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 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?

Haddock on the Grill

Even on cool slightly rainy nights the grill calls to me. It means less clean up and usually faster cooking. Seafood is great to cook on the grill, especially because then the house does not smell like fish! We are very lucky that we have a friend who loves to fish but doesn’t like seafood, so we get pounds of his fresh catch to freeze and pull out when we need it.

Grilled Haddock

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

½ teaspoon of salt

6 to 8 basil leaves, torn

About 3 pounds of Haddock fillets

About ½ pound of Campari tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ teaspoon of salt

6 to 8 basil leaves

Juice of ½ a lemon

about 4 ounces of fresh feta cheese, optional

Directions

Preheat the grill. Take 2 large pieces of foil and cross them. Drizzle olive oil, salt and basil leaves on the foil. Place haddock fillets on top. Add tomatoes, remaining olive oil, salt and basil leaves, then squeeze the lemon juice over the fish. Close up the foil and fold into a packet.  Add another piece of foil if needed to make sure the fish is completely enclosed. Place on direct heat on the grill. After 10 minutes, move to indirect heat. Close grill and continue to cook for another 20 to 25 minutes. Take off the grill and serve! Sprinkle fish with feta if you like.

I have about 8 pounds of haddock left, so I’m sure there will be more recipes in the future! Any good ideas? What is your favorite way to cook haddock?

Here are some of my other seafood ideas and recipes:

What to do with leftover cod

Sheet Pan Shrimp

Poached Salmon

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!

Sheet Pan Shrimp

All over the internet you see sheet pan dinners. They are the new one pot meal.  I have three sheet pans and they are well loved. I use them to cook wings, meatballs, shrimp, salmon, roast vegetables and not to mention all the cookies we make on them.

I usually make sure I have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer so that I can throw together a quick and easy meal. This is one of the simplest and tastiest recipes you can make.

Sheet Pan Shrimp

Ingredients

1 pound cooked frozen shrimp, defrosted

Juice of 1 lime

½ teaspoon of salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of agave

½ cup of diced red onion

1 to 2 diced sweet peppers (or broccoli)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

½ teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl mix lime, salt, pepper and agave. Toss shrimp in the lime mixture and let sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Combine onion and vegetables on sheet pan with vegetable oil, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add the cooked shrimp. Roast for another 10 minutes and serve over rice or polenta or inside a tortilla.

You can easily make this recipe solely with vegetables so it is easy to make this vegetarian, vegan and its already gluten free! It is such a versatile recipe! Let me know what you like to make on your sheet pans.

Meatloaf Two Ways

Meatloaf is really comfort food at its best. What is better than meatloaf? Meatloaf meatballs! This recipes tells you how to make both from the same mixture. I’m a big fan of making more than I need since it is doing the same work for double recipe. That means I can put something in the freezer to easily pull out one night when I need a quick meal.

Meatloaf (Bulk recipe)

Ingredients

2 pounds of ground beef (top round or sirloin)

1 pound of pork sausage (Wegmans sells 1 pound tubes that are labeled gluten free)

½ cup of gluten free bread crumbs

1 clove of garlic, minced

½ of a red onion, grated

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

½ cup of milk

2 eggs

½ cup of ketchup

1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar

3 Tablespoons of honey

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together all the ingredients up to and including the eggs.  Make a small patty and cook it, so you can taste for seasoning. Repeat with more seasoning if needed.

For Meatloaf:  Once seasoned to your liking, split the meat mixture in half. Form two loaves of meatloaf. Place them on a metal cooling rack over a baking sheet. Make the sauce by mixing the ketchup, balsamic vinegar and honey together in a small bowl. Pour a couple of tablespoons of sauce over each loaf, then brush to cover. Cook in oven for 50 to 70 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 160 degrees (FDA Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures). Take out of the oven and brush again with sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes and asparagus or polenta and green beans.

For Meatballs: Once seasoned to your liking, make one and a half to two inches in diameter meatballs. Heat a large skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil in it.  Sear each meatball and place on a metal cooling rack over a baking sheet. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes. Check your largest meatball close to the center and make sure it is cooked through.  Serve with the sauce for dipping. Tip: you can keep the meatballs warm by placing them in a slow cooker on warm or low with a little beef stock (enough to cover bottom of pot, not meatballs).

You can make either of these methods to feed a crowd or make one of each and freeze half. I know, I know, some of you don’t like making such big batches 😉 Make a 1/2 batch and let me know how it turns out!

For my family, it works for me to cook in large batches when I have time, so for those many times that I cannot cook, we have something delicious and homemade to pull out of the freezer.

As a family with a child who has celiac disease, our take-out options are limited and often more expensive, so having easy meals in the freezer are a life saver for our busy lifestyle. It helps that we have a large deep freezer in the garage. What are your go to bulk meals?

 

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast and brunch are two of my favorite meals. I love savory breakfast foods. We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week and this breakfast pizza recipe has become a fast favorite. My father gave me the idea for the hash brown crust over the holidays and I have been making it regularly for my family.

Breakfast pizza

Ingredients

3 russet potatoes, shredded

1 large white onion, shredded

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 cup of corn starch

1 ½ teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

1 egg

2 Tablespoons olive oil

6 eggs

Optional toppings: crumbled cooked bacon or sausage, diced avocado, diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, hot sauce, feta or cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain potatoes and onions after shredding (wrap in kitchen towel and squeeze over sink). Place potatoes and onions in large bowl and add garlic, corn starch, salt and pepper and 1 egg. Combine. Heat the olive oil in a 10 inch oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Press potato mixture into pan. Press down with a spatula (you should hear a sizzle). Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes, pressing down on the potatoes occasionally. The tricky part is flipping the pan sized hash brown. Take a deep breath and place a larger pan cover (without a lip) over the pan and flip the pan upside down, leaving the hash brown on teh cover. Place pan back on the heat, add more olive oil if needed and then slide the hash brown onto the pan so that the other side can cook. Cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, pressing down on the hash brown occasionally. Remove from heat and crack 6 eggs in a circle on the hash brown. Place in oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes for runny yokes, longer if you want well done yolks. Take out and sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Serve immediately. It is also good cold for lunch the next day!

I have found that a cast iron skillet is too heavy for me to flip the hash brown crust, but if you have a large spatula or two that can flip the crust without having to flip the pan, the cast iron works great.

Breakfast for dinner can be cereal and fruit or something like this breakfast pizza if you find yourself with a little more time. It can be savory or sweet. Breakfast can be what you want it to be. I often just eat leftovers from the night before. My family thinks I’m crazy, but it tastes good to me! What is your favorite breakfast food?

One pot meals

My husband is always happy when I make a one pot meal. He is the one who does the dishes 🙂 A one pot meal can be anything from soup to chili to pot roast to pasta. Fewer dishes means less time in the kitchen and more time for the many other tasks you have to accomplish or maybe (gasp!) even give you 5 minutes to take some time for yourself.

One of the favorite one pot meals in my house is my Hot and Sour Soup.

It only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and is the recipe I chose to display when asked to be one of the featured blogs on Wayfair.com’s Stock, Soup and Multi-Pots page. Check it out!

If you don’t like hot and sour soup, try my French Onion, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato Coconut Curry, Potato Leek or Carrot Ginger soup. One pot can also make amazing chicken stock or healing chicken noodle soup

Another flavorful meal you can create in a snap, is my One Pan Roasted Chicken.

Serve it with some zoodles and you have a tasty spring-like meal!

Chili is a one pot meal that can either be made in your slow cooker or in one pot on the stove. My Crowd Pleasing Quinoa Pumpkin Chili can easily be made, simmering on the stove in 2 to 3 hours.

Quinoa risotto is a decadent and healthy one pot meal for dinner one night on its own or you can serve it with some leftover chicken or steak.

One pot meals are versatile and easy. Try one of my recipes above! Let me know how it turns out. Let me know if there are other recipes you want to see.