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.

Beef Pot Roast

Winter will not quit here in the northeast! While the weather doesn’t yet call for actually making lemonade from lemons, take advantage of the cold and make warm, comforting food for you and your family. I have found it is definitely worth the effort to put the time in to prepare a meal in the morning before heading out the door, so you can come home to a completely finished meal that you just need to serve up.

This Beef Pot Roast recipe is an entire meal in your slow cooker. After preparing, there is no more work!

Beef Pot Roast

Ingredients

2 to 3 pound roast sirloin, or other favorite cut

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound of potatoes, diced

3 to 4 large carrots, peeled and diced

8 ounces of sliced baby portabella mushrooms

3 shallots, diced

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1/8 cup of red wine vinegar

1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup of soy sauce (I use La Choy gluten-free soy sauce)

1/8 cup Worcestershire

¾ cup of beef stock

2/3 cup of water

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

Directions

Take roast out of the refrigerator and rub with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Turn slow cooker on low and add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Toss to cover vegetables.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Sear roast on all sides and place into the slow cooker on top of the vegetables.

In a medium bowl mix the remaining ingredients and then pour over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Pot roast is the ultimate comfort food! Bonus, this is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure that the vinegar, soy sauce and herbs you use are gluten-free. I like to use Badia or McCormick dried spices. Badia is certified gluten-free and McCormick will mark on their bottles if there is any gluten present.

Here are some more slow cooker ideas from previous posts. What is your favorite slow cooker 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.