Monday, November 8, 2010

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Have you been missing that creamy, soul satisfying dish of...something, since you stopped eating gluten and/or dairy? I was messing around in the kitchen tonight, and came up with this Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole that will satisfy every fall craving you have had!

You will need:

1 - 8 oz package of rice noodles - I used Annie Chun's brand of pad thai noodles from King's
2 large cans Tuna packed in water, drained well
6 Cups broth - I used a garlic broth from "The Gluten Free Italian Cookbook" by Mary Capone
1 Tablespoon butter, or dairy free butter substitute
3-4 T olive oil
3 T gluten free flour blend
2 T arrowroot powder
4-5 stalks celery, diced fine
2-3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/2 onion minced very fine, or 3 Tablespoons dry, minced onion, rehydrated
1-2 C frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

* Bring a pot of salted water to boil for rice noodles, but don't add noodles just yet.

* In a large skillet or wok, add a bit of olive oil to pan and sautee onion, garlic and celery. When tender, remove to a plate.

* Add butter and 3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil to pan, melt butter. Add pinch salt and pepper, and then with a whisk, briskly stir as you add flour to oil/butter, you want it to be pretty thick, add a bit more flour if necessary.

* Again, with whisk, briskly stir as you slowly put 5 cups broth into the pan. Try and keep the lumps out, if you can. Take the remaining one cup of broth and whisk in 2 T arrowroot powder, then stir into pan. Guess what? You just made a roux!! Yay for you!! Turn the heat to medium and stir often as the broth mixture starts to thicken. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

* Go ahead and drop the rice noodles into the boiling water, stir, cover and turn off heat. Set timer for 10 minutes.

* Put sauteed veggies, drained tuna and peas into the sauce. Taste and add more salt/pepper, if desired.

* Continue to stir, til sauce thickens nicely. Add drained rice noodles, stir well and check salt/pepper again.

* Serve hot and enjoy!

Garlic Soup Stock
Mary Capone, p 41 in her book, listed above

2 quarts cold water
2 heads of garlic, skinned and smashed
1 large, yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme (I used dried)
3 T fresh sage leaves (I used 2 T dried, rubbed sage)
3 T fresh oregano or savory (I used dried oregano)
salt to taste
6 whole peppercorns

combine all in large stock pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, with pot covered for 2 hours. Strain into a container and salt to taste.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pick a peck of peaches...this is NOT a paid advertisement!

Mmmmm...homemade JAM! Is there anything better? I think not, especially when you get to make it with Mom and fruit from your own trees. We have been making lots of jam lately since we are in a "good" year with our peach tree. A few years ago, I discovered a great pectin that does not require tons of white sugar to get a good tasting jam.

I don't know about you, but putting four cups of white sugar into six cups of fruit did not sound good to me at all. So I did some research on my trusty computer (don't you love how easy it is to get info these days?!?...sorry - rabbit trail) and found that there is a product called Pomona's Universal Pectin. Not only can you use honey to sweeten your jam (I mean really, don't we want to actually TASTE the FRUIT?!?), but you don't need much sweetener at all. In a 'batch' (four cups prepared peaches, for example) you can use as little as 1/2 C honey! We have been very happy with the results so far, and am super glad I found this great product.

Another benefit of Pomona's Pectin is that you can double, triple, even quadruple your batch of jam with no ill side affects, unlike the typical pectins you might use. Because the typical pectins can easily overcook, and so not thicken as they are supposed to, you can only mix up one batch of jam at a time, which can really slow down the process. And when you head out to pick a peck of peaches at 4:30 pm, that can be super handy, eh Mom?

Honey Peach Jam

10-12 fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 box Pomona's Universal Pectin (I found mine at Vitamin Cottage)
1/4 C lemon juice (I use the good stuff: Santa Cruz Organic Pure Lemon Juice
1/2 C honey (I love to use local honey for the immune boosting properties)
5-6 clean sterilized pint jars with rings and new lids

Wash and rinse your jars. I prefer pint jars (or smaller) for my jams. Place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 225 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the jars there. This will sterilize them and keep them warm and ready to be filled.

Wash rings, and place lids in a little pot, covered with water. Bring water to a boil, then set aside.

Get your hot water bath ready. You will need a pot with a lid that is large enough to place the jars in and still be able to cover them with one inch of water. Bring water to a boil. I found a dark blue enamel hot water bath at a yard sale for a few dollars and it included a rack (a must as far as I am concerned), a wide-mouth funnel, and the tongs for pulling the jars out.

If your peaches are very ripe, you can just slip the peels off pretty easily. If the skins are on tight, you will need to blanch them to get the skin off. Here's how: (No need to remake the wheel, right?)

Halve the peach, take the pit out and slice the peach. You can then hand chop the peaches or pulse them in the food processor, being careful to leave the consistency somewhat chunky, but even. You want to end up with 4 cups of chopped peaches.

The peaches in the back bowl are sliced and ready to go into the food processor.

Mix up the calcium water according to the directions in the Pomona package. You can save what you don't use in the fridge for your next batch.

Combine 4 cups prepared peaches with 1/4 C lemon juice in a stock pot. Stir well.

Add 4 tsp calcium water, stir.

Mix cold or room temp honey (1/2 C) with 3 tsp pectin powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

Bring peach mixture slowly to a boil, then stir in honey/pectin mixture, bring back to a boil and remove from heat.

Fill jars to 1/2" of top. Wipe the top of the jar with a damp paper towel, place a lid from the little pot on top of the jar and hand tighten the ring. You want it firmly tightened, but not super tight. Never reuse lids (rings are okay to reuse, if they are not bent) as you may not get a good seal...and why would you want to go to all this trouble and not be able to line these pretty, jewel colored beauties up on the shelf?

Once all the jars are filled, place them in the hot water bath. You may need to add some water at this time to get your "one inch above the lid" coverage. If so, bring back to a boil, then cover and start timing. At our elevation (we are in the Mile High City) you will want to do the bath for 11 minutes for pint jars.

When the time is up, remove the jars from the bath, placing them on a towel. Cover the jars with a dry dish towel and let sit to cool. Hopefully, pretty quickly, you will hear the joyful pinging of the lids popping down as they seal!! And don't do like I do. I am always pressing on the tops to see if I can "help" them along. Keep getting in trouble with my Mom on that one (and I am forty....something!).

So, this is the way we are making our peach jam these days...thanks to the great directions in the Pomona packaging...I think now we need to bake a loaf of bread!

What are you canning in your kitchen this summer?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oh, la, la! A really good Oatmeal Rasin Cookie!

I am doing some baking for a MOPS fundraiser tomorrow, and so I made over a recipe I found at Vitamin Cottage. Try it and tell me what you think!

Silly Boy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a cup of water to boil.

Combine in a bowl:

1 C gluten free flour mix*
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Combine in Mixer Bowl

1/2 C softened butter (make this dairy free by using the Earth Balance stick butter substitute)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C evaporated cane juice
1/2 C almond milk, or milk substitute of choice
1 heaping Tablespoon ground flax meal mixed into 3 Tablespoons boiling water (let sit for 3-4 minutes before adding to mixing bowl)
2 tsp vanilla

Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix til smooth, then add

1 C raisins
1 C chopped walnuts
2 C rolled oats (not quick oats)

Mix to combine, then drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, giving them plenty of room to spread out. I did 8 or nine cookies per sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes or til your liking. We like our cookies crunchy, so we did the full 25 minutes.

Makes a bakers three dozen: about 38 - 3" cookies

All I can say is...I am getting the stuff out and making another batch, or there won't be any for the bake sale!

* As usual, I use my modified Bette Hageman GF flour mix: 6 C brown rice flour, 2 C cornstarch, 1 C tapioca flour

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Savory Chicken Strips

A grown up version of chicken fingers that even the kids will find very tasty!

2 lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
4-6 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed

Mix all ingredients together and pour over chicken in shallow dish. Let marinate for 15 minutes to 1 hour.

1 package of chicken strips; pounded to 1/4" with meat tenderizing hammer

Heat additional 3 Tbsp olive oil in skillet. Put in one layer of chicken, let brown just a bit, then turn. They will cook quickly, since they are so thin. Remove from pan and keep warm in oven. Continue cooking til all chicken is cooked. Don't take out last layer, add rest of chicken back to pan. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups white wine, leave uncovered so alcohol cooks off.

We served it over a cooked rice blend, part "wild rice soup blend" and part brown jasmine (ran out of jasmin ;-D), with steamed cauliflower. It was kind of a "beige" colored meal, but the flavors blended well together, and better yet - the kids loved it and it was a quick fix!! It would also be good with steamed carrots or broccoli (we spooned the "gravy" over the rice with a pinch of kosher salt).

Thanks to the "Flavor Bible" for the marinade inspiration!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Birthday Fun!

Sweet Potato got invited to a Tea Party, and I had this image of chocolate confections dance through my mind...these did not turn out like I had imagined, but they were fun, and relatively easy, nontheless!

I melted chocolate bark for the first layer and poured it into a glass so that it would be deeper. I dipped the pretzel into the glass and then twirled it as I pulled it against the edge, to spin off the excess chocolate.

I laid the pretzels on wax paper on my cooling racks, and then put them in the fridge to harden. They could have used a little more time, because when I came back to do the pink layer, it melted a little...

Second round, I melted white chocolate vanilla bark, added some red food coloring, and mixed it up well. We dipped the sticks into the pink icing, and then add colorful sprinkles. Voila!

Nutty Pancakes v.2

This is my Nutty Pancake Recipe, with the eggs removed...It is lighter and fluffier than v.1, and a big hit around here. Also, if you don't do the whipped cream, then it is dairy free!

Nutty Pancake v.2

Mix in a medium size bowl:
1 1/2 Cup GF Mix*
1/2 Cup quinoa flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

boil 1/2 cup water, then:

In a small bowl, mix 2 heaping Tablespoons ground flax seed with 6 Tablespoons boiling water (you can also skip this step and use two large eggs, if you don't have egg intolerances).

2 Tablspoons EVOO
2 tsp vanilla
2 C room temp water

1/2 C ground nuts, if desired (I usually like ground walnuts, but ground almonds are good as well)

Warm your skillet over medium heat, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and cook pancakes. These will not get super 'brown' like some recipes, but you will be able to tell when they are done.

Makes about 20 - 4" pancakes

We had these yummy pancakes topped with strawberry sauce and whipped cream this am for Sweet Potatoes Birthday Breakfast.

Strawberry Sauce

One pound fresh strawberries, leaves removed and sliced
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup water

Add all ingredients to pot and stir, simmering til water reduces a little. This is not an artificially red sauce, but it is fresh and good!! You could all a little more agave, if you like it sweeter.

"Whooped Cream"

A family fave!!! They like it on just about anything...I can not make this enough for my kids.

one pint of whipping cream
1-2 tsp sugar

Put whipping cream in mixer bowl, add sugar, whip on high till you achieve the proper consistency (that would be nice and stiff - you could run a knife through it and it would stay stiff).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kefir-Blueberry-Walnut Pancake

OK, I am truly a believer in the old saying that "necessity is the mother of invention" and to prove it, try this "Mother of All GF/CF Pancakes"!!

My boys are recently dairy free, and one of them is also off eggs, and yours truly is gluten free, so the challenge became...try making a pancake without the trifecta: milk, flour, eggs!

Here is what I came up with on this snowy Colorado Sunday morning, tell me what you think!

Preheat skillet or griddle to med-low

Whisk the following in an 8 cup bowl:

1 1/2 C GF Mix*
1/2 C quinoa flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup finely ground walnuts (leave these out, if nuts are a problem for you - I add them to boost the protein)

To replace the two eggs you would usually use, bring a small amount of water to a boil, then whisk together:

6 T boiling water
2 heaping Tbsp ground flax seed (fresh ground is best, but you can buy it ground and keep it in the freezer also)

Let sit for a minute, while you add these ingredients to the dry mix:

2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 C coconut milk kefir (I found mine in the refrigerated section at Vitamin Cottage)
1 C water
flax seed/water mixture.

Mix with whisk, then scrape with spatula, and mix again, just til all ingredients are combined.

Stir in 1 C fresh/frozen blueberries

Add bit of olive oil to pan. Scoop onto griddle/skillet with 1/3 C measuring cup. This batter is thick, so you will need to spread it out a bit with the edge of the scoop. Because they are so thick, you will want to cook them at a lower temp than usual. Cook til golden brown on bottom, then flip and cook til done.

Top with butter and syrup (we use "Earth Balance natural buttery spread made with olive oil". In my opinion, you can't tell it's not real butter).

This recipe makes 16 pancakes, here - three pancakes is a serving.

*GF Mix - I use a combo based on a Bette Hageman combo: 6 C brown rice flour (= one 2# bag from Vitamin Cottage); 2 C corn starch; 1 C tapioca flour. Whisk all together in a container and store in the fridge.

March 27, 2011
- I made a few substitutions today that made these even better!

1/2 C fresh ground buckwheat replaces the quinoa
1 1/4 c kefir instead of 1 cup
1 1/4 c water instead of 1 cup
I added two eggs
I deleted the flax seed preparation, but did include two Tbs fresh ground flax seed

Saturday, February 13, 2010


This is one of my all time fave stews/soups. I will give you a recipe, but remember, this is COTF (clean out the fridge), so use what you have if you don't have something that I list.


You are going to need 8 cups of broth in a large stock pot. Bring it to a boil, then turn down to medium.

You will also need about 3-4 cups cooked wild rice (or brown jasmine rice or a combo of the two).

Warm a large skillet on the stove, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and add these ingredients to the skillet as you chop them. Keep stirring, as you add ingredients.

1 med white onion, chopped fine
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
generous pinch of coarse ground kosher salt
1 leek, chopped fine (don't use the dark green leaves, and make sure you rinse it well, on each layer, as the dirt tends to get down in there)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
Add about a half cup of water at this point, and cover with a lid, to steam the veggies
5-6 small carrots, sliced fine
celery heart, chopped (this is the four or five center stalks of celery, plus the short little ones in the middle, and all their leaves)

After these veggies have steamed a bit (about 5-7 minutes) They should be starting to get tender. Take the whole pan and carefully spoon the ingredients into the hot broth. Add the rice and more pepper and salt, as needed. Add more rice to get a thicker stew, but remember, it will thicken overnight if you have leftovers so don't get it too thick now.

Let warm through, then add in a handful of fresh chopped parsley (pull the leaves off, the stems are bitter) or 4 tablespoons of dried parsley, and a cup or two of frozen peas. Oila!

Serve in warm bowls (a trick my mom taught me to keep your soup hot longer) with a fresh baked loaf of bread or your fave loaf from the store.

If you want, add whatever chopped meat you have on hand. If you don't have any meat cooked up, you can pan sear a chicken breast, chop it and add it to the pot. Here is how you do that:

Using the same pan you used to saute the veggies, heat to medium heat. Split a chicken breast lengthwise, to make it cook more quickly. Put a few tsp of oil in the skillet. Lay the meat in and cook till it starts to get some color on the bottom. Flip with tongs and cook on the other side too. Don't worry about it being a little pink in the can finish cooking in the stew. Take out of the pan, and chop it on your cutting board, and then add to the stew. Take a cup of white wine and pour into the hot skillet. Stir with a spatula, till all the browned goodness is not stuck to the bottom of the pan anymore (don't look - but you just "deglazed" your pan!!). Pour this into the stew, and stir.

One of the reasons this stew is soooo yummy, is that when you saute the veggies and spices, you add a layer of flavor that you can't get just by putting the veggies/spices straight into the soup pot. It takes a little longer, but the flavor is worth it! And boy-oh-boy, is this good the next day!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chicken Tenders

I am very blessed to have kids that will eat almost anything. The other day, I made a Thai Coconut Soup, and 5 year old Jalapeno declared it "the bestest soup ever" and claimed the leftovers the next day when we did COTF (a fancy name for 'clean out the fridge'). It had cabbage, zucchini, coconut I said, so blessed that my kids eat "funky food'!

Today, I decided to make them a special treat. So we bought a package of chicken tenders and tenderized them with a hammer made for that purpose (put the chicken pieces between a folded sheet of wax paper - it will keep the juice from splattering). I took a few pieces of foccacia out of the freezer, thawed them, and ran them through the food processor to make bread crumbs. You can use any bread that you have, or prepared bread crumbs, but if you bake your own gluten free or egg free bread, just save your ends in a ziplock in the freezer to use for breadcrumbs).

In a flat bowl or pie pan, mix bread crumbs (about two cups) with 1 tsp each oregano, thyme, garlic powder, kosher salt, and parlsey. Mix with a fork.

Preheat your a large skillet to medium heat.

Take tenderized chicken strips and coat them well on both sides with the crumb mixture. Add 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil to the skillet (you could also use another oil that you have on hand). Let melt, and then add chicken strips, being careful not to crowd them. Let chicken brown with out turning, on the first side. Then turn with tongs (piercing with a fork will release the juice), cover and let finish browning on the other side.

We ate ours with some brown jasmine rice topped with olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt, and some leftover baked butternut squash. Yummy!

English Mufffin Bread

English Muffin Bread

Prepare bread pan by greasing with shortening and dusting with cornmeal

Preheat oven to 170 degrees

Whisk in bowl of stand mixer:
1 3/4 C brown rice flour
1/4 C sorghum flour
1 C tapioca flour
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp yeast

Gather wet ingredients:
1 1/2 C water (120 degrees)
2 T agave nectar
2 large eggs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Add all ingredients to bowl, stir to mix; Add wet ingredients. Slowly mix, until water is incorporated, then turn mixer on high for 3-4 minutes till batter is smooth.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, and smooth with forks to get it level. Place in oven and let rise about 20 minutes or til doubled.

Take pan out gently, and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Just before popping back in oven, sprinkle with kosher salt and a bit of melted butter. Return pan to oven and bake about 20 minutes or till loaf is nice and brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped.

Turn out onto cooling rack, and let cool before slicing.

Vegetable broth & Chicken Noodle Soup

I can't get enough of this soup!

The broth takes some time to make, but it is not hard. The soup itself is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!!

Broth -

48 cups (or 12 quarts or 3 gallons) of cold water in a 16 quart stock pot
3 white onions, quartered - don't worry about "papery skin" it will all get strained out
2 whole heads of garlic, cut cross ways, so each clove is cut in half - see above note on onion
1 piece of ginger, about a thumbs length, and the same width; cut in half, up the length of the root
5-6 big carrots (not the baby ones)
3-4 stalks celery (I prefer to use the inside of the celery, if available)
2-3 leeks (depending upon the size). take of the top four inches of green
1 Tbsp salt

Place all ingredients in the pot, and turn on the heat - do not allow it to boil, and don't stir it, just let it simmer for 4-6 hours with the lid on, but tilted a bit, so some steam can escape. Apparently (from what I just learned in an Italian Cookbook), if you boil or stir the veggies, it will make the broth cloudy - who knew?!?

Turn off and let cool. Place a large colander in a larger bowl, and pour the broth into the colander. Lift the colander out, and there you have lots of beautiful, home made vegetable broth! I freeze my broth in quart freezer bags (4 Cups per bag) lay them flat on a cookie sheet to freeze, then you have it on hand for...whatever!

(Do I have to mention that if your bowl is not bigger than your stock pot, that it will flow over?? Just checking...)


8 cups of veggie broth
2-3 large carrots, sliced into thin rings
2-3 stalks celery, sliced thin, including green tops
2 tsp dry parsley, or handful of fresh, chopped
1 chicken breast, cooked, shredded (or whatever left over meat you want to add); or keep it veggie, if you like
1/2 to 1 tsp salt (depending on how much salt you like to use)
fresh ground black or white pepper (I use a mix)

1/4 to 1/2 package banh pho rice stick noodles - these are the flat rice noodles, such as you would use for pad thai; they are available at most grocery stores in the asian food section

Put everything but noodles in pot with 8 cups of broth; bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer for 20 minutes. Bring back to boil and add noodles; turn off heat, cover pot and let sit for 15 minutes. I use a pair of scissors to cut the noodles once they are cooked, either in the pot, or in the bowl..or you can leave them whole, but they are long ;-))

I pretty much don't measure anything when I cook, so I have gone back and tried to do that for you, but you may need to adjust the seasonings to your taste.


Here we go!!

Finally an online recipe box!! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have enjoyed creating them!