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

Spring Grilling Time! My favorite barbecue sauce recipe

I am going to ignore the fact that there is snow in the forecast for this weekend and instead focus on the tulips starting to sprout in my front yard.

Some brave the snow and cold to grill year round. I applaud your dedication. I rarely grill in the winter, which is why I am so excited to start grilling again! Sauces can help transform your simple grilled chicken into a sweet and savory delight. Gluten can hide in places like store bought barbecue sauce, so its great to have a recipe on hand when you need it. Make sure the ingredients you use are gluten-free as well.

Apricot Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

1 ½ cups ketchup

2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons gluten free soy sauce

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons of onion power

4 teaspoons of chili powder

¼ cup of apricot jam

3 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Mix all ingredients together. Let sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour, up to overnight to allow the flavors to develop.

Serve with your favorite chicken wings, ribs, meatballs, grilled meat or even as a dip for gluten-free chicken tenders. What is your favorite sauce for grilled meat?

Completing My Cooking Bucket List

It has only taken me two years to (almost) finish my 2015 bucket list. I am working on finishing them before the end of 2016 and starting a new list in 2017!

1. Gluten Free Pretzels or Pretzel rolls

I made the rolls one night in August using a recipe from Nicole Hunn at Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/pretzel-rolls/. They were delicious! We had some leftover pulled pork and meatballs in the fridge so everyone made their own pretzel roll subs for dinner. The next morning we made egg and cheese sandwiches, which would have been even better with some grilled veggies.

2. Poached Salmon (Still needs to be completed)
3. Gluten free Puff Pastry

I made the puff pastry on Valentine’s Day. It was an all day affair. It was delicious! But very time consuming. Again, I used a recipe from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-puff-pastry/. I will definitely make it again for a special occasion.

4. Gluten Free Beef Wellington


I used the GF puff pastry to make Beef Wellington. It wasn’t pretty but tasted amazing! I made a mixture of mushrooms and chicken livers sautéed with fresh thyme, salt, pepper and a little beef stock and spread that on the pastry, when cooled. I used a top sirloin roast because that is what I had in the freezer.  I based my cooking times on the recipe for Beef Wellington in The Good Housekeeping Cookbook from 1973. I did rush it and the meat was warm, so the puff pastry fell off of the roast, but the pastry was buttery and crispy while the meat with juicy and tender. Perfect!  I will definitely make it again.

5. Coq au Vin
I made this way back in early 2015 on Superbowl Sunday. Not exactly traditional Superbowl food, but delicious! Julia Child’s recipe of course, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I skipped the cognac though since I didn’t have any and wasn’t sure if it was gluten free and used King Arthur’s gluten-free all-purpose flour as a thickener. Traditional recipes like this, can easily be made gluten-free. I was so happy with how this came out! It disappeared before I remembered to take a picture!

6. Duck

I made a feast for myself on Mother’s Day, with Karina’s help. I seared the duck breast (saved the fat) and served with lamb chops, a smoked mozzarella risotto and roasted asparagus. It was a real decadent meal! I used the leftover duck fat to make shoestring potato fries the next day! What a treat!

7. Chilaquiles

I made these for my birthday dinner 2016. It was a simplified version using the tomatillo salsa recipe below. I heated up the sauce, added some tortilla chips, shredded cooked chicken, and topped with sunny side up eggs (cooked in another pan), then sprinkled with feta and fresh cilantro. It was so good. The kids even ate it!

8. Develop my own  of GF flours to make an all purpose flour
I haven’t done this yet for a couple of reasons. I am not a great technical cook. I don’t follow recipes exactly. I don’t always measure precisely. I cook from feeling.  So I have taken help from the amazing GF flours already out there. I like to use Cup4Cup and King Arthur’s GF blend.

9. Gluten free pasta from scratch

I have made GF pasta from scratch a couple of times, once without a pasta machine and once with the pasta machine. I still need to do some more testing. Both times, no matter how thinly rolled, it still came out gummy. This is where a good flour blend would help to find a way to take out the gumminess. Anyone have any suggestions?

10. Gluten free gnocchi from scratch
I have made gnocchi several times and it has always come out delicious! I use mostly ricotta and then sweet potato, Yukon golds or leftover mashed potatoes with a little GF all purpose flour. I will write the recipe down soon, I promise! I usually serve my gnocchi with a pesto or light cream sauce.

11. Gluten free bread from scratch that is good enough for anyone to eat

There are two cookbook authors I go to when I want to bake something GF. Nicole Hunn from Gluten Free on a Shoestring which you have heard me talk about a lot lately because of her amazing new cookbook coming out and the other is Roben Ryberg (You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free!).  I have been making Roben’s Everyday Loaf (corn-based) a lot recently. It is a good sandwich bread. More often, I have been making King Arthur’s GF bread mix, but that is expensive as is the GF bread my kids like, either Wegman’s or Trader Joe’s.
12. Gluten free pizza dough that is good enough for anyone to eat.

I haven’t even attempted this yet, but hope to soon. Fridays are our pizza night, so by the time Friday rolls around I’m usually exhausted, so we have frozen pizza (Freschetta’s GF Cheese) or I use the Against the Grain crust to make my grilled pizza recipe below. You can also bake it in the oven at 425 for 12-15 minutes. 

Grilled Pizza (feeds our family of 5 with leftovers)
By Marie Ericson

Ingredients
2  frozen pizza crusts (I like to use Against the Grain)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 6-ounce can Hunts Tomato Sauce
1 16-ounce block of mozzarella cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
Toppings, optional and only limited by your imagination! Ham and pineapple, sausage, peppers and onions, fresh ricotta, olives, spinach and feta or leftover hamburger

Directions
Heat grill to about 400 degrees. Brush olive oil on one side of each pizza crust. Put that side down on the grill. Brush the other side of the pizza crust with the oil and close the lid for 2 minutes. Using spatulas (I have found 2 work best), flip the pizza crusts and turn the burners down to low or move crusts to a cooler part of the grill. Close lid for 2 minutes. Top the crusts with sauce, 3-4 Tablespoons per crust. (You will not need all 6 ounces, so reserve the rest for pasta the next day.) Sprinkle about 8 ounces of cheese on each pizza and add any toppings you are using. Close lid and cook until cheese is melted, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your grill.  Using 2 spatulas remove each pizza and put on serving platter, cutting board or pizza stone and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
For the remainder of 2016 I will try to finish this list by making Poached Salmon, maybe testing flour mixtures to make my own all purpose flour and make a gf pizza dough that is good enough for anyone to eat. I predict the Salmon will happen and the other two…well, maybe next year.  What is on your cooking bucket list? 

Comfort Food and a Cookbook!

As the weather gets colder I really start to crave comfort food. My kids love french fries. Who doesn’t? I’ve been testing recipes and came up with these Baked Shoestring Sweet Potatoes. To cut them I use my OXO mandolin or julienne peeler (see picture below) or you can use a spiralizer and then just cut to desired length of fries.



Baked Shoestring Sweet Potato fries
Ingredients
1 large sweet potato, julienned
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut up the sweet potato and soak in water for 15 minutes. Dry between towels for 5 minutes. Toss with olive oil and spices, then spread out on cookie sheet. Cover with foil and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on your oven and how crispy you want them.


These sweet potato fries pair very well with the grilled pork chop recipe below or even just hot dogs or sausage. Whatever works for your timing or tastes.You can also also substitute chicken for the pork and it will be delicious! Too much food for your family? Cut this recipe in half.

Grilled pork with Peach Sauce
Ingredients
3 pounds of pork chops or chicken breasts/thighs
1 Tablespoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of cumin
¼ teaspoon of pepper
¼ teaspoon of paprika
6 Tablespoons peach preserves, I like to use Bon Maman.
3 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Directions

Combine spices in a small bowl with a fork. Rub spice mixture on the meat and let sit about 10-15 minutes, while you prepare the sauce. In another bowl mix the peach preserves (apricot would also be good) and apple cider vinegar.  Grill the pork chops 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Top with the sauce and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve. 

Some of my favorite comfort foods are appetizers or small bites. A great new cookbook is coming out at the end of this month from Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free On A Shoestring called “Gluten Free Small Bites: Sweet and Savory Hand Held Treats for On-The-Go Lifestyles and Entertaining.” I have had a chance to preview the book and it is amazing! If you pre-order the book, you can also get a sneak peek of some of the recipes and some other goodies, like a GF flour calculator, shopping list and menu plan! I have made a couple of recipes from the book and they are amazing! Cannot wait to try more. Share with anyone you know will be interested!

I made the cheese puffs from the cookbook for the kids as a snack after school one day and plan on making the crab rangoon today! The two trays of cheese puffs disappeared in about 15 minutes. Amazing! Very addicting. Keep an eye to my Instagram this week for more photos and reviews of recipes from the Small Bite’s Cookbook!

If you haven’t made anything from Gluten Free on a Shoestring before, you definitely need to visit the website and check out Nicole’s other cookbooks! I have made so many of her recipes: puff pastry, wonton wrappers, pretzel rolls and most recently chocolate cake donuts!

What are your favorite comfort foods? What are your favorite comfort food cookbooks? We learn from sharing with each other, so let me know!

Warm weather is finally here!

After this tough winter, I am ready to spend each weekend out at the grill! The same grill that was covered in snow about 3 months ago is now fired up and cooking!

Because I don’t have time during the week, I tend to grill two or 3 proteins and a bunch of veggies on Saturday or Sunday. I use them to make meals through Wednesday like tacos, Asian noodles or just plain leftovers.

As I posted on my Facebook page earlier this weekend, I grilled up some pizza last night! I used a frozen crust, from Against the Grain (which is amazing!) and then topped it with fresh mozzarella and cheddar with marina. One pizza stayed cheese and the other was Hawaiian. I delegated and had my husband cut up a fresh pineapple (he likes to eat around the core after) and then sliced up some ham lunch meat. I use Hormel’s Natural, which is gluten and nitrate free. You can use any pizza you want, even a whole frozen pizza and grill it instead of heating up your house with your oven and less clean up needed too!

Our house has gone completely gluten free because my son’s blood tests showed that he is still getting a trace of gluten and because I switched kids’ lunches a couple of weeks ago and gave the child with celiac a wheat roll. The aftermath made up my mind to go to a completely gluten free house. Tim is still allowed his beer. Paul won’t try drinking that yet 🙂

Think simple this summer. Grilling doesn’t have to be complicated. Grill a frozen pizza. Grill ears of corn (with husks on after soaking in water for at least an hour). Grill hot dogs. Grill peaches. Grill whatever you like. As I usually say, hopefully I will post more about what we are cooking at the Ericson house!

Here are some links of my previous summer fun or grilled food ideas and recipes! Enjoy the warm weather!

Back to reality, work and school…

I finally feel like I am coming out of the storm that was in my head after my son’s celiac diagnosis. I have my cooking groove back. We even made a trip out to the midwest and hosted friends at our house without any incident. I feel more grounded, more myself. I grilled pizza for the first time in a long time! One gluten free and one not. No cross contamination! Yay! Now I just need to figure out who to make my own gluten free pizza dough and how to make my gluten filled pizza dough without feeling like I have to scrub down the entire kitchen so no flour cross contaminates anything! We also met with my son’s nutritionist at Children’s, who made me feel good, like we are on the right track. Woo hoo! Let’s just hope his blood tests in the fall come back showing that the diet is working! Fingers crossed.

Anyway, back to the food! End of summer and early fall still leaves plenty of time to grill. I love to grill pizza, sausages, steak, chicken, pork, salmon, shrimp, corn, green beans, zucchini and I could keep going. To make our grill gluten free, I scrubbed it down and then turned all the burners on and let everything just cook off for about 30 minutes. When I grill something with gluten, like pizza, I usually cover that section of the grill with foil and go through the heating process before the next time I grill. I’m probably going a little overboard, but better safe than sorry!

I’m starting to see my favorite fall foods in the grocery stores…butternut squash, acorn squash, I can’t wait! That however means its also back to school and for me back to work! My kids will all be in school full day so that means three lunches to make, everyday. I have to also send a snack for my 1st grader and donate bulk for the class for the twins and make sure Paul has a selection of gluten free snacks at school. My entire Friday was basically spent at 2 different grocery stores and I still didn’t get everything! Luckily the 2nd store (Big Y) has a Kid’s club, where the kids are happy to play the Wii while I shop, but of course make the sitter buzz me while I’m in the middle of checking out because they have to the go the bathroom 🙂

Here is what my menu plan looks like for back to school week, starting with tomorrow, Tuesday (the first day of school!):

Tuesday

Breakfast – oatmeal and fruit (if I find the energy tomorrow I will make THIS one in the crock pot over night, if not it is Chex gluten free oatmeal packets. (Oats are inherently gluten free, but are often grown and/or processed with wheat, so you have to make sure it is gluten free if you need that).

Lunch – Leftover asian noodles (used rice noodles and gf soy sauce with leftover grilled chicken for dinner on Monday night),  hummus with carrots and fruit

Dinner – Grilled cheese and french onion soup in the crock pot. I have adapted the recipe linked from my earlier blog post and just throw everything in the crockpot (substitute white balsamic for the beer) for 6-8 hours on low.

Snacks – yogurt, grapes

Wednesday

Breakfast – hard boiled eggs with fruit

Lunch – ham and cheese or sun butter (hopefully the kids like it! I have never used it before) and jelly sandwiches with fruit. (I use Udi’s bread for Paul)

Dinner – pancakes [King Arthur Flour’s GF pancake mix or Bisquik’s GF pancake mix are the best I’ve found so far, until I make my own blend :)] and sausage with fruit

Snacks – cheese and crackers, bananas

Thursday

Breakfast – cereal and fruit

Lunch – turkey and cream cheese roll ups, celery, sunbutter and craisin  “ants on a log” and pretzels

Dinner – Pasta with meatballs (going to try ronzoni gluten free) and the meatballs are Mama Mancini’s Gluten Free from the fridge section in Shaw’s. I add some fresh ricotta and basil. Yum.

Snacks – yogurt, plums

Friday

Breakfast – Toast with peanut butter and honey and fruit

Lunch – ham and cheese or sunbutter and jelly sandwiches with fruit OR Leftovers

Dinner – Pizza (I usually use Udi’s GF crust for the kids and whole foods or trader joe’s pizza dough for Tim and I) served with salad  or carrots and hummus and fruit.

Snacks – celery, cream cheese and craisin “ants on a snow covered log”, pirates booty

Coming up…if the cold weather starts to set in, chili with zucchini cheddar corn bread and my butternut squash soup! all in the crock pot 🙂 Stay tuned! I’m writing down my ingredients now so will actually have measurements for recipes!

Good luck with the new school year everyone! You can always ask Mamma if you need any new ideas or have a question about what to make! Just email me at mammascooking@gmail.com.

A New Food Adventure…Gluten-free not just trendy but necessary

This has been my longest hiatus from posting since I started Mamma’s Cooking over 6 years ago. This blog has morphed along with the changes in our family. Initially, I blogged about making food for my first baby. Then it went through her toddler years with the addition of her twin brothers and my back and forth working outside of the house, working from home and periods of hard work as a stay-at-home mom. That boomerang has continued for the past 4 years as I strive, like many, to find that balance between career, home and self.

If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen some of the recent changes to our family diet. Our weekly pasta nights, quesadilla nights, pizza nights and pancake Sundays have been turned upside down. My son, Paul, was diagnosed with Celiac disease. This is an autoimmune disorder that effects the stomach and esophagus. He had stomach issues for a while, we tried cutting out dairy to no avail and I asked his doctor to test him. Autoimmune disorders, including Celiac, run in my family. Today there is a simple blood test that can tell you if you are likely to have celiac. An endoscopy can confirm it. Let me tell you how fun that was with a 3 year old stubborn boy who hates being told what to do! The Celiac diagnosis is a blessing in disguise. Yes, I’d rather he did not have it, but if he gets “glutened” once it is not going to require an epi pen or hospitalization for an allergic reaction. Rather, if he is continually “glutened” it will have severe consequences for his health and growth. 
I thought gluten-free was just a trend. Everyone is going gluten-free. There are people, like Paul, who need to be completely gluten-free and others who do it to help them eat less processed food and live a healthier lifestyle. It has made us eat healthier. It also costs a lot more but we wouldn’t think twice about paying for a medication, so why not pay more for gluten free foods to keep up health?
It has been overwhelming, but will be manageable. We eat lots of the same items, just healthier versions. Sure, Paul asks sometimes for Goldfish or cake, but there are so many alternatives these days that he is easily appeased and distracted. Visiting other people’s houses and eating out are a challenge, but nothing that we cannot overcome.
This is a copy of the email we sent to family when we discovered the diagnosis, 
Hope you all are well. We are settling in back at home after a whirlwind trip to Disney World last week. The kids had a blast! Fortunately and unfortunately, just before we left we got an official diagnosis of Celiac disease for Paul. He has had stomach issues for months and we have tried various things, but knowing that celiac and autoimmune diseases run in the our family, Marie pushed to have him tested and there is something to be said for a mother’s intuition 🙂 
We just wanted to give you all a little information on Celiac if you are interested in learning more. We do not expect when we visit your homes for you to be fully prepared for gluten free meals. We will have a travel kit so we make sure to keep Paul safe. Unfortunately even a crumb can set off a flare up once gluten has been fully removed. We even had to buy a separate toaster, utensils, plates, tupperware, cutting boards, etc for our kitchen! Gluten is in things you wouldn’t even think of like ketchup, soy sauce, mustard, some candies,some ice cream and more. He can’t even have things made on equipment that may have wheat. Oats are a good example of something that is naturally gluten free but is often grown in the same fields and processed in the same factories as wheat, so it must say gluten free on the box/bag or else it is not safe.
We are trying to teach Paul not to accept food offered without asking first if it is gluten free, but for now are just not letting him accept offered food. He doesn’t fully understand yet, but with the help of our GI and nutritionist at Children’s and his teachers and nurse at his pre-school he will adapt 🙂 
If you have any questions, let us know.”
We have been grilling a lot and eating brown rice pasta and taco shells that are gluten free. We found a great gluten free pizza crust (Udi’s) that works really well until I figure out my own recipe. We  still have pizza night, taco Tuesday and pancake Sunday, just modified. There are so many wonderful foods that are naturally gluten free, we just need to make sure that they are not processed with any wheat, rye, barley or related products. 



Paul is now feeling better, smiling, potty trained!!!!, and enjoying life as a healthy 4 year old. My new bucket list and food challenges will come, but this year keeping everyone healthy is first on our minds. I hope you’ll stay with me as I document this journey.