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!

Beef Pot Roast

Winter will not quit here in the northeast! While the weather doesn’t yet call for actually making lemonade from lemons, take advantage of the cold and make warm, comforting food for you and your family. I have found it is definitely worth the effort to put the time in to prepare a meal in the morning before heading out the door, so you can come home to a completely finished meal that you just need to serve up.

This Beef Pot Roast recipe is an entire meal in your slow cooker. After preparing, there is no more work!

Beef Pot Roast

Ingredients

2 to 3 pound roast sirloin, or other favorite cut

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound of potatoes, diced

3 to 4 large carrots, peeled and diced

8 ounces of sliced baby portabella mushrooms

3 shallots, diced

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1/8 cup of red wine vinegar

1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup of soy sauce (I use La Choy gluten-free soy sauce)

1/8 cup Worcestershire

¾ cup of beef stock

2/3 cup of water

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

Directions

Take roast out of the refrigerator and rub with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Turn slow cooker on low and add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Toss to cover vegetables.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Sear roast on all sides and place into the slow cooker on top of the vegetables.

In a medium bowl mix the remaining ingredients and then pour over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Pot roast is the ultimate comfort food! Bonus, this is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure that the vinegar, soy sauce and herbs you use are gluten-free. I like to use Badia or McCormick dried spices. Badia is certified gluten-free and McCormick will mark on their bottles if there is any gluten present.

Here are some more slow cooker ideas from previous posts. What is your favorite slow cooker recipe?

Balsamic Honey Mustard Slow-Cooked Pork Loin

School vacation is over!! While there have been weeks in the past where I have felt sad that school vacation is over, this time, as I drove away, I turned up the music and was literally dancing in my seat! (Sing Justin Timberlake’s, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” when you read that paragraph) Anyway, now back to the routine of cooking and writing (and lots of laundry).

Using your slow cooker is always a great way to have a delicious meal waiting for you when you get home. I especially like to use it on Saturdays when we are running around with errands, parties and basketball games. The aroma that awaits when walking in the door is heavenly.  This pork loin is comfort food at its best. I kept this easy and served it with polenta and microwaved frozen peas on the side. A gorgeous comfort meal with very little effort!

Balsamic Honey Mustard Slow-Cooked Pork

Ingredients

3 to 4 pound pork loin

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil

4 medium shallots, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

2 cups of beef stock

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoon agave syrup

1 Tablespoon of honey mustard

Directions

Rub the salt, pepper and thyme all over the pork loin. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sear the pork loin on all sides.

Place pork in your slow cooker.  Add shallots, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes.

In a measuring cup, mix together stock, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and agave. Pour mixture into skillet with the shallots and garlic, mix and cook for 5 more minutes. Pour liquid, shallots and garlic over the pork in the crock pot. Rub the honey mustard on the top of the pork loin. Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours. Turn slow cooker down to low for 4 to 6 hours. Or cook it on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Gravy

Ingredients

Cooking liquid from slow cooker

3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon agave syrup

2 Tablespoons of cornstarch

2 Tablespoons of softened butter

Directions

Pour all the shallots, garlic and liquid from the slow cooker into a high sided skillet after the pork is done. Bring to a boil. Add the balsamic vinegar and agave. In a small mug, combine the butter and cornstarch. Whisk the butter and cornstarch mixture into the gravy. Cook about 5 minutes until thick. Pour through sieve into your favorite grave boat (I like to use a travel coffee mug! keeps it warm.)

Looking for other slow cooker ideas?  Check out some of my favorites here.

Easy Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

If I want to have a quiet dinner in my house, I serve ribs. My kids love them. Especially one of my boys. He loves to talk, but put some ribs in front of him and he will be completely silent and just eat and eat and eat and eat 🙂

Ribs are best when cooked low and slow and they practically fall off of the bone. This recipe will make your house smell amazing and wow your family at dinner or friends at your next tailgate or game day gathering!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Ingredients

15 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 clove of garlic (minced)

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 Tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

6 Tablespoon of brown sugar

3 Tablespoons of honey mustard

3 Tablespoons of soy sauce

5 Tablespoons of cider vinegar

3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 rack of ribs (2 to 3 pounds), brined

5 sprigs of thyme

3 small onions, sliced

Directions

Mix all ingredients together, except for ribs, thyme and onions.

Turn your slow cooker on high and add the ribs. Pour half of the sauce on the ribs, reserve the rest of later. Add thyme and onions to slowcooker as well and mix with the ribs and sauce.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and 30, minutes and on low for another 2-3 hours.  Take ribs out, put on platter and top with the remaining sauce.

You don’t have to brine the ribs, but do it once and you will know why I brine all my pork and poultry. I have even tried it with beef, using pickling spices and it had a mild corned beef flavor. Delicious!

Serve with the apricot wings I posted earlier in the week and some easy appetizers if making for a party. For dinner, I often serve it with polenta and green beans.

Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes from 2016

Whether you are busy running around or enjoying some lazy days this holiday season, a warm meal waiting for you in your slow cooker is a wonderful thing. It is comforting and makes the house smell great.

Here are some of my favorite slow cooker recipes from 2016:

Crowd Pleasing Chili

Apple and Onion Pot Roast

BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker

If you have not yet checked out Stephanie O’Dea’s site, http://www.ayearofslowcooking.com/, you need to! Everything I have made from her site has been delicious! The Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup and her Apricot Chicken are family favorites.

What do you like to make in your crockpot?

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

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

BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker

Using the slow cooker to make your dinner is one way to help lessen your stress during this hectic holiday season. As part of my month of posting, I will provide you with an easy slow cooker meal each Wednesday. Bonus, it will be gluten free and no one will ever know 🙂

Slow cookers can not only cook dinner for your family while you are out and about all day, but can cook dinner for a crowd (and keep it warm!) if you are entertaining family or friends. BBQ pulled pork is definitely a popular choice.

BBQ Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

pulled-pork

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Pork tenderloin roast, about 2 pounds

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cumin

1 Tablespoon ketchup

¼ cup water

Directions

Sear the pork in a hot pan in olive oil on all sides. Take out and put aside. Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Mix the cider vinegar, molasses, chili powder, cumin, ketchup and water. Add the vinegar mixture to the onions and take up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Put ½ of the onion in the bottom of the crock pot (heated to high). Place the pork on top and then pour the rest of the onions and vinegar mixture on top of the pork. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Shred with a fork and mix some of the sauce in with it and add your favorite bbq sauce and serve as you like.  You can serve with gluten free cornbread, baked potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes (Wegman’s sells and already mashed sweet potatoes that are amazing!) or on these pretzel rolls from Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

pretzel-roll-sandwiches

Do not be afraid of your slow cooker. It can help you. Even if you put it on at night and cook dinner overnight, put it in the fridge and reheat at dinner time. Cook it all over the weekend and reheat it. Do what you need and what works for you! More easy meals and holiday treats to come…stay tuned!

 

Crowd Pleasing Chili

If you are having a crowd over for a big game or just hanging out with friends and family around the holidays and need a big satisfying meal, chili is always a great option. It is a blank canvas and does not require a lot of hands on work. It is also very easy to make gluten free, vegetarian or allergy friendly, which is great when you have a large crowd and don’t know what everyone’s food allergies or preferences are. I don’t think I have ever really made chili the same way twice, but I made this one recently to fuel up some friends before we enjoyed a long walk.

Quinoa Pumpkin Chili for a Crowd

Ingredients

1 to 2 pounds of your favorite beans or mixture of beans

½ of a large onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1-24 ounce can crushed tomatoes

About ½ a 15 ounce can of pumpkin

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoons of chili powder

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

3 Tablespoons of cider vinegar

¾ cup of chicken stock (or vegetable or beef stock)

1 ½ Tablespoons brown sugar

½ cup of quinoa

Optional, add 1 to 2 cups of leftover roasted vegetables and/or turkey, chicken or beef

Directions

Pour all the ingredients into your slow cooker and stir. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low 6-8 hours. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Serve with sour cream and sliced green onions.

This is yet another way to disguise Thanksgiving leftovers. To stretch the meal even further, you can serve it over mac-n-cheese, as I did for lunch the day after I made it.

quinoa-chili-for-a-crowd

When you are entertaining for the holidays, having easy meals that can stretch to feed a crowd are very useful. This is a healthy meal and a hearty meal that will give you the fuel to warm you up after hiking, skiing or keep you going during overtime of your favorite team’s game.

What are your favorite crowd pleasing meals? Stay tuned for an extra post this week with some gluten free holiday entertaining ideas and a recipe!

Here are some past crowd pleasing or tailgating recipes and ideas for using leftovers (Always the same disclaimer that they are from before our family started eating gluten free so make adaptations as needed or ask me how I do it! mammascooking@gmail.com

Fall Football and Tailgating

Lessons Learned from Thanksgiving and Cooking in the Aftermath

Pre and Post Thanksgiving Ideas with a Potluck Recipe thrown in

Happy Thanksgiving

Taco Tuesday – Step outside the Taco Shell (Gluten free!)

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Turkey time, a visit to a butcher shop and italian sausage mac-n-cheese (I think I’ll make this mac-n-cheese GF tonight!)

Thank you to Mamapedia for highlighting Mamma’s Cooking 3 Easy 10 Minute Meals on Mamapedia Voices on Friday!

I guess Thanksgiving is coming soon?!

Yes. It is true. Now that Halloween is over Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Hard to believe. Hosting or visiting family and friends over the holidays can send anyone into a tailspin. Don’t let it get you down this year. Keep it simple!

The stress can be increased when you, a family member or a guest have an allergy or celiac disease. I tend to host. That is because I like to and also because it is the only way to completely take the stress out and guarantee that my son is safe. We don’t have to worry about whether something was prepared safely for him at someone else’s house, even if they very kindly and thoughtfully try.

I’m going to be sharing recipes that are versatile. They can be brought with you or served to a crowd in your home. The best thing…no one will even know that its gluten free! Don’t tell them until after they rave about it.

the-perfect-thanksgiving-bite

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

5 pounds of Yukon Gold (or any potatoes you like), chopped

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

2 Tablespoons of salt

½ cup of whole milk or cream (a little more or a little less depending on how smooth you like your potatoes)

¼ cup of butter

8 ounces of mascarpone cheese or cream cheese

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

prep-mashed-potatoes

Directions

Wash and chop your potatoes. (I don’t peel mine, but you can if you want to take the time). Drop the potatoes and garlic into a large soup pot. Pour enough water to cover the potatoes. Add the salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes can easily be mashed with a fork. Drain water, return potatoes to pot and add remaining ingredients and mash. Add more salt or pepper to your taste.

TIP: After you finish the potatoes in the pot, put them into slow cooker and cover with a thin layer of milk, put on warm or low until ready to serve! This can be made early in the morning and kept warm in a slow cooker, so it is easy to serve and/or travel with.

holiday-mashed-potatoes

When you are making your holiday meal, take some help from the store for items you do not want to cook. There are great gluten-free (GF) items that will make your holiday meal simpler. If you don’t have time or energy to make mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, Wegman’s has great pre-made options that are GF in the refrigerator section near the butter.

I love Aleia’s GF stuffing mix  and have found it at the Big Y and Roche Brothers locally. It is also available on Amazon. I’m also testing recipes for my own stuffing, so I’ll keep you posted if I find a good one! If you have one, please share!

I freely admit that I do not make my own cranberry sauce. Ocean Spray’s canned cranberry sauce is one of my favorite parts of the feast. I don’t know if it is nostalgia, but Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without it.

ocean-spray-cranberry-sauce

Cooking the turkey in pieces rather than whole, is also great time saver on the day of. Buying turkey in pieces is not necessarily cheaper if you are cooking for a large crowd, so find a butcher who will separate the pieces for you for free or do it yourself! I learned by watching YouTube videos 🙂

Enjoy the holidays, bring your GF holiday meal with you or enjoy watching people eat your delicious creations without even knowing its GF! Please let me know if you have any requests for recipes or have a non-GF recipe you want adapted. Comment below or send a message to mammascooking@gmail.com. More holiday tips coming up in the next few weeks as well as some ideas for some simple 10 minute dinners. Stay tuned!!

Links to past holiday meal posts (again with the disclaimer: All of these posts are from before our family started eating gluten free):

Thanksgiving Links

Lessons Learned from Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving Menu

Pre and Post Thanksgiving Ideas 

Happy Thanksgiving