Gluten Free Spaetzle

When I was little we lived in Germany for several years. My family still loves German food, and luckily the city we live in has a great German restaurant. However, they don’t have any gluten-free options and they don’t make one of our favorite German dishes…kaiser-spaetzle (German mac and cheese).

This was a dish I decided to give a try when my mom was laid up after having surgery. I don’t know how food could get any more comforting than fresh spaetzle, caramelized onions and gooey cheese, so as is my custom, I went to Google and looked up recipes for gluten-free spaetzle. There are several out there, but the one I ended up using was most similar to the authentic recipes I’ve seen (thank you very much Rebecca). With all of the ingredients assembled and the recipe in hand, I got to work (along with my neighbor’s teenage daughter who likes to help me experiment). We even used the spaetzle press that my parents brought back from Germany and had never used! We also tried out a German coleslaw recipe to go along with the pasta. Everything turned out so well, you could hear the moans of appreciation as everyone dug in.

I took several pictures of both the process and the finished product, so I’ll include those.

Gluten-Free Kaiser-Spaetzle

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Bette Hagman’s Gourmet Blend)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water
  • salt, to taste (I actually forgot to add any salt, and it turned out fine)
  • 8 oz Swiss cheese, shredded (traditionally this recipe used emmenthaler, but it is a bit to expensive for me)
  • 4 white or yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and caramelize, stirring occasionally. This should take about 30 minutes.
  2.  While onions are caramelizing, put a large pot of water on to boil. This will need to be salted once boiling.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Mix together the gluten-free flour and xanthan gum. Then add eggs and combine. Next add the water, starting with 1/4 cup. The dough should be a little stringing, where you can pull on it. (It was really dry where I live, so we ended up using slightly more than half a cup of water.) If you accidentally add too much water, add another 1/2 cup flour and 1 more egg.
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  5. At this point there are several methods you can use to make the spaetzle. You can use the cutting board and knife method (as detailed in the original recipe), you can push the dough through a colander with small holes, or you can use a spaetzle press(or potato ricer). With the spaetzle press you put about a quarter of the dough into the press, put it over the boiling,salted water and push all the dough through. When the noodles float (which was almost immediately) they are ready to remove from the water. Repeat, which ever method use, until all dough is used.
  6. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Then heat a skillet to medium heat, (I used the one in which I caramelized the onions) and add 1 tablespoon butter. Add half the spaetzle and toss until coated. Pour the spaetzle into the 9×13 and distribute evenly. Top with half of the Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. Add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet, toss remaining spaetzle until coated and layer into the baking dish. Top with the rest of the cheese and onions.
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  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot.

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The German slaw was really good too! I used a bag of coleslaw mix (green cabbage and carrots), shredded half of a small head of red cabbage and mixed that in. Many of the reviews for the recipe said to only use 1/4 cup oil, so I went with that. I also topped the slaw with bacon(that’s what our favorite German restaurant does).

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Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Crostata

I had never heard of a crostata, until one day I happened to be watching a cooking show and the host made an apple crostata. So what is a crostata? It is an Italian tart, that is usually filled with fruit or jam. The thing that struck me most, was the beautiful, rustic look of the finished product. While planning my menu for the week, I decided to try making a savory version of a crostata. When I made this it was my first attempt at gluten-free pie crust and I went with Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix to make the crust. Then I filled it with caramelized red and yellow onions and topped it with chunks of goat cheese. Overall I was really pleased with the results. The gluten-free crust was fantastic!

img_0180Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Crostata

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix
  • 8 tbsp butter, cut into chunks and chilled
  • 4 tbsp ice water
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced into half circles
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced into half circles
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese
Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, add bread mix and 8 tablespoons butter. Pulse in the food processor until mixture is pea sized. Add one tablespoon of water at a time and pulse until dough comes together.
  3. Pat dough into a flattened ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerated for 30 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions. Stir onions every few minutes to keep from sticking. After about 10 minutes add salt, pepper and thyme. Continue cooking for another 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Roll dough out between sheets of parchment paper or wax paper, until it is about 1/8th of an inch thick. Transfer dough to a lightly greased baking sheet.
  6. Spread caramelized onions over dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inch border of dough remaining. Break goat cheese into chunks and place over the onions.
  7. Fold the dough edges up onto the filling and crimp as needed.
  8. Baked for 30-35 minutes or until crust is slightly brown.
  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or serve at room temperature.
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Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

All through my childhood, it was understood that dinner included some kind of meat, poultry or fish. A meatless dinner was frankly, a foreign concept to me. In junior high I became friends with a girl who was a vegetarian and after a disturbing (to me at least) science lab, I decided she might be on to something. By the time I reached high school, I was the one doing all of the cooking in my family…which meant they ate what I put in front of them. ;) Now, I wasn’t one of those people who tried to turn my family into vegetarians, but I did introduce them to meatless meals. I gave up being a vegetarian years ago when I visited a country, where turning down food is a great offense. Through that experience I learned that a vegetarian lifestyle wasn’t going to work for me. However, here at home, I still like to have my meatless meals.

This particular dish I found on The New York Times website a few years ago (sorry I can’t find the original link). It isn’t very often that I find a recipe that I don’t feel the need to change in some way…this is one of those few. And of course, it’s gluten-free.

img_0384Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Black Beans and Chili Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, preferably red, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh hot chili, like jalapeño
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, drained (canned are fine)
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put sweet potatoes and onions on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to mix with dressing.
  2. Put chilies in a blender or mini food processor along with garlic, lime juice, remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Process until blended.
  3. Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans and bell pepper; toss with dressing and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a day.
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Easy Cheesy Broccoli and Rice

While the cooking and baking posts on this blog are testament to the fact that I am willing to put a good bit of work into the food we eat, there are times when I’m just not really up for it. On days like that, I go for something comforting and simple. Now, I am aware that simple is a relative term. If you are used to food preparation being freezer to microwave, this will be a little more work than you are used to…but I have faith that even cooking novices can make this dish. Easy cheesy broccoli and rice is one of my most frequent go to recipes when I want something simple…and the way I make my cheese sauce is not only simple, but gluten-free.

cheesy-broccoli-and-riceEasy Cheesy Broccoli and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (I use basmati rice, but you could use instant rice and increase the amount to 2 cups.)
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli (this is easy right, so I go with the microwave steamer bag)
  • 1-12 oz can fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I use sharp)

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice according to package directions.
  2. While rice is cooking steam broccoli in microwave according to package directions.
  3. Combine rice and broccoli in a large bowl.
  4. Return pot in which you cooked the rice to medium heat. Combine evaporated milk, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and garlic powder in pot.
  5. When the milk is just starting to bubble remove it from heat. Whisk cheese into milk one cup at a time, until smooth.
  6. Combine cheese sauce with broccoli and rice.

This only takes about 25 minutes to make. In the spirit of keeping things simple we normally serve it with baked salmon fillets that have been marinated in buffalo wing sauce.

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Trying Out Some New Things

For a couple of years now I’ve been regularly checking out a blog called Gluten Free On A Shoestring. I’m not really sure what took me so long, but I’ve just in the last few weeks started giving some of the recipes a try. It started with mixing up a batch of Nicole’s (the blog owner’s) Better than Cup4Cup Flour.

Then I tried out her recipe for GF pretzel rolls. These rolls were amazing and I’ll definitely be making them again. FYI, grilled cheese never tasted so good!

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They aren’t perfectly shaped, but they sure were tasty.

Next came the GF pizza crust from her first cookbook. Once again, this recipe is a keeper! Since the crust is from her book, I won’t be sharing the recipe. However, I will be back soon with my recipe for Philly cheese steak pizza with Creole aioli.

Then a couple of days ago I decided to try substituting the flour mix into a standard recipe. I had come across a recipe that sounded too good to pass up–Blueberry Doughnut Muffins. The experiment went off without a hitch! The muffins were absolutely fantastic. They were so moist and the lemon glaze complemented the muffins perfectly. I don’t say or think this often about gluten free foods, but with these muffins you would never know they were GF unless someone told you!

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Gluten Free Blueberry Doughnut Muffins

The recipe for the muffins can be found here. It really is as simple as substituting the Better Than Cup4Cup mix for the all purpose flour!

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Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

For years the only time that fish tacos crossed my radar was during Lent. Restaurants seemed to add them to their menu solely for the purpose of meeting the dietary restrictions of those observing the annual period of fasting. I often wondered if anyone actually ate the tacos because they looked so unappealing. It probably goes without saying, but I never even considered giving these tacos a try.

My aversion to fish tacos came to an end a few years ago when I visited Hawaii. There was this restaurant in Hanalei that served grilled Mahi Mahi tacos dressed with a jazzed up sour cream sauce and a refreshing coleslaw. At the time I decided if I was ever going to give fish tacos a try, this was it. And boy oh boy, were they fantastic.

Since Hawaii is so far away and I have no plans to go back in the foreseeable future, developing a similar recipe seemed mandatory. I have used Mahi Mahi in this recipe on occasion, but because it’s so pricey where I live I do substitute cod more often than not.

IMG_1458Fish Tacos

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Coleslaw

  • 1 cup coleslaw mix
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fish

  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 cod fillets

Other ingredients:

  • 8 corn Tortillas
  • 1 avocado

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the sour cream ingredients, until well mixed. Allow to sit for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. For the coleslaw, slowly whisk the olive oil into the lime juice. Then, add the jalapeno, cilantro, and cumin. Next, stir in the coleslaw mix and green onions. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Put all of the marinade ingredients into a resealable plastic bag and shake until combined. Add the fish and marinate for 15 minutes.
  5. Bake the fish for 20 minutes.
  6. Cut the fish into chunks
  7. Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  8. Layer two of the tortillas and spread a quarter of the coleslaw down the middle. Top the coleslaw with a quarter of the fish, and add some of the sour cream sauce. If desired add avocado. Repeat for the remaining three tacos.
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Tomato Free Black Bean Soup

Here is another recipe I’m moving over from the old blog. I thought it was fitting to add it today, given that I just added the ingredients to my grocery list. 😉

We’ve been having chilly and rainy weather where I live, which to me is a good excuse to bust out the soup recipes. Black bean soup is one of my favorites. It is low in fat and big on taste. When I first wanted to make black bean soup I did some searching for a recipe and came up short. Every recipe I found had tomatoes in it (that doesn’t work for me unless I want arms covered in eczema). So, I ignored all of the recipes I had come across and just through some stuff together. I’ve made this soup numerous times since then. Pretty sure that makes it a successful experiment!

img_0360Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 6-15.25 oz cans black beans
  • 1 bag frozen bell pepper and onion blend
  • 1-7 oz can diced green chilies
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon
  • 3 garlic gloves minced
  • 3 cups water*
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper**
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin**
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Blend two cans of black beans until smooth.
  2. Drain and rinse remaining 4 cans of black beans.
  3. Add all of the ingredients to your crock-pot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. (You can also cook this on the stove top on a simmer for about an hour.)
  4. Serve with rice or tortilla chips, fresh chopped cilantro and shredded cheese.

*Depending on how thick you like your soup, you may want to add more or less water.
**I usually add these seasonings to taste, so these are rough estimates of how much to use.

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Gluten Free Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

I said in my very first post, almost a year ago, that I would be moving recipes over here from a different blog. Well, now I’m finally getting around to it!

When I first came up with the recipe, I was trying to find something healthier to eat than the sugary breakfast cereals that usually made up my weekday morning breakfasts. This bread is hearty and with the use of Splenda, a better option on the sugar front, than those cereals I was eating. If you don’t like sugar substitutes, it is easy to sub in regular sugar. Also, make sure you by oats that are specifically labelled as gluten-free!

img_0368Wheat Free Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix (This is my favorite baking mix.)
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oat, uncooked
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend, firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 no sugar added apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups zucchini, shredded

Directions:

  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Set aside.
  2. Combine eggs, apple sauce, and vanilla in a bowl; beat with a wire whisk until blended. Stir in zucchini and walnuts. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  3. Spoon batter into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from the pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
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Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

If you’re like me, you really miss going out for a sandwich. Not some puny ham and cheese sandwich that you throw together at home because that’s what you have ingredients on hand to make. But a really good sandwich with crunchy vegetables, yummy meat, good quality cheese and bread. There are times I drive by a sandwich shop (there’s a Jimmy Johns right next to my usual grocery store) and wish I could go in. It’s amazing the things that I took for granted when I could eat them.

These stuffed peppers may not be a sandwich, but served along with a side of oven fries, I didn’t even miss the bread.

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 4 green bell peppers
  • 1 tbps olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz roast beef, chopped (I just use gluten-free lunch meat)
  • 8 slices provolone
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the tops off of the peppers and clean out the seeds. Place the peppers right side up in a baking dish and lightly salt and pepper the inside of the peppers. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the peppers just start to soften.
  3. While the peppers are baking, heat a medium size skillet to medium heat.
  4. Chop the pepper tops, discarding the stems.
  5. Coat the bottom of the skillet with olive oil and add the chopped pepper tops, onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until the onions are translucent and only slightly crunchy. Add the roast beef and continue to cook until heated through. Salt and pepper mixture to taste
  6. When the peppers are softened, place half a slice of cheese in the bottom of each one, then fill the peppers about halfway with the beef and vegetable mixture. Top the mixture with a half slice of cheese then layer on the rest of the meat. Top each pepper with a slice of provolone and return the peppers to the oven.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

*When I made these along with the oven fries, the total bake time for the fries matched up with the peppers perfectly.

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Roasted Red Pepper Tortilla-less Soup

Coughing, sniffing and drinking lots of tea have been my state of existence for the last several days. So when it was time to go to the store and stock up for the week, I went in search of recipes that would be soothing on a sore throat. There were lots of standard suggestions to be found, namely, chicken noodle soup. But I came across one recipe that really stuck out as something unique and appealing.

As good as this soup both looked and sounded, I couldn’t escape the fact that one of the primary ingredients was tomatoes. In the past I’ve substituted roasted red peppers in recipes, but only for something that called for a small amount of tomato. To do so in this recipe had me a little nervous, but I needn’t have been. In addition to the tomato/red pepper swap, I made a few other tweaks to the recipe to better suit my personal tastes.

Roasted Red Pepper Torilla-less SoupRoasted Red Pepper Tortilla-less Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 head garlic, cloves finely chopped
  • 1 large poblano pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 oz jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro, chopped
  • lime
  • avocado

Directions:

  1. Drain the roasted red peppers and puree in a food processor until the are the consistency of crushed tomatoes. Set aside.
  2. Heat a pot to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion. Saute until the onions are translusent–a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and poblano pepper. Saute for another few minutes, until the pepper starts to soften.
  4. Pour in the pureed roasted red peppers, chicken stock and garbanzo beans. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  5. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped cilantro, avocado and a squeeze of lime juice.

Next time I make this, I might even add some tortillas. 😉

We got about 4 decent bowls of soup out of this. If you’re really hungry, it might only be enough for two people.

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