This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

Monday: Let’s try a little breakfast for dinner! Eggs Benedict Skillet. Cook up a package of Southern Style hash browns with a chopped onion (Ore-Ida brand is GF). Add a package of diced ham or Canadian bacon (Bar S brand, Hormel, or Boar’s Head). Cook it until the hash browns are browned, turn down to keep warm. In another skillet, bring some water to a light boil. While you are boiling the water, make microwave Hollandaise sauce: two sticks butter (or butter substitute…it works fine!), six egg yolks, 2 tbs. water and 2 tbs lemon juice. Melt the butter in a large glass dish, add the water and lemon juice. Beat the egg yolks and add to the melted butter. Microwave 10 seconds at a time (important! Don’t let it go longer or you’ll get chunky sauce.) and stir well between each 10 seconds, until the sauce thickens. Poach eggs in boiling water (break them into a measuring cup and slide them in the water until they are mostly solid). Steam some asparagus spears in the microwave until crisp-tender. Serve hash brows/ham/onion mixture with several spears of asparagus and an egg on top, smother in sauce. Yum! (Double the sauce recipe for another dinner this week!). Serve with fresh fruit on the side!

Tuesday: Hamburgers, potato salad and green salad. Serve on a gf bun (Kinnikinnik or Ener-G are both good). When cooking prepared, frozen burgers…check the label! Some companies put wheat crumbs in their meat as a filler.

Wednesday: Fish Fillets, rice pilaf, asparagus spears. We’ve never been big fish eaters, but the kids discovered that they enjoy fish when they tried a sample at Costco. Tilapia fillets, cooked for about 7 minutes (more if you’re cooking more than 2 at a time) in the microwave….sprinkle with olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning salt first. Cook some rice in chicken broth with a little garlic salt and parsley (make extra for tomorrow), when the rice is almost done add a little extra water and then place asparagus spears over the rice and water, cover and let the water steam off and cook the asparagus. Use the left over Hollandaise sauce over the fish, rice and asparagus.

Thursday: Chicken and vegetables. Saute some chopped chicken breasts in olive oil, add several cloves of garlic. Add a chopped onion, a chopped zucchini, a chopped yellow squash and a chopped Mexican squash, plus some sliced mushrooms. Cook until the squash is crisp-tender, add a can of chopped tomatoes (drain the sauce) and cook a minute or two more, until the tomatoes are hot. Serve over leftover rice.

Friday: Payday! Eat out…Pei Wei has a gluten free Chinese food menu.

Saturday: Grilled chicken salad. Marinade chicken in olive oil and lime juice with salt, pepper and garlic. Grill, and serve over greens with red onion, kidney beans, blue cheese, sunflower seeds, black olives, bacon bits (Hormel prepared real bacon bits are safe), cucumbers and radishes. Add homemade vinaigrette dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and stone ground mustard).

Sunday: Grilled flank steak (sprinkle a little garlic salt and worcester sauce on it as you grill), garlic mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, green salad with boiled egg, caramelized red onions, and lightly steamed green beans. Make the dressing for the salad by pureeing some of the caramelized onion with olive oil, vinegar, and stone ground mustard.

Gluten Free Stuffed Mushrooms (with option for dairy free)

Gluten Free Stuffed Mushrooms (with option for dairy free)

Well, it’s not such a stretch to make these gluten free, I can’t think of any reason why stuffed mushrooms need to have gluten in them (although I *have* eaten at restaurants where they did…breadcrumbs I guess…so maybe it is unusual). Dairy free is a little more challenging but can be done!

These are easy, but so savory!

You need:

~About 15 to 20 large and/or medium mushrooms

~One package (8 oz) of cream cheese or cream cheese substitute (Toffuti, etc.)

~1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese (or sheep or goat cheese…Mizethra is good. If you need to omit the cheese, you might want to add some gluten free sausage or bacon to make up for it. Garnish with parsley flakes instead of cheese.)

~2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins is GF)

~Garlic Powder or one clove fresh garlic


You do:

Wash and stem the mushrooms. Let the tops dry while you prepare the filling. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave in a glass bowl. Chop the mushroom stems very finely, and mix them in with the cream cheese. Add one cup of the Parmesan, the garlic powder or crushed garlic clove, and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well combined. Place the mushroom caps on a baking dish or sheet, and stuff each cap with the mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the mushrooms, and bake at 350 until the filling is brown and bubbly (somewhere around 20 minutes). Enjoy!

If you can’t have dairy and are using the Toffuti and no cheese, you might want to use bacon crumbles (Hormel prepared bacon crumbles is a good GF product) or some cooked, crumbled sausage instead. Just mix the meat in with the cheese and proceed as usual, but sprinkle some parsley flakes on top instead of the cheese. If you can do the diary, you can go ahead and add the meat too if you want! They are very rich with both, but good.

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

Last week, providentially, what we ate for dinner had very little to do with what I had planned on my menu. So this week, I can put some of the meals from last week up and have a few photos to post too! I’ll put the photos up with complete recipes later this week. I think it will help being ahead on the menus I post, that way I can try new ideas out and maybe post some photo directions here and there.

Monday: Gluten free pasta tossed with artichoke-lemon pesto, served with grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, and halved grape tomatoes. The pesto has a can of artichoke bottoms, a cup of fresh basil leaves, a cup of pine nuts, several cloves of garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Serve with a green salad.

Tuesday: Grilled chicken salad (leftover grilled chicken from the previous night). Greens, cucumber, red onion, red kidney beans, olives, blue cheese, bacon crumbles and sliced grilled chicken with homemade vinaigrette.

Wednesday: Spaghetti Pie. Left over GF noodles from Monday’s dinner….toss the cooked noodles with an egg and some Parmesan or mizithra (sheep) cheese. You can omit the cheese if you want. Press it into a pie plate and cook for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cook some ground beef with onions….you can cook 2 lbs and save half for tomorrow’s dinner, just take it out before you season it. Season the remaining beef with garlic, salt and pepper, basil and oregano. Mix in a can of prepared sauce (Ragu has some GF flavors), or make your own. Put the meat mixture over the noodle pie, put some cheese on top if you can (it’s still good without the cheese, or you could use soy or goat) and bake again for 20 minutes. Serve with steamed broccoli.

Thursday: Fajita bar. We had this at our friends’ house last week, and it was great! Grilled or sauteed chicken, ground beef, blackened onion and green peppers, rice, refried beans, black beans, olives, cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa. Serve with corn and/or flour tortillas (for those that can have them) and corn chips, and let everyone pick what they want. Yum! Plenty of left overs for the lunches the rest of the week, too.

Friday: Polenta with left over Fajita toppings. Bake polenta in a square baking dish (here’s the recipe). Top with left over peppers, onions, refried beans, olives, black beans, chopped chicken, and ground beef. Add cheese if you want. Crumble corn chips over everything. Put it back in the oven to warm the toppings, and serve with a green salad.

Saturday: Hubby’s Birthday! We will eat out. Hubby is getting his favorite, a Zappy (Calazone) from his favorite College pizza place. We’ll also get a GF pizza from Pier 49, if there is one in your area look it up! They do a great GF pizza, but you have to call ahead and ask because not all the locations offer them.

Sunday: Family over for a bbq. We’ll do hamburgers (Kinnikinnik buns or wrapped in lettuce for those of us who are GF), Pickle Potato Salad, Caesar Green Salad (no croutons) and dessert. It will probably be a gluten cake from a bakery, so I won’t bother elaboration on that one!

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

Well, this week is a continuation of last week, sadly. In fact, it’s a combination of the “lazy” menu and the “payday isn’t until next week” menu. However, once again I’ve got some fun vegetables in the fridge and a freezer full of meat (this time because we had a guy here Saturday pitching an organic meat delivery service…a week’s worth of really great free meat just for listening!). Let’s get creative with what we have….

Monday: Kids get quick BBQ chicken sandwiches on gluten free buns (cook frozen chicken tenders in a pan, shred them and add Kraft BBQ sauce), the rest of a bag of frozen fries, and some cantaloupe melon. Dad and mom get nachos thrown in the microwave because we’re only now eating and it’s 9:00!

Tuesday: Baked potato soup. Bake a bunch of potatoes (extra for tomorrow), chop several up into small bite-sized bits. Mash the rest but leave lots of lumps. Throw into a pot with some rice, soy or goat milk (regular if you can). Heat until bubbly, add some gluten free bacon bits (Hormel) and some chopped green onion, salt and black pepper. Add some pressed garlic and let simmer, if it’s too thin add a little dehydrated potato flakes to thicken. Stir in about a cup of non-dairy sour cream. Serve with grated cheddar cheese (if you can have it) and chopped green onion on top, a side salad, and some fresh baked bread….This Site has the best bread tips I’ve seen, I used a basic yeast bread recipe I found there and then added some oatmeal. I made it today, but I’ll reheat it tomorrow.

Wednesday: Grilled steak, baked potatoes, Kale and yellow cauliflower. I’m excited to try the cauliflower, it’s the color of cheddar cheese! The Kale is good chopped into bite sized bits and tossed in a pan with some chicken broth, garlic and sea salt. Cook until tender, wilted and dark green (it takes longer than spinach, but has more ‘tooth’ when cooked). Yum!

Thursday: Hamburgers, home fries and leftover Kale and Cauliflower.

Friday: Chicken bake. Rub two chicken thighs/legs with salt, pepper, garlic and Cajun seasoning. Place several cups of brown rice in a baking dish, cover with chicken broth (follow the ratio on your rice package), stir in a can of chopped tomatoes and some more Cajun seasoning. Cover and cook until chicken is nearly done (I use the neat meat thermometer my parents got me for Christmas to determine how done it is!). Stir in some frozen peas, okra, garlic, corn etc. and a chopped onion. Cook until chicken is done and the vegetables are cooked. Serve with salad.

Saturday: Grilled chicken, eggplant and zucchini and mashed potato. Marinade: lime juice, garlic and olive oil with salt and pepper, let veggies sit in one bag and chicken in another until it’s time to grill. Serve gravy made with chicken broth, salt and garlic. Stir in some corn starch with a little water to form a paste, then mix the paste in the gravy to thicken.

Sunday: White Chicken Lasagna. Make bechamel sauce with 5 tbs. ‘butter’ (soy, dairy, whatever), 4 tbs. rice flour, 4 cups milk (soy, cow, goat, rice), 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. Melt butter, stir in flour until thick. Add milk all at once, cook until thick and bubbly. Add salt and nutmeg. Add some Parmesan cheese if you can, or goat cheese mozzarella or cheddar, or soy cheese. Stir in 1 cup tomato sauce. Cook cubed chicken breasts (2 or so) with some chopped onion. Add crushed garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Layer gluten free lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan, then add some sauce, a layer of raw spinach, and some cooked chicken. Sprinkle whatever cheese you can have over this, then repeat until you’re out of ingredients. Bake until brown an bubbly on top. Serve with salad.

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu (lazy edition)

Well, I just now got a chance to sit down and write out this week’s menu. I have not gone shopping for close to 2 weeks now, which has made it a little interesting in the kitchen lately. Tomorrow, I’m packing it up and heading to Costco! I don’t feel like thinking about food right now and I have a fun sewing project going on, plus after the last few whirlwind weeks I’m just not feeling motivated or creative. So, this week (aside from one experimental night) I’m going for fast, easy and…well….boring. Oh well.

Monday: Germ Buster Chicken Soup. I made a huge batch of this and took some to my mother in law as well, since she fell victim to the same bizarre contagious pneumonia that took down Sarah and my brother in law last week. The soup is really good, and has a lot of healthy foods in it to help ward off the nasty buggies. I threw 3 boxes of gluten free organic chicken broth in a big pot, added 3 frozen chicken breasts, and boiled it awhile. Then I skimmed the top, and added 2 cups of wild rice. Then I took the chicken out and chopped it into tiny pieces, and threw it back in with some chopped carrot and an onion. I added around 8 garlic cloves (no kidding…I lost count) and then 4 or 5 celery stalks. 1/2 hour before dinner I threw in a bunch of chopped kale (it’s really good in soup!), some tiny criminni mushrooms, and a package of chopped regular mushrooms. Some sea salt, pepper, thyme and a sprig of rosemary went in at some point during the afternoon. Finally, I took out about 1/4 of the soup and put it in a blender. I added about 2 cups rice milk and one cup of dehydrated potato flakes and processed it until it was smooth, then stirred it into the rest of the soup. It was really good, and tasted even better today (the second day). I served it yesterday with grilled smoked provolone cheese sandwiches with ground mustard. A salad would have been nice, but nobody would have eaten it!

Tuesday: Noodles and meat sauce. Brown a pound of ground beef, add a can or jar of prepared spaghetti sauce (Ragu has some GF options, check the label) and a bit of fresh garlic and let simmer. Cook some GF noodles…macaroni or some other interesting shape, and drain. Toss it with the sauce and serve with steamed broccoli.

Wednesday: Loaded baked potatoes. Bake a bunch of potatoes (a few extra thrown in the oven will make a good lunch the next day). Serve with canned chili (Cattle Drive brand is cheap at Costco, or Stag brand. Western Family store brand is OK if it’s the “Thick and Chunky” type, and is dirt cheap). Serve with green onion, non-dairy sour cream (real if you can do it), bits of bacon, and whatever cheese or cheese substitute you like. Add a tossed salad and some fruit on the side.

Thursday: Experiment with a new idea: Potato gnocchi. I found a recipe in a magazine that looks pretty easy, just Yukon Gold potatoes, a little rice flour, an egg, and some rice milk. You make a dough, make snakes, chop them up and press them a bit and then boil them. I will make a double recipe and use it twice, and the kids will be in charge of the fun kneading, cutting and squashing part. Thursday, we’ll just toss it with a little white sauce (made with goat’s milk and cheese) and bake it. A salad or some other green vegetable (we’ll see what I find at the store tomorrow) will go along side.

Friday: Grilled hamburgers (I’ve got some left over in the freezer) and homemade steak fries, some kind of steamed green vegetable and fruit. Steak fries at our house are just potatoes cut and tossed with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and then baked. You can also toss them with a package of Ranch dressing mix (it’s Gluten Free!). We don’t do that often because of the dairy, but it’s really good that way!

Saturday: Leftover gnocchi. This time, I’ll throw several chopped zucchini, an onion, some mushrooms, and a can of chopped tomatoes into a pan and cook it until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Then I’ll pour it over some warmed gnocchi and sprinkle some goat cheese on top. Serve with steamed kale (I remembered how much we like kale when I made the soup!).

Sunday: Grilled chicken green salad. Grilled chicken strips served on a green salad with cucumber, red onion, radish, tomatoes (but not for hubby), sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and feta cheese. Toss with dressing made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and stone ground mustard.

Well…that’s about it. We’ll see if I even follow *this* much of the menu, but at least it’s a start. I’ll post about how the gnocchi turns out, I’m excited to try it!

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu (with some new recipes)

The name of the game this week is…..BUDGET! I’ve got a bunch of odds and ends in the fridge and freezer, and not much left in the grocery budget (um…Ok…pretty much nothing left!) since we spent more than usual preparing for and driving to the campout. Ah, how I love gas prices! But I digress. Luckily, last week I bought some nice produce at a new natural market and I have some staples stocked up in the freezer, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Time to get creative….I am actually sort of excited about seeing what I can come up with!

Monday: Grilled chicken, grilled zucchini, leftover baked beans.

Tuesday: Red Beans and Rice. Soak a bag of large red kidney beans overnight. Place beans in a crock pot with 3 cups of water, a bay leaf, and some salt. Cook on low all day. About 3 hours before dinner, add one chopped onion, about 5 cloves of pressed garlic, and 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning. Chop one Kielbasa sausage into small pieces (the smaller you make them, the less likely your kids will be able to pick out just the sausage! Just a hint for those of you with kids…). Stir the sausage into the bean mixture. Let cook until dinner….if the beans are too runny, stir in a little rice flour or corn starch to thicken them up. It should make a nice, savory gravy. Serve over cooked brown rice, with a salad on the side. This makes a lot, so freeze some or use it for lunches all week.

Wednesday: Polenta pie and broccoli. We had this recently but we’ve got everything for the recipe and it’s good enough to repeat! Here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup cornmeal
2 cups water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 egg, slightly beaten

Mix the cornmeal and water, heat to boiling, reduce heat and cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat. Stir in beaten egg, let stand 5 minutes. Spread into a pie plate and bake for 15 minutes, then put toppings on and bake for another 20 minutes. I’ll use a can of chili beans (not canned chili, just chili beans), sliced green onion, goat milk mozzarella cheese, and crumbled chips on top.

Thursday: Grilled steaks (picked some up last week on sale and froze them), baked potatoes, and Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango Salad. The salad looks good, I found the recipe online at Realage.com. We’re going to just use what we already have, so I will rinse a can of corn kernels instead of the fresh corn and use dried chipolte peppers instead of the canned type. Instead of bell pepper, I will use some leftover mini yellow and red peppers that are in the fridge and need to be used.

Roasted Corn, Black Bean, and Mango Salad
You can make this simple, fresh salad up to 8 hours ahead of time.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 3 ears)
1 large ripe mango (about 1 pound), peeled and diced
1 15-ounce or 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, drained and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the corn mixture to a large bowl. Stir in mango, beans, onion, bell pepper, lime juice, chipotle, cilantro, cumin, and salt.

Friday: Tuna sandwiches on homemade bread, steamed artichokes, canned peaches. We have several jars of homemade canned peaches left over from last year’s crop, and it’s time to use them up because in a few weeks we should be seeing our peaches ripen!

I made up this bread recipe, and it’s pretty good. To make the bread:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups milk (substitute goat, soy, or rice)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup rolled gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup Salba seed (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons xanthum gum
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

Beat egg and oil and honey together. Heat milk to lukewarm, mix in yeast and let sit until bubbles form. Mix milk into eggs and oil. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet, mixing until it forms a sticky dough. Grease a bread pan (I use a long, industrial pan…you may need 2 smaller pans) and dust with cornmeal. Transfer dough into the pan, cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until loaf is brown on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

By the way, Salba seed is a great ingredient for gluten free baking! It really adds a lot of moisture to your breads, and holds them together like xanthan gum. My father in law gave us a bottle, and I love it! It’s also very high in Omega 3, so it’s good for you too. If you don’t have the seeds, just leave them out and add another teaspoon of xanthan gum.

Saturday: Chicken rice bake. Brown rice, chicken chunks, onion, garlic, frozen peas, leftover broccoli and zucchini if we have it, some saffron and celery salt all mixed in with a box of Imagine Organic Potato Leek soup and some IMO sour cream substitute. Bake until the liquid is all absorbed and the chicken is baked through. Sprinkle goat cheese on top for those who can have it.

Sunday: Grilled chicken, homemade hummus, and cucumber sandwiches on homemade gf bread and a salad (leftover corn and bean salad if we have it).

Camping Menu

Well, I finally worked out what to take camping. Here it is:

Friday night: Chicken Salad Sandwiches (on GF buns), fresh fruit, chilled steamed artichokes (that needed to be eaten or would have gone bad…cook them *before* we leave), chips.

Saturday: Breakfast: Hashbrowns, eggs, and little smokies. We’ll have gluten free donuts (Kinnikinnik) and regular donuts as well, and hubby will make camping lattes (yes, we own a camping espresso maker….don’t ask). Lunch: Hormel summer sausage, cheese (goat cheddar and smoked gouda), fruit, crackers (corn chips instead for me and Isaiah). Dinner: Bratwurst over the fire, baked beans (I’ll bake them beforehand and heat them up on the campstove for the potluck), and whatever we can eat from the potluck. I’m figuring on Isaiah and I eating the brats, beans, some corn chips and fruit and if there’s anything else we can eat it will just be a bonus. S’mores on the campfire will be dessert.

Sunday: Quick bowl of cereal served with rice milk and blueberries for breakfast, pack up camp and head home after service!

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu (plus link to eating out)

WooHoo, I’m only a *day* late this week!

Monday: We had friends over for dinner. What a blessing to have a meal with good friends! We had stuffed mushrooms, grilled chicken, grilled new potatoes and peppers, garlic green beans, and lemon fruit tart. Boil the potatoes in advance until just done. Put the chicken in a zip lock bag, and the potatoes and peppers in a separate bag. Pour olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, sea salt, and lots of crushed garlic in a jar, screw on the lid and shake well. Pour this over both the chicken and vegetables, let sit all day. Grill both and serve. The green beans: cook about 1/2 a sweet onion, thinly sliced, in a little olive oil. While the onion cooks, steam the green beans until crisp-tender. Add several cloves of pressed garlic to the onion, then add the beans. Shake a little sea salt over it all, cook until the garlic is done and serve. The mushrooms: wash and remove the stems from 15 or so large mushrooms. Finley chop about 1/2 of the stems. Soften a cube of cream cheese in the microwave, add the chopped stems, about a cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 3 tsp. of worcestershire sauce and a clove of pressed garlic. Mix well, stuff the mixture into the mushroom tops, sprinkle more grated Parmesan on top, and bake at 350 until the cheese is brown and bubbly. The tart is the same one I posted earlier, there are photo directions for it in a post from last week.

Tuesday: Tonight, the ‘big’ kids are going to their Aunt and Uncle’s house to shoot a music video. Hubby has band practice, so he’s going to from work to the gym to practice and grab dinner somewhere in between. So Rachel and I will probably go out to eat! It will be good to have some one on one time with her. I’m not sure yet where we’ll go, but here’s a link to the gluten free menu at Rubio’s….quick but reasonably fresh Mexican food, and the kid’s meals are good. If you order the “Street Tacos” with a corn tortilla, order more than one….they are very tiny (snack size) but good.

Wednesday: Grilled steaks, baked beans, and green beans with bacon (we’ve got one more dinner’s worth of the green beans I bought at Costco…they’re great!).

Thursday: Taco Salads. Ground beef cooked with onion, a can of black beans, Mexican seasoning and some salsa. Serve this over a bed of lettuce, with diced red onion, olives, tomatoes and a sprinkling of cheese (for those who can have it). I put some guacamole on top, which is just avocado, a bit of lime juice and sea salt. Then a little salsa and some crushed corn chips over everything.

Friday: All church campout! Honestly…I have no idea what we’re going to pack. I think we’ll probably have burgers and maybe potato salad and raw vegetables. I’ll be figuring the camping food thing out later this week!

Saturday: Still camping….hmmm, maybe bratwurst on the grill, baked beans, chips, and a salad of some sort?

Sunday: Back home again, I’m thinking quick comfort food. Spaghetti and meat sauce would be good, Tinkyana pasta and ground beef, onions, and a big can of tomato sauce with garlic, basil, oregano and sea salt. Serve with a big green salad.

Gluten, Soy, Dairy, and Egg free Chewy Granola Bars!

Gluten, Soy, Dairy, and Egg free Chewy Granola Bars!

Sarah samples a gluten free granola bar

These were easy to make and have tons of possibilities! Our first batch had dates, nuts, dried cherries, coconut, and raisins. The next batch will have coconut and mini chocolate chips but no nuts, so that hubby can eat them! You can put just about any fruit or candy in these…mini M&M’s, chopped dried apricots, bits of candy bar, flax seed, dried apples and cinnamon, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, peanut butter, gluten free rice puffs and puffed millet, yogurt covered raisins….the sky’s the limit! Plus, we made one pan of granola bars and baked a second pan with loose granola chunks, which made a great breakfast cereal. They tasted great! This is going to be a favorite recipe for us, because it’s so healthy and I can add a lot of different nutritious foods…but the kids love them and will eat them all day! Here is the basic recipe:

Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar (we used fructose)
2 tablespoons corn syrup or maple syrup (maple syrup does work, but corn syrup makes them more chewy…you might want to try doing 1 tbs. of each!)
4 cups oats (Bob’s Red Mill oats were great, make sure you get the package that says GF specifically though because they have both kinds!)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips and/or your favorite dried fruit

Directions:

Grease a 12-inch x 9-inch cookie sheet. In a pan, heat butter, sugars, and syrup until melted (add 1/2 cup peanut butter for peanut butter bars at this point, if you want). Mix the other ingredients together in a very large bowl. Pour hot butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. If using chocolate chips or candy, wait until mixture has cooled slightly before mixing them in…to avoid the chocolate melting and combining with the other ingredients. Spread on greased cookie sheet and press down, making sure the surface is smooth. Bake in a 325 degrees oven for 30 minutes (less time for chewier bars).
We added extra nuts and fruit (the remainder of a fruit and nut mix we had in the car on our trip to Idaho…the kids don’t like the nuts plain, but the y sure liked them in the bars!) and extra shredded coconut to ours. Also, we added about 1/2 cup of dried dates…they added to the chewy texture and were really good. You could decrease the sugar a little because the bars turned out pretty sweet with the dates and coconut. Don’t let the sugars and butter boil, just melt them together or they will get too hard! Still tasty, but not as good as they could be. Enjoy!

Mix the oats, fruit and nuts with the butter and sugar mixture

The bars fresh out of the oven, before we cut them

Finished granola bar. Yum!