Mango Banana Smoothie

After indulging in heavy foods over the holidays, a great smoothie is just the thing to help you feel better! I admit the novelty of my Ninja blender has worn off and after the first few months of smoothies every other day, they appear much less frequently. This however, is the most requested and blended smoothie in our house. It makes enough for  2 adults or 3 to 4 kids.

Mango Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

6 ounces of vanilla yogurt

½ frozen banana

½  cup frozen mango chunks

½ cup of milk

Directions

Throw all the ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

What is your favorite recovery food after the holidays, a vacation or other time spent eating more than you know you should? This Nutella smoothie is also a favorite in our house. Other than smoothies we go to soups. Check out my favorite soups here.

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!

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.

Refreshing Fresh Dill, Feta and Greek Yogurt Dip

A good party always needs a good dip! Some friends and I recently celebrated a big birthday! We were fortunate to spend the weekend at one friend’s brother’s house directly on the beach in Cape Cod. AMAZING! We all brought our favorite snack/comfort foods. One friend brought this greek yogurt feta dip from Marzetti. It was sooooooo good! I couldn’t stop eating it! We also had some Hood Chive Cottage Cheese, Pub cheese and Onion Dip, of course. For dinner we enjoyed lobster, steak and burrata with tomatoes and basil.

I decided I had to try to recreate the feta greek yogurt dip when I got home. After a few trials, I found one that was just as tasty.

Fresh Dill, Feta and Greek Yogurt Dip

Ingredients

½ cup of plain greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

8 ounces of cream cheese

4 ounces of feta, crumbled

Zest of ½ lemon

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk together or mix on high for about a minute. Place in a container to allow for dipping. Enjoy!

You can try crackers, pretzels or veggies with this fresh, yummy dip!I used one of our favorite gluten-free crackers from Crunchmaster.

What is your favorite dip?

Shop my favorite items I used to make this!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This doesn’t cost you any extra, but if you like something I love and buy it, I get a small percentage and can continue blogging.

Here are some other dips that would be a hit at any party!

Guacamole and a Layered Dip

Salsa Verde (and the Taco Meatballs you can dip into it!)

 

Bacon and Kale Mac-n-Cheese

Many of you asked for the recipe, so here it is! Bacon and Kale Mac-n-cheese. I have a basic mac-n-cheese recipe that I change up, probably every time I make it 🙂 Not too long ago I shared my Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-Cheese recipe with you all. This one is not very different. For every mac-n-cheese, I make a roux (gluten-free flour and butter), add some spices, acid (lemon or vinegar to cut down the richness a little), then the shredded cheese and whatever extras you want to include, if any.

Bacon and Kale Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients

1-12 to 16 ounce package of your favorite GF pasta (I used Wegman’s GF Fusilli)

1 cup of kale, washed, pulled of stem and chopped finely

½ pound of bacon, chopped

2/3 cup of butter

1/2 cup of Cup4Cup gluten free flour

1 Tablespoon brown spicy mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

About 2 cups of 2% milk (you can use whole milk)

1 teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar or juice of ½ a lemon

About 10 ounces of cheese (I used about 6 ounces of Cabot extra sharp cheddar and 4 ounces of an Aged Gouda)

Directions

Prepare pasta according to directions on the box. Place a cast iron skillet on the stove on medium heat. Add bacon to the cold pan and let it heat while the pan heats. Cook bacon for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add kale. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the bacon has browned and started to crisp. Save bacon and kale mixture on a plate until ready to mix with pasta and cheese sauce. In the same cast iron skillet, melt butter and whisk in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then add the milk. Whisk together until all the lumps are out.  Stir in vinegar or lemon juice then add the cheese. Mix to melt the cheese and take off heat. Add drained pasta, bacon and kale. Mix through and serve!

I am, honestly, not a big fan of kale. Others in my family like it, so I’ll appease them by making it…covered in cheese 🙂

Mac-n-cheese is a great basic recipe to master and then you can play with it, using different vegetables, meats and spices to create new meals.When I don’t have time or the ability to be at the stove cooking for 20 minutes, I make a quick version of mac-n-cheese using mascarpone. Check it out here! It is a great easy meal.

What is your favorite mac-n-cheese topping or mix-in?

Nutella in a smoothie? Yes, please!

For my birthday, I generously received a gift card for Amazon and bought one of my new favorite toys, a Ninja blender! The kids and I have had fun inventing smoothies and I made my salsa in about 5 seconds 🙂 Smoothies are a great way to get protein and fruit into the kids for breakfast lunch or dinner. If you buy frozen or freeze your own fruit, that helps to make the smoothie creamy, like ice cream. Especially frozen bananas! Frozen mango, frozen banana and vanilla yogurt is delicious together but here is the recipe for our new family favorite…Peanut Butter Nutella!

Peanut Butter Nutella Smoothie

Ingredients

2 frozen bananas, broken into large chunks

1 cup vanilla yogurt

3 Tablespoons of nutella

2 Tablespoons of peanut butter (or almond butter)

2/3 cup of milk

1/2 teaspoon of agave

Directions

Place all the ingredients in your blender and let the blender do its work until smooth! Add more milk if you would like a thinner smoothie.

This makes a great afternoon snack! I’m so glad I got this blender! I will from time to time share the great products I use and please know that I will only recommend ones that I love myself!

Share your favorite smoothie in the  comments!

 

Gluten-free Lunches on the Go

As the year winds down, packing lunches seems more and more daunting each day. Some of you may already have finished school for the year, but up here in the Boston area we still have a couple more weeks to go. Then (we hope!) the 2nd wind comes in to continue to pack lunches for camp or family picnics or the office.

Having a child with celiac disease, when we go on road trips or day trips, I often have to pack lunch because we cannot trust that we will find a place that has gluten-free meals. I like to use leftovers when I can and have lists of what my options are for lunches to help take the stress out of it. Here are some ideas for you:

Leftovers can be delicious! Make these Apricot Wings for dinner or appetizers then enjoy them for lunch the next day!

Quesadillas are the perfect on-the-go lunch. I use Rubbermaid Lunch Blocks containers most days for the kids school lunches and on road trips.

Leftover barbecue chicken makes a great lunch. The crackers pictured are one of my favorite gluten-free crackers – Van’s Lots of Everything Crackers.

Wegman’s has snack size yogurts, which fit perfectly into the kids’ lunch boxes. Throw in some lunch meat and Lance’s cheese crackers and the kids are happy 🙂

My children often want a variety in their lunch. If I give them one thing, like leftover pasta in a thermos, they like it but say that they need more than one item to eat 😉 Kielbasa, blueberries, my favorite crackers and a common accompaniment some carrots or peppers and hummus, give them enough to choose from.

As a sweet treat on the road or to bring with my son to a birthday party, I use Ziploc round screw top containers to carry a cupcake. I try to make a batch regularly and keep them in the freezer to pull out when needed, but in a pinch Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s both carry delicious gluten-free cupcakes.

What are your favorite on the go lunches and sweet treats?

Gluten-Free Breakfast Ideas

You always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It also happens to be my favorite, but there never seems to be enough time! That is why I am a firm believer that breakfast is great anytime of day. When I have time, whether its morning afternoon or evening, I’ll make breakfast! Sometimes I’ll eat dinner for breakfast or breakfast for lunch, there are no rules 😉

My family’s breakfast preferences are on the sweet side, so I impose my savory tendencies on them as much as they allow. I’m not really a sweet person. I don’t really like waffles, unless there is fried chicken involved or pancakes unless they are wrapped around sausage. Breakfast Pizza and Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits are two favorites in our house. A frittata is an easy way to get breakfast on the table fast and so versatile.

Frittata

Ingredients

8 eggs

½ cup of milk

½ teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 ½ cups of your choice of vegetable (peppers or asparagus or potatoes or mixture)

¼ cup of your choice of sausage or bacon (optional)

½ cup of your choice of cheese (shredded cheddar or feta)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  If vegetables and meat are not cooked, saute in oven proof skillet. Then pour egg mixture into pan and place in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until center is set and it no longer jiggles. If vegetables and meat are already cooked, just mix in with egg mixture before pouring into the pan.

I do sometimes give in to their many, many requests for sweet breakfasts. For pancakes, we usually use the Gluten-free Bisquick mix, but occasionally will make them from scratch using Cup4Cup GF flour or a variation like these Gingerbread Pancakes. These blueberry muffins make for a great breakfast on the go.

During the week however, we keep it simple and quick. My husband and kids mainly have cereal, yogurt or fruit and toast with Nutella. Even my kids who do not have celiac disease love Goodbye Gluten‘s gluten-free bread, which I can usually get at Wegman’s. When toasted, I even like it. I usually choose to top my toast with avocado or cream cheese and tomato or have a sunny side up egg. What are your favorite gluten-free breakfasts? I would especially love to hear your favorite smoothie recipes!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

When my son was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I thought that meant saying goodbye to all my cookbooks. I definitely have learned that is not the case! So many recipes in my favorite cookbooks (like Mastering the Art of French Cooking) are naturally gluten free or can be adapted. The tricky adaptations come when I want to bake something and can clearly remember what the full gluten version tastes like.

Making these blueberry muffins from the First Edition of McCall’s Cookbook (1963) has been challenging, but I finally got it right! We have been housebound this school vacation week due to one kid with pneumonia, who is luckily on the mend, so the kids wanted to bake. In between marathon games of Monopoly, playing Angry Birds Star Wars on the Ipad and watching many, many movies, this recipe finally came together!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins (adapted from McCalls, First Edition 1963)

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups sifted gluten-free Cup4Cup flour

¼ cup sugar

3 teaspoons of baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1 1/3 cup of milk

6 Tablespoons of melted butter

3 eggs, beaten

8 to 10 ounces fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

Cinnamon sugar, optional for topping (1/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and either grease muffin tin or line with paper liners. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add cinnamon and grate in nutmeg. In another bowl combine milk, melted butter and eggs. Add wet mixture to dry and mix using a fork, just until all dry ingredients are combined. Fold in blueberries. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop a little less than 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup, around 3/4 full. Sprinkle about 1/8 of a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar over each muffin, if you like. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

These muffins are not very sweet, so the cinnamon sugar on top helps give a little more sweetness to each bite. This usually makes 14 to 15 muffins each time. We made these yesterday and are already down to 5 this morning 🙂 I’ve only had one. These are great to throw in with school lunches or bring as a snack on a road trip.

If you want to try one of my other baking adapations, try these amazing Buttermilk Biscuits! You would never even know that they are gluten free.

I have started quite a cookbook collection, which I keep adding to whenever I go into a consignment shop or get a gift card to Amazon. I love cookbooks. I could sit and read cookbooks all day. What are your favorites?

Marinated Roasted Teriyaki Chicken

The best meals are delicious and easy to put together when you need to get dinner on the table fast. Sometimes that means doing some prep the day before or morning of. This is one of those great meals. It takes a little time to make the marinade, but that is the most effort you will need to exert.

Marinated Roasted Teriyaki Chicken

Ingredients

2 to 3 pounds of chicken thighs

½ cup of vegetable oil

½ teaspoon sesame oil

½ cup of soy sauce

½ cup of rice vinegar

½ cup of honey

3 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 Tablespoon of minced ginger

1 Tablespoon of onion powder

1 clove of garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ cups of water

¾ cup Wegman’s Organic Teriyaki sauce (gluten and lactose free), plus more reserved for after cooking.

sesame seeds, optional

Directions

Mix together vegetable oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, brown sugar, ginger, onion powder, garlic, lime and water. Marinate chicken in mixture for 4 hours to overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Discard marinade, rinse chicken and then pat dry. Spray roasting pan with non-stick spray. Pour 3/4 of a cup of teriyaki sauce into a shallow bowl. Coat each piece of chicken with sauce and plan in pan. Cover pan with foil and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover, turn heat up to 400 degrees and cook for another 25 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure each piece of chicken is cooked through. If you want crispy skin on the chicken, place under broiler for 2 minutes.

Serve with rice and broccoli.

You never have enough chicken recipes in your repertoire!