Veggetti {Review & Giveaway}

VeggettiI know veggie noodles are all the rage right now…trust me I am 100% on board with this food trend. There are many gadgets that you can use to make veggie noodles, some more expensive than others, but they all pretty much achieve the same final product…veggie noodles! When I was contacted by Veggetti® to do a review, I jumped right on that.

Veggetti® is a handheld device that makes for a quick and easy way to turn your veggies into veggie noodles/pasta. Veggie noodles offers a healthier, lower-carb alternative to regular pasta. All you have to do is choose which veggie(s) you want to have and twist away. Some that I love are zucchini, summer squash, carrots, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes! You simply cut off the end of your chosen veg, insert it into either the thick or thin strand side of the Veggetti® and twist away to create strands of delicious veggie pasta or noodles. There are so many delicious recipes for you to make with veggie noodles…you could toss your noodles in a marinara sauce, bolognese sauce, some light salad dressing, or make your own vinaigrette. All you need is to be creative! As I mentioned veggie noodles are a great alternative to regular pasta, especially for those that are gluten-free and/or diabetic!

In addition to the Veggetti® I was also sent a $25 VISA gift card to buy ingredients to be used in the creation of a dish. I decided to create a Greek Salad, using cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, and summer squash. I really wanted to make an extremely colorful dish, as my food mantra is “eat the rainbow”. Below is my recipe and I hope you enjoy it!

This is a great little kitchen gadget to have…the size is perfect, it fits into your kitchen drawer without a problem, and you can easily take it with you (vacation, camping, etc.). I actually took mine with me to my younger cousin’s graduation party and made my own meal, everyone was a bit jealous and looking for more of it. Had I known that people would be so into it, I would have made a big dish of it.  The Veggetti® is sturdy and has two ends that you can choose from: thick and thin.

You can find the Veggetti® on Amazon or at many fine retailers nationwide including Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walgreens, CVS, and more.

Keep reading for your chance to win a Veggetti® and a $25 VISA Gift Card!

Veggetti® Greek Salad

photoServes:  2 as an entrée or 4 as a side dish

Salad Ingredients

  • Cucumber                                      1 small
  • Zucchini                                         1 small
  • Carrot                                            1 large
  • Summer Squash                             1 small
  • Cherry Tomatoes, quartered             1/2 cup
  • Red Onion                                      1/2 cup (1 small onion)
  • Olives, Kalamata, halved                  1/4 cup
  • Feta Cheese                                   2 tablespoons

Dressing Ingredients

  • Lemon Juice, fresh                          1/4 cup
  • Vinegar, white                                 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, grated                                  2 cloves
  • Basil, fresh                                     1/2 tablespoon
  • Mint, fresh                                      1/2 tablespoon
  • Oregano, fresh                                1/2 tablespoon
  • Black Pepper, fresh                         1/4 teaspoon
  • Feta Cheese                                   2 tablespoons
  • Olive Oil                                         3 1/2 tablespoons

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash all vegetables well
  2. One at a time, twist each vegetable at time into a bowl
  3. Quarter the tomatoes and set aside
  4. Thinly slice the red onions and set aside
  5. Halve the kalamata olives and set aside
  6. In a food processor or blender add all of the dressing ingredients blend until smooth
  7. Taste dressing for seasoning and adjust accordingly
  8. Add 3/4 of the dressing to the bowl of veggie noodles, and toss to coat
  9. Top the salad with the cherry tomatoes, onions, and olives, toss well
  10. Sprinkle with feta cheese
  11. Serve with remaining dressing on the side

*Optional – top with grilled chicken breast if serving as an entrée.

GIVEAWAY!

Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Cutter        

The Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Ontel – Thank you for this opportunity!

Entry is really simple…

Leave a comment below telling me what you would make first if you won this.

That’s it…one simple entry, is required but if you would like additional entries please leave a separate comment for each of the following:

  1. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook
  2. Share this post and giveaway on social media and be sure to share the link below (you can do this daily)!

Entry is open to US residents only…no P.O. boxes. Giveaway ends on Wednesday August 20th, 201 at 11:59pm EST. Good luck to all who enter!

Coconut Thai Shrimp w/ Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice

IMG_0058This time of year is perfect for fresh seafood – especially in New England. Lately I have been consuming about a 75/35 diet…the 75 being vegetable/plant-based meals and the 35 being meat based meals. I am working towards consuming the recommended 8-12oz of fish/seafood per week according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, however my budget does not always allow it, especially when trying to consume wild caught fish/seafood. Living below the poverty line, trying to make ends meet, and living on a tight budget can make things a difficult and frustrating when trying to eat healthy and buy fresh ingredients all the time. I have been living this way for quite a while now, and for the next year, that tight budget of mine just got even tighter! So here are a few little tips and tricks that I have found helpful and put to use:

  • When I find a good deal on wild caught seafood, I buy a little extra and freeze it into appropriate portion sizes.
  • Search the frozen section – some times you can find wild caught pre-frozen shrimp, tuna, or salmon – pick up a piece or two and save it for a raining day.
  • Shop local – small independent grocery stores and farmers markets usually have some great deals.
  • Eat Seasonally – the best prices for items are when they are in season, that should be no surprise.
  • Coupon Clipping – I kid you not, this has helped me so much. I do not clip coupons for items that I can not eat or that I do not use, that would be a waste of money and time. Sign up for coupons from Mambo Sprouts – usually they have lots of great gluten-free related coupons.
  • Frozen Veggies and Canned Goods – I know it is not “gourmet” but you can make one heck of a meal with these items…if buying canned goods, buy them with no or low sodium, and be sure to rinse them well. I buy my beans canned because it is quick and easy and they are full of nutrients.
  • Think of side of the box – instead of spending loads of money on meat proteins, I use a lot of alternative proteins like tofu, tempeh, and beans
  • Whole grains – they fill you up and are very versatile.

Below is a simple, yet flavorful shrimp recipe that can be prepared inside or on the grill and is perfect for this beautiful weather. You can serve it with our without the rice, in taco shells, or however you choose.

I found the Coconut Thai Seasoning at The Spice and Tea Exchange in Newport…I have no idea how I never realized this little gem was so close to me, but it was probably a good thing for me (not them) that I didn’t! I walked into the shop and instantly was in heaven. It’s a small shop, packed with spices, teas, salts, etc. The staff was very helpful and friendly as well, especially when helping me with gluten-free blend options. I picked up a few different spice blends but had to try the Coconut Thai one first.

Coconut Thai Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice

IMG_0061Coconut Thai Shrimp – Ingredients

  • Shrimp                                                         1/2 pound
  • Coconut Thai Seasoning                         2 teaspoons
  • Olive Oil                                                       1 teaspoon

Mango Salsa – Ingredients

  • Lime Juice                                                  2 tablespoons
  • Lime Zest                                                    1 teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                               1/4 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper                                       1/8 teaspoon
  • Mango                                                         1 – fine dice
  • Red Onion                                                  2-3 tablespoons, fine dice
  • Avocado                                                      1 – fine dice
  • Bell Pepper, Orange,Yellow, etc.            1/4 cup, fine dice

Spinach Lime Rice – Ingredients

  • Basmati or Jasmine Rice                        1 cup – uncooked
  • Water or stock                                             2 cups
  • Spinach, Baby                                             1 1/2 cups
  • Lime Zest                                                     1 teaspoon
  • Cilantro                                                         1 tablespoon, fine chop

Method of Preparation

  1. Peel and devein shrimp
  2. Mango Avocado Salsa – In a medium bowl add lime juice, lime zest, salt, and cayenne pepper – mix well.
  3. Add diced mango, red onion, avocado, and bell pepper, mix well.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  5. Coconut Thai Shrimp – In a medium bowl add, Coconut Thai Seasoning and Olive oil, mix well
  6. Add shrimp and toss to coat evenly, set aside in the refrigerator for 10 minutes
  7. Spinach Lime Rice – In a small stock pot bring two cups of water or stock to a boil and add rice. Stir and cook until done (usually about 15-20 minutes depending on rice)
  8. During the last two minutes of cooking, stir in spinach and stir to wilt the spinach leaves. Set aside.
  9. Right before serving add lime zest and freshly chopped cilantro into the spinach rice and toss to evenly incorporate.
  10. To cook the shrimp – either heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook 2-4 minutes per side or place on a hot grill for the same amount of time.
  11. Serve with spinach lime rice, and mango salsa – top with fresh cilantro and lime wedges if desired.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cheesecake Cups {Good Cook: Sweet Creations Bake-A-Bowl}

photo 2(6)Spring has officially sprung! I love this time of year for all the beautiful flowers blooming and the fresh fruits and vegetables, I can’t wait for the farmer’s markets to really pick up. Spring time also means it’s time for lots of celebrations…graduations, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, etc. So if you are looking for an easy and super delicious treat to share at any one of these occasions look no further. I was originally going to make a salad for this recipe, but Bryan said it was “too simple” and I should do something sweet instead. I didn’t want to do anything with brownies so I though of the cheesecake that I make Bryan for his birthday that has a chocolate chip cookie crust that he loves and decided to make some adjustments; turning this into a lovely spring treat. I kept the cookie crust but decided that since the bowls were already baked, why not do a no-bake cheesecake filling, make it bright with some lemon juice and lemon zest and then top with fresh berries. I love the tangy flavor of the 1/3 fat cream cheese and always use that in my cheesecakes.

Good Cook has done it again with their Bake-A-Bowl pan – it is a 6 cup pan with two pieces that you fill, top, and bake to create the perfect little bowls! You can pretty much make anything with this pan…brownie bowls, cookie bowls, pancake bowls, tortilla bowls, cornbread bowls, etc. Much to Bryans dismay I have an obsession with kitchen equipment, but my defense is I use everything I have! So if you are like me, and love playing around with fun with new kitchen goodies, you have to check this out.

photo 1(8)

Check out my recipe for Cheesecake Cups using a cookie crust and a no bake cheesecake filling topped with delicious fresh strawberries, perfect for Mother’s day – I promise she will love these!

Cheesecake Cups

photo(8)

  • 1 package of cookie mix (chocolate chip, sugar cookie, etc. – follow directions on package to prepare)
  • 1 – 8oz package of 1/3 fat cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 1 pint fresh berries (strawberries – sliced thin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method of Preparation

  1. Prepare cookie mix as directed on package
  2. Spray both the bottom and top pan lightly with non-stick spray
  3. Evenly divide prepared cookie mix into six portions and place into the bottom of the Bake-A-Bowl pan, be sure to not fill past the “fill line”
  4. Take the top part of the pan and press it in to place
  5. Bake according to package instructions (you made need a little bit of additional time, these baked for 22 minutes)
  6. Remove from oven and let cool – do not remove top of pan until completely cooled.
  7. Once cooled, remove bowls from pan and set aside.
  8. Using either a stand mixer or electric mixer beat together the softened cream cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest until soft and smooth.
  9. Add in whipping cream and mix on low until incorporated and then turn it to medium-low and mix until it becomes thickened.
  10. Add in the sugar and mix until incorporated
  11. Poor into chilled bowls and refrigerate for several hours (or over night if making this ahead of time).
  12. Wash and then slice strawberries thinly and place in a bowl
  13. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and toss to coat. This will help the natural juices release.
  14. To assemble the cheesecakes, remove from the refrigerator and let them stand at room temp for 15-20 minutes prior to serving. Top with fresh berries or your favorite cheesecake topping.
  15. Enjoy!

photo 4(3)Again there are so many great ways to use this pan:

  • Sweet treats: brownies, cookie, etc.
  • Bake in the top part of the bowls as well – can be used as fillings inside the bottom of the bowl
  • If making bread bowls – but a baking sheet over the top of the pan to weigh it down…this will help with the bread from rising too much.
  • Non-sweet treats: cornbread bowls for chili, Tortilla bowls for tacos or salad, Bacon bowls etc.
  • Breakfast: Bacon bowls filled with scrambled eggs, pancake bowls, hashbrown nests, etc.
  • Have fun, and be creative!

You can buy Sweet Creations products online from Good Cook and get a 25% discount with the code BAKEBOWL.
Check out more great recipes and ideas here!

#goodcook #goodcookkitchenexpert #sweetcreations

Spicy Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp and Chicken

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I just completed my winter term of school and about to begin my spring term which also happens to be my last term of academics before graduating! I can’t believe that in 78 days (yes I am counting) I will walk across the stage at graduation and receive my degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University. This is a dream come true. All of the hard work, sacrifices, and dedication during these last three years will be worth that moment. This is a day I never thought I would see, especially at the age of 32! Even though this journey has been difficult and I have missed out on many things, I know it is all worth it. Without the support of my family and friends I know I wouldn’t be here and to them, I am truly thankful.

In my last post I mentioned that I have been MIA from here for a while because I have been applying to Dietetic Internship programs. This is a pretty competitive process and I have given my all in these applications and the three years leading up to them. I will be notified on April 6th if I have been selected or not. Until then, it is a waiting game that is completely out of my control. I am hoping for the best and if selected I will give this program my all. If I am not selected, I will continue to work hard and apply again next year.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and for being faithful followers and readers of Creative Cooking Gluten Free over these last six years. Thank you for understanding that I am only one person and cannot post daily on here. Between school, work, homework, and volunteering, I just do not always have the time. I hope to be better about it this term however, and provide you all with some new delicious gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes.

Below is a recipe I created this past term at school – it is originally designed for an athlete on a heavy training day so I had to adjust the amounts to work for everyone. Please feel free to adjust the spice level to your liking and you can always switch out the shrimp and chicken for more veggies if you prefer.

Spicy Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp and Chicken

ip 441

Ingredients:

Amount                                   Ingredient

  • 1 pound                                     Shrimp, large, cleaned, deveined, shells removed and set aside
  • 6 cups                                       Stock, seafood, chicken, or vegetable
  • 1 pound                                     Chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 1/3 cup                                      Mushrooms, crimini, shitake, etc., sliced
  • 1/4 cup                                     Carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 cup                                     Zucchini, julienned
  • 2 cans                                      Coconut Milk, full fat
  • 1/2 cup                                     Rice, White or Basmati, uncooked
  • 2 inches                                   Ginger, cut in half
  • 3 cloves                                    Garlic, smashed
  • 2 small                                     Lime, juice and zest (save one lime for garnish)
  • 6  medium                                Thai Chili Peppers, cut 3-4 in half (for less spice remove seeds)
  • 2-3 tablespoons                        Cilantro, chopped or torn
  • 2 tablespoons                           Scallions, sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 teaspoons                             Salt, Kosher (more to taste if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons                          Oil of your choice (Olive, Canola, etc.)

Method of Preparation:

  1.  Gather all ingredients and equipment.
  2.  Clean, devein shrimp, and save shells. Set aside cleaned shrimp
  3.  Slice chicken breast into thin strips and set aside.
  4.  Clean mushrooms, and slice thin and set aside.
  5.  Wash carrots and zucchini, julienne, and set aside.
  6.  In a high sided sauté pan heat oil over medium heat.
  7.  Add shrimp shells and cook for five minutes.
  8. Add in ginger, garlic, lime, and Thai chili pepper(s) and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  9. Add stock and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
  10. Strain stock and discard any solids.
  11. Return stock to pan and bring to a boil.
  12. Add mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini and cook for one minute, remove and set aside
  13. Add rice, cover pan and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.
  14. Stir in coconut milk and mix until incorporated and all solids have dissolved.
  15. Turn heat to medium low, add in chicken, and shrimp. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until proteins are cooked throughout.
  16. Return the vegetables to the pan and stir well.
  17. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  18. Serve in a bowl with a slice of lime fresh Thai chili pepper(s), and chopped cilantro.
  19. Hold at 135° or warmer.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

Shrimp-0051

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

IMG_5380_5585

Salsa

Ingredients

  • 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

Ingredients

  • 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.

Kabocha Squash Soup

IMG_4483

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.

 Toppings:

  • 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”

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut and Almonds

I really wanted to try my hand at making homemade ice cream so I asked my stepmummy if I could borrow her ice cream maker…thankfully she said yes! Keeping Bryan in mind (even though he was gone all summer) I thought I would try making some coconut milk ice cream, I figured I should experiment and do some taste testing before I make some for him…makes sense right? My neighbor Lisa has become my taste taster in Bryans absence. Lisa rather enjoyed the recipe below and would probably have eaten the entire container that night. I told her I will make her another batch soon.

This is a pretty simple and straight forward recipe. You can feel free to change the add-ins to what ever you would like. I just went with what I had on hand…shredded coconut, cocoa powder, and almonds. This is pretty darn delicious I must say and was very excited about how it turned out. Not too shabby for my fist try! I’m pretty sure I did a happy dance in the kitchen.

Can’t wait to experiment some more. I’m thinking the next attempt with be somewhat tropical inspired.

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut and Almonds

2 cans (14.5 oz each) of Coconut Milk (not light!) – this is usually found in Asian markets or at your grocery store in the international isle

3/4 cup cocoa powder – sifted to remove any lumps

1/2-3/4 cup of sugar – I used a combination of honey and sucanat, both from Wholesome Sweeteners 

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped almonds

3/4 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut

This will yield about 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream – if your ice cream maker is smaller just adjust the ingredients to fit your needs.

  • Always freezer the bowl of your ice cream maker in advance.
  • I like to keep my coconut milk in the refrigerator which speeds up the process a bit. If you have room temp coconut milk be sure to chill the mixture for one hour before adding it to your ice cream maker.
  • In a large bowl mix together the cocoa powder, sugar (honey, sugar, agave, which ever you use), salt, and corn starch.
  • Add the coconut milk and vanilla extract – mix well until all lumps/solids are dissolved. As stated above if you are using room temperature coconut milk, be sure to pop this in the fridge for one hour before proceeding.
  • Please read your ice cream makers instructions, as each can be different for churning and freezing your ice cream. Some ice cream makers suggest running it for 20 minutes and others that I have read suggest 30 minutes. I went by sight to achieve the consistency that I was looking for – this was about 25 minutes.
  • When you have about five minutes left in the churning process add in your chopped almonds and toasted coconuts.
  • For a soft serve consistency enjoy right away or place in an air tight container and freeze. If you do not eat it right away and choose to freeze it, be sure to remove the container about 10 minutes or so before serving. Lisa and I tried it both ways and they were both delicious!
  • Top with toasted coconut and some finely chopped almonds! Enjoy

Again, the chopped almonds and toasted coconut are just suggestions, please feel free to change this up!

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.

Gluten-Free Frito-Lay Recipes

Don’t you just love when a favorite item or brand of yours is actually gluten free, and provides the information on their website! I know I do. I get abnormally excited over something that most would consider small, but to me its all about the small things in life. I’ve always been a fan of Frito-Lay’s products however, I never realized how many of them are gluten-free! Check out their recently updated list here. I think you will be presently surprised. This was brought to my attention by the National Foundation For Celiac Awareness (NFCA) when they asked if I would like to be a recipe tester for some of the new products.

I was assigned the Frito Waffles with Mascarpone and Warm Strawberry Compote. I had the option of changing up the recipe if I so desired to, however I rather liked it just as it was. The waffles were more on the savory side, but topped with the Mascarpone and Strawberry Compote made them a sweet-savory treat. I made these for my neighbor and myself whose respective other halves are away for the summer and she was recently told from her doctor that she needs to avoid gluten and wheat. They not only would be great for dinner but they made a mighty delicious dinner:)

In addition to my recipe and post check out the NFCA’s page for additional recipes and bloggers:  http://www.celiaccentral.org/frito-lay/recipes/

Keep reading to learn how you can win your own Frito-Lay products!!

Frito Waffles with Mascarpone and Warm Strawberry Compote

175 grams (about 1 1/4 cups millet flour)
50 grams (3/4 cup) crushed Fritos® Original corn chips
1 tablespoon golden flaxmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
3 large egg whites

Strawberry Compote
1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mascarpone cheese

Combine flour, corn chips, flaxmeal, baking powder, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, butter and honey
in a blender container. Blend until smooth. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until they form
soft peaks. Fold flour mixture into beaten egg whites until incorporated, being careful not to
deflate egg whites.

Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto greased, heated griddle and cook until waffle is done,
according to manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat with remaining batter.

Combine strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium
heat until juicy and thickened, stirring often.

Serve waffles with mascarpone cheese and warm strawberries.

Yield: about 9 waffles.

Notes:

To make these a little sweeter – maybe add a tablespoon of sugar

This recipe was pretty easy and quick to make. Again this is great for breakfast or dinner. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? I know I do!

I ended up eight large waffles

My waffle maker is old (very old) so they came out a bit darker than I had hoped.

The strawberries and Mascarpone are fantastic on this – don’t add anything to the cheese, just add a dollop on top of the waffles and then top with the strawberry compote.

Head on over here to enter for your chance to win a prize package from Frito-Lay!

 

 

Fudgesicles {Homemade}

(My monster fudgesicle – gluten and dairy free! Happy Summer)

I’m always up for making things at home (beef jerky, granola bars, ice tea, etc.). I know there is convenience in buying many of these things, but I rather enjoy making things at home. One it’s a challenge for me, two I know exactly what is going into my food. I love making gallons of ice tea at home because I can control the amount of sugar (or honey, or agave) that goes into my tea. It is truly amazing how much can be found in a gallon of store-bought ice tea.

We don’t buy much ice cream at the store and I don’t ever make it only because I do not have an ice cream maker. Oh, how I wish I had one. Instead I make pops. We bought two packages of Monster Popsicle Molds (I found mine at Marshall’s/T.J. Maxx) which can be purchased from Amazon.com. We love these little things, maybe it brings out the inner kid in both of us, but they just make me laugh. I’ve taken regular juice and frozen it in these to make juice pops in the past and this works out rather well. You can even throw in some chunks of frozen fruit that you might have (I’m a fan of pineapple juice pops with chunks of pineapple and mango in them!).

Last night I was searching online for new recipes and came across one for homemade fudcesicles from one of my favorite blogs Baked By Rachel. Rachel’s recipe was an adaptation from Comfy Belly. I read through the simple ingredients and instructions and was a bit sad when I realized I didn’t have any milk in the house. I don’t normally have regular milk in the house because after so many years of thinking I was lactose intolerant (and Bryan really is lactose intolerant) the taste and smell of regular milk just make my stomach turn. I always have either soy, hemp, nut, or rice milk on hand though. I wasn’t sure if this would work out the same but I was pleasantly surprised today when I tried one! Woo Hoo – homemade fudgesicles made with chocolate hazelnut milk and agave nectar were a success!

The chocolate hazelnut milk I used in this recipe is both gluten-free and dairy-free. I also used this in my Samoa Rice Pudding recipe. These little pops are great during these warm days. The recipe below filled seven of the monster popsicle molds with a little extra left over that I just threw in a small ramekin and froze – if you do not have pops you can pour the mixture into ramekins and freeze for at least four hours (comes out like chocolate Italian ice!!! so good). The pops should be frozen for at least 12-12 hours before removing from the molds.

(In the freezer – don’t these molds just make you smile? The purple ones remind me of Leela from Futurama- see image below)

Fudgesicles (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Ingredients (serves 7)

1C milk – of your choice. I used chocolate hazelnut milk however you could use regular milk, soy, nut, etc.
1C water
1/2C agave nectar or honey (you could even do half and half)
1/4C cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat combine all ingredients. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes just until all ingredients are combined and well blended. Remove from heat, and set aside for at least 15 minutes or until the mixture has reached room temperature.
  2. In the meantime you can prep your molds. If you do not have popsicle molds you can pour the mixture into ramekins and freeze for at least four hours (comes out like chocolate Italian ice!!! so good)
  3. For easier pouring I followed Rachel’s note and I transferred my liquid to a large glass measuring cup and filled my molds that way.
  4. If using molds, put the tops on them (with the stick end) and place in the freezer freeze for at least 4 hours but freezing over night is much better.
  5. If using ramekins freeze for at least 4 hours but again freezing over night is much better.
  6. To release the pops from the molds dip them in a glass filled with warm water for 5-7 seconds to help release them. Pull straight up.
  7. Enjoy!

(Leela – Futurama, one of our favorite shows)

My Gourmet Valentine

(To vote for my recipe, please click the image above, thank you!)

Bryan and I don’t really celebrate valentines day. Mainly because in my opinion it is a “hallmark” holiday and people feel pressured to buy cards, chocolate, and even more so flowers.  He can do that any other day of the year with no pressure and way less money. Instead we celebrate loving each other throughout the year instead of just one day. I love to surprise him with his favorite meals, have a nice dinner at home and occasionally make him something sweet. We don’t tend to eat a lot of sweets in our house so those treats are for really special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries.

We both love spicy foods and find ourselves frequently adding chili paste to many dishes, even eggs (okay, that is what I do, but still). His two favorite dishes are my version of P. F. Chang’s Sichuan Beef and my Sweet and Spicy Chicken. So when I received an e-mail from Velvet Aroma to participate in their “My Gourmet Valentine” event, I was lost on what to submit as my entry. As I said, we don’t eat many sweets and when I looked at all the other entries…they were all sweets.  So I’m going out on a limb here and submitting something different. Instead of sweet, we are going spicy, and instead of desert, we are going entrée.

I already gave Bryan his card, which I don’t normally get him but the deal was just too good to pass up…free card and free shipping. I saw this card and laughed out loud because I automatically knew what I was going to write on it. Three years ago, our first New Years Eve together, I apparently woke up around 5 am confessing my love of olives to him.  At first he thought I was telling him I loved him, but had me repeat it only to realize I said olives…his response? “ummm ya, me too” and back to bed I went. Needless to say this has been an ongoing joke with us ever sense. Here is a picture of the card I made him, and the inside says “hope you know how serious that makes me”

Last year we “celebrated” valentines day by going to a hockey game and enjoying a nice meal at Fire and Ice. This year though I think we will be staying in, enjoying a nice home cooked meal, and watching some nontraditional, non-romantic movie, like predator for example. The last few special occasion dinners were celebrated with the P.F. Chang’s Sichuan Beef, so for valentine’s day I’ll be making him my Sweet and Spicy Chicken.(Recipe below has several adaptions so please read the ‘fine print’)

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

1 – 2 chicken breast – boneless, skinless

1/4 cup corn starch*

2 tablespoon veggie oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:

1/2 cup honey (You can also use Agave instead of honey, or half and half)

3-4 Thai Chili peppers finely chopped (keep seeds in for even more heat…adjust the amount of peppers depending on your spice level) Dried or fresh chilis work well in this recipe

2 tablespoons spoons of water

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

  1. Mix honey, Thai chilis and water and set aside.  Right before adding to the pan heat in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and mix well. This helps it “loosen” up a bit and makes it easier to pour into the pan or wok
  2. Cut up chicken in bit size pieces.
  3. In a medium bowl add the corn starch*, garlic powder, salt, pepper  and chicken. Coat well and shake off any excess corn starch.
  4. In a large skillet or wok heat 1 tablespoons of oil, add half the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with second half of chicken and additional tablespoon of oil.
  5. In the same skillet add the honey – chili mixture and bring to a boil for two-four minutes until the sauce reduces, thickens slightly and turns a nice caramel color. Add chicken back to the pan and coat well. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve over quinoa, white or brown rice.

Its a bit sweet with a nice spicy finish.

Notes:

If you can not have corn in your diet, both potato and tapioca starch work well

Both honey and agave or a mixture of the two work great. We have made this all three ways and have enjoyed them all.

Depending on how spicy you like your food, either remove the seeds for less heat or keep them in or add more chili peppers for more heat. We personally use about 5 chili peppers when we make it.

If using dried chili peppers, the best way to “chop” them is to take a small pair of kitchen shears and cut them in to small pieces.

I hope you all have a wonderful valentines day and enjoy this recipe.

To vote for this recipe please click on the “My Gourmet Valentine” image above!! Voting ends on 2/10/12 Thank you!

Below are the prizes up for grabs, and you as voters have a chance to win also – 2 dozen roses for Valentines Day!! Read the details:

Blogger submitting a recipe: The blogger with the winning recipe will receive, KitchenAid’s new product: a 2-speed Hand Blender (in red color), a box of Gourmet foods from LoveWithFood, and a $100 gift card of winners choice from Amazon, Sur La Table, William Sonoma or Crate & Barrel with a combined value of approximately $300.
Person Voting: The person chosen at random will receive a bouquet of 2 dozen red roses sent to any address in the continental US in time for Valentine’s Day.

~ Jenny

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

As you have probably gathered from reading my blog, we love Asian food. We often say to each other that we could live on Asian, Mexican, and Italian food…but mostly Asian. Bryan said the other day, I could eat Chinese food for breakfast lunch and dinner…I have and it was awesome. I lived in China for a little while in 2003, while I was a Program Liaison between two colleges/universities – one located in Worcester, MA where I was employed and our partner Beijing Geely University located in the Changping District.

My time spent there was right in the middle of the SARS epidemic so traveling outside of Beijing was out of the question. I did however get to spend quite a bit of time doing the “tourist” thing by visiting places such as The Great Wall (twice) (Bādálǐng), The Forbidden City (Zǐjin chéng), Tiananmen Square (Tiān’ānmén), The Summer Palace (Yíhé Yuán), Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (Máo Zhǔxí Jìniàntáng), Ming Dynasty Tombs (Míng shísān líng), Temple of Heaven (Tiāntán), Temple of Confucius, and many more.

While I didn’t get to travel much, I ate some of the most amazing food. Most of my meals in the beginning of my stay were supplied by the on campus dining rooms – all of which were really great. We (my Chinese colleagues and I) would venture out to local restaurants to try some more delicious and local dishes. My breakfast usually consisted of the following: fresh made wonton soup or red bean porridge , scallion pancake (cōng yóu bǐng) (I am working on a gluten-free recipe for these, stay tuned), fresh hot soy milk ( dòunǎi) which has a slightly sweet flavor to it. Lunch was a number of different options (sadly most of which I can’t remember their name): kung pao chicken (gōng bǎo jī dīng), egg flower soup (dàn huā tāng), the most delicious spicy cucumbers, steamed dumplings (xiǎo ​lóng ​bāo) – either veggie or meat filled, and for the occasional dessert some Mantou (mán ​tou) which is steamed bun that is served either steamed or deep-fried with condensed milk. For dinner my favorite dish was Peking Duck (Běi​jīng ​kǎo​yā), Hot Pot (shuàn ​guō ​zi) was another favorite of mine, although they tended to order mutton (yáng ​ròu) I opted for the chicken (jī​ ròu​) and Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans with some ground pork.

So I have lived solely on Chinese food and would do it again in a heart beat. Thankfully Bryan loves the same styles of food that I do. Many of our meals are Asian and Mexican inspired dishes. We venture out but always come back to our love of Asian food.

Below is a recipe that is inspired by the P.F. Chang’s Gluten Free Lettuce Wraps – it is not a copycat recipe like my Beef a la Sichuan is but just inspired by it. We were at P.F. Chang’s last night to celebrate Bryan’s birthday (a little early, but we wanted to go before school started up for the both of us again). Since I was making lettuce wraps tonight we opted for our other favorite appetizer, their Shanghai Cucumbers.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

3 large chicken breasts* – diced into small pieces

3 large celery stalks – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

8 oz baby bella mushrooms – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 8oz can water chestnuts – chopped (divided)

1 8oz can bamboo shoots – chopped

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1/2 inch piece ginger – peeled and grated (I use a microplane)

1 tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp chili garlic paste

1 tbs sesame oil

1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J low sodium if you have it)

2 tbs hoisin sauce (I use the Dynasty brand)

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients according to the above directions.
  2. In a crockpot (mine is 7qts…you can use a smaller size too) add the Hoisin Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Brown Sugar, Garlic Paste, Ginger, Garlic, Bamboo Shoots, 1/2 of the Water Chestnuts, Celery, and Mushrooms.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Add the chopped chicken and mix until evenly coated.
  5. Cover the crockpot and turn it on low.
  6. Cook for 5 1/2 hours.
  7. Stir about half way through to incorporate everything and break up some of the larger pieces of chicken.
  8. Add the remaining water chestnuts, mix well, cover, and cook for an additional 1/2 hour.
  9. To serve: Peel the leaves off of a head of iceberg lettuce, butter/boston lettuce, or use romaine hearts. Scoop about 1/4 -1/2 cup into each leave, “roll up” and enjoy. You can top these with shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts. We’ll be serving ours with a side of steamed edamame.

Notes: Many recipes out there call for ground chicken, which is completely acceptable, however I wanted a more hearty version so I choose to use chicken breasts and dice them instead.

You can also add all the water chestnuts at once, they will retain their crunch, but I wanted a bit more crunch so I added half of the can in the beginning and half towards the end.

Vegetarian version – instead of chicken increase the amount of mushrooms and celery, add zucchini, yellow summer squash, baby bok choy, etc.

Non-Onion Free version – replace the celery with 1/2 cup 1/4 inch diced white onion.

Hope you enjoy this crockpot dish – I dished out a little bit to take a photo and then I couldn’t put it back sooo I ate it…its delicious!

(The chopsticks in the photo were sent to me from a dear friend, Shiho whose family runs one of my favorite little sushi places, Ocean Sushi in Monterey and Pacific Grove, CA. If you are in the area stop on by – they have gluten-free soy sauce!! Thanks Shiho, these get quite a bit of use!)

Gluten-Free Mini Corn Dogs

Bryan loves corn dogs and for many years I would even take a bite of one of them.  It was a texture thing to me…I always thought that the corn bread batter would be soggy and mushy and I wanted nothing to do with them.  When Bryan came to visit me in California we picked up a box for him (they weren’t gluten-free), but when he left I still had half a box…they ended up in the trash. I told him at some point I will give them a try.

A few months ago I as fortunate enough to sample some of the Applegate Farms new corn dogs – they were delicious!! To my surprise the coating was crunch and not soggy at all. Ever since Bryan has been asking for me to make some…he would really love them to be full of gluten but he’s a good sport and eats what I make.  Maybe I’ll surprise him and make some regular ones for him anyway.

Yesterday I decided to make some mini corn dogs just to see how they would come out.  I found a recipe in a magazine that seemed pretty simple but it had NO corn in it at all.  How can you call it a corn dog with no corn?? To me it must have corn in it and Bryan loves them with a little bit of crunch to them so I came up with the following recipe.  Please note that this recipe will continue to be worked on…they came out pretty good (to my standards) but Bryan wants more corn flavor to them so I will be posting an updated recipe at some point. 

These would be great for: a quick snack for your kiddos, or an app during super bowl!

Mini Corn Dogs {Gluten-Free} (please see notes for how to make them with regular flour)

1 Package Mini Beef Franks (14oz)

3/4 Cup Pamela’s Pancake/Baking Mix Gluten Free (Or 3/4 cup regular AP flour)

1/2 Cup Gluten Free Corn Meal (Bob’s Red Mill)

1 Egg

1/2 Cup cold water

  1. In a medium bowl mix together Pamela’s Baking Mix (or your favorite Gluten Free AP flour, or regular flour), corn meal, egg, and water.
  2. Remove the franks from the package and pat dry with a paper towel (the batter will stick better when they are a bit dry).
  3. Take a toothpick and insert it into the frank about 1/2 – 3/4 of the way, set aside and continue with the remaining franks.
  4. In a medium sauce pan heat about 1 – 1/2 inches of oil to 350° (If you have a candy thermometer be sure to use it…that way your batter wont get too dark too fast, if not just test a few franks until the desired color is reached – golden brown).
  5. Dip franks in the batter – it is not a perfect dip, you may need to move the frank around a little bit to get it all covered.  You don’t want it to be too thick because you want it to cook on the inside as well as the outside.
  6. Add three-four franks to the pan, turn often to brown all sides evenly.  Cook each frank for 30-45 seconds (it’s really quick!)
  7. Remove corn dogs and place on a plate lined with paper towels.  Repeat this process until all the corn dogs have been cooked.
  8. Serve with your favorite dip – I love it with spicy mustard!

Again, this recipe will be a work in progress so check back for an update in the near future.

Blackened Shrimp Nachos

Last weekend my Aunts Sue and Patti invited us over for dinner and some delicious gluten-free, crust-free cheesecake for my birthday. While we were there hanging out in the kitchen chatting with my Aunt Bryan and I started flipping through the Kraft Foods magazine “Food&Family” and Bryan kept picking out recipes he wanted me to make.  We do this often.  I’ll get a new magazine or cookbook and I’ll flip through it then give it to him to pick out what he wants to try first. So in this one, he picked out a few but the one he wanted first (aka, the next day!!) was the Cheddar-Shrimp Nachos.

They looked delicious in the picture, but I changed a few things around (go figure) to make them suitable for the both of us to enjoy but also I wasn’t a fan of some of the ingredients and wanted more of the others so I just played around with it and came up with the following interpretation of the dish.

This recipe is very easy to make, especially if you buy either the shelled, and cleaned raw shrimp or even more simple when you buy the pre-cooked (also shelled and cleaned) shrimp.  I made sure to remove the tails also because I didn’t want to have to deal with while eating nachos.

I also made my own blackened seasoning to suit our allergies.  So this is both gluten-free and onion free. I know this isn’t a traditional blackened seasoning but it worked extremely well for this dish. The recipe below makes more than you will need but I’ll be using this on chicken and fish in the near future.

Blackened Seasoning

1 heaping teaspoon hungarian paprika

2 Teaspoons kosher salt

1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 heaping teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Blackened Shrimp Nachos

2 Tbsp. KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing, divided
1/2 lb.  frozen cooked cleaned medium shrimp, thawed or pre-cooked shrimp (cleaned) with tails removed
1/2 red pepper, diced (1/4 inch)
1 Tbsp.  blackened seasoning (see recipe above)
1/2 – 1 cup  shredded cheddar cheese (we liked the “mexican” blend)
1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (or you can substitute jarred jalapenos if you can’t find fresh ones)
2 Tbsp.  chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped mixed greens
Gluten-free Tortilla chips

HEAT large skillet on high heat until it is very hot and starts to smoke. Add 1 Tbsp. dressing, red peppers and seasoning; cook and stir 1 to 2 min. or until the pepper has a “roasted” look to it. Add the shrimp is heated through and evenly coated with dressing mixture. Stir in remaining dressing.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and arrange tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Layer the shrimp and pepper mixture and cheese.  Add a second layer of shrimp and add remaining shrimp and cheese.  Top with jalapenos.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.  Remove from oven and top with cilantro and chopped mixed greens.

Serve with fresh tomato salsa and a little bit of guacamole – enjoy!

I think I need to add a subscription to this magazine on my wish list.

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!