Sunday, March 6, 2011

White Chili

Since there is no such thing as too much good chili, here's another recipe, totally different from traditional tomato and chili powder versions. This was a big hit last night with our friends too. I like my chili on the thick side...if you like it thinner, just add more broth! We had some homemade gluten free biscuits to go with it (recipe coming soon!).

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken
breast, or chicken thighs, cut up into bite size pieces
1 T canola oil
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 garnet yam, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2t cumin
2 cans pinto beans in their sauce
2t vinegar (any light colored one)
1/4 cup flour ( I used rice)
3 T butter or margarine
3 cups chicken broth
Garnish: chopped cilantro, lime juice, avocado, green hot sauce

1. In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken, and saute until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan.
2. Saute the onion, red bell pepper, green pepper and garlic in the same skillet. Return the chicken, along with the ginger, salt, cumin. Mix thoroughly.
3. In a separate small saucepan or skillet, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a roux. Whisk in the chicken broth and mix all together. Stir this mixture into the sauteed chicken and vegetables. Add in the sweet potato and beans, simmer for 15-20 minutes until sweet potato is tender. Add in vinegar. You may also add in the lime juice and cilantro at this point, or allow everyone to add to their own taste.

Mom's Lasagna - Gluten and dairy free if you like!

Maybe because I grew up eating it...but I have always loved my mom's lasagna the best. We are creatures of habit. But anyone who eats her recipe always enjoys it, so it must be good by itself too! I have also noticed that a lot of people avoid making it, making the wrong assumption that it is time consuming...not at all!! Best of all, you can easily make a double batch, freeze one pan for later or share it with a lucky friend. Of course, I have been CRAVING this, in fact I had a pan in the freezer I had made before Kaden was born waiting for us. Then of course food intolerances galore set in, and the gluten and dairy in it were out. So for those of you still able to, use regular lasagna noodles, and the cheese mix to follow...or try something has to be pretty darn delicious for me to post it here...and I am a foodie!!

Mom's Lasagna: Makes one 11 X 17 pan

1 small box lasagna noodles (there is no real science here, if you like yours really noodly, then add more!! If you get a box with mostly broken noodles, break them all up and layer pieces instead, lasagna is juts a casserole after all!)

Red sauce:
  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 1 large jar favorite spaghetti sauce (or 24oz crushed tomatoes and a can of paste)
  • herbs of choice (I added basil, oregano)
  • garlic salt to taste
Cheese Sauce I
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 8 oz grated parmesan or pecorino romano
"Cheese" Sauce II
  • 8oz mozzarella style Daiya cheese
  • 1 cup pine nuts soaked in cold water 2 hours
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T nutritional yeast

Boil lasagna noodles following the directions (I used Tinkyada Brown Rice noodles- yum!), rinse with cool water, toss with a bit of oil to keep them from sticking, set aside. Brown the ground meat with some garlic salt. Add in the tomato sauce of your choice, along with the herbs. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning to your personal taste. Choose your cheese sauce and prepare:
Cheese sauce I, just mix all the cheeses together in bowl.
Cheese sauce II, put soaked pine nuts in the food processor and puree with the lemon juice and nutritional yeast, scraping the down the sides as necessary. Let it puree until it is silky smooth (and if you are feeling creative, add some herbs in here too for added pizazz). When smooth, add the Daiya cheese, and pulse a couple times to mix.

Assembling: Put a ladleful of red sauce to coat the bottom of the pan...this is a little trick so the noodles don't stick to the bottom. The layer the noodle, cheese sauce, red sauce, and repeat until ingredients are used up. I like to end with the red sauce and a sprinkling of cheese. Cover and freeze at this point if you are saving for later.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for apx 30 minutes until heated through.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mexican Eggs

Granted, my husband and I adore Mexican food...the real stuff. But our pantry is almost always stocked with ingredients for this recipe, perfect for breakfast or dinner. It is super delicious, and super easy to make, and lends itself to the creative cook who likes to add little bits of things to be used up or that suit family preferences. You could play around the ingredients a lot here....let me know if you find a winning combo, I am sure I will never make this recipe exactly the same every time myself! Enjoy!

(Inspired by a Sunset Magazine recipe)


  • 4 slices bacon, chopped (Trader Joe's Applewood Smoked bacon)
  • 1 can (16 oz.) refried beans (I used Trader Joe's Salsa style)
  • 2 tablespoons canned chopped green chiles
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded any cheese (Daiya for me, sharp cheddar for Mike)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • Warm corn tortillas (or not if you can't do flour or corn like me!)
  • Salsa (I love taqueria style made by Herdez, found in Mexican food sections in a can)


1. Brown bacon in a 12-in. frying pan. Drain on a paper towel, leaving 1 tbsp. bacon fat in pan. Cook beans chiles, and most of the green onions in the pan over medium heat, stirring often, until simmering.

2. Make 4 wells in beans with a spoon and crack an egg into each. Cook, covered, just until eggs set, about 4 minutes. Top with cheese, more green onions, tomato, cilantro, avocado, and reserved bacon. Serve with tortillas and salsa.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Apple Breakfast Cake

So even though I can't do gluten for now...I still I have a mean craving for yummy, wholesome and whole grain baked goods. Lots of people think that going gluten-free is healthy. But the vast majority of popular cookbooks I have delved into have created breads and baked goods from starchy and refined flours...everything is WHITE!! My poor body is used to Dave's Killer Bread people! I need some yummy whole grain goodness! This recipe balances some whole grain flours into it, and the results are DELISH...regardless of your dietary needs (my very picky and non-food adventurous sister-in-law thought this was divine!). I tweaked a recipe from "Gluten Free Girl and the Chef."

Grease 9" pan, preheat oven to 350.

4 medium apples, peeled, cored
2 tablespoons agave or honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
8 tablespoons melted butter or Earth Balance (or canola oil or shortening)
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup teff flour
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup dry milk powder (I used Vance's DariFree)
1 t guar gum
1 cup brown sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor, throw 3 of the apples (the rest is diced and mixed in at the end), honey, and cinnamon in and puree (scrape down sides as necessary). Add remaining wet ingredients and pulse a few times to thoroughly mix. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Mix in the wet. Dice the remaining apple and mix in. Pour into a prepared 9" pan. Bake 30-40 minutes (done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Easy Chili

Never underestimate the power of ease in the life of a mom. Sometimes it's all we can do to get a meal on the table, and it is certainly nice to have some recipes in your repertoire that you're likely to have all the ingredients on hand to throw together at the last minute. The beauty of chili is that you can clean your fridge of all sorts of things as it is so easy to adapt. A red pepper on it's last limpy leg? Throw it in! No ground beef but a lump of some strange meat starting to collect frost in the recesses of the freezer..perfect! No meat, well that's no big deal either! And don;t want to store any unused onion, throw the whole thing in. Here's an easy recipe I build from, only changing it to use up necessary items!

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar salsa ( I use Trader Joe's)
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder (I use fiesta salt-free seasoning from the bulk aisle)
  • 2 cans pinto beans (or any beans of your choice!)


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired.
  2. Add the ground black pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and beans. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies

When I went gluten free...I made some really nasty things that were destined straight for the garbage can. It was totally frustrating for this experienced cook! When I made these....I was is cookie heaven again...doesn't matter if you have to be gluten free or not, these rock! Even better, they are wholesome to boot (perfect after school snack!) I Got the original recipe from Gluten Free Goddess.

Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies (vegan, gluten, soy and corn free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
1/4 cup millet Flour
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon guar gum

Add in:

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey or agave
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flax meal (optional)
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water till frothy (or one egg)
2-4 tablespoons any milk (start with less, add one spoon at a time)

Beat or stir the dough until all the ingredients are incorporated and you have a smooth, sturdy cookie dough that sticks together when you grab a piece and form a ball. It should not be wet or sticky. Add just enough rice milk until this occurs- start with one tablespoon at a time and add more slowly, as you need it to make the dough malleable. Form the dough into 18 balls and place the balls of dough on the prepared baking sheet. Press down slightly to flatten just a bit- not too thin. Mine looked like domes.

Place the baking sheet into the center of a pre-heated oven and bake until firm and golden- about 18-20 minutes. They will appear slightly soft to a light touch, but firm in the center; they firm up more as they cool.

Roasted Chicken w/ Scallion Oil

This is a meal my family could eat every single week...and for those of you that know me...that really says something! It is easy to prepare and cook and SO delicious in it's simplicity. Don't forgo the scallion oil, it is really delicious! Serve over rice or any grain of your choice and steamed broccoli. The chicken marinades for a day, so plan ahead. Another adaptation from Andrea Nguyen.

4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 1/2 tablespoons Maggi seasoning sauce OR soy sauce OR coconut aminos to make it soy free
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

4 pounds chicken (drumsticks, thighs), skins removed.

1. To make the marinade, in a bowl large enough to accommodate the chicken, combine the garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and oil and mix well. Add the chicken pieces and use your fingers to massage the marinade into the flesh, distributing the seasonings as evenly as possible. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours for the best flavor.

2. Thirty minutes before roasting, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and put the chicken on the sheet. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

3. Put the chicken in the oven. Roast until nicely browned and the juices run clear when a piece is poked in the meatiest part with a toothpick. The roasting time depends on the size of the pieces, but in general it will take 40 to 60 minutes total . Serve the chicken hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Scallion Oil

1/2 cup canola

6-10 sliced green onions (white and green parts)

Heat the oil to hot, add in green onions, swirl for about 30 seconds and remove from heat. Cool. Ready to serve.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tex-Mex Pasta

Mexican food is a favorite in our household, by and large. Imagine my disappointment to learn that corn was no longer an more corn tortillas....and flour tortillas have gluten! And of course Teff tortillas are OK..but have corn in them too. Of course Mexican food does not have to have tortillas, but I will certainly miss them until I can add in them back in again. Here is a yummy dinner that comes together quickly and appealed to the kiddos too! It is still very Mexican, even without the tortillas! The inspiration recipe (which I have greatly Tessafied) came from Cooking Light via my lovely sister Kirsten!

Tex-Mex Pasta (dairy, soy, corn, gluten free)

  • 12 oz Trader Joe's Brown Rice Rotini Noodles
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 2T chili powder (to taste)
  • 2t cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated daiya cheese, or sharp cheddar, or more to taste
  • Optional add in's: salsa, sour cream, and pickled jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and sugar
  • 2 t chipotle puree (to taste)
  • 2T oil
  • 1T vinegar (you choice of cider, plain, or rice)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Make vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients together, set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper; sauté 1 minute. Add meat and spices; cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add in tomatoes, green onions, and beans, cook to heat through.

Combine pasta, meat mixture, cheese. Toss in vinaigrette to taste. Serve warm or cold, your choice! Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thai Chicken Stir-Fried w/ Lemongrass

A very simple, quick cooking dinner to get on the table with YUMMY results! A definite keeper in our household. Serve with a rice or grain of choice! I adpated this from Andrea Nguyen's book, "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen"

  • 1 1/3 pounds well-trimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons thai curry paste of choice (red or green)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 or 2 Thai or Serrano chilies, finely chopped (I used jalapenos)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¾ inch squares
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  1. In a bowl, combine the chicken, salt, sugar, curry paste, and fish sauce and turn several times to coat the chicken evenly. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and for up to 1 hour, (I put it together at naptime!)
  2. In a wok or large skillet heat the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shallot, chile, and lemongrass and stir-fry for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken mixture and the bell pepper, quickly move them around to coat them with the aromatics, and then let the chicken cook, undisturbed, for about 1 minute, or until nicely seared. Using a spatula, flip the chicken pieces over and cook, undisturbed, for about 1 minute, or until nicely seared on the second side.
  4. Add the coconut milk, lower heat to a simmer, and cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. As the coconut milk reduces, it will simmer vigorously. The chicken is done when the coconut milk is barely visible; it may have even begun to render some of its oil.
  5. Transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve immediately.

My Favorite Salad

I have been addicted to this salad for sometime. My only hang up was how expensive those darn delicious candied pecans were at Trader Joe's....normally my most reliable source for affordable nuts! So...I hunted for a good recipe to make my own...and these are fabulous! If you can't do eggs, I have done this same recipe with no eggs and maple syrup instead of the sugar. It works well too, just not quite as much coating sticks to the nut, but still delicious!

Baby Lettuce with Papaya Poppy Seed Dressing, Candied Pecans, and Cranberries

Lettuce (Pre-washed and ready to go!)
Annie's Papaya Poppy Seed Dressing to taste
Dried Cranberries to taste
Candied Pecans

To make pecans:

1 pound pecan pieces (usually cheaper than whole pecans, and you break them up anyways!)
1 egg white, whipped (I used the egg white from a carton of the cage-free ones at Trader Joes)
1/2 cup sugar
2 T brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 t salt (optional)
1/2 t vanilla (optional)

Mix the egg white and sugars, salt, and vanilla. Toss in nuts to evenly coat. Spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment. Bake for apx 30 minutes in a 300 oven! Cool and break into a ziploc bag to have at your fingers for all sorts of things!

Yummy Shepards Pie - Tessafied

Anyone who knows me knows I love to tweak recipes almost from the get go. I tweak things for lots of reasons: dietary retrictions, nutrition, and most importantly - taste! Here is a perfect example of this tendency. It was a recipe I adapted from GlutenFreeGoddess. I was unsure how it would go over with the ever picky family troop (I only added the white potatoes b/c my husband and oldest are averse to sweet potatoes), but it was delicious! Enjoy! This recipe is gluten, dairy, soy, and corn free.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the topping:
2 medium sweet potatoes (I like Garnet or Jewell varieties), peeled and diced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
1-2 T Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 cup Daiya Cheese, or grated sharp cheddar if you can have it
1 or 2 yellow or russet potatoes, peeled and diced

For the filling:
1 pounds ground beef
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T rice flour
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup beef broth (I used Better than Boullion from Costco)
2 T ketchup
1 can cut green beans
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Place the sweet potatoes in a pot of fresh salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until under fork tender and mashable. Remove and do the same with the others. Meanwhile...Saute the ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large hot skillet till lightly browned; pour off the fat; return the skillet to the stove. Stir in rice flour. Stir in the ketchup, broth and herbs, vinegar, Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer to thicken.

Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and mash them lightly. Mix in cheese and Earth balance spread (I did this all in my food processor) Season with sea salt, ground pepper. Add a couple of tablespoons of any milk if necessary to achieve desired texture. Mash the other potatoes with a little buttery spread and milk ( by hand or they will get gummy)

Layer the beef and veggie mixture in a casserole or baking dish. Top with the mashed sweet potatoes, then the white. Bake in the center of a preheated oven until bubbling and hot- about 25 minutes. Serves 4-6.