Bread Stuffing {Gluten, Dairy, & Onion Free} & Giveaway from Rudi’s!

IMG_3193One of my favorite holidays is quickly approaching and I am already starting to plan the menu. Last year it was Just Bryan, Penny, and I and I tried my hardest to scale down a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner, but who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers? I did cut out some of the extra items, and many of the desserts but there are a few things that I just can’t scale down, or not make at all; turkey, my grandmother’s homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato souffle, green beans, and of course stuffing!

I have always loved stuffing…but not so much when it is in the bird. Stuffing made in a baking dish has both the crunchy and soft textures that I love. Since going gluten-free I have struggled a bit in the stuffing department. I have used pre-packaged mixes and even attempted my own, but mastering the spices, herbs, and meeting both mine and Bryan’s dietary needs is always tricky. Bryan has a whole list of intolerance and allergies in addition to my Celiac, but two of the biggest ones are lactose intolerance and onion allergy. Onion is found is more items than you may think it is. We have recently learned that he can not tolerate honey, high fructose corn syrup, agave, and a few other items as well. These are all in addition to his oral allergy syndrome!

When people learn of all these restrictions the first question that is asked is, “what do you eat?”, and often followed by “oh I could never do that!”. When it comes to either being healthy or being ill all the time, we choose being healthy. Yes, things don’t always go as planned and he will get sick, but thankfully it is not life or death, it is more bloating and uncomfortable. As for what do we eat…a lot. A lot of real foods: meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. We have learned to limit more processed foods to the best of our abilities and make adjustments when needed. Granted it is much easier for him to avoid these items when I am around and able to cook but he does what he can when I am here in NYC.

When I was asked by Rudi’s Gluten Free last week if I would like to be part of a recipe creation project with them using their new Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls, I immediately said yes. Rudi’s has yet to disappoint us with their products and they are both gluten & dairy free, and to top it off…ONION Free. I knew right then and there that I would try to make stuffing out of them for Thanksgiving. I did think of making an appetizer with them, but slicing the rolls about 1/4 inch toasting them up and then topping them with a delicious treat but, stuffing kept coming back to me.

The stuffing is pretty simple to make. You can do the first few steps the night before and then assemble and bake the stuffing the next day. It is a traditional bread stuffing (or gravy, however you wish to call it), with carrots and celery in place of the onions, and loaded with flavor!

As I mentioned above, I have made gluten-free stuffing from scratch before, but the ciabatta rolls have hands down the best texture to them for making stuffing. Both Bryan and I agreed on this. He is not 100% gluten-free because he doesn’t have to be, so I value his opinion greatly and take his feedback to heart. For someone who isn’t gluten-free to say that something that is gluten-free is delicious means a lot to me.

The ciabatta rolls are delicious on their on and ready for your family dinner table in about 8-10 minutes, these crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside rolls are a great side dish to any entrée or holiday meal. They are available in two flavors, Plain and in Rosemary Olive Oil, these bake – at – home rolls will make your kitchen smell awesome!

Keep reading below the recipe for your chance to win the same package Rudi’s Sent me and more chances to win on Rudi’s Gluten Free’s Facebook Page!!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Onion-Free Traditional Bread Stuffing

IMG_3201(*please see note to include onions)

  • 1 package of Rudi’s Gluten Free Plain Ciabatta Rolls (sliced and cut into 1/4 inch cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Bells Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance Spread (I used the stick version)
  • 1 Cup sliced Celery
  • 1 Cup Diced Carrots
  • 1 – 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock (Homemade if preparing this onion free)
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Line a large baking sheet with either aluminum foil pr parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl combine the bread crumbs, olive oil, parsley, oregano, bells seasoning, salt, and pepper, toss well to combine.
  4. Transfer seasoned bread crumbs to the baking sheet and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes checking often, and tossing as needed. Make sure that these cubes do not burn. You want them to be nice and crunchy like a crouton though.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool and transfer to a large bowl.
  6. Reduce oven temp to 350°
  7. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the earth balance, celery and carrots – season as needed with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook vegetables for 5-8 minutes until soft.
  9. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with seasoned bread cubes.
  10. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  11. Starting with 1 cup of the stock, slowly add it to the bowl of seasoned bread cubes and stir until seasoned bread cubes or moistened.
  12. Transfer stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Baked covered for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

*Note: if you wish to make this with onions, simply add 1/2 cup small diced onion to the celery and carrot mixture and use store bought or homemade stock with onion. IMG_3200GIVEAWAY!

  • Giveaway is open from 8:00 am EST Tuesday November 4th and ends at 11:59 pm EST on Friday November 14th, 2014.
  • Leave a separate comment for each entry to receive the max entries.
  • Giveaway and prize pack open to US residents 18 years and older.
  • Winner will be chosen using
  • Winner will be notified via e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen.

As mentioned above Rudi’s has offered to give one lucky reader the same gift pack that they sent me which includes the following items:

  • One bag of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Rosemary Olive Oil Ciabatta Roll
  • One bag of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Plain Ciabatta Rolls
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Apron
  • John Boos 18-by-12-Inch Reversible Maple Cutting Board
  • Spectrum Organic Mediterranean Olive Oil
  • Spectrum Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Oven Mitt

Ways to Enter – enter by just doing one, or by doing them all, but make sure to leave a separate comment for each one:

Want other ways to win prizes from Rudi’s Gluten Free??

From November 4th-10th, Rudi’s will be celebrating the launch of their new Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls through a giveaway on their Facebook page, in which they will be giving away 100 oven mitts every day! To enter visit:


Rudi’s provided me with product to create a recipe using their new cibatta rolls. The recipe and opinions are 100% my own.

Butternut Squash Soup (GF, EF, DF, OF, SF, Vegan, Vegetarian)

This is a very easy and delicious recipe that is packed with plenty of flavor and perfect for the cool “winter” days that we’ve been having this past week. I honestly can’t complain about the winter that we have had so far, but I won an awesome Cuisinart Immersion blender from Soup Chick and decided I need to make some soup. I looked around at what I had and threw together a very tasty butternut squash soup that just so happened to be free of pretty much everything, except flavor. There is no gluten, eggs, dairy, onion, or soy and is vegan and vegetarian!! The recipe is simple and can be adjusted to your specific needs and tastes buds.You also don’t need an immersion blender, you can instead use a food processor (which I don’t own) or a blender.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

In a large stock pot over medium heat add olive oil. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute. Add celery and carrots and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped butternut squash and vegetable stock. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until squash is fork tender.

Remove pan from heat. Using an immersion blender blend soup until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Return to burner to warm throughout. Add maple agave nectar right before serving.


POM Wonderful Dinner Party (Recap)

About a month ago I entered a contest to host a POM Wonderful dinner party.  POM would pick 100 people to host a dinner party inspired by, Pomegranates (of course).  I entered at first because Bryan and I love pomegranates, and I really wanted to try to incorporate them into some recipes other than just drinking the juice and eating the seeds.  To my surprise I got an e-mail back saying I was one of the 100 picked and I would be receiving two cases of pomegranates and some goodie bags for my guests.  After getting this e-mail I had about 9 million thoughts running through my head of what to make, how many people to invite and oh I can’t forget the decorations! After sitting back and relaxing for a little bit I decided that simple was the best way to go.

Bryan and I will hopefully be in New Jersey for Thanksgiving this year and my dad, stepmom and stepsister will all be in upstate New York, so I figured we would do a pre-Thanksgiving inspired dinner together yesterday, just the five of us. Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme our menu was as follows:


Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and a Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing


Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Garlic Green Beans

Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce



Hard Pomegranate – Apple Cider


Brownie Cupcakes topped Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

Pomegranate Sorbet

Over all our dinner was great- with a few minor setbacks of having a small kitchen, sink and not being happy with my frosting!  It was nice to have my family here for a relaxing afternoon filled with football and a very tasty dinner (If I do say so myself).  Our decorations were simple – some small pumpkins in the center and on each plate was a pomegranate and an instruction card on “how to open a pomegranate”. Most of the recipes used were ones that we make often, simple yet very tasty and all 100% Gluten Free! Below are some of the recipes with photos.  (I must note that I got caught up in feeding everyone that I forgot to take a few photos, such as the roasted chicken when it came out of the oven-sorry!)

Salad with Pomegranate-Balsamic Dressing

(We usually have mixed greens and what ever else we can throw into the salad, it is completely up to you)

One -two large romaine lettuce heads, chopped (Or mixed greens)

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cucumber sliced

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate-Balsamic Dressing

Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup of good olive oil

1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1/8-1/4 cup balsamic dressing

Add all ingredients to a covered jar or salad dressing mixer.  Shake well and enjoy (you can adjust the measurements to your flavor liking)

Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze

1 Whole Chicken (about 9 pounds)

1/4 cup room temp butter

1 1/2 tablespoons of Seasoning of your choice – I use a mixture of rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage.

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl mix the softened butter and herbs until well combined. Set aside

Make sure the giblets and neck are removed from the chicken cavity.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper – also season the cavity. Place your chicken in the roasting pan and gently lift the skin using your fingers – be sure not to tear any of it.  Once the skin  has been lifted, take  half of the butter and herb mixture and spread evenly under the skin.  Take the remaining butter and herb mixture and do the same over the top of the chicken.  Place chicken in oven.  About thirty minutes into cooking add about 1 cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the roasting pan and baste the chicken.  Continue to baste the chicken every 30 minutes.  (please be sure to check the size of your chicken to determine how long it should roast for).  For a 9 pound chicken, cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.

During the last thirty minutes of the chicken brush it with the pomegranate glaze (see recipe below) every ten minutes, do this again when your chicken has been removed from the oven. This sauce can also be drizzled over the meat on your plate (which I did)

Pomegranate Glaze

(Very concentrated flavor, and very good)

1 cup POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice

In a small sauce pan heat the pomegranate juice over medium heat.  Simmer until juice has reduced about half, about 10-12 minutes.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

(We love mashed sweet potatoes, especially with the cinnamon added.  We tend to eat more sweet potatoes than regular ones)

1 – 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1/2  – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup soy milk

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan add sweet potatoes and cover with water.  Boil for ten minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain well.  Either by using a potato masher or using a stand mixer add your potatoes to a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), add butter and soy milk and begin mashing (or whisking), until smooth.  Season with cinnamon and mix again until well blended.  Season with salt and pepper.

Garlic Green Beans

(one of our favorite side dishes, quick, easy and very flavorful.  This replaces the green bean casserole on our table)

1-2 pounds of fresh green beans

3 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Lightly steam the green beans until bright green yet still crispy.  Drain well.  In a medium-large pan melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir in the green beans.  Toss the green beans so they are all coated in the garlic and butter/oil sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce

(I usually make this a day in advance)

1 Bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries

1 cup pomegranate juice

1/2 cup sugar – you can use either with sugar or packed brown sugar (I used the brown sugar this time)

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

salt and pepper

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In a medium saucepan – over medium/high heat add the pomegranate juice and sugar. Bring to a boil.  Add the fresh cranberries, once the berries start to pop open reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cook until most of the cranberries have burst open and the sauce has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in the pomegranate seeds.  Cool  to room temp before serving (or if you are making this in advance like I do (I think it tastes better the next day) cool completely and transfer to an air tight container.


I used the recipe on the back of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick box.

2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick mix

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup milk (I use soy)

3 eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Cut shortening into mix, using fork, until particles are size of small peas.  Stir in remaining ingredients until soft dough forms.  Drop by spoonfulls onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes 10 biscuits.

Hard Pomegranate-Apple Cider

(We used a local hard apple cider from Newport Vineyards, which is right down the road from us)

Serves four

3 parts hard apple cider

1 part pomegranate juice

In wine glasses (or any fun glasses you might have) add three parts hard apple cider and one part pomegranate juice and stir lightly.  Serve chilled.

Brownie Cupcakes with Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

12 Brownie Cupcakes (I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix and made them in a cupcake pan – you can use which ever brand you like).  Make these the night before so they can cool and that is one less thing to bake the day of.

Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

(sadly below isn’t the recipe that I used, I made my own but it didn’t have much pomegranate flavor so I suggest using this one instead)

8 oz cream cheese softened (room temp)

4 oz butter softened

3 oz of pomegranate juice (juice from 3-4 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates,* or 1-1/2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice)

14 oz Powdered sugar

1 cup arils from 1 large POM Wonderful

Prepare fresh pomegranate juice*, score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water, break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs), the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top, sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside, (refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use), reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to 3 fl. oz., Allow to cool, place butter into electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute, add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes, turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction, mix until the sugar is fully combined, remove icing from the mixer and place into a piping bag with a round or star tip.

Pomegranate Sorbet

(I have never made sorbet before so I asked my stepmom to use her ice cream maker so I could attempt making pomegranate sorbet.  I found the following recipe online at Saveur and it is very flavorful and refreshing!)

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups pomegranate juice

1 Cup water

Place sugar, 1 cup water, and pomegranate juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve garnished with pomegranate seeds. (This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #9)


Our table setting

Our POM Wonderful inspired meal

To make our Hard Apple-Pomegranate Cider we used a local hard cider from Newport Vineyards (It’s the best we’ve had)

A light refreshment – Hard Apple-Pomegranate Cider

“How To Open A Pomegranate”

A simple yet flavor packed and refreshing dessert – Pomegranate Sorbet

Each guest got a POM Swag-Bag which included a POM bracelet, POM recipe cards, POM pamphlet, a free coupon for a bottle of POM wonderful juice and an awesome reusable POM wonderful tote.  They also got to take home a few pomegranates.


Creatively and Frugally Gluten Free

We’ve all been hit hard with the economy the way that it is and if you are like myself, you’ve been hit a bit harder because I am still out of work.  I wasn’t laid off or anything, I willing left my job and life in California to move back East to be with Bryan.  I don’t regret my decision by any means – I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If I didn’t move in the summer who knows if or when it would have happened.  There were other factors (like our families) into moving when I did but he was the main reason.  Seeing as I left my job, I do not collect unemployment and have no income or health insurance. I spend my days searching and applying for jobs – which is usually about 20 jobs!  I’m not being picky and only applying for certain jobs, I am applying to anything and everything that I remotely qualify, however the call backs are scarce. sparse.  Honestly as depressing and defeating as it is, I keep doing it every day.  I know something will come along, I just hope it happens soon. It is funny because the few responses I have received back say I am over qualified and that is one thing I have never been told in my life, usually it is the opposite because even though I have about 10 years of administrative work under my belt (mostly in Higher Education admissions) I am under qualified because I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree (actually any degree for that matter).

I would love to someday have the ability to donate my time with an organization or be a part time food blogger and work part-time, but right now we need me to be working.  I enjoy working (and earning a pay check) actually I miss working.  People keep telling me that once I get a job I’ll be wishing for this time again, and I’m sure I will at some point but I think it might take a while for me to feel that way.

So with being out of work for a total of four months we have learned to not only live the gluten-free life creatively but also frugally!  I am a coupon clipper and at first Bryan would make fun of me for it but I think now he is pretty thankful for my OCD with coupons.  Each week when we get the grocery ads I scour them looking for the good sales.  We normally don’t buy anything that isn’t on sale.  I’m a big fan of the buy one get one items.  We buy more fresh items vs. processed items.

I also try to make as many gluten-free things that I possibly can instead of buying them at the stores such as granola, bread, salad dressings, cookies, ice tea, mochas, cakes and pies.  Sadly however, I am running low on all of my gluten-free flours and my xanthan gum! So I have to be careful until I can afford to order some new ones.  Today I was trying to think of other things I can make at home with the ingredients I have on hand instead of buying.  One thing that came to mind is taco seasoning.  We eat tacos fairly often because it is a quick and easy meal that we both enjoy.  So I did some searching around online to find out what people really put in taco seasoning because the packages are a bit vague listing “spices” – well that is obvious but which ones? Here is what I came up with, and should probably note we really enjoy spicy foods in our house so you might want to adjust this recipe to your level of spice preference.  We tried this tonight and it was really good, if I do say so myself!

CCGF’s Taco Seasoning (GF/OF/DF)

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch (I noticed some people used Potato Starch or Corn Flour)

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (make sure it is gluten-free!)

1 Teaspoon Paprika

3/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (You might want to use only 1/4 teaspoon if you don’t like much spice)

1/2 Teaspoon Chipolte Pepper (You can omit this or use 1/4 teaspoon)

1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Sugar

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl or plastic bag, mix well.  Store in an airtight container.


1lb – 1 1/2lb ground beef or turkey

Taco Seasoning (see above)

2/3 Cup water

Corn tortilla shells -hard or soft

Shredded lettuce (optional)

Shredded cheese (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

Avocado (optional)

In a large skillet on medium heat, brown beef and drain off any fat, about 8-10 minutes.  Add taco seasoning stir until well combined then add water.  Simmer over medium heat until sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  Serve in taco shells with your favorite toppings.  You can even make nachos with this instead!

Here is to living the gluten-free life creatively and frugally!

Chili – GF/OF

First off, I am very sorry for taking a picture with my cell phone.  I completely forgot to take a photo last night so when we had some for lunch today, I had to take a quick pic.  Guess I was a bit hungry and excited last night.

I have never made chili – well that isn’t 100% true, I did help my friend at one point make it but I’ve never made it myself so I did some looking around online for recipes.  There are countless chili recipes and so many delicious sounding ones.  However, all of the recipes called for onions and Bryan can’t eat those, so I was determined to make a flavorful chili minus the onions and gluten of course.  While shopping, I noticed that a few brands of chili powder contained gluten in them – thankfully the store brand didn’t and it was way less money! I found a few that sounded great, read them over and kind of picked different ingredients from each recipe and came up with my own.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it would taste okay, seeing as Bryan was having some classmates over to study for their midterm.  Probably not the smartest idea to cook/bake something you have never done before when people are coming over, but I did it anyway and it came out great!!

We really enjoy spicy food in our house, so I tried to make sure I had enough spice in the chili but not over powering.  The following recipe has a great kick to it so if you aren’t into spicy food, just adjust the seasoning to your taste level, maybe by cutting the measurements in half at first and go from there.  you could also add some extra tomatoes to help cool it off a bit.  Also a great topping to help with the heat – sour cream!  Bryan thought I was crazy when I picked it up at the store but after he tried it, he really liked it.

Chili – Gluten Free and Onion Free

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4-6 celery stocks (cleaned and chopped)

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large green (or red) bell pepper, chopped

1 can of tomato paste

3 tablespoons chili powder (if you like less spice, use 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons chopped chipolte chilis in adobo sauce

1 tablespoon of the adobe sauce from the chilis (this is in addition to the 2 tablespoons of the chopped chili’s)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2  teaspoon cinnamon

2 pounds of ground beef

1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1 bay leaf

2 cans 14.5 oz kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup water

Salt and ground pepper

In a 5-quart heavy pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, celery and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the celery and peppers have softened – about 3 minutes.

Add tomato paste, chili powder, chipotle chili’s, adobo sauce, cumin and cinnamon to the garlic, celery and peppers.  Cook until everything is well combined and starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Add ground beef, and brown, breaking it down into chunks and no longer pink.

Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, bay leaf, kidney beans and water.  Simmer for 45 minutes to one hour – taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.

We served this with Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free Corn Bread (topped with butter and honey, yummmm)

Top with:

Shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, jalapenos etc.