Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fajita Soup

This is a quick and easy Mexican soup, and as always it's gluten free. You can also easily make this dinner dairy-free by leaving off the cheese topping.

2 large red bell peppers
2 large yellow onions
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken
2 32oz containers of chicken stock
1 Tbsp Mexican style chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano

Optional Toppings:
cheddar cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips

In a dutch oven or soup pot heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat. Thinly slice the red pepper and onions into long thin strips. Saute in the olive oil until browned and softened - about 15 minutes. Remove peppers and onions. Cut chicken into long thin pieces and saute in the same pot. Cook until browned and cooked through. Add spices to the pot with the chicken and return the peppers and onions. Cover with the chicken stock and simmer for 30-60 minutes or until everything is soft. Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cheesecake... 3 different toppings

If you love to customize your dessert with a variety of choices than this cheesecake is for you. In my family we like choices, and I must admit we rarely all eat the same thing, for dessert at least. Making a delicious basic cheesecake, then topping it with the delicious flavor of your choice is a great way to enjoy the end of a family meal or any special occasion.

First let's start with the cheesecake. Usually I will make the crust the same way I do for my Pumpkin Pie. It's simple. The only difference is you will need 9" spring form pan for this cheesecake.

Gluten Free Crust Ingredients:
1 pkg gluten free ginger snaps
2 Tbsp of butter or margarine

Crust Directions: In a food processor pulse the cookies until they are crumbs. Add softened or melted butter. Pulse. The mixture should resemble wet sand. Using your hands or the bottom of a glass, press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a oiled spring form pan.
Refrigerate until ready to use

Cheesecake Ingredients:
2 pounds softened cream cheese (4 8-ounce packages)

1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions: I like to make this cheesecake batter using a stand mixer. First start with the cream cheese and sugar. On a medium speed, beat these together until fully incorporated...a couple of minutes. Add the eggs and mix one at a time. Add the sour cream and mix. While the mixer is running sprinkle in the cornstarch and add the vanilla and lemon juice.
Next preheat the oven to 325. Pour the batter over your prepared crust in the spring form pan. Wrap the bottom of the outside of the pan with tinfoil to prevent any leaking. Place a shallow baking dish filled half with hot water in the oven on the lower rack. Place cheesecake in the oven above the baking dish on the upper rack. Bake for 1 hour. Then turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 additional hour. Remove and Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

The three sauces:
For this occasion we had three options for sauce toppings for the individual slices of cheesecake. Strawberry, blueberry, and chocolate. If you are using this idea for a special occasion such as a holiday or birthday, take time to set out the sauce options in some pretty dishes, you can also have fresh strawberries, chocolate chips, or even whip cream to take it over the top.

Strawberry Topping:
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch

In a small saucepan over medium high heat simmer strawberries, sugar, and a little bit of water - just enough to wet the sugar. Cook until strawberries break apart, about 10 minutes. In a cup mix cornstarch with a small amount of water and add to simmering sauce. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Transfer to a small serving dish.

Blueberry Topping:
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
In a small saucepan over medium high heat simmer blueberries, sugar, and a little bit of water - just enough to wet the sugar. Cook until some blueberries break apart, about 10 minutes. In a cup mix cornstarch with a small amount of water and add to simmering sauce. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Transfer to a small serving dish.

Chocolate Ganache Topping:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heaving whipping cream

Heat the cream until steamy. In a small mixing bowl pour hot cream over chocolate chips. Let it sit for a minute, then mix thoroughly until all the chips are melted into a sauce.

To get even slices out of your cheesecake use a long bread knife. Be sure to have a paper towel on hand and clean the knife in between each slice. The leftover crumbs on the knife mess up the sides of the next slice. If your cheesecake is particularly sticky wetting the knife will help.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Black Beans and Rice

A quick, easy, gluten-free, dairy-free side dish.

Rice and Beans is a staple for any gluten-free diet. It's quick, inexpensive, and versatile. The combination of rice and beans can be prepared and seasoned in endless ways. This is a version that I make often to go with grilled chicken or Mexican dishes.

2 cups white or brown rice
2 15oz. cans of black beans
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock

Cook the rice according to the package directions. I combine 2 cups rice with 4 cups of water in a saucepan and simmer on low until all the the water is absorbed - the time will depend on the type of rice you use. Drain and rinse the black beans. In a separate saucepan combine beans, peppers, spices, and stock. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. Sever the beans over the rice as a side dish.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gluten Free Party Mix

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

My brother loves party mix. It's probably on the list of his top five favorite foods. He hasn't had any since he decided to go gluten-free (he already eats dairy-free). Recently we had a family get together and I decided to try to make some party mix and see if it was as good as he remembered. It turned out to be a really yummy snack. I've noticed that there is a wide range of gluten-free cereals and snacks now that you can buy right at the regular grocery store and this was easy to mix up! This makes A LOT of party be ready for a party or be prepared for this batch to last you awhile.

4 cups gluten-free rice chex cereal
4 cups gluten-free corn chex cereal
1 pkg. of gluten-free snack crackers (we use Nut-thins)
1 pkg. of gluten-free pretzels
2 cups of roasted cashews
6 Tbsp of margarine (we use earth balance)
3 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Mix the cereal, crackers, pretzels, and nuts together in a LARGE mixing bow. Split this between two bowls if you do not have one large enough. Melt the margarine in the microwave in a small microwave safe mixing bowl. Stir into the melted margarine the Worcestershire sauce, salt and sauces. Drizzle the margarine mixture over the cereal mixture while stirring with a large rubber spatula. Spread the cereal in a thin layer over tin foil lined cookie sheets. Bake the party mix at 350 for 15-20 mintues...just until warm and toasty. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Golden Garbanzo Goodies!

These are gluten free and dairy free! Which makes them a perfect choice when we get together with my family on Sundays, since we have gluten and dairy allergies in the mix. They are super moist delicious treats made from garbanzo beans (chick peas). I know it sounds a little crazy, but they are really good! When my husband came home today I offered him some that I had stored in a container - the whole container was empty in 5 minutes flat!!

*Update the rest of these in a separate container were missing before I even woke up! Geesh! And then when he arrived home from work he literally checked the oven to see if there were any more. I will definitely be making these again and soon.

2 cans garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup gluten-free oats
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

In a food processor start with the garbanzo beans. Pulse a couple of times to break them up. Add the almond butter and oats. Pulse a few times to incorporate. Open and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides if necessary. Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pulse a couple of times again. Dump the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to mix further if necessary, then mix in chocolate chips. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in the batter and smooth. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares and serving.

Make sure you have extra of these ingredients on hand because you are going to want to make more of these right away :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken Marsala gluten-free

My husband and I both love chicken Marsala. I ordered this dish on our first date and it was so good he had to have some too. Now we always think of chicken Marsala as a romantic type dish and we like to order it when we go out to eat if it's on the menu. Since going gluten free I've had to learn to make this dish at home. When I go out to eat I can not get breaded chicken or pasta. I've experimented with this recipe a few times and the latest version is just a delicious as the one we enjoyed on our first date. Serve this chicken with gluten free pasta and a veggie like spinach or asparagus.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 cups sweet marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cup rice flour
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp olive oil

First in a shallow dish combine the rice flour, italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and mix. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Dredge the chicken on both sides in the flour mixture. In a large deep saucepan add 2 tbsp olive oil on medium high heat. Brown the chicken in the olive oil on both sides. Once all the pieces are browned on both sides transfer to 9x13 baking dish.
In the same sauce pan add 2 tbsp olive oil, minced garlic and mushrooms. Cook until softened. Deglaze the pan with the mushrooms with the 2 cups of wine add thyme. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add stock, butter return to simmer. In a separate small sauce pan melt 2 tbsp of butter and combine with 2 tbsp of rice flour. Once all of the flour and butter are combined, add the mixture to to sauce and mix. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked through and the sauce has thickened and is bubbly. Serve over gluten free pasta. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Italian Meatballs gluten-free & dairy-free

Italian meatballs are a great way to take a regular spaghetti night and make is something special. These meatballs are very easy to make and they are good enough for company.

2 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup white rice flour
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs

* Italian sauce of your choice, and gluten free pasta for serving
* makes approximately 24 meatballs

Mix all of the seasoning together in a mixing bowl including the rice flour. Using your hands mix the ground beef and seasonings together until incorporated. Add the eggs and mix again using hands. Once all ingredients are thoroughly mixed set aside.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven warm the italian sauce over medium heat with a lid until barely simmering. Do not boil the sauce because it may scorch.
In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Using hand roll a small about of the ground beef into 2" balls - about the size of a golf ball. Place in skillet and repeat. You can cook 10 or so meatballs at one time in a large skillet - do not overcrowd the pan. Using tongs turn the meatballs periodically and make sure to cook on all sides. When the meatballs are completely browned on all sides transfer them one by one into the simmering sauce to finish cooking through. Repeat with the rest of the ground beef.
Once the meatballs are browned and simmering in the sauce you can let them simmer in the large pot on low for up to 1 hour until you are ready to eat. Take this time to prepare the pasta as instructed on the package.

* These meatballs are great for the freezer. If I want to make a large batch for the freezer I will follow the ingredients above, form the balls, then place on a rimmed oiled baking sheets and bake in a 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until completely cooked through. Then when they are cooled transfer them to a ziploc bag or foodsaver bag. Keep in your freezer for a quick dinner. You can then put the frozen meatballs directly into a simmering pot of sauce, or put frozen meatballs and sauce into the crock pot and let them simmer and warm together for dinner later in the day.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Apple Cranberry Bake gluten-free

Here is a delicious warm apple dessert. Great all by itself warm out of the oven or topped with vanilla ice cream. This recipe makes two large or four small servings.

8 tart apples
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup almonds chopped
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp cinnamon

Peel, core, and slice the apples. In a mixing bowl combine apples, cranberries, almonds, cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix together thoroughly and divid among two large or four small oven-safe ramekins. In food processor combine all topping ingredients and pulse a few times until butter is the size of small peas. Spoon crumbly mixture on the top of the apples in the ramekins. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until hot a bubbly.
Serve as is or with ice cream.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Beef Stew gluten-free

Beef stew is a great choice when you need a one-pot meal to feed a crowd. It's also warm and filling on a February day. When my family gets together for Sunday dinner, there are usually 7 of us, and this beef stew really hits the spot.

1-1/2 pounds beef cubes
1 onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
8-10 small red potatoes diced
3 large carrots diced
1 box unsalted beef stock
1-1/4 C water
1-1/2 C. frozen mixed vegetables
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp corn starch
4 Tbsp olive oil - for browning and sauteing

In dutch oven heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the beef cubes and brown them on all sides. You may need to do this in two batches so you do not overcrowd the pan.

Remove beef when browned and saute onion and garlic until translucent with remaining oil
Return beef to the pan and add 1-1/4 C. water to cover meat. Cover with lid and simmer 1 hour or until tender.
Add frozen vegetables, diced potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper, and cover with beef stock.
Bring back to a boil reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
Finish with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch thoroughly mixed with 1/4 C. cold water. Pour into stew while stirring and bring to simmer one or two minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day!

Here is the gluten-free goodness we enjoyed this Valentines Day

Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing

This is an easy gluten free treat. Using a gluten free brownie mix, divide the batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes and top with your favorite chocolate icing and decorate.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Dip strawberries into melted bittersweet chocolate, then allow chocolate to harden in the fridge for 30 minutes.


Chocolate Mousse

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
4 large egg whites, preferably at room temperature
Pinch table salt
extra heavy cream for whipping into whip cream topping

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan and remove the pan from the heat (don’t just turn off the burner). Stir in the vanilla. Add the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes without stirring. Whisk the chocolate and cream until smooth and then transfer the ganache to a large bowl. Don’t refrigerate.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and the salt with a hand mixer on high speed just until they form stiff peaks when you lift the beaters.

With a rubber spatula, fold about one-quarter of the beaten whites into the ganache to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites, taking care not to deflate them. Divide the mousse among the chilled bowls and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but preferably 1 hour and up to 24 hours.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cherry Spinach Salad

If you need more spinach after the Spinach and Artichoke Dip, here is a yummy salad recipe that is great for lunch or dinner. The eggs and bacon make it particularly filling.

1 large bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
3 hard boiled eggs
4 pieces of bacon cooked, cooled, and crumbled

Toss these ingredients together and enjoy a yummy satisfying salad with the dressing of your choice. This salad is great with poppy seed dressing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

We have had this at every family party for years. There is never any leftover. Everyone loves this spinach dip so much that if I do not make it for a party people ask me "Where is the spinach dip, I don't see it". So here is my top secret recipe. What makes is so delicious is using fresh spinach. Using frozen spinach will not give the same results.

1 bag fresh baby spinach
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 15oz cans artichoke hearts
4oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup parmesean cheese shredded
1 cup pepper jack cheese shredded
(plus some for topping)

In a skillet over medium heat cook the olive oil and minced garlic for 1 minute. Add all of the fresh spinach and cook until wilted and soft. Remove spinach from the pan and press with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Chop the cooked spinach. Drain, rinse, and chop the artichokes. In the same skillet add cream cheese, sour cream, parmesean cheese, and pepper jack cheese. Cook and stir until it starts to melt then add the chopped spinach and artichokes. Stir and cook until melty and delicious.
Serve hot with chips, carrots, and celery. You can top with additional pepper jack.

Alternative Directions:
If you need to make this ahead for a party you can bake this dip as well. In a food processor combine cream cheese, sour cream, parmesean, and pepper jack. Prepare spinach and artichokes the same as directions above. Add cooked spinach and chopped artichokes to the food processor and pulse just a few times to incorporate. Spoon all of the spinach dip into an oven safe corning ware dish and top with additional pepper jack cheese. You can keep this in the fridge for a day or two, then when you are ready bake this dip at 375 for 30 minutes and serve.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Asian Wings gluten-free

These Asian wings are delicious! Making your own sauce is definitely worth the effort and only takes a couple more minutes that using a pre-made jar sauce. Using tamari gives this dish a delicious asian flavor, but keeps the wings gluten-free. These make a great appetizer or snack.

24 wing segments
3/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. minced ginger
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced peppers of various colors
(sweet or hot)
sesame seeds and cilantro for garnish

Place chicken wings in single layer in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 or until cooked through.
While the chicken is baking make the sauce. Combine jam, tamari, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a sauce pan and heat until simmering. Add onion and peppers and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked.
Remove wings from oven and cover with sauce. Return to oven and heat until sauce thickens and coats wings
Remove from baking dish, add cilantro and sesame seeds and enjoy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Everyone in the family loves guacamole, and here is my go to recipe that we use over and over again. When choosing avocados they are ripe when they have dark skin, and give a little when you press on them with you thumb. In my experience, avocados are better when purchased unripe then allowed to ripen on the counter a couple of days. They usually have less bruises this way.

4 ripe avocados
1 lime - juiced
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cilantro chopped
1/4 cup red onion finely diced
1/4 cup tomato finely diced

1. Run a knife through the avocado and around the seed, and pull the avocado in half. Remove the seed and scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a mixing bowl. Repeat with all avocados.
2. Add onions, lime juice and salt to the mixing bowl. Mash ingredients together with a fork until creamy.
3. Mix in cilantro and tomato. Enjoy with your favorite chips. For a lower carb treat, you can eat guacamole with carrot sticks.