for this, you will need the whipper blade, or use your electric hand mixer) Whip cream cheese and butter together until well blended. Add pudding powder and milk. Continue whipping. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 Cup at a time, incorporate each "dose" before adding the 2nd. When all the sugar is in there, continue whipping for another 3 minutes until it's really smooth and creamy. Pour layer onto cooled cookie and spread into the well made by cooling (leaving the "edge"). Refridgerate 2 hours.

TOP:

3 oz semi sweet chocolate

Melt on high in microwave on 30 minute intervals. Stir until melted smooth. Spread over cream layer. Put back in the fridge for at least an hour.

(you can drizzle instead of spread if you like....that will make it easier to cut).

Be prepared to go into insulin shock! It's very sweet and rich and worth every single calorie!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

RSC #34 - Sour Cream Chicken & Mushrooms

My dear SIL over at Cooking With Anne runs a "Ready Set Cook" every month. The "game" is based on BBC's and Food Network's game show where two chefs would be given the three same ingredients. Each would have to come up with something spectacular and delicious with these ingredients in 30 minutes time. I used to love this show and cry when I think about it not being on anymore, boo hoo! This month the 3 ingredients were:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pint sour cream

Lucky for me, these are ingredients I use almost daily in my home. The recipe below is a favorite for me, my husband and my children. I make it often, so next time I make it, I'll take a picture and post it! :D

Please make sure you visit Anne's Blog Cooking With Anne and visit all the links for the entries! :D


Sour Cream Chicken & Mushrooms

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper)
1 medium onion, thin slices
1 10 oz package cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs rice flour (if you are not gluten-free you may use wheat flour for this step)
1/4 Cup GOOD white wine
1/2 pint sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
Freshly ground Pepper
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet, coat pan with cooking spray and brown chicken on both sides, cooking until no longer pink in the center, but do not over cook. Set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.

In a mixing bowl, mix sour cream, chicken broth together until very smooth. Set aside until needed.

In the SAME skillet, add 2 Tbs olive oil, the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat until onions and mushrooms are tender. Stir in the rice flour and cook until veggies are well coated and . Add wine and cook for one minute until wine gets warm and starts to thicken. Pour sour cream/broth mixture into pan and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened.

Add chicken back to pan, turn over so that both sides of the chicken get coated with the sauce. Reduce heat to a low simmer to allow chicken to finish cooking and sauce to continue to thicken.

Remove from heat and stir in the parsley JUST before serving.

Top with freshly shredded parmesan cheese to push this dish over the top! :D

Our favorite way to serve this is over brown rice with a side of steamed brocolli. (Oh...and yes, this only takes 30 minutes to cook. TAKE THAT Rachel Ray! LOL :D)

Chili & Cornbread


A faint memory, cornbread. This was definitely a staple in our house. Well, it was rarely homemade, usually it came from those little blue boxes. Dump in a bowl, add egg and milk and whisk, pour, bake. I did try a gluten free cornbread mix early in my GF days. I believe I had underbaked the muffins because they were dense and hard to eat, and gritty. YUCK.

A few nights ago, I was really craving chili. With a craving for chili comes a craving for cornbread. Steaming hot chili layered over a split open buttered cornbread muffin, with a sprinkling of cheese. MMMMM, see it sounds good, doesn't it? This craving coincided with hotdogs on the menu for the week - and knowing hubby likes chili dogs, I figured making chili was a no-brainer. I couldn't stand the thought of making chili and not have cornbread.

Off to my kitchen I went, grabbed my box of cornmeal and said to myself "Self, you must be able to adapt this recipe somehow so that it will taste yummy and go well with chili.". I am a firm believer that I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me so I put myself to the test of my faith! I adapted the recipe from the back of the box and added a few of the "known" additives to replace the missing gluten. The result was a nice dense but not mealy cornbread.

Now, I know I overwhelmed everyone with lots of pans last time. This recipe should not take long to prepare (well, it does need to simmer a while to get the flavors blended but actual prep is easy) and should only take a cutting board, knife and one large skillet, oh and a spatula. The cornbread should take one bowl and a spoon and a pan to bake it in! :D

Below is the recipe for both the chili, and the cornbread. ENJOY :D


Chili

2 lbs ground beef, chicken or turkey (I almost always use chicken)
1 medium yellow onion, diced finely
1 large stalk celery, diced finely
1 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or puree)
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
4 Tbs chili powder (McCormick's)
1 Tbs cumin (if you like the smokey flavor, add more)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (if you like it hotter, add more, I have to tone down heat for kids)
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
Good dose Salt & pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed carefully

Optional toppings:

Cheese
onions
sour cream


Brown ground meat in a large skillet over medium heat. Once browned, push meat to one side of the pan and add onion, celery and garlic to open space on the pan. Saute vegetables until soft and then mix into the meat. Add tomatoes, spices and sugar. Mix in well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer on very low heat, stirring every 15 minutes or so. After an hour of simmering, stir in beans. Continue to cook, covered on low, for another 1/2 hour.

Ladle into bowls, or over cornbread below. Don't forget the cheese! :D



Cornbread

3/4 Cup Cornmeal
1 Cup white Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Cornstarch (or you could use tapioca starch)
1 tsp xantham gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 whole egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 8 or 9" pan.

Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg. Mix just until combined. Pour into pan.

Bake 20 minutes and check...if not done in the center cook for 5 more minutes.

Serve with chil!!!


ALSO, ANOTHER VARIATION OF THIS I LIKE TO DO....

Bake the cornbread in a deep dish pie pan till ALMOST DONE....cover the top with a thick layer of chili and cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly. Serve like pie! It's a great meal with a green salad! :D