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.

Make it Hawaiian

Adding pineapple to a dish can transform it to a tropical delight! My family’s love of “Hawaiian” food has grown over the years. We started with Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple). Then came the Hawaiian hot dogs. This is now a barbecue must have! Slice a hot dog down the middle and stuff with crushed pineapple. Wrap each hot dog with bacon and grill until bacon is cooked. Easy and delicious!

I recently rediscovered kielbasa. It is a great protein that makes a quick, easy and cheap meal! Of course, I had to make it Hawaiian 🙂

Hawaiian Kielbasa with Rice

Ingredients

1 ½ cups of rice

3 cups of broth or water

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

5 pieces of bacon, chopped

½ of a sweet onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 ½ bell peppers

1 kielbasa, diced

8 ounces of crushed pineapple

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Directions

Cook the rice with the broth/water, onion powder, salt and pepper and garlic powder in your rice cooker or on the stove top. Add the oil and bacon to the pan. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add onion, garlic and bell peppers. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the kielbasa and heat through. Add the pineapple, soy sauce and brown sugar, cover and cook for 5 more minutes and it will be ready to serve.

This is a perfect quick weeknight meal or even for entertaining. It would be a great meal for a certain football game on Sunday night 🙂 I’m planning on making  wings and pulled pork on gluten-free pretzel rolls (from one of my favorite sources, Gluten Free on a Shoestring) along with some carrots and hummus and maybe guacamole. What are you making? Making anything “Hawaiian”?

Guacamole, Dip and more Superbowl Ideas, oh my!

As many of you know I am not the biggest football fan 😉  I enjoy cheering local teams though and since I live less than 20 minutes from Gillette Stadium (and shop at the Trader Joe’s in its shadow!), I am looking forward to next Sunday!  I always love a chance to cook, so here are some recipes and ideas for your Superbowl Sunday feast.

This is my favorite Guacamole recipe! Use it on its own to dip your favorite tortilla chips into or add it to a layer dip. You’ll see my idea for a layer dip below.

Guacamole

Ingredients

2 – 3 avocados (depends on size, 2 large or 3 small)

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon of black pepper

4 Tablespoons finely chopped tomatoes

2 Tablespoons of minced red onion

1 handful of cilantro, chopped finely

Directions

Add avocado, lime, salt, cumin and pepper to a medium sized bowl. Mash together with a fork. Add tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Mix together. Add more lime juice if needed on top to keep guacamole from browning.

If you want to make a layered dip, here is an idea:

Take a can of black beans and mash with a fork and place on the bottom of your serving dish.  Place a layer of the guacamole. Take 8 ounces of sour cream and mix with 1 teaspoon of chili powder. Add that as the next layer. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar, cilantro, chopped olives and chopped tomatoes. Let sit in fridge for 2- 24 hours. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or add it to a tortilla with some shredded chicken or pork.

Dip, chips, wings, meatballs, ribs, chili, pulled pork, Rainbow pizza or grilled pizza…you name it! There are so many options for your football feast. Desserts? Make these Chex Crispy Bars, Ice cream sundaes, brownies or cupcakes and frost with chocolate frosting and then pipe white frosting to look like laces. Simply having chocolate chip cookies or a bowl of M & Ms or rolos or hershey kisses would be plenty!

What are you having Sunday night for the Superbowl?

Favorite Meatball Recipes from 2016

Meatballs are a great way to feed a crowd as a main meal or as an appetizer. They are kid friendly and can be made as healthy or as decadent as you like. Any of these recipes would be great for tailgating, watching football on tv with friends or ringing in the new year.

You can use ground turkey, chicken, pork, beef or your favorite mixture. Meatballs are a canvas. Make them with Asian flavors, Tex Mex or the classic Italian. Here are some of my favorite meatball recipes from 2016:

Greek Meatballs

Taco Meatballs

Bahn Mi Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Italian Stuffed Meatballs

Meatballs, Plain and Simple

What is your favorite meatball?

 

 

 

 

Raspberry Lemon and Thyme Tiramisu

Fancy dessert alert! It looks fancy, tastes light and delicious, yet is very easy to make. You can make it beforehand and bring with you wherever you are going or if you are hosting it would look beautiful on your holiday table.

Raspberry Lemon and Thyme Tiramisu

Ingredients

8 ounce tub of mascarpone

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Zest of 1 lemon

¼ cup of powdered sugar

½ cup of thyme simple syrup (1 cup sugar and 1 cup of water brought to a boil with 3 sprigs of thyme, cook for 5 minutes and allow to cool. Store in fridge.

1-5.3 ounce package of Scharr gluten free lady fingers (or your favorite)

1 dry pint of raspberries (any berries really would work)

¼ cup of melted chocolate chips, optional.

Directions

Mix (with an electric mixer) mascarpone, whipping cream and lemon zest until combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix until fully combined. Put 1/3 of the cream mixture on the bottom of a small glass dish (I use a rectangular 6 cup -1.5 liter, pyrex dish). Dip each lady finger in the simple syrup and place a layer of them on the cream. Place a layer of the raspberries over the lady fingers. Repeat. On final layer of raspberries add the final 1/3 of the cream and then top with more fresh raspberries.

Optional: melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and then drizzle on top of the raspberries.

The simple syrup is also useful for cocktails. Most brands of Limoncello are gluten free, but check with the company to make sure if you are making this for an adult with celiac disease.

Lemon Thyme Martini

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces of Thyme simple syrup

3 ounces of Limoncello

3 ounces of Vodka

Directions

Pour into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

Tis’ the season! Enjoy this twist on tiramisu. More than half way through this month of posts. Hopefully there have been some recipes that you all have enjoyed. If you have made something, let me know how it turned out! I would love to hear about it!

Potato Leek Soup

Soup is the perfect warm and comforting lunch for a blustery winter day. Great  with a grilled cheese sandwich for when you come in from a walk in the cold, or skiing or sledding.

I love to make potato leek soup around this time of year. It is so velvety and delicious. You can even make it for an elegant New Years Eve dinner with mussels and a nice loaf of gluten-free bread 🙂

Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large leeks, cleaned and diced

8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves taken off stem

2 teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/8 cup of white balsamic vinegar

About 2 lbs of potatoes, peeled and diced

4 ½ cups of stock (I like to use chicken, but vegetable will work too)

¼ cup of milk or heavy cream, optional

Directions

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, leeks, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add potatoes and stir. Pour in stock and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.  Either blend with an immersion blender or allow to cool and pour carefully into a blender. Add more stock or some milk or heavy cream if too thick for your liking. Serve.

You can make this ahead of time and pour it into a crock pot on warm or low to keep it warm until you are ready to serve.

If you are in the mood for another type of soup, check out these other ideas:

Hot and Sour Soup to Warm your Soul

Chicken Noodle Soup

Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup

 

 

 

 

Taco Meatballs

Another Thursday in December means another meatball recipe for you to use as an appetizer on game day or part of a holiday buffet or to bring to a potluck! Meatballs are very popular and everyone has their favorite recipe. Here is a little twist that pairs Tex Mex flavors with meatballs.

Taco Meatballs

Ingredients

About 3 lbs ground chicken and pork (I use 2/3 pork and 1/3 chicken, you can use either all pork or all chicken or even turkey)

3 pieces of bacon, chopped finely or pureed in food processor

1 garlic clove, minced

½ Tablespoon minced jalapeño (or more if you want them to be spicy)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 Tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cumin

1 egg

1/4 cup of bread crumbs (use gluten-free breadcrumbs if making this gluten free)

6 to 8 oz of cheddar cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes

2-3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl mix garlic, jalapeño, salt, pepper, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, egg and bread crumbs. Place meat and bacon (or oil) in a large bowl and add the egg mixture. Get your hands dirty and mix it all together. Cook a small patty of the meat mixture to taste and adjust seasonings if you need before stuffing and cooking the whole batch. Roll meatballs. Take a cube of cheddar and stuff it into the center of the meatball, making sure it is completely encapsulated by the meat mixture. Heat a large not stick-pan to medium-high, add olive oil. Brown meatballs and transfer to a baking rack that sits on top of a cookie sheet. Roast for 20 minutes. Serve or freeze.

Serve with taco shells, salsa and avocado or make a wrap with tortillas or serve as an appetizer dipped into guacamole or salsa. These go very well with my Tomatillo Salsa or Red Salsa.

A couple of new meatball recipes coming up. Only 2 more Thursdays left in 2016! Here are some meatball recipes from the past:

Sweet and Sour Meatball Recipe

Bahn Mi Meatball Recipe

Italian Stuffed Meatball Recipe

Meatballs, Plain and Simple

Apple and Onion Pot Roast

Today I am sharing one of my favorite slow cooker recipes. I have been making this for over 10 years!

I have made it with both beef and pork roasts. Both great! It is based on a recipe from Fix-It and Forget it, Recipes for Entertaining by Phyllis Pellman Good and Dawn J. Ranck. Not much to change when making it gluten free other than just ensuring the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and spices are safe.

Apple and Onion Pot Roast

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

3 pound beef or pork roast

1 cup of beef or chicken broth

2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon of brown sugar

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 large apple, peeled and sliced

1 large onion, sliced

3 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

2 Tablespoons of cornstarch

2 Tablespoons of water

1 Tablespoon of butter

Directions

In a measuring cup mix together broth, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown roast on each side. Put roast into slow cooker. Pour broth mixture into the pan and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom. Add apple and onion to pan and stir for a couple of minutes then pour over the roast in the slow cooker. Add thyme sprigs, if using, and cook on low for 5-7 hours. Remove the roast and onions. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Strain the cooking liquid into a pan. Mix the water and cornstarch and then pour into the cooking liquid. Heat and whisk the gravy until thickened. Take off the heat and whisk in butter. Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta and a side of green beans or salad.

This is comfort food at its best!

There are so many great Fix-It and Forget-It cookbooks to help you expand your slow cooker repertoire. I also love Stephanie O’Dea’s cookbooks and food blog, http://www.ayearofslowcooking.com/.  Every recipe I have made from her site has been delicious and they are gluten free!

Here are some of my past slow cooker recipes:

BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker

Crowd Pleasing Chili

Quinoa Risotto

Risotto is a decadent, delicious and extremely versatile side or main dish. You can make a quick version in your rice cooker or put the kids in front of a movie and make this slow version. The slow version is much, much better. Forty minutes of cooking in peace is also much better 🙂 You can choose to make it vegetarian, vegan or full of meat. It is naturally gluten free. Here is my basic recipe:

Quinoa Risotto

Ingredients

32 ounces of chicken or vegetable stock

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh sage

½ cup of sweet onion, diced finely

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup quinoa

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large measuring cup, like this Pyrex one, mix stock, garlic, rosemary and sage. In a medium soup pot brown the onions in olive oil. Add the quinoa and stir for a couple of minutes. Add about 1 cup of the flavored stock and stir until it soaks in. Then repeat, until the quinoa is cooked and creamy. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. Then you can either serve as is or add in some cooked chicken and acorn squash or just the squash or roasted mushrooms, cooked peas, whatever you like.

You can make it more decadent by adding 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese. For example, cheddar and some broccoli or mozzarella and tomatoes, or just Parmesan.

To make risotto in your rice cooker, start the same way, heat the oil and onions in the rice cooker, then add the risotto. Add as much of the seasoned stock as your rice cooker will allow. Stir, cover and let cook. Then about 15 minutes later open the lid and stir again, adding more of the stock. Repeat until the risotto is the consistency you like and then add the meat, vegetables or cheese.

This could be a great side dish or main meal for a romantic dinner or for an elegant holiday meal. You can even wow your co-workers with this and bring it to a potluck. Keep it warm in a rice cooker or crock pot. I made it with cheddar and broccoli the other night and served it along side one of my cooking bucket list items: poached salmon. It was delicious! You’ll have to wait for that recipe 🙂

 

 

Meatballs, Plain and Simple

These meatballs are a blank canvas. Flavorful on their own but can easily be served with marinara or to make swedish meatballs or even the popular bbq sauce and grape jelly meatball appetizer. They are perfect to bring to a potluck, to bring to family or friends as an act of kindness or just to enjoy at home.

Meatballs  (bulk recipe – you can 1/2 this recipe)

Ingredients

about 3 pounds of pork (boneless sirloin) (or 3 lbs of ground pork)

about 3 pounds of beef (bottom round) (or 3 pounds of ground beef)

8 slices of bacon

2 eggs

1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

1/2 cup of milk

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1 Tablespoon shredded Parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together. Grind the meat and bacon together if you are not using store bought ground meat. If you are using store bought ground meat, finely chop the bacon or put it in your food processor. Form each meatball and place onto cooling rack placed over baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce or freeze in batches to use another time.

You can brown these first for a deeper flavor, but they are just as delicious just baking them. Keep them warm in your crockpot with your favorite marinara. This works well for entertaining. You can cook some gluten-free pasta and toast up some gluten-free garlic bread or make zoodles (zucchini noodles) for a pretty (and healthy!) red and green Christmas themed spaghetti and meatballs.

My kids love to take the leftover meatballs for lunch! Add some yogurt and carrots with hummus and we have a school lunch or a meal my child with celiac disease can bring with him if we are visiting family or friends.

You will find a great new meatball recipe here every Thursday for the next month! Check out these past blogs too for ideas on what to bring to your next potluck or what to serve at your next holiday gathering.

Italian Stuffed Meatballs

Good Food that happens to be Gluten Free