Refreshing Fresh Dill, Feta and Greek Yogurt Dip

A good party always needs a good dip! Some friends and I recently celebrated a big birthday! We were fortunate to spend the weekend at one friend’s brother’s house directly on the beach in Cape Cod. AMAZING! We all brought our favorite snack/comfort foods. One friend brought this greek yogurt feta dip from Marzetti. It was sooooooo good! I couldn’t stop eating it! We also had some Hood Chive Cottage Cheese, Pub cheese and Onion Dip, of course. For dinner we enjoyed lobster, steak and burrata with tomatoes and basil.

I decided I had to try to recreate the feta greek yogurt dip when I got home. After a few trials, I found one that was just as tasty.

Fresh Dill, Feta and Greek Yogurt Dip

Ingredients

½ cup of plain greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

8 ounces of cream cheese

4 ounces of feta, crumbled

Zest of ½ lemon

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk together or mix on high for about a minute. Place in a container to allow for dipping. Enjoy!

You can try crackers, pretzels or veggies with this fresh, yummy dip!I used one of our favorite gluten-free crackers from Crunchmaster.

What is your favorite dip?

Shop my favorite items I used to make this!

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Here are some other dips that would be a hit at any party!

Guacamole and a Layered Dip

Salsa Verde (and the Taco Meatballs you can dip into it!)

 

Cheeseburger Pizza!

Pizza is definitely tops on my kids’ list of dinner choices. Most nights it is just cheese pizza or one olive and one cheese, but the kids like to invent pizzas on the nights when we have more time. One of my twins (who just turned 7!) came up with Rainbow Carrot pizza, which is amazing! You have to check out that recipe! We made it again last week for their birthday, along with a cheese pizza, mushroom pizza and this new-to-us, Cheeseburger Pizza. It will now be a part of our regular rotation! It was delicious!

Cheeseburger pizza

Ingredients

½ sweet onion, chopped finely

1 clove of garlic, minced

About 1 ¼ pounds of ground beef

3 teaspoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

1 Tablespoon of ketchup

1 teaspoon of spicy brown mustard

1 pizza crust (My favorite is the Against the Grain GF Crust)

1/2 cup of tomato sauce (more or less, depending on your personal taste)

4 ounces of shredded mozzarella

4 ounces of shredded cheddar (I have had even better results with 2 ounces of cheddar and 2 ounces of aged gouda)

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Add olive oil, onions and garlic to a large sauté pan and cook on medium high, stirring for about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef to the pan and sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Once browned add the ketchup and mustard and stir until cooked. Take crust out of the freezer and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove and add sauce, cheese and then top with ground beef mixture and cook for another 15 to 18 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. Slice up and enjoy!

Pizza is such a great bridge recipe! You can have a basic cheese pizza and add whatever ingredients you or your family like. Meatball pizza is another favorite in our house. I use my simple meatballs or even have used my Italian stuffed meatballs. What is your family’s favorite pizza topping?

Shop Amazon for some of my favorite ingredients and gadgets for making pizza night spectacular!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This doesn’t cost you any extra, but if you like something I love and buy it, I get a small percentage and can continue blogging.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Last week I wrote about the Nutella and peanut butter smoothie my kids enjoyed making. This week it is another chocolaty peanut butter concoction, but this time a truly delectable and yet super easy to make dessert! This is one of my husband’s favorites so I named it after him 🙂

Tim’s Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Ingredients

½ cup of heavy cream

8 ounces of mascarpone

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

6 ounces of chocolate chips

1 pre-made chocolate cookie crust (I like the Mid-el Gluten free crust)

Directions

Chill metal bowl for whipped cream. Whisk together ½ cup of heavy cream, mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar and peanut butter in another bowl. Then fold in the chocolate chips. In the chilled bowl add the remaining heavy cream, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and mix on medium speed until soft peaks form when you take the whisk out. Fold ½ of whipped cream into peanut butter until combined. Fold the other half in. Pour mousse mixture into the crust and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.

This is so simple to make! It would be great for Father’s Day, a 4th of July barbecue or any day really. What is your favorite dessert to make?

This site has affiliate links to help support the blog, but as usual, I only link to items I love myself!

 

Gluten-free Steak Rub Recipe

A good steak really only needs salt and pepper and a hot grill or cast iron skillet. A good steak however can be really expensive. I love to use more flavorful marinades or rubs when cooking some of the more cost effective cuts like top round or london broil. This is a wet steak rub and is reminiscent of the flavors that go into South African farmer’s sausage. It gives just a hint of flavor that most people here in the US have not had before, but reminds me of my childhood 🙂

Steak Rub (enough for about 3 pounds of steak)

Ingredients

¼ cup of olive oil

4 teaspoons of ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 ½ teaspoons of onion powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a gallon storage bag. Place the steaks in and make sure to cover them with the rub. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Cook to your liking. I like to cook it about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for a rare to medium rare finish for about a 3cm thick steak. Allow to rest for 7 to 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve with some easy polenta or grilled cheesy potatoes, like this one from The Recipe Rebel. I made a version of it last night, minus the bacon and it was so easy and delicious!!

Add some asparagus or grilled corn (shuck, rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper then grill, turning frequently) and you have a great barbecue dinner.

Make sure you check if the spices are gluten-free. According to McCormick, they will list it on the bottle if it contains gluten, usually in spice blends. Badia is certified gluten free and can be found usually in the international section of many grocery stores, but sometimes next to the other spices.

What is your favorite way to cook a steak?

Bacon and Kale Mac-n-Cheese

Many of you asked for the recipe, so here it is! Bacon and Kale Mac-n-cheese. I have a basic mac-n-cheese recipe that I change up, probably every time I make it 🙂 Not too long ago I shared my Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-Cheese recipe with you all. This one is not very different. For every mac-n-cheese, I make a roux (gluten-free flour and butter), add some spices, acid (lemon or vinegar to cut down the richness a little), then the shredded cheese and whatever extras you want to include, if any.

Bacon and Kale Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients

1-12 to 16 ounce package of your favorite GF pasta (I used Wegman’s GF Fusilli)

1 cup of kale, washed, pulled of stem and chopped finely

½ pound of bacon, chopped

2/3 cup of butter

1/2 cup of Cup4Cup gluten free flour

1 Tablespoon brown spicy mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

About 2 cups of 2% milk (you can use whole milk)

1 teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar or juice of ½ a lemon

About 10 ounces of cheese (I used about 6 ounces of Cabot extra sharp cheddar and 4 ounces of an Aged Gouda)

Directions

Prepare pasta according to directions on the box. Place a cast iron skillet on the stove on medium heat. Add bacon to the cold pan and let it heat while the pan heats. Cook bacon for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add kale. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the bacon has browned and started to crisp. Save bacon and kale mixture on a plate until ready to mix with pasta and cheese sauce. In the same cast iron skillet, melt butter and whisk in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then add the milk. Whisk together until all the lumps are out.  Stir in vinegar or lemon juice then add the cheese. Mix to melt the cheese and take off heat. Add drained pasta, bacon and kale. Mix through and serve!

I am, honestly, not a big fan of kale. Others in my family like it, so I’ll appease them by making it…covered in cheese 🙂

Mac-n-cheese is a great basic recipe to master and then you can play with it, using different vegetables, meats and spices to create new meals.When I don’t have time or the ability to be at the stove cooking for 20 minutes, I make a quick version of mac-n-cheese using mascarpone. Check it out here! It is a great easy meal.

What is your favorite mac-n-cheese topping or mix-in?

Shepherd’s Pie, easy meal for the freezer or a for a friend

Spring is in full swing! Some days here in New England are 90 degrees and others barely reach 60. Having delicious comfort food meals in the freezer for you, your guests or to bring for a friend in need is very helpful. Shepherd’s Pie is one of my favorites. I love it. It is one of the few ways I can get my kids to eat mashed potatoes! They eat many things and eat potatoes in most other forms, but for some reason mashed potatoes are in their mind, a form of torture that I save only for them 😉

Shepherd’s Pie is great to bring to new parents who need a meal or a friend who has just moved or had surgery. It is great to bring to a potluck or serve at a graduation celebration. It is naturally gluten free by using cornstarch instead of flour to thicken the meat sauce. No one will miss the gluten.

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 pounds of ground meat (beef, pork or turkey…I often use a mixture of beef and pork)

1 white onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 sprigs thyme

1 cup of beef stock

2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

5 russet potatoes, diced

1 teaspoon of salt

2/3 cup of milk

2 Tablespoons cream cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1/8 teaspoon of paprika

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown meat in large high rimmed, oven safe sauté pan.  Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and thyme. Stir occasionally and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. In a small bowl mix stock, vinegar and cornstarch. Pour into meat mixture. Combine and cook on medium to low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add potatoes and salt to stock pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for about 20 minutes. When potatoes are soft, drain and add milk and cream cheese, then mash together. Add salt and pepper to your taste.

Spoon mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and smooth out with spatula. Top with a sprinkle of paprika and place in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes. Serve!

If you plan to freeze or gift the shepherd’s pie, first pour the meat mixture into a foil casserole dish and then smooth potatoes over the top before cooking.

For a fancy twist, you can make baked potatoes and scoop out the insides, make mashed potatoes with the insides and then spoon the meat mixture into the skins. Simply cover with mashed potatoes and bake. Twice baked shepherds pie..mmmm!

What is your favorite meal to freeze? What is your favorite meal you have received in a time of need? Here are some other freezer meals or meals to bring a friend:

Gluten-Free Stuffed Shells

Meatballs

Meatloaf

Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-cheese

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

 

 

 

 

Gluten-free Stuffed Shells for a Party

Graduations, end of school year parties and summer holidays are all upon us. It can be a challenge to host a celebration at your house if you have celiac disease or have a family member with it. It doesn’t have to be! Here are some of my ideas for hosting a large gathering that is completely gluten free and no one will even miss the gluten!!

A tray of stuffed shells are a great way to feed a crowd. I was so excited when browsing at my local Italian specialties store (Alfredo’s) and I found an entire end cap filled with different shapes of imported Italian gluten-free pasta. I bought a 1 pound bag of shells, which made 2 large casserole dishes of stuffed shells. Others have found this pasta at Marshalls, TJ Max or Homegoods. The recipe below is for half of the bag. I made the other half with about 8 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and drained instead of zucchini and froze it for another time.

Gluten-free stuffed shells

Ingredients

2 small zucchini, shredded

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

About 24 ounces of ricotta cheese

4 to 5 ounces of cream cheese

8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, shredded

About 40 ounces of canned tomato sauce (I like to use part diced and part sauce)

½ teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

4 to 5 fresh basil leaves, torn

¼ cup shredded cheddar

½ pound of shells (I used ½ a pound of imported Italian GF shells from La Fabbrica Della Pasta)

Directions

Cook pasta according to package. Set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sauté zucchini with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a bowl mix the ricotta, cream cheese and 4 ounces of the mozzarella. In another bowl mix tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil leaves. Mix cooked zucchini with the cheese mixture. Pour a layer of tomato sauce in bottom of casserole dish. Then fill each shell with 2-3 Tablespoons of the cheese mixture and place in dish.

Cover with the rest of the sauce, rest of the mozzarella and the cheddar. Cook covered with foil for 20 minutes and uncovered for 20 to 30. Serve or Freeze.

You can serve this with your favorite grilled hot dogs, chicken or ribs and a salad. Cut up a watermelon, put out a large bowl of Pirate’s Booty, Skinny Pop and Cape Cod Chips, serve Hoodsie’s so you don’t have to scoop any ice cream or have popsicles (Outshine or Wegman’s brand are gluten free) and you are all set for a gluten-free party! What is your favorite party food?

Basic Recipes You Can Adjust To Your Own Taste

After taking a much needed break, the blog is back! I’ve been busy cooking, cleaning out closets and celebrating. I turned 40 and then had a restful Mother’s Day. I have so many great recipes and gluten-free finds to share from the past couple of weeks! Stay tuned!

I am continually thinking about how to put into words the kinds of recipes I like to make and then I had an epiphany while driving by myself in the car the other day. I turned on NPR (WGBH Boston, 89.7) and heard Christopher Kimball’s voice. It was Milk Street Kitchen Radio with Christopher Kimball (formerly of America’s Test Kitchen) and Sara Moulton (who has a show on PBS now but I used to religiously watch her cooking show on the Food Network, over 15 years ago). They took an interesting caller, asking about how to get his fiance to eat more of a variety of foods. He wanted to know any good cookbooks for kids, as he compared her palate to that of a child.

Mr. Kimball’s answer is exactly what mine would be, although much more eloquently said. He said that instead of trying to cook down to her taste level, to make what he calls “bridge recipes.” The light bulb went off in my head. That is exactly what I do! His example included finding a basic recipe for fried chicken and then change up the flavors, because most countries have their version of fried chicken (Japanese tempura, etc).

Here are some of my “bridge recipes” and some variations you can make to help expand your family’s palate or just change up your weekly menu.

My basic meatball recipe can be changed up by making Italian Stuffed MeatballsVietnamese flavored meatballsTex Mex flavored meatballs, Greek MeatballsSwedish Meatballs or even Meatloaf meatballs! Meatballs are a familiar shape for kids or even picky adults 🙂 By changing up the flavors you can expose them to new tastes.

There are a million ways to make roasted chicken. It is also something many people like and are familiar with, so it is another great vessel to make “bridge” recipes from. So instead of Herb Roasted Chicken try my  One pan Roasted Chicken with tomatoes and feta, Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs or Marinated Roasted Teriyaki Chicken.

Another great way to create “bridge” recipes is to change up the sauces you use. Try these sauces to change up your grilled chicken, steak, fish or even veggies: Barbecue Sauce, Balsamic Honey Mustard Sauce or Tomatillo salsa (this post also has a basic quesadilla recipe which you can make many variations of! A great “bridge”recipe!).

Thank you Christopher Kimball for helping me articulate my style of cooking.  I make basic recipes and create “bridge” recipes from them by using different sauces or spices from a different culture. What is your favorite “bridge” recipe?  Check out Milk Street Radio to find out when it is on in your area or download the podcast! They are great!

Gluten-Free Breakfast Ideas

You always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It also happens to be my favorite, but there never seems to be enough time! That is why I am a firm believer that breakfast is great anytime of day. When I have time, whether its morning afternoon or evening, I’ll make breakfast! Sometimes I’ll eat dinner for breakfast or breakfast for lunch, there are no rules 😉

My family’s breakfast preferences are on the sweet side, so I impose my savory tendencies on them as much as they allow. I’m not really a sweet person. I don’t really like waffles, unless there is fried chicken involved or pancakes unless they are wrapped around sausage. Breakfast Pizza and Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits are two favorites in our house. A frittata is an easy way to get breakfast on the table fast and so versatile.

Frittata

Ingredients

8 eggs

½ cup of milk

½ teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 ½ cups of your choice of vegetable (peppers or asparagus or potatoes or mixture)

¼ cup of your choice of sausage or bacon (optional)

½ cup of your choice of cheese (shredded cheddar or feta)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  If vegetables and meat are not cooked, saute in oven proof skillet. Then pour egg mixture into pan and place in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until center is set and it no longer jiggles. If vegetables and meat are already cooked, just mix in with egg mixture before pouring into the pan.

I do sometimes give in to their many, many requests for sweet breakfasts. For pancakes, we usually use the Gluten-free Bisquick mix, but occasionally will make them from scratch using Cup4Cup GF flour or a variation like these Gingerbread Pancakes. These blueberry muffins make for a great breakfast on the go.

During the week however, we keep it simple and quick. My husband and kids mainly have cereal, yogurt or fruit and toast with Nutella. Even my kids who do not have celiac disease love Goodbye Gluten‘s gluten-free bread, which I can usually get at Wegman’s. When toasted, I even like it. I usually choose to top my toast with avocado or cream cheese and tomato or have a sunny side up egg. What are your favorite gluten-free breakfasts? I would especially love to hear your favorite smoothie recipes!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

When my son was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I thought that meant saying goodbye to all my cookbooks. I definitely have learned that is not the case! So many recipes in my favorite cookbooks (like Mastering the Art of French Cooking) are naturally gluten free or can be adapted. The tricky adaptations come when I want to bake something and can clearly remember what the full gluten version tastes like.

Making these blueberry muffins from the First Edition of McCall’s Cookbook (1963) has been challenging, but I finally got it right! We have been housebound this school vacation week due to one kid with pneumonia, who is luckily on the mend, so the kids wanted to bake. In between marathon games of Monopoly, playing Angry Birds Star Wars on the Ipad and watching many, many movies, this recipe finally came together!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins (adapted from McCalls, First Edition 1963)

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups sifted gluten-free Cup4Cup flour

¼ cup sugar

3 teaspoons of baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1 1/3 cup of milk

6 Tablespoons of melted butter

3 eggs, beaten

8 to 10 ounces fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

Cinnamon sugar, optional for topping (1/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and either grease muffin tin or line with paper liners. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add cinnamon and grate in nutmeg. In another bowl combine milk, melted butter and eggs. Add wet mixture to dry and mix using a fork, just until all dry ingredients are combined. Fold in blueberries. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop a little less than 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup, around 3/4 full. Sprinkle about 1/8 of a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar over each muffin, if you like. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

These muffins are not very sweet, so the cinnamon sugar on top helps give a little more sweetness to each bite. This usually makes 14 to 15 muffins each time. We made these yesterday and are already down to 5 this morning 🙂 I’ve only had one. These are great to throw in with school lunches or bring as a snack on a road trip.

If you want to try one of my other baking adapations, try these amazing Buttermilk Biscuits! You would never even know that they are gluten free.

I have started quite a cookbook collection, which I keep adding to whenever I go into a consignment shop or get a gift card to Amazon. I love cookbooks. I could sit and read cookbooks all day. What are your favorites?