Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blue Cheese Polenta with Sauteed Vegetables

To me, this dish is very dangerous. I love Polenta!  I also love cheese... even the stinky stuff... and especially the bluing with fungus stuff.  Part of me is disgusted by it, but the taste, although not even that great, keeps me coming back for more.  It's like that with that really stinky, soft cheese.  It smells horrible, so why do so many people, including me, keep putting it into their mouth when it's available? This meal, on the other hand, smells delicious and tastes amazing!  I think you'll agree.

  • 2 tblsp olive oil 
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta (make sure it's gluten free)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (your choice)
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
 Cooking Directions
  1. Heat 1 tblsp olive oil in heavy skillet
  2. Add mushrooms and thyme. Saute until mushrooms are tender (around 5 minutes). 
  3. Add remaining 1 tblsp olive oil, onion, bell pepper, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Saute until vegetables are tender (around 8 minutes).
  4. Combine milk, 1/2 cup water, and the remaining salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in the polenta and cook for 5 minutes (stirring frequently). Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in the Gorgonzola cheese until fully incorporated.
  6. Serve on plates, sided with the sauteed vegetables and enjoy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Two Birds and a Pig Gluten Free Chili

I don't think I'll ever get bored of experimenting with chili.  It's always so good, makes lots of leftovers, and can be made so many different ways.  I just went with what I had on hand, hoped for the best, and was pleasantly surprised when it ended up exceeding my expectations.  Next time though, I think I'll make it a bit spicier.  I mean, it did make my nose run a bit, but I know I can handle a lot more heat:)

  • 6 tblsp oil
  • 1 pound chicken (GF chicken sausage, chopped chicken, etc.)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound spicy pork sausage (makes sure it's gluten free)
  • 2 1/2 tblsp hot chili powder
  • 3 medium onion (chopped)
  • 3 large jalapeno peppers (seeded and minced)
  • 1 tblsp garlic (minced)
  • 1 tblsp dried oregano
  • 1 tblsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar
  • 1 (6 oz.) can diced black olives
  • 1 can of dark kidney beans (drained)
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese for garnish

Cooking Directions
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot and brown the chicken, ground turkey and pork sausage. Once browned, stir in the chili powder and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet and saute the onions until golden.
  3. Add the minced jalapenos and saute for a few minutes; add the garlic and saute for a minute.
  4. Add the onion mixture to the meat along with the oregano, vinegar, tomatoes, water, bay leaves, cumin, brown sugar, salt, and olives.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  5. Cover and cook for 1 hour, making sure it remains simmering throughout (not boiling). Stir occasionally and adjust seasoning to your taste.
  6. Add drained can of dark kidney beans and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  7. Remove bay leaves and serve topped with shredded Cheddar.
  8. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gluten Free Cheesy Broiled Polenta with Mushrooms

With half of my family living in the deep south, grits and polenta have always been among my favorite side dishes.  In this recipe corn meal takes the main stage in a delicious meal that can be served hot or cold, although bubbling hot is the best!  You can use any kind of mushroom you wish; experimentation is best when tasty.  When using the broiler, make sure to keep a close eye on your polenta, since it can quickly go from a beautiful golden brown to a charred black in a matter of seconds.  Try not to like this one:)

Total Prep Time = 30 minutes
Serves = 6

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Meal)
  • 3 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 large garlic clove (minced or pressed)
  • 1 tblsp. dry white wine (or water, but wine is better)
  •  1/8 tsp. salt (in addition to the salt needed for the boiling water above)
  • 1/2 cup smoked cheddar or provolone cheese (shredded)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • dash of marjoram, basil, or tarragon (optional)

Cooking Directions
  1. Bring 3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. of salt to a boil. When the water is rapidly boiling, add the cornmeal slowly while stirring constantly to avoid creating lumps.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, making sure to stir often to avoid sticking, until the polenta is nice an thick.
  3. While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until the oil is absorbed.
  4. Stir in the wine (or water), and 1/8 tsp. salt. Simmer gently for a couple minutes.
  5. Preheat the broiler.
  6. Spread the polenta evenly in a buttered or oiled flameproof casserole dish.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the polenta. Spoon the sauteed mushrooms over the cheese, and top off with another layer of shredded cheese.  Add ground pepper according to your taste.
  7. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. 
  8. Remove from broiler and top with a sprinkling of marjoram, basil or tarragon if you wish.
  9. Serve bubbling hot and pull up the blanket of comfort food you're about to enjoy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gluten Free Spicy Potatoes and Cauliflower

Besides holiday meals, I still plan on keeping things vegetarian and gluten free for the foreseeable future.  I was once a vegetarian... back in the day.  My vegetarian diet lasted for 5 of my adolescent years; until I went away to college, had to rely on a meal plan, and would've starved for lack of vegetarian options.  Now, at 36, I'm getting back into it.  Back then it was all about living a kill-free, chill lifestyle, and now it's more about staying healthy (not that a kill-free diet isn't still a nice rationale for being vegetarian).

This cauliflower and potato dish recipe is enough to feed 4 as a main meal, or 8 as an appetizer.  There's a bit more prep than I like, but the finished product is just too good to cut corners and miss out.  Enjoy!

  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 10 tblsp. peanut or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 fresh green chilli (the hot ones), seeded and finely chopped (WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER)
  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin (or cumin seeds)
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced or cut into shreds
  • 4 tblsp. fresh coriander (or parsley), finely chopped
  • salt

Cooking Directions
  1. Cook the potatoes in their skins in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes, or until just tender (which means you can put a fork in them easily, but the potato won't fall off the fork). Drain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Heat 6 tblsp. of the oil in a frying pan or wok. When hot, add the ground cumin, coriander, tumeric, cayenne pepper and chilli. Let the spices sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add the cauliflower bits and about 8 tblsp. water. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, for 6-8 minutes.  
  4. Add the potatoes and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and remove from heat.
  5. Heat the remaining 4 tblsp. of oil in a small frying pan. When hot, add the cumin and garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Pour the mixture over the vegetables. 
  6. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander or parsley and serve immediately.

Gluten Free Peruvian Quinoa Stew

I've cooked up a few nice dishes using quinoa in the past.  Once for a cold and fruity salad, and another as an accompaniment for baked fish.  This vegetarian gluten free meal calls for a bit of prep and chopping, but in the end it's all worth it:)

It's the day after x-mas and New Years 2013 is right around the corner.  Make sure to add this to your New Year's Resolution healthy eating meal list; it's a keeper!

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tblsp. oil (vegetable or coconut)
  • 2 cups onions (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 celery stalk (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (cut diagonally into 1/4 inch slices)
  • 1 bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup zucchini (cubed)
  • 2 cups undrained canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water or GF vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. fresh or 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • pinch of cayenne (or more if it's what you like)
  • salt
  • fresh cilantro (optional)
  • grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Cooking Directions
  1. Using a fine strainer, rinse your quinoa well.  Place it in a pot with the water (1 cup) and cook, covered, on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until soft. Set aside.
  2. Take out a covered pot. As the quinoa is cooking, saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add the celery and carrots to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, and water or GF stock. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne, and oregano, and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes (until the vegetables are tender).
  5. Stir the cooked quinoa into the stew and add salt to taste. Top with cilantro and grated cheese if you like.
  6. Serve up and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gluten Free Red Fried Rice

It's the end of the academic semester, I have about a week and a half left of grading papers and tests, going to meetings, and organizing the mess in my office that has accumulated over the past 4 months.  And then my winter break begins!  I'm seriously looking forward to having some free time to fill.  I plan to get on the mountains to hike and snowboard as much as the weather allows, finish up a few lingering home projects, and spend some time visiting friends I've neglected during the school semester.  I also plan on learning how to create some memorable vegetarian meals and a few new desserts to add to my culinary repertoire; something I've already begun.

This healthy vegetarian dish is very easy to prepare and cook.  It's quite tasty and can be eaten for any meal of the day.  Although I made this a main meal, this is a great side dish as well.  Feel free to add some diced hot pepper and experiment with the amounts of salt and pepper you add.  Although the directions call on you to add the salt and pepper at the end of the process, you may want to season throughout. Enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 tblsp coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion (chopped)
  • 2 red peppers (seeded & chopped)
  • 1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Directions
  • Either combine 3 cups of water and the rice in a rice cooker and press the "on" button, or... wash the rice under cold water. Drain. Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add rice and cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • While your rice is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a wok (or deep pan/pot) until very hot (medium/high heat). Add the chopped onions and red pepper and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.  
  • Add the halved cherry or grape tomatoes and continue to stir fry for another 3 minutes.
  • Pour the beaten eggs in all at once and let cook on top for 30 seconds before you stir it all together. 
  • Drain the cooked rice (if not using a rice cooker) and add to the wok.  Toss the rice over the heat with the vegetable/egg mixture for another 3 minutes.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gluten Free Chicken Fiorentina

Nothing exemplifies comfort food more than an aromatic herbed chicken dish like the one I'm about to share with you.  This recipe takes a little more than an hour from start to finish, but is worth every second of your time.  When you rub the salt and pepper into the chicken skin and flesh, make sure to cover every bit of chicken. Don't be lazy during this step, for your attention to detail in spicing it up will pay happy dividends when the fork finally meets your mouth:)

Feel free to boil up your own potatoes and mash them up as you see fit.  I, on the other hand, went the easy route by using Idahoan Four Cheese Instant Mashed Potatoes.  They state "gluten free" and are super easy and fast to make, and actually taste pretty good.  Also, cook using the same white wine that you'll enjoy drinking with your meal. In other words, pick a tasty white wine that's made for drinking, not cooking.

You're going to love the way this dish fills your house with the warming scent of rosemary and chicken. Enjoy!

  • 1-2 pounds of Chicken; enough chicken pieces to individually cover the bottom of the big pot you'll be cooking with
  • 4-5 thick sliced spring (green) onions
  • 1 cup white wine
  • enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your cooking pot
  • 1 tblsp. fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup gluten free vegetable, chicken or beef broth
  • salt and pepper

Cooking Directions
  1. Cut off any loose, hanging fat from chicken.  Rub chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Really get the salt and pepper all over the skin, flesh, and into every crevice. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in your cooking pot (medium-high heat). Once hot, add the chicken and arrange so that each piece has one side completely cooking in the oil.  Saute the chicken until golden brown and turn over.
  3. Add the chopped spring onions and rosemary, and saute for another 4 minutes.
  4. Pour in your white wine, let it cook and reduce for 3 or so minutes.  Add the broth, reduce the flame to medium-low, cover and gently cook for about 35 minutes.
  5. Add the grated lemon rind, cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Serve it up hot with some mashed potatoes and get down to business!