Overnight Baked Apple French Toast

Last week I shared my gluten-free crouton and stuffing recipe, using the ends of bread that I keep in the freezer. This week, I have another great meal for you that can be made from the same ends or your favorite bread. What is better on a weekend or holiday morning than to wake up to the smells of apple and cinnamon?

Overnight Baked Apple French Toast

Ingredients

5 cups of bread, cubed

2 apples finely chopped

2 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons of sugar

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

2 cups of milk

3 eggs

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 Tablespoons of brown sugar

Directions

Add bread to your slow cooker. In a sauté pan, cook apples, butter and sugar with cinnamon for about 5 minutes. Pour mixture over bread in the slow cooker. In a bowl or large measuring cup whisk milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar. Pour over bread and apple mixture. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Having breakfast already made when you get up in the morning, especially when you have house guests or are going to be running around for the day, helps to take the stress out of the morning. This one will disappear fast 🙂

What is your favorite easy breakfast? Check out my round-up of gluten-free breakfast ideas! Frittatas, muffins and a breakfast pizza! Oh my!

Gluten-free on the Road and a slow cooker mashed potato recipe!

Cooking in a kitchen that is not your own can be nerve wracking! Whether your home kitchen is fully gluten-free (GF) or not, cooking at a vacation rental or someone else’s house requires an extra level of preparedness to be safe.

If the house is close by, one option is to make the meal at your own house and bring it with you. When driving for a trip, I pack a Rubbermaid tub with the cooking essentials. If we are sharing the house with others, I make sure everyone knows that that box is only to be used for gluten-free cooking.

Checklist for Cooking Meals in a Non-GF Kitchen:

  1. Aluminum foil (and lots of it!) – this can cover cookie sheets, serving platters and grills and wrap around food to keep the chance of cross-contamination low. Don’t forget a sharpie to mark GF as needed.
  2. Cutting board (Bring a large wooden cutting board to double as a serving platter for you’re your Thanksgiving turkey if needed)
  3. Frying pan
  4. Pasta pot
  5. Colander
  6. Paper plates and bowls
  7. Plastic cups
  8. Plastic forks, spoons and knives
  9. Chef’s knife (transport it in a paper towel tube)
  10. Spatula
  11. Whisk (I have used a plastic fork instead of whisk many times, so bring it only if you have space)
  12. Mixing spoon that can double as a serving spoon
  13. Gallon and sandwich size Ziploc bags or containers for leftovers
  14. Chicken stock
  15. GF flour
  16. Sugar, salt and pepper, condiments and other herbs that you like to keep separate
  17. Aluminum cake pans, casserole or bread pans, if needed
  18. Crockpot or crockpot liners (When not using the crockpot, I use the bowl as my mixing bowl for other recipes)
  19. Cheese grater

To separate items in the refrigerator, either designate a separate shelf (the higher the better) and/or a drawer. If it’s a small amount put it in a small Rubbermaid bin.

This seems like a lot. I know. It’s a mobile kitchen. If you are not going to be cooking entire meals, then you will not need all these items. Everyone’s checklist will look different depending on what you are cooking. Keep your recipes simple and bring only what you need to make your recipes. If you are flying, consider buying cheap or one-use versions of what you might need at your destination.

An easy way to keep things simple while on vacation is to make a one pot meal in a crock pot. It will feed a crowd, allow you to enjoy the day and can easily be made gluten-free. This is especially important on holidays. Here is a mashed potato recipe you can make entirely in your crock pot.

Slow Cooker Mashed potatoes

Ingredients

About 6 medium yellow potatoes, washed and diced

1 ½ cups milk

3 Tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

4 ounces of cream cheese, optional

Directions

Add potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper to slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Add cream cheese if you like cheesier mashed potatoes. Mash or whip with handheld mixer. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed and it is ready to serve. To keep warm, pour about 1/4 cup of milk over top, cover and set on low or warm until service. Then just mix in milk and its ready for some gravy!

How do you cook gluten or allergen free when you are traveling? You can try my easy chili  or pasta with mascarpone recipe.

Balsamic Honey Mustard Slow-Cooked Pork Loin

School vacation is over!! While there have been weeks in the past where I have felt sad that school vacation is over, this time, as I drove away, I turned up the music and was literally dancing in my seat! (Sing Justin Timberlake’s, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” when you read that paragraph) Anyway, now back to the routine of cooking and writing (and lots of laundry).

Using your slow cooker is always a great way to have a delicious meal waiting for you when you get home. I especially like to use it on Saturdays when we are running around with errands, parties and basketball games. The aroma that awaits when walking in the door is heavenly.  This pork loin is comfort food at its best. I kept this easy and served it with polenta and microwaved frozen peas on the side. A gorgeous comfort meal with very little effort!

Balsamic Honey Mustard Slow-Cooked Pork

Ingredients

3 to 4 pound pork loin

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil

4 medium shallots, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

2 cups of beef stock

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoon agave syrup

1 Tablespoon of honey mustard

Directions

Rub the salt, pepper and thyme all over the pork loin. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sear the pork loin on all sides.

Place pork in your slow cooker.  Add shallots, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes.

In a measuring cup, mix together stock, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and agave. Pour mixture into skillet with the shallots and garlic, mix and cook for 5 more minutes. Pour liquid, shallots and garlic over the pork in the crock pot. Rub the honey mustard on the top of the pork loin. Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours. Turn slow cooker down to low for 4 to 6 hours. Or cook it on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Gravy

Ingredients

Cooking liquid from slow cooker

3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon agave syrup

2 Tablespoons of cornstarch

2 Tablespoons of softened butter

Directions

Pour all the shallots, garlic and liquid from the slow cooker into a high sided skillet after the pork is done. Bring to a boil. Add the balsamic vinegar and agave. In a small mug, combine the butter and cornstarch. Whisk the butter and cornstarch mixture into the gravy. Cook about 5 minutes until thick. Pour through sieve into your favorite grave boat (I like to use a travel coffee mug! keeps it warm.)

Looking for other slow cooker ideas?  Check out some of my favorites here.

Easy Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

If I want to have a quiet dinner in my house, I serve ribs. My kids love them. Especially one of my boys. He loves to talk, but put some ribs in front of him and he will be completely silent and just eat and eat and eat and eat 🙂

Ribs are best when cooked low and slow and they practically fall off of the bone. This recipe will make your house smell amazing and wow your family at dinner or friends at your next tailgate or game day gathering!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Ingredients

15 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 clove of garlic (minced)

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 Tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

6 Tablespoon of brown sugar

3 Tablespoons of honey mustard

3 Tablespoons of soy sauce

5 Tablespoons of cider vinegar

3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 rack of ribs (2 to 3 pounds), brined

5 sprigs of thyme

3 small onions, sliced

Directions

Mix all ingredients together, except for ribs, thyme and onions.

Turn your slow cooker on high and add the ribs. Pour half of the sauce on the ribs, reserve the rest of later. Add thyme and onions to slowcooker as well and mix with the ribs and sauce.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and 30, minutes and on low for another 2-3 hours.  Take ribs out, put on platter and top with the remaining sauce.

You don’t have to brine the ribs, but do it once and you will know why I brine all my pork and poultry. I have even tried it with beef, using pickling spices and it had a mild corned beef flavor. Delicious!

Serve with the apricot wings I posted earlier in the week and some easy appetizers if making for a party. For dinner, I often serve it with polenta and green beans.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup and my favorite soups from 2016

Soup is warm and comforting especially on crazy cold, rainy/snowy and windy days like we seem to be having here south of Boston. Coming in from shoveling, walking the dog or just your hectic day, having a bowl of soup is a great way to slow your day down and unwind for even 5 minutes, while you enjoy it.

Here is a great recipe for one of my favorite soups which happens to also be naturally vegan and gluten-free.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients

½ of a large sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 6 cups)

2 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger

3 cups vegetable OR chicken stock

13.5 oz can coconut milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Cook onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat, until tender. Pour into your crock pot and put the crock pot on high. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, ginger and stock. Cook on high for about 4 hours. Once all the potatoes are tender, puree the soup, either with an immersion blender or allowing to cool and then carefully pour into your blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Add the coconut milk, salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 minutes in crock pot and then serve.

Here are my other favorite soups from 2016:

Butternut Squash Soup

Potato Leek Soup

Hot and Sour Soup to Warm your Soul

Chicken Noodle Soup

Any of these would be a great addition to your New Years feast! I am making French Onion soup 🙂 Recipe will follow in 2017!

 

 

 

Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes from 2016

Whether you are busy running around or enjoying some lazy days this holiday season, a warm meal waiting for you in your slow cooker is a wonderful thing. It is comforting and makes the house smell great.

Here are some of my favorite slow cooker recipes from 2016:

Crowd Pleasing Chili

Apple and Onion Pot Roast

BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker

If you have not yet checked out Stephanie O’Dea’s site, http://www.ayearofslowcooking.com/, you need to! Everything I have made from her site has been delicious! The Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup and her Apricot Chicken are family favorites.

What do you like to make in your crockpot?

Polenta, an easy holiday side dish

Instead of serving mashed potatoes at your holiday meal, why not try polenta? They are a creamy and delicious accompaniment to ham, turkey, roast beef or roast vegetables.  The two different ways I make it, are much easier and less hands on than mashed potatoes. I make them in the slow cooker, using this recipe from About.com and it comes out perfect, every single time. It takes about 2-3 hours in the slow cooker, but is basically completely hands off.

Most often I make polenta by taking a huge shortcut, buying the already made tubes at Trader Joe’s. Here is my recipe to transform those tubes into an amazingly smooth and cheesy polenta.

Quick Polenta

Ingredients

2-18 ounce tubes of Trader Joe’s Polenta

3 Tablespoons of butter

1 cup of milk (I use either 2% or whole)

1/4 cup of mascarpone or cream cheese

3 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped – optional

Directions

Take the polenta out of the tube and dice. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter and the diced polenta. Cover for about 2 minutes, then stir. Cook covered for another 3-6 minutes until the polenta is soft. Use a potato masher and mash the polenta. Add milk, mascarpone and herbs if using them.  Mash everything together and stir until smooth. You can then keep it warm in your crock pot or if you have a warming burner, you can put it there covered and serve within an hour or so.

You can use this polenta as part of an easy meal this week. I like to serve it with sausage and peppers.

Keep your menu simple and hopefully you will have a less stressful holiday!

Here are some other holiday side dish ideas:

Twice Baked Potatoes, a perfect holiday side dish

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish: My favorite! Acorn Squash

Quinoa Risotto

I guess Thanksgiving is coming soon?!

Apple and Onion Pot Roast

Today I am sharing one of my favorite slow cooker recipes. I have been making this for over 10 years!

I have made it with both beef and pork roasts. Both great! It is based on a recipe from Fix-It and Forget it, Recipes for Entertaining by Phyllis Pellman Good and Dawn J. Ranck. Not much to change when making it gluten free other than just ensuring the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and spices are safe.

Apple and Onion Pot Roast

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

3 pound beef or pork roast

1 cup of beef or chicken broth

2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon of brown sugar

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 large apple, peeled and sliced

1 large onion, sliced

3 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

2 Tablespoons of cornstarch

2 Tablespoons of water

1 Tablespoon of butter

Directions

In a measuring cup mix together broth, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown roast on each side. Put roast into slow cooker. Pour broth mixture into the pan and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom. Add apple and onion to pan and stir for a couple of minutes then pour over the roast in the slow cooker. Add thyme sprigs, if using, and cook on low for 5-7 hours. Remove the roast and onions. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Strain the cooking liquid into a pan. Mix the water and cornstarch and then pour into the cooking liquid. Heat and whisk the gravy until thickened. Take off the heat and whisk in butter. Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta and a side of green beans or salad.

This is comfort food at its best!

There are so many great Fix-It and Forget-It cookbooks to help you expand your slow cooker repertoire. I also love Stephanie O’Dea’s cookbooks and food blog, http://www.ayearofslowcooking.com/.  Every recipe I have made from her site has been delicious and they are gluten free!

Here are some of my past slow cooker recipes:

BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker

Crowd Pleasing Chili

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

BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker

Using the slow cooker to make your dinner is one way to help lessen your stress during this hectic holiday season. As part of my month of posting, I will provide you with an easy slow cooker meal each Wednesday. Bonus, it will be gluten free and no one will ever know 🙂

Slow cookers can not only cook dinner for your family while you are out and about all day, but can cook dinner for a crowd (and keep it warm!) if you are entertaining family or friends. BBQ pulled pork is definitely a popular choice.

BBQ Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

pulled-pork

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Pork tenderloin roast, about 2 pounds

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cumin

1 Tablespoon ketchup

¼ cup water

Directions

Sear the pork in a hot pan in olive oil on all sides. Take out and put aside. Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Mix the cider vinegar, molasses, chili powder, cumin, ketchup and water. Add the vinegar mixture to the onions and take up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Put ½ of the onion in the bottom of the crock pot (heated to high). Place the pork on top and then pour the rest of the onions and vinegar mixture on top of the pork. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Shred with a fork and mix some of the sauce in with it and add your favorite bbq sauce and serve as you like.  You can serve with gluten free cornbread, baked potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes (Wegman’s sells and already mashed sweet potatoes that are amazing!) or on these pretzel rolls from Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

pretzel-roll-sandwiches

Do not be afraid of your slow cooker. It can help you. Even if you put it on at night and cook dinner overnight, put it in the fridge and reheat at dinner time. Cook it all over the weekend and reheat it. Do what you need and what works for you! More easy meals and holiday treats to come…stay tuned!