Easy Mushroom Sauce

When you want to spice up a meal or make it fancier, a good sauce can easily do that. Now, I am not a fan of mushrooms, but lately I have been using them more. They really give a great umami quality to your food. My son ate this sauce alone, for breakfast, the morning after I served it. It really is lick-your-plate delicious😊  Serve this sauce over your holiday roast, steaks, chicken or over some polenta for a comforting vegetarian dish.

Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 pound of your favorite mushrooms, chopped (I like baby portabellas or shitake)

1 packet of McCormick’s Gluten Free Brown Gravy

1 cup of veggie, chicken or beef stock

1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

Direction

Melt butter and heat oil in a sauce pan, over medium heat. Add thyme, rosemary and onion powder. Toss in your mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Add gravy mix, stock and vinegar. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes and sauce is thick. Taste for seasoning.

What is your favorite sauce? Try some of my other sauces, one sweet and one savory.

 

Make your own take-out! Turkey Fried Rice

Making your own take-out can be easy and delicious! My family loves fried rice. I know it is probably one of the least expensive items on the menu at your local take-out Chinese place, but I always seem to order more than I need or have to order more to reach a minimum amount for delivery. Making it at home uses up any leftovers we have on hand, it’s healthier and is finished faster than calling in the order.

Turkey Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 egg, whisked

1 zucchini diced

1 small onion diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

¼ cup soy sauce (make sure it’s GF)

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon of ginger, minced or use a paste like this one from Gourmet Garden.

About 2 cups of cooked rice (I love Wegman’s 90 second Steamables!)

About 2 cups of shredded turkey

fresh cilantro, optional

Directions

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil and the sesame oil in sauté pan or wok and scramble egg. Take it out and set aside. Add last Tablespoon of vegetable oil and add zucchini, onion and garlic to the pan. Stir and cook for about 7 min, or until soft. Mix soy sauce, vinegar and ginger together in a bowl. Add rice to pan then pour on soy sauce mixture and stir. Add turkey and return egg to pan. Mix it all together and you have turkey fried rice!

TIP: You can substitute leftover pork roast or roast beef or chicken or shrimp or your favorite vegetables for the zucchini, or even solely vegetables or tofu to keep it vegetarian.

What are your favorite take-out dishes that you make at home? We love making Hot and Sour soup! What is your favorite way to use leftovers? We make fish sticks with leftover cod or chili with leftover pumpkin or squash or check out this post for more ideas! Leftovers do not need to be boring!

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?