Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa


I would grill all year-long if I could. This year we had so much crazy snow drifts that it was a bit impossible to do. I love my grill dearly…great flavors, you can grill pretty much anything, its outside with the sun and the fresh air, easy clean up, and less fats are used! We grill steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, hot sausages, shrimp, fish, pizza, and veggies…tons of veggies! Last year I bought one of those little grill baskets for I think $3.00 and it works like a charm, especially for mushrooms.

Last week we got the tank refilled and have used it quite a bit since. We are both trying to get in better shape and eat healthier (a follow-up post to my I’m on a mission…post will appear soon, I promise!). So the grill comes in very handy for this, because like I mentioned I use way less oils or fats when cooking. We have switched from eating red meat weekly (sometimes multiple times a week) to about monthly and started eating more chicken (breasts, no skin – which we have always done), shrimp, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Since starting to work out and now that I have gotten on a schedule with a program I really like I have been craving much healthier foods…funny how that works huh? Snacks include slices of yellow, red, or orange bell peppers, or carrot sticks with hummus and mandarins! Seriously I never ate peppers or any form of oranges, but loved orange juice. Now I can’t seem to get enough of them. For lunch I have been buying Boar’s Head low sodium meats and making little “roll-ups” with some low sodium cheese, and baby spinach. I’m really like this craving of healthy foods! More to come on all of this in my follow-up post mentioned above, but for now let’s get back to the Grilled Shrimp Tacos…

These are SO easy to make, light, and delicious – we are loving this little creation of mine. As with the majority of my recipes please feel free to adjust the seasonings and spices to your flavor likings!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa




  • Lime Zest                                                                  1 lime
  • Lime Juice, Fresh                                                     2 limes
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                      ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                                             1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground                                   1/8 teaspoon
  • Corn, rinsed & drained                                             1 can (14oz)
  • Black beans, no salt added rinsed, & drained          1 can (15.5 oz)
  • Red Bell Pepper, small dice                                      ¼ cup
  • Orange Bell Pepper, small dice                                ¼ cup

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a medium bowl zest one lime. Zest the second lime used later for juicing and set aside zest for the shrimp marinade.
  3. Juice the two limes into the bowl
  4. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, mix until well combined. Set aside
  5. Open cans of corn and black beans. Drain and rinse corn first, and then add to a medium bowl.
  6. Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the bowl with the corn and lime juice mixture.
  7. Dice bell peppers and add to the corn, black beans, and lime juice mixture.
  8. Mix well, cover and store in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  9. Mix well before serving.
  10. Serve with grilled shrimp tacos and/or corn tortilla chips.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos – makes six tacos


  • Olive Oil                                                                      2 tablespoons
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                        ½ teaspoon
  • Lime Zest                                                                    1 lime
  • Salt, Kosher                                                                1/8 teaspoon
  • Jumbo Shrimp, peeled, deveined, cleaned                 10 each
  • Corn Tortilla, soft                                                          6 each
  • Avocado, halved and sliced                                        1 each

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a small bowl combine first four ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add shrimp and toss to evenly coat all shrimp.
  4. Cover and marinade in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat grill to medium high
  6. Either skewers your shrimp or use a grill basket to cook shrimp.
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Shrimp should be opaque and cooked throughout.
  8. Remove shrimp from grill and cut up into large chunks or leave whole.
  9. On the cooler part of the grill add the soft corn tortilla shells.
  10. Grill until you see grill marks – about 3-4 minutes per side (this all depends on how hot your grill is, and how crispy you want them…at this stage they are still quite pliable).
  11. To assemble your tacos add 2-3 tablespoons of corn and black bean salsa on each grilled corn tortilla shell.
  12. Top with equal portions of diced or whole grilled shrimp and slices of avocado.
  13. Enjoy the extra salsa with some gluten-free corn tortilla chips.

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls {Take-out At Home}


We both love Chipolte, Cilantros, and Pancheros (both similar to Chipolte) but eating out adds up and we don’t have the money to do that very often so I make as much as I can at home and call it “Take-out At Home”. When we do eat out at one of the places listed above we both tend to go for the vegetarian option – I always get a bowl because it is gluten-free (the corn tacos are as well, but I like the bowl better) and Bryan goes back and forth between a bowl and a burrito. We are not vegetarians, although we do try to eat several meals a week that are vegetarian, but we always order the vegetarian option at these places. Why? Because you get free guacamole (except for Pancheros)! Go ahead and laugh but I would rather save the extra $1.00 – $1.50 and get the guac instead of meat. It’s a much healthier fat anyway.

These are so simple to make at home and cost way less money! Below is a simple, quick, and delicious way to prepare the vegetarian bowls at home. This is also a great recipe for those on a budget because it utilizes what you have in your freezer and cupboards! You can however feel free to use non-instant brown rice, or dried beans (soaked, and cooked), and fresh corn on the cob (if in season).

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls (Serves 2)


  • Brown Rice, boil-in-the-bag                         1 bag
  • Cooking Spray                                             As needed
  • Corn, frozen – defrosted                               1 cup
  • Black beans, canned, no salt added            1 can
  • Cumin, ground                                              1/2 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper, ground                              1/2 teaspoon
  • Lime, juice and zest                                      1 zested then sliced into wedges
  • Avocado                                                        1 pit removed, and flesh scooped out
  • Cilantro                                                          2 tablespoons chopped
  • Salsa                                                             1/2 cup, divided
  • Lettuce, mixed greens                                   1/2 cup, divided
  • Cheese, shredded                                         1/2 cup, divided

Method of Preparation:

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the brown rice (boil-in-a-bag) and cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove from water and drain slightly over the sink. Divide evenly between the two bowls.

Lightly spray a small sautee pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add corn and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You are looking for a nice roasted color on the corn, you may need a little more or little less time depending on your stove. Be careful not to burn them.

In a small sauce pan add the canned beans (no salt added or low sodium is best). Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, a pinch of lime zest (1/4 teaspoon), and the juice of 1/4 of the lime. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.

In a small bowl add the flesh of the avocado and mash it up with 1/8 teaspoon cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Squeeze 1/4 of the lime into the bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Add the remaining 1/2 of the lime juice, cilantro and lime zest evenly into the bowls with rice and mix well.

Top the rice with roasted corn, black beans, guacamole, lettuce, and shredded cheese. Serve with additional lime wedges if desired. Also great served with tortilla chips.

Looking for other Take-out At Home dishes? Check out these delicious recipes below:

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Starbucks)

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Blackened Shrimp Nachos

“Wendy’s” Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Mozzarella Sticks

Szechuan Beef (P.F. Chang’s)

Kabocha Squash Soup


This past week as “lacto-ovo” week in my Vegetarian Cuisine lab. With that being said, the following recipe originally did not have either lactose or egg in it but I had to make a quick decision at the end to add a dollop of cinnamon sugar sour cream to the top before presenting it because it didn’t meet the criteria for that weeks lesson. But honesty, this soup needs no such additions, it is naturally creamy with a bit of spice so the additional of the cinnamon sugar sour cream help off set that a bit for those who do not enjoy so much spice.

I picked up the kabocha squash (aka, Japanese pumpkin) which is an Asian variety of a winter squash. The outside of the kabocha is rough and dark green in color and may have some off white lines through it. The flesh is a beautiful yellow-orange. I would have to compare the flavor of this squash to that of a butternut squash, maybe a tad bit sweeter though and I found the texture to be similar to a pumpkin or sweet potato. Once blended, this was so thick and creamy…I was tempted to lick my bowl.

Kabocha Squash Soup

Yields about 40oz, Serving Size: 8oz, Number of Servings: 5

Soup Ingredients:                                                                              U.S. Standard:

  • Olive oil, extra-virgin                                                                      2 tbsp.
  • Kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, large dice                                35 oz.
  • Carrot, peeled, large dice                                                               5 oz.
  • Celery, large dice                                                                            5 oz.
  • Apple, granny smith, peeled, seeded, large dice                            4 oz.
  • Onion, white or yellow, large dice                                                    5 oz.
  • Garlic, rough chop                                                                           2 tbsp.
  • Ginger, grated                                                                                  1 tsp.
  • Paprika                                                                                             1 tsp.
  • Cayenne pepper                                                                               1 ½ tsp.
  • Cinnamon, ground                                                                            1 ½ tsp.
  • Vegetable stock, divided                                                                   4 ½ cups
  • Salt, kosher                                                                                        1 tsp.


  • Pine nuts, toasted                                                                               ¼ cup
  • Mushrooms, crimini, sliced and blanched                                           4 oz.
  • Sour Cream                                                                                         ¼ cup
  • Cinnamon                                                                                            1/8 tsp.
  • Sugar                                                                                                   ¼ tsp.

Method of Preparation:

  1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  2. Wash, peel, and wash the squash, carrot, celery, and apple. Set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  4. Add onion, and cook until translucent. This should take about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Next, add in the kabocha squash, carrot, and celery.
  7. Cook for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened.
  8. Add in paprika, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon, stir to coat evenly.
  9. Next add in 4 cups of the vegetable stock. Reserve the remaining ½ cup – this will be used to blanch the mushrooms.
  10. Bring stock pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
  11. While the soup is simmering, take a small dry sauté pan and add the pine nuts.
  12. Cook over medium heat until lightly toasted but do not burn them.
  13. Remove the pine nuts and set them aside to garnish the soup with.
  14. In the same sauté pan add the remaining ¼ cup of vegetable stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  15. Once the mushrooms have finished cooking, set them aside in a small bowl to garnish the soup with.
  16. Add the mushroom stock to the simmering stock pot.
  17. To create the sour cream topping place the sour cream in a small bowl.
  18. Add the cinnamon and sugar and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  19. Turn off the stock pot.
  20. In a heavy-duty blender puree soup (in batches if needed), until smooth.
  21. Return back to the stock pot, season with salt.
  22. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  23. Soup temperature must reach 165°F before serving.
  24. Soup should be held at 135°F
  25. Serve immediately in a large bowl topped with mushrooms, pine nuts, and a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar sour cream.
  26. Cool remaining soup to 41°F as quickly as possible, by placing the a container of the remaining soup in an ice bath to help with the cooling process. Store in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  27. To reheat the soup, place it in a stock pot and cook over medium-low heat (do not boil) until it has reached 165°F for 15 seconds.

 Chef’s Notes:

  • This is a blended soup, so using a rough chop on the vegetables is a good way to save some time during preparation.

  • For a vegan option you may substitute out the sour cream for vegan sour cream such as “Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream”

Spicy Tofu and Cold Noodle Salad


I love soy products and sadly I don not consume enough of them, but that will be changing soon. I actually fell in love with soy milk when I lived in China.  I would wake up early to head down to the dining hall on the campus where I was working just so I could grab as many of the cups of fresh made soy milk that I could. I love both warm and chilled so I would drink one or two with my breakfast then put the rest in my refrigerator for later.

To me tofu is like risotto. By that I mean they are both blank canvases and you can do so much with them. Tofu is very versatile it can be used in smoothies, soups, desserts, stir-fries, fried, enjoyed as is, and so much more. It also takes on the flavor profile of whatever you marinade or cook it in. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, you really should. I feel like tofu gets a bad rap some times, people say they have had it and hate it but I wonder how they had it? Was it a not so good preparation or recipe? If so maybe this recipe will change your mind?

Here is a little information about Soybean and Soy Products

(information take from lecture notes, Vegetarian Cuisine lab at JWU with Chef Cwynar)

  • Soybeans are a wild plant from East Asia and have an edible seed.
  • The seed colors can vary from yellow, green, brow, black, or multicolored – here in the US we consume the green beans.
  • Soybeans are oilseeds – which are mainly grown for oil extraction.
  • Soybeans are great sources of protein and their composition is: 33% protein, 39% fat, and 28% carbohydrates. 1 cup cooked soybeans = 28 gm of protein (about 1 ounce)
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Great sources of protein for diabetics
  • Low in saturated fat
  • FDA recommended soy food intake: “25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease”
  • Soy protein is one of the only plant proteins that is equivalent to animal protein.
  • Contains all 9 essential amino acids with high digestibility (.91)
  • Other benefits of soy: Reduces Cholesterol (could cut heart disease risk by 25-30%), Slows Artery-Clogging (neutralizes the ability of LDL cholesterol to infiltrate artery walls and trigger plague buildup which aids in avoid a heart attack), Fights Cancer (soy isoflavones – genistein, suppresses the growth of cancer cells), Strengthens Bones (new evidence that soy foods can cut the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in later years),  Eases Hot Flashes (because soy has estrogen like activity, a decrease of hot flashes may occur), and Helps Equalize Blood Sugar (for diabetics).
  • Isoflavones – studies show that as little as 25% grams of soy per day (less than 1 ounce!) reduces the risk of: heart disease, breast cancer, digestive disorders, eases symptoms of menopause, eliminates the problems of lactose intolerance, prevents symptoms of milk allergies, and is beneficial in diabetic diets (equalizes blood sugar)

Tips on ways to add soy products into your diet

  • Soymilk – don’t expect it to taste like cows milk, it has a nutty flavor, comes in many varieties such as: plain unsweetened, sweetened, vanilla, and chocolate
  • Tofu: use silken tofu in soups (miso soup), smoothies, and custard like desserts, it takes on different flavor profiles, if you marinate it before cooking it will have a deeper more intense flavor, you can grill it, bake it, fry it.

Last week was soy week in vegetarian cuisine and below is the recipe that I created.I like to make different noodle dishes at home, some warm, some cold, and I never write down how I make it because usually it is one of those “what do I have in the house” type meals. So when I knew that I had to make a salad for class that night I thought, “oh this is the perfect opportunity for me to actually write it down!”. I tend to change up the ingredients based on what I have on hand so feel free to get creative with this. Sometimes I drizzle in a little toasted sesame seed oil, and chili oil (we like spice in this house!), and even top with some toasted sesame seeds.

This salad works great for summer cookouts because there is no dairy. It travels well and the longer it sits the more intense the flavor. I would suggest eating it within a day or two though (if there is any left).

Spicy Tofu and Cold Noodle Salad

IMG_4496(close up)

Sauce/Marinade (divided)

  • Ginger, fresh, grated                                                                                       1 tsp.
  • Garlic, fresh, grated                                                                                        1 ½ tsp.
  • Tamari, gluten-free, low sodium                                                                      4 tbs.
  • Chili paste                                                                                                       1 tsp.
  • Hoisin Sauce, gluten-free                                                                                1 ¼ tsp.
  • Agave or honey                                                                                               ½ tsp.

Cold Noodle Salad

  • Tofu, extra firm, diced                                                                                      6 oz.
  • Mushrooms, baby portabella, diced                                                                10 oz.
  • Zucchini, diced                                                                                                10 oz.
  • Bell Pepper, red, diced                                                                                    4 oz.
  • Bell Pepper, yellow, diced                                                                               4 oz
  • Water, tap                                                                                                        1 qt
  • Rice noodles, Medium                                                                                     12 oz
  • Green onion, cut on a bias                                                                              ½ oz
  • Bean sprouts                                                                                                   4 oz
  • Cilantro, chopped (divided)                                                                             1 tbsp.

Method of Preparation

1.   Gather all the ingredients and equipment.

2.   Peel the ginger and garlic and grate them into a medium bowl using a microplane.

3.   Add remaining sauce/marinade ingredients (Tamari, chili paste, hoisin sauce, and agave), mix well.

4.   Check sauce/marinade for spice level and adjust if needed.

5.   Take 2 tablespoons of sauce/marinade and place in another medium bowl. This will be used to marinade the tofu.

6.   Gently wrap tofu in a several paper towels and press it lightly to remove any additional moisture.

11. After you have pressed the tofu, dice it into ½ inch chunks and add to the second bowl to marinade for 20 minutes.

12. Gently wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt.

13. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and set aside.

14. Wash the zucchini and pat dry. Cut in half, length wise, then cut in half, length wise again. Dice into ½ inch pieces and set aside.

15. Wash peppers. Remove tops, seeds, and ribs. Dice into ½ inch pieces and set aside.

16. In a large sauce pan add 1 quart of water and bring to a boil.

17. Once the water is at a boil, add the rice noodles and cook for 7 minutes.

18. Add all mushrooms, zucchini, and red and yellow bell peppers to the boiling water. Continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes.

19. Strain all contents of the pot in to a chinois and run cold water over the noodles and vegetables to stop the cooking process. Drain well.

20. Add the noodles to the first bowl with the sauce/marinade and mix well to make sure all the noodles are coated with the sauce/marinade.

21. Add in the green onions, bean sprouts, and ¾ tablespoon cilantro, mix well.

22. Place the noodles and vegetables on a serving dish and top with marinated tofu and the remaining ¼ tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

Chefs Notes:

A)    The medium rice noodles work very well in this dish, they absorb the sauce nicely, however you may substitute thin or thick rice noodles, buckwheat noodles, or gluten-free spaghetti (Sam Mills corn pasta works great in this).

Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Risotto


Below is a recipe that I created a few weeks ago while in my vegetarian cuisine lab at school. Each week we are all assigned a component of the meal and we need to create a recipe based on that and what our lecture and demo are on that day. Right before break our lecture and demo were on fruits and nuts and I was assigned the entrée portion of the meal. One thing I really love about this class is that we have the freedom to create recipes each week instead of being handed a recipe and asked to make it, or our twist on it. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to make that I could incorporate fruits and nuts in it.

I decided to start with my favorite “blank canvas”…a risotto! The idea just grew from there. I looked around the kitchen saw some golden raisins, pine nuts (one of my favorite nuts), baby spinach, and sweet potatoes (another favorite of mine!). I didn’t want the risotto to turn out sweet (because of the raisins), so I added a bit of cinnamon and grated Gruyere cheese instead of the traditional Parmesan cheese.

My chef and class really enjoyed the flavor combination and I can’t wait to make this again. Hope you all enjoy it.

Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Risotto

A hearty risotto with sweet potatoes, pine nuts, golden raisins, and spinach, a savory dish with a hint of sweetness.

Yield: 3 cups      Serving Size:  ½ cup     Number of Servings: 6


  • Vegetable Stock                                                                4 cups
  • Sweet Potato, brunoise                                                     4 ounces
  • Shallot, fine brunoise                                                         2 teaspoons
  • Garlic, fine brunoise                                                           2 teaspoons
  • Olive Oil, divided                                                                4 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon, ground                                                             1/8 teaspoon
  • Ginger, grated                                                                     ¼ teaspoon
  • Arborio Rice                                                                        1 cup
  • Pine Nuts, toasted                                                               ¼ cup
  • Golden Raisins                                                                    ¼ cup
  • Spinach, fresh                                                                      ½ cup
  • Wine, white                                                                           ¼ cup
  • Pepper, white                                                                       1/8 teaspoon
  • Gruyere cheese, grated                                                        ¼ – ½ cup
  • Parsley, chopped                                                                  1 tablespoon

Method of Preparation

  • Gather all ingredients and equipment.
  • Heat vegetable stock in a medium pot to a simmer, then lower heat to keep warm.
  • Wash and peel the sweet potato, then wash again.
  • Brunoise the sweet potato and set aside.
  • Peel the shallot and garlic. Cut brunoise and set aside.
  • In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add brunoise sweet potatoes and cook until lightly browned.
  • Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and toss to coat. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
  • In the same skillet add the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add shallots and cook for two minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add rice and stir to evenly coat with oil. Cook for one minute, until there is a slight nutty aroma, you do not want the rice to brown.
  • Add 1 cup of stock to rice and stir constantly until almost absorbed.
  • When the stock is almost absorbed, add an additional cup of stock. Repeat until the grains of rice are tender with a slight bite to them. About 20 minutes.
  • Add pine nuts, raisins, spinach, sweet potatoes, and wine. Stir until evenly incorporated and spinach has wilted.
  • Season with pepper and stir to incorporate evenly.
  • Remove from heat and add in cheese. Stir well.
  • Add parsley, and stir to incorporate.
  • Serve immediately.

{Review & Giveaway} The WHOLE Gang 2013 Desk Calendar!

gf-calendar-20132013 Cookbook Desk Calendar (© The W.H.O.L.E. Gang)

[Giveaway is now closed! The lucky winner has been notified by e-mail. If there is no response within 24 hours a new winner will be chosen..check your e-mails!]

I can’t believe it is already December! Which means the holiday season is in full swing and just around the corner is 2013! How did this year fly by so quickly?!

I know most of you have already started your holiday shopping but I have the perfect stocking stuffer idea for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or those who just love tasty food in your lives. Diane of The WHOLE Gang came up with an amazing idea this year…a desk calendar with gorgeous color photos of each of the 12 recipes (which you will find on the back of each month). All the recipes are gluten and dairy free! You will also find directions on how to prepare the dishes vegetarian, vegan, and paleo! As an added bonus there is a secret access code for a hidden page full of insider tips, tools, resources and 28 additional recipes on her website!

The desk calendar comes in a clear CD case specially made to stand-up on your desk to display the beautiful calendar. I already have mine on my desk! Each calendar costs $14.95 plus S&H and you can order them at: 

Hidden Page Features:

  • 9 new additional recipes & links to 19 more recipes

  • cooking tips and tricks

  • additional suggestions for the recipes along with instructional photos

  • information on ingredients & tools- resources to find items they might not have

  • instructional cooking videos

About the Author:

  Diane is the founder a2b87bca55e64ec9e102870ff6e41ce0a_biggernd creator of The WHOLE Gang website where she shares easy, healthy,     gluten-free living through recipes, coaching and resources.  She is a Gluten-Free Specialist, Certified Health Coach, Chef and Professional Recipe Developer. She has cooked for over 40 years and lived gluten-free for 5 of those years.

Want to win your own 2013 Cookbook Desk Calendar? Diane has been generous enough to offer one of my readers a chance to win their own desk calendar which can be kept by you or given as a gift! A winner will be chosen at random using The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received a new winner will be chosen. Best of luck to all who enter…you are going to love this!

To enter complete one or all of the entries below. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each one!

  1. Leave a comment below telling me why you want to win this and if you would keep it or gift it? (Mandatory)
  2. Like The WHOLE Gang on Facebook (Optional)
  3. Follow The WHOLE Gang on Twitter (Optional)
  4. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)
  5. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (Optional)
  6. Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and leave a comment for each separate share. (Optional)

Giveaway begins today, Sunday December 2, 2012 and will end at 11:59 EST on Wednesday  December 12, 2012. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada!

[Full disclosure: I was sent a calendar, free of charge, from Diane Eblin of The WHOLE Gang for this review and giveaway. All opinions expressed here are my own. – Again, thank you Diane it is beautiful and I hope you make another one next year as well!]

Outdoor Dining with Kitchen-Play and Land O’Lakes

When I received an e-mail from Kitchen PLAY about taking part in their Land O’Lakes 30 Days of Outdoor Dining, I was very intrigued. I grew up eating Land O’Lakes cheese from the deli counter. This project, however, features a whole new cheese that they have recently released. It’s called 4 Cheese Italian Blend Deli Cheese, which is a combination of Asiago, Romano and Parmesan with creamy American.

I went to pick up a pound of the cheese and couldn’t wait to create a recipe with it.Naturally, I had to eat it straight out of the package first. (I love cheese by the way, so it was very difficult to even wait to get out to the car to do so.)

This cheese is creamy and delicious. I couldn’t decide on just one recipe to make so I tried several. I pretty much used this cheese on everything I possibly could – buffalo chicken pizza, stuffed zucchini, and many other dishes. I loved the flavor and the great creamy texture of this cheese!.

Of all the different ways I tried this cheese, I decided to share a burger recipe with you. To me, nothing says outdoor grilling more than a juicy cheese burger with great toppings. Below is an easy yet delicious burger recipe that is quick to make and easily adjusts to a larger or smaller crowd. Remember to keep it simple because you also want to be able to enjoy your company along with the food!

Grilled Cheeseburger with Avocado and Grilled Onions (serves 4)

1 pound ground beef (you could also buy the pre-packaged burgers)

1 large onion

1 avocado – sliced

1 medium tomato

4 slices of Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend4 pieces of romaine lettuce (washed and dried)

4 gluten-free hamburger buns

salt and pepper to taste

Condiments of your choice

Pre-heat grill.

Divide ground beef into four even portions (1/4 pound each) and form into hamburgers. To help prevent shrinking press down in the center of the burgers. Season both sides with salt and pepper

Slice onion and tomato – set aside.

Place burgers on grill and do not move them around! Just let them hang out for a few minutes until they easily release from the grill. You want to have some delicious grill marks on those beauties. Once they release easily (this timing all depends on the thickness and how you like your burgers cooked) flip them and then top with the 4 Cheese Italian Blend Deli Cheese

Lightly oil the onions and season both sides with salt and pepper – grill until desired done-ness

Cook until desired internal temp has been reached. To learn more about internal cooking temperatures check out this informative post. Toast buns on the grill.

Slice avocado and remove from skins Click here to learn how to slice an avocado. Place one burger on each bottom bun, top with grilled onions, tomato slice(s), avocado, and desired condiments–I personally love ketchup and spicy mustard.)—and top bun.

Serve with your favorite accompaniment – grilled corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw etc. Enjoy and have a great dinner!

Don’t forget to check Kitchen PLAY every day for the next delicious recipe featuring new Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend or Land O Lakes® Deli American Cheese. Then, get in on the fun by leaving a comment with your own “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” tip for dining al fresco this summer. If you do, you’ll be entered to win a lovely grilling prize pack, including one grilling spatula, one marinade brush, one set of tongs and one grill scraper. Kitchen PLAY will be giving away four prizes total, one each week! Please visit Kitchen PLAY for sweepstakes guidelines.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY SideCar series. All opinions given are my own.

One Vinaigrette – Two Dishes {O Olive Oil}

In my last post about O Olive Oil, I mentioned that I was one of the lucky bloggers who was chosen to participate in the O Olive Oil challenge over at Each blogger was asked to do two posts – one a tasting and the second a recipe. Please take a second to read my fist post – A Naked Tasting. I was generously provided a bottle of the O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and the Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar to taste and create a recipe with.

As I mentioned in my last post these have a higher sugar content and in turn a lower burn temperature which make them great for finishing oils and vinaigrettes. I decided to do just that – make a vinaigrette and then create two dishes to use it with, both of course are gluten-free and can easily be made vegetarian by simply omitting the chicken in one and the fish in the other – you can also add in some delicious tofu!

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette (adjust this to meet your needs)

3 parts O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

1 part Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar

Small Shallot – minced

Kosher Salt – to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper – to taste

Pinch of sugar

I know you are probably wondering where the exact measurements are but I think vinaigrettes are a personal judgement call.  Taste as you go, adjust as needed based on your likes and needs. This oil and vinegar make such a delicious vinaigrette – its sweet and tangy all at once.

Quinoa Salad with Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup red quinoa

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 small zucchini diced (1/4 inch)

1 small summer squash diced (1/4 inch)

1 1/2 cups roasted chicken (omit or sub with tofu for vegetarian option)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir  Vinaigrette – to taste

Lemon Zest


  1. I roasted mine with a lemon pepper compound butter that had a light drizzle of the olive oil in it and placed it under the skin. When done – let the chicken rest and cool – shred and set aside.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  3. In a small non stick pan over ow-medium heat add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and gently cook the mushrooms, zucchini, and summer squash – just to warm them up a bit.
  4. In a large bowl add the vinaigrette, shredded chicken, and veggie mixture – toss to coat.
  5. When quinoa is finished cooking add directly into the bowl with the chicken, veggies, and vinaigrette – toss to combine and let sit for at least 20 minutes so everything soaks up the awesome vinaigrette.
  6. Toss in the tomatoes and zest lemon over the top before serving.
  7. This makes for a great entree or as a side dish. You can add anything you really wanted to this dish as quinoa to me is like a blank canvas just waiting to be jazzed up a bit. This dish can be served warm or chilled, which makes it great for the summer and a picnic or BBQ!

Grilled Tilapia Pasta with Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette

Penne pasta (gluten-free)

Broccoli florets and pieces

1 – per person, Tilapia Fillet

1 slice of lemon per piece of Tilapia

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette – reserve 1-2 table spoons

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Create foil packets – in each packet place lemon slices, and two fillets of fish, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with just a little bit of the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, and seal the packet.
  3. Grill the packets lemon size side down first for 3-4 minutes, flip and repeat.
  4. Remove fish packets and set aside for one minute.
  5. Open fish packets and flake the fish into chunks. Set aside until pasta is complete.
  6. Cook pasta according to package.
  7. During the last 4 minutes of cooking add in broccoli florets and pieces.
  8. Strain pasta and broccoli, place in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette – the warm pasta is going to soak up all of this beautiful vinaigrette.
  9. Place pasta on individual plates or bowls – top each plate/bowl with grilled Tilapia fillets and drizzle with reserved vinaigrette.
  10. Another dish perfect for the summer, especially on a week night – quick, easy, delicious, and full of flavor from just a few ingredients!




Grilled Swordfish and Mango Salsa

Fish is one of my favorite things to eat, but sadly I don’t cook it enough.  We eat a lot of sushi in our house because Bryan isn’t a huge fan of fish when it is cooked, except for swordfish.  He’s eaten a few cooked fish dishes that I’ve made but like I said, I don’t cook it often enough.

A few months ago we went to a local restaurant because he was craving swordfish.  He had his grilled with a bruschetta topping to it while I had a delicious piece of mahi-mahi with a mango salsa on top. He was a bit jealous of my salsa and wasn’t such a fan of the bruschetta. I promised him the next time it is on sale we would pick up a piece and I would cook it however he wished.  He asked for it to be grilled with a mango salsa, similar to the one I had on my mahi-mahi.

Lucky for him, swordfish was on sale this week! So keeping true to my promise we went and picked up a good size piece (for the two of us to share) of swordfish, and the ingredients for a simple yet delicious onion-free mango salsa.  I just did a costing card for this meal and minus the steamed veggies on the side (we used green giant frozen steam ready veggies which were on sale for $1.00!) it totaled $8.27 per person!! If you were to add the veggies, it would be still only $8.77 per person.  You can’t go out anywhere to get a delicious and healthy meal for that price. Again, we bought the fish on sale so it helped with the price.  So if you do like I do and plan your weekly menu based on your local grocery adds or a local famers market prices you can find some great deals and make simple yet delicious and healthy meals for less.

This meal is beyond easy to make with only a few ingredients…five ingredients to be exact (salt, pepper and olive oil are “free” ingredients, meaning I have these on hand at all times and are basic ingredients for many recipes). I would suggest preparing the salsa at least an hour before and let it hang out in the fridge so all of the flavors are melded together nicely.  The fish takes between 8-10 minutes, so this is the perfect for a busy weeknight meal.

Grilled Swordfish

3/4 – 1 Pound of Swordfish Fillet – cut in half (enough for two people)

Juice of 1/2 Lime

Salt and Pepper – to taste

Olive Oil

Lightly brush the swordfish fillet with olive oil and squeeze the lime juice over it and season with salt and pepper – flip and repeat on the other side.

Pre-heat your grill to medium-high heat.  Add the swordfish and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Onion-Free Mango Salsa

2 Large Ripe Mango – Diced(about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)

1 Medium Red Bell Pepper – Diced (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)

Juice of 1/2 a Lime (about 1 tablespoon)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/8 cup Finely Chopped Cilantro (You can add more depending on your taste)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Add diced mango, red pepper, olive oil, lime juice, and season with salt and pepper – taste.  Add cilantro last and mix to combine well.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the rest of the week I have planned:

  • Sunday – Corned Beef Sandwiches (Reuben’s) and veggies
  • Monday – Roasted Pork Meatballs (from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen – pre-order it here) and a quick fried rice
  • Tuesday – Pasta
  • Wednesday – Chicken Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Carrots, Red Cabbage and Snap Peas
  • Thursday – Grilled Rib-Eye and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Friday – Chili

Hope you enjoy this meal!

Lobster and Risotto

We both love lobster but never really eat it because let’s be honest, it can be rather expensive.  We are two college students and just can’t afford that kind of stuff on a regular basis.  Since moving here almost a year ago now we’ve had lobster once and that is because my dad bought it for us when we went to visit him one weekend.  We always say “if it goes on sale for a good price we’ll pick one or two up”.  The only problem with that idea is we NEVER remember to actually do it.  So when I got this weeks grocery ad’s in the mail I noticed that Shaw’s had the chicken lobsters (up to 1.5 lbs) on sale for $5.99 a pound.  We decided to break down and get two of them.

Lobster is one of those food items that can be enjoyed in many different ways: steamed or boiled then served with butter, baked, grilled, mac-n-cheese, lobster ravioli’s etc.  I tend to be a purist when it comes to lobster – I like mine steamed and served with a little butter on the side (usually garlic butter).  I prefer the steaming method for two reasons, one it’s a little harder to over cook them that way and two because it leaves more of their natural ocean fresh taste. Today however, I broke from away from that purist side of me and steamed my lobsters then removed all the meat, cut it in to large chunks, sautéed quickly with olive oil, butter and a clove of minced fresh garlic then served it atop a nice plate of Parmesan Risotto=delicousness.

In my post “Light and Delicious” I posted a quick recipe costing breakdown at the end showing how inexpensive meals made at home can be.  The recipe was for Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Shrimp – the recipe yield was for two portions.  The total recipe cost was $5.34 (yes including the shrimp and store-bought pesto!) which made each serving just $2.67.  A good number of my recipes on here are for two portions because, we are just two people.  However, if you look at my soup recipes that is for a larger quantity because we love soup leftovers. I also posted a survey yesterday asking my you, the lovely readers of my blog if this kind of information is useful to you because I received a few comments and e-mails asking for more of this.  With all the positive responses to the survey, the e-mails and comments I decided to keep doing this…so below the recipe you will see the recipe cost breakdown with a little explanation.

Please note that I am a HUGE sales/coupon person.  I really don’t like to pay full price for just about anything so I only buy certain items such as shrimp and lobster when there is a good sale going on.  If you’ve noticed this is the first lobster recipe I’ve posted on here.

Lobster and Risotto

2 Chicken Lobsters (about 1-1.5 pounds each)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove – Minced

2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (I used Pacific Natural Food’s)

2 Tablespoons of Butter

3/4 Cup of Arborio Rice

1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (I used Gewurztraminer because it is what we had)

1/4 Cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the Lobsters – start these first so they have time to cool down

In a large stock pot place either a steaming basket or upside down colendar at the bottom and fill with water until it just barely comes over the top of the basket or colendar.  Bring to a boil and add lobsters.  Make sure your pan has a very tight-fitting lid to keep the steam inside.  Lobsters that are about 1.5 pounds should be steamed between 7-8 minutes (do not over cook!).  You will know they are done when they turn a very vibrant red color.

Remove from the pan and cool by placing them under cold running water.  You just want to cool them enough to be able to get the meat out.  Remove meat, cut into chunks and set aside.

When the risotto is almost finished heat medium/large sautée pan over medium heat and add olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of butter and garlic.  Cook for 1 minute, add lobster and toss until lobster is coated and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until lobster is heated throughout, again be careful to over cook.

For the Risotto

In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer.  Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Add the rice and stir to coat, add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add 1 ladle (or 1/2 cup) of the simmering broth and stir until completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.  Continue cooking the rice, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time.  Stir constantly and allow each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next.  Continue this until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and mixture is creamy, about 10-15 minutes total.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

To plate the dish spoon half of the risotto on each plate, top with sautéed lobster, serve with a lemon slice/wedge and chives as a garnish. Enjoy with a glass of Gewurztraminer.

Below is the costing breakdown including all of the ingredients used (remember that the prices might be different depending on where you shop, your local specials etc.).  For each of us to have risotto and a chicken lobster for $10.87 I would say that isn’t too shabby of a price, especially since you would probably pay between $19.00-$24.00 and not have the same amount of lobster if you were to order this at a restaurant.  Cooking delicious (and gluten-free) meals at home isn’t just a way to control what you are eating but choosing the ingredients yourself it is also a great way to save money.  Many of the ingredients of these recipes you already have in your pantry so it is just buying a few of the key ingredients.  For example, the only ingredient we had to buy today was the lobsters themselves.

Light and Delicious

Last month I planted out little container garden (thankfully we choose a place with a deck!).  With all the heavy rains we’ve been having around here I wasn’t sure if some of the seeds would ever produce anything.  Thankfully everything is on its way to becoming some delicious goodies.  We planted Thai chili peppers, habaneros, pepperoncini, carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, super sweet tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, radish, zucchini, basil and lettuce.  I took this picture this morning:

My last few recipe posts have been pretty “heavy” foods, so today while I was making dinner I thought I should probably post this one.  It is quick, easy, light and delicious and believe it or not budget friendly (see below the recipe for more information).  A perfect meal for this kind of weather.  I love when spring and summer comes around because this means more fresh ingredients available and I don’t know if it is just me but I don’t crave those heavy meals much.  I love salads and more veggie based meals during this time of year and I plan to be posting more recipes like this soon. To kick off my lighter recipes (this may not be a daily thing but I will get better about posting more recipes like this), I decided to make some gluten-free pasta (We mostly eat Sam Mill’s or Goldbaum’s gluten-free pastas, we find that to use these are the two that have a very similar taste and texture to “regular” pasta) with pesto, diced zucchini and for a little treat some sautéed shrimp. My basil hasn’t grown enough for me to make homemade pesto so for now we have been using the Classico Pesto – which is gluten-free! and delicious.  While at the grocery store today I found some pretty decent sized zucchini and summer squash and thankfully shrimp was on sale so we picked up a few to toss in and add a bit of protein to our meal.  Of course Bryan made us a salad with mixed greens and cucumbers with some homemade balsamic dressing.

This meal is delicious with our with out the shrimp, however we never splurge on shrimp but we are pretty sick of chicken and red meat right now and wanted to mix it up a little bit.  You could always add some grilled chicken on top also or if you wish to add more veggies mix in some halved grape tomatoes, diced summer squash or blanched/grilled asparagus.

Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Zucchini (serves 2)

1/2 Pound gluten-free pasta of your choice, I prefer penne,  fusillior gemelli because I think it holds the pesto better)

1 Large zucchini diced into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces

1/4 Pound of Shrimp (cleaned, deveined and tails still on)

1/4 Cup pesto – more if you prefer

2 Tablespoons of olive oil, divided

Sea Salt and Pepper

In a medium saucepan bring water with salt and a tablespoon of olive oil to boil for pasta and cook according to the package instructions.

Season the shrimp on both sides with sea salt and pepper.

Heat one tablespoon in a non-stick sautée pan over medium heat. When there is about 5 minutes left on the pasta add the shrimp to the sautée pan. Cook for about two minutes on each side (until shrimp is opaque in the center)

When there are four minutes left on the pasta cooking time add the diced zucchini.

Strain the pasta and zucchini but do not rinse the pasta in cold water.  Return the pasta to the pan, add the prepared pesto and shrimp.  Toss until well mixed (if you are adding in the halved tomatoes add them in now and toss again).  Add more pesto if you wish, serve with a side salad.

This meal is very versatile – add shrimp, chicken, veggies – whatever your heart desires.

Recipe cost break down:

Seeing as I just finished up my Menu Planning and Cost Control course I thought I would break down how inexpensive this meal was to make: the total recipe cost was $5.34 which means only $2.67 per portion!! Now can you imagine if you were to order this while eating out you would be paying around $12 – $14 for this dish that really only costs $2.67 per portion including shrimp.

P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

My version of P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

Yesterday was day two in my weekly menu planning and Bryan’s last day of classes for his first semester as a 1L, so I decided to celebrate I would try to tackled one of our favorite P.F. Chang’s recipes – Beef a La Sichuan.  Ever since this was put on the gluten-free menu at P.F. Chang’s it is all Bryan will order.  I usually order the Chang’s Spicy Chicken (it’s amazing if you haven’t had it yet, you should).  Sadly though we don’t have a P.F. Chang’s close to us so I’ve been searching online for “copycat” recipes for this dish.  I really only found one, but found plenty of pictures of the dish which didn’t help me at all.  The recipe I found was pretty good, however it didn’t have any measurements for the ingredients! Seeing as we hadn’t had this in a while I had to think back to what it tasted like and try to build a sauce based on memory-honestly I got it on the first shot…not sure if I should be proud of that or kind of embarrassed.  If you don’t know Chinese food is my biggest weakness and seeing as I can’t go to any restaurant and get something I do my best to create recipes inspired by my favorite Chinese/Asian dishes.

I found the recipe on and like I said it had no measurements so below is my measurements along with’s directions.  Now this recipe is a little in-depth with the preparation so be prepared to spend a bit of time in the kitchen the first time-but I promise it is worth it.  I’m sure you can always find some shortcuts, like finding celery and carrots that are already julienned for you but I wanted to do it start to finished myself.   The original recipe called for green onion stems but seeing as we don’t cook/consume onions in our house we just omitted them but you can add them in if you wish.

P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

Stir Fry Ingredients:

1 Pound Flank or Sirloin Steak Sliced thin
3-4 Medium Celery Stalks -Julienned
2 Medium Carrots – Julienned
Green Onion Stems (Optional)
1/2 Cup Peanut Oil or Canola Oil (you may use less if using a non-stick pan, I only use about 1/4 cup)
1/4 Cup Corn Starch
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes(or whole Tien Tsin Chinese Chili Peppers work great)

1 1/2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil

Sauce Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Gluten Free Soy Sauce (I use San-J)
2 Tablespoons Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce (I use Dynasty)
1 Tablespoon Garlic Chili Paste
1/2 Teaspoon Chinese Hot Mustard
1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Chili oil/or Mongolian Fire Oil (made by House of Tsang) -(Optional)
1 – 2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Minced garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Minced Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes


Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Julienne your carrots and celery and set aside. It is important to get these done first because when it comes time to stir-fry them, it is a very quick process.

An important step is “velveting your beef” – Thinly slice your beef and place in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and  toss to make sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Rinse beef free from all cornstarch and pat dry – you do not want any moisture or the oil will splatter when you add the beef to the pan.

In a skillet (or wok), fry the sliced meat in hot peanut (or canola) oil until crispy to your liking. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels.

In the same pan (or wok) add the following ingredients in this order with sesame oil: stir-fry celery, crushed red pepper flakes (or Tein Tsin Chinese Chili Peppers) followed by carrots. Do not over cook these ingredients – you want them to be nice and crispy. Add fried meat and green onions. Add sauce and bring to a fast boil, cook for 1 minute and serve immediately over white or brown rice.

This last step should take only 3-4 minutes – it is a very quick process so be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t over cook.


I sliced my beef a little bigger than P.F. Chang’s does but not by much and didn’t fry it as much as they do.  Some times the beef can become a bit tough when it is fried too long so I left mine a little tender but still had a slight crunch to it.

The veggies were perfect – like the directions above say DO NOT OVER COOK them – they are supposed to be nice and crunchy.  This process goes very quickly.

I drained off most of the remaining oil from frying the beef before adding the Sesame oil and veggies.  I didn’t wan it to be too oily.

The recipe called for Chili Oil but I couldn’t find it anywhere around me (my grocery stores aren’t so good with stocking “international” cuisine products) so I left it out and didn’t miss it at all.

The sauce was created from memory so if you have had it more recently and attempt to make it at home please adjust the measurements to your liking.

I cooked this in a wok but you can use a large sauté pan.

We had not leftovers!! Like I said this is Bryan’s favorite dish.

Who says you have to go our to have great Chinese food when  you can easily make it at home!  It may take a little longer to make it but it is so worth it and helps save you a little money too.

Weekly Menu Planning

I’m determined to get back into planning out a weekly menu and base our grocery shopping on that menu.  I hope that this will save us money but also the frustration of what to eat each night.  This week is a very Asian inspired week as you’ll see below.  I really miss my favorite little Chinese restaurant in Monterey, Full Moon.  They were so great to me, I would bring them a bottle of gluten-free soy sauce and they would make my food with that. We have both been craving Chinese food lately and Bryan could go out and get some but I can’t so I figured I would make a few Asian inspired recipes this week that will hopefully hit the spot.

When planning weekly menus I usually look at my cookbooks, blogs etc and search for dishes that are tasty, easy and that the ingredients can be used in more than one dish during the week.  This weeks menu inspiration comes from: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking, Everyday Food-Fresh Flavor Fast and a few recipes I found online.

November 29-December 5


Grilled Steaks, mashed sweet potatoes and corn (these were our last steaks from Omaha Steaks -a gift from Bry’s parents)


P.F. Chang’s inspired Beef A La Sichuan (Bryan’s favorite dish to order there, even off of the gluten-free menu)


Asian Inspired Noodle Bowl (Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking pg. 30)


Beef Stir Fry (Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast pg. 190)


Penne A La Broccoli (Light dish with red pepper flakes from


General Chang’s Chicken (Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking pg. 163) I’ll be making this for my birthday dinner along with some cupcakes, or maybe even a cheesecake…I have yet to decided which one I really want.


Not 100% sure what to make just yet for sunday, maybe some beef stew or pot roast.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking cookbook by Kelli and Peter Bronski you really should – this cookbook is fantastic.  I’ve made several of their recipes and have enjoyed every one of them.

What are you cooking this week?