Monthly Archives: February 2012

Greek Quinoa Salad

When I was a teenager my mom was told not to eat wheat anymore. This was supposed to help with her fibromyalgia pain. Back then there wasn’t as much variety in gluten-free products as their are now. The only pasta available in our area was made from quinoa and quite frankly, I thought it was disgusting. Therefore, I was always reluctant to give quinoa another chance, even in it’s whole form. My next experience with this grain was several years later at a Persian restaurant. The quinoa was part of a salad, that wasn’t seasoned well (and in hindsight, I think it was undercooked). So, it was with some level of trepidation that I decided to give quinoa another chance, this time preparing it myself. Thankfully, I’m now a convert! Cooked properly, this made a fabulous Greek salad.

Greek Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Greek salad dressing (gluten free)

Directions:

  1. Bring the water, chicken bouillon, and garlic to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, 12-15 minutes.
  2. Gently stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.
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Gluten Free Turtle Brownies

Chocolatey brownies are one of my favorite desserts. Up until recently the only gluten free brownies I’d tried were packaged mixes. Well, that changed when I discovered this brownie recipe, that uses my go to all purpose flour mix–Betty Hagman’s basic. I’ve played around with the recipe as a base for various kinds of brownies. It worked really well for rocky road brownies (those are one of the pictures in the banner), but my favorite variation involves gooey caramel.

Gluten-Free Turtle Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Kraft caramel squares, cut into 4 pieces each
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan, stir the butter and cocoa over low heat until melted. Remove from heat and, using a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, add the sugars. Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour mix, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Add this to the sauce pan and stir until all the flour is moistened. Stir in half the chocolate chips, the caramel and nuts.
  3. Spread the batter into a greased and rice floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool before cutting.
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Stove-Top Rice Pudding

Dessert is one of life’s great pleasures. However, we try not to keep sweets around the house, because frankly, they are just too tempting. So when we do want something sweet, it usually involves rummaging through the fridge and pantry for ingredients. That is how this rice pudding recipe came to fruition. I had everything on hand. Depending on your choice of ingredients, this is also fairly low calorie as far as desserts go at 141 calories per serving (if you make this 8 serving). And of course, it’s gluten free.

Stove-Top Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked (I use basmati)
  • 4 cups skim milk
  • 3/4 Splenda (sugar, can of course be substituted)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ounces raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Rinse the rice.
  2. Add the rice, skim milk, Splenda, sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon and raisins to a medium sauce pan. Place over medium heat.
  3. Stir frequently until the mixture comes to a boil, then stir continuously.
  4. Cook until the rice is soft and the pudding is thick. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla.
  5. Serve warm.
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Tomatillo Salsa and Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I love Mexican food. Who doesn’t…a crispy chimichanga or a gooey quesadilla is a party for your mouth. When you can’t have wheat or tomatoes, it becomes more difficult to enjoy food from south of the border. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy delicious Mexican food without the wheat or the tomatoes!

Have you ever seen these things? Most people I know think tomatillos are a kind of tomato. Let me just say, with my allergy to tomatoes, I am so incredibly grateful that they are not. Tomatillos are actually closely related to gooseberries. So, when your craving Mexican food, these babies are a great substitute in salsa. And I use my salsa verde for double duty as an enchilada sauce. Now, you can buy salsa verde at the store, but if you have tomato issues like me, it can be really difficult to find salsa verde that doesn’t also include green tomatoes.

This enchilada casserole could also be called a Mexican lasagna. Rather than flash frying corn tortillas and rolling the enchiladas, I simply layer them. And forget about cooking the chicken…I use a rotisserie chicken (just make sure it’s gluten-free).

Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 15 tomatillos, husks removed and washed
  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, pealed
  • 1 jalapeno, cut into chunks
  • one lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups packed cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Turn broiler on to high.
  2. In a large baking dish add the tomatillos, onion, and jalapeno. Drizzle them with olive oil and toss.
  3. Place the mixture under the broiler until the veggies begin to char. Turn the veggies and put them back under the broiler until slightly charred.
  4. Put the veggies into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Then add the cilantro and lemon juice, blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now that the salsa is made, it’s time for the enchilada casserole.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, picked and chopped (or shredded if you prefer)
  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 3 cups salsa verde
  • 18 corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Turn on the broiler.
  2. Place the poblano peppers on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until charred then turn. Continue until they are charred on all sides.
  3. Remove the peppers from the broiler and place in a paper bag for a couple of minutes (this helps with removing the skin).
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In the meantime combine the chicken, 1 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1/2 cup of salsa in a large bowl.
  6. Remove the poblano peppers from the paper bag and remove the skin. Chop the pepper (and if desired, remove seeds).
  7. Add the peppers to the chicken mixture.
  8. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Spread a thin layer of salsa on the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of tortillas-I use six and overlap them.
  9. Evenly spread half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas.
  10. Add another layer of tortillas and add a thin layer of salsa and the rest of the chicken mixture.
  11. Add one last layer of tortillas, another thin layer of salsa and sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese.
  12. Cover with aluminum foil (I grease the foil so that the cheese doesn’t stick).
  13. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil an bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  14. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve. I top this with sour cream.

    It may not be pretty, but it tastes good!

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Gluten Free Gnocchi

Italian food is one of my favorites. Most of the dishes I loved were off limits for a long time once I found out I couldn’t eat wheat. One particular dish that I really like is gnocchi. Although I had never made it from scratch (even in the days when I could eat wheat). So, I decided to try to make some. Maybe I’m the exception, but when I want to try to make something new the first thing I do is pay a visit to Google. I looked at several recipes and ended up with something of an amalgam of the recipes I came across. For the recipes I used for inspiration look here, here and here.

Gluten Free Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 1/2-2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour + more for your work surface
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Scrub potatoes and peel (I forgot to peal my potatoes; you can see the brown flecks in the pictures). Chop the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and boil them for 10-15 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes and put them through a food mill or ricer (or you can mash them by hand, just make sure there are no lumps).

    I found another use for my Spaetzle press.

  3. Spread the potatoes evenly on a metal baking sheet to cool.
  4. In a large bowl combine the potatoes, xanthan gum, olive oil, eggs and salt, until well combined. Add one cup of the flour. Gradually add more flour until the dough comes together. One of recipes mentioned above said this, “It should almost feel like play dough; tacky but not sticky.”

  5. On a floured surface roll the dough into ropes (about a handful at a time). The ropes should be about 3/4 inch thick. Once you have rolled all the ropes cut them into inch long pieces.
  6. Then, using a fork or gnocchi board, roll the pieces. (I found a good demonstration on YouTube.)
  7. Let the gnocchi dry for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Boil a large pot of water and add a couple of teaspoons of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
  9. Place the gnocchi into the water with a slotted spoon or a strainer.
  10. Cook until all gnocchi are floating on top, stirring occasionally. Cook for an additional minute. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon.
  11. Serve with whatever sauce you want. (I made a Parmesan cream sauce that had mushrooms, onions, garlic, roasted red peppers and peas in it.)

Some notes:

  1. The gnocchi can be kept in a cool dry for up to 2 hours before cooking.
  2. You can place the gnocchi in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then transfer them to a freezer safe storage container.
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Hello, gluten free foodies!

Experimenting in the kitchen is one of my great joys in life! Which is a good thing–because a few years ago I found out that I have mild allergies to both wheat and tomatoes. It comes as quite a shock when you suddenly can’t eat something that has been a daily part of your diet. For the first couple of years I just stuck to potatoes and rice. I didn’t even really give gluten-free breads a try, because they seemed so unappealing. Eating wheat free has been much more enjoyable, since I discovered the joy of gluten free all purpose flours and xanthan gum. I don’t claim to be an amazing cook, and for the most part, the things I make are a least partially based on someone else’s recipe. So, I’ll give credit where credit is due–but also tell you what I did differently.

I have another blog that has gone a different direction from food, so I’ll be moving those recipes over here.

Happy Eating!

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