Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Kathy over at Your Gluten Free Kitchen. com posted this recipe for a gluten free cinnamon coffee cake. (Not going gluten free? Just use your favorite all purpose flour in the recipe.) We had it for breakfast this morning, and decided it's a keeper! Our kitchen smelled wonderful! I am so glad I came across this recipe on Pinterest!
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour; with xanthan gum in it, like my GF flour blend. (See right side bar.)
4 1/2 tsp. Saf instant yeast or a rapid rise yeast (equals two envelopes)

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup milk – warm to 120 degrees (use your microwave)
1 egg

For the cinnamon goodness:
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Sugar glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 4 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla

"Whisk all the dry coffee cake ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the egg and milk. Beat with hand mixer. Should look like thick pound cake batter. Pour into an 8×8 baking pan or a 9" pie plate sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, let's make the cinnamon goodness.

Mix together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large cereal bowl or 4 cup measuring cup. You can use a fork to squish the butter into the brown sugar until it forms clumps. After the 10 minute rest is up, sprinkle the top with the cinnamon butter clumps. Push a few down with your fingers into the dough.

Now, place the baking pan or pie dish in a COLD OVEN (no preheating here!). Set it for 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Remember, NO preheating. Placing this is in a cold oven allows it to rise with the increase in heat in the oven. It really does work. Not only does it save you time, it saves energy too. No wasting 10 minutes worth of energy to get the oven up to temp. Nifty huh?

When your coffee cake is done, let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Cover with the sugar glaze. Combine all the glaze ingredients and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and yummy. Pour over your coffee cake, slice and eat right away.

To make dairy free: just replace the butter with either dairy free margarine or use butter flavored shortening like Spectrum Naturals. Use dairy free milk (like coconut milk or rice milk or almond milk or a dairy free coffee creamer would be good here!)

Makes 8 to 9 servings depending on how big they are and who gets to them first!" -Kathy

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shredded Chicken Black Bean Enchiladas

1 quart sized bag cooked, shredded chicken (I always keep these stocked up in my freezer.)
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 can black beans, drained
1 can chopped green chilies
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine the above and spoon into corn tortillas.

Roll up the tortillas and arrange in a baking pan, seam side down.

In a seperate bowl, combine red salsa and sour cream with a 2:1 ratio. Spread sauce over enchiladas. Cover pan with plastic wrap. Freeze for later use.

To prepare: Pull from freezer and allow to thaw. Remove plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with shredded cheese and return to the oven until cheese is melted.

Serve with rice and fresh toppings. (Lettuce, tomato, black olives...)

Teriyaki Chicken Freezer Meal

Recipe adapted from Ring Around the Rosies

Medium bag of carrots
1/2 red onion cut into large chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 large can of pineapple, undrained
1 large can of pineapple, drained
4 chicken breasts
1 cup teriyaki sauce

Split the recipe between two bags, seal, mix, lay flat and freeze.

I suggest doubling the recipe and having two meals ready to go just waiting in the freezer!

To prepare: pull two teriyaki chicken meal bags out of the freezer. Let thaw until able to empty contents into crock pot. Add an additional 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Serve over rice and with a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, prepared.

Baked Tilapia

Arrange desired number of tilapia fillets on a lightly greased, foil lined, baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil and season as desired. Salt and pepper. Chipotle. Cajun. Lemon pepper...

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Serve with rice, your choice of beans, and fresh lemon or lime wedges.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Adapted from Taste of Home 


  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2-1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 package fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) meatless spaghetti sauce


  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; rinse cool and pat dry. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheeses, spinach, salt, and pepper. Spread about 1/3 cup cheese mixture over each noodle; carefully roll up.
  • Pour 1 cup spaghetti sauce into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. aluminum baking dish. Place roll-ups seam side down over sauce. Top with remaining sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze.
To prepare:

Remove from freezer, thaw. Remove plastic wrap. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes.

Chicken Salsa Black Bean Tacos

A quick assembly meal. 

1 quart sized bag shredded chicken (I always have these in my freezer)
1/2 can black beans
1 cup salsa
3/4 cup chopped bell peppers

Heat the above stove top. Spoon mixture into corn tortillas and "toast" tortillas on skillet. Serve with desired toppings like cheese, lettuce and sour cream.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Hubby came home completely inspired by the cafeteria on campus the other day. Crazy, we know. But- he put in a special request to recreate what they'd been serving. Delicious!

Prepare pizza dough, or buy ready to use pizza dough. (We're a fan of Bobs Red Mill GF pizza crust mix.)

Make sauce by combining in a bowl Ranch dressing, your favorite buffalo wing hot sauce, and a handful of shredded Parmesan cheese to taste. Measurements depend on how spicy you want your sauce to be!

In another bowl, stir to coat cooked, shredded chicken with buffalo wing hot sauce.

Assemble pizza by spreading sauce on crust and topping with:
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Buffalo wing hot sauce coated chicken
Sliced black olives
Chopped celery
Cubed cream cheese

Friday, September 14, 2012

Home made cinnamon sugar apple sauce

It really does not get much easier than this!

Fill a crock pot with chopped apples- big bite size. Add:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 T cinnamon
Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, just until apples start to break down and mash easily when stirred. Then, transfer to a blender and combine for a just a bit; seriously it's a matter of seconds. Just until the apple sauce is fairly smooth. Serve warm or let chill in the fridge for later.

Drying Apples

I LOVE snacking on dried apples. This year, my apple snack is turning out even better than they did last year thanks to one helpful tip: STEAMING! I set myself up with apples in an assembly line and had them sliced, steamed and drying in no time.

How to dry apples:

1. Wash and dry apples.
2. Thinly slice apples. (Removing the skin is optional.)
3. Steam apples for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Arrange apple slices in a single layer on a food dehydrator.
5. Dehydrate for most of the day. I want to say I left my apples alone for 8, maybe 9 hours? Just taste them every so often and shut off the dehydrator when you're happy with the result.
Why steam?

Steaming apple slices before drying them helps them stay a beautiful color without browning. They also get a bit crispier than being left plain, or being sprayed with lemon juice first (which is how I used to dry apples.)

Preparing Freshly Caught Fish

My husband does not fish. If there are two things he dislikes most, they'd have to be solitude and sitting still. Because of this, all the fish that I prepare for dinner no longer looks like fish. It comes in neat little packages with a bar code. Our neighbor, on the other hand, does like to spend his time out in the quiet of nature and he brought over a fish for us! A real, fresh caught fish that my grandma identified through picture text as being trout. Thankfully, he gutted it and offered a few cooking tips before he left it in my care! I have to admit all I kept thinking while I was getting ready to cook this sucker, was it had better not move! Which, of course, was ridiculous considering how it didn't have any insides... but still...
His tips; my thoughts: 

1. Leave it as is. The skin protects from burning the meat and keeps the moisture in. The only thing I had to do was cut it in half as the fish was too large for the skillet.
2. Butter not oil. Aye, aye captain. I followed this instruction, no problem.
3. Medium - low heat; keep the lid on. He said keeping the lid on was important to keep in the steam- I personally think it is important to keep that awful fish smell contained!
4. 15 minutes each side. This worked perfectly for our fish. I could tell it was done and ready to eat when the skin came right off and the meat flaked away easily from the bones.
Who knew this fish was going to taste so good! What a pleasant surprise. I've decided we have a pretty cool neighbor.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sweet Chipotle Chicken

Awhile back our local Albertsons had a killer sale on bone in chicken breasts- so guess what our freezer is stocked full of? This then begs the questions: Does bone in chicken breast cook the same as a boneless chicken breast? Am I supposed to remove the bone before cooking the chicken? I created something today that left the bones in- but wasn't similar to a recipe I'd typically use boneless chicken breast in. In this recipe I get to use Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. This is my favorite ingredient to cook with!
Sweet Chipotle Chicken

3 Chicken breast on the bone

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup cranberry juice (or another type you have on hand- I used grape today.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

1 tablespoon oil

Marinate chicken in all ingredients except for the oil for at least 30 minutes. Today, I let the chicken marinate while we attended church and then came home to prepare a quick dinner.

Cook chicken in marinade stove-top until chicken is just cooked through. Heat oil in a skillet and transfer the chicken breasts, but reserve the marinade. Brown chicken on both sides. Then, return chicken to marinade and continue to cook on low heat for 20 more minutes.

We served ours on quinoa and beside a spinach salad tonight.

Chicken Parm: Gluten Free and Light

Here is a lighter and gluten free version of the timeless favorite: Chicken Parmesan.

3 Chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally to get 6 thin slices of chicken.
1 Cup gluten free flour
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 Cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 Cups crushed rice chex
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease a broiler pan with non stick cooking spray.

Set three shallow bowls out on the counter.

In bowl one, set the flour.

In bowl two, whisk egg and egg whites.

In bowl three, combine cheese, chex and seasoning.

Coat each chicken piece in the flour, then in the egg, then in the cheese mixture. Arrange on broiler pan and bake until cooked through; about 30 minutes. Top with your favorite spaghetti sauce.

September Meal Plan

This post is mainly for me because I am already getting frustrated over not remembering where my recipes are- and we're only on day 4 in the month! Arg! Did I see the recipe on pinterest, is it here on this site, is it in one of my cook books, did I just imagine it in my mind... ? Well, now that I've found em- most of em- I'm gonna make sure I don't lose em again!

September Meal Plan

1. Chicken Parmesan (lighter and GF) with a side salad.
2. Sweet adobo Chicken over quinoa with a spinach salad.
3. Happy Labor Day! Dinner out with the family.
4. Country fried steak (use GF rice chex instead of bread crumbs) with mushroom gravy and sauteed green beans, and strawberries.
5. Shredded BBQ chicken in crock pot, corn bread, steamed zucchini
6. Penne rosa with shrimp (GF noodles) and a side salad
7. Bird Nest Pie *Make an extra to freeze for later. Fresh peaches.
8. Baked buffalo chicken bites, veggie sticks and a fruit smoothie. 
9. Pork chops cooked in apple sauce served over rice.
10. Shredded chicken enchiladas *Make an extra to freeze for later. Rice and beans.
11. Pesto shrimp and veggie pizza- try making fresh pesto sauce- and a fruit salad.
12. Sweet and sour chicken, stir fry veggies and rice
13. German pancakes, zucchini slippers, fruit smoothie
14. French dips, apple slices, brown sugar sweet potato fries
15. Bajio chicken salad
16. Crock pot stuffed peppers, rice and fruit.
17. Thaw extra bird nest pie (from the 7th) and serve with salad.
18. Fish tacos with cabbage, rice and beans.
19. Chicken in cranberry mustard sauce, quinoa, apple sauce
20. Thaw extra enchiladas, rice and beans. 
21. LEFT OVERS NIGHT (Use today to make the following freezer meals- 3 meals of each)
22. Lil' Cheddar Meatloaves, steamed veggies.
23. Chicken cordon bleu and green beans
24. Crock pot beef roast and a side salad.
25. Italian chicken and pineapple with quinoa and broccoli.
26. Grilled chicken, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad.
27. Crock pot chicken tomato soup
29. Teriyaki freezer meal over rice with stir fry veggies
30. Fajita freezer meal on corn tortillas

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Moms Apple Dumplings

I have a very clear memory of sitting on top of the kitchen island counter stuffing apples with butter and cinnamon and sugar with my mom while our family was staying at Grandpas for a time. This would place me stuffing apples at the age of four. Something this yummy sticks in ones memory! I made moms recipe last night with fresh picked apples and thought I'd share the recipe here.

1 pie crust (I used my gluten free flour blend to make my own, mom always used store bought)
3 large apples, cored
5 T cold butter, divided
3 T cinnamon sugar
1 cups water
1 T corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 t cinnamon

**Instead of corn syrup, mom used hard cinnamon candies (red hots, I believe). This made the dumplings a bit sweeter and a pretty red color, unfortunately I don't think red hots are gluten free?Ah well, the corn syrup instead makes for a deliciously sweet thick sauce.

Preheat oven to 425

Divide the pie crust dough into 3 equal parts and roll each out into a circle. Set each apple in the center of a crust and stuff the hallowed core with 1 T butter and 1 generous tablespoon of cinnamon and sugar. Wrap the dough around the apples and set them in a greased 8 x 8 baking dish.

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon, corn syrup or red hots, and remaining 2 T of butter and bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid into the dish with the apples and bake for 40 to 45 minutes covered.Then bake an additional 10 minutes uncovered. Apples should be soft and crust should be cooked through.

I liked eating mine right out of the oven in a bowl with milk when I was a kid... or left over for a yummy breakfast. Last night we served them over vanilla ice cream and drizzled with home made caramel. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Funnel Cakes!

I found this recipe online, and guess what? I used my gluten free flour mix and they turned out perfect!!! Love us some funnel cakes!
This chick cooks: funnel cakes

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pesto Shrimp and Veggie Pizza

2 prepared pizza crusts*
2/3 cup basil pesto sauce
1/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
Tomato, sliced
Red pepper, sliced
Mushrooms, sliced
Onion, chopped
Black olives, sliced
Handful of baby spinach
Precooked, peeled and de-veined frozen shrimp, thawed
Shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons butter, separated

*When I don't feel up to making pizza crust from scratch, we love Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza crust. It makes enough dough so that we can roll one half out on the pizza stone and pat the other half into the cast iron skillet making two delicious pizza crusts. 

Preheat oven with pizza stones and/ or cast iron skillets inside to 375 degrees.

Mix together the basil pesto and ricotta cheese to form a sauce.

Prepare all other ingredients. (Chopping, de-tailing the shrimp.)

Spread sauce over prepared crusts and top with toppings, spreading the shredded mozzarella around last.

Coat each hot baking surface with a tablespoon of butter allowing for it to melt and be spread around the pans.

Set pizza crusts on hot baking surfaces and bake until cheese begins to melt.

Change oven to broil setting and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, removing pizzas when cheese begins to brown.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mustard Dill Salmon

Salmon fillets
Yellow mustard
Dill seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with non stick cooking spray and set salmon down on top. Coat each fillet with two drops of yellow mustard, spread out evenly. Sprinkle dill seasoning on top. Cover dish with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Easiest, Fastest Cheesecake

I knew this five minute, four ingredient cheesecake was going to be good when two of those four ingredients were cream cheese and sweet and condensed milk. Um, yum! It is incredibly rich and creamy. I served mine in cupcake liners, forgoing the graham cracker crust for gluten free purposes, and topped them with strawberries. I might call this a cheese mousse instead of a cheesecake because of the texture difference, but a cheese mousse doesn't sound nearly as appetizing for some reason. I second her advice to really let the cream cheese soften before making as those little cream cheese clumps are rather annoying.

Click here for this wonderful little recipe.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thumbprint Biscuit Treat

The falling snow outside put me in the mood for a big pot of chili. And then a big pot of chili put me in the mood for biscuits. And while I was making biscuits, I realized that cinnamon rolls would have been better. So, I came up with this much easier, delicious treat that quite hit the spot, but that took half the time and made half the mess that preparing cinnamon rolls does.

1 recipe for biscuits, dough prepared (I used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit and Baking Mix)
Cinnamon sugar
Butter, melted
Nuts (we used walnuts)
Dried fruit (I used dried cherries)

Shape the biscuit dough into balls and press your thumb into the center, not deep enough to create a hole in the bottom, just deep enough to leave an imprint. Fill this imprint with cinnamon sugar, nuts and dried fruit. Arrange biscuits onto a greased baking sheet and drizzle melted butter on top. Cook according to biscuit recipe instructions. Allow to cool slightly before serving with your favorite frosting or glaze. We just mixed powdered sugar with milk and a bit of vanilla. Yum.
A plate of biscuits and thumbprint biscuit treats- perfect for this snowy day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Perfect Gluten Free Bread

Pinterest Recipe Review: * * * * * (An enthusiastic 5/5 stars)
Picture courtesy of the Baking Beauties Blog
 Gluten free bread was one of the first things I tried to make when it became obvious I needed to embrace the celiac lifestyle. I figured I should start there since bread would be the thing I knew I'd miss the most. I unknowingly took on the most daunting of tasks in my most fragile, clueless state. The result? Epic fail. The spongy, bland, disgusting recipe convinced me that I would never again eat bread. So here we are, over a year later, living in a household completely converted to gluten free living, and we couldn't be happier. Or could we? I found out my husband was cheating on me. Yes, you read that right. He was having delectable affairs with subway sandwiches. Wheat bread, white bread, honey oat, Italian herbs and cheeses, flat bread... you name it, he enjoyed it! Alright, so he missed bread. So sandwiches make a tasty on the go meal. But knowing he was eating this amazing bread made me jealous, and frustrated too since I know all about how the wheat causes inflammation in his arthritic back. 

So where does a girl turn to for help in these dire circumstances? Pinterest of course. I scoured pictures and recipes of gluten free bread until I found one that looked promising enough, checked my cabinets and freezer for all the right ingredients, and set to work making my first loaf of bread in a really, really long time. The bread didn't rise much tucked beneath the towel in front of our heating vent, so I had my doubts as I slid it into the stove, but it came out of the oven completely beautiful. Our kitchen once again filled with the aroma of fresh baked bread. I sliced off a heel and smeared butter on the piece of bread, tentatively took a nibble... and then gobbled up the whole thing! Bread! I was eating bread! Bread that tasted great, that had an acceptable texture. All I can say is thank you to the Baking Beauties blog for creating this bread and saving our marriage! I'm also grateful that this delicious treat is healthy as it consists of brown rice flour, a whole grain, and ground flax, a miracle seed. (Click here to read more about how wonderful ground flax is.) 

Here is the recipe for perfect gluten free bread, as posted on The Baking Beauties blog. 

* I left out the powdered milk as I did not have it, and exchanged a cup of warm milk for the cup of warm water that the recipe calls for.
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup skim milk powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Combine warm, yeast & sugar in a glass bowl. Stir & let sit 5 minutes. This allows the yeast to proof & shortens rising time.
  2. In a large bowl or plastic bag, combine dry ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, using a heavy-duty mixer with paddle attachment or dough hook, combine remaining ingredients until well blended. Add water/yeast mixture & combine.
  4. With mixer on lowest speed, slowly add dry ingredients until combined. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer on medium speed, beat for 4 minutes.
  5. Spoon into prepared bread pan or mini-loaf pans. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm, draft-free place for 30-40 minutes, or until dough has risen to the top of the pan.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of single loaf.
  7. Slice and wrap while still warm in airtight individual sandwich bags, then place these in a larger freezer bag. Freeze up to 6 weeks.
  8. Bake 12 minutes for 11 mini loaves. Freeze 2 loaves/sandwich bag.
NOTE: Unlike the recipe, I let my loaf cool totally before slicing & packaging. LOVE the new electric knife we got for Christmas, it makes such wonderful, even slices. Perfect!
Nutritional Value: Based on 16 slices per loaf it comes out to : 131 calories, 4g fat, 19g carbs, 3g protein and 1.5g fiber.

Asian Meat Balls

Pinterest Recipe Review:  * * * * *  (5/ 5 stars)
Picture courtesy of Gimme Some Oven
Ali posted a recipe for saucy Asian meatballs on her blog, Gimme Some Oven. (Posted below.) I recently made 'em and loved 'em! We served them over rice and stir fry veggies and also froze several meatballs for another time. I loved their salty goodness (but not too salty- if you're worried about that be sure to use low sodium soy suace.) I also loved how well they held together! Her recipe calls for hoisin sauce, and I was hesitant to go out and buy some for two reasons. First, I hate buying an ingredient that I will only use in one recipe and will consequently live out its shelf life taking up room, wasting away, in the refrigerator. And second, I doubted I'd find a gluten free version. Google led me to a recipe to use in making my own hoisin sauce though; it was delicious and, when doubled, made just enough!

Hoisin Sauce
4 T soy sauce (Tamari Gluten Free soy sauce)
2 T peanut butter
1 T honey
2 t white vinegar
1/8 t garlic powder
2 t sesame oil
20 drops hot sauce

Asian Meat Balls
  • 2 lbs. ground pork or ground beef
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup Panko or breadcrumbs (I used crushed rice chex)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onions
  • optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds   
Asian Sauce Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce (again, I used tamari gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
Preheat oven to 400.
In a large bowl, mix together meatball ingredients until well-combined.  Shape into balls (I made mine about 1.5 inches, which yielded about 35 meatballs, but 1 inch is probably standard), and place on a greased baking sheet or in a 9×13 baking dish.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until meatballs are golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.
While the meatballs are baking, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until blended.  Once meatballs have finished cooking, you can either dip each meatball individually (using a toothpick) in the sauce mixture.  Or you can pour the sauce over the meatballs and gently stir them until covered.
Serve warm, and sprinkle with additional garnish if desired.

Ali’s Tip:
You can also keep these warm (after cooking) in the crockpot on a low setting!

Chocolate Oat Muffins

Pinterest recipe review: * * * * * (5/5 stars)
The "Healthy is Always Better" blogger posted the following recipe. I was intrigued because the lack of flour made them easily gluten free! I didn't have greek yogurt so I used the plain non fat yogurt that I did have instead. I also used regular sugar instead of a sugar alternative. I made half the batch as she suggests, pulling them out to top with chocolate chips, and then returning them to the oven for a few more minutes. I found that, while they tasted good, those muffins sank and lost their beautiful, poofy, muffin top. The other half of the batch I left alone for the full fifteen minutes and topped them with chocolate chips when they came out of the oven fully cooked. I much prefer this method since they both tasted good and looked beautiful!
Picture courtesy of Healthy is Always Better

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffin 
(Knock-Offs of Whole Food’s 6 Dollar per 4 Chocolate Chunk VitaTop Muffins)
  • 1 3/4 c oats
  •  3 egg whites
  •  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar substitute (like Splenda granular) OR 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use white chocolate or peanut butter chips!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.

Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.

Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.
Place  the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. *Note, you could skip this step by putting all of the chips in the batter, and baking the muffins for 12-15 min straight, but this method gives the muffins the traditional ‘VitaTop Muffin’ look with the chocolate chips on top!
Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!!

Servings: 12 Big Muffins or 24 Smaller Muffins
Calories: 116 Calories Per Muffin or 58 Calories Per Muffin


Friday, March 2, 2012

Corn Bread

What I love about this corn bread is that it holds together well enough to pick up and eat as finger food. It's also a good combination of salty and sweet and turns out great with a cup of corn kernels added to the batter.

1 Cup gluten free flour
3/4 Cup corn meal
2 Table spoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Cup milk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven, with cast iron skillet in it, to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, add vinegar to milk and set aside.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter. Stir in the milk mixture and the eggs.
When oven in preheated, drop a tablespoon or two of butter onto the pan and allow to melt. Pour bread batter into the buttered pan and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until top begins to brown.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Elanas Pantry

Who uses pinterest? Pretty great, huh? I happened upon a pin that led me to Elanas Pantry. Go check it out, she has lots of gluten free recipes that I can't wait to taste!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pudding whip cream frosting

1. Make the whip cream
2. Make the pudding
3. Fold the pudding into the whip cream. 
To make whip cream: 
Heavy cream
1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 T sugar
1 to 2 T coacoa powder (for chocolate whip cream)
Combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk on high, with stand mixer or electric hand mixer, until stiff peaks form.

To make the pudding: (Easy version) 
 Buy a packet of instant vanilla pudding... or instant chocolate pudding, if you'd rather... and prepare it almost according to package instructions. You will need to use half the liquid it calls for, now you can use milk like it suggests, but it's better if you use half and half.

To make the pudding: (From scratch)
In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup half and half and 2 tablespoons corn starch, set aside.
Heat 3/4 cup half and half in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add 1 1/2 T either honey or agave nectar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt. (Also 1/4 cup cocoa for chocolate variation.) As soon as it reaches a slight boil, add the corn starch mixture continuing to stir constantly until it thickens. Cover loosely and chill; pudding will continue to thicken in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling
Prepare your favorite chocolate cake in two 8 inch round cake pans. I make mine from scratch using this gluten free all purpose flour mix. The recipe I follow is Silvana's; from her Cooking for Isaiah cookbook and I don't have permission to reprint it here, although I'd highly recommend it! Really though, any chocolate cake recipe will do, gluten free or other wise. I've learned that checking a cake too soon will contribute to the center collapsing in, so try not to peek until you suspect it is done.

Make the raspberry filling:
1 12 oz pkg of frozen strawberries, or 12oz fresh raspberries.
1/2 cup + 1 T water
3/4 cup sugar
1 T lemon juice
2 1/2 T corn starch, dissolved in 1/2 cup of water

Combine all but the cornstarch in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes; until the raspberries have completely broken down. Strain reserving the liquid and discarding the seeds and pulp. Return the liquid to the saucepan and add the cornstarch. Bring back to a boil and simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once the cakes and the raspberry filling have cooled, assemble them by layering the raspberry filling between the two cake rounds. Top with desired frosting. We like vanilla pudding whip cream, but now that I think about it, I bet chocolate pudding whip cream would be good too!

GF All purpose flour

3 Cups white rice flour
3 Cups brown rice flour
3 Cups tapioca flour
1 1/2 Cups potato starch
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons xanthum gum
I use this in every recipe that calls for flour... even if it calls for their own blend, I use mine. It always works and it saves money to be consistent that way! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken Thighs

All you need are chicken thighs and salt and pepper and a tablespoon of oil.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in cast iron skillet on the stove, then add chicken thighs skin side down. Salt and Pepper as desired. Move them around every couple of minutes to prevent them from sticking to the pan. After about eight minutes, when the skin is nice and brown, transfer the skillet to the oven. Three minutes into cooking, flip the thighs over and continue to cook until done. Maybe about ten minutes.

These would go great with roasted vegetables.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sesame Chicken

I found a recipe online for gluten free sesame chicken. We tried it out tonight and I twinked it a bit since her directions were confusing. Basically, if you just make sure to add the corn starch to the bowl with the sugar/ soy sauce mixture and then heat to a boil and stir for a minute and until thick, it will turn out. I quite enjoyed it and the jasmine rice won my husband over.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Soda Brisket Tacos

2 pound beef brisket
2 cans Dr. Pepper, the kind with real sugar
A few shakes of garlic powder
A few shakes of chili powder
1/2 red onion
2 fresh garlic cloves
Corn tortillas
BBQ Sauce (We like Sweet Baby Rays Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce)
Toppings of choice

Cook brisket, soda and spices in the croc pot on low for about six hours. Remove meat from liquid, slice and set in a serving bowl. Top with BBQ sauce.

Saute onion and chopped garlic cloves until soft in a skillet over medium heat. Add to the brisket and BBQ sauce.

Serve inside toasted corn tortillas with your favorite toppings. I like to add sour cream, more BBQ sauce, cilantro, tomato and corn.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

No Bake Energy Bites

Picture courtesy of Smashed Peas and Carrots Blog

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. 

We LOVE this recipe. Great for on the go snacks and rumor has it ground flaxseed is super healthy! This creation is that of smashed peas and carrots blog.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Green Chili

(Adapted from Redbook magazine)

2 to 4 Tomatillos, husks removed, halved
3 Jalapenos, halved and seeded
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 cups pork, cooked and chopped
1 cup frozen corn
Brown rice
1 avacado
1 can great northern beans
sour cream
lime wedges
1. Arrange tomatillos, jalapenos, onion and garlic on a baking sheet; lightly coat with oil. Broil 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly charred. Remove from oven. Chop onion and set aside. Peel garlic.
2. Transfer tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic, oregano, cilantro and chicken brother to blender. Pulse until slightly chunky salsa forms.
3. Pour salsa into a large saucepan. Add chopped onion, pork and frozen corn. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with optional additions listed above.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

1 whole, fresh pie pumpkin

Cut pumpkin in half without stem. Scoop out seeds and strings. Place cut side down on foil lined baking sheets. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 until tender about 90 minutes. Cool. Scoop out flesh and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Drain if too watery.

Beat together 1 1/3 cup smooth pumpkin with:
1 1/3 cup sweet condensed milk
1 egg
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup hot water

Pour into a 9" pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees 55 to 65 minutes. (Center will still move slightly when done.) Cool and enjoy.

*Mashed pumpkin will last 5 days in refrigerator.

Chex Muddy Buddies

9 cups corn chex or rice chex
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Pour cereal into a large bowl; set aside.
2. Microwave chips, peanut butter and butter for one minute. Stir; microwave 30 seconds longer. Stir in the vanilla and pour mixture over cereal. Stir to evenly coat. Pour into two gallon resealable food storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in air tight container in refrigerator.


2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon some sort of flavoring (kool aid packets work well)
Food coloring as needed

Mix sugar, water and vinegar, cook without stirring until the hot liquid forms a ball when dropped into a glass of cold water. Add flavoring. Pour into a shallow, buttered dish. Cool until safe to handle. Pull and twist, and pull and twist, and pull and twist. Lay out on wax paper. 

Apple Pie

Mix together:
6 large, peeled and shredded apples
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pie spice
3 tablespoon flour

Pour the mixture into a pie crust and top with two tablespoons of sliced butter.

Mix together (mixture should be crumbly):
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine

Pour mixture on top of apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, until slightly browned.

Chocolate Eclair Icebox Dessert

Arrange 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan

Mix together:
3 cups milk
8 oz cream cheese
2   3.4 oz packages vanilla instant pudding
Fold in 8 oz cool whip

Spread half of this mixture over the graham crackers and top with 7 1/2 more sheets. Spread the remaining pudding mixture on top. Again, top with 7 1/2 more sheets.

Beat together: 1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 oz melted unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons soft margarine
Add: 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Spread the chocolate mixture over graham crackers. Cover and chill for four hours before serving.

Chocolate No Bake Cookies

1 cup sugar
1/4 butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons cocoa

Combine the above in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the following:
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups quick oats
Spoon out onto parchment paper and allow to cool.

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Lime sauce

Drizzle one 6 ounce tilapia fillet with a squeeze of lime juice and season with a pinch each cayenne and salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

To make the sauce, mix together:
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lime
1 chipotle pepper, (canned with adobo sauce) minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce

Toast two corn tortillas and top with tilapia, shredded cabbage, diced fresh tomatoes, black beans and sauce.

Steak and Pepper Tacos

1 pound flank or hanger steak
Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange) thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
8 small corn tortillas, warmed

Topping ideas:
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup grated low fat Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup salsa verde
Reduced fat sour cream

Marinate the steak in the lime juice, salt, garlic and chili powder in a sealed plastic bag for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil to the pan. Add the red onion and bell peppers; cook, tossing frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the corn and continue to cook until the peppers are charred and soft, about 3 more minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and keep warm.

Wipe the skillet with a paper towel and heat for another minute. Add the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Lay the steak in the pan, reduce heat to medium high, and cook about 8 minutes for medium rare, turning once halfway though. Transfer to a board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Slice the steak across the grain and arrange on a platter with the peppers and lime wedges. Make tacos with the warm tortillas and whatever toppings are desired.

Serves 4. 416 calories, 32 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat (4.3 saturated) 7 g fiber


Place a pork roast in the crocpot
Add 2 to 4 cans black beans
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoon worchestire sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 chopped onion
1 bayleaf
1 teaspoon garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Serve over rice with orange slices.

Italian Pineapple Chicken

4 boneless sinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup italian salad dressing
1 can sliced pineapple, drained
4 slices provolone or swiss cheese

Place chicken in a skillet over medium- high heat. Top with dressing and cook with the lid on. Just before the chicken is cooked through, remove lid and top with cheese and pineapple. Serve with quinoa.

Chicken Parmesan

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup crushed rice chex
28 oz pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese

Use meat tenderizer to thin chicken. Dip each chicken in the egg and then coat with chex. Place the pieces in a greased baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Top chicken with pasta sauce and cheeses. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with pasta.

Spicy Beef Tacos

1 teaspoon oil
1  7 oz can green chilies
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup minced, fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons chili powder

In a large skillet over medium- high heat, warm oil then add cilantro and onion. Add chilies, cook 1 minute stirring. Stir in beef. As beef is browning, add garlic salt and chili powder. When cooked, add salsa, and 2 tablespoon of water. Simmer until most liquid is dissolved. Serve in taco shells.


1 3 to 5 pound roast
1 can beef broth
1/2 of that can water
1 can stewed tomatoes
peeled small potatoes
baby carrots
garlic salt, onion powder, pepper, season all

Cook 4 to 6 hours in a crocpot. Add the potatoes and tomatoes one hour before serving. Add the carrots 15 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin and Chicken Sausage "risotto"

Recipe courtesy of fitness magazine.
2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground dried sage
6 ounces spicy chicken sausage links
1 1/2 cups farro
3 cups low-sodium fat- free chicken stock
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine pumpkin, oil and sage. Top with sausage. Roast 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Turn sausages over and roast 15 more minutes. Remove from oven, slice sausages and set sausage and pumpkin/ squash pieces aside.

Rinse and drain farro. Set aside. Bring chicken stock to a boil.

In a large pot, heat oil. Saute shallot for 2 minutes. Stir in farro. Add wine; cook until absorbed, about 7 minutes. Stir in two ladles of chicken stock. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes, add two more ladles of chicken stock cover and simmer again. Repeat this process until all stock has been used and almost completely absorbed.

Remove from heat and stir in parmesan. Cover and let risotto rest 5 minutes. Stir in sausage and pumpkin/ squash and parsley.

Serves 4. 487 calories, 25 g protein, 60 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat (4 g saturated), 8 g fiber


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)

Brown beef with onion. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for one more minute.

Add the beans and tomatoes. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have begun to break down, about 15 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. 289 calories, 25 g protein, 9 g fat (3g saturated fat), 25 carbs, 10 g fiber, 238 mg sodium

Roasted Chipotle Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes in the olive oil and scatter on the bottom of a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together the chilies, garlic, honey, vinegar, salt, cumin, and cinnamon to make a paste. Rub the paste evenly over each chicken breast.

Place the chicken breasts on top of the sweet potatoes and roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Serves six. 407 calories, 38 g protein, 45 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 6 g fiber.

Best Brownies (Jacob makes these)

1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly blended. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients and then the chocolate chips. Spread batter into a greased 9 by 13 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Turkish Zucchini Slippers

2 zucchini
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup meat (Great with Italian sausage, but you can use left overs too.)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil; cook whole zucchini for ten minutes just to soften. Remove them from the water. Cut off ends and slice lengthwise. Use a spoon to hallow out the seeds.

Mix together other ingredients and spoon mixture into zucchinis. Bake until set and then broil to brown.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mix together:
1/3 cup mayonese
1 cup crushed rice chex
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup meat (great with Italian sausage. Can also use up left overs like that Thanksgiving turkey.)

Spoon mixture into the mushrooms.
(1 package whole mushrooms, rinsed with stems removed.)

Bake for 12 minutes at 350. Change oven to broil and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. 

Grandma Debs Pancakes

1 1/3 Cup Gluten free Flour*                                              
1/3 Cup Cornmeal                           
 1/3 Cup Quick Oats
2 t Baking Powder**                          
2 T Honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 3/4 cup soy milk (or regular milk; may need an extra 1/4 cup depending on how thick/ thin you want your pancakes)                              

* The original recipe called for 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup flour.
** Since the gluten free flour I use includes xanthum gum, I use less baking powder. Maybe 1 or 1 1/2 tsp.

1. Dinner roll pancakes. Add two tablespoons of sugar instead of two teaspoons. Serve with butter, honey butter, or jam with any dinner. 
2. Italian bread sticks pancakes. Leave out the honey. Add Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Serve with any pasta dinner.

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup

1 ½ Cup Sugar
¾ Cup Buttermilk
½ Cup butter
2 T Corn Syrup
1 t Baking Soda

Combine and stir while heating; boil for 7 minutes. (If you boil longer it will thicken and make a caramel good for dipping fruit.)  Remove from heat. Then, add 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Austin Family White Breakfast

Here's what we ate as kids when dad got to cooking! 

3 Cup Milk, Bring to boil slowly

In a seperate bowl, mix together:
¼ Cup Flour
¼ Cup Sugar
2 Pinches Salt
1 Egg
May need to add a little milk to thin. Add to warming milk. Stir constantly until it boils.
Serve hot over buttered bread.

*Can add vanilla and refrigerate leftovers for next day pudding