Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gluten Free Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

This has to be one of the easiest recipes out there!  I can whip this up from start to finish in about 20 minutes (after the Chicken is done marinating that is).  To grill the chicken breasts I used my handy-dandy Foreman Grill, but if you have an outdoor grill... even better.  Basically all you have to do is grill up the marinated chicken and then spoon some extra marinade over the cooked chicken and serve.

I served it up with some organic brown rice, but feel free to spice it up with seasoned steamed vegetables.  This one has a kick to it, so if you're not into hot and spicy, you may want to tone down the pepper flakes and chili powder.

  • 1/2 cup of Whole Grain Mustard (any kind, just make sure it's GF)
  • 1/2 cup of Honey
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Reserve about 4 tablespoons of sauce to glaze cooked chicken, and then pour the remaining honey-mustard mixture over the chicken.  Toss it up until completely coated and then cover with plastic wrap and let marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for about 7 minutes per side, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. 
  4. Pour the reserve honey-mustard sauce over chicken and let rest under foil covering for about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with your favorite side and chow down! 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gluten Free Potato, Leek and Arugula Soup

Just three weeks away from comps! Yikes!  The weather is still a bit cold and dreary, but signs of spring are popping up all over the place. Just a few days ago I was walking through the woods among yellow blooms and daffodil shoots making their slow pilgrimage to their sun god.  The birds are back in the trees, beginning their Spring songs, and the season's last snow mounds are melting away to reveal fresh growth in the grass beds below.  I love Spring in Philadelphia. Especially during April when all the trees blossom; it's truly a beautiful thing and I look forward to it every year:)

Being that it's still a bit chilly, I thought I'd share yet another yummy soup recipe.  I made this about a week ago and absolutely loved it!  Taste-bud orgasms galore!  Now you can keep this veggie and omit the crumbled bacon, but I highly suggest at least substituting it with some FACON, or something similar, just for the sake of having little crunchies throughout your soup to enjoy.  Also, feel free to add vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Regardless of whether you add crunchies or not, a steaming bowl of this soup is a wonderful thing on a cold, damp day.  Trust me, you'll love it!


  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 leeks, mostly the white parts but a little green too (chopped)
  • 2 medium size potatoes, of any variety (chopped)
  • 4 tblsp butter
  • 3 3/4 cups GF chicken/vegetable stock, or water
  • 2-3 cups arugula (roughly chopped)
  • 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • crumbled bacon, or facon (for topping)

  1. Melt the butter in a large soup pan, and add the onion, leeks and potatoes, stirring the whole mixture till everything is coated with melted butter.
  2. Heat until sizzling and then turn heat to low.
  3. Cover the vegetables and cook on low for 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the stock or water in and bring to a boil over high heat.  As soon as it's boiling, reduce the heat to low, and keeping it covered, simmer for 20 more minutes.
  5. Remove the cover, and using a large spoon or potato masher with a long handle, carefully mash up the vegetable chunks a bit.  You don't want the soup to be super creamy, but mashing it up a little will make it just creamy enough.
  6. Add the chopped arugula, stir well and cook on low for another 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the heavy cream, season with S & P to taste, and continue to cook on low until the whole mixture is hot again.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with a pinch or two of bacon.
  9. Grab your favorite soup spoon and get ready for a tastetastic experience!
Roland Gluten Free All 
Natural Chicken Soup Base, 23 Servings Per 4 Ounce Jar, 4 Ounce Jars 
(Pack of 6)Roland Gluten Free All 
Natural Vegetable Soup Base, 23 Servings Per 4 Ounce Jar, 4 Ounce Jars 
(Pack of 6)Roland Gluten Free All 
Natural Beef Soup Base, 23 Servings Per 4 Ounce Jar, 4 Ounce Jars (Pack 
of 4)

Gluten Free Turkey Chocolate Chili

When I read a recipe for chili that called for an ounce of chocolate, I just had to whip up my own interpretation! It makes sense though. Cocoa and Chili are like some immortal, South American married couple. Although we always think SWEET when we talk chocolate, Cocoa wonderfully complements the HOT spices!  After a string of amazing days, perfect for taking in the vibrant colors of Autumn, it's back to the drizzle.  Philly, in general, has pretty nice weather, in comparison to one of the dreariest places to live: Syracuse... my home town:)  Because of my frame of reference, I never seem to catch the hum-drum, half-empty glass mentality that locals often adorn after but a few days of rain.

Rainy weather is Chili weather.  So I figured what better time to share one of my most favorite recipes of late - Turkey Chocolate Chili!!  This chili's broth is light and spicy, almost like a stew, and absolutely warm your insides with spicy deliciousness!  Feel free to cut back on the chili powder, or add more chocolate depending on your tastes, but don't omit the chocolate! Trust me, you'll barely know it's there, but it gives this dish a subtle, wonderful aftertaste.  For the chicken broth, I used "Better Than Bouillon" but you can use whatever GF vegetable or chicken broth you like. 

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 medium red bell peppers (chopped)
  • 6 garlic cloves (finely diced)
  • 4 tblsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 can of pinto beans (drained)
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes w/juice
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (Make Sure It's GF!)
  • 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate (chopped)
  • Cooking Spray (Make Sure It's GF!)

  1. Coat the bottom of a heavy pot with cooking spray.
  2. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic. Saute over high heat until vegetables begin to soften (about 6-8 minutes).
  3. Add turkey and saute until no longer pink, breaking it up while it cooks (about 5 minutes).
  4. Mix in the chili powder, cumin and oregano, stirring for about a minute.
  5. Add the beans, tomatoes with juice, broth and chopped chocolate.
  6. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. 
  7. Add a little S&P and chow down! You're going to love it!!!

Gluten Free Chicken Potato Bean-sprout Stew

The Northeast has been experiencing a wet and cold week.  This Sunday we scheduled a trip to Linvilla Orchards to pick apples, eat cider-doughnuts, and go on a hay-ride followed by a bonfire to roast marshmallows.  I've got my fingers crossed, but it could very well be a wash-out.  We have 80 people signed up, so I'm hoping for a break around the time our wagons are scheduled to depart. Either way, rain or not, I'll be there warming up with hot spiced cider and the company of good friends:)

Right now, as I'm writing this, a large pot of turkey chocolate chili is reducing on the stove.  It smells AWESOME!!!  This rainy, dreary, cold and gray weather is the perfect time for chili, soup and stew.  The chicken stew recipe below is something I whipped up with what I had on hand.  I was nervous about the bean-sprouts, but they ended up being an amazing alternative to noodles. They still held their texture, and since I didn't chop them up, were nice and stringy like al dente pasta.  

A hot, steaming bowl of chicken stew on a cold and damp day is a bit of heaven! I shared this with some friends and they shared with me that this stew is amazing. Make it! You'll love it!

  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 cups bean sprouts (rinsed)
  • 2 lb chicken breast (chopped)
  • 6 cups scrubbed and chopped red potatoes (with skins on)
  • 8 green onions/scallions chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cups GF chicken broth (I used "better than bouillon")
  • 1 tsp concentrated lemon juice
  • 3 tblsp vegetable oil
  • Salt, Black Pepper and Garlic Pepper

  1. The first thing you're going to do is cook up the chicken. Heat the oil in a large pot on med-high till hot and throw in the chopped chicken breast. As it's cooking, keep stirring and adding shakes of salt, pepper and garlic pepper until you feel that it's spicy enough for you. Once the chicken is cooked through, using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside.
  2. Add the chopped carrots, onions and bean sprouts to the chicken oil. Stir constantly for about 3 minutes.  Add the bay leaves, potatoes and lemon juice and stir together for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock until everything is covered with about 1 inch of liquid. Cover an bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and uncover.
  4. Let the soup simmer for about 3o minutes, tasting about 1/2 way through and adding more salt, pepper and garlic pepper to your specific taste.
  5. Serve hot and steamy on a wet, cold day. Enjoy!!!

Gluten Free Sunshine Colcannon

After the last post I went to the store and purchased Betty Crocker's GF Brownie Mix.  Just like the chocolate chip cookies, the brownies were great!  I can't wait to try all of their new GF products:)

It's almost the beginning of the semester. This is my last year taking classes; only three more to go before dissertation.  This week was my last at Social Work Counseling Services. It was sad emptying out my office and closing out my cases, but I'm looking forward to what's ahead. It should be a busy year, but I can't wait to get it going!

As usual I've been cooking and baking up a storm.  This dish was really easy to put together.  I call it "Sunshine Colcannon" because the eggs look like little suns:) It tasted wonderful and was super filling.  I just love these traditional Irish meals... such great comfort food.  Feel free to use whatever cheese you prefer, and if you have an allergy to eggs, just leave them out.  

  • 2 pounds potatoes (chopped up)
  • 1/2 pound crisp green cabbage - any variety (shredded)
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 oz. mature cheese (grated)
  • butter or margarine (according to taste)
  • nutmeg (according to taste) - I used about 1/4 tsp.
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper (according to taste)

  1. Boil the potatoes until just tender - drain them and smash em up!
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Lightly cook the cabbage until just tender but still crisp. I cooked it in some olive oil and water, covering to steam a little.
  4. Drain the cabbage and mix them with the potatoes.  Add the onions, butter, nutmeg and S&P and mix together well.
  5. Transfer the mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish and make four potholes in the mixture. Crack an egg into each hole and season well.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are just set.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Grab a bottle of Redbridge, some family or friends, and chow down!!

Gluten Free Eggplant & Ricotta Rolls

I've been cooking up a storm lately; sticking to vegetarian and more health-conscious meals.  I love it!  Cooking healthy gluten free food is actually very easy.  It's the calorie-laden GF baked goods that are a bit more challenging. Eating foods that energize and make you feel good inside is where it's at.  I still eat whatever I want when I'm out, but I think sticking to the healthy stuff at home is an easy way to keep my weight down.  Not that I'm worried too much about my weight, but it's good to think preventatively.

I've had some pretty gross and greasy eggplant parmesan before so I don't usually cook with eggplant.  I wasn't sure how this dish would turn out.  It required a few more steps than I'm used to (I'm a pretty lazy cook), but the end product was AWESOME!  The following day when I had it for lunch at work - it tasted even better!  This dish seriously opened up my taste buds to the yumminess of cooked eggplant.  I know you're going to like this one;)

For the eggplant rolls
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • Olive or Sunflower Oil (enough to coat the bottom of a pan)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups white rice (cooked)
  • 1 tblsp. fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 tsp. fresh mint (chopped)
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
For The Sauce
  • 1 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium size onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or GF vegetable stock)
  • 1 tblsp. fresh parsley (chopped)

Cooking Instructions
  1. Get the rice cooking.
  2. Create the tomato sauce: heat the oil in a small pan and fry the garlic and onion for 2 to 3 minutes (or until softened).
  3. Add the tomatoes, wine (or stock), and parsley. Season well with salt & pepper.  Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).
  4. Meanwhile: preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 
  5. Slice the eggplants the long way. Discard the ends and outer slices.
  6. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the slices of eggplant until golden brown on each side (you'll need to do this in stages). Remove the browned slices and drain on paper towels.
  7. Mix the cooked rice, ricotta cheese, basil, mint, and some salt and pepper in a bowl.
  8. Lay the cooked slices of eggplant on a cutting board. Drop generous spoonfuls of rice mixture onto one end of each slice and roll them up.  Arrange the rolls side by side in a shallow ovenproof dish. 
  9. Cover the rolls with the hot tomato sauce and throw it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove and chow down! This is serious good eats!

Gluten Free Arabian Spinach & Chick-Peas

The month before my wedding, I ate horribly.  Most of my meals consisted of burgers, hotdogs, sausage, and whatever else could be thrown onto the grill and cooked quickly.  While in Jamaica I had a chance to eat anything I wanted, and what I ended up enjoying the most, were simple, healthy foods.  Before I left I decided to do my best to make more vegetarian dishes, and try and limit my red meat intake.  Since being back I've begun to experiment and am loving it.  This is the first out-of-the-ordinary meal I made.  It's extremely simple, fast and delicious!  Most people would likely use this as a side dish for fish or meat, but I had it as the main course with basmati rice. I'll be making this again:)

  • 15 oz. can chick-peas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 14 oz. fresh spinach, washed and shredded
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions
  1. Using a large frying pan or wok, fry the onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Ad the cumin and garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Add the shredded spinach in small batches, stirring until the leaves begin to wilt.  It may not seem like it can all fit, but the spinach shrinks down a lot!
  3. Stir in the chick-peas, butter, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Reheat it until just bubbling and then serve.  
  4. That's it! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Spaghetti Frittata

Wow. I can't believe how long it's been since I posted a recipe!  It's been over a month, but for me, it seems like only a week or two.  I have one more week till my brother moves up from Georgia (Yaaaaaay!!!), two more weeks until I hop a plane for China (Double Yaaaaaay!!!), and only a few more months till I get married (Jackpot Yaaaaaay!!!).  So much has happened in the past month, that just thinking about it all makes me dizzy.

As far as food is concerned, I've kept things pretty basic - mostly corn tortilla wraps of every variety, rice cakes with peanut butter and jelly, omelets and scrambled eggs, and other quick to prepare meals on the go.  However, I have been eating out at a lot of great places that offer gluten free meals, including Pei Wei, Sazon, and this little Vietnamese Pho restaurant on the west side. This meal is actually the first "out-of-the-ordinary" meal I've made since I last posted.  Pretty sad actually...  But now that all my school work is complete, I've got some extra time on my hands and I'm ready to start cooking again:)

Spaghetti frittata?  I know, it sounds weird, but I swear it's yummy;)  You can play around with the spice in this one depending on your taste, but as it's written, it's not too spicy.  When boiling the gluten free pasta, remove and drain before it's al dente to avoid it becoming too mushy when you throw the whole thing in the oven.  This can be scooped out with a big spoon, or cut into wedges like I did for the photo.  Also, feel free to substitute the mozzarella with whatever cheese you prefer. Enjoy!

  • 8 oz. uncooked spaghetti (I used Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Pasta)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tblsp. hot sauce (I used Emeril's Red Pepper Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

Cooking Instructions
  • Cook the pasta as directed on the package, minus 3-5 minutes or until "almost al dente."
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet on medium/high.  Add the onions and mushroom and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until onions are crisp and tender.
  • Add the sundried tomatoes, zucchini and chopped tomatoes with their liquid.  Cook an additional 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated off, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix the pasta with the eggs and 1/2 cup of the cheese in a large bowl; mix well.  Add to the vegetables in the skillet; stir until incorporated.  Cook on medium/low for about 5 minutes or until bottom of frittata is set. 
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and throw into the oven for 10-20 minutes, or until center of frittata is set.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for a little while.
  • Say FRITTATA 3 times loudly, devour and enjoy!

Gluten Free Spinach Potato Pie

I had class this weekend, but I still feel well-rested. It's Sunday and we almost adopted another kitten.  We have one adopted cat already, Loki, that we rescued from the Catnip Adoption Agency. I'm always worried that Loki gets lonely, especially since Mindy and I are constantly out of the house and on the move.  However, Mindy had an allergic reaction to the little black kitten we played with at the pet store, so we decided to wait.  Just about every time we have breakfast at the Gateway Diner, we walk over to a nearby pet store to play with the puppies and kittens, and check out the newest salt-water arrivals.  Afterwards we go for a little hike, which is exactly what we did today. 

While walking through the woods we noticed a substantial increase in bird-life.  We also had a close encounter with a groundhog.  We were climbing up a path when I noticed a groundhog cross in front of us and hide behind a tree.  A man with a small beagle was walking behind us and his dog came face to face with the groundhog.  Startled, the groundhog ran toward Mindy and I, went right between our legs and then turned around, stepping on my foot with its left paw, in order to get a good look at the barking threat nearby.  It then ran up the hillside and disappeared into a hole.  It was a pretty cool wild-life experience:) I've never been that close to a groundhog in the wild before.  After we returned home we began creating our shopping list for this week's planned meals.  Last week I made a number of great meals, but this one was my favorite!  The process is a little involved, but the tastiness of this dish makes it completely worth the extra labor.  

We used honey mustard, but feel free to use any kind of mustard you like (ex. spicy-brown, honey-dijon, regular hot dog mustard, etc.).  However, don't use frozen spinach.  Fresh spinach is much better, and those easy-packs of fresh spinach you find in the grocery store near the ready-made bags of salad are typically the exact amount you'll need for this recipe.

  • 2 pounds large potatoes (washed thoroughly)
  • 4 cups raw spinach
  • 1 3/4 cups low-fat cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 tblsp. mustard (any kind you prefer)
  • 2 oz. mixed fresh herbs (ex. thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley), chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper

  1. Place potatoes in a large pan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Drain well and leave to cool a little before slicing.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  3. Wash the spinach and throw into another large pan with only the water clinging to the leaves. Cover and cook, stirring only once, until the leaves are slightly wilted.  Drain well into a strainer and press the leaves with a large spoon to drain excess water. Chop the spinach finely.
  4. Beat together the cream cheese, eggs, and mustard in a bowl. Then stir in the chopped spinach and fresh herbs
  5. Coat a deep 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray (make sure it's GF!)
  6. Layer the sliced potatoes in a concentric circle in the bottom of the pan. Then add a layer of the spinach mixture, topping with salt and pepper. Repeat this process until your ingredients have been used up, making sure that the last layer is made of potatoes.
  7. Cover the pan with tinfoil and place in the oven to bake for 60 minutes.
  8. Remove, uncover, and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  9. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Six-Bean Barbecue Bake

It's Sunday night, the last day of spring-break, and I'm sitting in the front of the television watching Mark and Olly: Machigenga.  I love that show!  Overall, it was a nice break, and a very nice weekend. The weather was abnormaly warm and dry, so I spent as much time as possible outside . I was also able to get a much-needed dose of friend-time:)  Always a good thing!!

I also ate a LOT of  good food.  For some reason it ended up being a feast-weekend.  Today, we checked out the Philadelphia Flower Show.  We sniffed enough flowers to make our boogers yellow.  The arrangements were beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the many forms of bloom-oriented artwork on display.  A friend we ate dinner with Saturday night gave us two free tickets to go. Talk about a sweet score! Thank you Melanie!  At a price-tag over $25, I don't think I would have gone otherwise.  Flowers in a building are great, but I prefer them in their natural surroundings:)

Afterwards we went to Reading Terminal Market, to a little place called Delila's, and ordered chopped barbeque chicken, collard greens and sweet potatoes. It was awesome!  The only thing missing was a huge pile of baked beans. I dig baked beans, almost as much as yams:) In general, I like them on the sweet side. And maybe even some bacon thrown in for good measure. The following recipe doesn't require bacon, but is definitely designed for those with a serious sweet-tooth (i.e., people like me). You'll love em'  but those around you might not love you so much; especially with all that fiber going through your system.  For real, you might want stay outdoors after eating a big bowl of these beans, otherwise you might gas people out!  But who cares, it's a small price to pay for indulging in some seriously good barbecued beans:)

This recipe calls for a slow cooker 

  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can butter beans, drained
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained
  • 1 can navy beans, drained
  • 1 can pork and beans, not drained (or any other can of beans if you're veg)
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (makes sure it's GF)
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses

Cooking Directions
  1. Mix everything together in your slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low to medium for 4-6 hours.
  3. That's it, couldn't be easier! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Country Chicken Bake

Only one more day until Spring Break begins!  Boy do I need it!  Even though I'll probably end up using the week to catch up on neglected class-work, it'll be nice to sleep in every day, and not have a set schedule to adhere to.  One IRB down and another to go... research is a total pain in the arse!  I don't know why, but I love conducting research, so it's all worth it.

With that said, I'm getting more excited every day about my upcoming trip to Chongqing, China.  I've just met the Chinese History professor that will be accompanying us. She has been to Chongqing before, and knows how to get around. On top of that, she speaks fluid Mandarin!  I totally plan on asking her help in finding great gluten-free eats throughout the city.  In particular, I'm on the hunt for back-alley street food joints seldom visited by foreign visitors. 

Although I've been super-busy, I've been cooking a lot in order to have the necessary leftovers needed for hurried lunches and dinners, squeezed in while working on my endless projects. This dish didn't last long after I made it.  There was one day that I ate this for lunch and dinner, and then again the next morning for breakfast!  I know that would probably be out of the question for many, but something about the broth was just so darn comforting that I couldn't get enough!  You're going to love this:)

  • 2 tblsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken quarters
  • 1 pound small whole onions, peeled (I found them in the frozen vegetable section)
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 14oz. can red kidney beans
  • 4 small tomatoes, quartered (or 1  16oz-ish can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (make sure it's GF - I used Pacific Natural Foods)
  • 4 tblsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used parmesan and mozzarella)

Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a flame-safe casserole dish (or heavy all-metal pan) and fry the chicken quarters, two at a time, until golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add the celery and fry for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Return the chicken to the pan, then mix in the beans, tomatoes, broth, 1/2 the parsley, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the paprika.
  5. Cover and cook in your preheated oven until the chicken juices run clean when forked. 
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with your choice of shredded cheese and top with remaining parsley. 
  7. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake for an additional 12 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
  8. Remove, serve immediately and enjoy!

Gluten Free Herbed Mushroom Macaroni and Cheese

It finally looks like winter in Philadelphia.  I've been here for over three years now, and this is the first winter that actually feels like one.  Even though it's cold, I've been enjoying it through winter hikes, sliding across frozen streams, and purposefully fishtailing around in my truck.  With that said I can't wait till it warms up a little; at least past freezing anyways.

I'm getting more and more amped about the research/education trip I'll be making to Chongqing this upcoming May.  The prep work leading up to it is a bit overwhelming, but I'm sure everything will work out in the end.  Being that I have to eat gluten free, I'll be taking along a couple handy dandy Chinese GF translation cards with me, as well as some activated charcoal tablets and a couple bottles of Glutenease or Glutenzyte.  Activated charcoal is said to help remove gluten molecules from your intestinal lining.  I've used it a few times after accidentally eating something laced with gluten and have had good results.  I've never used Glutenease or Glutenzyte, but I've read good reviews. You're instructed to take them before eating anything that might contain gluten in order to lessen any negative effects. It's worth a try:)  

I've lived in China, so I know that if I'm careful and adventurous, I'll be able to find great gluten free food all over the place.  Even if I have to stick to flame grilled meat-kabobs, fire roasted yams, and squids on sticks, I'm sure I'll be fine! Either way I'll be documenting my epicuian adventures throughout May:)  

Speaking of tasty adventures, this mac-n-cheese recipe is awesome!  The mushrooms and thyme give it an amazing earthy aroma, and the dijon mustard adds a unique bite.  Even though I charred the pine nuts a little, this still turned out to be some of the best mac-n-cheese I've had.  


Cooking Directions
  1. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil and cook macaroni until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a heavy pan.  Add the mushrooms and thyme. Cover and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the GF flour and remove from heat.  Add the chicken base and continuously stir until completely blended.  
  4. Stir in the milk a little at a time, mixing after each addition. 
  5. Add the celery salt, Dijon mustard, Cheddar cheese, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir to combine will, then simmer for about 1-2 minutes, continuously stirring until the sauce thickens.
  6. Preheat the broiler to medium heat. Drain the macaroni well and toss it into the sauce. Mix it up and transfer to a baking dish.
  7. Top it off with the grated Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.  Broil it until brown and bubbly. Be careful not to burn the pine nuts like I did!
  8. Chow down!!!

Gluten Free Edamame-Lentil Stew

Now that things are getting busier, I'm so glad we decided on making Sunday our "meal-prep-for-the-week" day.  This time it took less than two hours! I like not worrying about food when I'm busy.  Plus, the meals we make tend to be pretty healthy; at least a lot more healthy than Wendy's burgers, minus the buns, or mayonnaise-laden chicken salad from the corner deli.

This side dish can actually be eaten as a main entree. I loved it! The flavors explode in your mouth. And it's super-healthy. You actually feel a little bit healthier after every bite. Not kidding.  Just take a little bean-o, since this is chock full of legumes! Did you know that beans are the magic fruit?

Cooking Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 3/4 cup frozen shelled soybeans (edamame)
  • 1 1/2 cups minced red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 14-16 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 6 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tblsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tblsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Cooking Instructions
  • Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring it to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes (or until tender). Drain and set aside.
  • Place the soy beans in a small saucepan, cover with 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large lidded pot on medium-high heat.  Throw in the onion, the garlic and tomatoes. Stirring often, cook for about 6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in lentils, edamame, juice and the rest of the ingredients. Cook and stir for about 3 more minutes.
  • Serve it up hot and enjoy!

Nice and Easy Gluten Free Chili

Lately I've been getting into experimenting with chili a lot.  Before a couple of months ago I've never actually made chili. Growing up in Syracuse introduced me to the joy of eating steaming bowls of chili outdoors, among crowds of half-inebriated people.  Every year The Cuse has a chili cook-off, where scores of local restaurants prepare and serve up free chili for everyone.  There's live music, art vendors, and of course BEER TENTS!  Although Syracuse was a pretty dark and dreary place (weather-wise), the community puts on a wide variety of  cool, and free, downtown events. There was always something going on.

This chili is super easy, fast and filling. There are a lot of different chili powders out there to choose from, with various levels of hotness.  Good chili is all about one's specific tastes.  If you aren't used to lots of hot spice in your foods, start with the mildest chili you can find and be sparing.  I've found the more I experiment with chili peppers, the more tolerant both my tongue and stomach become.  In addition, I'm being opened up to a whole new world of taste sensations. 

It's funny, the more I cook, the more I want to cook.  I love the challenge of it. I love the never-ending variety of amazing foods one can create. And of course, I also love to eat:) With all the cultures around the world, you could really cook something different for every meal, for the rest of your life. That's just cool! 

I've made about 5 different chili dishes just this month. Last week I made a kickin vegetarian chili and fed it to my coworkers at our holiday party. Less than a week before that I made a thick and hot pork chili that I rolled up in corn tortillas.  This one here was super tasty, and the absolute easiest. Enjoy!

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2-3 tsp. mild or hot chili powder
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. gluten free flour (I used Arrowhead Mills)
  • 3 cups  (about 24 oz) canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ish oz) can red kidney beans
  • pinch of dried oregano (roll together in palm to crush up good)
  • pinch of  brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper (according to taste)

Cooking Directions:
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the beef, breaking it up as it cooks.
  2. Sprinkle on the cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, and GF flour.
  3. Stirring frequently, cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and let simmer 25-30 minutes.
  5. Drain the kidney beans and add just before serving. Heat for another 5 minutes.
  6. Grab a square of Gluten Free Cornbread and dig in!

Gluten Free Lemon Pork Ragout

Ragout is a French term referring either to a main-dish stew, or to a sauce for noodles or any other starchy food.  The basic method of preparing a good ragout involves slow cooking over low heat.  This dish is exactly that!  I've never made a meal like this before, since I'm typically into things I can whip up in a jiffy.  It took a bit of preparation, a pinch of patience, a whole lot of TLC, and was completely worth all the fuss!  It is extremely hearty, delicious, and will likely result in leftovers you'll enjoy for days.

I didn't have ground coriander or saffron powder, but I did have whole coriander and saffron threads, so I put them in a pestle and mortar and ground them up.  If you can, get really small lemons with small seeds.  I tried to de-seed my big lemons the best I could, but a couple made it through.  Although they became soft after being cooked for so long, I wasn't too fond of their taste or texture.  Who knows though, you might like it.  This makes enough for 6 good meals. 

  • 2 1/2 - 3 lb boneless lean pork shoulder, but into 2-inch pieces 
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp dried cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp saffron powder
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 large yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp GF flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour)
  • 1 1/4 cups GF broth (I used Trader Joe's Organic Chicken Broth)
  • 2/3 cups golden raisins
  • 2 lemons, peeled, cut into quarters, plus extra slices for garnishing purposes
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest (do this before peeling)
  • 6 Italian plum tomatoes, quartered

Cooking Directions:
  1. Marinade the pork with the oil, cumin, coriander, saffron, and garlic in a shallow dish for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large nonstick pan, saute the pork pieces in small batches over medium-high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Sprinkle the GF flour over the sauteed onions, then add the broth, golden raisins, lemon, lemon zest, and tomatoes.
  5. Return the meat to the pan. Stir, cover, and let simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if needed.
  6. Serve with extra lemon slices, rice, or side salad.
  7. Enjoy!!!

Gluten Free Goulash

I've always been a big fan of goulash.  Growing up in central New York, goulash was one of my mom's staple dinners.  With so many options for gluten free pasta on the market now, the pastabilities are endless.  This is the first time I have ever actually made goulash the way it's supposed to be (slow cooked).  When I typically make a goulash-like pasta dish, I boil the pasta separately, and then add all the sauce ingredients afterwards.  What makes goulash taste so much better, is that the pasta is slowly boiled within the sauce.

The smell that filled my home as this dish cooked was amazing! I knew I was in for something special. The first bite instantly transported me back to countless dinners shared with my mother and brother. I kept picturing my brother and I devouring our goulash, while the sun slowly drifted toward the horizon outside our windows.  It was a race to the finish so that we could go back outside and take advantage of the last but of sunlight left. I love how food can help us access memories long ago filed into the recesses of our minds.

This recipe calls for Soy Sauce, which is often gluten-ous.  There are a few varieties of gluten free soy sauce to choose from, by I use "SAN-J Organic Tamari, Wheat Free Soy Sauce." Most herbs and seasoning salts are gluten free, but make sure to check the ingredients.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 8

Goulash Ingredients
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large yellow onions (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves, (chopped)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce 
  • 2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes 
  • 3 tblsp. soy sauce (gluten free)
  • 2 tblsp. Italian seasoning (or mix Oregano, Basil, Sage)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tblsp. seasoned salt (I used Goya)
  • 2 cups uncooked gluten free elbow pasta

Goulash Directions
  1. In a deep pot, cook the ground beef on medium-high until no longer pink (breaking it up as it cooks). Spoon out the fat as it pools. Add the onion and garlic to the beef, and cook until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes)
  2. Stir in the water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and seasoned salt. Heat till boiling, then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. Stir the elbow pasta into the beef mixture. Cover and simmer on low for 25 more minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking
  4. Remove from heat, fish out and discard the bay leaves. Stir it up good to distribute flavors and return lid to pot. Let sit about 30 minutes before serving. 
  5. Devour and Enjoy!

Easy Cheesy Breakfast Bake

Wow, I can't believe it's been 10 days since I posted a recipe!  I've had a crazy week and a half; with paper deadlines, presentation preparations, and a trip to San Juan Puerto Rico.  It's not like I haven't been cooking and checking out great places to eat either, because I have. In fact, I have a bunch of new recipes and reviews lined up to be posted within the next few weeks.   But first, I want to share a quick meal idea.  This breakfast dish is super easy to make, satisfying, and very filling. I went with parmesan, but feel free to use whatever cheese you'd like. If you're a meat-eater, this would also be great with chopped sausage or bacon mixed in with the corn meal/grits.

  • Any 14 to 24 oz. can of chopped tomatoes (I used Hunt's with herbs)
  • 2-3 cups cooked Yellow Corn meal or White Grits (make sure it's GF!)
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheese (your choice)

Cooking Directions
  1. Cook the grits/yellow corn meal according to the directions. Stir in the paprika, sea salt and pepper
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Layer the bottom of a 9" by 12" baking dish with the corn meal
  4. Spoon a wall of chopped tomatoes around the edge of the baking dish
  5. Crack open the eggs over the center of the dish, making sure not to break the yolks
  6. Carefully place the dish in the oven
  7. Cook for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the egg whites are fully cooked
  8. Remove from oven, add a little more s&p, and then sprinkle shredded cheese over cooked eggs
  9. Return the dish to the oven and bake just until the cheese has fully melted
  10. Enjoy your breakfast!

Chicken Rustigo

I had a great visit from my mom last weekend. The last time we seen each other was at Christmas, which was far too long ago. She drove all the way from Dallas, Georgia, and her visit gave me an excuse to cook and drink a LOT! This dinner dish came from the book "Favorite Brand Name Italian Cooking." After making a visit to where my fiance and I will be having our reception, the three of us stopped at a little wine shop in Delaware and picked up a bottle of Cabernet-Shiraz by Marquis Phillips from Southeastern Australia. I love Marquis Phillips wine! I can actually taste Australia in every glass... as weird as that sounds.

This dish calls for a bit of red wine, so I used the Cabernet-Shiraz, and saved the rest to drink with dinner. The combination of flavors in this recipe are amazing! We all sat at the table slightly dazed after our first bites, so I knew this would be a keeper. Drinking the same wine that was used in the dish rounded the meal off perfectly. Try not to love this one!

I also made the rice differently than I usually do. Since I had more chicken stock on hand, I used it to cook the rice in. I boiled the rice with the chicken stock on med-high for 11 minutes (covered), and then turned the heat off and set the timer for 13 minutes (keeping the cover on). The rice went perfectly with the dish. Try it, you'll like it:)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package (10 oz.) fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup organic GF chicken broth ( I used Pacific Natural Foods brand)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 tblsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • sea salt and pepper

Cooking Directions
  • Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tblsp oil in large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, or until browned on both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Heat another tblsp of oil in the same skillet over med-high heat until hot. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 or so minutes until tender (stirring occasionally).
  • Stir in the broth, wine and mustard and mix well. Return chicken to the skillet, then add the tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Heat till boiling, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  • Mix the cornstarch and 1 tblsp of cold water in a small bowl. Stir into skillet and heat to boiling again. Cook, while stirring, over high heat for about 1 minute or until the sauce thickens.
  • Serve with cooked rice (optional)

Spicy Acapulco Chicken

Here's another one of those gluten free dishes you can throw together in a snap. It's made with basic, inexpensive, wholesome ingredients and tastes awesome! This has a bit of a kick, but nothing tongue-melting. Serve it up with rice and you're good to go.

I don't have much time on my hands these days, so making fast and easy meals are a must. Plus I have to post it up and share it! It's funny, but I actually look forward to posting new recipes. It's a way to unwind and relax, plus I'm forced (internally) to constantly create new culinary delights to devour. And I love eating, so it works out quite nicely:)

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large tomato, cut into chunks
  • 15 drops of hot peeper sauce ( I used Texas Pete Hot Sauce)
  • 1 tblsp chili powder (divided)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • Salt & Pepper

Cooking Directions
  1. Throw the chopped up chicken into a bowl. Add 1/2 tablespoon chili powder and salt and pepper to taste and mix up well.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is nice and hot, add the seasoned chicken and saute for 4 minutes or so until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the skillet.
  3. Toss the chopped green pepper and onion into the chicken oil and stir fry until soft. Then add the jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, hot pepper sauce, plus the remaining 1/2 tablespoon chili powder and cook for another 4 minutes (stirring often). Finally, toss in the cooked chicken and stir fry for 2 minutes more.
  4. Eat!

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

I didn't plan on posting this recipe, but after a few bites I just had to share! My partner Mindy found this in one of our Cooking Light magazines, and we altered it a bit to suit our tastes. This is another of those dishes that tastes better the next day, so be sure to make enough for leftovers.

Red curry paste comes in a wide range of heat levels, so keep that in mind when deciding how much to add. We used a milder red curry paste, so adding two teaspoons made this turn out perfect. However, two teaspoons of a hotter version could melt your tongue off! Be wary and add a little at a time and taste-check, if all you can get is the hot stuff.

You can also use any size shrimp you'd like, but my suggestion would be to keep it simple and use pre-cooked shrimp. It was so good that we almost ate it all up before taking a picture. That's why the plate in the pic is so small; that's all that was left!

In the following ingredient list, you'll notice there are two ingredients that are optional. We didn't have any green onions on hand, but while we were eating we both realized how great they would have been if added to this dish. The original recipe also didn't call for frozen vegetables, but we had some so we added them. We also used dried basil, but that was only because we didn't have any that was fresh. I'd highly recommend using fresh basil.

  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. mild red curry paste (make sure it's GF)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. fish sauce (make sure it's GF)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional)
  • 1 tblsp. fresh chopped basil

Cooking Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat. Add the chopped onion and curry paste to the pan. Saute for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sugar and saute for another 15 to 20 seconds.
  2. Add the frozen vegetables, stirring constantly, saute till cooked (about 3 minutes), then add shrimp and saute for another minute or so.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and fish sauce; cook for a couple of minutes (or until thoroughly heated).
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the green onions and the basil. Serve with your choice of rice. Enjoy! Because I know you will:)

Corn and Okra Jambalaya

Eating Jambalaya always brings me back to the time I worked on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I think the year was 1995. I had taken a job working with my father on a steel crew. We spent two weeks breathing diesel fuel exhaust while welding white metal plates on the new Crystals fast food restaurant. It was hard, miserable work, but I loved the time I spent after work exploring the area. In particular, I loved all the street musicians, the architecture of the French Quarter, the Voodoo shops and especially the FOOD! I remember how much I would look forward to our lunch breaks, when I could scope out some little cafe or diner and order Jambalaya, Gumbo, or hoagies filled to the brim with cajun-spiced shrimp (before I had to deal with celiac disease).

The following dish brought back a flood of memories, and put a huge smile on my face! Although it doesn't contain Andouille Sausage (a staple of many Jambalaya recipes), it tastes great nonetheless. It's also a lot healthier, since it uses low-fat Turkey Bacon instead. This dish tastes better the longer the spices are allowed to set into the food. I swear, the best it tasted was as a "leftover" meal, a full two days after I made it. Of course, you can easily make this dish vegetarian by substituting bacon with "facon," it's all up to you. But regardless, I'm sure you'll love it!

  • 1/4 pound turkey bacon (make sure it's GF!)
  • 1 pound fresh (or frozen) sliced okra
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1-2 tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tblsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin

Cooking Instructions
  1. Fry turkey bacon in large/deep skillet until crisp and drain. Add butter to skillet with bacon drippings (there won't be much), and saute the okra and onions until cooked - but not browned.
  2. When the okra and onions are almost done cooking, break up the bacon into small chunks and throw them into the skillet.
  3. Empty the stewed tomatoes and drained corn into a bowl. Mix all of the spices with the tomatoes and corn, then add to the skillet and stir well. Bring the entire mixture to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for about 10-20 minutes. Jambalaya should not be runny.
  4. Serve hot over rice, or simply eat on its own. Enjoy!

Beans & Rice Soft Tacos

Here's an example of one of my typical weeknight meals.  The only part of this meal that takes any real time is the rice.  Initially, one of the hardest parts of dealing with Celiac disease is learning to create easy meals, made with basic ingredients.  I quickly learned how useful corn products were and found ways to eat polenta and tortillas in as many ways as possible. Rice-based meals were also high on my list.  Although research has helped me become very creative in making gluten free meals, I've rely a lot on easy meals like the one below.

On this particular occasion, I was looking for something to create with a pot of leftover rice I had. I rummaged through the cabinets and decided to pull out a can of black beans, and another of refried beans.  I also found a half-used jar of Mexican Red Sauce from Trader Joe's. In about 15 minutes my meal was prepared, and I was digging in.  Meals like this one are great for anyone, but especially for parents of kids with Celiac disease.  It's easy, fast, and healthy. Plus, it's vegetarian, and lactose free as well.  

  • 1 can  Refried Beans (read the label for gluten. Old El Paso brand are GF)
  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 2 cups Rice
  • 1 tblsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 jar Mexican Red Sauce (or Enchilada Sauce)
  • 2 tblsp. Dried Oregano
  • Pure Corn Tortillas
  • Salt & Pepper

  • Drain the black beans but don't rinse them off.  You want some of the liquid to make it a bit saucy.  Throw them in a saucepan on medium-low heat.  Add the garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper (to taste).  Cover the saucepan and stir occasionally for 5-10 minutes. 
  • In a small pot on medium-low heat, mix the rice and red sauce until it is as soupy as you'd like.  I think the soupier the better, but some people like it drier.  Cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Open up the can of refried beans, which usually looks like cat food, and either put it into a bowl and microwave it, or into a pan on the stove to heat up (5-10 minutes).  
  • Use a frying pan to heat up the tortillas.  Just spray a little cooking oil on the pan and throw the tortillas on until bubbles start forming. Then flip them over for a minute. You just want to make them soft and pliable, not hard and crispy.  
  • That's it, you're done! Just spoon each ingredient into the center of the tortillas and fold together. You can also add some sour cream, some shredded cheese, or pretty much anything you can think of. Enjoy:)

Tuna Steaks & Marinated Bean Salad

This one is super easy! And super tasty! You can make this meal, from start to finish, in about 30 minutes. I had a couple of tuna steaks and a variety of canned beans on hand, so I went searching through my cookbooks to find a way to put them together. I found this particular recipe in an "Essentials" book on Fish & Seafood that I picked up from the bargain rack at Borders.  It had a lot of nice pictures in it, which is exactly what I look for in a cookbook.  I can't stand cookbooks that are all words and no pictures.  Not that there aren't great all-word cookbooks out there, but the visual-learner side of me likes to see what my end product should look like.  I'm not big into surprises when it comes to getting my grub on, especially when I have guests coming over:)

I used the beans I had on hand in my cupboard, but you can use any kind of beans.  The original recipe calls for a can of sweet corn, something I'll incorporate the next time I make this (even if just for the visual appeal). You can also keep it uber-easy and just use a couple cans of marinated beans instead of making the dressing yourself.  

  • 2-4 Tuna Steaks
  • 2 tblsp  olive oil
  • 3 cans mixed beans and/or sweet corn
  • Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

Dressing Ingredients
  • 6 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tblsp balsamic vinegar (make sure it's GF)
  • 1 tblsp  lime juice 
  • 1 garlic clove (chopped)
  • 1 tsp fresh coriander (1/2 tsp if dry)
  • Salt & Pepper

Cooking Instructions
  1. Preheat frying pan on medium high heat 
  2. Brush the tuna steaks with olive oil and apply generous amounts of sea salt and ground pepper to each side
  3. Cook the tuna for about 2 minutes then turn over and cook for another two minutes (or to taste), and remove from heat. Don't overcook the tuna, since it keeps cooking after being removed from the heat
  4. While the tuna is cooling, heat the beans/corn on the stove (according to the directions on the can), and drain.
  5. Put all the "dressing" ingredients in a bowl and stir it up good
  6. Put the beans/corn in large bowl and pour in 1/2 of the dressing. Mix it up
  7. Serve the bean mix along side the tuna and then drizzle the remaining dressing over the whole meal
  8. Garnish with some sliced limes and parsley if you want to show off to friends
  9. ENJOY!!!

Gluten Free Tofu Pesto Penne

Pesto is great on anything! You can use it as a delicious coating for broiled fish, add it to any stuffing for meat or poultry, as a condiment for a sandwich, or to add taste and color to any pasta dish.  Now you can go the natural route to pesto, via lots of basil, garlic and olive oil blended together in a food processor.  Or, you can go the quick and easy route and purchase a jar of the stuff.  With me, unless it's a for a special occasion, I'm happy with what I can get from the supermarket. Plus, pesto rarely has anything glutenous in it.  In this case I went to Trader Joe's, where I picked up the pesto sauce, pine-nuts, and the gluten-free brown rice penne pasta.  Try saying that last part 5 times fast!!

I make this dish a variety of ways, but this time I used Tofu as the protein source.  We had our good friend Meghan coming over, and she's a strict vegetarian.  Plus, a little plant estrogen now and then never hurt anybody. The way I like to deal with Tofu is by first freezing it.  This causes the water to be sucked out of the Tofu, making it better to cook with (in my opinion), and also giving it a grittier, more textured feel.  Because it's frozen, you'll want to make sure to plan ahead for this recipe and take the Tofu out of the freezer to thaw well before getting ready to cook.

  • 8 to 10 oz. Penne Pasta (a little over 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup Pine Nuts (also called Pignolia)
  • 2 cups chopped tomato 
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 (7 to 10 oz.) jar of Pesto Sauce (check the ingredients for hidden gluten)
  • 3 tblsp. vegetable oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Cooking Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta
  2. Drain the tofu and then pat dry with paper towels (or real ones). Chop up the tofu into relatively small pieces
  3. Chop up the tomatoes and set aside
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet, and add the tofu, seasoning generously with the salt and pepper (to taste). Cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently, until slightly browned.  
  5. Once the tofu is slightly browned, throw in the pine nuts and reduce the heat, stirring constantly. Pine nuts can burn easily, so be careful
  6. Once the pine nuts are slightly cooked add the jar of pesto (or your own homemade stuff) and mix thoroughly
  7. Then add the chopped tomatoes, mix, reduce to simmer and cover
  8. If you haven't already, drain and rinse the pasta
  9. Keeping the pasta in the same pot you cooked it in, add the hot sauce and the parmesan cheese and stir over low heat.  
  10. Top with a few basil leaves and some more cheese, and go to town!

Lemon Chicken And Rice

I'm all about easy, and often cheesy, meals.  It's pretty simple really, the quicker the food is done, the faster it's in my stomach.  This is one of those recipes that you can almost make blindfolded. Well not really, if you tried that you'd probably hurt yourself, but it is super easy.  I used Jasmine rice for this dish, but you could speed things up by using instant rice.

Lemon Chicken and Rice Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (cut into strips)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch (make sure it's GF)
  • 3/4 cup GF chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tblsp. lemon juice (can use concentrate)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cooked rice (or 3/4 cup uncooked instant rice)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • Freshly ground pepper (optional)

Cooking Instructions
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Throw in 1 cup of rice. Bring back to boil, then cover and lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Toss the butter in a skillet and cook the chicken, onions, carrots, and garlic together.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, broth, lemon juice and salt together until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet.
  4. Bring everything to a boil. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Add and stir in rice and peas. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes
  6. Fluff it up and top with ground pepper (optional).
  7. Devour!

GF Gratin Dauphinois

I just made this dish for an Easter get-together with some friends.  It's a recipe from a book I bought when I lived in Newcastle, Australia entitled the "Great Potato Cookbook."  It isn't listed in the United States, but if you ever find it be sure to pick it up.  Besides the slicing of the potatoes, this dish is pretty simple. I decided to alter the original recipe by adding layers of pre-sliced button mushrooms, and diced onions.  But either way you make it, this is delicious!
GF Gratin Dauphinois Ingredients
  • butter for greasing
  • 4-4 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese (or any cheese you please)
  • 3-4 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups cream (half & half is fine)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter a large baking/casserole dish
  3. Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly
  4. Mix together two-thirds of the cheese, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper (to taste) well. Layer the potatoes in the prepared dish, sprinkling the cheese mixture over each layer except the top one.
  5. Whisk the milk, cream and eggs together and then pour evenly over the layered potatoes, making sure that the liquid goes all the way to the base of the dish.
  6. Layer the remaining cheese over the top of the layers and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Test the potatoes with a sharp knife or fork; they should be tender when done.
  7. Eat and be merry!
With the recipe I just shared, I was able to make two containers full of food. You can feed a lot of people with this recipe, or have a ton of leftovers for yourself!  Enjoy!