This Week’s Gluten Free Menu (well, sort of)

In all the excitement of the Ugly Mug contest yesterday, and also because things were really busy at my house, and also because the creative menu-planning part of my brain has decided to take a short vacation to Maui, I forgot to post the weekly dinner menu. I also forgot to plan it.

This week I have only a sketchy, half-planned menu. I’ll share what I’ve got so far, and then direct you to my past menus and my friends Molly and Joann, who actually did plan their menu for the week.

Monday: Chicken Fajitas, with chocolate pudding for dessert. We had friends over for dinner, and I had a busy day. I threw about five large chicken breasts into a covered casserole dish, added about 4 cups of salsa, several teaspoons of chili powder, and a teaspoon or so of garlic salt. My chicken was already cooked, so I added some water as well…if you’re using fresh or frozen chicken you’ll probably need less liquid. Cook the chicken at a low temperature all day, breaking it up with a fork a few hours before dinner. Once it’s broken up, stir it well and check your seasonings to see if you need more salsa, water, or chili powder. If you have too much liquid, take the lid off your casserole and let it boil off. Right before dinner I cooked two thinly sliced onions and five bell peppers seasoned with garlic salt and chili powder in a large skillet, letting the onions caramelize and the peppers brown. I served the chicken and peppers buffet style with corn and flour tortillas, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, sliced tomatoes, olives and cheese. Kraft chocolate pudding is gluten free and appears also to be dairy free, I made several boxes with milk and one with almond milk, which turned out OK.

Tuesday: Fajita salads. I have a lot of leftovers, so I’m going to make big salads for dinner. Lettuce, the fajita meat, the peppers, some cooked rice, some prepared chili beans in a can (check for gluten status), plus a little salsa, sour cream, and maybe a touch of oil and vinegar dressing. I may mix a can of corn into the beans as well.

Wednesday and the rest of the week: As of now, I have no idea! Argh. When I don’t have my menu planned, I inevitably spend more money at the store and end up with crummy meals, too. I’ll be checking my freezer and pantry to see if I can come up with something to tide us over ’till payday, so probably you don’t even want to know what’s for dinner the rest of the week!

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

I’m late! I’m late! Yesterday, Hubby had a day off and we got to have a slow, lazy day. I fully intended to get the menu done….but as you can see, here it is Tuesday already and no menu. My friends Molly Beth and Joann have done their menus for this week, so I encourage you to pop over to their blogs and check out what’s for dinner. There’s a lot more creativity going on at their houses this week then there is at mine…but here’s what we’re eating this week:

Monday: Burritos. I had some homemade refried beans left from last week, so I put beans, rice, cheese, and green onion on a rice tortilla and warmed it in a large skillet. I put a lid on top to help speed along the heating process, then folded the tortilla in half and served the “burritos” with lettuce, sour cream, salsa and avocado. The rice tortillas don’t like to roll properly, but we’ve enjoyed our “folded burritos” just as much as the old kind.

Tuesday: Baked chicken, red cabbage and baked potato. I have ten pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts frozen in a giant lump. Sigh. So I’m going to slow cook it all day today and freeze the cooked chicken for later…and tonight we’ll have baked chicken breasts, red cabbage sliced and sauteed with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a baked potato.

Wednesday: Chicken Casserole and salad. A couple of yesterday’s chicken breasts, cubed and cooked with a diced onion, peas and carrots. Put some gluten free noodles (about 2 cups of dry gluten free pasta) on to cook. Then make a roux with 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. rice flour, and 1 cup chicken stock (I use Pacific brand, which is gf) with 1 cup soy or rice milk. Melt the butter, add the flour to make a thick paste, then add the liquids all at once. Season the roux with salt, pepper, rosemary, poultry seasoning, a bit of Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. Mix in one can of waterchestnuts and one can of chopped green chili’s, then add the chicken mixture, the drained noodles, and some gluten free croutons or stuffing mix (Ener-G sells little cubes of gluten free bread that can be used either for croutons or stuffing, and it’s great to have a package or two in your pantry for things like this!). Put it all in a casserole dish and bake at 350 until it’s browned on top…you can put cheese on top, but we skip the cheese and it still tastes good!

Thursday: French Dip sandwiches, potato salad and green salad. I use Boar’s Head roast beef, which is gluten free. Heat a box of Pacific brand beef stock (or another gluten free brand) in a large skillet. Add the roast beef slices and heat for a minute, just until they’re hot. Split some gluten free hamburger or hot dog buns (we like Kinnikinnik, but Ener-G also has some good gf buns), spread the buns with butter and toast them. Put the hot meat on the buns, cover with a slice of provolone cheese (or soy cheese) and toast again until the cheese melts. Serve the sandwiches with the broth for dipping. The potato salad is made with cooked red potatoes, celery, chopped dill pickle, and chopped red onion. For the dressing, mix together mayo, mustard, pickle juice, some dill, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss the potatoes, pickles and onions with the dressing and serve (I’ll make a huge potato salad because we’ll have it again the next night…it’s always better the second day!).

Friday: Grilled burgers and potato salad. Isaiah’s birthday is Sunday, and he wants to have a couple of friends over to spend the night. I think we’re going to pretend it’s summer and have a barbecue, a “camp fire” in the fire pit, and the boys will sleep in a tent in Isaiah’s room…so we’ll have grilled hamburgers, potato salad, and maybe even watermelon if I can find one. I make my hamburgers with a couple of beaten eggs, some rice, Worcestershire sauce and a package of Lipton Onion Soup mix. Serve on gluten free buns with potato salad and chips, I’m thinking about what sort of cake to make him and I’m sure I’ll post about that later on!

Saturday: Roast with vegetables and mashed potatoes. I’ll put some sliced onion, celery and carrots on the bottom of a large casserole dish, then place a roast on top. Slice garlic cloves into thin spears, poke holes in the roast and stick the spears into the holes. Place a lid on the casserole and cook until a meat thermometer tells you the roast is done…serve with garlic mashed potatoes and gravy made from the juices from the roast.

Sunday: Beef and mushrooms. Leftover roast, cubed into little squares and cooked with mushrooms, onion and peas in beef stock. Thicken the stock with corn starch, and add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire to the mix. Serve the beef and mushroom mixture over left over mashed potatoes, or gluten free noodles or rice with a green salad or steamed broccoli on the side.

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

Monday: Meatball Sandwiches. Leftover meatballs (I made a second round of spaghetti and meatballs last week because they were so good!) on gluten free buns, with a side salad and some peaches.

Tuesday: Hamburgers and homemade oven fries. I will mix a cup or so of cooked rice, a package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix (gluten free, yea!), an egg, and about 3 tbsp. of ketchup in with the hamburger meat before cooking them. The fries are sliced fresh potatoes tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper, then baked at 350 until they’re brown. We’ll have peas and carrots on the side.

Wednesday: Bean burritos. I know we had these last week…but they are cheap and the kids loved them! I will soak a couple of bags of black beans (I used pinto last week, so we’ll try something new) overnight. Then, cook them in water until they are soft. I process them in the food processor with some olive oil, garlic salt, cumin, and chili powder. Then cook them again in a big pot until they are smooth. The recipe calls for flour, and last week I was prepared to substitute rice flour…but found I didn’t need to at all! For the burritos, I mix some cooked rice and salsa in with the beans and put them on brown rice tortillas, with chopped lettuce, onion, olives and more salsa.

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie. I have some frozen cooked chicken, so I’ll pull this out and use it. Prepare the pie crust (details below) and chill it while you make the filling. Two chicken breasts, cooked and cubed, 2 cups of frozen peas and carrots, a finely chopped onion. Melt 3 tbsp. butter or butter substitute in a large pan, add onions and cook ’till they’re transparent. Add 3 tbsp. rice flour and stir until a thick paste forms. Add 2 cups chicken broth (I use Pacific brand) and stir until thickened, then add the rest of the items above. Put a lid on it and add a little more liquid if you need to. Make a pie crust…I use the same recipe I use in my apple tart (find it here) and then add a teaspoon of garlic powder, some salt and some crushed rosemary and thyme. This gives the crust a really savory flavor! Pour the filling in a large casserole dish, roll the pastry out and drop it on top of the pie and bake at 350 until the crust is browned around the edges. Serve with steamed broccoli or a green salad.

Friday: Tuna Melt Sandwiches, cream of tomato soup. Make tuna fish with mayo, onion, diced dill pickle and a dash of mustard. Put the tuna on gluten free buns, open-faced. Place sliced tomato on top of each, then a slice of cheese (soy cheese works, too). Broil until the cheese is melted and browned. Serve with gluten free cream of tomato soup…this can be tricky to find! Be careful, because most canned soup does have gluten. Amy’s brand tomato soup is gluten free, so we use that.

Saturday: Mexican Pizza. We’ll use the refried beans from earlier this week, and layer beans mixed with salsa, cheese or soy cheese, and chopped onion on corn tortillas. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and starts to brown at the edges. Serve with lettuce, avocado, green onion, olives, sour cream (dairy or non) and more salsa.

Sunday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches, leftovers. I make the chicken salad with cooked chicken breast, chopped red onion, celery, water chestnuts, mayo, a bit of curry powder, and some cold peas. Serve it on a bed of lettuce or on gluten free buns, with steamed carrots on the side.

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

Monday: Burritos with homemade refried beans, cheese, and rice. I’ve got a big bowl of pinto beans soaking, and will cook them, puree them with some cumin, salt and pepper, and add a little rice flour and olive oil as I re-cook them until they are thick. I’ll add cooked rice, grated cheese, tomato, lettuce, chopped onion and cilantro and some avocado slices and salsa, and everyone can make their own burrito! I use rice flour tortillas, but you could also use corn.

Tuesday: Chicken green salad. A big green salad with cooked chicken breast, boiled eggs, dark red kidney beans, and slightly steamed cold broccoli. Serve it with dressing (Kraft will tell you if it has anything gluten-y, or make your own with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and a spoonful of gluten free prepared mustard).

Wednesday: Tuna melt sandwiches, warm potato salad and steamed carrots. This is pretty easy…make the tuna with gluten free mayo, pickles, chopped onion and a bit of mustard. Spread it on some gluten free buns (I like Kinnikinnik hamburger buns, I slice them into 3 rounds rather than in half and they make better bread than any of the commercial gluten free loaves). Put a thick slice of tomato on top, then a slice of cheese or soy cheese. If you can have it, sprinkle a little grated Parmesan on top and broil until everything is browned on top. I will be using this recipe for the potato salad, but using rice flour rather than wheat flour and rice vinegar rather than wine (mainly because I think the taste will be better with the rice, not because the wine would have gluten…you should always check first, though). I will probably omit the bacon.

Thursday: Chicken Casserole with salad. I have several chicken breasts that I cooked and froze (I bought 40 pounds of chicken on sale, and then baked about half of it at once in the oven and froze it in bags for later). Put some gluten free noodles on to cook, Tinkyana shell shaped pasta is great with this. Chop up the chicken (about 2 breasts should do it), and throw it in a pan with some grated carrot, diced onion, peas, chopped water chestnut, poultry seasoning, garlic, sea salt, pepper and maybe some rosemary. Saute all that with some olive oil until the vegetables start to cook. Toss it in a large casserole dish (Hooray for dad and mom’s Christmas gift…a beautiful red La Creuset baker!). In a saucepan, melt 3 tbs. butter or soy butter. Add 3 tbs. rice flour and cook until well mixed, then add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of soy, rice, almond or dairy milk all at once. Cook until thickened. Add a salt and pepper (remember there’s some in the chicken mixture, so don’t over-do it), crushed garlic and a dash of nutmeg, plus a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Drain the noodles, and put them in the casserole. Pour the sauce over everything and stir it up well, if you can have cheese sprinkle some on top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Friday: We have guests coming over for dinner! I’ll serve a big pot of spaghetti with homemade marinara, plus some meatballs and a green salad. The marinara gets started at about 10:00, 2 large cans of tomato sauce and a pound of chicken sausage (I get ours at the local supermarket’s meat department, where they make it fresh). Cook the sausage with a finely diced onion, drain the fat. Add the 2 cans of sauce, 7 cloves of garlic, Basil, Oregano, and sea salt. Add a cup of red wine. You can also throw in several grated carrots and a grated zucchini, or chopped mushrooms if you like. Bring it to a boil, then turn it down and let it simmer all day (or use a crock pot). Stir it every so often so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. The meatballs are 2 pounds ground beef or chicken (or, if you’re not using meat in the sauce, you could do one pound ground beef and one pound chicken sausage), 1 1/2 cups gluten free bread crumbs (I use a mix of pulverized gluten free croutons and Rice Chex cereal), 1 egg or egg replacer for 1 egg, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (you can omit this and use extra crumbs and a bit of extra water), 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp basil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together, roll into 2 inch balls. Brown the meatballs in a large skillet, then add them to the sauce 20 to 30 minutes before dinner and let them simmer.

Saturday: Leftovers! Put everything out on the counter, add a salad and maybe some sandwich things in case you need extra food, and put out some fruit to go along.

Sunday: Beans and Sausages with a green salad and corn bread. Two cans Bush’s baked beans (check the label, there may be some flavors that have gluten but there are some that don’t!), plus one chopped chicken bratwurst for each person (I get ours at the meat department at Harmons grocery store). Cook the sliced sausage until completely done, then add the beans and let it simmer until hot. Serve with a salad and some gluten free corn bread.

Enjoy!

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu (It’s Back!)

Monday: I’m pretty tired of holiday food…so we’re having Spaghetti with meatballs and (for those who can have it) leftover gluten pizza. We’ll use Tinkayna rice pasta (which is pretty close to regular pasta) and homemade sauce, I make it with 2 large cans of tomato sauce, lots of garlic, sea salt, oregano and basil plus a minced onion. Let it simmer all day long on the stove or in a crock pot. You can add a pound of ground beef or sausage (Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage is GF, I buy mine from the meat department at our supermarket, having checked the gluten content with them first). The meatballs are made with ground beef, cooked rice or gluten free bread crumbs, an egg, and the same spices I put in the sauce. I roll them into 2 inch balls and then bake on a roasting pan until they reach 160 degrees. I’ll serve it with a big green salad, and some Kraft salad dressing. Not all Kraft dressings are GF, but the labels are very clear if there’s any wheat, barley or rye in them.

Tuesday: Chicken green salad. Salad greens, a can of drained and rinsed dark red kidney beans, hard boiled eggs, red onion, cucumber, crumbled goat cheese, and sliced cooked chicken breast. Toss with either Ranch (Hidden Valley powdered packages are GF, just add your own safe mayo etc.) or with oil and vinegar. I make my dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a bit of prepared mustard, garlic powder (or fresh garlic) and some Italian seasoning. A fun (and yummy) garnish can be made with grated Parmesan cheese….just sprinkle a layer in a hot pan and let it toast until it’s crispy, then carefully remove it with a spatula and let harden. It makes a sort of all-cheese cracker with a nice, lacy look.

Wednesday: New Years Eve! We’re lucky enough to be spending that evening with good friends, and are doing an hours d’ourve party. I’ll make gluten free stuffed mushrooms, and baked potato skins and maybe some hummus. The baked potato skins are easy, too…just bake some smallish potatoes, let them cool a bit and cut them in half lengthwise. Then, scoop out the insides and mash them with some butter and sour cream and a bunch of green onions. Pack some of the mashed potato back into the skins (a little less than halfway full), then add crumbled bacon and grated cheddar cheese. Bake again until the cheese is melted and the tops are slightly browned. Serve with sour cream mixed with more chopped green onion. The hummus just two cans of garbanzo beans, drained and washed. Add two cloves of fresh garlic and a bit of garlic powder, plus some sea salt or Real Salt. Pulse in a food processor several times, then add olive oil while the processor is on until you have the desired consistency. Serve with carrots, celery, and Mission corn chips.

Thursday: Turkey Rolls Delicious. This is a wonderful recipe with a really stupid name….it comes from the “Spices of the World” cookbook, which both my mother and Hubby’s mother used when we were little. I’ve adapted it so it’s quite different from the original, but it’s something the kids really look forward to when we have leftover turkey. Make a lot of gluten free crumbs….I use leftover gf bread, mixed with Rice Chex cereal. Process this in a food processor with some salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning…make about 4 or 5 cups and keep them in a zip lock bag, you can use a little at a time and if you have some left put them in the freezer for later. Then, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan, then add 1/4 cup rice flour, 1/8 tsp. onion salt, 1/8 tsp. Mace and 1/8 tsp Cayenne (adjust this if you don’t like things spicy) and 1/4 tsp. Poultry Seasoning. Cook until bubbly. Then, add 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (Pacific brand is good, or make it with McCormick chicken bullion concentrate). Cook until thickened. Mince leftover turkey in the food processor…I use about 4 or 5 cups, this is a good opportunity to pick all the turkey off the bones and use up whatever didn’t get eaten in sandwiches. Add a 4 ounce can of drained mushrooms and mince again. Transfer to a large bowl, and add about a cup of gluten free bread crumbs (or gf cracker crumbs, or pulverized Rice Chex cereal) and 2 beaten eggs. The mixture should be the consistancy of cookie dough. Then, form the turkey mixture into 4 inch long tubes (about the size and shape of a hot dog). Dip them into beaten egg, then roll in the “bread” crumbs, then wrap each piece with a strip of gluten free bacon (Hormel is good). Bake until they are 165 degrees at the center. They’re labor intensive, but boy are they good!!! Serve with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes, with a little chicken gravy.

Friday: We’re celebrating Christmas again, with my friend Dawn and her family! The kids will open gifts and play, and we’ll have “Christmas” dinner. I’m thinking baked ham (on sale right now…but check the gluten content! Honey Baked is NOT gluten free, at least not last time I checked). We’ll have Au Gratin potatoes and vegetables (maybe cooked carrots with butter and brown sugar and some steamed broccoli). We’ll have some egg nog and something for dessert…haven’t thought of what quiet yet, I’m still overdosed with gluten free sugar cookies and nothing sounds good yet. By the way, Silk soy nog is egg, soy, gluten and dairy free!

Saturday: Leftovers! There should be a great selection of leftovers to choose from. I’ll spread them out, buffet style, and let everyone choose what they want. There will be a big green salad with beans and hard boiled egg to go along. Before going to bed, I’ll put some dry small red beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans and butter beans in a large bowl and cover them with water to soak for tomorrow’s dinner.

Sunday: Ham and Bean soup. I’ll boil the ham hock, and add the beans that have soaked overnight. Add some chicken stock to make the broth extra rich, a couple of diced onions, plenty of garlic and maybe some rosemary and thyme and boil on low all day. I may throw some lentils or split peas in halfway through, to make it a little thicker. Serve with a salad and maybe some homemade gluten free bread or biscuits, if I have time to make them.

Enjoy! As always, leave a comment if you want more details on a recipe.

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu, Thanksgiving Edition

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu, Thanksgiving Edition

No gluten free dinner menu this week. We’re going out of town for the weekend, and meal planning for the week sort of…didn’t happen.

My parents, brother and his girlfriend Siri (and their dog Sasha) are all coming in for Thanksgiving dinner! I am so excited. This is one of the few times a year that we’re all able to get together, and we look forward to it! My dad, step mom and Siri are wonderful cooks, we eat like kings whenever we’re all together. I can’t wait!

So instead of a regular dinner menu, I thought I’d post a sample Thanksgiving menu instead. This may not be what we actually eat this Thanksgiving, but here are some recipes and ideas from family favorites…

Turkey: We usually brine the turkey overnight, which gives it a wonderful flavor and makes for some really exceptional gravy. This year, though, we may try rubbing it with salt and lots of black pepper, then criss-crossing it with a pound of bacon and roasting it very slowly all day long.

Gravy:
Use the drippings from the turkey plus some gluten free chicken stock (I like Pacific brand) and thicken with corn starch. My dad taught me to always mix the corn starch with some warm water before adding it to whatever you are trying to thicken, to prevent lumps.

Mashed Potatoes: We like garlic mashed potatoes. Boil some whole cloves of garlic with the potatoes, then mash them together with butter, salt and pepper, and maybe a little cream.

Cranberry Relish: A bag of whole cranberries, a large can of mandarin oranges plus the juice from the can, two cups water, two cups sugar. Cook until the berries burst and the sauce starts to thicken a bit, it will thicken considerably as it cools. I canned some cranberry sauce this week, so I won’t have to make it later!

Stuffing: When we had to cut gluten out of our diet, I thought I’d never have “normal” bread stuffing again. Which was sad. However, I have two very good gluten free stuffing options that are so good nobody will notice they’re not “real” bread! The first is my dad’s Southern Style Cornbread Dressing. You make gluten free corn bread, and then proceed from there…it has fried oysters and onions in it. I will have to get the recipe from him, though…it’s one of those that he carries in his head and I don’t have it written down. The other recipe is for a wonderful sausage and green apple stuffing, my mom found it online at epicurious.com and we adapted it to be gluten free. I am not normally a fan of apples in stuffing, but this is amazing…you don’t taste *apple*, but instead the apples just make the stuffing very tangy and savory. I look forward to it all year! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 5 cups chopped onion (about 3 large)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 6 cups diced cored tart green apples (such as Granny Smith)
  • 1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 5 1/2 cups Ener-G stuffing/croutons, gluten free (Order these NOW or find them at a health food store…or you could toast a loaf of Ener-G bread until it’s hard and cube it yourself).

Preparation:

Sauté sausage in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling sausage with back of spoon, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl. Add butter, onions and celery to skillet; sauté until onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Add apples; sauté until apples are tender but still hold shape, about 10 minutes. Add sage, thyme and allspice; sauté 1 minute. Add to sausage. Stir in stuffing cubes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously butter a baking dish. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish. Cover with foil and bake until heated through, about 40 minutes.

Turnips with peas and bacon: This is a new recipe, but looks like a fun vegetable side dish. You need 8 slices of gluten free bacon (Hormel), cooked and crumbled, 1 stick butter, 4 Tbs. fresh dill, chopped, 4 cups turnips, peeled and diced, 2 lbs. frozen peas, salt and black pepper. Melt 1/2 the butter, saute turnips until tender, add crumbled bacon, peas and remaining butter and cook until peas are heated through, add the dill, salt and pepper and cook 30 seconds until the dill is just wilted.

Sweet Potatoes: My mom does a great sweet potato dish. I’m not sure if this is the exact recipe, but it’s really close…I found it on Martha’s website ;o) it’s sweet potato rounds with butter and pecans…MMMMMmmmmm!

Pumpkin Pie: Of course you can’t go wrong with the traditional pumpkin pie…you can use the pie crust recipe found in my apple tart post and use the pie filling recipe from the back of a can of Libby’s Pumpkin. Everything in it is Gluten Free except, of course, use your own crust! If you’re making the Pumpkin Cheesecake below, you might use another filling for the pie. Pecan? Chocolate? Apple or Cherry? Most fillings are easy to do gluten free or are naturally gluten free, so once you’ve got the crust covered it’s easy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake, gluten free: This is one of my very favorites! I use the basic recipe found at epicurious.com and instead of the wheat crackers, I use Mi-Del gingersnaps (about 3/4 of a bag). They work perfectly in this recipe! NOT dairy free, sadly. I have made dairy free cheesecake before…using Toffuti instead of cream cheese, and non-dairy creamer instead of cream etc. They do work, but will cost you a small fortune in supplies. Still, we’re talking about cheesecake here, and it’s sometimes worth it! I prepare the cheesecake as the recipe describes (substituting the GF cookies for the crackers), then top it with lots of whipped cream seasoned with nutmeg and vanilla. A drizzle of warm caramel sauce on top makes it…perfect!

Apple Tart: I may make this for Thanksgiving, or I may have it ready when my family comes in (sorry to ruin the surprise, mom….if you’re reading this, pretend you didn’t hear). You can find the recipe in this post.

Related posts: Thanksgiving, Passover

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

It’s starting to look like winter, so this week’s menu has a few more cool weather meals. Thursday’s meal is special…it was the first meal my stepmom cooked for my dad, and they’ve been cooking wonderful dinners together ever since! She’s an amazing cook. Mom, if you’re reading this…I love the cookbook you put together for us! She put all her favorite recipes into a well-organized binder, so we have hundreds to tried and true recipes…from appetizers to snacks and desserts…right at our fingertips. One of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten! But I digress…here’s the menu:

Monday: Lots of running around today (which is why I didn’t post earlier). Breakfast for dinner: Gluten free waffles with cherry topping and whipped cream, eggs and bacon (don’t even want to *think* about the calorie content…ugh!). I made the waffles from scratch…I just used the regular waffle recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook and substituted 1/2 rice flour and 1/2 tapioca flour for the regular flour. I added 1 tsp of xanthan gum as well. This works well gluten free because you whip the egg whites first, and that makes them light and fluffy! Then we put out syrup or canned cherry pie filling (Wilders) to choose from, and whipped cream, or non-dairy topping.

Tuesday: Baked fish, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli. I bought some frozen Tilapia at Costco…bake it for 8 minutes per fillet with some olive oil, seasoning salt (McCormick) , and lemon drizzled on top. Bake extra potatoes for tomorrow’s dinner. Quick and easy!

Wednesday: Chili and baked potatoes. Soak kidney and pinto beans overnight, the next morning cook 1 lb ground beef in the crockery part of a large crock pot with two chopped onions. Put the soaked beans on top, add a large can of tomato puree plus a can of chopped tomatoes over everything, add several cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and several teaspoons of chili powder and cook all day. Serve with left over baked potatoes, cheese, sour cream (or substitute), chopped green onion, and a salad.

Thursday: Mom’s Cassoulet, salad. Here is the recipe (a person could probably do this in a crock pot, but I’m kind of looking forward to doing it the traditional way):

1 1/2 lbs Great Northern white beans (dry), 5 carrots, 6 medium onions, 4 whole cloves, 2 boxes Pacific chicken broth (gluten free!), 2 bay leaves, crumbled, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery leaves, 1 1/2 t. salt, 3 whole black peppers, 3 cloves garlic, crushed, 4 lbs roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I use chicken thighs and breasts), 2 T. butter or butter sub., 1/8 t. pepper 1 can (1 lb) peeled tomatoes, undrained, 1 lb Polish sausage (whole) 2 T. chopped parsley, 1 1@ t. dried thyme leaves, 1 t. dried marjoram leaves, 1 t. dried sage leaves, 1/4 lb bacon

In an 8 qt. kettle with cover, combine beans with 4 1/2 cups cold water, let soak 2 hours, no longer Do not drain beans. Meanwhile, pare carrots and cut into quarters. Peel onions, stud 1 of the onions with whole loves. To beans, add chicken broth, bay leaves, 1/4 of the carrots, the onions, onion studded with cloves, celery leaves, 1 t. salt, the black peppers, garlic, thyme, marjoram and sage. Bring just to boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour. add remaining carrots: cook, covered, 15 minutes longer. Meanwhile, cut bacon into pieces. in a large skillet, saute bacon until browned, drain off fat. Preheat oven to 350. Turn bean mixture into a 7 quart casserole. Add bacon. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in hot butter in large skillet, brown chicken, turning until evenly browned. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper. Add browned chicken and untrained tomatoes to beans. With a a sharp knife, cut 9 diagonal slashes, 1/8 inch deep, in top of the sausage. Place sausage on top of chicken and vegetables. Cover tightly, bake 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Friday: Pizza. Gluten free, homemade crust, with thinly sliced cooked chicken, bell pepper, mushroom and red onion over sauce (find a link to the sauce in the same link as the pizza crust).

Saturday: Grilled chicken, potato salad, and green salad. I know it’s totally out of season, but I want to make potato salad one more time before the winter sets in!

Sunday: Leftover Smorgasbord. Cassoulet, chili, grilled chicken, potato salad…I’ll put it all out and let everyone decide what they want to eat.

Redeeming Myself…Apple Tart  (Gluten-Free, of course!)

Redeeming Myself…Apple Tart (Gluten-Free, of course!)

This Gluten-Free apple tart is my new favorite dessert…the gluten free crust is very close to the “real” (read: Wheat) thing! The filling is not too sweet but very savory, a wonderful way to enjoy the sweet-tart taste those fresh fall apples that will soon be in season! The crust is easy to make and lends itself well to any recipe for pie or pastry, the dough is much easier to work with than most gluten-free pastry recipes. If you happen to not be gluten intolerant, you can just change the recipe and substitute regular flour (eliminate the xanthan gum) for the rice and tapioca flours.

I adapted this recipe from one I found in “Family Fun” magazine….it’s a great one to make together with your kids on a cold day!

Gluten Free Apple Tart

Crust:
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, sliced into small pieces (or soy butter)
2 tbs. cold sour cream (or sour cream substitute)
1/4 cup cold water

Filling:
5 large, tart apples, peeled
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup apricot or peach preserves
3 tbsp. apple jelly


Make the dough.  In a food processor, combine flours, xanthan gum, sugar and salt. Pulse once or twice to blend. Then drop the sliced butter all over the flour mixture, pulse a couple of times again to form course crumbs. Mix the water and sour cream together, slowly add while processing and continue to pulse until packable crumbs form.

Turn the dough out and pack into a large ball, then squash the ball into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour (don’t chill it for much longer…I made that mistake and had to let it warm up for awhile before I could roll it!)

Put the dough on several sheets of parchment paper. I used a silpat cookie sheet liner with plastic wrap under it (thanks, Mom and Dad!). Roll the chilled dough into a large circle…around 13 or 14 inches across. You can trim it if you want, but I kind of like the unfinished look.

Now make the filling…

Quarter and core 3 apples. Slice them into thin slices…1/8 inch thick or so. Toss them with lemon juice to prevent browning. Quarter and core the remaining apples, and cut them into little 1/4 inch chunks. Put the chunks into a bowl, and mix the 1/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch, and the cinnamon with the apples. Set aside.

Spread the apricot or peach preserves over the crust, leaving some room (an inch and a half or so) around the edges of the circle.

Place the diced apple mixture over the preserves, and then arrange the sliced apples over everything. Make sure that the sliced apple circle is slightly smaller than the diced apples below.

Sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar over the apple slices. Use the parchment paper (or plastic wrap and silicon liner) to help you fold the crust over the sides of the tart. They will naturally pleat as you fold.

Bake tart on center oven rack for about 45 minutes to an hour, until golden brown and bubbly.

Remove tart from oven, heat the apple jelly in the microwave until liquid and brush the top of the apples with the jelly. Cool for 1/2 hour before slicing.

Goes great with a little Vanilla Bean ice cream!

SnickerDuddles (plus an update, and this week’s menu)

SnickerDuddles (plus an update, and this week’s menu)


I didn’t post a weekly menu last week…things were pretty crazy with the sick cat and I had so much photography work to do that I really didn’t do a good job with our meal planning. This week, I’ve got a plan…and I certainly hope that things are much less stressful than they were last week. The cat, by the way, is a eating and drinking again, although she now has another problem with her eye and isn’t doing as well as she was over the weekend, so I guess we’ll see what happens….right now she is a bit of a mystery. Hubby is taking another big test for work on Saturday, so we could use some prayer about that. All spare time has been spent studying, and it’s been a long haul.

You’re probably wondering what the disgusting photo is all about….well, just in case you might have had the misconception that everything is always easy for me in the kitchen, I wanted to set things straight. Cooking gluten free isn’t easy, and although I have gotten used to it and can now generally assume that what goes into the oven will come out edible…well, sometimes things just flop! Like these “SnickerDuddles“….which started out as a great tasting dough, rolled into neat little balls and then dropped into Cinnamon sugar. I was so excited because it’s been years since Isaiah and I have had a Snickerdoodle! But, alas, what came out of the oven was not only very ugly, but also took a good deal of time and a lot of soaking, scraping, and scrubbing to get off the pans. As far as the taste…well, Isaiah summed it up like this: “Mom, they taste like fireworks smell”. I guess that’s a recipe to be, um, fine-tuned before it appears again on the blog!

Sometimes life is like that, I guess. You’re looking forward to a nice Snickerdoodle and instead you get to spend the afternoon up to your elbows in soapy water, scraping pans.

So, without further ado…here’s this week’s gluten free dinner menu!

Monday: Breakfast for dinner! Hash browns (Ore-Ida are gluten free), chicken breakfast sausage with country gravy, eggs and biscuits. I’m excited about this one…it’s been so long since I had this sort of breakfast! I’ll cook the sausage in a big skillet (Jimmy Dean is gluten free, but we buy chicken sausage that’s made in the meat department at our local grocery). Then, add to the sausage and drippings 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/4 cup tapioca flour and some black pepper. Whisk and cook until brown and bubbly. Then, slowly add 4 cups of milk, one cup at a time. Whisk and cook until thick. You may need to add a little extra flour to make it thicker….I will post a note here if the recipe needs tweaking. For the biscuits, I’ll be using this recipe from the Gluten Free Cooking School blog. I may try throwing everything in a food processor rather than grating the butter, because I’ve had good luck with doing pie crusts that way before. So…gluten free biscuits, sausage country gravy and fried eggs with hash browns…and an extra hour of working out to make up for the calories!

Tuesday: Winter Vegetable Chowder, left over biscuits. This is my favorite soup! It’s from the cookbook “Saving Dinner” (a great book…not gluten free, but most of the recipes are easily converted). You cook 3 sliced leeks in 1 tbs. of olive oil, add 4 slices turkey bacon cut into 1 inch pieces and cook until leeks are cooked and bacon is browned. Then add 2 large russet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes and 1 medium butternut squash, also cubed. Cook 3 minutes. Add 2 cans chicken broth (I use a box of Pacific chicken stock, which is gluten free). Add 1/2 tsp. thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered, until veggies are soft (20-30 minutes). Remove half the vegetables and mash with a potato masher. Add 1 cup of half and half and return the mashed mixture to the soup, heat but do not boil. Serve with warm gluten free biscuits!

Wednesday: Tostadas. Mix two cans of refried beans (make sure they are gluten free or make your own…sometimes flour is added to make the beans thick!) with 1/2 cup of salsa. On several cookie sheets, arrange corn tortillas (we use Mission brand). Spread bean mixture over each tortilla, then sprinkle with sliced green onions, diced tomatoes, and diced green pepper. You could also add cooked ground beef or chicken if you like. Sprinkle with cheese or soy cheese (or leave the cheese off entirely) and place a second tortilla on top of each tostada. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crisp…about 15 minutes.

Thursday: Beef Roast with mushrooms, peas and carrots over garlic mashed potatoes. Put a beef roast on top of a sliced onion in the crock pot and cook all day on low. An hour before dinner, add 3 cups of beef broth, some garlic salt and thyme over the roast. Add a package of sliced mushrooms, 2 cups of frozen peas and carrots, and cook until just before dinner. Mix 2 tbs. corn starch with 1/4 cup warm water. Remove the roast and pour the broth mixture into a large pan, add the corn starch mixture and simmer until thick. Pull the roast apart and mix it in with the gravy mixture. Serve over garlic mashed potatoes, with a salad on the side.

Friday: Shepherd’s Pie. Prepare a gluten free pie crust: In a food processor, pulse 1 cup rice flour and 1/3 cup tapioca flour with 1 stick sliced cold butter until just mixed. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, a dash of basil and a dash of oregano. Mix together 1/4 cup ice-cold water and 2 tbs dairy or non dairy sour cream, pour into processor as you pulse the mixture until course crumbs form. Don’t over-process. Pack the mixture into a ball, put it on plastic wrap and smash flat, wrap completely and chill for one hour. Roll dough to a pie shape, and place in a deep pie or baking dish. Over the crust, pour left over beef and mushroom mixture from last night’s dinner. Pipe left over mashed potatoes over the beef, and sprinkle with chives. Bake until crust is browned and potatoes are crisp and brown on top. Serve with salad or steamed broccoli.

Saturday: We got some coupons for free food at Chick-Fil-A, which has a gluten free menu here. Hubby will be finished taking his test, and we will be setting up photography gear at church that afternoon…eating out will be nice.

Sunday: Gluten free spaghetti with meat sauce. I usually make my own sauce…just cook a pound of ground beef or chicken with a chopped onion, add a large can of crushed or pureed tomatoes, some garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for as long as you can…the longer it simmers, the better it tastes! You can also add some grated carrot or squash to the beef and get in a few extra vegetables. Serve with a green salad.

Enjoy!

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu (sort of)

Monday: My mom is in town, we’ll be picking her up at the airport at noon. I will have an apple tart waiting (well, let’s hope I manage to get that done in time) and then for dinner we’ll have crock pot Cajun Beans and Rice (Thursday’s meal in the menu in the link to the left). I’ll have a green salad to go with it.

Tuesday: Frankly, I have no idea! My guess is, we’ll eat out because we’ll be running around at museums and such.

Wednesday: See Tuesday’s entry.

Thursday: Baked chicken and garlic mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli. Something nice and predictable…I don’t do so well with uncertainty!

Friday: Amy’s frozen pizza (the gluten-eaters will get some other brand of frozen pizza). I’m figuring that by Friday, I will need a break!

Saturday: Grilled steak salad. We’ll fire up the grill while we still can and grill a few steaks rubbed in garlic powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil (and when I say steak I mean some cuts of meat that resemble a steak…nothing fancy here). Then serve them thinly sliced on a bed of greens, red onion, cucumber, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, radishes and blue cheese for those who can have it. Serve with blue cheese dressing (Lighthouse is GF!) or vinegar and oil.

Sunday: Pasta with Chicken, Peas and Pesto. The last of the basil from the garden, with olive oil and pine nuts. Put it through the food processor, and toss with gluten free pasta, peas, and thinly sliced grilled chicken. Serve with a salad and some gluten free garlic toast.

Enjoy!