Pumpkin Tiramisu

The holiday season seems to be in full swing, judging by the 24 hour Christmas music on the radio in my car and the Christmas wreaths for sale outside the grocery store. How is it already Thanksgiving week?! I feel like I say this every year, but this year it seems to have come up faster than usual!

For the first time in many years, I am not hosting, just bringing dessert. Trying to keep the holidays as simple as possible this year. I am making this version of Tiramisu and maybe brownies, made from a box mix. Simple and stress free 😊

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Feeds 4 to 6 people

Ingredients

About 1 Cup of Simple Syrup, plus 2 cinnamon sticks

1 package of Schar gluten-free ladyfingers

4 ounces of mascarpone (you can omit this and double the amount of cream cheese)

4 ounces of softened cream cheese  (very important it is soft! Keep on counter for at least 2 hours)

½ cup of canned pumpkin

1 – 14 ounce of can of condensed milk

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

½  cup of heavy cream

Fresh whipped cream, see recipe below

Directions

Make simple syrup and let cool while you make the pumpkin mixture.

Whip together mascarpone and cream cheese or just cream cheese. Add in the pumpkin, condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and heavy cream. Whip all the ingredients together for about 5 minutes with an electric mixer or standing mixer, starting on low and once there is no risk of splatter, turn on high.

Dip a ladyfinger into the simple syrup and place in a small rectangular dish, like this 6 cup Pyrex. Make a layer of syrup soaked lady fingers and then top with about half of the pumpkin mixture. Top the pumpkin mixture with half of the whipped cream. Repeat.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon on top if you like. Chill for at least 3 hours. Serve. This can be made the day before and kept in the fridge.

Fresh whipping cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

Check out some of my other holiday dessert ideas: Raspberry Lemon Thyme Tiramisu, Boston Cream Pie Cake, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Mousse Pie and Apple Crisp! For a great hostess gift, make some chocolate bark. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

 

Cornish Game Hens

Check another meal off my bucket list for 2017! Cornish game hen are a way to wow guests and a great alternative to ham for Easter Dinner or beef for Christmas.

I made them on a snowy April Fools Day. We took advantage of a nasty day outside, in between sports seasons, to stay warm inside, start a home improvement project, play board games and make some comfort food.

Cornish Game Hen

Ingredients

5 Cornish game hen, keep the gizzards and neck

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 lemon, zested and cut into 6 pieces

1 large white onion, cut into 12 pieces

5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

10 stems of fresh thyme

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Dry the hens. Stuff each with a piece of onion, piece of garlic, piece of lemon and a stem of thyme Mix the lemon zest with the salt, pepper and ground thyme in a small bowl. Rub each hen with olive oil and sprinkle with  the lemon zest, salt, pepper and ground thyme mixture. Place into roasting pan and surround with the gizzards, rest of the onions, garlic and thyme stems. Roast in oven for about 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes. Check internal temperature. When cooked through and juices run clear, place hens on a cutting board under a foil tent to rest for about 10 minutes.

You can make a great pan sauce with the drippings. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium heat (2 burners if a large pan) and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the gizzards, onions, garlic and thyme stems. Add the juice of about 1/2 a lemon, a tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and stir. Whisk in 1 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes, whisking to get clumps out. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and remove from heat. It is ready to serve!

Each person got half of a bird and I still have enough to make a pasta dish with the leftovers for dinner tonight. I served served the hens with wild rice from Wegmans and frozen peas.

What are you making for Easter dinner? I am thinking ham, salmon, a potato dish and maybe asparagus. What sides are tradition in your family? Try something new like my Sweet Potato Gratin or polenta with Balsamic green beans.

Baked Alaska

Check one item off my 2017 Cooking Bucket List! For Valentine’s Day I made Baked Alaska for my family. It is definitely old fashioned and definitely delicious! I scoured the internet and my cookbook collection for recipes to learn the process. Allrecipes.com never fails to provide good recipes, so I used this recipe to make sure I got the meringue right.  Some use pound cake and sorbet and bake the meringue while others use sponge cake and ice cream and use a torch on the meringue. The thought of putting ice cream in the oven, made me nervous, so I decided to go the torch route. Plus that is more fun!

Baked Alaska

Ingredients

1 gallon of Hood Patchwork ice cream

1 box of gluten free chocolate cake mix, plus an extra egg (I like Wegmans GF chocolate cake mix)

8 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

Directions

Take the gallon of ice cream out to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare a medium sized bowl by lining with plastic wrap, wax paper or parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Press the ice cream down into the bowl and cover. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Make 8 inch round cake according to instructions, adding the extra egg. Cool the cake and cut to size of the ice cream in the bowl if needed. Press cake onto the bottom of the ice cream. Cover and freeze for another 4 hours or overnight. About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, take the bowl of ice cream and cake out of the freezer and make the meringue. Add the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl. Whip until stiff peaks form. Turn the bowl with ice cream and cake onto a plate and take the bowl and wrap or paper off.

Frost the ice cream with the meringue. Take a culinary torch and run it over all the meringue until toasted. Serve immediately. Freeze the leftovers.

It was much easier to make than I thought. It does take planning, however. I froze the ice cream in the bowl and made the cake one night. The next morning (day of service) I cut the cake to fit the ice cream and put back in the freezer until after dinner, when I finished it with the meringue.

Working my way through my bucket list. I found cornish game hens on sale this week and put them in the freezer, so a fancy dinner where we will each have our own “little chicken” according to my kids, is coming soon 🙂 What is on your cooking bucket list? What would you love to cook?

Ice Cream!

There is not much better than an ice cream sundae! Ice cream is also one of the easiest desserts for a crowd. You can make an ice cream sundae bar as fancy or as basic as you want. Make your own fudge sauce or use the bottle of Hershey syrup that you already have in the fridge. Cut up some bananas or just put out a jar of maraschino cherries. Make your own whipped cream or buy a can of it.

Whipped cream is something I love to make. Don’t get me wrong, we buy the Redi-Whip cans sometimes (they are gluten-free!) and have been known to spray it into an open mouth 😉 but I LOVE fresh whipped cream. It is very easy to do.

Fresh Whipped Cream

Ingredients

1 pint of whipping cream

2 Tablespoons of confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions

Place metal mixing bowl in fridge the morning you want to make whipped cream. Take out when you are ready to mix. Pour entire pint of whipping cream into bowl. Start whipping. When it is frothy, add confectioners sugar and vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Put the bowl out with your other sundae toppings, fudge, sprinkles, cherries and an assortment of ice cream flavors. For our holiday dessert we had Hood Peppermint Stick, Vanilla and Fenway Fudge (all gluten free).

Whether you are running around returning things, doing more shopping or relaxing around the house, this is a fun way to do dessert! Especially would be fun for a kids party. A dessert both kids and kids at heart will love!

 

Greek Meatballs

Anytime of year is good for meatballs, but especially around this festive time of year they are a great choice for your entertaining needs. Want to add a little different flavor for your holiday appetizer? Try Greek meatballs. Serve with a yogurt sauce, like this one from AllRecipes.com. It would a bright start or accompaniment to the main meal for your guests.

Greek Meatballs for a Crowd (makes 55-60 meatballs)

Ingredients

About 5 pounds of ground beef and pork (I usually do about 2/3 beef and 1/3 pork)

1 pound of bacon, minced in the food processor

1/2 of a large sweet onion, grated

1 egg, beaten

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1 Tablespoon of oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried mint

10 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and drained

8 ounces of feta, crumbled

Directions

Place ground meat and bacon into a large bowl. In a small bowl mix onion, egg, garlic and spices. Pour mixture into the meat. Add the spinach and feta. Dig in and mix it all together. Make a small pattie and cook it through. Taste for seasoning then adjust and repeat if needed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll meatballs and brown them in a heavy bottomed pan with olive oil. Transfer to cooling rack on top of baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

I know it seems like a lot of meat, but meatballs freeze really well and take some work. If I’m going to do that hard work, might as well make double so you get a couple of meals or appetizers out of it 🙂 If you try to halve the recipe, let me know how it comes out.

Last couple of days before the holidays hit us. Email me or comment with any questions!

 

Spoon Roast

I cannot say enough good things about a spoon roast. It makes your house smell amazing and it is seriously easy to cook.

Spoon Roast

Ingredients

2 1/2 to 3 pound spoon roast

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  For rare cook at 500 degrees for 5 minutes per pound (medium rare 6-7 minutes per pound, medium 8-9 minutes per pound, medium well 10-11 minutes per pound). Then turn the oven off. Do not open the oven. Set timer for 2 hours. Take out and slice to order!

I don’t make a gravy for this because it’s more work and I’d like to enjoy the meal with my family 🙂 I think a pesto or horseradish cream sauce would be great with it. You can make either sauce the day before.

Horseradish cream sauce

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of sour cream

1 Tablespoon mascarpone

3 – 4 teaspoons of horseradish

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Mix in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I am serving this on Christmas day with twice baked potatoes, a cauliflower casserole and peas and make your own ice cream sundae’s for dessert! Keeping it simple. I can make the potatoes and casserole the day before and just heat it up after the the roast comes out and saute the peas quickly with some butter, salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

What are your favorite holiday meals? If you are making turkey, below find the link to brining your turkey. It is so good!

Cooking your Thanksgiving Turkey

 

Red, White and Green Lasagne

Lasagne is a staple for many this time of year. It is easy. You can make it ahead of time and it feeds a crowd. While there are some gluten free noodles out there, I usually substitute vegetables sliced super thin, like zucchini or butternut squash. However, at the Celiac Kids Connection (a support group for kids with celiac disease based out of Children’s Hospital in Boston) Holiday Party, I picked up a free sample of Organic Green Lentil Lasagne from Explore Cuisine. It was delicious and made for a festive tray of lasagne. I believe you can order it from Amazon or local to me here, south of Boston, at Good Health and certain Stop and Shop and Shaws locations.

Green Lentil Lasagne

Ingredients

1-8 ounce box of Green Lentil Lasagne

24 ounces of tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

10 ounces of tomato puree

6 Tablespoons of butter

6 Tablespoons of gluten-free flour (My favorite is Cup4Cup)

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

about 1 1/2 cups of milk (add more if bechamel is not the right consistency – should cover the back of a wooden spoon)

1 cup of ricotta cheese, reserve about 1/3 cup for top

8 ounce block of mozzarella, shredded, reserve about 1/2 cup for top

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar and tomato puree, then set aside. In a medium sauce pan, add the butter, flour and spices. Cook for a couple of minutes, add milk and whisk until smooth. Take off the heat and mix in ricotta and mozzarella, saving the amounts mentioned above for the top.

Ladle about 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer with the green lentil lasagne noodles (or your vegetable/noodle of choice). Pour cheese sauce over to cover noodles. Repeat at least 2 more times. After top cheese sauce layer, sprinkle mozzarella and add dollops of ricotta.

Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 15-20 minutes until cheese starts to brown and is bubbly. Resist putting a fork into and taking a bite for at least 15 minutes to let it rest.

My sister-in-law once made a lasagne when we visited for the holidays and added the bechamel. That is where I got the idea. It makes for a decadent and delicious holiday meal. No one will even notice that you are using lentil noodles or vegetables as noodles. They will never believe its gluten free!

What are you making for the holidays?

Rainbow Pizza

Whenever I host Christmas Eve, we try to keep it simple. The big meal is the next day, so the night before we have a dinner of appetizers. It can be casual and low key or elegant hor d’ouvres. A mixture of hot and cold appetizers are more than filling for a small or large group of people.

Pizza is something that can be a dinner in itself or an appetizer for a crowd. It is something most kids will eat and it is comforting.

We have pizza every Friday night. Over the summer my kids started picking different toppings each week. One night, one of my sons suggested carrot pizza. He loves carrots. I was very, very skeptical but I had told him he could pick, so we got some rainbow carrots from Trader Joe’s and this recipe is what came out of it. AMAZING! Even my husband, who does not like cooked carrots, loved this pizza. Try something new, live a little 😉

Rainbow Carrot Pizza

Ingredients

3 carrots (different colors), sliced thinly (I used a mandolin)

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon agave

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 small garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 pizza crust (One of my favorites is the Against the Grain crust found in the GF freezer section)

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

½ cup of tomato sauce (more or less depending on your preference for sauce)

8 ounces of shredded mozzarella

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a medium bowl mix vinegar, agave, salt, pepper, garlic and basil. Drop carrots into boiling water for 2-3 minutes and remove, placing immediately into ice water. Drain carrots and put them into the marinade for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take pizza crust out of freezer. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, salt and pepper. Brush olive oil mixture on the crust and place crust on the rack or a heated pizza stone and cook for 7 minutes.

Take the crust out of the oven and spread tomato sauce over it. Cover with the mozzarella. Take carrots out of the marinade and dry in a towel. Place carrots however you like around the pizza. Cook for another 20 minutes. Take out and serve. Top with some more fresh basil if you like.

You can prepare everything ahead up to the last 20 minutes of cook time. Keep it in the fridge and cook just as your guests arrive for a warm appetizer.

Taking something simple and familiar, like pizza, and putting a new ingredient with it, is a good way to expose your family to new tastes. You never know when they’ll surprise you. Pizza is something you can easily adjust to your family’s tastes, so if the rainbow carrots don’t go over well, try different colored peppers or place the pepperoni in a shape of a Christmas tree.

Here are some past pizza and holiday appetizer ideas to help get you through the holiday season: (Usual disclaimer that if the post is dated before April 2014 it may not be gluten free. Adapt for your needs or send me a message and I’ll adapt it!)

Italian Stuffed Meatballs

Appetizer Ideas for Thanksgiving

Meatballs, Plain and Simple

Entertaining with Appetizers and What to do with the Leftovers

Dinner of Appetizers: Thursday night or special party

 

 

Gluten-Free Holiday Treats

As I have already shared how I adapted my Gingerbread Cookie recipe, now on to some other festive holiday treats. Sugar Cookies and fudge are favorites in our house. As with the gingerbread cookies, after my son’s celiac disease diagnosis, we wanted to find a way to continue our tradition of decorating cookies and enjoying plates of fudge and cookies during the holidays.

For the sugar cookies I have used King Arthur’s Gluten Free Baking Mix. There is a recipe on the back of the box for sugar cookies. I have used that for the last 2 years with great success, for gluten and gluten-free eaters alike. I keep it simple and use already made frosting (Pillsbury is gluten free). I may try a royal icing this year so I can actually stack cookies 🙂 If anyone knows of a good one, let me know!

Fudge is one of my favorite treats. I’m actually not a huge sweets person, but I love fudge in very small doses. Chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, caramel fudge, really any kind of fudge. I discovered this super easy recipe many years ago. You can make many variations.

Easy Fudge

Ingredients

3 Cups of your favorite chocolate chips (I like to use milk chocolate)

1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

1  teaspoon of vanilla

pinch of salt

Directions

Line an 8-inch pan with wax paper. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and microwave for 1 minute. Take out and stir. Microwave for 15 more seconds and stir again. Repeat until melted. Pour into lined pan and refrigerate to cool. Once cool, cut into squares. Keep in an airtight container in your fridge.

There are many ways to change this basic recipe. After the mixture is melted, mix in about 1/2 cup of your favorite chopped nuts, crushed candy canes or crushed Heath Bar.

Add these two treats to your holiday plate and be ready for friends or family dropping by or bring as a hostess gift. I also bring some along in a separate container for my son when we go to holiday parties, so he can have some safe treats to eat.

More good food that is gluten free coming up every day in December! Let me know if there is something you would like to see.

Past post that will also be a good addition for your holiday treat plate:

Gluten-free Crispy Treats for the Holidays

Meatballs, Plain and Simple

These meatballs are a blank canvas. Flavorful on their own but can easily be served with marinara or to make swedish meatballs or even the popular bbq sauce and grape jelly meatball appetizer. They are perfect to bring to a potluck, to bring to family or friends as an act of kindness or just to enjoy at home.

Meatballs  (bulk recipe – you can 1/2 this recipe)

Ingredients

about 3 pounds of pork (boneless sirloin) (or 3 lbs of ground pork)

about 3 pounds of beef (bottom round) (or 3 pounds of ground beef)

8 slices of bacon

2 eggs

1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

1/2 cup of milk

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1 Tablespoon shredded Parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together. Grind the meat and bacon together if you are not using store bought ground meat. If you are using store bought ground meat, finely chop the bacon or put it in your food processor. Form each meatball and place onto cooling rack placed over baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce or freeze in batches to use another time.

You can brown these first for a deeper flavor, but they are just as delicious just baking them. Keep them warm in your crockpot with your favorite marinara. This works well for entertaining. You can cook some gluten-free pasta and toast up some gluten-free garlic bread or make zoodles (zucchini noodles) for a pretty (and healthy!) red and green Christmas themed spaghetti and meatballs.

My kids love to take the leftover meatballs for lunch! Add some yogurt and carrots with hummus and we have a school lunch or a meal my child with celiac disease can bring with him if we are visiting family or friends.

You will find a great new meatball recipe here every Thursday for the next month! Check out these past blogs too for ideas on what to bring to your next potluck or what to serve at your next holiday gathering.

Italian Stuffed Meatballs

Good Food that happens to be Gluten Free