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Dinner at the in-laws tonight. Hubby discovered that Little Caesar’s has a nice size Greek salad, so that was a little better than my last pizza night experience.  FYI, they also have a nice looking Italian style salad; it has pepperoni and ham, so it’s not for me, but maybe one of you might like it).

Baked Potato Soup

Dinner: December 15, 2009

This dish was pretty good, although I wish it had been a bit creamier. My kids actually finished eating before I even did; so I guess they liked it. I actually made the mashed potato mixture last night and fridged it, so I had less than half the work to do tonight. This soup would be a good use of leftover mashed or baked potatoes. Just in case someone wants to try it, here it is:

4-8 Potatoes

1 med. Onion

12-15 oz. Cannellini Beans

2 TBSP Garlic

2 TBSP Chives

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/3 cup Cornstarch

1 1/2 Pints Vegetable Stock

4 TBSP Butter

Salt and Pepper

Boil approx. 2 potatoes per person along with onion, finely diced, and cannellini beans (canned or rehydrated).

Drain, but don’t rinse.

Mash or run in food processor.

Add vegetable stock,  minced garlic,  chives,  butter,  sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer and whisk till smooth.

Mix cornstarch with approx. 1/4 c. water, mix and add slowly to soup.

I was so excited today.  I picked up a new (to me) GF cookbook from the library. The book is The Gluten-free Gourmet revised edition by Bette Hagman.  I decided that the first recipe I’d try from it was “Jill’s Quick and Easy Pizza Crust” (400).  I was so disappointed!!! It was goop…just yellowish shapeless, unformable or spreadable goop. I added approx. 2/3 cup buckwheat flour to give it some substance, and was able to make it workable. After baking the crust tasted OK, but did not resemble pizza crust at all – we ate it with a fork.

This was a recipe contributed by the author’s friend, so I’m hoping that trying one of the author’s own recipes next will turn out better.  Will let you know how that goes…

I have stumbled onto a rather good muffin recipe by complete accident.  I was attempting to convert a pancake recipe to gluten free from the book “Ratios” by Michael Ruhlman and the batter turned out way, way too thick for pancakes, I had to add three times more milk than was called for to get even close to pancake consistancy. However, I thought the batter would be excellent for muffins or quick bread. So tonight, I repeated the process with my GF ingredients and added finely chopped walnuts and frozen raspberries at the end. It was wonderful! Now, I am passing the modified recipe on to whoever reads this blog. Please note that many of the ingredients are meant to be weighed on a culinary scale (you can buy a good digital one with a tare button at a hardware store pretty cheap.) Enjoy!

Basic Muffin Recipe

Whisk dry ingredients in large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.

4 oz Brown Rice Flour

4 oz Buckwheat flour

2-4 TBSP Sugar (can substitute honey for half of this if desired)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp xanthan gum

Now whisk together the wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl till slightly frothy.

8 oz milk

2 large eggs

2 oz real butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined.

Add whatever additional things you enjoy in a muffin or bread. Examples:

Walnuts, cranberries, apples and cinnamon, blueberries (fresh or frozen), lemon zest and poppy seeds, orange zest and ginger, etc…

Pour into muffin cups or a buttered and floured bread pan. *Fill cups very full, they will rise only a little and the fuller you fill ‘em, the better they look when they’re done baking.

Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven. 20 minutes for mini muffins, 40 minutes for quick bread or until slightly browned on top and a toothpick comes out mostly clean, with just a couple crumbs.

Yield:  This recipe made enough for 24 mini muffins plus one mini bread loaf.

Dinner: December 10, 2009

If I’m going to take the time to make rice, I make A LOT of rice – that way it cuts down meal prep time for other days in the week.

1 large pot with lid

4 cups brown rice

8 cups water

approx. 3 TBSP butter

2 or 3 pinches of salt

Bring water to boil. Add butter and salt. When butter is melted, pour in rice and give it a quick stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile:

Use fresh or frozen veggies, I like fresh when I’ve got them on hand. There are many veggies that taste exceptionally great when roasted, just pick your favorites, or whatever needs to get out of your fridge or pantry. Here are some veggies I like:

Brussel Sprouts – when roasted the natural sugars in them caramelize and make them absolutely mouth watering.

Onions

Garlic – Yum!

Carrots

Okra – not as good as the sprouts, but actually not bad

Potatoes – although they’re great roasted, I don’t recommend them for this dish because when combined with the rice it’s a little too much starch.

Broccoli – awesome roasted!

So – just put them in a roasting pan, pour a little olive oil over them, just enough to coat, not so they’re swimming in oil, sprinkle a couple healthy pinches of salt and pepper and toss the veggies till they’re all coated. Pop them into a preheated 450 degree oven for approx. 30-45 minutes depending on the specific veggies you are roasting, stirring them once or twice during the roasting time, and voila!

I serve this family style, with the rice and veggies in seperate dishes on the table. A little tamari sauce or hot sauce goes well with this dish if desired.  My oldest child won’t go near a sauce, and my youngest can’t live without, so there you go.

Put the uneaten rice in the fridge to use in soups or to make fried rice, rice pudding, etc… throughout the remaining week.

Dinner: December 12, 2009

Used my extra rice from Thursday to make fried rice tonight. Quick and easy and always a winner with my two little ones (ages 8 and 5).

A non-stick wok

Vegetable oil.

assorted frozen veggies

1 bunch fresh green onions, sliced thin

enough cold, refrigerated brown rice to feed four

4 eggs

tamari soy sauce

small handful of chopped dried pineapple (optional)

sesame seed oil (optional)

sambal chili paste (optional)

Heat wok to medium-high heat. Add a dollop of vegetable oil. Allow oil to heat, then add frozen veggies. When veggies are almost done, add sliced gr. onion. When tender-crisp, add a couple rounds of soy sauce, to taste, then remove from wok and set veggies aside in a serving bowl of some sort – I like to use my vintage Pyrex bowls. Return wok to heat, add another dollop of oil. When oil is heated – which will happen quickly – add eggs, stir vigorously with spoon to scramble up a bit. While eggs are still very soft, add rice. Stir often, so the rice won’t burn on bottom.  Add chopped pineapple if desired. When rice is heated, add a couple good rounds of soy sauce, to taste. Let cook a moment longer so the rice really soaks in the sauce, then remove from heat and serve. I keep my rice and veggies separate on the table, but they could also be mixed together before serving.

I keep Sambal chili paste, sesame seed oil and extra soy sauce on the table. If you know that every diner likes sesame seed oil, then it could be added to the oil just before the eggs. However, not everyone in my family likes the taste, so I keep it separate.

December 11, 2009

Went to my parent’s house to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Everyone had pizza, I had salad. My dad offered to get me the salad, and it was thoughtful, I was glad he made the extra effort.  However, the only salad on the menu,from the takeout restaurant he ordered the pizza from, that did not have either meat or bread of some sort was a side salad. My mom brought out some fresh spinach, carrots and radishes…bless her heart. I’ve grown much more accustomed to the GF diet, but it’s still rough for others. I hope to figure out a way to make this less awkward in the future…any suggestions out there?

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