Easy, Fancy Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback potatoes were very popular last year, so naturally I’m finally getting on the bandwagon. Easy side dishes that look fancy are always great for a holiday table, entertaining friends, potlucks or even to spice up an ordinary Wednesday night.

Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients

5 large potatoes, thinly sliced but not all the way through to the bottom.

1 clove of garlic, minced

4 Tablespoons of butter, melted

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

5 springs of thyme, removed from stem or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme

About 4 ounces of gouda, finely shredded (parmesan would also be good)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray small casserole dish or a cake pan with non-stick spray. Mix garlic, butter, salt, pepper and thyme in a cup. Place sliced potatoes in pan and then pour butter mixture over top, making sure it gets into each slice of potato. Top with shredded cheese and make sure some of it gets into each slice of potato. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes and uncovered for 25 minutes.

This can easily be made in advance and then reheated in the oven or under the broiler before serving.

I love dishes that look fancy, taste amazing and are super easy to make. This is definitely one of those dishes. What is your go to side dish? I also love making polenta or mashed potatoes and then add some green beans, acorn squash or even some decadent burrata with tomatoes and basil.

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?

 

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 croutons make the perfect GF stuffing

I’ll admit gluten-free bread has been the hardest item for me to get used to. The kids love most brands when toasted. Since it is more expensive than its gluten filled counterpart, I like to keep all the ends of the gluten-free loaves of bread in the freezer until I have enough to make something, like these croutons, which are perfect to be used for making stuffing for Thanksgiving.

Gluten Free Croutons

Ingredients

6 cups of gluten free bread, cubed

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary

½ teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme

¼ teaspoon of chopped fresh sage

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and transfer to cookie sheet. Toast for 10 minutes, then mix and toast for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. You can use these as croutons or make the stuffing recipe below.

Gluten-free Stuffing

Ingredients

1 batch of gluten-free Croutons (see recipe above)

3 ounces of sausage (omit if making vegetarian or vegan)

1 small onion finely chopped

1 large clove of garlic, minced

4 Tablespoons of butter (use smart balance if making vegan)

Couple sprigs each of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and sage), chopped finely

2 cups of stock (veggie, chicken, turkey or beef)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in cast iron skillet and cook sausage in it. Then add onions, garlic and herbs. Sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add croutons, mix and then stir stock into mixture.  Cover and cook in oven for about 35 minutes.  Remove cover and finish cooking for 10 to 15 minutes uncovered.

Stuffing is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving and with this recipe, I definitely do not miss the gluten. It is delicious. What is your favorite side dish? Try my polenta, acorn squash or slow cooker mashed potatoes.

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.

Cheeseburger Meatballs

Eating gluten-free due to celiac disease can be challenging in the best of circumstances. So when life throws you a curve ball (or ten) it can be a real struggle. This summer our family was thrown a couple of curve balls. The main cook, grocery shopper and organizer of all things gluten free in the family (me), was out of commission. While recuperating I always had a worry in the back of my mind, how is my son (who has celiac disease) going to stay safe?! I know that my husband is perfectly capable of keeping him safe, we have wonderful friends and family close by who also are “in the know” and my son is great advocate for himself. That still doesn’t erase that voice of worry in my mind.

Other than help from our village and take-out from our favorite local Thai place, we were saved by having some meatballs, homemade sausage and a couple of meals in the freezer and of course Annie’s Gluten-Free Mac-n-cheese, lots and lots of mac-n-cheese.

Whether you are preparing for a known surgery, business trip or the unknown, meatballs are perfect for stocking your freezer. You can bring them to a holiday potluck or serve for a game day appetizer. These Cheeseburger Meatballs are a new family favorite.

Cheeseburger Meatballs

Ingredients

3 pounds of ground meat (75% beef and 25%pork)

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons of spicy brown mustard

2 teaspoons of ketchup

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 egg

8 ounces of cheddar cheese, cut into ¼ to ½ inch cubes

Directions

Mix all ingredients, except the cheddar, together in a large bowl. Cook a small patty and taste for flavor. Add more spices if needed. Roll into 1 ½ to 2 inch balls and stuff with a cube of the cheddar. Sear on at least 3 sides and then place on a metal baking rack sitting on a baking sheet. Cook for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Serve as an appetizer with your favorite ketchup or mustard to dip, with your favorite pasta sauce and spaghetti or even on mashed potatoes with peas and bbq sauce.

Prepping food in bulk when you have the time and energy so you have it in your freezer when you need it is great for everyone, especially if you need easy allergy-free meals that aren’t available for take-out. What is your favorite freezer meal? If you want to try some other meatball recipes, here are some of my favorites from 2016.

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 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?

Holiday Side Dish Ideas

Side dishes are often my favorite part of the meal. They enhance the main course. They can be warm and comforting or light and refreshing. They can be vegetarian, vegan and gluten free or full of butter, bacon and cheese, still gluten free 🙂 Side dishes give you an opportunity to use seasonal vegetables to make your meal amazing, butternut squash in the fall or asparagus in the spring.

Last winter we moved into a new house and were very excited for spring to see what was going to grow. We were not expecting asparagus, but one day the kids were playing out back and discovered stalks of asparagus growing out of the ground! We learned that asparagus is difficult to grow. It takes years to establish a patch of asparagus. We are very lucky that the previous owner had a green thumb! Here is a simple roasted asparagus recipe that would be a great addition to your holiday table.

Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

About 1 pound of fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

¾ of a teaspoon salt

1/8 of a teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss all the ingredients together on a sheet pan. Spread asparagus out and roast for about 10 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and transfer asparagus to a serving platter.

This is such a great, simple recipe that you can prep in the morning and put in the oven just before serving. Similarly you can do this with Green Beans.

I’m going to serve this asparagus dish at Easter with a version of my Twice Baked Potatoes. If you are looking for a decadent side dish try this Sweet Potato Gratin or easy Polenta. However, if you have time, try making Potato Gnocchi or Quinoa Risotto to wow your guests.

You can make your holiday meals as simple or involved as you like. I have learned over the years, for me, I try to keep it simple on the holidays, make things I can prep ahead of time that don’t involve a lot of hands on work the day of. For example, if I am serving mashed potatoes, I make it in the morning or day before and then put into the crock pot to keep warm or reheat.  For us it is easier to make everything rather than worry about cross-contamination if someone brings something with gluten in it. How do you handle the holidays with food allergies or Celiac disease?

 

Basic Chocolate Bark Recipe

Chocolate Bark is a great recipe to have in your arsenal. It is always a hit, so versatile and incredibly easy to make! You can make it for Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, 4th of July or on a rainy Saturday. It only takes about 30 minutes (5 to 10 minutes of actual work).

Here is the basic recipe:

Basic Chocolate Bark Recipe

Ingredients

1 – 16 ounce bag of chocolate chips (white, dark or milk chocolate)

Toppings, optional

Directions

Prep a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment or wax paper the same size as the pan. Spray with cooking spray. Prep your ingredients. Pour all the chocolate chips into a glass bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing the chips each time in between. It should take about 3 rounds, around 90 seconds total.  Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared sheet and spread out to about 1/8 inch thick.

After pouring then add your favorite toppings and lightly press in. Place in freezer for about 20 minutes. Break into pieces. Keep refrigerated.

Topping ideas:

Baklava Bark – Add 1/3 cup crushed nuts (pistachios, walnuts or almonds), zest of one lemon and honey drizzled on top.

Holiday Bark – Add 2 crushed candy canes.

Cookies and Cream- Add about 4-6 crushed GF oreos (I like GF Trader Joe’s Os or Glutino cookies)

Trail Mix Bark – Add 1/4 cup of partially crushed pretzels (I like synder’s GF or Glutino) and 1/4 cup of craisins

Smores Bark – add about 1/4 cup of crushed graham crackers (I like Schar’s GF graham crackers) and about 1/ 4 cup of mini marshmallows. If you like, use a culinary torch to lightly toast the marshmallows.

The options are limitless. Bark is a great idea to make alongside your holiday dessert or put them in clear gift bags and give as a parting gift.

If you need some more dessert ideas try my Raspberry Lemon Thyme Tiramisu or Boston Cream Pie Cake or GF Crispy Treats or Chocolate Pudding Pie or if you are feeling adventurous try my Baked Alaska.