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?

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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

ÂĽ 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

Âľ 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.

Balsamic Honey Mustard Sauce

Sauces are a great way to transform your leftovers. If you are grilling, grill extra chicken or veggies and then use different sauces to make completely different meals from the same base ingredients.

Last week I shared my favorite Apricot barbecue sauce. This week I’m sharing a super simple sauce that would be great on your Easter ham. This sauce also works well with chicken, steak, carrots, asparagus and more!

Balsamic Honey Mustard Sauce

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of honey

3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons of spicy brown mustard

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together and microwave for 20 seconds or heat on stove, medium low, just until warmed through.

I made this sauce earlier this week to top grilled pork chops. It was amazing! Served with some polenta and rosemary corn.

Try this sauce with your spring grilled meats and vegetables or on your Easter ham or disguise your Easter ham leftovers 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!  I’m working on some dessert recipes for the upcoming holidays. Any requests?

 

Cornish Game Hens

Check another meal off my bucket list for 2017! Cornish game hen are a way to wow guests and a great alternative to ham for Easter Dinner or beef for Christmas.

I made them on a snowy April Fools Day. We took advantage of a nasty day outside, in between sports seasons, to stay warm inside, start a home improvement project, play board games and make some comfort food.

Cornish Game Hen

Ingredients

5 Cornish game hen, keep the gizzards and neck

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons of salt

ÂĽ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 lemon, zested and cut into 6 pieces

1 large white onion, cut into 12 pieces

5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

10 stems of fresh thyme

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Dry the hens. Stuff each with a piece of onion, piece of garlic, piece of lemon and a stem of thyme Mix the lemon zest with the salt, pepper and ground thyme in a small bowl. Rub each hen with olive oil and sprinkle with  the lemon zest, salt, pepper and ground thyme mixture. Place into roasting pan and surround with the gizzards, rest of the onions, garlic and thyme stems. Roast in oven for about 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes. Check internal temperature. When cooked through and juices run clear, place hens on a cutting board under a foil tent to rest for about 10 minutes.

You can make a great pan sauce with the drippings. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium heat (2 burners if a large pan) and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the gizzards, onions, garlic and thyme stems. Add the juice of about 1/2 a lemon, a tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and stir. Whisk in 1 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes, whisking to get clumps out. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and remove from heat. It is ready to serve!

Each person got half of a bird and I still have enough to make a pasta dish with the leftovers for dinner tonight. I served served the hens with wild rice from Wegmans and frozen peas.

What are you making for Easter dinner? I am thinking ham, salmon, a potato dish and maybe asparagus. What sides are tradition in your family? Try something new like my Sweet Potato Gratin or polenta with Balsamic green beans.

Boston Cream Pie Cake

The complaint most often heard about gluten-free cakes is that they are too dry and crumbly. To combat this, whenever I use a gluten-free cake mix I make these changes:

  • Use milk instead of water, if the instructions call for water
  • Use melted butter instead of oil, if the instructions call for oil
  • Add an extra egg
  • Add ½ cup of melted white chocolate

With these changes, you can serve cake to those who are not gluten-free and they will never know! Betty Crocker, Wegmans and King Arthur are my go to gluten-free cake mixes.

Boston Cream Pie Cake

Ingredients

1 yellow cake mix, prepared according to package with my changes noted above

1 package of vanilla instant pudding, prepared according to package pie filling instructions (for Jello Instant pudding this means, using 1 ¾ cups of milk instead of 2 cups)

1-16 ounce container of chocolate frosting (Pillsbury is gluten free)

Directions

Prepare cake using two 8 or 9 inch rounds. Make pudding and place in fridge to set. Once cake is cool and pudding is set place one of the rounds on a serving platter and top with the pudding.

Place second round on top and then cover completely with the chocolate frosting.  Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

This is a great dessert to entertain with, easy enough for your kids to help with and absolutely delicious!

If you need more ideas to feed your sweet tooth, check out some of my favorite dessert recipes.

Gluten-Free Crispy Treats

Raspberry Lemon Tiramisu

Baked Alaska

Carrot Ginger Soup

Even though the weather seems to be getting warmer (wishful thinking that spring is near!) soup is still a great comfort. Especially, this light, delicious soup (which is vegan and gluten free if you need it to be). It is a great lunch with grilled cheese or perfect starter for you Easter dinner.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

½ teaspoon of sesame oil

1 large sweet onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch of fresh ginger, minced

5 to 6 large carrots, diced

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

ÂĽ teaspoon of pepper

5 ½ cups of chicken or vegetable stock

Sour cream or plain greek yogurt, optional

Directions

Heat oils in a stock pot. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Stir and cook until the onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add carrots, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Add the stock and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Blend with a handheld blender or allow to cool and transfer to a blender or food processor to puree. If there are lumps, run through a sieve. Keep in stock pot on low heat or in a crock pot on warm or low until ready to serve. Top with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt if you like.

Spring will be here before we know it! With a slight chill in the air, soups make an easy, healthy lunch, served with a salad or sandwich. Let me know if there are any recipes you want to see for the spring!

Here are some of my other soup recipes if you are in the mood for something different.

 

Baked Alaska

Check one item off my 2017 Cooking Bucket List! For Valentine’s Day I made Baked Alaska for my family. It is definitely old fashioned and definitely delicious! I scoured the internet and my cookbook collection for recipes to learn the process. Allrecipes.com never fails to provide good recipes, so I used this recipe to make sure I got the meringue right.  Some use pound cake and sorbet and bake the meringue while others use sponge cake and ice cream and use a torch on the meringue. The thought of putting ice cream in the oven, made me nervous, so I decided to go the torch route. Plus that is more fun!

Baked Alaska

Ingredients

1 gallon of Hood Patchwork ice cream

1 box of gluten free chocolate cake mix, plus an extra egg (I like Wegmans GF chocolate cake mix)

8 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

Directions

Take the gallon of ice cream out to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare a medium sized bowl by lining with plastic wrap, wax paper or parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Press the ice cream down into the bowl and cover. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Make 8 inch round cake according to instructions, adding the extra egg. Cool the cake and cut to size of the ice cream in the bowl if needed. Press cake onto the bottom of the ice cream. Cover and freeze for another 4 hours or overnight. About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, take the bowl of ice cream and cake out of the freezer and make the meringue. Add the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl. Whip until stiff peaks form. Turn the bowl with ice cream and cake onto a plate and take the bowl and wrap or paper off.

Frost the ice cream with the meringue. Take a culinary torch and run it over all the meringue until toasted. Serve immediately. Freeze the leftovers.

It was much easier to make than I thought. It does take planning, however. I froze the ice cream in the bowl and made the cake one night. The next morning (day of service) I cut the cake to fit the ice cream and put back in the freezer until after dinner, when I finished it with the meringue.

Working my way through my bucket list. I found cornish game hens on sale this week and put them in the freezer, so a fancy dinner where we will each have our own “little chicken” according to my kids, is coming soon 🙂 What is on your cooking bucket list? What would you love to cook?

Sweet Potato Two Ways

Sweet potatoes can be a great side dish or the star of the meal. They can be fancy or very simple. They can be baked, topped with marshmallows, made into fries or create an amazing soup.

This sweet potato side dish is the perfect comfort food on a cold winter night.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced

1/3 cup of unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour (I use Gluten-Free Cup4Cup)

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

ÂĽ teaspoon of pepper

3 springs of thyme

3 cups of milk

4 ounces of cream cheese or 3 tablespoons of mascarpone

12 ounces of shredded cheddar, divided, save about 4 ounces for the top

Directions

Boil slices of sweet potatoes for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Make béchamel: melt butter, add flour, mustard and herbs. Whisk for 2-3 minutes. Whisk milk in. Add cream cheese and combine. Take off heat and mix in cheddar. Make layers, one of potatoes, one béchamel and repeat. Cover top with rest of cheddar and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes if you want to melt the cheese more. If you have extra béchamel sauce, freeze it and add it to quinoa or rice another time.

Serve at Valentines day with a grilled steak or barbecued salmon and a fresh salad.

I love to be able to create more than one meal out of the same ingredient. Especially one that completely hides the fact that I’m using leftovers. That way it is more likely that my family will eat it 🙂

Sweet potato and zucchini enchiladas

Ingredients

4-6 tortillas (I like to use Joseph’s gluten free flour tortillas)

1 1/2 to 2 cups of leftover sweet potato gratin

1 large zucchini, shredded

4 ounces of shredded cheddar

chili powder

1 to 1 1/2 cups of tomatillo salsa or your favorite enchilada sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 300. In a casserole dish, pour tomatillo salsa or enchilada sauce to cover the bottom. In each tortilla place 3 to 4 Tablespoons of the gratin, 1 Tablespoon of the shredded zucchini and sprinkle with chili powder (about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon), roll and place in dish.

Repeat until you have used up your ingredients.

Pour more of the enchilada sauce over all the rolled tortillas. Top with shredded cheddar.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes at the end if you would like to melt the cheese any further.

The enchiladas would make a great meal for the Super Bowl next weekend! If you haven’t made the gratin, just substitute some mashed sweet potatoes and add some shredded cheddar inside the tortillas.

I’ll be posting more ideas for Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!